Saturday, February 25, 2006

NKF Regulators - No wrong done!

Yes it has been another honest mistake. Mr. Khaw said the regulator accepted the criticisms but added that "it is easy to criticise such shortcomings on hindsight". The MOH has concluded that no wrong is done by the regulator.

Durai and the NKF board fooled everyone, including ordinary Singaporeans, ministers and the patron. Although ordinary Singaporeans sounded out warnings - they were sued for defamation by Durai - so nobody bothered to check. In fact Lim Hng Kiang vigorously defended NKF in 2004 . Mr. Khaw himself defended NKF for keeping huge reserves - I guess it was very difficult for the Health Minister to know many kidney patients there are and how much is needed for dialysis. Of course when a forum writer wrote recently that there are profit motivated private clinics in Singapore providing cheaper dialysis than NKF, we cannot expect Khaw to know about this although he promised to work diligently for Singaporeans to cut medical cost and keep it affordable. He doesn't seem to know much about cost of dialysis that was incurred by thousands of Singaporeans. I guess he doesn't know about the cleaner in my company who was billed $70,000 at subsidised class "C" charges when his premature child was hospitalised in ICU for 5-6 months + 2 intestinal operations . You also won't hear about this because the govt does not want to worry you, they are very considerate. But go ask around anyone whose parents or child was put in ICU. I think it is time to increase Mr. Khaw's pay so he can work even harder to find out all this and help Singaporeans cope with higher medical cost.

Excerpt of letter by Leong Sze Hian in the Forum Page of The Straits Times of 21 Dec 2005

"...On Dec 31, 2001, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) revoked NKF's Institution of Public Character (IPC) status, which meant that the NKF could not issue tax-exemption receipts to donors."
"But less than a month later, in January 2002, the Health Ministry restored NKF's IPC status, administered by the Ministry of Health Endowment Fund, despite the NCSS having informed the ministry of its observations of NKF."
"Why was the above not disclosed, such that it was never reported in the media?"
"Is not the termination of IPC status of Singapore's largest charity - by amount of donations - a matter of interest and grave public concern?..."

The NKF incident shows us that whatever crisis problems or scandals should occur our ministers who are men of great foresight can never be blamed. Anything that cannot be foreseen by their great foresight and judgement, is the result of honest mistakes that can only be identified through hindsight. It helps to have a media that will reach the same conclusions and give ordinary Singaporeans a consistent picture. That will give them confidence in their leaders and help them continue with their happy lives knowing they are led by the best people. Singaporans are so lucky to have such good leaders control them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Our founder S. Rajaratnam has passed on....

Our Pledge

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.
- S Rajaratnam, 1966.
As we march on, let us never forget the ideals that our founding father has laid out. Democracy, Justice and Equality, these were the ideals that motivated us to break free from our colonial masters. I'm so glad that the PAP continues to strive for these ideals especially Democracy.
"As we march on it is crucial to have leaders who are able to see through the illusions, the confluence of positive events and the lucky mistakes of our enemies - this is one off and will never ever happen again. Singapore is always on a one way path, we are either going up or down. But when we go down, we will stay down...." - S. Rajaratnam.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Have you peeked into your Goodie Bag?

I go for the Big Walk every year. You know why so many people turn up for the Big Walk? Not for the exercise. but because the money you pay entitles you to a goodie bag that is worth more than the money paid. Every year thousands would just do away with the "walk" and just short cut to the finishing line waiting for the goodie bag queue to open. Many buy more than one ticket to collect a whole lot of goodie bags. After that, you get the thrill of the lucky draw for the car and many other prizes - you have to stick around to win the car.

You know Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that knows what they want. I peeked into my goodie bag and it was worth a cool $600. I feel so happy. But I feel they (the govt) should make our elections even more exciting, just like the Big Walk. They should organised a lucky draw after the elections with the type of prizes like XBox, computers and cars. The polling box containing your votes will be used for the draw. Your vote which is you lucky draw ticket is valid only if you vote for the PAP. They can use the serial number to find you when you win the prize. That will really spice up the elections and make Singaporeans even happier. Goodie Bag + Lucky Draw ....what more can we ask for in this coming elections? ...Democracy..transparency.. accountability....freedom of speech....good heavens of course not! These words means nothing to Singaporeans. It is the goodies that are tangible, it is real, I can't wait to spend mine on a FinePix camera, it will be so cool to own one.

Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that knows what they want. If you really want the thrill of a lucky draw, I suggest you keep the money and use it when our casino opens - our leaders have done so much to get these casinos. See how much they care for your interest and will stop at nothing to make you happy....... goodie bag, casinos, bar top dancing, crazy horse...what more can a person ask for ....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New Laws to curb Electioneering on the Internet....

Just saw it over the TV yesterday night. Although I spent the whole night pondering what "electioneering" means, I realise that anything can be interpreted as electioneering - the statement that "the Worker's Party is composed of people with poisonous ideas waiting to timebomb us" can be considered electioneering for the PAP. I guess the PAP does not want to be accused of having an unfair advantage and given that it is such a popular govt with widespread support among the people of Singapore, it has to be considerate to the weak Opposition parties that do not enjoy widespread support and are vulnerable to attacks (sometimes anonymous) on the Internet.

The PAP govt with its great sense of fairness, will address the problem of electioneering on the Internet by curbing it. Now we will all get most of our information from the Straits Times & MediaCorp which will be objective in its reporting of the elections. ....despite being owned by the govt. This is totally consistent with PM Lee wanting to be more open in the coming years.

As much as I want to support the PAP during the elections and protect our citizens from harmful alternative ideas, I have little choice but to shutdown my website once the elections is announced. I have to respect the PAP govt desire to level the playing field for the Opposition. I have spoken to my lawyer friend on this matter and it is clear their is no other choice. But don't worry my Singaporeans, the professional reporters from Straits Times such as Chua Mui Hoong, Clarence Chang and Chua Lee Hoong will provide full coverage of the elections and there will be no loss when I shut my blog. Paik Choo will supply the humor........

The PAP will emerge victorious, there is little doubt...... all of us will be winners at the end of the day. Our future will be bright with the PAP govt which does everything in our interest and spare no effort to build the best home for all of us.

My blog will be around until the elections start....

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Wow Wow Budget!!!!

Yes the PAP has not forgotten anyone!! Although nothing is given out to people when they needed it most during the 2003 SARS recession, it is just sheer coincidence that it is being given out now before the elections which are expected in March or May this year. Since the govt also claimed that the economy is fine, jobless rate is low and everyone is prospering - some smart alecs among us might conclude that the budget is just for the purpose of sweetening the voters before the elections....rubbish I say to these people. With so many sales at Harvey Norman, Courts and Best Denki, Singaporeans need money more than ever before to take advantage of these sales.

Although I don't need the money for necessities, I'll be getting $700 ($100 for serving my NS 20+ years ago and $600 for staying in a 4 room flat). My plan is to use the money for the latest FujiFilm FinePix Camera - I'll be so happy to play with such a cool gadget. The PAP budget is vastly superior to the Worker's Party poisonous idea of giving money only to those who need it most - jobless, sick, poor and elderly. Giving more money to these people would mean no money everyone to go shopping for the latest gadgets. That is why many Singaporeans are disappointed with the Worker's Party poisonous timebomb idea. ....see how concerned the PAP is for everyone in this budget. As long as you're not unemployed, sick, old or poor, the money given out is an extra pocket money that can be used for gadgets or eating at Crystal Jade Restaurant. See how generous the PAP govt is.

Yes the good news just goes on and on for Singaporeans....... I wonder if the good news will by sheer coincidence dry up after the elections like the last time and fee hikes suddenly become unavoidable shortly after elections....

