Monday, December 25, 2006

Freedom Walk Vs Big Walk!!

My first Big Walk was something like 10 years ago, 60000 people turned up stayed on afterwards for the lucky draw - a chance to win a car (without COE of course). You know why the Big Walk is so popular among Singaporeans? Singaporeans have figured out that the total value of the goodie bag is worth more than the registration fees they pay. I'm not saying that everyone goes to the Big Walk for the goodie bag, but many fact there is a group of several thousand who don't walk but simply wait for the goodie bag queues to open and rush forward to collect the bags sometimes as many as 5 goodie bag per person.

Contrast that with the turnout for the Freedom Walk held on 10 Dec 2006. The turnout was 13 and one-third of them had the surname Chee. Walk for goodie bag 60,000 people....walk for freedom 13 people. I'm sure more people will turn up if those mysterious plain clothes cameramen are not there to record the walk, Singaporeans are just too shy to appear in videos to be view by officers in the ISD.

I think the organisers of the Freedom Walk really have to do something to improve attendance:

  1. Give out a goodie bag. Make sure it is worth more than the registration fees.
  2. Call it FANTASY WALK instead. Many Singaporeans after 4 decades of PAP have problems figuring what the word FREEDOM means. In some ways, Freedom has become a Fantasy that Singaporeans dream about.
  3. End the walk at Harvey Norman. So that those walking have something meaningful to look forward to which is their favorite past time of shopping.

After 4 decades of PAP rule and the Straits Times, Singaporeans have developed many unique interesting traits. Strong attraction towards goodie bags and progress packages, the unique ability to whine about the PAP for 360 days a year and still vote for them on election day, and certain words such as freedom and democracy removed from their vocabulary.

The only power that matters to Singaporeans is buying power - the power to walk into Harvey Norman and to participate in their weekend sales.

"The real challenge is NOT against the PAP but against what the PAP did to our minds" - a bankrupt politician.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Smart Voters Secure Our Future!

For those of you worried that our beloved PAP govt will be weakened by a revolt by disgruntled citizens, I want to lay those fears to rest. Singaporeans understand the importance of their vote and are totally clear about the purpose of voting. Take Mr. John Foo as an example, he is a good representation of approximately 66.6% of the Singapore population. You may be worried that all the suffering and pain of price increases will result in a loss of support for the can put those fears to rest.

In a Straits Times article on the 7 Traits of Singapore politics by Ken Kwek onn 23 Dec 2006, Singaporean voters are found to be as sensible as ever. No matter how much whining and whingeing, you have heard about the GST increase, Singaporean voters can be relied upon to vote sensibly and secure their own interests.

As long as there are lifts to be upgraded in HDB estates, blue dolphin fountains to be erected around your neighborhood, covered walkways to bus stops to be constructed and HDB flats to be painted, the PAP will continue to win elections. Singaporeans understand the importance of elections and its impact to their lives. Who cares about the billions Temasek Holding has invested in Thailand and Indonesia, when there are important issues such as the covered walkways to excite voters during elections. Those of you with old-fashion notions that elections are for choosing your leaders and debate/vote for issues that will decide the fate of our nation, you have to upgrade your mind and correct your thinking. Singapore's unique political system has progress beyond that, we all know (at least 66.6% of us) that it is the blue dolphin fountain that will ease our fears and soothe our anxiety of about our future.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One country 2 people....

When I served my NS, there were children of high income earners and high ranking civil servants who were identified as "white horses". Former minister Cedric Foo explained that it was necessary to identify these "white horses" so that they receive no special treatment!! I'm so surprised such a good policy is now scrapped.

The income gap in Singapore is somewhere between Burundi and Kenya. The reason is because our elites are so capable, they worlds above the rest of us. Hence, their income has to reflect their superior abilities. The reason why the rest of us are so lowly paid is because our ordinary minds are no match for those of the ruling elites.

Ordinary Singaporeans are lucky to have such capable elites run this country. Of course, these elites are so good at telling us to work harder and longer so that we can make something out of our ordinary lives. While the gap is so big and there is no hope for most of us ordinary citizens to catch up with them since they are given scholarship, opportunities and high salaries...we should not be envious. Our elites help to motivate us by urging us not to be choosy when finding jobs, to give up our benefits without fussing, to accept fee increases without whining and most of all they teach us to better appreciate the grand achievements of the PAP govt.

Singapore flames 'uncaring elite'
Singapore is Asia's second-richest country after Japan, but in terms of income disparity it ranks between Burundi and Kenya.
POSTED: 12:51 a.m. EST, December 19, 2006

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- When Wee Shu Min, the teenage daughter of a Singapore member of parliament stumbled across the blog of a Singaporean who wrote that he was worried about losing his job, she thought she'd give him a piece of her mind.
She called him "one of many wretched, undermotivated, overassuming leeches in our country" on her own blog and signed off with "please, get out of my elite uncaring face".
Wee was flamed by hundreds of fellow bloggers, but when her father Wee Siew Kim -- an MP in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's constituency -- told a Singapore newspaper that "her basic point is reasonable", the row moved well beyond the blogosphere.
The episode highlighted a deep rift in Singapore society and was an embarrassment for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and prime minister Lee, who has made the reduction of the income gap one of the priorities of his new government.
"Coming from an MP in the prime minister's constituency, these comments really were political dynamite," political commentator Seah Chiang Nee told Reuters.
"If the political arrogance and elitism get any worse, the PAP will lose more electoral ground," he added.

Singapore is Asia's second-richest country after Japan with a gross domestic product per capita of about $27,000, ranking between EU member Italy and Spain. But in terms of income disparity, Singapore is in altogether different company.

Singapore's Gini index -- which measures inequality of income distribution among households -- of 42.5 puts it between Burundi and Kenya, the UN Human Development Report 2006 shows.
"Yes, the Gini coefficient is very high. Through housing, health care and education, we have tried to narrow the income gap, but not through wages," National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told Reuters in an interview last month.

Welfare as a dirty word

Singapore pays no employment benefits, no pensions and has no legal minimum wage, but education is cheap and excellent, health care is subsidized and the government gives subsidies to first-time buyers of government-built flats.
Last month, Singapore's first parliament session since the May 6 poll was dominated by the inequality theme.
PM Lee ruled out the introduction of old-age pensions, a minimum wage or European-style welfare.
"We have treated welfare as a dirty word. The opposition, I think the Workers' Party, has called for a 'permanent unconditional needs-based welfare system'. I think that is an even dirtier five words," he said in a speech on November 13.
But he acknowledged that since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the income gap had widened, and said that his government plans to "tilt the balance in favor of the lower-income groups".
While Lee's ruling PAP is in no danger of losing its stranglehold on parliament -- where it has 82 out of 84 elected seats -- the growing income disparity has hurt its credibility.
In the May 6 poll, the Workers' Party scored its best result in years, with chairwoman Sylvia Lim winning 44 percent of the votes in a multi-seat ward. Lee lost 34 percent in his ward to a group of unknown candidates in their early thirties.
"They (the PAP) are concerned about the fallout if they don't do anything about the income gap," Lim, who entered parliament as a non-voting MP under a best-loser provision, told Reuters.

In parliament, Lee said he plans to improve healthcare and boost housing subsidies for low-income families. He added that he wants more "workfare" schemes, under which the state tops up low-income workers' pay.
On May 1 -- five days before the election -- the government paid out S$150 million to about 330,000 low-income workers, and Lee promised a similar package for next year. Details would be released in the 2007 budget on February 15.
Marie Antoinettes
Critics say that much of the outrage about the teenage blogger's comments is due to a perception that Singapore is ruled by a privileged elite that's out of touch with the people.
The road to a top job in the Singapore government or civil service leads through elite junior colleges and prestigious government scholarships for university studies abroad.
While access to these schools and scholarships is open to all and based on academic grades, critics say the children of the elite are well represented. Wee Shu Min attends a top school, Raffles Junior College, as did her father, an MP and a top executive at state-owned arms maker ST Engineering.

