Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MM Lee : Social Divide Inevitable

Inevitable means not the govt's fault - nothing they could have done about it. MM Lee was answering question from a 4th year SMU student on the income gap in Singapore. He explained that it was the result of globalisation. While that is true, it is only half the story. The income gap has widened in many countries due to globalisation but no 1st world nation has the level of income inequality we see in Singapore.

Our ministers are the highest paid in the world and our cleaners and drivers are the lowest paid among those in 1st world nations. Govt policy on foreign workers is extreme allowing more foreigner workers here per capita than anywhere else in the world except for a handful of middle-eastern oil rich nations. The govt imported cheap labor to retain industries dependent on low wages. The help given to the poor shaved the GINI from 0.481 to 0.462 - by 0.019. Yes, the PAP govt likes to claim it is doing something but 0.019 tells us they are not doing much. In fact, Singapore has little in the way of social safety nets and comes in among the last if not the last when compared other 1st world nations. Superimpose the income gap over the high cost of living and you get a large segment of the population living in misery. Our high housing cost, 2nd highest cost of electricity in the world and transport costs makes Singapore the 10th most expensive city in the world[Link].
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MM Lee now tells us that the income gap is inevitable. The resentment among the population caused by the income gap and rising cost of living is also inevitable. When people are resentful and the govt does nothing about a problem except to blame it on everything else but themselves, it is also inevitable what the voters do at the ballot box. They understand that once they support the wrong govt and the policies they put in place, all their problems become inevitable.

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess the only way to know is at the ballot box.

However, I think the government is also playing the psychology of people i.e. most people do not want to think too much and just want to get on with life. People do not want to be too vexed over issues that they think they cannot have any impact on. It is just like a situation in other countries e.g. Ethopia or war-torn countries, people like to seek solace or grit their teeth through difficult situations. Many things can managed mentally as in you can tell yourself to be happy in the little things instead of harping over things that you cannot get.

That, itself, is what I feel sometimes the government has been trying to impose on the general population.

Personally, I am rather confused. There are certain times where I feel that being content results in being more happy. However, there are also other times where I feel angry that certain things are being done unfairly and blatantly unreasonable.

In conclusion, I am not so sure about the reaction of the general population. If you are contented and like to look for happiness in little things, most likely you will be seen be as resolute and someone who does not complain and is a doer. On other hand, if you do not have checks and balances, we will be digging too big a hole for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

hi lucky, care to comment about your market "top" prediction which you were talking about in your earlier posts?

Hazel Poa said...

When there is a will there is a way.

It is inevitable that as a country becomes more developed and educated, its population will want greater freedom of speech and expression, more political choices, checks and balance against concentration of power, personal liberties, etc etc.

What are the ways? GRC. ISA. Films Act. Media control. Lawsuits.

It is inevitable that people would want to go for higher paying jobs. What are the ways? Peg ministerial salaries to highest earners in the country.

Ingenuity abounds. When there is a will there is a way. Is there a will?

sgcynic said...

LKY is also telling us to accept jobs that pay little. Better than no jobs he says. Huh? Work long hours at a job that does not pay enough to raise a family!? In other countries, they practise subsistence farming; in Singapore, we practise subsistence work? Uniquely Singapore indeed!

Anonymous said...

While there is no safety net for workers like us, I sleep soundly at night knowing that there is a strong safety net for our ministers.

Our ministers are entitled to a pension, paying them 2/3 of their milllion-dollars-a-year salaries. We workers have to make do with whatever's left in our CPF, after paying off our 30-year housing loans.

We now have a "safety net", paying us a few hundred dollars month; CPF Life. Ministers, on the other hand, are given tens of thousands a month in pension for crafting policies that depress our wages with more FTs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky,

I beg to differ. It is inevitable that Singapore will return PAP to government in the next election and the one after that and the one after that..... You have to understand the mindset of the majority. They are a discontented lot but easily cowed. The government only has to say it does not tolerate dissent and almost everyone will shrink back into their shells. The people in Communist China are even bolder than us despite the harsh punishment meted. I hate to be a wet blanket but I really have no hope that there will be a change in government. The only hope lies in the PAP government changing the current policies. Don't kid yourself in thinking your vote will make a difference.

