Sunday, January 29, 2006
Another year has passed, this year we have plenty to be happy about. According to PM Lee's recent Chinese New Year speech, there is no reason to be unhappy.
As I woke up this morning on Chinese New Year, looking out my HDB flat window, everything seemed quiet. Total silence. No cars on the road as many stayed up quite late during the reunion dinner celebrations yesterday. For those old enough to remember, Chinese New Year day wasn't so silent in the past....
About 30+ years ago, the sound of firecrackers awakened everyone on Chinese New Year day. I used to stay in a kampung like many other Singaporeans, for the children besides the ang pow, playing with firecrackers is the highlight of Chinese New Year. However, as the kampung houses were entirely made of wood once in a while somebody's home would burn down. To solve
this problem expediently the govt banned firecrackers. For our own safety, this dangerous 2000 yr old toy has to be banned or used under strict supervision. Children today who have never played with firecrackers don't know what they missed and won't long for the joy of playing with it.
With the all the kampungs demolished to make way for concrete HDB flats and the danger of such fires gone, the firecracker remain banned. See it doesn't matter anymore, because everyone has gotten used to the silence of Chinese New Year Day and those who want to hear the sound of firecrackers would go to JB, China etc. Besides who will take responsibility should someone complain about about the noise or if one silly kid decide to light one in his mouth like a cigarette.
We used to have a vibrant Democracy, several newspapers with alternative views, strong independent unions and an idealistic university student that wanted to change the world. However, the geopolitical situation of the day including the threat of communism and the need to get our economic act together, numerous controls and rules were put in place. ...they are still in place to control us until today for our own good. People have forgotten what real freedom is anyway after so many years so it is easier to keep all the controls in place. For those who can't live without true freedom & democracy, just like those who go to JB just to hear the sound of firecrackers, they migrate to other countries.
Now can you see why the Workers' Party Manifesto is dangerous? It is dangerous because the PAP until today continues to ensure the safety of Singaporeans from past dangers even as the world and society has changed. Singaporeans are so lucky to have the PAP govt protect them from all the perceived dangers for years ahead.....and many more Happy Chinese New Years to come.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
"'Those with economic power tend to congregate with those with political power, resulting in a power elite network. The consequence of such a structure is imbalance in policy formulation." - Sylvia Lim.
How can she say that? In one sweeping statement this dangerous person Sylvia Lim has accused the government of acting against the interest of ordinary Singaporeans in favour of big businesses! Absolutely baseless, according to the Straits Times, everything the PAP government does is for the ultimate good of ordinary Singaporeans - be it increasing bus/MRT fares, increasing GST, lower CPF - everything ......yes, everything this sincere caring govt does is for the good of ordinary Singaporeans. There is no need for them to act in the interest of big businesses including GLCs because as we understand, their million dollar salaries ensure they are not influenced by demands of business elites but work primarily for the interest of ordinary Singaporeans. The recent double digit jump in SMRT's profit is an unintended side effect of the fare increase. The recent good news about PSA having enough cash to take over P&O when a few years back they claimed that they have no choice but to retrench hundreds of workers is also unconnected.
See how dangerous Sylvia is with that giant hammer weapon she is holding. Is she going to hammer away our happy belief that our govt's main interest is the well being of ordinary Singaporeans not its own power & wealth?
Sylvia Lim is saying that is a network of powerful elites who work together for their own benefit resulting in an imbalance of policy formulation that is against the interest of ordinary Singaporeans. Rubbish ...rubbish. One may be mistaken that policies such as reducing retrenchment benefits to a minimum in 2003 is favorable to businesses, but we only have to take into account PM Lee's thinking on the matter to understand it is for the good of ordinary Singaporeans - he said that we have to make it easier for companies to retrench, only then will they be more willing to employ workers. Cutting CPF is also good, reducing medical benefits is also good and the deluge of foreign workers is also good. See the PAP logic, anything that is good for businesses must also be good for workers - because if businesses are not happy they can go elsewhere. Even GLCs/TLCs are not contrained to stay in Singapore. Take SingTel, it seems perfectly happy to sink billions into Austrailia's Optus, I guess Australians workers must be very hardworking, enjoy little benefits and work longer hours.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that acts in the interest of ordinary Singaporeans so they can have the best standard of living possible.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Unlike the elderly of other countries who waste away their time looking after their grandchildren, strolling in the park or playing a game of chess at the community club...the old in Singapore have far more important things to do like go to work. Yes, the PAP govt ensures that Singaporeans are motivated to work until a ripe old age because there is insufficient subsidy for their medical care and essentials. Also, when they were at their prime, they couldn't have saved much for their old age because they have to spend the bulk of the income to service the HDB loans for their subsidised housing.
The Worker's Party tried recently to poison Singaporean's mind by suggesting that the elderly be given sufficient subsidy. How dare they damage the work ethnics of a 64 year old?!
Elderly Singaporeans are so lucky they have to stay productive and work for a living. They are lucky the govt gives little aid and sells public housing at a price that takes more than 20 years of monthly instalments to pay up.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The diabolical plot to endanger Singapore with poisonous ideas has to be stopped. ISD has to be called in to interrogate the members of the Workers' Party and save Singapore from harm. I've thought long and hard, our enlightened govt has been able to see through the 4 'time bombs" in the Workers' Party Manifesto:
1. Get rid of elected Presidency. Dangerous!!! If President Nathan does not guard our reserves, it will disappear. President Nathan has been working hard to account for our reserves so that we can all sleep in peace.