In a report about "elite envy", the Straits Times daily quoted official data showing that in the last five years, one in three students on government scholarships came from families with incomes of more than $6,500 a month, while such families make up just 13 percent of all Singapore households.

Students from households on incomes of less than $2,000 made up only 7 per cent of scholarship winners, the paper added.
Colin Goh, founder of satirical Web site, said that while the first generation of post-independence PAP leaders was seen as close to the people, this is no longer the case.
"The source for much invective in the Wee Shu Min case is that there is a real sense the PAP is composed of people in ivory towers; that they are a bunch of Marie Antoinettes," he said.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Kept busy by the stock markets!

Wow did you guys see the Thai stock market today - plunged 14%. Wonder what happened to Shin Corp & ITV. According to PM Lee, Singapore invested billions in Thailand because the country has good prospects of a growing middle class not predicated on who is the PM of Thailand. While most ordinary Singapore citizens see Thai as a risky place to invest given that they caused the Asian crisis in 1997, our professionals in Temasek Holdings see it as a place suitable for putting our tax payers money in. We should all rest well with these professionals taking care of our money. Our media certainly see no issue at all with the way the citizen's money is managed, no need for questions, no need for transparency.

Anyway, the recent volatile markets have kept me very busy trading on most days. I go to sleep exhausted. Sometimes I do the unthinkable thing of going to bed without reading the Straits Times....I always try to catch up on it during the toilet breaks.

I don't expect this (volatility) to continue for too long. After all the dithering, the markets will establish that the US economy in going into a slowdown and the astronomical property prices some people have been paying for property in Singapore is just not sustainable.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Singaporeans - You are first AGAIN!!!

Don't worry I'm still alive despite the unusual number of sudden deaths that struck Singapore, I was so lucky not to be one of them. Unfortunately, my computer had a sudden death, the great tragedy is I've lost all my treasure trove of classic Straits Times articles on my harddisk.

My computer is now back up and my mind is once again filled with great achievements of the PAP to blog about. The first thing that comes to mind is that the PAP has finally decided that Singaporeans come first. Yes after more than a decade of friendly policy towards foreigners, the PAP has decided that Singaporeans come first. Not too bad considering they took 30 years to realise that the "stop at 2 policy" wasn't correct and that was why we needed to bring in the foreigners to make up for the population shortfall in the first place. I can see clear now why the PAP calls itself an efficient first world govt, they react to problems speedily and all they do is to take care of Singaporeans' interest first. That is why they deserve their million$ salaries.

The PAP's policy to bring foreign talents is no a small achievement. In the past 14 years they expanded the population by 70% (from 2.7M to 4.5M). When the population was 3M, many people thought that Singapore is too crowded and our nation's resources will be strained. You have greatly underestimated the PAP!!! The PAP is able to shrink 5-room flat sizes by 30% and sell it to you for the same price, they can squeeze more people into our public transport system (and call the the citizen sardines whiners for complaining) and put more cars on the road( and more ERPs at the same time!). In 1990, I could walk into any polyclinic and get my tooth done. A few months ago, I broke my tooth and called the polyclinic, they told me the earliest appointment is 2 weeks....(but my tooth was bleeding, ...sorry fully booked..she said). Singapore is now the 2nd most crowded nation in the world afterMonaco, the millionaire enclave.

All this expansion is not for the good of the PAP govt and their business interests that enjoyed the unintended benefits of such a rapid population, it is done for the good of Singaporeans. The purpose of all this to add "more rats to our rat race", so that we feel more motivated to work harder. The PAP is highly concerned that without increasing the population, our property prices would become stagnant and Singaporeans would be able to pay for them in less than the normal 2 decades allowing them to save up for retirement....that would cause them to become lazy and they will have no motivation to work until age 80.

In 1990s MIT economist Paul Krugman wrote that the Singapore economic miracle is one-off, due mainly to a low base and rising inputs such as foreign capital and rising education. As the population size can only grow at a certain limited rate, our GDP growth will regress to the norm. But Krugman was wrong because he underestimated the PAP govt. He never imagined that any govt would ever import people just to keep its GDP growing. Yes, the PAP is no ordinary govt and our population expansion is no ordinary feat.

As I got into the sardine-packed feeder to my workplace yesterday, I realised why Singaporeans are having so few kids. Anyone pregnant going into one of these buses wouldn't be able to breathe. Don't worry Singaporeans, the PAP govt don't really need you to reproduce yourself, they can get better people by giving out scholarships to foreigners in Vietnam, China and India can sit back relax and let other countries supply our next generation. See how lucky you are to be a Singaporean.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hong Kong drops GST idea!!!

"Now its time for me to explain to the people
why this GST increase is necessary" - PAP MP quoted in papers.

See what happens when you don't have an outstanding newspaper like the Straits Times and a wise govt that can take any policy and explain why things are done for your own good.

The Hong Kong govt made a grave error of consulting its citizens on the implementation of GST. Instead of going all out to explain to the people that the GST is implemented for their own good, they went to seek the views of the people. Worst still they respected the views of the citizens on the matter and will work on alternative methods to broaden the tax base. What kind of govt is that?! Thank goodness the govt in Singapore has higher standards than that, the PAP never have to come down and allow their well considered brilliant ideas such as GST increase to be altered by unqualified ordinary citizens. Who are they to tell the govt what to do?!

After wasting 6 months consulting the people, the Hong Kong govt has to abandon the GST idea. Didn't they tell the people that it was implemented in Singapore by the PAP so it cannot possibly be a bad idea? I'm sure that if the Hong Kong people had known the PAP has implemented it in Singapore, would have concluded that GST has to be the best solution for collecting taxes.

Ordinary Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that implements policies that are always in their interest. We can look forward to the coming GST increase, after the GST is increased our lives will improve because it is increased for our own good. I really pity the people of Hong Kong, they have no GST increases to look forward to and they will miss out on alot of good that the GST brings.

Tax retreat draws praise from all but accountants

Political parties and retail and catering sector representatives have hailed the government's surprise decision not to pursue the GST proposal.

Michael Ng Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Political parties and retail and catering sector representatives have hailed the government's surprise decision not to pursue the GST proposal. A leading accountants' association expressed disappointment, characterizing it as a political decision.

The proposed tax had been strongly opposed by legislators across the political spectrum since the public consultation exercise began in July. In calling off further promotions, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said Tuesday it was apparent the government had failed to convince a majority in the public to accept GST as the main option to widen Hong Kong's narrow tax base.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong founding chairman and Executive Councillor Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said Tang's decision would be welcomed by the public. "The community has clearly expressed its views over the past five months of consultation. As such the government has made a wise move," he said.
One of the most vocal critics of the GST was the pro-business Liberal Party which even organized a rare protest rally against its introduction in early August.

In lauding the government's decision to drop the proposal, party vice chairwoman and Executive Councillor Selina Chow Liang Suk-yee said that since the public had also acknowledged the need to widen the tax base, it would be better for the government to seek a consensus on other possible options rather than prolong existing arguments about the GST.
"I feel that, instead of wasting more time, it would be a better choice if we can move on right now and reach a consensus on this issue," she said.
Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai said the government was acting in line with the wishes of the public, but he would not comment when asked if he thought Tang was backing down in the face of public opposition.

"After six months of consultation, including reaching out to district councils and contacting the grassroots level through other channels, the government has already [received feedback on] public worries over the GST," Sin said. "I view it as an active step taken by the government in responding to the general call of public. Our party welcomes such a move."
Related stakeholders, particularly operators in the retail and catering industry, also heaved a sigh of relief when told of the government's decision. Hong Kong Retail Management Association chairman Bankee Kwan Pak- hoo said the decision would help end one of the biggest uncertainties hanging over the retail sector in recent months.