Anonymous said...

blame it on globalisation that means they are not responsible for it.

And i bet they will be asking for pay rise again, straight after GE.

Steve Wu said...

A few years ago, Lee Kuan Yew publicly stated that PAP policies would narrow the "rich-poor divide".
This is yet another promise that Lee Kuan Yew cannot keep.

Anonymous said...

Elected and unelected government officials here have become increasingly powerful and arrogant, even disdainful, of the larger body of citizen taxpayers they should represent, while distributing more and more our of money to their special interests. The desire for power to carry out their personal agenda, too often, drives government officials to greed and actions not for the general good of the citizens. Of course, citizens must take responsibility for these perversions of the government for they repeatedly elect these people into office. The social engineering performed in the past and continually being fine-tune is in place to ensure the incumbent's survival and the right to continue to govern.

History tells us that, eventually, oppressive governments become intolerable and the citizens will vote with their feet. Citizens today are very much aware of such activities but will tolerate living here as long as they enjoy a reasonable standard of living. There is no patriotism nor love of the country, it is pragmatism and because there is always a way out if need be. Singaporeans are well travelled and have links with friends and relatives, and with sufficient funds to leave anytime. These are the 66% that has nothing to lose whatever the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Indonesia is a bigger economy than Singapore, simply because it has more people.

Pursuing economic growth by retaining cheap industries and importing cheap workers is simply an attempt to Indonesiafy Singapore.

If we really liked Indonesia or China that much, we could simply migrate there. There is no need to become them. Yes?

Anonymous said...

Another example of how incompetent these people really are!!

Idiotic excuse!

Clear eyed said...

There are many things in Singapore which are beyond understanding. One example is why the pay of the leaders of this tiny red dot is many times higher than that of any other leader in the world, including that of super-powers, while the pay of ordinary folks has to be lower than that of countries like China and India. If we remember that Singapore is Unique, as described by our insightful and highly-paid "leaders", then everything is clear. Singapore is Unique in that we are both First World and Third World and that explains the huge difference in pay and level of happiness of the people here. The First World face is the one we show to foreigners while hiding the Third World face and that is why we are always described as an affluent city-state in the foreign media. Singapore is also Unique in that the majority of its citizens are educated but live stressful lives hounded by ever rising costs, dropping pay, job insecurity and absence of a social safety net but they never think of voting for change. Singaporeans are a Unique people, able to endure a lot of pain without protest.

Anonymous said...

I guess what he said makes sense. Of course those greedy ones who only care wanting more pay and nothing more would feel disgruntled. But I've seen how articifially manipulated wages in london can do bad for the people instead. People from poor countries flock to London to take up any jobs and the locals were still competing people who see the minimum wage as good money compared to where they can make back home. So that policy as I witness first hand, did not solve the problem of employment. What it does is to keep those with jobs at a certain level of pay. It simply invited more competition for jobs in the lower tier. For those who think minimum wage is good, think again. IT can do more harm than good in the end, what it may do is to trade one set of problems for another.

Anonymous said...

I hear you people keep bringing the ministers pay into any topic. What has the pay got to do with it??

You people just jealous over their pay. Fact is ANYONE can do well to earn that pay. Those who complain are those who can't get in and so find faults. But finding fault is easy, where are the solution? And if you are really so keen, why are you not in politics and involve in the action? Why are you only talking on your blog?

Anonymous said...

You are damn evil lucky. You use manipulative language as a tool to influence people to find faults with the gahment. You are trying to destroy something that's good though not the best. Must be really be DA BEST in everything?

You are damn evil person. Who has hidden agenda. Who play with words meaning to manipulate people to think they are shortchanged but you always left out all the things which we are BETTER than others.

Why? Evil person. Go hell with you. The society educated you to this academic level and thats how you are going to show your gratitude? By condemning the people who made you who are you? shame on you.

