Tuesday, May 06, 2008

MM Lee Speaks - Ultimate Wisdom on Protests.

MM Lee has spoken again. This time on air quality and the Beijing Olympics.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aXex8X6R9JMI

The article has this interesting bit :
.
If protesters get into the Olympic stadiums waving ``Free Tibet'' banners, China should Shrug it off, he said. ``If I were them I would expect that and say `so what?''' Lee added. ``Unfortunately they are still in the old set way they react, but they're learning.''
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Wow! I used to think that he or his son or DPM Wong orders the arrest of protesters in Singapore. I didn't know that the Singapore Police Force was acting on its own initiative to ensure that the laws in Singapore are followed. Our MM actually thinks the arrest of protesters is an old fashion idea that govts should give up. Think about it - Chee Soon Juan will soon be irrelevant!!! Once the Singapore allows protests and complete freedom of speech, Chee will have nothing much left to protest about (except maybe inflation). No more "Freedom Walk", no more marches to protest the ban on protests. The Singapore govt will be able to neutralise Chee by "shrugging him off". Smart!
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No wonder our police made no arrests last week when the SDP held the "Tak Boleh Tahan" event at Toa Payoh. I counted more than 4 people gathered for the event which means illegal assembly laws were broken and Chee went round to make this content-less speech about about how our ministers make $10K a day …and somehow it is linked to inflation….if that is not speaking in public without a permit which is a serious offense in Singapore I don’t know what is. I think by shrugging Chee off, our govt can get foreign journalists to stop covering these events because no more drama to look forward to, no arrests, nobody biting the police etc. You see those foreign journalists actually think people getting arrested for protests and speaking in public is news worthy and like to report these things which are totally mundane to Singaporeans - don't know why but foreigners seem to think that arresting people for protesting and speaking in public is a big deal - something that doesn't happen in their own countries.....so they come all the way here to report Chee & company getting arrested. Once our police stop arresting Chee, he will disappear from international news the same way Mas Selamat disappeared from our local news recently....and he will be a forgotten man (just like Mas Selamat).
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As usual our MM Lee's wisdom cannot be surpassed by anyone, he is giving good advice to the Chinese to shrug off protests. Chee will now get to protest all he wants and the police will leave him alone turning his protests into non-events. Chee will lose his voice shouting at passerbys during those protests which makes freedom of speech meaningless for him. Our govt will triumph over those pesky members of the opposition once again and Singapore will be saved!

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coffee Shop Talk - Dear Prime Minister, tolong please...

Dear Prime Minister,

We citizens of Singapore urge you to PLEASE MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

We DO NOT NEED your help.

Every time, you mention HELP, we have to run for cover!!!

Help the poor? Raise GST!
Help traffic flow? Up ERP!
Help passenger service?Up Bus fare/MRT fare!
Help us get taxi? Raise taxi fare!
Help us get good government? Raise Minister and Civil servant salary!

Everytime YOU WANT TO HELP, we all PAY FOR IT!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU...TOLONG LAH, please, we will HELP OURSELVES, no need your help liao.

We DARE NOT ask for help any more!!!

Sir, most honoured sir, I urge you NOT TO HELP Singapore INVEST also!

Everytime your wife invest, we all lose money! Kao liao, kum siah!

Just let us have a dose of bad governance, like recently the Mat Selamat case, like dat....so far, it is ok, your incompetence, we ACCEPT!

PLEASE DO NOT help us have better security! Wait we all kena PAY FOR IT!!

I believe ALL SINGAPOREANS PREFER NOT TO HAVE CRUTCH MENTALITY!

I think it is ok lah, please just take your salary and enjoy life ok?

Thank you thank you,

I am very chin chai one, any how any how, no need to help oso can one.

Anonymous said...

He's lost the plot. It's called senility.
Somoen ought to tell him to shut up. It's rather embarassing now.

Anonymous said...

how come Chee and his friends can set up illegal store in Toa Payoh with no license and permits?.... Why Chee so special... allowed to be illegal hawker? Is this a ploy to let chee malu himself?

