1/31/2015

What is an appropriate name for Sin City?


Sin City used to be famous for many things, clean and green, efficiency, honesty, safe and drug free, a good place to do business, study and bring up family.  Visitors were always in praise of our clean and green country. Lately Sin City has been associated with some less flattering names like Loan Shark City, Rat City and a few others that I could others. The latest is Garbage City.

And jokers and jesters, mainly Sinkies, are blaming Sinkies for a bad habit, that we are guilty of turning our city into garbage. The Sinkies are the convenient whipping boy as usual. The foreigners are so nice, so clean and so cultured. What party at Laneway musical festival? I swear I was not there. So don’t blame me. Does any of these jokers and jesters know that for every Sinkie there is a foreigner in our midst. And in public areas, public transport, for every 3 Sinkies there are likely to be 7 foreigners. I would like to tell the jokers and jesters to stuff their mouths with their own garbage.

Oh, I like Garbage City or City of Trash for another reason. Sinkies have degenerated from an industrious and highly motivated people that won the admirations of the world into a people best know for being daft, lazy and unmotivated and even suffering from entitlement mentality, like demanding to be paid millions or else. Yah, we even turned ourselves from a proud, disciplined people to a dirty and irresponsible people that would litter the whole island that we called home.

Well, real or bluff, or just a perception, Sinkies are now regarded by the thrash foreigners making a living here as thrash, and likewise by Sinkie jesters and jokers. We are now a people, walking around like mobile thrash. When there are so many thrash in the City, calling it a Garbage City is really appropriate. Instead of a City of Daft, or Daft City, Garbage City sounds quite nice actually. A city full of garbage, living zombies walking around like garbage, worse than people from the 3rd World. No wonder they are despising and looking down on Sinkies and taking over the country to turn it into their clean and modern 3rd World slum city, like the grounds after the Laneway musical.


Welcome to Garbage City when the residents are walking garbage. This can be a new selling point to bring tourists here, to see daft walking garbage. And the high class Sinkies would bear witness with their testimonies.

Medishield Life – Not a comprehensive health plan for sure


When Medishield Life was mooted, there were a lot of expectations that this is it, a comprehensive national health insurance scheme to replace all the bits and pieces that did not fit together, with a lot of gaps and a lot of unnecessary overlapping. Here there is, a newly cocked up, oops, I mean cooked up plan to take care of everyone from cradle to grave, no one will miss out.

And yesterday it was passed in Parliament in the second sitting like a miracle cure all drug. Everyone in Parliament is elated, so proud of being part of this process to bring this baby to life. A great achievement that would go down in history, a historic moment that everyone wants to be counted in.  No need to read the fine prints.

So, is it really that fantastic a scheme? What does it seek to achieve or to replace? Let me think, I thought, yes I thought, it would replace all the schemes in the CPF and those private insurance.  I thought it would replace the Medishield A and B plans. And I think that’s it. Someone was asking me, you mean this comprehensive, national, compulsory and mother of all insurance scheme that was praised sky high by the MPs only replaces the CPF Medishield Plans?

What about the Medisave, what about the Medisave Minimum Sum Schemes, still existing in toto, still got to put money in them like before, still increasing every year? So what, does it mean that the Sinkies would now have to pay for this comprehensive national health plan, and still got to sink in money into the Medisave and still got to have their money locked up in Medisave Minimum Sum, and the amount keeps adjusting upwards with inflation, with no age or time limit?

Wah lan, what is happening? Cover head, cover bottom, cover front, cover backside. The only thing that is not covered is the people’s money, keep going out into all the schemes.

So, are the Sinkies better off? Sure, except that their money in the CPF may not be enough for retirement. And for those who are not working, the jobless and retirees, got no money to put into all these schemes, maybe they would get some subsidies to help them pay for all these schemes.

Did Sinkies ask the govt for it? Did Sinkies ask the govt to help them? Never mind, the govt will help even if the Sinkies did not ask the govt to help them and then point the finger insisting that the daft asked for help, asked for it. It is another entitlement thing, the govt is entitled to come out with any schemes and make the people pay. Sinkies are also entitled to govt help for all kinds of schemes to make life better for the Sinkies, except Sinkies ended up paying. Sinkies must be very grateful for all the help from the govt. What a blessing.


Want the govt to help some more?

1/30/2015

Medishield Life – What is so comprehensive about it?


This is touted as a comprehensive national health insurance for all Singaporeans and PRs, a ‘health care safety net that leaves no one behind’. The only thing comprehensive, other than including all Singaporeans and PRs, is the collection of premiums. Here no one is left out, no one is left behind even if you are 100 years old. You PAY ok! And if you are working overseas, you PAY ok! Whether you are paying another insurance premium overseas that is mandated by the host country of your residence, you still must PAY. Any exceptions? I have not heard of any.
 

I will talk about what this Medishield Life is NOT comprehensive in another article later. So, what is the real intent of this Medishield Life other than the broadcast altruistic mission of providing every Singaporean and PR with a national health plan? Anyone wants to guess? And mind you, the govt provide the national health scheme, you PAY!
Oh, the govt is contributing $4b in subsidies. When is the subsidy money coming from? Where is the subsidy money going to? Anyone wants to guess? It would be more exciting and look more generous if the premium is jacked even higher and the subisidy, instead of $4b, make it $40b. Again, ask where is this money coming from and going to? Definitely not a cent goes into the people’s pocket.
 

Think what this Medishield is to you, what it means to you and your pocket. Who is the real beneficiary of this scheme? Must be You right? The answer is so easy.
 

The bill was passed after the mandatory and expected routine of asking questions but nothing change. The bill was passed lock, stock and barrel. The MPs may ask 100 or 1m questions, they will remain as questions. Period.
 

Would anyone want to know why the govt does not say it out loud that the scheme is a NON PROFIT making scheme? Is it so difficult to assure the people that this scheme is all about providing health care to the people and not to make money from the people?
Does anyone want to know why people must pay and pay until they die, if they are so ‘heng’ or so ‘suay’ to live to 100 or 200 years old?
 