Anonymous said...

PAP will win the coming elections easily.

You people like to talk so much about morals, but you forget that most Singaporeans don't believe in morals. They only believe in their bank accounts and their stomachs.

People who talk about morals usually die poor, hungry and destitute.

We like to extol the virtues of the Samsui women, their hard work and their toil. But the ugly truth is that nearly all of them will die lonely, hungry and poor.

We admire the loyalty and bravery of people like Lt. Adnan and Lim Bo Seng, who refuse to surrender to the Japanese. Their fate is a cruel death.

People like our Nathan and LKY surrendered and served the Imperial Japanese Army. They now live in luxury, draw at least $2 million a year, and are called "father of Singapore".

You see talk so much about morals. You not scared you end up dying hungry and bankrupt one day, like Chee Soon Juan or Tang Liang Hong?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:44,

Instead of condemning Lucky as evil, why don't you tell us what is better and why we should be so grateful?

Sunfleur said...

They say: "Don't put the foxes in charge of the chicken coop".

When the next GE comes, people from the walkover wards will not have a chance to vote. Hopefully, for rest who get the chance, they will make a wise choice; lest went all social adversities become inevitable, we have no one but ourselves to blame... again!

Anonymous said...

Why should anyone tell you what is better? I have BETTER things to do in my life to such as chase my dreams. I have no business with how who want to earn how much in gahment or who is corrupted. As long I have a peaceful environment to live and if you have eyes and i really mean if you have EYES to see, then you will know thta Singapore is better than most cuntries in terms of opportunities. Of course you will not be able to see because you have no eyes in the first place. Go on and complain if thats what you wanna do all your life.

Anonymous said...

You all these few minority want to vote out the gahment? Kidding ME?! Look around you, everyone is happy with their life because they have everything they can get. Try live in Jakarta. KL. Bangkok. You will open your eyes and see how much better you are in Singapore.

No person in the right mind will vote out this gahment. You people are just the disgruntled few who can't get into the PAP MANAGEMENT so badmouth and find petty faults. Nothing in this world is perfect so what is there to talk about those petty details? Lucky sure is a free person, can spend his time writing about sporadic topics and his job must be FAULT FINDER.

Anonymous said...

Don't be stupid lah. Which gahment in the world is 100% CLEAN? The financial system in this world is a CORRUPTED piece of shit itself.

Don't need act HIGH CLASS and play with words to find faults with the gahment. There are always faults to be found. Who cares there are faults?!?!!? You are perfect meh?

Anonymous said...

When a senior statesman has to start making excuses or tell people that certain things are "inevitable" (in other words they are clueless) then he is finished.

Anonymous said...

Death is also Inevitable, but please GOD make it fast. He has driven many to the grave.

Fievel said...

There are quite a number of pro-PAP comments above from anonymous folks.

I think that it is only healthy and right for any discussion to have both sides to balance things out.

Strangely though, I have been noticing that all the pro-PAP comments always seem to reek of faked broken English..why faked? Because they use good English mixed with bad...I wonder if anyone here gets my drift

Lim Leng Hiong said...

The government appears to be stumbling along in the correct direction. Not inevitable yet, but just one more small mistake and the stage will be set for a significant change at the polls.

Anon 10:47 said:

"I beg to differ. It is inevitable that Singapore will return PAP to government in the next election and the one after that and the one after that..... You have to understand the mindset of the majority. They are a discontented lot but easily cowed. The government only has to say it does not tolerate dissent and almost everyone will shrink back into their shells."

Yes, you are likely correct about the coming election, though the percentage will most likely drop by quite a bit. It is also true that most Singaporeans prefer to back down, but some things have changed since the last election.

Anon 12:37 said:

"People from poor countries flock to London to take up any jobs and the locals were still competing people who see the minimum wage as good money compared to where they can make back home. So that policy as I witness first hand, did not solve the problem of employment. What it does is to keep those with jobs at a certain level of pay. It simply invited more competition for jobs in the lower tier."

