Outsourced to overseas operators to hire Singaporeans

Outsourcing of services to cheaper 3rd world countries for less important services have been going on for several decades and the business of outsourcing is still doing well as the business competitiveness keeps going lower and lower down the value chain, from a cheap country to another cheaper country. To the business that outsourced its services, it is all about keeping cost down. Nothing else matter especially in the banking and IT industries where sensitive data and critical operations can be compromised, sabotaged or important data stolen. No, these are not important as long as there is cost savings.

Not all oursourcing services goes to cheaper countries. Some outsourcing went to developed countries like Australia, New Zealand and now UK is also in the picture. I was told by someone who was fuming mad that he lost a bid for a very big job to an Australian agency. But this was not his sore point. The pain came when the Australian company contacted him to be the subcontractor as the Australian companies did not have the expertise or his expertise was cheaper. What it meant was that the Australian agency ended up as the main contractor and getting the first and biggest cut of the pie. He ended up doing the donkey work as the subcontractor with a few pieces of crumbs.  Singapore job given to foreign companies to make the money and Singaporeans still ended up doing the job for less!

This kind of outsourcing is not exploiting the cheap labour of foreigners but on Singaporeans. And the foreigners get the most profit.

There is now a hybrid model of outsourcing. This is outsourcing to a 3rd world country, presumingly cheaper, only for the 3rd world agent to hire cheaper locals to do the job here. This model just surfaced in the LTA officer beating up a Uber taxi driver case. LTA outsourced its parking and traffic control services to a foreign company called Ramky Cleantech Services. I found this out from a post in TRE. And this foreign company then hired Singaporeans and locals to do the jobs here. I am not sure if the fighter LTA officer now arrested is a local or a Singaporean.

Anyway, this is the new model of outsourcing services. What is the advantage of such a costing saving arrangement? If the foreign company is hiring locals or Singaporeans and pay them cheaply, how cheap could they pay them and how much would be the savings? From this beating incident, the LTA officer must not be paid much as he was not interested in his job. I think the most savings must come from top management staff. If this company is operating in a 3rd world country, and their management staff are located in the 3rd world country, they can’t be expected to be paid in the millions like in Sin City. There must be a lot of savings from not paying their management staff in S$ and in the millions. I think this makes sense.

I am not sure how many different models of outsourcing could there be. I know one model would not happen. This model would be setting up a Singaporean company overseas, hired Singaporeans in top management and pay them millions to hire workers in 3rd world countries. The savings cannot be much even if the rental is cheaper. The Singaporeans would demand for more for hardship pay, living in a 3rd world country and suffering the inconvenience of living.

What do you think?

The two most feared political developments in East Asia

I am looking at this from the perspective of the Americans and the Japanese and their interests in the region. There are two developments that would not only make them crazy but turn purple. And they are doing everything possible to make sure that these two events must not happen. There is a third event that is even more fearsome than these two. I shall discuss about that in an article by itself.


What are these two events that the Americans and the Japanese feared most? It is reunification, the reunification of the two Koreans and the two Chinas. When the two Koreans reunite as one people and one country, the American bases in South Korea would have to close shop. There is no need for another Vietnam War or Korean War and it would send the Americans packing. There will be no more opportunities to keep inciting the North Koreans, to provoke them and called them aggressive or part of the Axis of Evil. There will be no opportunities to conduct war games in the seas around Korea. There will be no reasons to force the South Koreans to pay for American protection, to pay for American military hardware. There will be no reason for the South Koreans to put their armed forces under the control of an American general. There will be no opportunities to create false flag incidents to pit the two Koreans to kill each other. And South Korea will become a full fledge independent state, reunited with North Korea in a new, bigger, economically and militarily more powerful Korea.


A new united Korea will be as big as Japan, with equivalent arms to boot and with nuclear weapons. Japan would not be able to play the South Koreans to hate the North Koreans, to perpetuate a divided Korea that would be no threat to Japan. Japan will have to deal with the Koreans as equals, and cannot think of ruling them all over again, and no more wild ambitions on Korean islands and territories.


The first victim of a reunited Korea will be Japan. The Americans will raise their hype of a dangerous Korea to Japan’s security and would insist on having more military bases in Japan to protect Japan. Japan would have to cede more land to the Americans, to pay for American protection and be a confirmed colony of the Americans. After losing their bases in the Korean Peninsula, the Americans have no choice but to turn Japan into its front line of defence against a perceived threat from Korea and China.


And what would happen if China and Taiwan would also reunite at the same time? Both the Americans and Japanese would go bonkers. They could no longer provoke and incite the Taiwanese to irritate the Chinese. They could not play the two Chinese states against one another. There will be peace and unity in the East Asia continent. Japan and its colonial master would find themselves surrounded by China, Korea and Russia. They will be isolated if necessary by the three countries.


When this day comes, there is a great likelihood that Japan too would make peace with Korea, China and Russia and ask the Americans, please go back to America. There is peace in East Asia and there is no need for an American presence in the East China Sea.


For the time being, Japan and the USA will be putting in extra effort to ensure that Taiwan will keep having its independence dream covertly supported by the Americans to be a constant pain and irritation to China. Likewise both Japan and the USA would never allow the South Koreans to reunite with North Korea and would continuously raise the threat of an aggressive and mad North Korea waiting to invade the South and kill the South Koreans.