Does anyone want to know why Sinkies must be made to pay for two insurance premiums if they happen to work in another country?
 

Does anyone want to know if excess premiums be ploughed back into the scheme to reduce the burden of the people or would it be, like excess S&CC be dumped into another dark hole, as reserves, and people continue to be made to pay happily ever after?
 

What is the assurance that medical fees are allowed to spiral uncontrollably, by ‘market forces’ and nothing can be done about it, like HDB property prices?
All the MPs are so happy about this scheme that they must be popping champagne to celebrate a job well done. And the people must also be so happy and grateful for this scheme. Any more great schemes in the pipeline?

Taking national security for granted?


Magdalene Choo, a research associate at the Institute of Policy Studies conducted a survey on Singaporeans’ attitude towards national security. She was concerned and so was the IPS about our national security. She may want to relate the thinking of Singaporeans and how it would affect out national security. This is a very serious study and I believe the relevant national intelligence agencies would also have our national interest in their minds and would have been monitoring the threats to our country.
It is a good effort to raise the interest of our peoplke with regards to our national security and not to take our national security for granted. This is our country and if Singaporeans are not interested or concerned with our national security, then it is an area of grave concern.
 

We have spent a lot of money and resources on our national security and defence. Our young men have devoted their whole life to the country and paying a very heavy price for it, including family members and compromising their career development.
 

The question is, what is the point of worrying whether the people are interested or concerned with our national security when the Trojan Horse in inside our country? And it is not just one Trojan Horse but many. What is more important is that people who should be concerned with our national security must be thinking about our national security and not compromising on our national security? How safe are we as a country when more than half of the population are foreigners with questionable affiliation, loyalty and interest to our national security? How safe are we when our economy and vital professions and installations are run or dominated by foreigners?
 

What kind of joke is this? I can remember the joke about the British pointing all their big guns at the sea when the Japanese came in from the Malayan mainland. We are concerned that the people are not interested in our national security when we don’t mind sleeping with strangers or inviting strangers into our homes? Do we have any intellect? Do we know where the threat to our national security is coming from? It is like the sheep all up in arms guarding the pen when wolves made up half of the flock in the pen.
 

How stupid can Singaporeans be?

Public Transport Fare Hike obtained by Fraud and Misrepresentation?



Did PTOs Lie to obtain Latest Fare Increase?




The True Lies of Singapore Public Transport Operators (PTOs)

Was Law Broken in order to Profiteer?

The Case is strong, definitive and irrefutable. The glaring implications of fraud and misrepresentation are prevalent to demand clear and unequivocal answers from the PTOs. The PTOs, ComfortDelgro and SMRT, are reported to have cited incredulous rising costs and lower profits to justify a public transport fare hike, and to which the Public Transport Council (PTC) have agreed as 2.8% effective April 2015. 



According to Section 24 of the Public Transport Act (Chapter 259B), the PTO’s case for any fare increase has to be supported by submitting to the PTC such documents it desires. None of these documents have been deposited in the public domain in the interest of transparency.



These documents should not be fraudulent or contain misrepresentation to the extent that such misconduct would render any approval voidable.



The PTC shall thereafter consider any fare increase request from the PTOs according to whether such fare increase was NEEDED to maintain the financial viability of the PTO and whether the public interest is safeguarded, among other things.



The Financial Viability of PTO

No reason has been evinced to support any conclusion that the financial viability of Singapore PTOs would be adversely impacted without the approved fare increase.  The over-whelming facts and evidence from various sources are unanimous in their happy finding that both PTOs would be reaping revenue and profit windfalls in 2014-2015 and in the years ahead mainly due to the drastic drop in global oil prices of more than 50% in the last 6 months of 2014.  The financial viability of the PTOs DOES NOT require the 2.8% fare increase because their expected windfall revenue and profits far exceed this amount significantly.



The following paragraphs are adapted from an independent DBS Bank Report dated 20 Jan 2015 BEFORE the transport fare increase announcement.



“Factoring in lower fuel prices, we’ve raised 2015 earnings for Singaporetransport operators SMRT and ComfortDelgro significantly by 7% and 4% for 2015 respectively.”



“The top performers over the last 12 months (of 2014) were led by Singapore’s land transport stocks, with SMRT up 38%, followed by ComfortDelgro with 29%. This can be attributed to the May 2014 announcement of the transformation of the public bus operations into a Government Bus Contracting Model [thereby making ComfortDelgro asset light].”



“Energy and fuel account for 9% and 14% of ComfortDelgro’s and SMRT’s costs respectively, and ComfortDelgro has hedged 70% of its diesel requirements for 2015.  Positive changes their EPS (earning per share) also take into account lower oil price, offset by stronger S$ and lower fare increases.”






“ComfortDelgro has actively hedged its fuel/energy requirements to the best of its ability. It has hedged around 70% of its Singapore diesel requirements in view of the lower oil price. Even if oil price were to trend upwards, the positive is that we would see a lower diesel cost for the Group, given its hedges that are in place.”



The main conclusion of the independent DBS Bank Report is that BOTH PTOs are in the best of financial health in 2015-2017 (at least) and at the top of unprecedented profitability windfalls.



The savings from falling global oil and gas prices are real and substantial. Between July 2014 and January 2015, average gas prices fell by 19 per cent. As fuel costs make up around half the tariff, the electricity tariff between July 2014 and March 2015 has been accordingly reduced by 9.3 per cent.  SMRT depend more on electricity to drive its train and diesel for its buses. Prices at petrol pumps have fallen by 15 per cent between July and December 2014, and are expected to continue falling into 2015. 



Did Fare Increase Safeguard the Public Interest?

Public Transport Fare increases must be “Affordable” and “Justifiable” is the Test for public interest stewardship. 