The good news gravy train - extreme overload ------

"Higher wages seen for Singapore workers as job market tightens" "Singapore businesses optimistic in first half of 2006" "Singapore's employment in 2005 at all-time high of 2.3 million" "Singapore's economy expected to continue prospering: PM Lee" "$1b help for low-wage earners" "NTUC aim: Make 10,000 jobs pay more this year " "Record 32m pass through Changi Airport" "Foreign Trade hits record $716b" "RECORD panel recommends financial incentives for NSmen" "Private and HDB home prices move up" "Panel recommends incentive package for companies to hire older workers" "More workers expected to find jobs in 2006: NTUC Chief " "Biomedical sciences industry may exceed government's 2015 target" "NTUC to set up $50m fund to help low-wage workers upgrade their skills " "S'pore strong trade performance expected to continue into H1 2006" "Medisave withdrawal limit to be raised from $300 to $400 from April" "Singapore expects strong manufacturing investments in 2006 " "Strong jobs gains show Singapore employers hiring for growth: analysts " "Jalan Besar Town Council unveils $517m estate upgrading plan" "S&C and rental rebates for 700,000 households" "Sembawang Town Council to spend $570m on renewal plan" "Civil servants to get 1.75 month year-end bonus" "12% of Singapore employers to increase hiring in Q1: survey " "Singapore created 28,500 jobs in Q3 " "Singapore raises economic growth forecast to around 5% for full year" "ComCare Fund disburses $8.7m to help low income households" "East Coast Town to undergo S$500m renewal programme " "HDB upgrading programme speeds up with 64 precincts chosen for 2006 " "Jobless rate down to 2.5%. Lowest in 4 years" "More Jobs Than Ever Before As The Tide Turns" "Singapore retailers say festive season sales the best since 2003" "Manufacturing, service sectors optimistic about business conditions" "Singapore's PMI expands for 9th straight month in January" "Singapore's STI ends at six-year high for second day running " "Singapore banks expected to post strong Q4 earnings" "Singaporeans less worried about economy, job security: survey " "SilkAir flew record 134,000 in Dec " "Singapore's M&A market hits record number of deals in 2005 " "SingTel's regional mobile users rise to 78m by end of Dec 2005 " "More SMEs expected to launch IPO this year" "SE Asia a key growth region for many S'pore firms" "Bets still on for global stock market rally despite slow start to year" "Panasonic sets up new semiconductor plant, expands capacity by 25% " "More couples having more children, 2005 birth rates up marginally" "MediaCorp Raintree Pictures' "I Not Stupid Too" beats Jet Li's "Fearless" "More poly graduates finding jobs at higher starting pay: survey" "Gallery outreach, higher incomes drive growing interest in art collecting" "Committee on ageing recommends $10m fund for senior citizens' activities" "Raffles Holdings posts record annual profit of S$678m" "Raffles Medical posts 27% rise in earnings to $12m for 2005" "S'pore sees increased entrepreneurial activity" "APB reports 16% rise in Q1 profit to S$39.4m" "More amenities, upgrading works for growing GRC" "Ang Mo Kio to be upgraded into 'seamless town', says PM" "Barrier-free access soon in all housing estates, transport system" "Surplus to be shared, says DPM Wong" "Drug abuse arrests hit yet another record low in 2005" "CPF members to receive bonus under DPS" "Number of school dropouts down: Education Ministry" "S'pore received record number of tourists in 2005" "Singapore's Q4 GDP up annualised 13%, 2006 growth forecast raised to 4%-6%" "Wages up, most companies adopting flexible wage system" "Singapore's December retail sales up 7.4% to S$2.8b"
"SIA passenger traffic up in January"

Friday, February 17, 2006

NUS Students Protest!!!

NUS Students PROTEST !!!! First the NTU students protest, now NUS students. All the protests, related to fee hikes.

What is this?! Who do these students think they are? How dare they protest just because their school fees is increased by 3%. !These students should be taught a lesson for endangering our society. What kind of Singapore citizens will they become when they grow up?! Singaporeans have been trained and conditioned to accept all forms of fee hikes - ERP, HDB, PUB, GST Telephone, bus and MRT etc, without a whimper of protest. If you're not happy with the fee hikes, there are proper channels such as using the suggest box, writing to the Straits Times forum, the feedback unit and seeing your MP. Of course, no fee hike has ever been reversed..... these channels exist so that you can vent your anger and listen to explanations on why the hikes are inevitable. Once you learn to accept fee hikes, you will be a much happier Singaporean because hikes occur so frequently. These students have to be taught a lesson for their own good. If they are unhappy about their miniscule school fees hike, what will they think of HDB flat prices. For their own good they should be thought a lesson so that as adults they can accept future fee hikes more easily.I wonder what have gone wrong with the education of these NUS students. Singaporeans are trained from young to be obedient and not cross the line. From the first day of school, they are thought to obey rules and accept the wise decisions of the PAP govt to hike fees among other things:

1st Social Entrepreneur Winner Announced!!!

I thought the group of private clinics providing cheaper than NKF dialysis would deserve the award....or maybe someone who provides low cost housing for poor or jobs for the disabled. ...or someone who champions the rights of the disadvantaged/underprivileged would win the 1st Singapore Social Entrepreneur Award....BUT I WAS WRONG!

The winner of the 1st Singapore Social Entrepreneur is Jack Sim, the founder of WTO. WTO is the World Toilet Organisation. He has spent considerable amount of time designing better toilets. His major achievement last year was to change the building code to have the equal number of male and female toilets. Wonder if this will be imposed at SAF camps.....