"The decision will have a positive impact on the retail sector as it has eliminated fears of what would happen should a GST be introduced. It will help the development of the retail industry and probably attract more investments to Hong Kong," Kwan said.
"Indirectly, it will also boost the local employment situation as retailers will now be willing to hire more staff to expand their businesses." Coalition Against Sales Tax convenor and legislator Vincent Fang Kang admitted the news was a surprise, but said he was delighted.
He believed it would inject further momentum into the retail and tourism markets during the upcoming holidays.

Paul Chan Mo-po, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which has long supported the introduction of a GST, said the decision to shelve further consultations was taken in line with political considerations.
"It is vital for the whole community that we actively explore ways to resolve the narrow tax base problem in the near future," Chan said.
"Otherwise, the government's fiscal situation could once again lapse into serious deficits in times of economic downturns."
Chan suggested the government could consider introducing a land border crossing levy, or adding progressive bands to salaries and profits taxes, so as to provide additional and stable tax revenue.
The former chairman of the government's Advisory Committee on New Broad-based Taxes, Moses Cheng Mo-chi, said he was not surprised.
But he said the problem of a narrow tax base remained and that a solution was needed.
He invited the public to offer constructive suggestions.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Another person hit by MRT.

Oh no. Not another one.

I really find it hard to explain. The MRT has already put up 3 signs for Singaporeans to obey:


It seems Singaporeans these days have difficulty reading instructions on the signs. I suggest the signs be read aloud on the speaker system so that people can hear it. That should put a stop to the increasing number of people killed by trains.

I suggest they put up more advertisements by LG ...."LG - Life's Good, Live it". That should be enough to snap anyone out of their poverty induced depression - they can look forward to their next progress package and use it to buy an LG product.

I think Straits Times should now stop reporting such events as it is no longer news but a regular feature of life in Singapore. They should dedicate more space to the issue of why the GST increase is good for all Singaporeans and why we are so lucky to have our GST increased.

Dec 3, 2006
Train hits man, service disrupted

THE southbound train service was disrupted yesterday when a man was hit by a train at Admiralty station.

According to an SMRT spokesman, the incident occurred at 2.08pm.
This disrupted the service between Woodlands and Sembawang stations, and affected about 6,000 passengers.

Service resumed at 3.22pm.
The police were notified at around 2.15pm and found a body, believed to be that of a Chinese man in his mid-20s, under the train carriage.
He was clad in a white T-shirt and grey bermudas and pronounced dead on the spot at about 2.40pm.

Police are investigating the unnatural death.
SMRT passengers who were unable to complete their journey due to the disruption can claim a full fare refund.
They can do so from the passenger service centre at any of the 51 SMRT stations within the next three working days.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

These days you never get to retire in just die away!

My dad retired at exactly age 55, his 55th birthday was his last day at work. He is on some kind of old pension scheme from which he receives a monthly payment. He is now 67. My dad complains of boredom of having nothing to do except for his morning exercise at East Coast where he gets to meet President Nathan once in a while. He also visits his grand children several times a week. Thank goodness our PAP leaders heard about this problem of old folks being bored after retirement, they have over the years worked out a system in which most citizens will not be able to retire at retirement age. Unlike citizens of other countries who become unproductive after retirement age, Singaporeans will be kept productive beyond their retirement age to provide for their golden years .....I used to think that the years after retirement are the golden years but apparently I'm wrong, when they talk about golden years they are talking about the period when you're in your 90s.

See the great economic progress we have made over the years. With more economic progress, we have to work longer and harder.
How did the PAP engineer such a wonderful system that allows its citizens to be productive well beyond retirement age? It took great ingenuity and innovation to get this done.

You see if the CPF which is a PROVIDENT FUND was kept strictly for the purpose of retirement and only for retirement, we would all be able to retire at retirement age. But the CPF was liberalised so that it can be used for housing, children's education , insurance etc is used for everything under sun other than retirement!! Of course allowing citizens to use CPF to buy HDB flats means that HDB flats are affordable at higher market subsidised prices which allows the HDB to accumulate higher surpluses.

In a country where you can find so many who can't retire at retirement age, 40% of household who are worse of as the economy expands and a number of people who are crushed by the wheels of progress (like Mr. Tan who died at the MRT station) . We also have the highest number of millionaires (1% of our population).

To keep the system going, to keep Singaporeans productive beyond retirement age, we need a GST increase to remove whatever residual savings we have left so we feel more motivated to work harder....and there is no better motivation than the lack of money. For the 1% of the population who are millionaires including our esteemed ministers & for big corporations, an tax cut is planned ....the other 99% pay more GST to make this possible.

Singaporeans are so lucky. Unlike the unfortunate citizens of other countries who stop working at retirement age to do useless stuff like looking after grandchildren and strolling in the parks, we get to economically productive until the day we stop breathing.
Singaporeans need to work beyond retirement age to provide for their golden years

By Noor Mohd Aziz, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 28 November 2006 1552 hrs

Singaporeans have been urged to work past the legislated retirement to build up a nest egg for their golden years as the funds might not stretch long enough. Citing figures, the National Trades Union Congress Secretary General Lim Boon Heng said a high proportion of older workers have dropped out of the job market. That is why a tripartite committee comprising NTUC, the government and employers is studying how to help older Singaporeans find work and stay on working. Mr Lim said: "NTUC has long recognised this and therefore pushed for raising the effective retirement age. It is important to focus on the effective retirement age and not on the legislated retirement age. Currently our official retirement age is 62 but many drop out from the age of 55 years." - CNA/ch

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Evils of Welfare in Singapore Part 2

If we have minimum wages, businesses will leave Singapore
- PAP MPs in Parliament
"But dear sirs, nobody has said what the minimum
wage should be do you know
businesses will leave" - ordinary Singaporeans.
Having heard so much about welfare being a dirty word in Singapore, I began to worry incessantly about welfare destroying our nation and the numerous citizens from welfare states who will be clamoring to become citizens of Singapore because their countries are ravaged by welfare.
Although nobody has debated how much welfare should be given to Singaporeans who cannot afford the basic necessities, our esteemed PAP leaders are quite certain that any amount will bankrupt us and that really got me worried. We must resist every effort to give out social welfare.
One thing I want to clarify is that the PM said WELFARE is a dirty word not WELFARE STATE. A welfare state gives out substantial amounts in welfare.... many countries give out some amount welfare but are not considered welfare states.
Worried about the future of Singapore and the evils of welfare, I did some research and found out Singapore has nothing to worry about!! Our PAP govt has long ensured that welfare will not destroy us, the PAP has defeated the evils of welfare. Singapore has the lowest, yes lowest, welfare spending among East Asian economies.

We have the highest income inequality among countries compared based on the GINI index.

A combination of low welfare and high income inequality...what a wonderful system we have in place that is worth preserving.
Besides protecting us from the evils of welfare, the PAP is also doing a fine job of protecting us from the evils of western style democracy - jailing Chee Soon Juan can only enhance our reputation as an orderly country that has no disruptive activities such as unlicensed public speaking and protests.
Singaporeans are so lucky to enjoy so much protection that the PAP govt provides, with the evils of welfare and western style democracy kept in check, the PAP govt can proceed to increase GST, reduce corporate taxes and make Singapore even more competitive in this globalised world. How do you feel being part of all this? ....