Are you sure that it is the minimum wage policy that "simply invited more competition for jobs in the lower tier"? Isn't it more likely to be the foreign worker policy that invited more competition?

Anon 12:39 said:

"You people just jealous over their pay. Fact is ANYONE can do well to earn that pay. Those who complain are those who can't get in and so find faults. But finding fault is easy, where are the solution? And if you are really so keen, why are you not in politics and involve in the action? Why are you only talking on your blog?"

Not anyone can earn that pay, and while there may be some jealous people, I'm sure there are also many capable people who would prefer not to earn that pay.

And come on, give yourself some credit; you don't have to be "in politics" to spot problems, to discuss the severity of a problem or to suggest solutions.

Anon 12:44 said:

"You are damn evil lucky. You use manipulative language as a tool to influence people to find faults with the gahment. You are trying to destroy something that's good though not the best. Must be really be DA BEST in everything?"

I know this is for Lucky, but I just would like to address the comment about being "DA BEST in everything". The short answer is Yes - the government HAS to be the best in everything. It has lost the luxury of just being better than the local alternative, because there is no local alternative. In addition, as Lucky mentioned our leaders are the best paid in the world. Thus the performance of our government can only be gauged by comparing them with the best governments in the world.

Anon 12:48 said:

"PAP will win the coming elections easily.

You people like to talk so much about morals, but you forget that most Singaporeans don't believe in morals. They only believe in their bank accounts and their stomachs...

...You see talk so much about morals. You not scared you end up dying hungry and bankrupt one day, like Chee Soon Juan or Tang Liang Hong?"

I sense a message of "might is right" in your comment, however it is likely true that Singaporeans don't like to talk about morals, or don't believe in it, like in your case.

But this is not really about morals, is it? It has become a issue of basic survival, most definitely a bread-and-better issue.

If Singaporeans are fast becoming marginalised in the coming years, then the next election may be the last chance for change. Treasure it.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Continued...

Anon 13:37 said:

"Why should anyone tell you what is better? I have BETTER things to do in my life to such as chase my dreams. I have no business with how who want to earn how much in gahment or who is corrupted."

Unless you are ready to migrate right now, I think that your dreams are not completely delinked from government policies. One day your dreams may be be realized on the back of a government decision, or be brutally dashed by it.

Anon 13:42 said:

"Don't be stupid lah. Which gahment in the world is 100% CLEAN? The financial system in this world is a CORRUPTED piece of shit itself.

Don't need act HIGH CLASS and play with words to find faults with the gahment. There are always faults to be found. Who cares there are faults?!?!!? You are perfect meh?"

Nobody is perfect, that is why we should care if there are faults. Where there is a fault, there is room for improvement. Where there is improvement, there is progress and hope for the future.

Anons, my friends. All of your above comments are supportive of the government. Thus there is no risk of censorship or negative response from the government.

So why are all of you Anon XX:XX?

If it is not the government that you are afraid of, then who is it?

Anonymous said...

but the pro-pap comments don't make any sense at all. just makes pple more dulan of pap.

lky jolly well knows that at the moment, depressed wages simply translate into fatter corporate profits further benefitting the rich.

vote pap, if you are rich.

if you're middle to low income group, kick pap out.

Anonymous said...

HA ha ha who is the one afraid? I am happy here enjoying my life while you stupid jerk can only complain here. HA HA

Anonymous said...

Lim Leng Hiong, what the fish you talking about? Your mouth also can fart ah? Waaaaaaaaaaaaa

Lim Leng Hiong said...

"HA ha ha who is the one afraid? I am happy here enjoying my life while you stupid jerk can only complain here. HA HA"

Glad to hear that you are happy and enjoying your life. Maybe I'm not as happy as you are, but I'm fairly OK. The problem is that there are many Singaporeans who are far more miserable than I am.

Are you afraid of them?

Anonymous said...