He looks like a man lost in space when he goes round to accuse the gahment of various things.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I was thinking exactly the same thing when I first read the article. Thank you for verbalising my thoughts in your usual way!

Great post!

Onlooker said...

Like the senile old man would practice what he preach.
And they still haven't found what they are looking for....

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised why he didn't advise China to sue all the foreign journalists. That seemed to work very well for Singapore.

If Singapore Inc was running China, we would definitely build a Whitley Detention Centre (Tibet Branch) in Llahasa, and fill them up with these irresponsible foreign jornalists.

Then, we would open up Tibet to as many foreigners as possible, in the name of growing their economy and helping the poor monks. We could blame the monks and nuns for their low birth rates too.

In addition, we could also build casinos and hold F1 races there. Anything to heat up the property prices in Tibet.

Like MM said, China should learn faster. From us, the infallible and untouchable S'poreans!

Anonymous said...

PAP rules not so much by seniority but rather by senility.

MM is confirmed senile.

SM Goh another one. As reported in the press, he told the charities in Singapore to pay world class salaries to their top execs. The charities replied : "Yes we agree completely, but where's the money?"

SM Goh shut up and probably mumbling : "Hey charities don't look at me like that leh. My $million salary for my own use okay."

Anonymous said...

Has he really forgotten that he does not practice what he preach?

yamizi said...

Lucky,

I think Chee's case refered to NEA right?

lol

Anonymous said...

I wanted to post the following under the more appropirate previous article by Lucky but thought readers won't mind I do it here:

================================

Japan's economic recession lasted more than a decade until recent years when booming business with China put a stop to that .

The main cause of that long Japanese recession was in fact noted and critiqued in a book in the 80's by the Konosuke Matsushita the founder of Matsushita Electric, the parent firm of electronics brand Panasonic.

He wrote that the banks in Japan had been subsidizing - through easy loans - unprofitable traditional industries at the expense of the larger economy. He called for the dismantling of that tradition.

Nothing was done and true enough in the early 1990's the bubble burst and the Japanese economy went into a long recession.

The total amount of bad loans suffered by the banks there came to an estimated US$400 billion rivaling that of the current American subprime crisis.

Both economic crises can be traced to the bad practices of banks.

I see a similar bubble growing in Singapore. It is the practice of the PAP govt, as the biggest bank, in subsidizing its many GLCs not just through easy loans but also via special treatment.

This is a kind of uncalled for national subsidy at the expense of killing off competition and hence ultimately market efficiency.

All the present inflation and wage depression of Singaporeans can be traced to this issue.

It is a head-heavy humpty-dumpy economic system here where the top people in GLCs are being fattened up at the expense of the masses.

Historically this system started with the PAP wanting to not only act as a bank for the people's CPF savings but also wanting to act as an investor of the money - hence Temasek Holdings.

The second important event that completed this humpty-dumpty system was the PAP's policy starting about 15 years back for politicians and hence top bureaucrats to be paid world class salaries.

Unlike banks in Japan and US respectively providing easy loans to unproductive business ventures and subprime property buyers, in Singapore, the govt itself serves as the bank and makes loans to GIC, Temasek and other GLCs.

How the money-flow process actually works is not so important as the fact that ultimately the money comes from the CPF savings of the people and the budget surpluses of govt.

The issue of Singapore's high business cost is history actually, one which PAP resolves 10 years back by mass importing cheap foreign labour.

Today this policy is a no holds barred policy. The PAP has opened the door wide to foreign workers (not counting PRs) and is giving 6 out of 10 jobs to them and increasing still. This shows that this country continues to be overpriced for business and can only survive by artificially depressing the wages through massive foreign labour from less developed countries.

Despite this labour policy, it seems that some businesses are still not doing great. Let me provide some personal anecdotes to highlight this problem:

Today, retail chains like Guardian and Watson are employing more and more mainland Chinese who cannot converse in English. You ask for a health supplement and the mainland Chinese sale person will be stumped and redirect you to the a Singaporean staff-member.

Given their language handicap, I am sure these mainland Chinese are paid lower than Singaporeans. I believe the said retail chains have to resort to such lower-paid workers to cut business cost, yet by no means are their business that great. Why do I say this?