The latest fare increase requires a S$7.5 million subsidy in the form of 250,000 public transport vouchers of $30 each to help needy commuters to mitigate its negative impact on them.  This is tantamount to subsidising the profits of highly profitable private PTO companies.



It is further announced that ComfortDelgro and SMRT would contribute $13.5 million of the increased fare revenue to the Public Transport Fund for the subsidy of $7.5 million!



Whither then the case of non-financial viability?  The subsidy is also unnecessary if the fare increase were affordable.  It is conclusive evidence that the public interest has not been safeguarded in this fare increase.



Investigation of Fraud by PTC

The Betrayal of Public Trust has finally come to a head as our public transport operators (PTOs) traded social conscience and responsibility for profits when they gradually erode the sacred Social Contract in Public Transport with Singaporean commuters.



Under the PTC Act, the PTC can revoke any approval for public transport fare increase if it found that the increase has been obtained by fraud and misrepresentation.  The PTC should now initiate an investigation as to whether such is the case, if indeed the PTOs did cite rising costs and lower profits to justify a public transport fare hike.





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1/29/2015

CPF – Silver Brigade beware


When I hit 55, I was informed that my minimum needed to be retained by the CPF was $X. This sum is fixed and would not increase over time or as the years go by. This is quite assuring haven’t decided that leaving a small sum for retirement uses is reasonable, and with half set off by the value of the flat. This does not mean that I agree with the principle that anyone or govt could use the excuse that it is good for you to withhold your savings. This is fundamentally wrong.
 

Many seniors grudgingly allowed their money to be held in ransom by the CPF and had to squeeze their balls as they have no avenue to fight this policy, at least under this govt. Maybe a change in govt would give them a chance to reverse and get rid of this monstrous logic for good.
 

Then there was another minimum sum that was not that big then, the Medisave Minimum Sum. I would think that the principle governing retention of the people’s savings in the MS would be the same as the Minimum Sum for the whole savings. This is NOT the case. The MS for the Medisave continues to go up over the years. It does not freeze at the time when a member reaches 55. It keeps growing as and when the CPF choose to be ‘caring’ and decides how much to increase every year.
 

How can this be the case? Seniors who are still working or self employed would have their contributions transferred to the Medisave MS whenever it is raised. What the shit! Why is this MS allowed to keep increasing over the years? CPF no money? CPF needs more money? Money sucked into this Medisave MS is like entering a dark hole and can be there until one surrenders the IC. It is as good as money not yours except for those who need to use them for approval medical treatments.
 

I hope all of your can join me to protest against this obnoxious policy of taking our money as and when they like on the pretext of it is good for us. I say bull. Don’t think you can get away with this in the next GE.

$1m for Singaporean students and $2b for foreign students


In an article posted in TRE by a ‘Win battles lose war’, titled ‘$1m bursaries past 5 years – $2b for foreign students?’ he produced some statistics on the amount of money the govt spent over a 5 year period on bursaries for children of Singaporeans. He then presented another chart showing how much was spent on foreigner students on scholarships here and the amount came to a mind blowing $2n against a miserable $1m for our children. And the ministers were crowing how generous the govt was to help lower income Singaporeans.
 

The full article can be viewed in TRE. I took a look and almost gone crazy. I cannot believe our govt would spend so much money on foreign students and so miserly on our own children. What is going on? What is the weird logic? Is the govt mad? Is this part of the pragmatism that our elite have been drugged in?
 

No govt, or no one in his right mind will give away public money to foreigners in such a big sum but stinged on giving to the children of our citizens. I just cannot understand the logic? I keep asking myself, what the hell is going on in their minds? You mean all 80 over PAP MPs agreed to this kind of spending and did not see anything wrong with it?
As a country we can be generous, but to the extent of spending billions on foreigners and a miserable $1m on our own children is insanity. Yes, the only reason I can think of is that we may have mad people making decisions on how to use our tax payers’ money foolishly and extravagantly. I can’t think of a logical reason to spend this kind of money even if it is Other People’s Money. I just dunno what to say. What have they been smoking?
 

I still cannot believe what I read. I cannot believe that our super talents think this is the right thing to do, the right thing to spend our money on. Maybe that is why they deserved to be paid in millions for being able to see things that we commoners cannot see. We should vote them for another term of office and pay them more, increase their salaries, so that they can do more good to foreigners and their children. Even if we are scratching our heads, never mind, trust them to do the right thing, trust the deaf frogs. Remember, they are the smartest, the cleverest, the most talented. They know what they are doing. Fools like us would not be able to understand the goodness of what they are doing and that is expected. Just believe it is for our own good.

Pragmatism the guiding principle to go forward


Singapore Perspective 2015, did not follow what it was but saw a few clips of it on TV with all the luminaries and intellectual who’s who in the gathering talking about Singapore and its future. Happened to watch a small exchange between Assoc Prof Eugene Tan in an intellectual exchange with Prof Kishore Mahbubani on the topic on pragmatism. Eugene Tan was on the side saying that pragmatism as a guiding principle must be moderated or it would be too harsh and lacking soul and values when applied with no exception. Kishore was on the side arguing that pragmatism must be the guiding principle of our policies and we cannot afford to compromise on this great cornerstone of functionality. As a little island we would perish if we are soft and not pragmatic. There was no choice, but Eugene was saying that they were choices.
 

The audience of intellectuals, top civil servants and academics and many more, were put to a vote and more than 60% agreed with Kishore’s passionate plea that pragmatism is our only tool and pillar to survive. I believe, being a bunch or gathering of the brightest minds, they were indulging in a purely academic exercise and though they voted for pragmatism, it was just for the moment, a debate. I believe that they would not apply pragmatism in their policies or in the conduct of their lives and making decisions that affect other human beans.
 