Yes in Singapore the state of our toilets is a serious social problem, I'm glad that Jack Sim has done so much to solve it. Of course there are other social problems with 30% of marriages ending in divorce, rising income gap, rising health care cost, problem gambling, battered wives etc ...but as long as its not your problem, who cares ....when it comes to toilets everyone is affected.

I'm so glad that Singapore has decided to honour social entrepreneurs with such an award. Singaporeans are so lucky to have a person like Jack Sim improve their toilet design.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Important Advice for coming elections...!

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong warned before the 1997 poll that constituencies electing opposition candidates would be the last in line for such upgrading. "Then in 20, 30 years' time, the whole of Singapore will be bustling away and your estate, through your own choice, will be left behind. They become slums. That's my message," Mr. Goh was quoted as saying during the campaign.

Let me remind Singaporeans that this piece of sound, wise and very practical advice is as relevant today as the time it was uttered in 1997. Since PM Lee has also explained that there is no pork barrel politics in Singapore....and our PMs are men of the highest integrity, we can safely conclude that opposition wards are last in line because of the bad luck about by the opposition candidates.

I'm sure most of my fellow Singaporeans will try their best to avoid bad luck and they will vote for their own best interest. We can start celebrating our nations glorious future because the men who are selected and agree to join the PAP will be men with the strongest sense of justice, fairplay and mutual respect. Because they are elected on a level playing field, we can expect them to serve the interest of ordinary Singaporeans who did not have the same good fortune as them.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hidden Worker's Party Plot Revealed!!!

Today's Straits Times headlines article, MM Lee explains what Worker's Party's plan is - give enough subsidy to the sick, poor and disadvanged....where does this money come from? ....Get rid of elected Presidency so that the reserves can be used. The PAP has been able "avoid giveaways" because it plans far ahead and well.

I'm so glad that our SM at his very advanced age is still so wise to expose the evil plans of the Opposition parties. I also agree that everything in Singapore is well planned. We have excellent planning all the way from the PAP. Take the stop at 2 family planning policy it is so far sighted, it is so far sighted that one has to really ponder to understand how much deep thinking went into that. 35 years ago, they have the stop at 2 policy, 35 years later the demand from our economic growth is so great we need to have the wonderful FT policy, then the FT policy is found to displace the old and less educated, now we have the ComCare that the PAP can show it cares. Of course, the FT policy is wonderful, it helps to reduce unemployment. The MOM changed the method of computation so that foreign workers (including short term ones) are counted into unemployment figures to give us the lowest unemployment in recent years. See how everything is so well planned and linked in Singapore?! ....A policy 35 years ago can be linked all the way to the present.

The other wonderful piece of planning - CPF + HDB. See the provident fund system left to the British was meant solely for old age but a few farsighted tweakings to allow it to be used for housing and buying SingTel shares. Of course, that led to a rapid rise in prices of HDB flats which means Singaporeans will take up to 2 decades just to pay for their housing. Now they have to work until age beyond 65 to retire at 70. Thanks to this wonderful planning, the old lady who cleaned the hawker center table where I ate my breakfast has something economically useful to do rather than wasting her time away at the park or taking care of her grand children.

Back to the evils of giving subsidy to the needy. Worker's Party horrible 'time-bombs' and dangerous ideas have to purged. If the govt of Singapore gives money to jobless, sick and needy - how is it going to find the money to do more important things like taking over Thaksin's Shin Corp for $3Billion. That will eventually benefit Singaporeans in the future because those with Thai girl friends will be able to make cheaper calls one day due to increase competition among Thai telcos. I guess Thaksin realised that with the cut-throat competition intensifying, it is better for our outstanding Temasek to buy in and run it for the benefit of Singaporeans.

Singaporeans are lucky to have farsighted PAP leaders who plan far ahead for our own good and MM Lee whose shrewd and lucid thinking at an advanced age help to expose the dangers of the Worker's Party Manifesto. We are so lucky to have his daughter-in-law Ho Ching at the helm of Temasek Holdings to make wise investment decisions that will eventually benefit Singaporeans

Friday, February 10, 2006

Politics in Mono.....

Very long ago something like 30+ years ago, my father bought me a radio. The radio only had one speaker which is called mono, stereo wasn't so common in those days of the AM radio. I loved that radio, it was something from nothing. But then came stereo, I still kept that radio....even as the world move to surround sound - 5.1 speaker system, my good old radio is good enough for me. Listening to sound from 5 speakers is just too much for me.