2. Give enough subsidy to elderly and unemployed. This is evil. Giving subsidy to the unemployed and elderly is the most poisonous thing that one can conceive. I can't think of anything more evil. Giving enough to elderly might mean that Temasek Holding and Ho Ching has to cut down on their million$ shopping spree for companies in the region.
3. Get rid of RCs & CDCs allowing alternative leadership to emerge. Poisonous simply poisonous. Without RCs who will organise the mooncake festival? ...and the Christmas parties. What does alternative mean? Alternatives are always dangerous in Singapore.
4. Get rid of HDB Ethnic Quota because we are matured. How can? Calling Singaporeans matured is absolutely dangerous. Besides, these quotas that discriminate against minorities so they are unable to stay where they want helps to promote racial harmony. It is such a good idea, I suggest the PAP extend it to condominiums & private property to extend the harmony...why not? We should apply it also to foreigners so that there is harmony between Singaporeans and foreigners.
I totally agree with the PAP that the Worker's Party is out to plan 'time bombs' and 'poison' us.
Workers' Party manifesto contains 'poison' that must be removed: Khaw
SINGAPORE : Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan has joined his other PAP colleagues in speaking out against the Workers' Party manifesto.
He described four points contained in it as "poison in a concoction of medicine," and this poison, he says, "will have to be removed."
Speaking to reporters at a blood donation exercise, the Health Minister drew an analogy between a party manifesto and a doctor's prescription.
Mr Khaw said, "Yes, your prescription may contain some of the right medicine, or some medicine which is not harmful; but if I discover in this long list of concoctions there are three or four or whatever number of poison that may kill a patient, I think we have a duty to point it out."
He added, "Certainly, patients have a choice -- do you still want to continue this medicine or with this quack doctor -- but if the patient is ignorant and so on, takes this concoction and gets killed by the poison, then I think this is disastrous. (Ng) Eng Hen has put it as a time bomb; I'll put it as poison in a concoction of medicine."
One of these is the Workers' Party's call to abolish the ethnic quota in housing estates.
Mr Khaw feels this can lead to a breakdown of multiracialism in Singapore.
Drawing from his own experience at his meet-the-people sessions, he says many people are still asking to move to flats in areas known for certain ethnic make-up, like Little India or Farrer Park, even though the ethnic quota in the block is already filled.
Said Mr Khaw, "So why are people coming forward every other month or every month to request this? It suggests that quite unlike what WP has suggested that we have quite accepted interracial mixing, if these people have accepted that then why is there these requests coming in? Any multiracialism, you do require some policy intervention. You leave it laissez fair and choose their freedom, then you go to the expression, birds of the same feather flock together, and you have Indian town, Chinese town, Malay town."
The PAP has also urged the Workers' Party to rethink its ideas of scrapping grassroots organisations, abolishing the Elected Presidency and raising subsidies.
Mr Khaw says that if a fundamental aspect of Singapore is challenged, the PAP has a duty to come out strongly against it; this will be done regardless whether it is a year for the elections.
"Whether it's elections coming or not is secondary. Even if it's soon after elections, if somebody were to start saying that let's forget about meritocracy, let's forget about equal opportunity for all. We have to come out and say there's poison in your message; there's a time bomb in your message and we have to try to defuse it," Mr Khaw said. - CNA /ct
When I opened up my Straits Times today, I was greeted by a picture of Dr. Ng Eng Hen & Low Thia Kiang side-by-side. Low looks so fiece and Dr. Ng looks so calm and wise. I'm sure the Straits Times aims to be objective and selects the picture of each politician without favoring anyone. Low is so fiece his picture looks like angry pictures Straits Times used to publish of JBJ and CSJ. Singaporeans will feel safer with the gentler kinder people the PAP puts up for election.
The Worker's Party is creating problems again. How dare they defy the suggestions of the PAP?! This is not acceptable and a highly dangerous move. Since the PAP always act for the good of Singaporeans, by disobeying the PAP, the Worker's Party has harmed Singaporeans.
The Worker's Party has the cheek to challenge the PAP to publish its manifesto. No need lah, over the years the PAP has clearly established many promises that form the basis of its manifesto such as Swiss Standard of Living, jobs and affordable health care.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Revise the manifesto or else..... Thank goodness we have the PAP to safeguard our security. In the strongest hint that action will be taken to protect Singaporeans, Lee Hsien Loong will give the Worker's Party a chance to revise their manifesto. See how open PM Lee is? If the Opposition makes a mistake, it will still get one chance to fix it. Of course, if the WP amends its manifesto, its credibility will go into the drain. ....but at least Singaporeans can feel safer for it.
Lets visit the 4 issues again:
1. Get rid of Elected Presidency. Although we all did not get to elect Nathan, getting rid of the elected Presidency will be a danger to Singapore. Nathan is busy guarding the reserves, that is why we don't see much of him these days. Although other countries publish full account of the reserves under freedom of information acts etc, so that all its citizens will get to see for themselves what is happening, the PAP govt is very considerate not to trouble all its citizens with this matter. They have helped to choose Nathan to do the job for us for an annual salary of $2.5M. See how kind the PAP is not to burden ordinary citizens.
2. Giving enough subsidy to elderly and unemployed for necessities. Definitely very very dangerous. Giving them subsidies will lead them to be lazy. See how concerned again the PAP is for its citizens, it doesn't want you to be lazy.