Friday, November 24, 2006

Chee to be jailed!!!
Chee Soon Juan has committed yet another serious crime. Thank goodness our police was alert and did not let him get away this time. Singapore is now a safer country because of their actions to protect us from this cheat, liar, gangster and dishonest person.
CSJ's heinous crime is not paying his fine for speaking in public without license. Spreading his misconceived notions that governments should be vigourously questioned, freedom is important and honesty of govt should not be trusted without transparency just cannot be allowed. It is simply criminal to spread such dangerous poisonous ideas, it creates negativity and suspicion that we don't have the one of the best govt in the world. They should fine him more and jail him longer for this high crime. I'm sure many victims of his crime are still suffering from mental stress from his poisonous ideas which are not consistent with the Straits Times, I suggest these suffering victims seek help from their grassroots leaders or read their newpapers more diligently to have their thoughts corrected.
Unlike other law abiding citizens of Singapore, like the credit card promoters, sales promoters who always apply for license to speak in public, he has failed to do so. I'm sure given the harmful contents of his speech, the police can only do the responsible thing of denying him this license anyway. I'm glad the police had the wisdom to arrest him ahead of lesser criminals like the loan shark who once again vandalised on of the HDB blocks near my place or those pesky timeshare conmen who have been around for 3 decades.

I hope Chee learns his lesson after his jail term and reform himself. If he expresses regret for his crime we can tie yellow ribbons to welcome him back to our inclusive society.
Singapore jails opposition leader
From correspondents in Singapore
November 23, 2006 08:06pm
Article from: Reuters
Font size: + -
Send this article: Print Email
A SINGAPORE court jailed an opposition leader for five weeks today over his failure to pay a fine for speaking in public without a permit.
Chee Soon Juan, one of Singapore's most vocal opposition politicians and leader of the tiny Singapore Democratic Party, committed the speaking offence on April 22, two weeks before the country's general elections.

The court initially fined him and because he refused to pay, he and two of his supporters were jailed.
"Every hour, every day, every month that I spend in jail only strengthens my resolve to fight," the 44-year-old Mr Chee told the court before the verdict was read.
A vocal campaigner for human rights and free speech, Mr Chee was jailed for eight days in March for questioning the independence of Singapore's judiciary.
He was jailed for five weeks in 2002, and 12 days and one week in 1999 for speaking in public without a permit.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pop the Champagne! 3 Cheers to the Stock Market!!!

This posting is for stock investors.

Wow another new high!!! Looks like this market can do no wrong. High liquidity, record earnings announcements, merger and acquisitions. As of now the STI is 2841 and HSI is 19350, see making money is as easy as A-B-C or even easier, you don't even need to know anything except the phone number to your broker to ask him to BUY.
Why am I writing about the stock market? ...Well about 6 months ago, I also wrote about the stock market : Read my June 2006 article here. At that time, no one wanted to buy stocks at all, doomsayers were saying there were all sorts of problems with the economy and analysts seem quite shy to recommend equities as an investment. Somehow my brain was wired quite differently from the experts so I did the horrid thing of buying into the falling market. Since most experts were hesitant and cautious, I guess I must have lived up to my name Lucky, the stock market rallied shortly after that non-stop to its current levels.
Right now somehow things have gone into reverse, stocks have risen, every single analyst says there is more upside and there seem to be NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING that will go wrong. Although my name is Lucky, I think I'll not push my luck any further. I'm calling SELL in this market. When? Right at this very moment. Heck I may be totally wrong, PLEASE crucify me if I'm so I can learn a lesson. But for those who want a more convoluted explanation here it is:
The recent rise in the stock market has discounted the best earnings levels and does not discount the risk of inflation and disruptive events such as terrorism, financial fraud etc. While the markets are nowhere near lofty levels of 2000, there are pockets of gross overvaluation. Put this together with the frenzy of M&A deals driven by liquidity in our economic system, I have doubts (though I can be wrong) that the current levels in the stock market can be sustained. My best judgement tells me today is a day to sell even as the market moves up, sell downs can occur fast and happen quickly.

I can be wrong. Of course I'm not as smart as Ho Ching. The markets may move up tons from here. ...but this is my assessment, you're welcome to flame me if I'm wrong.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Singaporeans are so SPOILT Part 2....

Over the weekend the Straits Times explained clearly how spoilt Singaporeans are. They are so spoilt they complain that their world class MRT and buses are too crowded. I've long suspected that our world class transport system is among the best, as long as you're not pregnant or overweight, you should have no problem breathing during the rush hour squeeze. Also in the Sunday Times is a Finnish PR who says he prefers to stay in Singapore rather than Finland because... although education is free and considered the best in the world, medical care is also free and speech is also free, he likes the hot weather in Singapore and the our low taxes. Wow Singaporeans are so lucky that life in Singapore is better than in Finland....we should really go to Finland to recruit more foreign talents, I'm sure there are thousands from Finland who are dying to emigrate to Singapore and leave the miserable lives they are leading in Finland. Coincidentally, the Finnish person is a futures trader and Singapore has no capital gains tax...he also has a colorful past which is being actively discussed on Internet forums.
Singaporeans are so spoilt, the poorer ones are given bursary when get to NUS. In order to make sure that they are not too spoilt, a strict criteria has to applied to Singaporeans applying for bursary and 40% of the bursary is now given to foreigners. I met a taxi driver who has one daughter (he has 3 kids) in NUS. She applied but failed to get the NUS bursary and has to take a bank loan to pay for her fees and gave tuition on weekends to make ends meet.

Since Singaporeans are so rich, scholarships and busaries are now given to foreign students to help them. See how generous our elite leaders are set aside so much money for bursaries that there is excess to give to foreign students. You can see how much they care for poor Singaporeans.
To make sure that Singaporeans are not spoilt, strict criteria also exist for ComCare and Workfare.

Singaporeans should stop bemoaning the govt and get on with the challenges. You should be appreciative of our govt's efforts to help you although strict criteria has to be applied so to make sure that you're not spoilt. Singaporeans are already pampered by the high level of efficiency of our govt. You have food to eat, water to drink, TV to watch, MRT/bus to ride, HDB flats to stay in what more can you possibly want? The govt is so efficient that Singapore Power's profits are growing - we can expect it to be listed on SGX soon. The MRT just announced increased profits and we can expect its earnings to rise because of the fare increase. Singaporeans are so lucky to have an efficient govt we are the envy of the world, even Finland cannot match us in terms of govt efficiency.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Malaysia to implement UNWISE labor policies!!!


Instead of learning from Singapore to become more competitive, Malaysia is about to implement policies that will set them back another 20 years! See what happens when you don't have efficient govt like the PAP.
In recent years, Singapore under the enlightened leadership of the PAP govt has reduced retrenchment benefits to a minimum, we are told this will make us more competitive and it is for the of workers' own good not to have minimum wages, not to have retrenchment benefits and to have the floodgates of foreign imported labor opened. Our GDP has surged to 7.5% for 2006 and this cannot be bad for us. Well, Singapore has become a millionaire making machine and corporate profits is at a record high as a % of GDP. Thanks to these wonderful labor policies.
Malaysian is about to go soft on labor. Instead of squeezing their workers for every drop of juice they can produce, they are worried that globalisation will have a negative effect on low income workers and feel they have to act before someone jumps onto their LRT/railway track. Oh come on Malaysia, how are you going to compete against Singapore with such soft policies. If you don't know how to work your workers and get them to accept life without a safety net, you will never produce as many millionaires as Singapore. can never smell 7.5% GDP growth for your backwater nation. Instead of learning from their advanced neighbor Singapore, Malaysian officials went to Australia & Britain to study their system. Of course, some of you cynics will say there is NOTHING to learn in the way of safety nets for low income workers from Singapore because there is NOTHING in place. Get real okay! There is plenty that Singapore does to help jobless low income workers like cutting off their utilities when they can't pay to encourage them to find a job fast. ...well whenever wages of these workers increase, Singapore makes sure they don't become complacent and lazy so our govt increase the cost of living to make sure they are motivated to continue working hard. PAP is going to increase their GST to 7% to help them.
We Singaporeans are so lucky to have an enlightened govt. One that understands how to maximise GDP growth every year on this island. Once every 5 years we see the friuts of this progress in the form of Progress Packages.
Safety net plan for retrenched workers

Retrenched workers will be able to get allowances to last them between six months to a year once the proposed Retrenchment Compensation Scheme is finalised.