Put it very simply, pragmatism in its extreme form, in black and white, is about functionality and usefulness. Anything that does not work, not practical, not useful, should be abandoned, rejected and threw away. In another word, if one is no longer contributing, ‘jiat liao bee’, one must be put away, culled or put to sleep. When a person is no longer useful to himself or society, he lost his reason or right to exist.
Using this pragmatic logic, all Singaporeans must be replaced by more talented and capable foreigners. No but’s and no if’s. Not good enough, you don’t deserve a place here. By the same logic, when one is no longer productive or useful to society, handicapped, sick, weak, with no relevant skills to contribute to the betterment of people, society and country, that person must be put to sleep.
 

Very likely not many people would be allowed to live past 60 years if pragmatism is the guiding principle for the right to live in this world class city. But then again we must congratulate ourselves that pragmatism would not be practiced to such an extreme and there are many other things that are of value to being human, kinship, family, compassion, love, caring, kindness, mercy, heart, emotion, feelings etc to temper the sharp edges of the ruthless and emotionless concept of pragmatism.
 

The thought is quite frightening if a society or country is run or operates under the principles of being useful and functional or not and with its elite talking about them emotionlessly as the right way forward. If our top talents and intellectuals were to rule using pragmatism and survival as the only basis, where would we be heading to? We would probably keep a population that is young, healthy and clever. Anything else would be deleted.

1/28/2015

Peaceful protest against PWP - 31 Jan 2015


Press release: Peaceful protest against 6.9 million Population White Paper (2 years after) – Sat 31st Jan from 4pm to 7pm.

A permit has been granted by NParks and we will abide by all the rules and regulations related to the protest.

Two years have lapsed since the government introduces the population white paper in January 2013 – passed in Parliament without a whimper of a complaint due to the majority rule of the PAP.

Gilbert Goh - Organiser

Public Transport works better when the Community Drives Them.


Singapore’s Public Transport Social Enterprise (PTSE).

The latest arbitrary, non-transparent and unreasonable public transport fare hike creates a severe Crisis of Public Trust with serious far-reaching social consequences.  Both ComfortDelgro and SMRT have cited incredulous rising costs and lower profits to justify a public transport fare hike of 2.8% effective April 2015.  And surprisingly, the Public Transport Council (PTC) agreed.
                                
Indeed, their Betrayal of Public Trust has finally come to a head as our public transport operators (PTOs) traded social conscience and responsibility for profits as they gradually erode the sacred Social Contract in Public Transport with Singaporean commuters.

The Betrayal of Public Trust
The PTO case in support of their claims of rising costs and lower profits has not been made available by the PTC to the commuting public.  Never mind that the formula used by the PTC to “compute” fare increase is mathematically flawed.

According to an independent DBS Bank report BEFORE the fare increase announcement, earnings by ComfortDelgro and SMRT are estimated to increase by 4% and 7% respectively, mostly resulting from the sharp 50% oil price drop over the past 6 months and which is expected to remain low and lower in the near future.  Energy and fuel account for 9% to 14% of our PTO costs.  

ComfortDelgro also benefits from the $1.1billion the Singapore Government agreed in 2013 to provide for the purchase and maintenance of new buses over 10 years from 2014. In 2015, it would therefore receive another $110 million from this public handout, thereby subsidising its hitherto huge corporate profits.

The truth is that the PTO awaits huge public subsidies and do not provide reserves from their profits for public transport operating assets development, investments and timely replacement. Commuters are therefore constantly plagued by overcrowding, delays, breakdowns and other manifestations of inefficiency, poor management and poor service standards. 

In further violation of their public duty commitment to make all fare increase “affordable”, the new fare increase has to be subsidised by a further $7.5million.  In making unjustified and un-affordable fare increases, the case of PTOs’ betrayal of the public trust is undeniably conclusive and decisive.

Public Transport Social Enterprise (PTSE) Solution
In the wake of the failure of PTOs to act in the best socially responsible manner, the solution is to replace them with Social Enterprise organisations. A Social Enterprise is a business organisation that focuses on creating social impact by tackling social issues, improve communities, improve life-style and improve the environment. It reinvests profits back into the business and the Community.

Public Transport Social Enterprises (PTSE)
The era of a new Public Transport Social Contract begins with PTSE.  Some key characteristics with PTSE are:

[1] A Mindset Change and Strategic Leadership
The PTSE goal is nothing less than to change the world of Public Transport for the common good of Singapore commuters and Singapore overall. Strategic leadership with enhanced social responsibility values are needed to steer PTSE onto the higher ground to embrace a natural tripartite partnership with public transport commuters and government.  Specifically, the vision is to empower a continuous enjoyment of public transport at a constant low and lower fare through continuous social investments and responsible management. 

[2] Community Profit-Sharing
Under a Commuters Profit-Sharing (CPS) Scheme, the profits of PTSE companies at the end of the financial year can be proportionally shared in the 30:30:40 ratios between the Singaporean commuters, the PTSE companies and the government.  The government takes 30% of the profits and the PTSEs retain another 30%.  The remainder 40% is shared with Singaporean commuters in some relation to their total spending during the year. 

This CPS Scheme also acts like a profits buffer which returns “excessive” profits to its stakeholders, trims “excess” fares and regulate for a normal, reasonable level of returns on assets deployed. In this way, community profit-sharing creates a balanced Public Transport eco-System for Future Generations. The Management and employees of PTSE also enjoy gain-sharing bonuses … , even as the Government obtains early returns for its social investments in public transport infrastructure and operating assets.

[3] Public Transport Commuter Consultative Council (PTCCC)
We need to replace and enlarge the PTC to be more inclusive and effective. The new National Public Transport Commuters Consultative Councils (NPTCCC) is created and it in turn forms Community Public Transport Commuters Consultative Committee (CPTCCC) in each and every community constituencies. The PTCCC/NPTCCC embraces social responsibility and transparency as its twin operating guide and the values of honesty, mutuality and trust in directing its conduct. Membership is voluntary and …..
The NPTCCC is supported by a Professional Resource Panel consisting of …..