My love for my old radio mirrors my love for the Singapore political system. Even as many countries go beyond Democracy to give its people full transparency in the form of Freedom of Information, I'm glad our politics stayed in "mono". There is only one speaker - the PAP, no stereo or 5.1 surround sound to burden us with diversity of views. Singaporeans for the past 40 years have listened to this mono radio. Why burden yourself with so much information - one source is good enough.

This past weeks the mono radio has been broadcasting nothing but GOOD NEWS..... the endless flow of GOOD NEWS has made all of us so happy. Singaporeans are so lucky to be listening to all this good news. ....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Singaporeans want to get LUCKY!!!

When the govt set out to convince Singaporeans that a casino will be good for them, it promised to tackle problem gambling. Although there has been little effort under the PAP in the past 4 decades to tackle this problem, Singaporeans were persuaded that this time they are serious. Convinced that the PAP govt will now go all out to discourage people from heavy gambling, many Singaporeans supported the casino.

After the initial efforts to set up some kind of help center, little has been since heard. I. for one, have never seen a poster discouraging people from gambling heavily in Singapore.

Today as I walked around near the bus interchange, I met someone and he gave me this brochure.

The brochure from Singapore Pools is promoting a $388 package of Toto & Big Sweep tickets that will increase your chance of winning the $10M Toto prize money. I'm sure quite a number of my fellow ordinary Singaporeans will be attracted by such an offer. Winning the $10M will mean they can retire much earlier than age 70 which Singaporeans are expected to work.

Singaporeans are so lucky to have the Singapore Pools give them a chance to win big money and make their lives better. The govt is so concerned about Singaporeans, it is building a casino that will attract thousands of Singaporeans who will get a chance to win good money....

Monday, February 06, 2006

Potong Pasir Residents get LUCKY!!!!

First the people of Potong Pasir get $1 shark fin soup from Sitoh. That alone would be enough for them to realise how lucky they are not to be abandoned by the PAP. Then Sitoh offers them a 10 year facelift plan. He also planned a mega-tour to Port Dickson. WOW! What more can the people of Potong Pasir ask for?! Chiam tried to upgrade the lifts of a few blocks of flats but his plan was disallowed by the govt. I guess he was just unlucky. But under Sitoh, Potong Pasir residents will get a 10 year facelift plan that will be approved and funded from somewhere. .........

Potong Pasir residents are so lucky to be offered so many goodies before the elections. Under Chiam there's only one bus service in the entire estate bus 142. Under Sitoh, I think they will get lucky and many bus services will start going to Potong Pasir.

Potong Pasir residents just have to apply simple logic - vote for the person who can give you the most. If you're a girl wouldn't you marry the person who gives you the most presents/gifts and makes the best promises? Singaporeans are smart, they know that fairness, democracy , justice and freedom is worth little in a society like ours. Once the $1 shark fin enter the mouth and head for the stomach, it is obvious what the important things in life are : eating well, shopping and tours.

Feb 5, 2006PAP's Sitoh has 10-year facelift plan for Potong Pasir

He hopes to make river running through ward a watersports spot and have lifts on all floors in estates
By Peh Shing Huei
THE People's Action Party (PAP) man in Potong Pasir, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, provided clear indications that he will contest the next election there when he spoke yesterday of his 10-year plan for the opposition-held ward.
WOULD YOU LIKE MORE? Mr Sitoh dishes out food to residents at a Chinese New Year celebration at the Potong Pasir Community Centre. -- SEAH KWANG PENG