You see, I went looking for some health supplements in 3 shops in Toa Payoh HDB Hub. A few sales ladies voluntarily told me that it is so hard to move their health supplements nowadays because customers were complaining about their high prices.

And what kind of prices are they talking about? S$35-$45 for a bottle of herbal tablets which you can buy for S$15 over the Internet, shipping charges included. I know because I bought many such products online.

I am in fact understating this issue somewhat because for some brands the prices at our local stores can go up to $50 - $60.

This is how serious the inflationary situation is.

What's causing this?

In one word: Political and economic monopoly or near-monopoly.

With such political and economic monopoly, PAP can raise prices, taxes and levies at will - be it ERP, GST, foreign worker levy, rental of commercial premises, public transport fares, taxi fares, HDB flat prices, land prices and so on.

All such increases percolate into the high prices of some goods like health supplements, which are rightly considered essential items nowadays.

At the same time the PAP govt and its GLCs being in monopoly or in near-monopoly are not transparent and accountable to the people.

When asked about accountability and transparency of GIC and Temasek, the MM gave the excuse that these will create unreasonable expectation from the people for the govt to spend more due to their profitability.

So all that democracy represents - accountability and transparency for the govt, bureaucracy and its related operations like GLCs - is wrong. Only the wise thoughts of a one man is correct.

Therefore I see an economic bubble festering because big money is being sucked out from society to prop up GLCs which do not have to prove their economic viability.

The PAP govt can keep propping them up and show the world that its GLCs are making money.

Take the new higher speed Internet network that the PAP govt is throwing out to Singtel, a GLC. Despite the fact that taxpayers' money is being used to pay for the network, if Singtel win the contract and this is very likely, it will furthermore be getting a S$750 million government grant to help cover start-up cost.

Not only is the telecom infrastructure provider called Singtel not having to spend any money on this new network, it is being subsidized twice with taxpayers' money as I just mentioned.

Even though PAP will not reveal the true state of affairs of its GLCs to the people, they will still know by the end-result in their lives : their wages are not rising but depressing, goods are getting more expensive, businesses are not doing well despite employing cheaper foreign labour.

In Japan the cause of the economic recession 1990-2003 was due to subsidizing non-viable businesses. In the US the current subprime crisis was caused by subsidizing the a false property boom.

In Singapore it is a case of subsidizing an inefficient and bloated PAP system made up :

:: of overpaid politicians, top bureaucrats and MPs who are allowed to hold several directorships besides their full-time jobs

:: the many GLCs given special privileges like prime locations, preferential treatment and access to govt contracts. They are thus protected from real competition and whatever profitability they are showing are made at the expense of consumers who would otherwise benefit from better price and service through more market competition.

The signs that this system is creaky are showing up here and there and PAP continues tweaking and patching up policies to make the system work, such as pursuing the foreign worker policy to its logical limit even when Singaporeans are complaining of wages being depressed and jobs lost by this policy.

It just goes to show how run out of ideas PAP is. It does not see its bloated and non-transparent and unaccountable PAP-GLCs animal as tremendous liability for Singapore economically.

Someday this bubble of fat cats feeding off the sweat and blood of the struggling ordinary masses will have to burst, just like those of Japan and the US.

Anonymous said...

Very well explained. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for posting these insightful comments, anon!

Anonymous said...

Tks, come back for more at Lucky's blog.

Anon 2:51

dennis said...

Thank yoy anon 2:51 pm

Very well written. Very insightful.

Bravo.

Anonymous said...

You are on track anon 2.51. Sadly, for most Singaporeans, ignorance is bliss. They may get screwed, whine for a while but in the end all they care for are the small leftover handouts to keep them happy and keep the status quo when the next election comes. A really sad state of affairs here.

Gary Teoh said...

MM lee dont like foreigners meddling in local politics,but why he intefere in China's business ?

Anonymous said...