The NeXT Steps ….
The road to create Singapore’s National Transport Social Enterprises begins with a strategic plan and time-table to re-acquire all public transport operating assets in the hands of current PTOs. SMRT is originally created by public funds. It can now be dissolved and re-constituted into a new PTSE directly owning at least 80% of its operating assets. The operating assets funded by public funds in ComfortDelgro are to be re-acquired and transferred to another PTSE.  In any case, all license for the operation of mass public transportation like train and buses shall henceforth be issued to PTSE only.


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International Holocaust Day


An apology from the Asians that are too far away and detached from the Holocaust to remember this day. It is good that Jonathan Eyal wrote about it In the ST two days back to remember the cruelties inflicted on a people by virtue of their race and killing 6m Jews and 1m gypsies in the concentration camps in Europe.
 

The Jews have done well as a people since then, controlling many economies with many richest men and Nobel Prize winners. They even control the American economy and the USA. No doubt about it. And they also control the media. They can write all about the holocaust and get it remembered by the rest of the world, and if the world forgets, does not want to remember, they will make sure the rest of the world remember the pains and sufferings they had gone true under Nazi Germany.
 

The Red Indians of North America do not have this privilege. They were terminated to near extinction. According to American authors and archives, the number varies between 70 million to 100 million Red Indians butchered in the prairies. It was a continent far away from the rest of the world and the European invaders could do as they pleased, without world opinion sitting on them, with no media to tell the world of the genocide of a civilization. And today, they are too few and too inconsequential to be heard, like the American bisons, slaughtered to extinction.
 

Would the world or the UN remember the 70m to 100m Red Indians slaughtered by the European conquerors in their homeland now called the United States of America? Would there be an International Red Indian Genocide Day to remember the dead that cried for help and mercy but no one heard them?
 

Would there be an International Slavery Day for the African slaves brought to America? Would there be an International Nanjing Massacre Day? Would there be an International Comfort Women Day?
 

I don’t think there will be an International ‘Sook Ching’ Massacre Chinese Day. Only a few hundred thousand died, not millions, so not important enough. And the children and descendants of the massacred have forgiven the Japanese murderers. And no one would want to remember or write about them. There is no Jonathan Eyal among them, proud enough to want to remember.

Sinkie – The Naked Man


Singaporeans have been increasing been stripped of their clothing and many are as good as walking around naked, or in the Emperor’s new clothe. For the poor or those needing govt subsidies or financial assistance, they are familiar with being stripped naked to a stranger who wanted to know everything ‘under’ their clothing before granting them the privilege of govt grants or subsidies. The Mean Testing in hospitals and similar schemes many ministries are infamous for asking very embarrassing and personal questions of the applicants. They would want you to strip to your underwear or turn out your pockets to make sure they are empty.
 

Mean Testing is meant only to the poor and desperados, so humiliating them is acceptable. We have something that makes Mean Testing looked very tame and friendly. The new powers given to the Medishield Life Scheme to put everyone under the microscope is like a futuristic nightmare comes true. There is nothing left that is called personal and private. Your body and private parts are not private anymore. Your money and your bank accounts are no longer private and out of bound to the govt.
 

The bill that is waiting to be passed allows the authority to look into your medical files, to review your medical conditions at will. The bills allow the authority to dip into your bank accounts, to take from your pay cheques, to imprison you for not paying a forced so called ‘National Medical Insurance Scheme’ to provide the people with a national health coverage. Who is providing to who? No, the people are legislated by law to provide themselves with a national health insurance scheme with their own money and cannot say No. And for the privilege of being a member of this compulsory scheme that would not declare its mission as Non Profit Making, you have authorized the authority to strip you naked if needed to, to prove that you deserve some mercy to be spare the jail for not paying the compulsory premium from cradle to the grave.
 

This would be a good theme to celebrate in SG50, The Naked Man. What used to belong to a Sinkie, his body and money, are no longer private and personal, accessible to the authority, to see and to touch and to take, perfectly legal when the bill is passed.
 

1984, George Orwell anyone?

1/27/2015

William Engdahl - Obama lying to the world about ISIS

Read the following by William Engdahl for a little uncomfortable and unpleasant truth. Highly recommended for suckers like Matilah and the unthinking bananas to cleanse their brains of the rubbish being programmed in them.

http://rt.com/op-edge/224791-obama-isis-speech-syria/

‘Obama lying to the world about ISIS’
 

William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.
published time: January 22, 2015 15:07


If President Obama was serious in his intention to destroy ISIS, he would cut the US funding for the terrorist group and get John McCain behind bars for his ugly role in the whole Middle East business, geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl told RT.
 

RT: US President Obama's speech made no mention of the fact that US weapons have in the past ended up in the hands of Islamic State. If there's further support for so-called moderate rebels in Syria, how can he be sure it won't happen again?

William Engdahl: Well, he can’t because ISIS was actually trained in Iraq initially, the al-Qaeda in Iraq, when Petraeus was down there. And if he was really serious, John McCain has played a very ugly role in this whole Middle East business in Syria and also in Ukraine for that matter. If President Obama was serious about that he’d file charges against John McCain for criminal activity, get him behind bars, cut off the US funding for ISIS - the weapons, the training, this is a sophisticated operation. You don’t get a bunch of people, bunch of Bedouins running around the desert on camels who are doing some of these sophisticated things that ISIS has been credited with. So Obama is lying, excuse me for being blunt about it, but the President is lying to the world about ISIS.
 

RT: What measures is he trying to take to prevent this from happening again?
 

WE: Well I have yet to find any. I think as I wrote in a book, it’s about to be published soon, on the relation between US intelligence or Western intelligence, but especially the CIA and radical jihad around the world, whether it be the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or organizations like al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in Chechnya and elsewhere. The US intelligence is up to their eye-balls in dirty business using radical jihad as a cover for regime change or destabilization.
 