Speaking before he helped serve abalone porridge to some 4,000 residents attending a Chinese New Year celebration he hosts annually, he said that he wants to see the constituency transformed. Through what he termed his 'five-plus-five-year' plan - till 2011 and 2016 - he hopes to have lifts upgraded and stopping on every floor as this will benefit the ageing population in HDB estates there.
And the Kallang River, which runs through the ward, will be given a facelift so canoeists and watersports enthusiasts can use it, while joggers and others can have activities along its banks.
Fuller details will be made known over the next two months, he said.
Mr Sitoh, who is adviser to grassroots organisations in the constituency, contested the 2001 election but lost to long-serving Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance by just 751 votes.
He has remained active there since, meeting residents and organising activities, including offering shark's fin soup for $1 during National Day celebrations, free haircuts for senior citizens and organising $88 one-night trips to Port Dickson in Malaysia.
Although there have been rumours recently that these would be suspended if Mr Sitoh loses to Mr Chiam again, the 42-year-old accountant said that such talk was unfounded.
'The ice-cream auntie told me people think that maybe next year, there won't be abalone porridge any more,' Mr Sitoh told residents, speaking in both English and Mandarin.
'But that's not true. We will continue to do these as long as you support us and our programmes.'
He told reporters later that he had obtained approval from the Land Transport Authority and SBS Transit for service 142 - the only bus service in the estate - to ply farther into the Potong Pasir estate.
Still, when asked by reporters yesterday, Mr Sitoh declined to say if the party had confirmed that he would stand against Mr Chiam.
'That's for the Prime Minister to decide,' he said.
Resident Amy Chua, 62, one of Potong Pasir's 16,616 voters in 2001, reckons he has a good chance against Mr Chiam, who has been in Parliament since 1984.
'Mr Sitoh lost narrowly last time, so he should be able to win now,' she said after getting her bowl of porridge, which comes with helpings of abalone.
A Chinese New Year dinner was also held in Hougang last night.
It was attended by Mr Eric Low, the adviser to Hougang grassroots organisations who told The Straits Times on Friday that he would run again against Workers' Party MP Low Thia Khiang despite having lost there in 2001.
He said it again last night, drawing applause from the nearly 1,000 residents at the dinner. He also told grassroots leaders present that he had a message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanking them for their hard work.
Meanwhile, a media training programme for the PAP's potential candidates continued yesterday at its Bedok party headquarters.
At least seven potential candidates were spotted arriving and leaving the session which, among other things, focuses on how to handle the press and field questions during the hustings.
They included a private-sector economist who is active in Bedok, and an associate director at a multinational firm who helps out at Kampong Ubi.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Good news Tsunami hits Singapore !!!!!!!!!!!

Its like a tidal wave of one good news headline after another. Singaporeans are so lucky to be flooded by nothing but good news in the past few weeks. There is no reason for Singaporeans to be unhappy - its just impossible not to be happy. As there is no pork barrel politics in Singapore, all the good news is just sheer coincidence and is totally unrelated to any political event that the govt is preparing for. Here's just a small sample of the headlines:

Higher wages seen for Singapore workers as job market tightens By Wong Choon Mei, Channel NewsAsia Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 01 February 2006 2037 hrs

Singapore businesses optimistic in first half of 2006 Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 01 February 2006 1554 hrs

Singapore's employment in 2005 at all-time high of 2.3 million By Hwee Goh, Channel NewsAsia, Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 01 February 2006 1104 hrs

Singapore's economy expected to continue prospering: PM Lee By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 28 January 2006 0721 hrs

NTUC aim: Make 10,000 jobs pay more this year Straits Times Jan 14, 2006

RECORD panel recommends financial incentives for NSmen By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia, Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 19 January 2006 1702 hrs

Panel recommends incentive package for companies to hire older workers

More workers expected to find jobs in 2006: NTUC Chief

NTUC to set up $50m fund to help low-wage workers upgrade their skills By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia

Medisave withdrawal limit to be raised from $300 to $400 from April

Singapore expects strong manufacturing investments in 2006

Strong jobs gains show Singapore employers hiring for growth: analysts

Jalan Besar Town Council unveils $517m estate upgrading plan By Yvonne Cheong, Channel NewsAsia

S&C and rental rebates for 700,000 households By Sharon Tong, Channel NewsAsia

Sembawang Town Council to spend $570m on renewal plan

Singapore created 28,500 jobs in Q3

ComCare Fund disburses $8.7m to help low income households By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia

East Coast Town to undergo S$500m renewal programme By Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia

HDB upgrading programme speeds up with 64 precincts chosen for 2006 By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia

East Coast Town launches S$500m makeover programme By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

Jobless rate down to 2.5%Lowest in 4 years! Straits Times 1 Feb 2006

Singapore retailers say festive season sales the best since 2003 By Anjana Menon, Channel NewsAsia

Manufacturing, service sectors optimistic about business conditions, Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 01 February 2006 2016 hrs

Singapore's PMI expands for 9th straight month in January By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia

Singapore's STI ends at six-year high for second day running Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 02 February 2006 1818 hrs

Singaporeans less worried about economy, job security: survey By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia Time is GMT + 8 hoursPosted: 03 February 2006 1851 hrs

Singapore Newspapers break World Record for reporting the most good news in a single month!!!, Lucky Tan,, 04 February 2006.

GRC is a wonderful idea.