3. Get rid of ethnic quota for HDB because we are now matured. Although other countries can have racial harmony without such quotas, it is necessary in Singapore because we are immature. See the PAP wants to protect us from our immaturity by having such quotas.
4. Get rid of RCs & Citizen's consultative committes(CCCs) because they act as eyes and ears of the govt. Of course, it is good they act as the eyes and ears for the govt. Getting rid of them will cause alternative community leaders to emerge, how can we be sure they will lead the people in the same direction? Singaporeans must all march in the same direction or our society as it is will be destroyed. If Singaporeans get alternative leadership, how to ensure they obey the govt?
I'm so glad that the PAP is in power to protect us from the dangers posed by Opposition parties. It is time to get rid of all opposition so that Singaporeans don't have to worry about dangers anymore. We all can enjoy the casino the PAP wants to build in total safety. Why have opposition that will endanger our lives? According to the Straits Times the PAP is the best govt for us, we don't even need elections.....why bother with elections?
Singaporeans must be the luckiest people in the world to have the PAP protect them from dangers.
PM Lee urges opposition Workers' Party to revise their manifesto
SINGAPORE : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged the opposition Workers' Party to revise their manifesto as it contains dangerous and critical ideas.
He said these destroyed the fundamental principles Singapore had built and thrived on.
The PAP government described the Workers' Party manifesto as containing four "time-bombs", including removing the ethnic quota for HDB housing and the elected presidency.
Mr Lee said the suggestions in the Workers' Party manifesto had undermined the basic principles on which Singapore depends.
He said this was a very serious matter.
Mr Lee said he expected the Workers' Party and its chief Low Thia Khiang to respond properly.
Mr Lee said: "Where do they stand? Either you rethink your position and publish a revised manifesto, version 1.2, there is still time or if they want to stand by that, explain what they mean, justify, defend and we will join issue and we will fight the elections on these issues.
"They should fight the elections on these issues because this is not just a matter of you talking casually at the coffeeshop after drinks. It is a manifesto for the General Election and he is offering himself as an alternative, it has to be scrutinised." - CNA/de
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I woke up this Sunday morning ready to grab my Sunday Times to check out the latest Harvey Norman sale....but I was greeted by SHOCKING NEWS. Really shocking! The Worker's Party is out to plant political 'time bombs' that will devastate our nation. Low Thia Kiang's "dangerous approach" to politics is a threat to Singapore. Unlike the PAP which only does things for the good of Singapore, the Worker's Party can potentially "tear our nation apart". After reading this shocking headline, I'm so motivated to vote for the PAP to rescue Singapore, I now want to queue up to vote for the PAP instead of going shopping on polling day. Thank you Straits Times for totally exposing the Worker's Party's evil intent and explaining why total control by the PAP is essential to the security of Singapore. Yes Singapore is so lucky to have such an alert media that exposes the dangers of voting for the Opposition parties. It is clear that there is only one choice in Singapore - the PAP, anything else according to the Straits Times will destroy us. Do not play with DANGER Singaporeans, vote for the PAP!
Worker's Party 4 time bombs, that will destroy us:
1. Remove Ethnic Quota for HDB because society have attained a level of maturity. How dare the Worker's Party call us mature! According to PAP's Dr. Ng Eng Hen removing this quota will destroy us. I guess the PAP knows how immature Singaporeans are that's why we need all these rules. My cousin (Chinese) married a Malay girl, ...and had a child. So her race is half malay. I wonder how they will count her in the quota when she apply for flat.
2. Give sufficient subsidy to the elderly and unemployed for transport, medical care, education and housing. How dare the Worker's Party make such a dangerous demand! According to Dr. Ng, it will destroy Singapore financially. I would just like to add that Ho Ching run Temasek Holdings has just invested millions in a Bangkok hospital and will invest about $2B to buy over Thai PM Thaksin's Shin Corp. Imagine how Temasek Holding's shopping spree will be interrupted if we have to give the money to ordinary Singaporeans. Every Singapore has the right to shop even Ho Ching, it is a favorite past-time.
3.Change Elected Presidency to Nominated one. What? You mean get rid of President Nathan? Well according to Dr. Ng Eng Hen, this is dangerous! President Nathan is diligently guarding our reserves. The PAP really believes the Elected President will guard our reserves, although former-President Ong complained that he wasn't happy with level of access to the accounts and that hindered his role. Since Nathan did not complain, I guess all that is fixed and Nathan is busy everyday scrutinising the accounts of the citizen's assets. He is paid more than $2.5M a year, lets trust him to perform his role. I'm so glad the PAP choose Nathan for us to fill this role.
4. Abolish the RCs and Citizen's Consultative Communities because they act as the eyes and years of the govt preventing community leadership from emerging. Hey, how dare the Worker's Party call RC members that! They are real leaders ..they lead others to support the govt, making Singapore a more harmonious society. Who needs leadership beyond that?
We in Singapore are so lucky to have the Straits Times to expose the evil intent of the Workers Party so that we strength our support for the PAP. The PAP does things only for the good of Singaporeans, the casino they plan to build are not dangerous to our society.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
These protesters are expected to fly in a few weeks early to apply for permits to conduct their protests. A farmer from, say Korea, has to go down to our Home Affairs Ministry ask for the permit forms and fill out the how where, how, who, when, why of his protest. Then our highly qualified civil servants will take his application consider it for a few weeks to see if there are any "Law and Order" issues as well as the suitability of the location. If the permit is approved, the protester will be told the rules he has to follow:
1. Only a maximum of 4 people are allowed so don't call your whole village or kampung to come otherwise the SAF will be activated.