The MM is rather bored with the situation in sheep city. All under control, no challenge to him even at a ripe old age of 84. Actually he loves attention and plenty of adulation. So he gets it in abundance when he visits europe, middle east, japan and hopefully china. He visits many countries to remind them how wonderful a job he had done. It was good advice from him to ask China to shrug off the protests. And to test the MM's sincerity, CSJ can organise a similar protest when sheep city is hosting the Youth Olympics. The MM can then show the whole world he walks the talk. There will be overwhelming adulation for him. Just hope his heart can take all the euphoria and he does not need a few more stent implants.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 2:51,

Just a few points. GLCs did not borrow that much from the banks. They were/are monopolies and that allowed them to make abnormally high profits off Singaporeans, they use this profit to expand overseas and giving lucrative job opportunities to power elites - you can look at the top people and trace them back to say the SAF or civil service. There was a list floating around the internet that illustrate this ...it shows the linkages among people in GLCs ...can someone post the link I can't find it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Lucky and all,

This page at singpapore-window.org is probably it: LINK.

It shows the list of not just former senior military commanders but also relatives of the Lee family who are in charge of GLCs.

Those developing countries who invite LKY and his subordinates to teach them how to run their countries should therefore send their politicians and other top policy makers to study at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

I am sure the following subject are available at that famous institute:

:: How to finish off political opponents by arresting and detaining them without trial for life using a law similar to the Internal Security Act
:: How to politically destroy your political opponents by sueing them to kingdom come for defamation even as they so much as say the word "PAP fabricated that story about me ...".
:: How to build a commercial empire using taxpayers' money and social security savings of the masses and then employing your chosen trusted people to run those companies
:: How to win the favour of Western superpowers not via their press but through their political leaders by supporting them unconditionally in whatever they do, even if they run amok destroying other countries or even the whole world in the process.
:: How to cement the alliance between your political party and these big powers by helping to bail out their failing banks, even at great financial loss for your own country.
:: How to pay yourself and your buddies $millions and still talk down to the people that you are doing them a favour.
:: How to control the press by nationalising it and have complete control over them by threatening editors and journalists with arrest and sacking should they become too critical of you.

I believe such wonderful knowledge and more based on true and tested policies implemented in Singapore are truly worth learning for those countries which are looking for a better alternative to true democracy.

They should quickly come and study at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Anonymous said...

"And what kind of prices are they talking about? S$35-$45 for a bottle of herbal tablets which you can buy for S$15 over the Internet, shipping charges included. I know because I bought many such products online."

for what it's worth, the above is more of concern to businesses and the ever blooming commercial spaces here.
try spending half a day walk in orchard road looking at the growing number of new and bigger shopping centers amidst an abundance of existing shopping spaces and you too will wonder. wondering how these businesses will survive, given few genuine shoppers and besotted with constant economic uncertainties and pressures.

there is no doubt the country is profiting largely from the sale and rental of residential and commercial spaces ( private and state owned)through constant construction and de-construction.

i am not sure how many times you can rape the SMALL piece of land for profit before the inhabitants cry foul but, one thing is for sure, if more people turn to cheaper alternatives or sources of purchase or worse, withhold spending except for essentials or they realized, hey, owning such staff don't add any value to one's life, we all be in trouble!

ps:thks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

the lee kuan yew school of thinking is going places. is that a cause of concern in this region?

it will be if it's applied on a much much bigger dynamics?

hmmmm....

Anonymous said...

Actually the Lees should have realised this long ago. By allowing peaceful protests and not arresting so-called illegal assemblers, there is no spectacle and the international media won't come. Singaporeans typically don't care other than just see look a bit that's all. In time such "protests" will fizzle out. Looks like the PAP has finally wised up to this.

Anonymous said...

I am posting my thoughts in Lucky's blog because I know there are many reflective positive-minded readers here looking for insights into the Singapore story.

===============================

Anon 9:00 brought up the question of how really attractive retail and real estate investments are.

That's a good subject for Lucky to write on. However from the little that I know I will share the information here on this issue.

First off, as you may already know Capitaland which is a Temasek company is into commercial property business such as in owining and running shopping centres.

It is in collusion with other GLCs like NTUC to raise rental. In one case, a whole shopping centre owned by NTUC was sold to Capitaland, resulting in an exorbitant jump in rental for retail shop operators.