Lawlessness in Singapore

A LTA officer was seen beating up an old Uber taxi driver in full uniform. This was caught on video and is being circulated around like wild fire.  What is happening to Singapore when a govt official thought he could go around beating a citizen? When criminal intimidation without hurting another person is a serious offence, now you had an officer beating a citizen as if he was the law, acting like he was above the law.

While beating up the old man, all the LTA officer was concerned with was that he would not mind losing his job. He probably knew that that was the worse he could get. He would not be arrested or charge in court for a crime, for beating an old man while on duty. Just like Jover Chew of Sim Lim fame, he knew the law and nothing would happen to him.

What would the ministers be saying? Vile, or good, acting beyond the call of duty? What would the police say? Got offence or no offence? Or shall the old Uber driver get a lawyer to sue the LTA officer or sue LTA, settle it in the court, no crime was committed. The old man did not seem to be badly hurt, just a lot of blood on his face, loosen tooth, so not serious, not a seizable offence.  Why is this LTA man not arrested? He was just relieved of his duty pending investigation.

The streets of Singapore used to be very safe, at least save from thugs and hoodlums. Now who is making the streets of Singapore unsafe?

Watching the video is so scary. As an old uncle myself, I must stay away from such uniform officers to be safe. Better don’t argue with them. When they say move, quickly move and say sorry for causing any inconvenience to them.

This is what my Singapore is turning into. It is safer to stay indoors with my computer.

School bus operators to raise fees next year

I thought I heard it over the news that school bus operators will raise their fees next year by 10% to 20%.  Just wonder what would be the reasons for the hike when petrol prices have gone down so much. Can it be rental, wages or COEs that are forcing them to hike the fees? Or are they paying their top management millions and needed the parents to pay for their high pay?

It was also reported that an operator serving a primary school in Jurong would be raising fees by 100% or more. And the reason, they lost some contracts and therefore must make up for the loss of revenue. Also the bus operator needs to make more trips for students attending ECAs.

It was also reported that the School Bus Association will be talking to this school bus operator. Maybe raising by 100% is too much. How about 90% or 80%? What about the reasons, losing other contracts can pass the cost to the parents?

My neighbourhood chicken rice stall closed down another stall in another food court. So now he is raising his chicken rice from $3 a plate to $5 to make up. This is an easy way to run a business.

Uniquely Singapore!

PS. Can the school terminate such unreasonable bus operator and engage another operator? I think cannot. I don’t think it even occur to them that they can do so.


Another Bloomberg China bashing article in the Today paper

I am just curious, why would a main media be so happy to publish stupid articles that are outright dismissive, mischievous and unfriendly to another sovereign state, and repeatedly doing so? What would such media seek to gain or what is the agenda of the media? Just a few day’s back I posted an article by a Singapore teacher lamenting that our young have been fed with an Anglophone diet and are looking at the world unconsciously through the western perspective.

There is an article in the Today paper by Bloomberg on 27 Nov with the title ‘China’s leaders lay foundation of new Silk Road’. It also presented boxes to show the mind boggling figures of 60 countries involved in 900 massive projects with an estimated value of $1.25 trillion. With so many countries willing to participate in this One Belt One Road project by China, would it be a good thing or bad thing? If bad, why would the leaders of 60 countries be interested in these projects and to spend the money and resources on them?

Of course it must be bad, according to the Bloomberg article. And the words used were most crude and inappropriate for a supposedly serious article. The fact that 60 countries saw great benefits in the OBOR is not material. The fact that China is willing to pour in ‘gush of money’ in risky and not well governed countries with ‘poorly conceived plans’ is immaterial. What is material to the author of the article is that it is bad, bad that China is throwing money to build the infrastructure, bad that these countries would now be closely binded to China, bad that China would be building better relations with these countries and having more influence on these countries.  It is also bad that it is in China’s interest to cut its transportation cost by building land roads and no longer needs to depend on the costly sea lanes for access to goods, raw material and markets.  The countries involved also have nothing to gain. Their leaders are stupid to be involved in the projects, and some will have to pay for them with their natural resources.

And worse, let me quote a Scott Kennedy, a director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, ‘Any time the Chinese dangle yuan in the face of foreign officials, they kind of swoon.’ The Americans would never swoon in the face of money? It must be. And it is so bad that ‘All along the Silk Road they have opened their hearts to the Chinese.’ Really bad! They should be opening their hearts to the Americans by buying more American weapons for war.

What else is new?  The questions to ask, what would the leaders of these countries do with their natural resources, sleep on them? Who is there to buy them if not the Chinese, the Americans? And would it be good if the Chinese could also bring in their technology to build the infrastructures they needed to trade with the world?  Or should they be signing military alliances with the Americans, to allow the Americans to station troops in their countries to protect them in exchange for their natural resources and to compromise their independence?

These are poor countries, lack of technology and know how, lack of financing, and yes, the countries are not well organized or well run. Who would be willing to pour money into them and risk losing their investments? The Americans, with no strings attached?

What are the risks China is taking for pouring money and investments into these countries?  According to the report, ‘With many projects destined for economically weak countries with dubious governance, China’s money could get lost to corruption or be wasted in poorly conceived plans, … Nor is there guarantee that China’s cash will win it camaraderie….China’s infrastructure bonanza also presents dangers to its own economy.’

With all the negatives, would it be better for China and these countries not to be part of the infrastructure development? The countries can continue to keep their natural resources forever and China need not bother throwing money at them?
Or would it be better that, according to Derek Scissors, an AEI scholar, “The Chinese are going to work very hard – throw money at any and all problems – to make sure prized ‘belt and road’ projects all work out….That could turn China’s grand Silk Road dreams into an even grander disappointment.”