2. You are not allowed to set yourself on fire during the protests because you can potentially damage public property such as trees or park benches while you're on fire.
3. You're not allowed to stab yourself during the protests. If you do, make sure you clean up, otherwise you can be fined for littering in Singapore.
4. You are not allowed to use Singlish during protests so that people are clear you're not a Singaporean and your complaints has nothing to do with Singapore.
5. You're not to set any cars on fire during your protest. While cars may be cheap back home, here in Singapore they cost a fortune.
6. Your protest must not be located near a shopping center as you're not allowed to disrupt Singaporean's favorite past-time.
While protesting be mindful of Singapore's defamation and slander laws. Get a lawyer to double check your posters to avoid the defamation lawsuit.
One last tip for foreign protesters, if Singaporeans look at you like you just landed from outer space, please forgive them, they have probably have never seen a real life protest before.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Of course, I'm not talking about the General Elections. Yes Singapore, YOU HAVE A CHOICE to vote the the next SINGAPORE IDOL in a process that is rigorous and fair. We Singaporeans are so lucky to have a chance to vote and have our votes counted. We will spend more time to elect our Singapore Idol over a period of 3 months longer than our General Elections which the PAP govt will allow only just more than a week for campaigning. The media tries to gives fair and equal representation to all finalists....debate on Singapore Idols on the internet is free and open. Singaporeans are so lucky to have this chance to elect their next Singapore Idol in a long rigorous thorough process that far exceeds that our snap General Elections.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I'm really wondering what has happened to our education system. They don't even know the rules. In order to sell T-shirts at the carnival for the Buangkok MRT station, they need to apply for a fund raising permit months in advance.
They were also warn that if the T-shirts are worn "en mass", they violate a number of regulations related to national security. The riot police will have to be alerted and people wearing the T-shirts will be arrested as they will be considered a danger under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public & Order & Nuisance) Act.
Teens' white elephant T-shirt venture gets police attention
VAL CHUAAssistant News Editorval@newstoday.com.sg
CONTROVERSY has trailed the Buangkok MRT station for the past two-and-a-half years — right up to its long-awaited opening day.
.On Friday, while preparations went into overdrive for the carnival to celebrate the opening of the $80-million station on Sunday, drama knocked on its doors yet again. This time, it was over some "Save the White Elephants" T-shirts that former Raffles Girls' School (RGS) students were planning to sell at the carnival.
.That day, the students and Punggol South organisers received a reminder from the police that they needed a fund-raising permit before they could sell the T-shirts to the public, in line with existing regulations. The 27 students were also told that they might break the law if the T-shirts were worn "en masse".
.The last minute reminder had apparently caught the 17-year-old students — who had created the T-shirts last year after the infamous white-elephant incident — off guard. When contacted, a police spokesperson confirmed that the advisory was sent out.
."In view of the nature of the event, we had advised the organisers that they should be aware that the wearing of T-shirts en masse may be misconstrued by some as an offence under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public & Order & Nuisance) (Assemblies & Processions) Rules. Should Police receive any report or complaints, we would have to look into the matter. This is consistent with all reports made to the Police," he told Today.
.But the police have no objections to the fund-raising initiative per se, and are prepared to expedite the permit, which normally takes three days to process.
."In this case, we have made an exception for the students. We have communicated to the event organiser that the fundraisers can still apply for a permit on Saturday, as long as they are able to produce a memo of understanding with the charitable organisation," said the police spokesperson on Friday night.
.The latest drama caps the bumpy ride surrounding the Buangkok MRT station, which will finally open after two-and-a-half years of lobbying, including the placement of eight cut-outs of white elephants in August, which resulted in the police issuing a stern warning to a grassroots leader.
.The then-RGS girls were inspired by the incident to create the T-shirts, selling them at $12 each, to raise funds for Youth Guidance, a charity that helps youth at risk. They managed to sell all but 60 of some 300 T-shirts.
.Calling themselves Project White Elephant, the girls — formerly from class 415 in RGS — had said in a Lianhe Zaobao interview that they had always taken a strong interest in current affairs and the Buangkok incident had caught their attention.
.They wanted to "galvanise the youth of today to rise up from the apathy they are stereotyped with and take an active role in airing their views".
.In an infosheet which they sent to potential buyers of the T-shirts, they had said: "Even though the White Elephant has become our mascot and symbol for the project, we are in no way attempting to judge or condone the Buangkok MRT incident.
."Rather, we are using the accidental fame of the elephants to spark interest in our project; they also serve as a reminder that legal boundaries are important and should be adhered to even while expressing one's views and opinions about political issues."
.Impressed by their entrepreneurial spirit and derring-do, Punggol South grassroots leaders had invited the team to set up a stall at the opening ceremony of the station.
.Commenting on the latest police advisory, a grassroots leader remarked: "There's no reason for them to protest, because the station is going to be opened!"
.Some 5,000 residents and non-residents — who had each bought tickets at $3 — are expected to turn up this Sunday. A 240m long ribbon will be placed around the station, allowing for some 400 residents to cut the ribbon alongside guests of honour.
.Of the latest controversy, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Charles Chong advised the students: "The (fund-raising) permit is not a new requirement. We would urge them to get it."
.He also assured the authorities that the participants had been given T-shirts to wear — but they are purple in colour, with "no animal images on it".