RT: Obama showed support for what he called Ukrainian democracy. But Kiev has broken an international agreement by re-starting a military offensive on Donetsk. Why wasn't this mentioned?
 

WE: Well, because Obama and the US State Department has a one-sided agenda: they put a group of criminals of all regards, billionaires, thugs, neo-Nazis whatever name you want to give them, in a coup d’├ętat, undemocratic, unconstitutional, illegal by norms of international law in February 2014 in order to provoke Putin’s Russia to make a mistake and militarily intervene and start a new Cold War. The military industry behind Washington is desperate to hold their grip on power worldwide. The elites that elect or finance presidential elections I should say in America are getting increasingly desperate. They see the world slipping out of their fingers.
 

“The new world order,” David Rockefeller used to talk about is becoming a new world disorder for them. I think this is the real agenda in Ukraine. Although, one thing I must say Obama said that Putin and Russia are isolated. I was in Russia at the beginning of the year and I didn’t see people look at all isolated and I haven’t seen any indication. Russia has made strategic agreements on energy with China since the US sanctions kicked in. They made strategic agreements with India, with Brazil. They are all over the globe building architecture of what I think could be a very positive new development to replace a collapsing dollar system that really needs to be brought under control for the good of Americans and for the good of the world.
 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

When your friends are really your enemies

The suing of Roy Ngerng and the letter to Huffington Post were two incidents that I could not believe that they happened that way. I know that Hsien Loong and Chan Chun Sing would be very angry if I were to say that they were politically unsound or stupid things to do. Both must know that they are national leaders and would have to go to the people for votes to endorse them in the next GE. Why would they do such darn things that would cost them dearly in votes and putting themselves in the limelight under public scrutiny?

In the case of suing Roy, it should not have happened in the first place. And when it did happen, there was a golden opportunity to unwind and step away from the fiasco. When the court found Roy guilty of defamation, Hsien Loong has won and his reputation was reinstated. And Roy also apologised. It would have done Hsien Loong so much good, gained credits and raised his stature as a national leader if he would to call Roy to the Istana for tea. He could even waive the damages or accept a token to make a point, and close the case.

Why did Hsien Loong insist on pursuing further and allowed the case to explode, and now it is heading straight into the gutters? How many wise men and women must have had their input in this case, discussed and shared their views. There must be opposing views with some asking Hsien Loong to let go and some egging him to push it to the limits. I think his ‘friends’ with inverted commas won the argument and Hsien Loong would now have to face the consequences.

What have Hsien Loong gained in this? The victory in the courts, even unbearable damages to be paid, would all be hollow as the price for this victory would probably cost Hsien Loong and the PAP a lot of votes. No one knows how bad this would be until the result of the GE is announced. This would be a hot topic in the GE or in private discussions. As the saying goes, you don’t need enemies if you have ‘friends’ who are leading you to the slaughter.

As for the letter to Huffington Post, writing to the Post for publishing articles by Dr Chee is simply amateurish without adding more adjectives. What did they think they could achieve? Huffington Post to stop publishing Dr Chee’s articles? Is there any reasonable man who believed this would be the outcome? Or would Huffington Post turn around and show the middle finger? It is just unbelieveable.

My guess, the ‘friends’, the ‘good friends’, must all be egging him to do it and making him look anything but funny. I am being very polite. Only ‘friends’ could get such an idea going with the ‘victim’ still believing that their advice was good and sound, and it was the right thing to do. What was the result? Who gained and who lost more?

And of course the text of the letter. The ‘friends’ must have all ‘kee chiu’ or showed thumbs up, that it was a brilliantly written letter. How could anyone believe that was a brilliant letter? I have stronger words and funny words to describe the letter but best not to put in print.

Beware of your ‘friends’, especially those with good intentions.

Han Fook Kwang tantalising tales of dark secrets

Last Saturday Han Fook Kwang wrote a story of a small town called Omelas and the dark secret in the basement. A poor child was locked in there, living in abject misery. Everyone in the town knew of this shameful secret. Some pretended that it was not there, some could not live with the ugly truth and left town. No one in the town of Omelas talked about the dark secret in the basement, but everyone was talking about it without saying anything. The dark secret was no secret. It was common knowledge. Who was there to tell?

Han Fook Kwang made it more direct by talking about Singapore and its dark secrets in the basement. He told, all three of them, but nothing nearer the truth. He said so much, in a whole article but said nothing. This is nothing different from the Gang of Four saga in China when the comrades would shout ‘Gang of Four’ but showed a high 5, all 5 fingers wide open.

Perhaps this is the closest that the dark secrets in the basement could be told. Perhaps this is a good way of acknowledging that there are dark secrets in the basement, better than denying their existence. Perhaps when asked, all the wise ones, rich ones, successful ones, and the losers, would say yes, yes, there is no dark secrets in our basement, but keep shaking their heads from left to right.

Singaporeans are so intelligent, from the top to the bottom, to skirt around the secrets in the basement and live life as normal as they could, and live life to the fullest or to the darnest, without spilling the beans. Some left and become quitters to be replaced by new quitters that would eventually come to know of the dark secrets, but be very Singaporeans, knowing and not knowing. Bipolar is a good sickness to have, just like dementia, and not knowing or talking about the dark secrets is a blessing and a formula for success and living well.

I too did not know that there are dark secrets until this story of Omelas. Is Omelas supposed to be a code for something that we are supposed to know? Does it stand for One Man, One Mentor, or Old Man’s everlasting something, something, something? Or should it be written backwards like Salemo? Can anyone break the code or write another book about The Omelas or Salemo Code?

1/26/2015

Finance industry – of ethics and trust

I once wrote to a CEO of a bank when he spoke about ethics and trust in the industry. He didn’t like what I told him. He was embarrassed. But he did put something right after my tea session with him.