Now what is so bad when China is the only loser, throwing money at poor and badly governed countries, helped them to develop, to build their infrastructure and losing money and influence and friendship? And what is so bad to these countries that are going to get everything at the expense of the Chinese with the Chinese working extremely hard for them? The Chinese must be real stupid, only know how to make money in the trillions and only know how to throw them away to these poorly governed countries that the Americans are not interested in, in the mind of the Bloomberg author.

Greed is the slippery road to ignominy

Can Singapore continue to flourish as it goes down the slippery road of greed? The Americans could do it, paying their CEOs and top management hundreds of millions and still sustainable, but for how long? There are some factors that allowed the Americans to bathe themselves with money, the greenback as the international currency and the money printing machine and the fraudulent financial market and industry that are trading junk bonds and worthless derivatives. But all the signs are there that the end is near.

Singapore is a tiny little red dot. Can Singapore survive by paying its top people millions of dollars for being unproductive? Think how costly it is to support a bunch of unproductive people at the top, the board of directors, the CEOs and the top management? How productive are these people, what is their contribution to the revenue and bottom line?

On top of this multi million dollar payout, there are the very high cost of land and transportation. Added together, how many businesses can survive, be they private or public, public private or private public? When the cost to keep the top management happy is so high, where is the money coming from? There is no free lunch, someone must pay.

In order to keep paying, either cost must be cut or revenue must go up. In the finance industry, just look at what they are doing to make money? All the rules of good governance, of ethics and morality, of transparency and accountability have been broken. They even break their own rules and regulations on good practices. Selling snake oils, selling toxic products, selling fake notes, selling gambling chits, cheating, frauds, lack of transparency, allowing computers to trade against the masses, whatever that is not permissible by the law, are all acceptable and marketable.

We are not like the Americans with a lot of cushion to absorb all the indulgence and extravagance, before the American economy collapses, our economy will go down first. A house of cards cannot withstand the gust of wind. One big huff and all will be blown away. How could so few feed so many at the top with so many millions for doing so little? They are desperate and are resorting to foul tactics and practices to find the money to pay themselves, gambling, cheatings, deceits, frauds, crimes etc etc.

Sustainable? You tell me.


Killing Chinese abroad is fair game

The attacks on Chinese nationals overseas, the killing of one Chinese by ISIS, and three died by a terrorist attack in Mali have put China in a quandary. China has been projecting itself as the next superpower that would not abuse its power to bully other countries or to intervene in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. China would not want to be seen to be another USA or western powers, wielding a stick everywhere it goes. The world is asking what would Xi Jinping do with the recent killings of Chinese nationals by terrorist groups.

Australian National Security College expert was quoted by AP as saying, ‘For China, intervention would be a real game changer…Frankly, I think Xi is in a very difficult position here.’ China has been shunning getting involved in international squabbles when the use of force is necessary. According to Professor David Shambaugh of George Washington University, Chinese diplomacy is ‘hesistant, risk averse and narrowly self interested’ to the point that it is causing the West to lose their patience when China refused to join the gunslingers firing from the hips. This avoidance in getting involved in the use of force in the international arena is seen as ‘aloofness’ by Clarke and I quote, ‘If China remains aloof, questions will continue as to whether China is in fact, ready to play a global role.’

To play a global role, the West is expecting China to participate more aggressively, to be ready to use force when necessary. With the Chinese nationals increasingly showing their presence all over the globe as tourists or doing business, the risk of them being killed will grow and the demand for China to take action will also increased. The China of today has the capability to intervene when its nationals are at risk abroad.

Historically China had been inactive when Chinese nationals were massacred all over the world, particularly in South East Asia. It was then weak and unable to do much. The Chinese diaspora is also part of the Chinese civilization and when they are facing threats of genocide and ethnic cleansing, China would face further pressure to act.  When would China pick up the glove and stand up for its nationals and the Chinese diaspora abroad, to act and behave as a responsible global power?

There is no running away from such troubles and sooner or later China would have to take a new course in its non involved diplomacy. A super power must act like a super power, and to protect its citizens and its assets everywhere when called upon to do so.

Can Singapore rely on Self Check to protect the rights of its citizens?

‘Detention of match fixing kingpin ‘unlawful’’ This is the headline in the media on 26 Nov. The release of Dan Tan after being detained for 24 months without trial under the Criminal Law(Temporary Provisions) Act(CL/TPA) has very serious implications to the enforcement of law and order in the city state and question the rationale of ‘Self Check’ as the best check on the system. The Court of Appeal headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Appeal Judges Chao Hick tin and Andrew Phang Boon Leong ruled that Dan Tan’s detention under the CL/TPA was unlawful.  This means that the Law Minister that invoked this law was wrong and a citizen was detained unlawfully for two years.  The first thought coming to mind, can Dan Tan seek redress and compensation against the Minister or the govt?

Dan Tan’s detention was debated in Parliament, a kind of self check in the system to ensure that the law is enforced fairly and equitably and lawfully. And for it to go to Parliament, many legal minds and experts in MOH must have gone through the law with due diligence and found it right and lawful to detain Dan Tan. And Parliament, a few questions, allowed it to pass.