The scheme, similar to Socso and EPF, will need employees and employers to contribute each month and is to act as a safety net to those retrenched until they are employed elsewhere.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said both the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) have agreed in principle to the scheme, and it would have to be discussed further before being implemented.
A special committee headed by ministry secretary-general Datuk Thomas George with MEF and MTUC representatives will be set up to pave the way for its implementation.
“The committee can come up with proposals and amendments to restructure our labour market to make it more competitive,” he told reporters after chairing the National Labour Action Council (NLAC) meeting and before the Ministry’s DeepaRaya celebration here yesterday.
Dr Fong added that the committee was studying how the retrenchment compensation scheme could be introduced through Socso which does not have any provision for a safety net for retrenched workers.
He said MEF and MTUC members have visited Australia and Britain to study their retrenchment compensation models.
“Their visit is also to study the changes made to their various labour laws to suit global challenges,” he said.
He hoped disputes at industrial court and labour department which took up to seven years to solve could be completed at least in one year just like cases handled by the arbitration tribunal in Britain.
Dr Fong said the MTUC and MEF would conduct road shows to promote the productivity-linked wage system (PLWS) to ensure the nation’s workforce was of international standard. - The Star -

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FREAKONOMICS : Find time to read it!!!

"If something happens by coincidence
too many times, it isn't coincidental."
- Lucky Tan after reading Freakonomics
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant"
- Freakonomics on the topic of transparency
Freakonomics is a book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner published in 2005. It summarises interesting research done by Steven Levitt when he applied economic theory to diverse topics that ranged from collusion in Sumo Wrestling to impact of abortion on crime.
One thing I learned from the book is you can mine data and make reasonable conclusions. But in the Singapore context, one has to be doubly careful because Singapore is struck by strange coincidences that can make on jump into the wrong conclusions. Take news in Singapore as an example we had that torrent of wonderful heavenly news sometime in Feb-March '06, then all of a sudden, coincidentally after the elections, we had a string of sad sobbering price increases which culminated in the GST 7% announcement by PM Lee. Mr. Brown had made the wrong conclusion that the price increases were deliberately avoided during the period leading to the elections so that Singaporeans's brains would not be 'taxed' by it. He was promptly corrected by Ms Bhavini. Coincidentally, the govt had alot of money to give out to everyone as Progress Package and hundreds of millions in promises for upgrading a few months back now has so little money to help the poor, they have not choice but to increase GST.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Straits Times : Singaporeans are spoilt!!!

Singaporeans are a bunch of whiners just like what our esteemed MPs said in parliament. Ordinary Singaporeans are unappreciative of the excellent system set up by the PAP and the 1st World standards they have in place.
Take our 1st world transport system as an example. Just because you're packed like sardines in buses and MRT to go for work doesn't mean you have the right to complain. The PAP has clearly said that our transport system is world class and you better appreciate that fact. There's air-con in almost every bus to prevent you from suffocating and you should satisfied that you come out alive and have jobs to go to after your bus ride. From their BMWs and Merc, our elite leaders and highly paid expats can look up at the buses and see that you're having a comfortable ride. It is thus totally unjustifiable for Singaporeans to complain about their transport system. In fact it is so good, they had to increase your bus & MRT fares recently. To make sure that you continue to enjoy these services, they increased taxi fares and ERP charges.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have world class services yet they don't realise it. People in California, Melbourne and other cities without the benefit of a PAP govt are deprived of good public transport. They have to drive themselves around in their own car. terrible!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman Dies at 94

Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedmen passed away yesterday. He is hailed by many as one of the greatest economists of our time.

When I was a young boy, I read the book Milton Friedman's book "Free to Choose", it triggered a lifelong interest in economics. Milton Friedman once said:

"A free market includes the free exchange of views, the ability to read what people write, regardless of what their views are, the whole area of freedom of speech, of religion, of discussion, of the press, is really an aspect of a free market. It is an area in which individuals should be free to cooperate with one another, to exchange views, to say what they believe."- Milton Friedman, 1912-2006.
He believed that the free exchange of ideas and freedom of the press is an integral part of a free market. Creativity and innovation become the main drivers of an economy after the industrialisation phase. Controlling the free flow of information, the freedom of people to gather and discuss diverse ideas will undermine the efficiency of an economy and hinder the progress. We see that in the Soviet Union which saw tremendous progress until the 1960s when heavy industry output exceeded that of USA.....they the started to decline as the inefficiencies of a totalitarian govt kicked in.
Of course our esteemed leaders have found better ways to ensure that the economy progresses even if there are inefficiencies in the economy. They do this by increasing the factors of production in particular labor. It can be summed up as a "more input=more output" strategy. In past decade, the PAP govt imported more than 800,000 foreign workers to keep the GDP growing. This is 30% of the workforce. Of course such a brute force strategy leads to huge distortions in our economy and society which includes structural unemployment and decline in household income of the bottom 30% of the population as cost of living increases. With so many problems brewing, the PAP transformed itself into a 'caring government' with lots of sympathy, empathy and concern for the underprivileged.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a caring govt that takes care of them when they are down and out. Some of of citzens like Mr. Brown may be fed up with progress. Believe me, Mr. Brown is part of a small minority along with the people who are physically crushed by the wheels of progress. Most people can appreciate what the PAP has done for us. ...and the PAP is going to do more for us once they increase our GST to 7%.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Money as motivation in Singapore Inc.

"Others say money is the root of all evil.
I say money or rather the lack of money
is a source of motivation for ordinary Singaporeans" - Lucky Tan.
Just heard that rent for the new rental HDB flats will be based on level of income of tenants. You can't let these low income people exploit the subsidized rental flats can will undermine their motivation to work harder to own a flat. Of course, there are many poor folks who work 2 jobs to make ends meet. There is no reason why they can't take a 3rd job on the weekends to increase their incomes and pay the higher rentals.
One taxi driver told me that he has to work longer and longer hours because whenever things get better, his taxi rental is raised. Taxi companies have profit growth almost every year. Taxi drivers are so motivated now, they work 12 hour shifts and there is no such thing as leave.
Just when you thought you can relax with that small pay raise and that miniscule increase in bonus, the govt motivates you to work harder by increasing utilities rate, transport cost and GST. This is all done for your own good so you don't become lazy. In case you're ever short of money, there are many kind banks & individuals (called loan sharks) who are only too happy to help you. After you take a loan from them, you will feel even more motivated to work hard.
The govt is also going to motivate the richest 2% of the population and highly profitable corporations. They are motivated by the reverse of what drives the ordinary citizens - for these corporations, the govt is considering corporate tax cuts.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that knows what makes this country tick. It prescribes the appropriate form of incentives for different people. Of course those high income rich & corporations can leave anytime and hence have to be motivated differently from ordinary Singaporeans who are sort of stuck in Singapore so you dish almost anyting out to them
Our internet video maker autowoofz has created a new video to pay tribute to the PAP govt's method of motivating the populace. It is called Money, money, money....enjoy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Evils of Welfare in Singapore!!!