The guy next to me took out $1 to buy the Hammer. It is so thin compared with the Straits Times I was reading. How to 'fight"? The feller opened up the Hammer to read, I tried to block out the offensive material with my Straits Times. I can't believe it but the feller started to discuss the contents with his friend at the table. Now the offensive material is travelling through the air waves and poisoning my brain.....hey where is the thought police, there has to be a law against this!!
"Hey I heard MP Low managed to upgrade all the lifts at Hougang by without help from the govt and residents pay nothing.....", said the guy in the blue shirt. Rubbish. How is this possible? All PAP upgrading require residents to pay a subsidised cost and we know that PAP is the most efficient govt in the world. How come I never read about it in the Straits Times - this must be false.
My breakfast gets worse....as the 2 men talked......
"The Hammer" explains that the PAP MPs approved a amendment in Parliament that allow certain employers not to pay for extra work done by non-executive workers earning not more than $1,600 per month. Hey where are the defamation lawyers! This can't be true. The PAP cares for the poor and low wage workers. PM Lee & PAP are so kind. ..
Another article by James Gomez talks about the govt allowing the tightly controlled media to open up. ...eliminate government's ability to indirectly control the media by selecting who holds management shares. Hey, if the govt doesn't co-ordinate with the Straits Times, Singaporeans will be all confused. Who is going to ensure that information is consistent when presented to ordinary Singaporeans? Who will ensure that ordinary Singapore are happy with the explanations given for various govt policies? Singaporeans need to be assured that they have the best govt in the world and everything is done for their own good. Singaporeans have to be told that their world is safe and everything is taken care of by the govt.
As the Hammer is not thick, the guy finished reading it quite quickly....and did the shocking thing of offering the offensive material to me. I took out my Straits Times and told him off ....that it is the only reading material I need for the day. I pointed to the Straits Times headlines "$1B to help low wage earners". The guy replied that the PAP is only doing this because the elections is coming, after that they will forget their promises and have all sorts of fee increases. Rubbish ....I told him, the PAP truly cares about us, because they depend on us to build up the economy and the reserves.
I urge all Singaporeans to be careful of this ploy by Worker's Party to win your votes. The PAP has promised you the dream of Swiss Standard of Living and jobs, we have to keep our dreams alive.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Anyway our elite leaders have figured a way to generate some business in Singapore as budget airlines proliferate. What else but a hub. Our desire to be a hub for everything and anything can be applied to the budget airlines industry. We aspire to be a education hub, medical hub, financial hub, casino hub........so no surprise when our leaders announced that we are all set to be a budget airlines hub. As part of our hub plan, our govt decided to build a new terminal for budget airlines. This budget terminal will not have all the frills that traveller enjoy in the current Changi terminal 1 & 2, it will instead be plain and functional. Travellers will have to walk on concrete in the open air to get to their planes.
To create greater awareness for this piece of strategic infrastructure, a "name the budget terminal" contest was held. I don't know about you but I heard about it and tried my luck. My entry suggested the name "RA Terminal" for the budget terminal. RA stands for Really Affordable. I heard they received thousands of entries from ordinary Singaporeans who cracked their heads to figure out the best name for the budget terminal. The judges took weeks to go through the entries and shortlisted potential winners. After 4 weeks of deliberation, a winner was finally announced last week. A teenager won the contest walking away with $2000 and a handphone. His winning entry? ...He named the new budget terminal "Budget Terminal". Shucks! Why didn't I think of that?! The judges commented that the name was "appropriate and clearly reflects the functionality of the new terminal". ...wow so innovative. Minister Yeo Cheow Tong presented the prize to the teenager.
Singaporeans are so lucky to get a budget terminal, now they can fly all over the region to do their shopping instead of risking their lives shopping in Johor.
Jonathan Sng wins name the terminal contest : http://www.todayonline.com/articles/94278.asp
Thursday, January 12, 2006
"The way forward, for Singapore would be to allow greater freedom of expression"
- George Soros.
Singapore doesn't have freedom of expression?! What is he talking about. Singaporeans are free to say anything they want- even criticise the govt. If you don't believe that, just go to your bedroom or toilet, criticise the govt all you want for a few hours and wait.........you will see that nothing will happen to you ...nothing! Some of you will get smart and say that nothing happened because you criticise the govt in private. I tell you now that nothing will happen to you when you criticise the govt in public. Don't believe?! Take the example of Chee Soon Juan. He criticised the PAP govt and nothing happened to him. .......yes nothing. He has no job, no money and no dignity ...see he has nothing. .... "nothing" has happened to him! Also, nothing has happened to JBJ.
A liberal speaks his mind
Billionaire Soros calls for open societies that are tolerant of differing views
Thursday • January 12, 2006
Within the plush comfort of the Raffles City convention centre, billionaire George Soros held court yesterday to an audience of 1,600 academics, government officials, businessmen and undergrads, enthralling them with his beliefs and vision for a global open society — and declaring that Singapore had yet to score in his book of liberal politics.
Having made his wealth by the time he hit 50, Mr Soros is now into encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become "open societies" — open not only in the sense of freedom of commerce, but more importantly, tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behaviour.
His Open Society Institute, which he founded 25 years ago, is a network of philanthropic organisations that is active in more than 50 countries — from Africa, Central America, Asia and South America. Mr Soros emerged as a liberal thinker as he engaged a distinguished panel that included Mr Kishore Mabhubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Professor Tommy Koh, chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies.