If this Dan Tan did not have the money and the able lawyers to defend him, he would still be locked up without trial, on the ground of threatening public safety, peace and order in Singapore. The CL/TPA was to protect the country against hard core criminals from harming the people and law and order. What did Dan Tan do to be feared like hard core criminals? He was a bookie, a big time international bookie fixing football matches. And that was seen by the people in authority as very dangerous and threatening public safety, peace and order in Singapore. And the Minister thought so, his ministry thought so and Parliament, the whole lot of MPs and ministers also thought so.

Now the Court of Appeal said NO!. It is unlawful. And some people are worried that this decision will compromise peace, good order of Singapore. This means that this loosely written law can be subjected to all kinds of interpretation depending on the person’s psychological make up, his values and beliefs and wha the person thinks is a danger to peace and good order, and a bookie or gambler is also that dangerous.  What is astounding is that so many brilliant, clever, super talented people, MPs elected by the people to sit in Parliament, in this case, were all wrong and read the law wrongly. Is it frightening? And more frightening, they are afraid that because they were ruled to be wrong, it will compromise good order and peace, or that their decision should be upheld for good order and peace.

What about self check? Is this about self check? Is the system, the courts doing a self check on the system? Some would say yes, some would say not really. Some would now be questioning, how credible and reliable were those people that were given the trust and authority to apply the law and did it so badly resulting in a man being detained without trial for 2 years.

And so many people, clever people, thought the law was right and they were right to use the law on Dan Tan. Thank God, there is self check in the courts of law and there is wisdom to apply and uphold the law lawfully.

On hindsight, many wise men have also wisen up to say how could Dan Tan fall into the category of dangerous criminals that would affect public safety, peace and good order of Singapore? Would the Law Minister and MOH make an appeal against this judgement from the Court of Appeal and to rule that what they did to Dan Tan was lawful?

Would anyone be held accountable for applying the law so wrong?


Selling national icons

The Great Singapore Sale is on, but this one will take a longer time span as it involves real big ticket items. The PWD or Public Works Division was sold, power stations were sold, Robinson sold, Tiger Beer/F&N sold and the latest item under the hammer is iconic NOL, the national carrier of international fame and of big losses.

Richard Hartung, a foreign talent, wrote in the Today paper today asking ‘Why Spore should not sell off its iconic firms’. The reasons are obvious, there are things that are more valuable than just in monetary terms and should not be put up for sale using profit and loss rationale. There are national psychic involved, national pride, culture, aspiration and identity. What would Singapore be if they sell away DBS, SIA, the Istana, PSA, SMRT, SBS, HDB, the National Museum, National Arts Gallery, the universities like NUS, NTU etc etc? What the heck spending on foreigners to buy gold medals in sports for?

Richard Hartung also talked about the loss of core skills if a national shipping line would go and how it would affect the business of PSA. Would the new owner bypass PSA and make Malaysian ports their ports of call and head office? What about the core skills of shipping talents? Not important? Yes, not important. We already have lost our core skills in banking and finance and IT and would need 30 years to train our next generation of bankers, finance and IT experts if the govt is serious to pursue this line of thinking and not just paying lip services.

We even compromised our Total Defense Concept by bringing in foreigners in the millions and given important appointments in govt services and GLCs to foreigners called new citizens and some not even new citizens. We are at the verge of cleaning out our local academics in the academia by replacing them with foreigners. Would we be losing any core skills and talents?

And the NOL and SIA do not just play a commercial role for profit and loss. In times of war, they have supporting role to play for our military services as well. Are we really going all out on this Great Singapore Sale just counting dollars and cents? Are there other more important considerations to think about, strategic interests, the big picture, a nation versus a hotel?

All the kpkb in the social media will be of no use. Maybe what this Richard Hartung said may ring a bell, because he is a foreigner and foreigners are the smarter people in this Sin City. And in this case this foreigner also thinks this Great Singapore Sale of iconic assets is not a good idea.

What do you think?

Bomb threat protocol on SQ001

SQ001 arrived from San Francisco on Sunday with 267 passengers on board. The media reported that it was the target of a bomb threat and was held at the tarmac for more than an hour with all its passengers on board. It was a great relief that it was found to be a hoax and all the passengers were safe.

The incident is receiving a lot of brickbats from netizens saying that the protocol was flawed. Should it not be top priority to get the passengers out of the aircraft as the first instance when the aircraft landed instead of holding them inside the aircraft that is the subject of a bomb threat? It sounds very logical. And the procedure of keeping the passengers inside the aircraft looked so silly to many observers and commentators.

Maybe there are other reasons or information that the public did not know. What is the nature of the bomb threat? Normally it is like a bomb being planted in the plane. So getting the passengers out and away from the aircraft looks the most reasonable thing to do.

What would it be if the threat says do not open the door for doing so would trigger the bomb to go off? Ah, no one thought of this right? I think the security people are not that daft as the public thought them to be. Understand the nature of the threat first and then the measures taken would make sense. Some bombs are designed to  trigger off at certain heights, above or below or at certain speed like it will go off if the speed falls below say 300 knots.

Now what is this case all about? Who knows? Did the security people made a booboo by allowing the passengers to remain in a plane with a bomb threat or there is more than what we know?


The war in Syria going to blow up

The Turks down Russian SU24 fighter jet yesterday when both sides were supposed to be fighting the ISIS. Putin called this a stab in the back while the Turks are claiming that the Russian jet entered their territories.  Such silly behavior is very typical of some Asean countries, thinking they could pull the whiskers of a sleeping tiger. The Russians with Putin in charge would not let this event go unpunished. Turkey can expect a few bombs at their radar stations or airbases or a few F16s to be shot down by the Russians.