"Welfare has been treated like a dirty word in Singapore--and rightfully so" - PM Lee said.
I guess that is why they use all other words like Workfare and Comcare that are not found in the Oxford Dictionary. No wonder our poor folks get confused when they go and look for welfare they get this dirty look and they are turned away because technically there is no welfare. Wonder if that was what happened to Mr. Tan.
I totally support PM Lee's assertion that welfare will totally fiscally destroy us. It will plunge us all into poverty and drown us in deficits. Some of you will say that almost every single 1st World country including our perpetual competitor Hong Kong give out welfare to the poor without hurting their competitiveness. But they are different. Our competitiveness is build mainly on cheap labor and low wages ..and not driven by entrepreneurship, creativity and private enterprise. Whenever we go into recession CPF is cut, wages are frozen is always low wages that bail us out everytime there is a recession. We are different from other 1st world countries:
  • There are no independent unions to protect low wage workers because the PAP tells us that is a bad thing.
  • There is no minimum wage to ensure that those who have full time jobs are paid enough for basic subsistence.
  • There is minimal retrenchment benefits because PM Lee said that you have to make it easy for businesses to fire workers so they won't hesitate to hire.
  • Businesses can import labor easily to keep labor costs down. There are no rules that they have to show they cannot get locals first before they hire from overseas. They can well hire foreigners just because they are younger.
  • Basic utilities such as power, water and transport are run by profitable govt linked entities who can easily raise prices to maintain profitability.

Think about it. You combine the 5 things above and the lack of welfare. What kind of system do you get? A uniquely Singapore system that favors business growth above everything else.....more progress, more GDP growth, more millionaires, higher prices. See how wonderful a system we have for the power elites that rule over us.

When labor is not cheap and not importable like in Singapore in the early 1990s, it encourages better management of labour which are treated as a precious commodity that has to be motivated, trained and retained for the long term. These days workers are treated like expendables ...always on short contracts, readily retrenched. I guess the PAP govt just wants to make life more interesting for us by giving us more challenges and job changes so we get some variety in our boring lives.

See how important it is to preserve this system like what our MM said. For him and his elites, this is the system worth preserving.

So after debating in parliament for 3 days over this topic of poor Singaporeans, the grand conclusion is GST has to be increased to 7%. Nothing else will change. ...still no minimum wages, no welfare, etc. Thank goodness the system is preserved. I was worried with all those heart rending speeches by elite PAP MPs and the great show of empathy...and show of sympathy for lesser Singaporeans something in our system will change....but nothing did change. ...only the GST changed.

Singaporeans are so lucky to be governed by an enlightened govt. One that is always worried about how the evils of welfare will undermine our work ethics and make us lazy. It is for our own good that we have no minimum wage for basic subsistence so that we are always motivated by the hunger to succeed hunger I mean real hunger the type they have in N. Korea. This system is maintained for our own good. That is why they need to control the Internet, eliminate people like CSJ and ban FEER, because there is only one TRUTH in Singapore and the truth is the PAP always work for your best interest. Even if you don't like it, they have rules to make sure you cannot protest, so you don't waste any time and spend more time watching TV and shopping.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

GST increase to 7% to help poor & old!!!

Yes, to help the poor & old contribute to the PAP govt, the GST will be increased to 7%. As the old don't pay income tax, they have no chance to show their appreciation to the PAP govt, this GST increase will help them to contribute something. As an inclusive society, they now don't have to feel left behind because they contribute less tax, they will catch up soon.
See how the PAP helps the poor & old in our society. Other countries use progressive taxation to make the rich pay more tax and use it to help the poor. In Singapore where the poor find it hard to make ends meet, they need to spend all their income without saving. Hence when the GST is increased, the tax burden for the poor for them becomes more challenging....see how the PAP improve the lives of the poor by giving them more challenges.
Remember a few days ago, the PAP MPs were complaining about the sub-standard behavior of Singaporeans - always whining and whingeing. hard to govern. Why don't you be like citizens of other countries? Say, like the people of our perpetual competitor Hong Kong. Yes see what the Hong Kong people did when their govt tried to impose GST:

In Singapore, people will just whine and whine ...and do nothing. Now you can see clearly what our MPs are complaining about.

You can trust that the PAP govt will use the 2% to help the poor not to fund their favorite 'jump on the bandwagon' investments such as Biotech, Digital Media & Water Treatment. The purpose of the 2% increase in GST is to help the poor and NOT to cut the income tax of the rich and reduce corporate tax. It is REALLY to HELP the poor ...and NOT what Steve Chia predicted in 2002:

"Looking at the trend, I am quite certain
that there are going to be more cuts in the personal
income and corporate tax rates in the future.
To make up for this revenue loss, it is certain that the
Government is going to raise GST even higher.
So before this GST is increased to 5%, 7%,
9% or even higher in future,
I hope the Government can plan ahead
and institute a system to exempt
certain essential staple items from GST.
Do not wait until there is
great social discontent to do it. "
- Steve Chia 2002 Parliament Debate on Budget : link

See Steve Chia was always misreading the intent of our caring govt. The purpose of GST increases is to help the poor and not the rich. The PAP govt is always trying to close the income gap and not to exacerbate it. Singaporeans are so lucky to have such a good government!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More Rules to Regulate the Internet!

"When I read the Internet, then I read the Straits Times Forum,
it seems like there are 2 different Singapores. I think the reality
is somewhere in between...." - MP Baey Yam Keng, 8 Nov 2006
I know many of you share the same concerns as MP Baey. When you read a high quality newspaper like the Straits Times and compare it with the contents on the Internet, you realised there is little correlation. The Internet is unregulated, unedited and uncensored.
The PAP govt is extremely concerned that the Internet will exert a harmful influence on the minds of Singaporeans. It might cause them to become confused, angry and worst of all unappreciative of the PAP govt. It seems that a growing number of mischievous Singaporeans who were powerless before the Internet Age because their views would have been censored, deleted or corrected- never see the light of day.....are now actively blogging or posting to unauthorised forums. These people threaten to undermine our system that depends on the Straits Times & traditional media to explain the govt's policy and views clearly to the people without confusing alternative angles. It is for our own good that something be done the negative influence of the Internet can be removed.
Although my blog has been setup to help neutralise the harmful influence of the Internet by encouraging people to read the Straits Times more often and learn to be appreciative of the govt, the number of bloggers out to confuse Singaporeans with alternatives have grown at an accelerated pace. It is now necessary for our esteemed govt to introduce more legislation to regulate the Internet:
Internet users could face punishment for defamation and making
"statements that cause public mischief"
or for "the wounding of racial feelings".
Documents, including film or sound recordings,
sent over the internet could be subject to criminal prosecution. - Financial Times
Public mischief - many people are uncertain what this means. Some people say it can mean anything. Oh come on don't be ridiculous!!! The PAP is not so draconian! The PAP govt is reasonable. My take is what public mischief means is views that contradicts the official ideas of the PAP govt or the truth as stated in the Straits Times...all else will harm Singaporean's minds because it confuses them and hence can be interpreted as mischief.
"If our esteemed PM says there is 'harm' in Mee Siam,
then it is mischievous to say there is no 'harm'. " - Lucky Tan
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that cares for them enough to protect from the harm to our minds caused by the Internet. I'm sure the harm is there because the govt says so. It is for our own good that we are protected.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Elite Leaders DISAPPOINTED with Singaporeans!