I also understand from a retail chain owner that Capitaland was the first big landlord in Singapore to introduce the sale revenue based system of charging periodic rental and also for working out the new rental for a particular shop during contract renewal.

Some other big landlords in Singapore follow suit this practice, one that has added to the difficulty for retail business.

Places like Orchard Road might look very good for retail business. But the few retail shop owners that I know tell me that this is an illusion. There are just too many window shoppers and few real customers.

One ex-retailer describes his experience in running shops like sitting inside a fish tank and watching people going to and fro but not coming in to patronize.

Another retail shop owner locate herself in the one of the busiest shopping centres and yet had to call it quit after a few years. When asked why there is no end to takers of vacated shops, she answered that a sucker is born every day.

The buying power is simply not there according to these ex retail operators. And why?

One reason is there are just too many shopping centres around, obviously encouraged by PAP which is ever greedy for revenue from land sale and other income accruing from such shopping facilities.

And that brings me to the reason for the collapse of HDB neighbourhood shops all around Singapore.

The HDB shop owners will tell you the reason for their business failure is the same - too many shopping centres in Singapore.

When PAP sold the HDB shops to them about 15 years back, business was okay. But PAP never took care of their interests and started building more and more shopping centres which pull away their customers.

Now scores of HDB shops in any medium-sized neighbourhood are up for takeover but there are of course few takers. HDB bears no responsibility for the situation nor is interested in buying back those shops, considering them no longer under HDB jurisdiction such as applied to rented HDB shops.

Despite this retail squeeze, PAP continues to build new shopping centres. But where are the customers? This especially considering that prices of some goods are also inflating beyond the means of the masses, as those of health supplements that I wrote about in a previous message here.

And given the increasing IT-savviness of Singaporeans, many are going online to buy what they need at far lower cost - books, dietary supplements, medicines, clothing, so forth.

It all boils down to business cost. If the local shops do not sell at those prices they cannot survive given the shop rental and staff salaries, just to name two major expenditures.

Now even if the Integrated Resort project is up and running, PAP should be careful about the cost aspect for visitors.

However I already read in the papers that during an F1 event the hotel room rates can go as high as over S$2000 for some hotels. For Hilton is about S$1000 a night.

At that rate, Singapore will be overpricing itself out of the market for mass inbound tourism never mind how attractive it is.

It boils down to the thinking of policy-makers, how market-oriented, how realistic they are.

But they cannot be so if they are fat cats enjoying $millions salary; they would be so divorced from the realities of the marketplace that they think nothing of such high prices.

Take also the farm stay project at Lim Chu Kang which is supposed to be meant not just for tourists but also for Singaporeans. The price of a night stay would come to $150, excluding taxes.

It just goes to show what kind of fat cat mentality is running the show from the level of the govt, bureaucracy and GLCs.

The PAP has lost touch with society and the marketplace because it has built layers of elites that are very comfortably paid and looked after and who are thus making policies divorced from the sentiments of the marketplace and society at large.

Hence these elite policy-makers will not only make business and but also policy decisions that will deliver PAP high revenues but will eventually sap and ruin the vitality of the marketplace.


Anon 2:51

Anonymous said...

"When asked why there is no end to takers of vacated shops, she answered that a sucker is born every day."


"But they cannot be so if they are fat cats enjoying $millions salary; they would be so divorced from the realities of the marketplace that they think nothing of such high prices."

"The PAP has lost touch with society and the marketplace because it has built layers of elites that are very comfortably paid and looked after and who are thus making policies divorced from the sentiments of the marketplace and society at large."

"Hence these elite policy-makers will not only make business and but also policy decisions that will deliver PAP high revenues but will eventually sap and ruin the vitality of the marketplace."

for decades i believe, orchard has not stopped construction works. every time you visit orchard area, you will always find some kind of on going construction or rejuvenation works .

can they not build something that's aesthetically appealing yet reflective of our unique culture( like some european countries) that will last for centuries?

i believe we can but we may have to forgo an environment for the rich elites who are also megalomaniacs to flourish and prosper.

you know, it's one thing to build a city in the interests of the rich elites in a small place. but to transplant the same ideology in a much larger context, well, i am not sure that would be in the interests of the world and its vast number of inhabitants in the long term.

whilst we boastfully proclaim that power is shifting from west to east by sheer size of the new market place, we mustn't also omit what this power/prosperity had done to them( the west)?