Interestingly, the United States, unquestionably the world's freest nation, earned the ire of Mr Soros, especially the Bush administration's war on terror following the 911 attacks.
"How can we escape from the trap that the terrorists have set us," he asked. "Only by recognising that the war on terrorism cannot be won by waging war. We must, of course, protect our security; but we must also correct the grievances on which terrorism feeds ... Crime requires police work, not military action."
Admitting his admiration for America, where he worked many years as Singapore ambassador to the United Nations, Mr Kishore Mabhubani believed that as the US grew in power, it felt less of a need to get to know the rest of the world, and in the process, was becoming more and more closed as a society.
Agreeing to some extent, Mr Soros maintained that the US was a functionally open democracy, but "yes, we have lost our way", he said, pointing to the time in 2004 when the Bush administration, in his view, made a colossal blunder in launching the invasion of Iraq.
Though he donated close to $40 million in an effort to defeat US President George Bush during the 2004 elections, he views the US as a viable democracy. "We can criticise our government, we can change our government and in due course, we will correct the wrong."
With Mr Soros's drive to bring about change in China, where he admitted failure, and Myanmar, where efforts continue, the focus inevitably fell on Singapore. Panel member Benjamin Lee, a third-year National University of Singapore student, asked Mr Soros how he rated Singapore as an open global society.
Mr Soros was blunt.
"Obviously, Singapore does not qualify as open society," he said. But Singapore is prosperous and prosperity and an open society tend to go hand in hand, he said.
"I detect a desire of greater openness," he said, adding that he had great respect for the achievements of Singapore's energetic leadership.
"But I hope they will be brave enough to take the next step in the development of an open society."
One way forward, he felt, would be to allow greater freedom of expression. The use of libel suits and financial penalties can be a tremendous hindrance to such expression, said Mr Soros.
Responding, Prof Koh, stressing that he was not a member of the ruling People's Action Party, said that "open" and "closed" societies are two ends of a spectrum. "While the US appears to be moving from a more open to a less open society, Singapore is moving in the other direction — from close to open."
Singapore ought to be encouraged, and it will in due course, make progress towards becoming a more open society, he added.
In response to Mr Soros's remarks, a Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts spokesman told Today: "If we were not an open society, George Soros would hardly be able to make the comment at an open forum in Singapore, and be reported in the Singapore media."
Monday, January 09, 2006
Yesterday, I queued up for a taxi after shopping along Orchard Road, when I turned back I realised that the prolific writer Catherine Lim was in the queue. The surprise is not that I saw Catherine Lim but me buying overpriced stuff from Orchard Road stores. I usually do my shopping once a month in Johor. But after a whole week of reading the numerous articles in Straits Times & New Paper about carjacking, robberies, and murders in Johor.....I concluded that Johor is almost as dangerous as Iraq and didn't dare to cross the causeway.
If not for the crimes in Johor, there are many reasons to shop there - no GST, cheaper prices, bigger malls, .....sometimes I catch a movie, see a dentist. dine or bowl there. It seems that the huge number of Singaporeans crossing to JB has adversely affected business in Singapore. Many Singaporeans top up their vehicles before the return to Singapore and more than a few Singaporeans will bring in cigarettes undermining the govt's tax collections.
I'm so glad the Singapore newspapers spend so much effort to warn us about the high crime rates in Johor. Fanning the fear of going Johor is done for the good of Singaporean so that they will be happy to shop in Singapore.
We Singaporeans are so lucky to live in such a safe environment compared with Johoreans who have to fear for their safety all the time.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
"Usually they don't change their minds once they've made a decision. So why make it difficult for myself"- Undergraduate Wilson Neo who has moved into his new room thinking the university will not budge on the fee issue (see Straits Times article below).
....smart words indeed from an educated Singaporean. Just leave the protest to others, why make things difficult for himself. With Singaporeans like Wilson Neo, our current system of government will certainly last well into the future. I heard that most of the protestors are foreign students who have not been trained by our education system. They actually believe they can introduce change and demand transparency (in the cost) from the university. These foreign students are so unfortunate to miss out on the molding that Singaporeans go through from kindergarden to junior college. If they had the benefit of a Singapore education from young, they would have accepted the fee increase, move on and not waste their energy and time on a protest. ....and stop trying to change the system.
Singaporeans are so lucky to get a proper education - one that teaches them not to make things too difficult for themselves by accepting the status quo.....and never cross the line....never!