See what you have done my fellow Singaporeans. You have totally disappointed our esteemed leaders with your sub-standard behaviour. Our leaders have already made such a huge sacrifice in their lives to lead a group of people not worthy of their leadership and many still fail to appreciate their momentous effort.
It is time for you Singaporeans to ruminate on this and show some appreciation.
The PAP MPs feel strongly that Singaporeans have become poor role models for children. They specifically cited the example of Singaporeans calling up HDB when they have problems with their neighbors. When I was living in the kampong 25 yrs ago and neighbors had problems with each other, they would met at an open field with their parangs & choppers ....and threatened to dig out the other person's intestines. After some extreme shouting, the differences were always settled without spilling any intestines. Singaporeans these days really lack resilence and have to depend on HDB to step in to solve this type of problem. They should just go to the void deck to settle their differences.
Our elite MPs are also disappointed with Singaporeans addiction to PAP govt's efficiency. It is indeed true that Singaporeans are totally reliant on the govt. We depend on the govt for public housing which take 25 yrs to pay, utilities which takes up 10% of the income of an average household, for the roads which we pay road tax & ERP everyday and for the public transport which recently had a fare increase. We are indeed totally dependent on famed efficency the PAP govt - that is why they have no choice by to make us pay for this efficiency.
I really feel sorry that our specially selected elites are put through such a terrible experience of looking after people who are unworthy of their leadership. These people lack grace and civiity. Worse still, they are quick to demand their rights and condemn others for not showing care. Our elite MPs only get $13k allowance a month to perform their MP role part-time, yet they have to face such indecent and unreasonable demand by Singaporeans for their basic rights. Did these people get 10 As for their 'O' levels to deserve their rights? Did they go to Harvard Business School? They are not worthy or deserving of any rights. Besides they already have food and TV to what else could they possibly want. Our MPs have such an underdeveloped sense of entitlement they accepted this poorly paid part time MP job to listen to your problems...I really feel so sorry they are under appreciated for their huge sacrifice.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have such a good govt with highly qualified MPs; specially chosen elites who show that they truly care for the people. We have to show our appreciation for their effort. We must stop complaining about our fears and worries. Anyway, they have already upgraded most estates with gardens and fountains. For me, whenever I fear for my future, I go to the blue dolpin fountain near my house and watch the water flow, and it works everytime. My worries melt away and my fears need to see MP anymore. Now you know why estate upgrading is so important. Please be more self reliant and check out where the nearest fountain or garden is.

Singapore to pass RECURSIVE law!!!

If you thought our govt has lost its creativity, don't worry! They are as innovative as ever.

THE police could soon have the power to stop and detain any group of five or more people they suspect of gathering together to plot a crime (see article below)...any crime.
It is a crime to gather to plan a crime.
Therefore, it is a crime to gather to plan a gathering to plan a crime
Therefore, it is a crime to gather to plan a gathering to plan a gathering to plan a crime. etc etc.
So if you start meeting a group of friends regularly you have to ask them in 10 years time, will they ever gather to plan a crime. If they gather to plan a crime, the gathering before that is also a crime, and the gathering before that is also a crime, ...and the before that is also a crime and so is therefore a crime to meet them for the first time.
I ponder long and hard about the purpose of this law and realised it is because the PAP care alot about ordinary citizens. They want us to mix with good company not dangerous people with initials C.S.J. If you join a gathering or meeting, you have to be sure it won't lead to another meeting that leads to another meeting that leads to another that results in 4 people being surrounded by men in blue. See how much the govt cares about you? They care so much they don't want you to mix with potential criminals.

----- ------------------
Nov 10, 2006
Plotting a crime? Police can soon detain any such group
Laws on unlawful assembly will be extended to cover all offences
By Ben Nadarajan

THE police could soon have the power to stop and detain any group of five or more people they suspect of gathering together to plot a crime.
Plans to extend the laws covering unlawful assembly mean that it would be an offence to meet for the purpose of planning any crime, rather than just certain offences currently specified under the Penal Code.
At the moment, such gatherings are illegal only if the offence they are plotting, among other things, carries a punishment of six months' jail or more, or affects public tranquillity.
The planned revisions to the Penal Code would remove these provisions so that the law covers all offences.
The punishment for unlawful assembly would remain the same; a maximum of six months in jail, or a fine, or both.
This change echoes a Court of Appeal case more than a decade ago, when prosecutors appealed against the acquittal of 25 gamblers charged with unlawful assembly. Since the maximum punishment for gambling is six months' jail, they had been cleared of the crime.
A five-judge court ruled that unlawful assembly should be applicable to the plotting of all crimes.
Asked about the amendment to the law, the president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers, Mr Subhas Anandan, said: 'It would be interesting to know what's the background behind why the ministry felt it was necessary to change this.'
Some lawyers suggest it could be a response to the increasing number of youth gangs, which are increasingly responsible for offences like stealing, rioting and public mischief. Last year, 4,594 youths were arrested for various crimes.
Civil society groups fear it gives too much power to the police to make arrests.
Think Centre president Sinapan Samydorai said: 'The discretion of deciding when a group of five people are planning a crime falls on the police when it should be the courts which decide this.
'I also find it strange as it contradicts the Government's notion of encouraging civil society to open up.'
Lawyer Amolat Singh said he did not think civil society groups are the target of the amended law, saying 'present laws would be enough to muzzle them if that were the Government's aim'.
He added: 'On the contrary, with the changes, civic groups should plan for proper control of their proceedings and nip any possible degeneration...into an unlawful assembly by arranging for appropriate officials, security and so on.'

Friday, November 10, 2006

Elitism 301 : Transforming Meritocracy to Elitism.

Elitism 201 is found here

Steps for transforming Meritocracy to Elitism:

1. Merit was assessed in one-off fashion, rather than continuously. An individual, once labelled inadequate, has little opportunity whereas opportunity is redirected to those labeled as bright . It also meant that membership of the elite came with lifetime tenure. Under that system, the chosen could relax and coast over long period, while the less fortunate were condemned for life. With the scholarship, come the job, with the job comes the career, with the career comes the superscale pay. After all that a select group get to the tea sessions & interviews for selection to represent the people.

2. Merit was defined narrowly. (e.g. an IQ test or exam scores) The gifted artist or sportsman might not do well on other measures of talent. This compounded the lack of second chances.
3. Socio-economic background as a confounding factor. Tests do not measure intrinsic potential, but its manifestation at the time of testing. The child of wealthy parents has access to the best tutors, expensive schools and maybe even a chauffeur so she can spend an extra 2 hours a day studying rather than sitting on public transport. The exact same child, if raised in a disadvantaged background, will probably do less well. Today a primary one student has to know English, write essays and take oral exams, the starting line has been shifted to favor the wealthy who can afford the prepartory courses, the tuition and Montissori. In another country, they will ask these over-zealous parents to go fly a kite and start teaching from foundation up.
4. Those adjudged to have merit became a social class without room for others. This new social elite sought only to reproduce themselves, building further barriers to entry. Old boys club, power elite relations & connections etc ensure doors are shut to others who are just as able.
5. Lack of social obligation. The elite were not particularly concerned about helping those less well off. If called to serve they have to be compensated due to their overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Some even have the nerve to take $1M paychecks for public service. Others working part time as people's representatives take back $13K in allowance and want to keep their full time jobs. As elitism take root fewer people are willing to serve unless they are over-compensated due to their overdeveloped sense of entitlement...basically greed.
Once selected (not elected) to represent the people. They perpetuate the system that puts them on top. It is necessary to project empathy and care for the people to avoid criticism. The govt can even claim that vast sums are set aside for the poor and underprivilege but quietly put in high barriers and regulation so that they face humiliation and distress when they try to access it. The discussion of helping the poor to level the playing field goes on forever without the situation ever improving because there is no real intent to move away from pro-business policies but merely to allay the fears of the ordinary citizen. As they talk, the income gap grows and then they talk somemore. Real solutions such as a safety real social net, minimum wages and empowerment of low skilled workers will never materialise because the plan to keep the current system going - business as usual.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that shows its care and concern. Everyday when I get home, I can't wait to get my hands on the Straits Times to read the kind words of our PAP MPs whose outpouring of sympathy for the poor appears so genuine. Every year they have to pour out more and more sympathy because there seem to be more Singaporeans to sympathise with as our GINI index increases. Some people propose simplistic ideas like a social safety net or unemployment benefits or minimum wage to solve the problem. ....but I totally disagree with such approaches because once they are put in place our MPs will not get a chance to show that they care. BTW, US is raising its minimum wage again and economists say it will have little negative impact on the economy....they have implemented minimum wages for decades anyway. In Singapore the govt works on an even more powerful reverse idea minimising wages instead of minimum wages - this is done by opening the floodgates to foreign imported labor from 3rd world countries who are willing to work for pittance because once they get back to their home countries they are kings with whatever pay they get here. See how smart our govt is at minimising the wages of our low income laborers......woa so smart instead of minimum wage...they go for minimising wages.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Breaking News : Rumfeld Resigns, Democrats takes the House.