Dear Lim Heng Hiong,

You should just ignore Anon 15:16. He is just baiting you for his own ego. He is not interested in having a meaningful discussion. Don't waste your time. It's perfectly fine to be pro-PAP but there is no need to be abusive.

Anonymous said...

Troll Alert!

DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to trolling messages. It is well known that most people don't read messages that nobody responds to, while 99% of forum visitors first read the longest and the largest threads with the most answers.

Anonymous said...

Why should I be grateful to the government?

When I was young, I had to suffer in the education system studying things that I didn't want to learn.

When I finished school, I had to be a slave for 2 years in NS, taking orders from ah beng sergeants who didn't even complete secondary school.

And if I work and live in Singapore, I would have no jobs to pay for living, and not to mention, an overpriced tag for a pigeon hole which we call a HDB flat.

If I have no jobs, it is because there are so many other foreigners who would always take a lower salary than me.

Grateful? For what?

If Singapore is still a kampung now, probably I would be happier living my poor life.

Anonymous said...

Why should I be afraid of them? Why should I be afraid that ministers are earning 3 million a year? Who cares? Is it your money to start with? If they earn 30k a year, the rest go into your pocket meh?

Politics is a jungle. The jungle is full of tigers, remove one and others move into his territory.

The best way to solve any problem is to study hard and get into parliament. Then you can truly make singapore in a BETTER place the way you want. PAP didn't do well in something yes but they did million of things BETTER than other gahment. I have faith in the PAP more than CHEE SOON JUAN or any other stupid armchair critic for sure.

Anonymous said...

Suffer? Do you understand the meaning of the word suffer? Don't anyhow use in your context. Go to JAKARTA and see how people suffer.

If what you're feeling is suffer then masturbation must be PAINFUL.

Anonymous said...

There are so many trolls who complain the PAP and there is no alert? now someone go against the anti pap jerks, and TROLL ALERT HOR! LOL?

Anonymous said...

ANTI PAP STUPID JERKS ALERT.

Anonymous said...

"Inevitable means not the govt's fault"

Lucky, look how well you coined a definition. Why do you wanna talk about fault in the first place? We are human, human makes mistakes. But why you wanna talk about fault instead of leading the way? Do you know what is an armchair critic?

Why not you show us how it can be done better. Get yourself into parliament. Show us. don't talk cock. Show us you can predict the future and BE PERFECT and NEEVER EVER MAKE A MISTAKE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFe. SHOIW US LEH.

Anonymous said...

PAP or Lee Kuan Yew is not a god. Get real mate.

Anonymous said...

Great entertainment especially from the rather not friendly anonymous......

Every now and then, Lucky would be painted like the devil. All of us are so naive and easily influenced by him according these people. We are all so gullible and we always do not really know how fortunate we are if we compare ourselves to other countries (what a very familiar theme that always resonates in the MSM and from higher mortals in our country)

The truth is that it is so hard to compare. Why are some people so eager to shut up people who have only have negative things to tell?

Anyway, that particular anonymous is also very funny. If he is so happy, how did he chance upon this blog? If he is as what he says, would he bother with the morons and gullibles of this blog? If he is as what he says, he would probably *smirk* (oops!) and say what low-lives we were and how we were wasting people's time.......

Anyway, thank you Lucky for providing such an alternative, insightful and entertaining blog....... : ) guess it makes some of our lives interesting!!!

Anonymous said...

The truth is that PAP government is overpaid, ineffective and cannot solve problems. That is a fact, trolls. It's staring at you in the face, in all the business reports, in the quality of life indicators, in the pension fund reports. It's shouting out that the PAP government is damn useless! So say what you like, I can make my own judgement. You post in broken English or Queen's English, I can make my own mind up, thank you very much.

And for all that you post, I don't find anything enlightening in what you have to say. No solutions either. Thank you, next please.

Anonymous said...

And it is not true that it does not matter whether the ministers get $3 million dollars not....

It is true that even if the minister get 30k a year, the rest of the $$$ will not go into our pockets....