Friday, January 06, 2006
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 hostel fee 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 NTU 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:
NTU hostelites stay put to protest fee hike
SINGAPORE: Scores of residents at Nanyang Technological University's Hall Three are refusing to move into its new premises until the fees are revised, said the hostel's president. Last month, NTU announced its proposed fee hikes. There was strong resistance, especially from Hall Three residents. The increase for them is the highest as they will be moving into a new seven-storey building complete with "premium" features such as air-conditioners, lifts and electronic card access. According to Hall Three's president Lim Joo Tian, 23, a third-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, some 640 residents were supposed to move over from the old hostel - which was built more than two decades ago - to the new Hall Three by the start of this month. But as of Thursday, more than half had not done so, he said. Today understands that the students want the university to reduce the proposed fee hike and to stagger it. Mr Lim, who has not moved out from the old hostel himself, added: "We sent a proposal to the administration about one or two weeks ago and we are waiting for a reply. Initially, we were given a deadline to move out by Jan 3 ... we expect the situation to be resolved in about three weeks." For their old hostel, Hall Three residents paid $160 per month for single rooms and $135 for double rooms. The fees will rise to $350 for single rooms and $240 for double rooms for the new premises. However, for the first six months, residents will pay concessionary room rates of $240 and $180 for single and double rooms respectively. According to NTU, all hostel fees are already subsidised by up to 50 per cent. Also, an Office of Financial Assistance was set up to help needy students. In June last year, the residents were told by the administration that the new rates would fall between $175 and $190. Mr Luke How, 24, a final-year Biological Sciences student who was the previous president of Hall Three, told Today that the residents want the raised fees to be nearer to those indicative rates. - TODAY
An unemployed Singaporean expresses his appreciation for receiving aid from ComCare fund after losing his job. I'm so glad that unemployed Singaporeans are not left behind to fend for themselves given the high cost of living in Singapore. The govt shares his burden with great empathy and sympathy providing a helping hand. The ComCare fund was launched by Lee Hsien Loong as a solution to unemployment. Typically Singaporeans have little savings when they become unemployed because the cost ofl living in particular utilities, housing and transport. When they become unemployed many need help immediately otherwise bills will start piling up, late fees and penalties are imposed by service providers. It is like entering a vicious cycle. We should be glad the govt understands well the problems faced by Singaporeans.
After his application, and wait for 2 months, the unemployed receives his good news:
His problems are solved and he can look forward to the future with greater optimism.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that cares and the ComCare is a true reflection of the care the govt has for its citizens. In fact our govt is so full of care, it gives scholarships to foreign students - if you visit NTU or NUS engineering a large % of the students are foreign and on scholarships given out by the Singapore govt worth tens of thousands every year per student. See how lucky you are, the Singapore govt is so full of care it can even provide scholarships for foreign students. All this is done for the good of Singaporeans.
Those at risk of being left behind will get help with their pressing needs
By Lydia Lim
THE old, the poor and the jobless will have their pressing worries addressed under a billion dollar package announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament yesterday. They will receive help with jobs, financial assistance and medical bills as Mr Lee gave out five lifelines to these Singaporeans who had, up to now, feared being left behind as the rest of society forged ahead.
Their plight was also highlighted by many of the 41 Members of Parliament who spoke during the last three days of debate on the President's Address. In his response yesterday, Mr Lee said he heard the MPs and appreciated the pain economic restructuring caused. The Government's strategy, he explained, is to keep Singapore growing, as this generates the resources it needs to help those who cannot cope. He backed his words with action, in the form of more money and new help schemes.
First, poor Singaporeans - especially the elderly - who fall ill will get more government support. Medifund, which helps them pay their medical bills, will be doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion. As a first step, $100 million will be injected this year.
Second, older workers with inadequate retirement savings will get help from a new tripartite committee. Its task: finding ways to help them stay employed longer. This could include raising the legal retirement age, now at 62, but only if employers, unions and government are sure of it.
Third, needy families will receive financial assistance from a new fund called ComCare, to be managed by the community development councils (CDCs). The ComCare fund starts with an endowment of $500 million, to be built up to $1 billion over time.
Fourth, displaced workers will get help finding jobs. A new Re-employment Assistance Programme will redesign jobs to suit more Singaporeans, and provide referrals, training and incentives for these workers to stick with their new jobs.
Fifth, elderly Housing Board dwellers will enjoy a lift that stops on every floor sooner, with a plan to upgrade lifts in all blocks within 10 years. The Government will also change the law to allow town councils to use part of their sinking fund to pay for these works.
Taken together, these programmes help give shape to the vision of an inclusive society which Mr Lee painted in his first National Day Rally speech last August.
Yesterday, he again rallied Singaporeans to have confidence in their country's future. Speaking for 80 minutes before a packed House, he said today's Singapore is a bustling cosmopolitan city and more than ever a land of opportunity for those who call it home. The basis for this is its competitive economy. It is a global node and where many multinational firms choose to base their Asian operations. It is also where local enterprises and individuals can flourish.
Having weathered the downturn, the economy is growing again. Foreign investment is up, unemployment down and 60,000 new jobs were created last year. 'Provided you are prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn your skills, here you can find good jobs, hold on to them, sustain existing businesses, start new ones.'
Singapore also offers a place for everyone. Its meritocratic system and emphasis on education keep it an open, socially-mobile society, where 'everyone who strives can make good'.
Finally, Singaporeans can have a say in how to make their country better. The Government has stepped up consultation on its policies and devolved functions to the community, such as through town councils and CDCs. It will continue the process as civil society develops, he pledged.
Mr Lee concluded by reflecting on how Singapore started out an 'improbable nation' but became, through its people's efforts, an 'exceptional nation'. Singaporeans stand as one during crises, he said, citing their unity during Sars outbreak and the tsunami disaster. 'There's a Singapore spirit burning, which will help us to accomplish great things.'
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Did you guys get a hold of today's Today? There is a outstanding letter by a cabby . I'm impressed not just by his logic, but also by his command of English language. It is apparent to me that this cabby is well educated.
Whenever I take taxis in Los Angeles, there is a 95% chance that the cabby is a new immigrant who hardly speaks English - I've taken taxis driven by Russians, Nigerians, Estonians and Rumanians. For these new immigrants to USA, driving a taxi is an entry point to something better in life. It is a chance for them to get to know the city better and earn a decent living. I found out by chatting to Los Angeles taxi drivers that they can get by making less than 10 trips a day, so life is easy for them they can work 6-8 hours a day most of the time its waiting around for a call.