.....senate down to the wire - one seat in Virginia still undecided less than 0.5% margin separating candidates.

"To our enemies don't mistake our election system as a weakness,
our liberty and democracy are our strength,
it is why our troops in Iraq are fighting so hard...."
- President Bush's speech after US Congress election results.
Rumsfeld resigns so that a 'new perspective' on the Iraq war can emerge.
I really feel sorry for Americans. They have this horrible election system don't know the outcomes of elections until the votes counted. There is enormous stress on the American people who don't know who will lead them until after the elections...... how do they sleep at night with so much uncertainty?
Issues are thoroughly debated and views of competing candidates presented to the voters for them to make a decision. This is terrible..... the voters have to think and decide who will best represent their interest.
I'm surprise given the length of the campaign and numerous heated debates none of the candidates have been sued for defamation.
Clearly there's plenty of room for improvement of American Democracy:
1. They should have a panel of esteemed former leaders pre-select and give their stamp of approval for certain candidates through coffee sessions and interviews. This will ensure quality among approved candidates so that voters have a default choice. It is too hard and too much work for voters to decide for themselves.
2. They should shorten the campaign period to make the process quick and efficient. 9 days should be will minimise the disruption to voters' shopping & TV viewing.
3. The media should play a bigger role to make it easier for voters to decide. They should highlight and warn about timebombs and poisons that some unapproved candidates might try put up.
4. They should give something more tangible for voters to think about. getting infrastructure development funding if approved candidates are elected in their state. This will give votes who don't understand the issues something to look forward to.
5, They should put the Election Commision under the authority of President Bush so he can have something creative to do such as redrawing state boundaries in his spare time.
6. They should put a serial number on every ballot and have it read aloud by an elections officer before the voter cast his vote. For all intent and purpose, the serial number useless but it gives the voter some numbers for his TOTO.
I think the American system has a long way to go before it catches up with a well designed system like the one in Singapore. Singaporeans can just sit back relax and still get the best govt in the world without going through the stress of pondering over issues and dealing with a multitude of views and arguments.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So did we win the Biotech bet?

3 years ago:


Our elites are very good at thinking up new bets, it is called helicopter vision. I particularly like the bet on Biotech because it took courage and vision to tell thousands of students to switch to life sciences and spend billions in tax payers money. Biotech took alot of courage ....why? Because Singapore had no comparative advantage in this area at all. Many Biotech companies have been around for decades in the US and they are finding the going very tough because of generic drugs, and the fact they have to now struggle to discover drugs for diseases that affect fewer people(orphan drugs). Even a blockbuster like Viagra has 3 competitiors. US has a large population base, numerous hospitals with patient data on diseases and a critical mass of R&D personel to tap on. Singapore had none of these yet we wanted to take on the Americans. This is because our elites had enormous faith in the ability of Singaporeans to go into this area.

The first step is to spend of millions - on buildings and big name researchers to get this whole thing started. After that using Singaporean tax payers money to fund numerous research projects. Then we train the Singaporeans students to wash test tubes. The next step is critical with all these things set up we now try to attract big biotech firms to set up R&D here, because they like operating in the US we have to offer them incentives to come. A few of them did come to hire the foreign talents and have Singaporeans wash the test tubes. Somehow, this whole setup will benefit Singaporeans because of huge number of test tubes that need to be washed.

So did we win the Biotech bet? .....The PAP govt never loses at anything!! No matter what happens we still have the casino, water research, digital media and hubs to keep us going.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

MM Lee explains Shin Corp deal!

"Yes Singapore has an inclusive society,
just that some people are more included than others...." - Lucky Tan.
Finally, we someone with enough curiosity to ask MM Lee about Shin Corp. Singaporeans have generally lost their curiosity about such matters after many years of conditioning in our education system and reading the Straits Times, a number of Opposition troublemakers (CSJ + company) are facing serious criminal charges for speaking in public.........and the Straits Times reporters have more important things to write about such as explaining the concept of an inclusive society. With no one among Singapore's 4 million citizens to ask questions surrounding the potential loss of $1+ billion in Shin Corp, it was left to an American exchange student called Jonathan Fox to do it. Thank you Jonathan Fox for asking MM Lee about Shin Corp on our behalf.....we are too busy thinking about which LCD TV to buy for our living rooms to concern ourselves with such issues....also some of us don't like knocks on our door at midnight asking us to go for interviews at ISD to explain why our curiosity is not inspired by some weird dangerous ideology.
MM Lee's reply to Jonathan Fox is so brilliant that I have to reproduce it here for you to appreciate. It is clear from the reply that his fabled databank is still very much intact.
"To the outside world curious to know the inner workings of Temasek or GIC, it is unnecessary secrecy. But we have reasons for that. Some we are prepared to disclose others we are not".
Ooi Jonathan Fox please don't try to find out about our GIC investment secrets for returning 5.3% a year after inflation. It is for the privileged few in our inclusive society to know about it. I'm sure as an American, you yearn for such a spectacular performance for your money but the GIC works for the interest of Singaporeans. I can see your envy of not having the GIC manage your money for a 5.3% inflation adjusted return, I suggest you do the next best thing of putting your money with this old American investor call Buffett. ...although he fund is essentially a 4 man operation and is no match for the hundreds of best elite scholar minds our GIC hire, as an American you don't have much of a choice.
"This system exists on the basis of integrity. Starting from the top right through, there are checks and balances - not from the media but part of the system". The Shin Corp investment involved a vast sum of money but the deal was "completely above board".
Oh Jonathan, don't you know the Singapore govt only makes honest mistakes because it has the highest level of integrity? Yes, they honestly lost money in Micropolis and Shin Corp....and Singaporeans are perfectly comfortable with it because proper procedure has been applied. The PAP is the only govt in the world with the ability of checking and balancing itself without strong opposition and an independent investigative media. Of course some of you cynics might argue that it is impossible for a cookie cutter system that produce the same mindset in our upper echelons to produce any kind of balance. I'm sure this false impression is created because our top civil servants & ministers seem to speak the same way and answer our questions in the same manner. You see they all use the same govt template and script writers although they are actually independent in their thinking...get it?
"It can withstand any investigation. Nobody doubts that, nobody within the system doubts that. The people who man the system are all absolutely above board...."
I'm sure every approval form was signed and there are no spelling errors. We can all take comfort in the fact that all proper procedures have been faithfully followed by Temasek Holdings in its purchase of Shin Corp. There is no need to compile lessons learned because this deal is professionally conducted and not predicated on who is the leader of Thailand. If you look at it as a long term investment that has the potential of making us a great fortune from the Thai middle class sometime in the future, the present loss in value is just a small $1+ billion blip that we can live with. Anyway, as Singaporeans did our lives become twice as good when Temasek Holdings assets rose from $50B to $100B? ....that is why Singaporeans don't really bother much whether Temasek has $10B or $200B, it has nothing much to do with ordinary Singaporeans who can't get jobs at Temasek Holdings anyway.
Singaporeans are lucky to have a govt that maintains such a huge reserve and massive assets. In other countries, the people would have put a stop to it and ask that it be returned to the people as fee reductions and financial aid for the poor. This massive reserves are build on the hard work of ordinary Singaporeans who take an average of 20 years to settle their mortgages for public housing and ensure that GLC monopolies such as utility companies, telcos and transport are kept profitable by fees increases. The reserves are indeed important ......very important, if ever an event or economic crisis threaten the stability of the PAP govt, they can use the reserves to overcome the problems and stay in power forever. See how lucky ordinary Singaporeans are? The huge reserves they help to build up will ensure that their beloved govt stay in power for a long time.