However, obviously you are one who is quite ignorant. The exorbitant and lavish lifestyles of the politically powerful people have bankrupted the nations which eventually will affect every single of one of us.....it is a fact and this fact is also used by the present government in every election.....

The fact is that (and many people including experts, analysts, armchair critics, and other common people) we do not have a system that have adequate checks and balances. Granted that the present government officials are people with integrity, honesty and capability to do the job well for the people. It cannot be guaranteed in the future because we do not have a system in place.

I think I remember an issue about the Temasek's investment and Tharman's reply was *we need to based on trust* and also about CPF Life, where the scheme does not guarantee the amount of payout which according to some MPs, that such wordings in the CPF Act, are unsettling....

These are some of the examples that indicates our system may be prone to abuse, misuse and other undesirable consequences which may irreparable....

Many people here are no experts....but these are some concerns....and we know concerns are usually constructive....so why try to shut us up especially Lucky....

The worst scenario is as someone put it (which I think is most apt)....u put a frog (we and future generations ) in water and slowly turn up the heat....by the time u realise what is happening, most likely it is too late.......

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Lee Hisen Loong also said before (some years back, I think) that the widening income gap in Singapore is inevitable and that it is a phenonmenon that is observed in developed countries......

Anybody can dig up that newspaper report.....

Anonymous said...

Bankrupt? Singapore? Not in our life time mate. Why if the sun does not rise tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

When one is with a stable job, healthy and young, Singapore is a good place for you and you will not have many complaints against the garhmen.

However when one is old, jobless, saddled with debts, illness then here is real hell.

Compared to the times of MM Lee and SM Goh, Singapore is still No1 and the garhmen is more compassionate, understanding and people never ever complained so much. Just ask AROUND AND YOU KNOW ALMOST EVERYONE IS UNHAPPY.

Now HAHA we see the garhmen always talk $$$$$$ and our PM said many things that cannot convinced us … What help the poor? What leave no one behind etc… HDB housings have never been that out of reach and we heard only minister say AFFORDDABLE and those ST talked YEAH YEAH CHEAP CHEAP. PEOPLE FUSSY etc. Minister talk BETTER CHAEPER FASTER??? People are now more educated and craps like these best stowed somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Your little attempt is so weak...a little facts on top but underpinned by a huge mass of bullshit and conjecture.

Maybe if you have your way, the s.s. Singapbe a bankrupt/

Give us some better workable solutions, shithead...not cheap worn out rhetoric.

What's a few $$$? Why so petty..so never seen a few $$$ dollars before?

Yes they are the mostly highly paid ministers in the world but they are worth every penny of it.

Pat peanuts and you get real monkeys..like George Bush !

You want cheapo gahmen, SDP always ready.

Uncle Yap will sell his backside for $50..and Chee rents out his sister for $25 a shot.

Only losers envy ministers' salaries...if you think you can do a better job..go convince the voters and get into power. Then you will thank the PAP for creating those Million dollar jobs for you.

Anonymous said...

So your objective is to quieten all of us here, is it?

Makes us appreciate what the government has done for us, is it?

Appreciate what there is in Singapore so that we all will not be losers.....

Hmmm...I find that quite illogical. Societies are built on hope and progress. Humans are by nature, inquisitive...which is instrincally linked to what we enjoyed as humans now....

So if your objectives in commenting are as listed as above, then what will eventually happen to all of us?

Simply cannot understand.....then let's just assume you are right in every point that you made in this blog......what does it mean? Find your points quite contradictory..u talk about morals....then u talk about being apathetic because there is nothing that can be changed....then u talked about the current government being the best available.......

Really baffled at the points u r trying to make......but nonetheless...great entertainment!!!

Anonymous said...

and about George Bush....at least he is weeded out of the system. Because the system does not tolerate inept people......

the problem with our system...we do not even know how inept the people in the system are......i.e. the extent of it....and we cannot do anything about it even if we know how inept they are.....

To be fair, what we can so-called complain or say are actually pure conjectures and opinions....we do not have system to really verify and improve....that is the sad case of Singapore.....