In Singapore, things are different - all taxi drivers are Singaporeans. Just last week I met 2 taxi drivers with university degrees and one with an MBA - all of them claimed that they were retrenched when their companies hired younger foreign talents to replace them. In Singapore driving a taxi is a last resort when you get retrenched from your job and can't get another job. More than half the earnings of a taxi driver goes to the taxi companies as rental and for fuel. There is no such thing as leave or holidays. A typical taxi driver drives for 10-12 hours a day - there is no medical benefits, no CPF and no pension. ...Yet you can easily find taxi drivers with a university education. .....and every year the GLC - Comfort Cabs report double digit earnings growth
My point is Singaporeans are so lucky to have such well educated cabbies. In other countries, such the well educated people would be employed as professionals in various organisations. In Singapore we have numerous foreign talents to help fill those professional positions so that Singaporeans can be freed up to work as cabbies. We have cabbies who are so well educated they can write to the forum page of Today using better English than some of our ministers (e.g. Lim Swee Say) . Singaporeans are lucky indeed to be driven around by well educated cabbies.
Just received the letter informing me that I've won the National Lucky Draw. The grand prize is a car. The rules are simple, all I have to do is turn up at their office with my partner/spouse, bring my credit card, switch my handphone off and listen to a 2 hour presentation. Wonder why they need me to bring my credit card to collect my prize. Funny thing is I don't remember ever entering a contest. Anyway, its time to celebrate my good fortune and not ask too many questions.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have so many luck draws with chances to win something as precious as a car. I guess I would never ever accomplish the impossible dream of owning a car in my life if not this lucky draw. I never learned to drive because I never thought I will ever get behind a steering wheel.
Monday, January 02, 2006
PM Lee on Oct 7, 2005 criticized the Japanese for engaging in pork barrel politics. Those Japanese politicians are so terrible aren't they? I travelled across Japan just 3 years ago, effects of LDP spending is disgusting- Perfectures overbuilt with expensive government buildings, underutilised facilities and too much infrastructure. In areas where people who saw the need for political change and voted for the Japanese Opposition, spending fell sharply and essential facilities like child care were under developed.
I'm so glad there is no pork barrel politics in Singapore. So much so our beloved PM Lee told the Japanese off for their corrupt ways. In Singapore, objective civil servants and city planners make sure that national resources are allocated where they are most needed regardless of politics and timing of elections. The planning is done according to the needs for each estate in a fair and objective manner.
It is just sheer coincidence that all major upgrading and development projects are announced in PAP GRCs just before the coming elections. That constituencies such as Potong Pasir and Hougang are not upgraded is not due to pork barrel politics, but because there is little need. When I visited Potong Pasir, I saw many old folks with poor eyesight, so whether their environment is upgraded or not makes little difference difference to them .... they can't see very well....our meticulous city planners probably took that into account.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a PM that understands so well the rot that results from pork barrel politics. We have to be thankful that there is no pork barrel politics in Singapore and Singaporeans exercise our votes based on the sincerity, dedication, ideas and commitment of the candidates presented to us during elections.
Friday, October 7, 2005 at 07:24 JST SINGAPORE — Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday criticized the corruption and pork barrel politics that have bedeviled Japan's political system.Lee, speaking at a luncheon organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association, said Japan is a good example of an Asian-style parliamentary democracy that has worked well. "But they landed into problems because of corruption, money politics, pork barreling, and then necessary changes were not made and the country, instead of making adjustments and prospering like America, just flew straight on and went into a storm. So how do we maintain our system and not end up like that?"
Sunday, January 01, 2006
See once people start asking questions...the questions never stop. The questions also get harder and harder to answer. ....
I wonder if you read this article in Today dated 30 Dec 2005. You can click on it to read the actual article or just make do with my 5 point summary:
1. Writer is a renal patient who gets treated at private clinic. (I thought everyone who seeks treatment goes to KDF or NKF).
2. Private clinic is very successful and profitable has 8 branches around Singapore.
3. The private clinic charges $180 (compared with subsidized rate of $200 under Durai & $165 under Gerald Ee). ...NKF claims it subsidize $70 per session.
4. Writer estimates that the clinic makes 30% profit margin and the true cost is only $126 at the private clinic.
5. He concludes that NKF is inefficient(incompetent) and should outsource its operations.
Imagine if you're a kidney patient who received $200 dialysis from Durai's NKF, you will be kicking yourself after reading this article. Some singaporeans have been quietly getting $180 dialysis from private clinics ...and you thought you were getting "subsidized rate" all along. You will probably feel really miserable, cheated and somewhat stupid. Singaporeans who get better deals should just keep quiet to avoid making others feel bad.
I remember one sad letter to the Straits Times from a woman staying in a HDB flat which she bought in 1996....the letter was so sad you can almost see the tears in her eyes. HDB sold the flat to her at a market subsidised rate, but when she met an old friend who got her new flat recently she found out that comparable flats are being sold for $100K less. When they get good bargains, Singaporeans should learn to keep their mouths shut to avoid causing misery to others.
Singaporeans should be happy so long as the price they pay is affordable. As far as I know, medical care is affordable, housing is affordable and dialysis is also affordable. There is nobody alive who cannot afford dialysis in Singapore because those who can't are all dead. See how lucky kidney patients are in Singapore to get affordable dialysis treatment.