There seems to be some silence now on the 4 'time-bombs' issue. Probably because the PAP is kind enough to give the opposition a break. It is probably not due the small matter of fanatical irrational angry opposition supporters calling a morning radio current affairs talk show repeatedly to express their views on this matter. Of course, the majority of Singaporeans support the PAP govt on all the 4 poison time-bomb issues. With the help of Straits Times, we can see how poisonous those ideas are. Among them the idea to banish GRC is the most dangerous idea from the Worker's Party. The GRCs is created for the good of Singaporeans and to promote racial harmony:

1. Give minorities representation in Parliament. Although in the past candidates of minority races, say JBJ, E W Baker, Devan Nair, David Marshal...etc were elected to parliament in single wards, the PAP does not want to take it for granted that this will continue to happen. Despite the PAP's success in promoting greater racial harmony over the years, nothing should be left to chance. It is dangerous to eliminate the GRCs. Malaysians are definitely living dangerously without a GRC system to protect their racial harmony. I'm surprised so many countries use other means like proportional representation setting aside a number of seats proportional to the minority population in the country...instead of the superior idea of GRCs. While the minority representation has actually declined since GRCs were introduced, one can always apply the standard PAP argument that it would have been worse without the GRC.

2. GRC getting bigger and bigger. One might think that limiting the GRC size to 3-4 MPs would be best to maintain minority representation, but these days we have GRC size of 6. But this is probably done for the good of Singaporeans, so they have more MPs to serve them. Although I don't have the mental capacity to remember all their names and have never met any of them, I guess I'm probably an exception. Since I have never voted, sometimes I don't even know which GRC my block belongs to because the GRC boundaries keep changing.

3. GRC is a uniquely Singapore Idea. Singaporeans should be proud of this innovation. You see when you decide on an individual, you are able to figure out his values, plans and quality of his character. But for a team? Most people don't bother. Just like those bundled packaged deals that Singaporean shoppers love so much, you just can't figure how much each item is worth....but you buy it anyway because everyone else seems to be doing the same.

Singaporeans are so lucky to have GRCs, they get to vote for a team instead individuals.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Straits Times gets EXCELLENT!!!

Singapore primary school boy went to America for a holiday, when he came back his teacher asked him, "What's interesting about America?"

The Singapore boy said, "Do you know they have many MacDonald's there too...".

MacDonald's .....Yeah but do they have outstanding newspapers like the Straits Times with excellent reporters like Chua Mui Hoong and Sumiko Tan?!

Take this excellent article written by Sumiko Tan about the unthinkable horror of having 4 Opposition members out of 82 seats. Thank goodness we have reporters like her to remind us that the opposition is full of clowns and oddballs, Chiam & Low had "so-so" performance in parliament and Steve Chia loves to be nude. Low won mainly because he spoke Teo chew ...must be because the govt is simply perfect so there were no other reasons. She had a desire for the Opposition when she was in her 20s & 30s. Now that she is old and wise that desire is! My guess is as she gets older, she realises that the PAP treats the elderly well, finding them jobs so they can work well into their 70s to earn enough money for basic necessities. Sumiko also says she is "secretly relieved" everytime the PAP wins in her constituency - who wouldn't be, with all the goodies & upgrading at stake. To think of having true Democracy is an idealistic thought held by 20-somethings, yes other countries with full blown democracy are full of idealistic silly people.

See how lucky Singaporeans are to have such an excellent newspaper.

The sound and the fury

Jan 29, 2006

In my 20s and 30s, I desired an opposition in Parliament, never mind what sort of opposition. That desire has since waned. Could age be the reason?

Sumiko Tan

I STILL remember the night Low Thia Khiang became the opposition MP of Hougang back in 1991.