Anonymous said...

people need to know the ways of the rich are FULL OF VIOLENCE( domestic or foreign policies are not conjured by the poor ok)

the rich may not knock your teeth from your bloodied mouth but they can send you to prison or made you bankrupt with their laws or worse, start world wars!

in a bloody fist fight, both may get hurt.that's fair. but the rich kind of violence towards individual is never a fair fight. the one with more clout and financial power often wins. and when the rich beats someone up, he afflicts more than the individual and his violence may also be extended to the masses - to keep them at bay.

"And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in the new reality ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge , as the waters cover the sea."

two great bodies worthy of disdain : 1) the rich bigots 2) the rich pagans

both take from the people in the name of god knows what!

Anonymous said...

Like many others, me go to shopping malls to blow free air-con only...as me couldnt afford to install air-com in my pigeon hole in this hot red dot.

Preacher said...

"You are on track anon 2.51. Sadly, for most Singaporeans, ignorance is bliss. They may get screwed, whine for a while but in the end all they care for are the small leftover handouts to keep them happy and keep the status quo when the next election comes. A really sad state of affairs here."[quote]

66.6% of Singaporeans still locked in the Matrix, whilst the others "have removed the blinds from their eyes and saw the truth".

"Ignorance is bliss" - spot on - and by the way, that line is in the movie.

Anonymous said...

the old prophet is holding those plugged into the global order hostage to potential market he helped to developed. he threatened, if you don't play the game or bow to his might,multiplied million of times greater, you shall suffer economic repercussion that may reduce your women to foreign maids or value of your homes into ashes.

will you now bow, worship at his alter and take on his mark?? will you graciously concede to his servants in tithes and offerings?

i believe you will.

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I am a regular visitor here and I would like to promote some links
of the international NGOs where good hearted folks can donate some
of their hard earned money for a good cause. You can click on any
site below to donate from as low as 10 Dollars and that small amount
which can make a difference, you can save a life. Thanks.........

Save the Children (UK)
Have launched a £5million appeal
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/32_5455.htm

Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF (NL)
http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/invoke.cfm?objectid=BD72415A-15C5-F00A-25E67A241B05BAA0&component=toolkit.article&method=full_html
working in Yangon area including Hlaingthaya, Dalla and Twante

Merlin
http://www.merlin.org.uk/Lists/News-Detail.aspx?id=687
£500,000 appeal
Medical team sent to Laputta
Have been active in Irrawaddy Division for some time

Care
http://www.careinternational.org.uk/CARE%20APPEALS%20TO%20BRITISH%20PUBLIC%20AS%20DEATH%20TOLL%20FROM%20CYCLONE%20NARGIS%20RISES%20+11253.twl
Currently working on needs in South Dagon and Thaketa

World Vision
https://www.worldvision.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.127
You can identify your donation to their Myanmar cyclone appeal

International Federation of the Red Cross
http://www.ifrc.org/Docs/News/pr08/2108.asp
Have been working to build the grassroots capacity of the Myanmar Red
Cross Society which has a network of volunteers throughout the country

Not an NGO, but UNICEF is also organised and active throughout the country,
and appealing for funds

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/myanmar_43788.html

The Lie said...

change doesn't change lives.
change politics you change lives.

Capt_Canuck said...

http://www.arcamax.com/hagarthehorrible/s-337988-362958

Found this cartoon on one of my daily lookings. Was looking for a place to let you see. Not really sure, but it somehow reminded me of Singapore. I cant put my finger on it but maybe you can see why it would remind someone of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Capt_Canuck,
http://www.arcamax.com/hagarthehorrible/s-338487-500564

This want fit perfectly...

The picture says it all when LCY says it takes 30 years to recover from frailing that fails