Turkey is behaving like little pesky countries thinking that with the US behind them they could go around shooting at anyone, including a nuclear power like Russia. There is no way they are going to get away with this silly act. The Russians are prepared to take on the Americas and Turkey is a push over.

This is a lesson that the Philippines and some Asean states must take note. Don’t try this silly trick on China. They will give them a blue black even if it risks the Americans joining the fray. There are things that silly pesky countries can do, there are things that they better not do.

The war in Syria will cross over to Turkey and the innocent people of Turkey will be the next war collateral. It is really baffling to think that leaders of a country could act in such a silly manner and think they could get away with it.

Well done Turkey, welcome to the war zone.

Tapping solar energy

Everyone is tapping solar energy. PUB is conducting a 9 month test to see its impact on the environment and reservoir. Solar panels need a lot of space and installing them means some space much go. Not a good way to use our limited space. We need more space for more foreigners to come in, 6.9m or 10m. So the reservoir with it wide expanse of water surface offers a perfect setting for solar panels. Really? Would it eat into the space of water activities?

Actually there is a lot of unused space that would not be put to use and when used for solar panels, no space will be wasted. In fact it is maximizing space that would be wasted anyway. Look at the new sound barrier panels SMRT are erecting on the side of tracks to cut down noise level. Why can’t they install solar panels instead, killing two birds with one stone? The panels could also act as sound barriers. And the long stretches of tracks can definitely take in a good number of panels without wasting any extra space.

If SMRT were to line all the tracks with solar panels, it may be able to turn it into another business, selling electricity with the surpluses or at least be self sufficient in energy consumption.

What do you think?

Enemy within

Today paper on 24 Nov published an article from Financial Times titled, ‘Enemy within is the biggest threat in cases of cybercrime’. It does not need a super talent not to see the truism in the title of the article. The article went on to say that most cyber attacks, more than 80%, was inside job, committed by people within an organization. However, many of the cases were simply deflected intentionally or otherwise to outside sources. Notably the massive attacks on US govt and commercial organizations were claimed to come from North Korea or China. What is the truth? The 81% statistics that such attacks were from within needs no further explanation.

How is this serious threat relevant to Singapore? Obvious isn’t it? With the IT industries dominated or even overtaken by foreigners, with many foreigners taking over important and financially or strategically sensitive institutions and corporations, would these people within be a threat to the interest of Singapore as a country?

The answer is a BIG NO. Singapore is very comfortable with foreigners, and foreign talents to take over our institutions and maybe even our countries. Just issue them a pink IC and they will not be foreigners anymore but Singaporeans. So simple.  Did anyone say so silly? We have complete faith and confidence that the foreigners coming here, given important appointments and CEOs, even sitting in Parliament, are all for Singapore and will not betray the trust the ever trusting Singaporeans took them in, hired them, to run our show. It is all about faith. We trust them and they would reciprocate our trust. Nothing to worry about. Do not be hysterical over such things. All is well.

Have no fear of foreigners doing inside jobs to compromise our security and interests. Singapore is an exceptional country in that every foreigner coming here will be good, like angels.

In the Today article, Tommy Helsby, the Chairman of business investigation firm Kroll said this, ‘Cybercrime is one of those things where the insider is the dominant threat…You have all these clever defences against people on the outside, but people on the inside are already on the inside.’

What nonsense, this kind of things would never be a problem in Singapore or in Singapore’s institutions. We are absolutely safe from inside attacks. We have many experts and security organizations overseeing our security from such attacks. If there is a risk, they would have opened their mouths. So far they are very comfortable with the situation.

And we have the strongest armed forces to guard against external attacks. We got Total Defense also. Where got problem? Insiders, 2 million foreigners here? So what? We need growth and they are here to help us grow our economy and provide jobs for our people, plus the talents that we are sorely in need of.

We have all the holes covered. Fear Not. Just build a strong defence force against enemies coming from outside. Buy more F35s to frighten them away.

PS. The enemy within did not wear a tag saying he is the enemy. He probably wears a smiling face full of innocence and a tag saying ‘I love you, trust me’.


Time for lighter moments

I quote some comments from a new citizen posted in the TRE trying very hard to be like a Singaporean. Here you are from a guy called Rayban.

‘I volunteer help PAP and got one yr I donate $250 only. I get invite go up stage hand shaking by MP Foo Mee Har. Below stage, people clap me so loud. I feel so hapy…I receive pretty MP hand shake me. Which better? You go answer.’

I must say he wasn’t trying to be funny. That is how he speaks or posted in TRE. A new citizen, a foreign talent. Please excuse him as English is not his first language, probably learn it from our integration programme.  Looks like he needs more integration than hand shaking.

The contrasting style of Modi and Deng Xiaoping

Narendra Modi is in Singapore on a 2 day official visit starting on 23 Nov. Globe trotting Modi has been awarded the Asian of the Year by the ST for having met the most leaders in his first year in office, his greatest achievement as a PM. By now he probably has met all the leaders of the world several times over and probably a Guinness Record is in order for this great feat.  Modi’s visits anywhere is always met by large crowds of the India diaspora and an air of great expectations with his eloquent speeches of great promises of India become the next superpower and an economic powerhouse.

Modi’s visit to Singapore is no different and a 100,000 diaspora is awaiting him at Chennai Business Park, oops, I mean Changi Business Park. He is like a rock star and will be received with all the pomp and pageantry of a rock star.