Timothy Massad, Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Ravi Menon, MD of MAS, spoke in the same seminar attended by the Who’s Who of the Singapore finance industry. The main points both spoke off are ethics and trust in the finance industry. The very same issues that the CEO I spoke to was lamenting about. I am feeling funny when people in a position to do things right and in their watches could be talking about the flaws of the system as if they are helpless about them. What are they going to do about it is my question. The problem in many cases is that they know even know why. When they know what is the cause or source of the problem, then half of the problems is already solved. What a great puzzle for someone saying he knew the problem but cannot solve it or did not know how to solve it or not doing anything about it.

These are what Ravi Menon said, ‘there are deeper issues of trust, ethics and culture in the financial industry that have to be confronted,…Finance is at risk of becoming more “de personalised”, as long term relationships with customers are replaced by transcient transactions with “counterparts”…departures from ethicalconduct are too easily tolerated as the norm….’ Menon said a lot more and concluded by saying ‘Reform of the financial industry will not be complete until this issue of trust and ethics is addressed,…Without sound ethics, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no confidence. And without confidence, there can be neither growth nor stability.’

Timothy Massad was smarter. He put the blame on the Asian countries for allowing the allowing the financial industry to sink to the bottom. It was not the Americans or the western govts’ fault. The Asians govts must build a strong regulatory framework for derivatives, must agree on a set of reforms to regulate derivatives. He totally forgot about the American quest for deregulations to allow the financial thugs to do as they pleased that led to the global meltdown. But regulations are a big farce when the rot is in the core, in the system. Derivatives are fraudulent financial instruments that are waiting to blow up in the faces of the regulators and the govts. The govts and regulators cannot allow people to simply write money out of nothing, and derivatives are just that, selling pieces of papers as ‘promissory notes’ or gambling chits. There is no point in having all the regulations when the thugs are allowed to write their own rules and how the games are to be played.

Look at the system of the stock markets and how HFT, algos and computers are allowed to operate in the system with unfair advantage over the innocent investors. Can they see anything wrong with them? Or are they turning a blind eye to the crooks and allowed them to do as they pleased, with no regulations but trying to throw the books at the innocent investors and small time speculators? Why no one is seeing the elephant in the class room? They are not duds or idiots for sure.

China is offering Shanghai Exchange as an alternative to the flawed and heavily manipulated American and western modelled stock markets. No HFT and algos to take advantage of the super computers to manipulate the system to rip off innocent investors. The Chinese regulators have been studying the American model and have seen all the faults and would not want to join the farce. The Western players are forcing HongKong to adopt the so called ‘international standards and flawed western model’ to allow them to manipulate the market at will, with no regulations or regulations to their advantage. China would not allow HKSE to go the NYSE or Singapore way.

What is going on? Does anyone know what is going on? Perhaps they knew but looking the other way, pretending that everything is fine. The truth is in the sorry state of the stock market, an industry that is dying. What further proof is needed? Waiting for mortis rigour?

What ethics and trust are they talking about? Everyone is clapping and saying the stock market is doing fine, doing very well, exceptionally well, as planned. Really? When are they going to remove the blinkers?

Pity the Man in the Sandwich

While the young men all over the world are striking out to make a career, to make their pot of gold, our young men are struggling and beating around the bush and straggling in the river, preparing for a role that would see them putting their lives on the stake for the sake of country. And better still, foreigners, plus young men of their peers, were brought in to do the jobs they were supposed to do and eventually become their bosses to order them around in the country they have pledged and trained to die for.

Next change, a new law is being passed to add a new burden to these Men in the Sandwich. Our young men are expected to get married and bring up a family. He is expected to bring up his children to the best he could to be the nuts and bolts of our economy. Now he has to pay for their medical insurance from birth. Gone were the days when a civil servant or a soldier would have the medical needs of his family paid for by the govt and the services. Now the Man in the Sandwich would have to carry the full burden of bringing up his children for the country, to be NS men to keep the machine turning, and to pay for their medical fees to be healthy and alive, from birth.

Another burden, who do you think would be paying for the seniors, the Silver Brigade’s Medishield Life Premiums when they have no income? No prizes for the correct answer. The Man in the Sandwich will have to pay for them or they would be sent to jailrock. How could they not be paying for them when no one else will? Looking from the positive angle, this Man in the Sandwich is likely to be a magician and can pull a lot of money from his hat whenever he needs it. Have faith in the Man in the Sandwich to pay for everything.

In SG50, let’s celebrate this Man in the Sandwich. And if he is unlucky, he would lose his job to foreigners before he is 50 and expecting his children to pay for his Medishield Life Premiums in some cases. And many could look for a very long and rewarding career of plenty as security guards and taxi drivers. The latter is protected by legislation for them, a privilege exclusive for citizens.

1/25/2015

Trading generals

Many must have heard to the Israelis offering their generals in exchange for American general when the Americans were all speaking in awe of the feats of the Israelis. And the Israelis were most happy to swap until they disclosed who they wanted for the exchange.

Maybe we can swap of our generals with the Americans. Ours are young and strong with many more good years to go, and highly talented, all scholars, very bright and brilliant. When they walk around the spectators need to wear sunglasses. The only thing the Americans may object would be their pay. They would not be able to afford to pay for your generals. And they will go bankrupt if we offer them 2 for 1 in exchange.

And all we are asking for would be the same generals that the Israelis were asking then, General Motors, General Electrics and General Dynamics. I think it would be a good deal even if we offer them 3 for 1 of theirs. We are producing generals like mass production in a factory. But these 3 American generals are difficult to duplicate.

Just a rehash of an old joke for a Sunday morning. There is something that we can do with so many generals in our armed forces. They should be put to good use. Trading generals is a good thing if it can be done. If not, in the next General Election it will really become a general election, we may be electing more generals into politics. And Annual General Meetings will be the meetings of generals. And the general public will be a public of generals too, generally speaking.