Aug 31 was Polling Day, and what a day it had been.
As the votes were counted that night, it soon became clear that the People's Action Party had, in one fell swoop, lost four single wards.
Potong Pasir was retained by Chiam See Tong, Hougang went to Low of the Workers' Party, and Bukit Gombak went to Ling How Doong and Nee Soon Central to Cheo Chai Chen, both of the Singapore Democratic Party, led by Chiam then.
Four seats to the opposition? Unthinkable! Singapore had seen, at most, two opposition members since the PAP came into power in 1959, when Chiam and J.B. Jeyaretnam, then leader of the Workers' Party, won at the 1984 general election. Was the PAP not unassailable after all?
It was crazy back in the newsroom and for reporters on the ground that night. Even as we called back our stories, and even as they were furiously being written up to meet the printing deadline, the enormity of what had happened didn't quite sink in.
But when the paper was finally put to bed in the early hours of Sept 1 and as I headed home, it hit me.
Hougang, the area I've lived in all my life, had 'fallen' to the opposition.
I wasn't part of the actual constituency though. My house is on the edge of the Hougang electoral boundary, and was then in the Serangoon Gardens ward.
But I grew up in the area, and I took Low's victory personally. After all, like most residents there, I'm Teochew, and Low had played the Teochew card during his campaign.
Driving home that early morning, I couldn't help it - I made a detour to Hougang.
It was, perhaps, 4.30am then, that no-man's-land hour just before dawn breaks and the cacophony of a new day begins.
Slowly I drove through the deserted streets and looked up at the darkened blocks of flats.
I marvelled at the residents, now asleep, and wondered what made them forsake the entrenched PAP. Who were these heartlanders who helped put an opposition in Parliament? Why did they vote for Low? How did they 'dare'?
Which PAP policies were they unhappy with? Or did they, like the 20something yuppie I was then, subscribe to the notion of Democracy with a capital D, which meant an opposition at all cost?
The word 'brave' kept flitting through my mind.
I circled the area for five minutes, then drove home to my house in my PAP-controlled ward.
I didn't admit it to myself then, but I shall do so now: Flushed though I was with Low's win, at the back of my mind was this thought - Singapore needed an opposition and I thanked the residents of Hougang for giving the country that. But better the opposition MP be in their ward than in mine.
TALK of an upcoming GE is reaching fever pitch and, like any Singaporean with the faintest interest in politics, I can't wait for it to be called.
Politics is serious business, of course, but in my years of covering four GEs (1988, 1991, 1997 and 2001), and one by-election (1992) as a journalist, it had its entertaining moments.
More often than not, they had been provided by the opposition.
As certain as the sun will rise, each GE would throw up its share of opposition oddballs whose main role, it sometimes seemed, was to make clowns of themselves in the run-up to Polling Day.
And so we've seen the likes of 'the slipper man', a candidate who appeared in flip-flops on Nomination Day, and folks with nary a battleplan in mind but who contested just for the publicity.
They have done no favours to the opposition cause.
The problem with the opposition in Singapore - those who have got into Parliament and those who aspire to - is that their impact has been, at best, laudable; at worst, laughable.
When you think of opposition representation over the last 20 years, what do you remember?
Chiam and Low have been generally described as credible, even by the PAP. On the national stage, both have asked the occasional probing question, while on the ground, I suppose they must have done a decent job to have won re-elections.
But the others? I can only recall the rudest outburst ever in Parliament (Ling How Doong), a nervous, mumbling figure who hardly spoke (Cheo Chai Chen), and a nude photo-taking controversy (NCMP Steve Chia).
It is estimated that at any one time, about 30 per cent of the population are against the ruling party.
Among them are mainly two groups - those disaffected by the ruling party's policies, and those who believe in opposition for opposition's sake.
Back when I was in my 20s and 30s, I belonged to the second group. I wasn't anti-PAP, not by a long shot, but it just seemed 'right' to have an opposition to act as a check on the Government, no matter how good a government is - or how bad the opposition was.
These days, though, I'm not so sure.
Maybe it's because I'm older, less idealistic, less inclined to rock the boat and because I have more at stake, but I think a parliamentary seat should go to the more deserving person, never mind his party colours.
And by deserving, I mean someone who can serve the ground and be an effective voice - and counter-voice - in Parliament.
Besides, if I'm really honest with myself, each time the PAP had been returned to power in my constituency, I was secretly relieved.
Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that things get done faster if your MP is from the PAP. His voice carries more weight, your ward will get more goodies and the value of your home will rise.
So, yes, theoretically and ideologically I still think it will be ideal to have opposition MPs when GE 2006, or 2007, comes around - but only if it is a decent opposition.
Meanwhile, the waiting game continues.
My house has since been designated part of Aljunied GRC, which is touted by pundits to be a 'hot' ward given its proximity to Hougang. Low's Workers' Party is said to be working the Aljunied ground too.
Much of politics is local, and my neighbourhood has certainly been spruced up in the past few years.
The area around the shopping mall has been upgraded, and the public carpark has had an ERP system installed, no less. Roads have been re-tiled and bus-stop-like shelters for passers-by built (though I've never seen anyone use them).
It will be interesting if the Workers' Party contests Aljunied, and I can't wait.
How will my vote swing? As always, myriad factors will come into play.
But this time around, it won't be, for me at least, a vote hinged on just wanting opposition for opposition's sake