In contrast, Deng Xiaoping was like a hermit, a leader that hardly made any trip overseas. Deng also did not make spectacular speeches and though his visit to Singapore did not end up speaking to 100,000 Chinese diaspora, the media did give him a good coverage, but not in the scale of Modi. It was strictly business, he came, he saw and he noted.

In that strategic trip to Singapore, great ideas were formed in the minds of Deng. If Singapore could do it, China could do better. And in Singapore he saw a working model that could kick start a new China that he was opening up to the world. After his return from this rare trip out of China, he sent delegations after delegations of Chinese officials to study what Singapore did and took the blueprints home for more analyses. The rest is history.

From what he saw in Singapore, it gave him enough ideas and motivation on what he wanted to turn China into. The rest was true grit and execution. Not many people would want to acknowledge it, that a single trip out of China could have such a great impact on the redevelopment of China. To a good mind, it only takes a spark, to ignite a dream and turn it into a reality. That is the difference. Deng launched a powerful wave of reforms never seen in anywhere else for centuries.

Modi would still be travelling around the world to make eloquent speeches of great promises. Would this trip to Singapore ignite in him a spark to transform India into a modern nation like what China is today? Maybe Modi could do more, with many more ideas he collected from all this overseas trips and the inspirations from many more countries.

Apologies for those who think Singapore should take full credit for the modernization of China. No, Singapore was just a catalyst to spark a dream. The rest are hard work and due diligence to turn a dream into a reality, to motivate a nation of 1.3b people to work for the China Dream.  Only the Chinese could do this to rebuild their country to what it is today. If it is so easy, all the countries that wanted to emulate Singapore would also be great successful stories. Other than China, no one could do it the way China did, and in a scale unmatched over a mere 3 decades..

Turning a country into an economic powerhouse of modernity is not about eloquent speeches and copying a model. It is not so simple as that. When would Modi stop travelling, return to India and start working, to rebuild India into another economic powerhouse? Perhaps Singapore will be his last stop to build up all the ideas he needed to create another mammoth Asian economic giant.

Prejudice and bias in our education system

An interesting article titled ‘ Time to look beyond the Western view of the Middle East’ by an educator, Koh Choon Hwee, appeared in the Today paper on 23 Nov.  such articles are rare in a system where everyone blindly get along with western views as the official and right views of events around the world, including domestic issues.

Koh Choon Hwee discovered through her teachings in the schools that our young have been set up with very simplistic views of the Middle East as a region of deserts, camels and veiled women. How so, and she explained everything in these few words:

‘After passing through an education system in which we are more likely to study Shakespeare rather than the Persian poet Hafez, we have inadvertently been imparted with an understanding of the world as viewed from the British Isles and an ideology of the current world order that is viewed from North America, with is associated prejudices and blind spots.’

Having such a viewpoint is not so innocent as it seems. It has far reaching consequences in the psychic and mentality of the people. What is good to the west, favourable to the west but bad or unfavourable to us, would get pass as acceptable if one does not take time to consider what it should be. If the Westerners said your father is bad, your gene is inferior, the unthinking will go on parroting the same silly stuff without knowing that they have been made victims and happily going along with it.

The fault does not lie just with the education system. It is the whole system that make the people think like they are westerners, transforming ourselves ‘into an Anglophone society, and there are logical consequences of these policy decisions.’ The main media(print and screen) is the biggest culprit if you look at the amount of silly articles copied from western media and passed off as the truth, the right things to read, the right way to think.

As a result, our people do not see the world in a balanced perspective and least of all in our very own perspective. We don’t have our own perspectives. Many open and close their mouths thinking and parroting views of westerners unconsciously and making a fool of themselves unknowingly.  The schools and the media have a heavy responsibility to educate our people to think for ourselves, to be discriminating, and to start thinking that what is good for the West is not necessarily good for us.

They even published stupid stuff and comments by foreign con men and women and fakes rubbishing our own people as stupid and no talents without questioning. In the same breath they are also rubbishing our institutions of higher learnings, the faculties, for wasting public money to produce waste. And none even notice this and simply agreed that our institutions are dysfunctional, only good for beauty contest. As a result we have turned our people into unthinking daft and accepting that we are daft submissively and apologetically. So everyone could only think about more training and attending more courses to be better. They forgot to structure a course to teach them how to think and how not to be stupid.

PS. This sickness, to see the world from the western perspective and to think and behave like Westerners pervade the whole society right from the top. Even academics, supposedly intelligent and critically thinking people, also act the same way and write their rubbish using western world views to look at things and events instead of from out own perspective and interests.


Singapore Fooled AGAIN by Bogus University Rankings

Singapore Top Universities Embrace “Beauty Contest” Criteria for Academic Excellence

The most remarkable outcome in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) 2015 World University Rankings announced last month was the phenomenal rise of two (of the three) Singapore universities, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to 12th and 13th place respectively. Both Singapore Universities are now ranked above Yale, Columbia, EPF Lausanne and King’s College London.

This remarkable achievement was attributed mostly to high scores for the reputation surveys, the number of international students and faculty, none of which of course have any validity or reliability as indicators or measures of excellence in learning and/or teaching.  

Together with significant changes in the research citations component, the other another important factors for the rise of NTU and NUS were their continuing remarkable performance in the academic and employer surveys. NUS is at the top ten in the world for academic reputation and employer reputation with a perfect score of 100 respectively. NTU is 52nd for the academic survey and 39th for employer with scores in the nineties for both. This should not be surprising since NUS and NTU provide nearly 95% of Singapore’s fresh university graduates.   