When one is in power, everything is right




When one is in power, everything one said is right, everything one do is right, every reason or excuse is the right reason and right excuse. Often people in power are so intoxicated in their self delusion that they would not want to believe that they can lose power the next day and everything they said, do, and every reason or excuse, will become wrong, not only wrong, but illegal or criminal.

We have seen this repeated over and over again in history when a dictator, or even in so called veneer thin democracy, the despots would be charged and thrown into jail once they lost power. And their henchmen and cronies too will end up in the same fate.

When one is in power, do not get carried away and think that you would not be caught. When your luck runs out, the table will be turned and it would be too late to cry. For those who think they can bulldoze their way through, amend constitutions and laws to their benefit or against the people, pray very hard that you don’t have to face the wrong side of the law. You cannot run and cannot hide. Whatever you do today will be the evidence to hang you high and dry when your turn comes.

It is always good to leave a way out for yourself. Always remember that in a democracy, govt changes like changing diapers. Maybe a dynasty or monarchy would last longer. But they too failed and the last emperor and his families did not end well. History has changed and social structures too, and governing of a country as well. No one can call the shot for a life time. Very few has that good fortune to enjoy that rare privilege. Live well and do not trample on the downtrodden. Do not piss on the ashes. It would be lucky if a phoenix rises from the ashes. If it is not a phoenix but a vindictive monster, things can take a very bad turn.

Do not abuse the new social contract and be grateful to those below, look after them well and be well rewarded. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Yes, you are always right, with a sword in your hand.

Singapore Public Transport Operators Breach Social Contract



In Breach of Social Contract in Public Transport

Some years back in 1996, it was clearly stated in no uncertain terms that “a kind of social contract (exists) among the Government, the people, and the transport service providers on the kind of land transport system we want”. 

It is another fine example of Tripartism as the organizing basis for Singapore society by nurturing and promoting the partnership between the government, people and private enterprises through dialogue and mutual understanding for long term beneficial benefits.

This sacred Social Contract in Public Transport emphasises a strict sense of social responsibility and social conscience in that “it will NOT leave it entirely to market forces to determine the market structure and fares. Instead, it demanded public transport operators (PTO) to embark on long-term strategic planning, fiscal prudence, and the efficient allocation of resources through market forces.  In essence, competitive market forces shall be leveraged wherever possible to impel and drive PTO to operate in a socially responsible manner by being efficient, productive, improving services continuously and provide value to the commuters (people). 

In return for PTO’s corporate social responsibility in managing public transport, the government (representing the people) would continue to develop and invest in the train and public bus infrastructure, as it does in roads and public works for other road users.  

PTOs as private enterprises are expected to manage the MRT and public buses efficiently and “profitably” insofar as to enable revenue to  recover the use of operating assets while maintaining a socially acceptable level of quality services.  At the same time, they (particularly, for MRT operators) have to set aside and accumulate sufficient reserves, like any prudent management, to replace operating assets fully. 

An examination of recent SMRT Annual Reports reveals that it has grossly inadequate provision in its Reserves for the replacement of operating assets.  Its first set of operating assets is supposed to be replaced in 2017 at a estimated cost of $6.9 billion, and SMRT’s share is to be $1.6 billion with the government paying the rest.  SMRT Reserves has set aside more money for the issue of employees share options and performance shares for Management than for the crucial replacement of MRT operating assets for the continuous benefits and enjoyment of MRT commuters.

Clearly the SMRT, like other PTOs, has no sustainable policy on MRT and public bus assets development. These profit-seeking private companies expect the government ie the people to continue pumping public funds into THEIR operating assets!

In 2013, the government announced that it would inject an awesome S$1.1 billion to help the PTOs purchase 800 brand new buses PLUS helping them finance the operating costs of these buses for the next 10 years. This is in addition to the government’s unceasing efforts in expanding hundreds of kilometer of MRT tracks and builds the associated infrastructure for more MRT stations.

Interestingly, one should note that in 2011, SBS Transit made $36.7 million overall, when included revenues from its other businesses (e.g rail and advertising) but it announced an operating loss of $6 million on its bus business.  Similarly, SMRT made $119.9 million in FY2012, even though its bus operations incurred an operating loss of $11.6 million.

The SMRT is also expected to increase revenues from its new Kallang Wave Mall, 70% owned with NTUC Fairprice, with over 41,000 sqm of retail space. It has already reaped bumper profits from train operations in 2014 as well as from the leasing of approximately 34,000 sqm of commercial space along its rail network, together with 700 shop spaces, 80 event spaces and 16 push carts.

And with fuel costs sharply down and huge bumper profits, both SBS and SMRT apply for fare hikes citing rising costs and lower profits.  Quite unbelievably, it has been announced that public transport fares will increase 2.8% by April 2015.

Affordability, a key Principle of the Social Contract, is defined as “fares had to be realistic and revised periodically to adjust for justifiable cost increases”.  This is breached in the light of the latest arbitrary, non-transparent and unreasonable public transport fare hike.

Non-Affordability is evident from the fact that government has to use S$7.5million of public funds to subsidise the latest fare increase in order to mitigate its impact on more than 1.1 million commuters.  This is tantamount to subsidising the profits of highly profitable private PTO companies.
 
In fact, the Social Contract in Public Transport has been eroding over the years as the temptation for profits in PTOs precedes their duty of social responsibility. The obsession with profits without social conscience means a “race to the bottom” in terms of public service quality. Without operating assets development and timely replacement, the current MRT and public bus systems are plagued by overcrowding, delays, breakdowns and other manifestations of poor service. Without investing in operating assets, which is another breach of the Social Contract which demands a “Longer Term View”, any amount of fare increases for better revenue is counter-productive for service quality.

Singapore Public Transport Operators Breach Social Contract
In Breach of Social Contract in Public Transport

We need to have a new Social Contract in Public Transport with more socially responsible National PTOs beyond the current types and model of private obsessive profit-seeker types of companies. We need Public Transport Social Enterprises that have embedded social responsibility values into its leadership and management. 

 

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