This time, the skeptics of Universities Rankings are further proven right. The 2015 World Universities Rankings had made so many strange and implausible ranking shifts resulting in many universities rising or falling by dozens and hundreds from their previous rank.  Truth is, THE had tweaked their “methodology”, as with the other major ranker Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, when it broke away with their data suppliers Thomson Reuters at the end of 2014 and announced the dawn of a new era of transparency and accountability. 

Readers should note that neither THE or QS have ever published the scientific basis of their “methodology”; especially the criterion factors selected as measures of “best” Universities, nor the population and samples of the respondents who participated in surveys purportedly conducted and whose “data” were used to compile the final annual rankings. 

The announcements of the 2015 World Universities Rankings therefore came like the results of a beauty contest with winners (those whose rankings have risen) congratulating themselves with much self-flattery, while the losers (those whose rankings have sank) are embarrassed into protesting only silently and wondering where indeed they have gone so wrong in the past 12 months.

For example, Cambridge and Oxford overtook and pushed Harvard into 6th place.  If THE were to be believed, it was all Harvard’s fault as she suffered a huge decline from 92.9 to 83.6 in THE’s composite teaching indicator (whatever this presumes to measure).  Whatever indeed happened in Harvard in 2014-2015 to “reduce” its teaching effectiveness and impact, according to THE indicators, by 10%?  Should Harvard students therefore demand such fee payback based on this information?

Overnight, or precisely in over just one year from 2014-2015, Asian universities suddenly became worse off, except the Chinese Universities. The University of Tokyo dropped from 23rd to 43rd place in 2015, as she saw her research citations indicator fell from 74.7 points to 60.9, together with her sister University of Kyoto who plunged from 59th to 88th in 2015 for similar reductions in the score for research citations.  For some strange unexplained reasons, the Professors of previous years in both top Japanese Universities could no longer produce the same sterling quality of well-cited research papers.

If THE Universities evaluation were continued to be believed, the top Korean Universities had also suddenly gone silly and stupid.  From the top, Seoul National University dropped 35 ranked positions and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 66 positions, due mostly to their significantly reduced scores for teaching and research. Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) also fell 50 places, losing points in all THE criteria, despite earning good income from industry which she served but this was deemed irrelevant for THE Rankings.

Can the same Methodology which had improved both NTU and NUS rankings so significantly be trusted to be robust, vigorous and sophisticated?

It should be increasingly obvious to any intelligent researcher that the 2015 World University Rankings have created its own rankings based on new, revised criteria such as to render it incomparable with all their previous 2009-2014 rankings.   

Specifically, if the Dutch University of Twente (ranked 149th by THE) deserved to be in the top 150 this year, then its 2014 ranking which placed Twente outside the top 200-225 could not possibly be valid.  And if KAIST should indeed fall 66 places from 2014, then either its 2015 rankings (148th) or its 2014’s (52th) were inaccurate, or they both were.  This conclusion applies equally to all the universities whose rankings may have ”improved”. 

Singapore Universities have devoted much time and resources since 2007 to satisfy the dubious criteria of bogus university excellence, including getting rid of distinguished and eminent local Professors to meet the World University Rankings preferential criteria for foreign faculty, as well as its preference for more foreign students which NTU and NUS attracted with hundreds of free scholarships (since the Criteria did not specify only paid students were counted). 

NTU and NUS managers and administrators, and their experts, should now carefully study the 2015 World University Rankings to discover what their critics and skeptics, many of whom included eminent University Professors, educators and the United Nations UNESCO, have been warning over the past years the Rankings were published – that the World University Rankings are bogus and misleading, since their indicators lack academic validity and have no scientifically-established construct and they utilize a highly questionable survey and data collection methodology to create information for dubious ranking results which could not survive due diligence or methodological and reliability scrutiny.    
Singapore universities should maintain our Integrity and be honestly professional, and reject using the spurious World University Rankings to position our great Institutions of Higher Learning because of their lack of validity and reliability in Methodology and questionable measures of learning and research excellence.

The 2015 World University Rankings is final and conclusive proof that claims by the rankers over the past 10 years that they have carefully calibrated indicators and a uniquely trusted and vigorous methodology are untrue and bogus at best. There is no reason why the Singapore government and Singapore university administrators and academic experts should continue to be fooled repeatedly by such scams and dubious products.

Singapore universities should no longer participate in any “World University Rankings” Fraud.  Singapore’s presence in the World University Rankings invariably lends our hard-earned Reputation for Authenticity and Honesty to mask their lack of credibility, validity and reliability. Our Universities must have the same high standards of integrity and authenticity as the rest of the Nation. 


Fearing the straw man of tomorrow while sleeping with the devil

I enjoyed the one hour spent viewing Kishore’s lecture at the Kennedy’s School of Government in Harvard. While he was sharing the unpleasant truth of an Asian renaissance and the natural decline of the USA as the Number One hegemon in the 21st Century, he also told the Americans that they were still stuck in their self reinforcing narratives of a benign hegemon showering the world with kindness and goodness. It was a hard truth that was delivered to the living rooms of America when the best intellectual minds dwelt. Perhaps his hard truth was too difficult to swallow that Vogel left just before the session came to a close. At least he sat through the lecture for one whole one hour and maybe something urgent needed his attention without showing disrespect.


Oh, Vogel wrote the book Japan as Number One. And this issue was raised during the Q&A that the Number Two economic power normally would overtake the Number One super power. But Japan did not and is now Number Three and will keep sliding down when India becomes Number Two. I think it was mentioned that Tommy Koh gave a lecture on this historical trend.


Anyway, with China rising, the same stupid question or mindset was floated again. What would China be when it becomes Number One? Would it be an expansionist country, a more aggressive hegemon than the USA? Kishore gave them all the proof that China would not be like the missionary Americans going all over the world to change regimes to make every country democratic, not necessarily rich and powerful. China too did not go around the world carry a gun, giving aids to countries to buy more weapons. China is out there all over the world, using its money and technology to rebuild a new world. It is all economics and infrastructure development and trade. No guns. Yes the Chinese did not carry their guns to the negotiating table when striking a commercial deal. The Chinese did not have more than 1,000 military bases all over the world, not even one outside its own territory.


Would the Americans be convinced that the Chinese would behave as badly as them as an evil hegemon?  Maybe, maybe not, as many Americans are very clear thinking and know what their American govt is doing to the rest of the world, stoking war, inciting war, destabilizing countries, bombing and killing people by the hundreds of thousands, and issuing threats after threats, even sailing across the Pacific Ocean to the South China Sea to show who is the hegemon. The Americans will see China differently over time.


But I am not too sure that Asian countries would see China differently. Many have been brainwashed and conditioned to see the world through the North American perspective. The countries that have the worse opinions of China are some in Asean that chose to sleep with the devil but fearing a China of the future that is anything but a self indulgence. For these few Asean countries that are calling China expansionist, they quote their disputes with China over some reefs and tiny islands. Actually they are the expansionist countries making aggressive claims against islands and reefs long claimed by China with centuries of precedents. They refused to see themselves as the aggressors and expansionists in the South China Sea.


The views of China’s neighbours in Central Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and many others were very different. These people are not stupid. They knew that China was there to trade, to build infrastructure in exchange for natural resources on terms negotiated peacefully on the negotiating table, and often the terms were more favourable than the West would offer. But the West and the American viewpoint parroted by the unthinking Asian, especially in some South East Asian countries would put a negative spin on it, that China was not doing it for altruistic or humanitarian grounds but for the natural resources. Do they expect the Chinese to build all the infrastructures for free? How are these developing countries going to pay for the infrastructure developments and trade? Or were the Americans and the West so altruistic and kind to throw their money to their aid recipients for free?


What is more crazy, living in fear of an imaginary hegemon that has not done anything and did not carry a gun around, or sleeping with an evil hegemon that is bullying the world and starting and fighting wars everywhere, building military alliances and military bases all over the world?  The Asians deserved to be ruled by the West with their shallow intellect. The Americans told them China is bad, expansionist, oppressive, repressive, no human rights, no freedom and they swallowed every bit without thinking. They let the Americans think for them, on what to think, on who is good and who is bad.


Ask the 100m Chinese tourists that went all over the world, why did they return to an oppressive and repressive country that has no freedom and no human rights? Ask the hundreds of thousands of students China sent to the best universities in the West, why are they returning to China and not stay on in the West? Do these realities ring a bell?

Special breeds that do not need skill futures training

I once wrote about the politicians and their envious positions that come with instant skills and knowledge. Once a person is elected as a MP, better still made a minister, suddenly he knows everything. His intelligence and skills went up by several times. A doctor can become an expert in warfare, a soldier becomes an expert in education, a lawyer becomes an expert in terrorism or whatever permutations you can think of. But this sudden acquisition of intelligence and skill sets did not stop there. They are now perpetually intelligent and do not need any further training or skills upgrading. They become natural talents of all things under the sky.


The only time they displayed some modesty of their ability is when they decided to go overseas to learn from less talented people in other countries. And of course they did not learn anything from such trips as they are already the most talented, and who else could teach them and what else could they learn?


Now I just discovered that there is another exclusive breed that does not need upgrading courses or skills training, at least not at senior management and top management level. This breed also does not need to go for training courses. If you don’t believe me, check up with the training providers, you would not find anyone of them there.


I am referring to the foreign talents. Singaporeans all ran out of talent after some years working in the industries and their skills and experience became obsolete. They need to be retrained to work in lower skill and lower level jobs the more training they received. And the worse cases are those that freshly graduated from the universities and hit the wall. They are unfit for work, their skills are not relevant and not wanted in the industries on graduation. And they did not graduate from degree mills or from unknown or unranked half past six universities. They are graduates of the best universities in Asia and among the best in the world.


This is a new paradigm in Sin City and is really puzzling. But to many in Sin City, there is nothing wrong. It is the new normal. So more training institutions are set up to train the unskilled citizens who are no longer useful or irrelevant and the fresh graduates who somehow went to universities to learn nothing. No wonder training is such a big thing in Singapore. They called it life time training to get ‘stupiderer’ as they grew in age and experience.  And the govt is giving the people more money to get trained so that they can find jobs with lower pay.


I rather be a foreign here, with special talents and skills that would not need any more training, never go obsolete. And must also thank my village schools and unranked universities and degree mills for training me so well, better than the citizens of Sin City. While they furiously go to attend their upgrading courses to get a lower paying job, to downgrade, we foreigners will party and drink and make merry and wait for the next promotion, for our skills are perpetual skills that can only get better with no need for training. And if needed, just buy a degree from another famous degree mills that produced quality degrees would do the trick.


Sin City is heaven for foreign talents.