Anonymous said...

Trolls can only talk rubbish, becayse they see only $$$. Why don't you read facts (not MSM) a bit more? Stop spouting rubbish on this blog can?

It's a fact taht the PAP government is damn useless. Tweak, tweak to CPF, still end up near the bottom. This is the type of performance from "worth every penny" government meh? And if you read financial reports, GIC is still bleeding losses!

And Ho Ching is the only fund manager in the worl who uses a 84% VaR. I can laugh until teeth drop out! Cannot make it man. Risk management 101 also dunno. FYI there's no such thing as 84% VaR. It's just rubbish talk from a ignorant idiot mascarading as a fund manager.

Anonymous said...

Oh so only losers envy PAP? It's the cannot make it people who must lick PAP's balls! Just think about it, if Lucky is not financially independent and doing ok, you think he can have time to blog? I think most of the people DON'T have to make a living carrying PAP's balls. Only weaklings and losers prostitute themselves... because no skills to compete in the real world lah! ;)

Anonymous said...

Better be careful trolls or you will find your jobs outsourced to cheaper, better and faster PRC ball-lickers than you! Who dunno how to carry balls! Such a easy job, no skills needed! LOL Suggest you learn how to dig for aluminium cans.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that VaR does not give you an indication of tail end losses? That means if Ho Ching had to use a VaR of 84%, her losses must be millions of times more! A possible scenario:

99% 400b loss
95% 380b loss
90% 250b loss
85% 220b loss
84% 50b loss

OMG, how to tell everyone? Never mind, just say 84% VaR with 50b loss. Brillant isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Worth every penny indeed! If she had to compensate for the losses from her own pocket, she work until 90 years old also cannot finish paying off. And the best? "I have no regrets". Sure, not your money what... the ppl of sg's money. So see the devil for what he is and vote wisely ppl.

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theorists alert....... : )

Temasek made its 2nd largest bond issue in the history of the company.....

I like conspiracy theories... : )

Let me start off....really got no $$$ ahh.......no wonder CPF Life cannot guarantee payout.....heard oil prices increasing again......the government quite smart now....incrementals now are more gradual, so that you will not feel the pinch.....energy tariffs increased again, rite?......what else.....tnk GST will rise to 10% eventually...........

Actually what Temasek does also none of our business.......is it?.....anyway, we never know......that is why it is conspiracy theory..hahaha

Anonymous said...

: ) ...glad that my memory serves me correct...but then again...it was from an opposition party website...definitely not credible.. : )

http://www.singapore-window.org/sw00/000612af.htm

here's the article....

SINGAPORE'S opposition Workers' Party (WP) today slammed the government after a cabinet minister said it could do nothing to narrow the widening income gap between the rich and poor.
*We have said again and again that the PAP (ruling People's Action Party) has not got the political will to bring about a fairer distribution of income,* said J.B. Jeyaretnam, secretary general of the WP and long-time foe of the PAP.

*All we hear from the PAP is empty words, that the low income earners have to improve themselves. It is adding insult to injury,* he said.

Adopting a hands-off policy on the income gap would have grave social consequences, he warned.

Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted in local weekend reports as saying the widening income gap was due to the globalization of the island-state economy, and was beyond the government's control.

The government could however improve the situation by *making sure that they (the lower income group) continue to have income growth,* Lee said.

Last month, government statistics showed that during the 1998-99 recession, wages for low-skilled workers fell up to 34 percent from S$746 (US$431) in 1998 to $492 in 1999.

In the same period, the average household income for the top 10 percent rose from S$15,053 to S$15,541 dollars.

Chief government statistician Paul Cheung said the trend now would be for all wages to increase but the inequality gap would widen as the global economy put the high-end income group on international wages.

Singapore regards $1000 a month for a family of four as the poverty line.

Anonymous said...

at least the govt is consistent : )

report was in 2000.........wow...i must acknowledge my memory very good leh... : P

Anonymous said...

Actually the people in PAP very good in basic economics....

they very good in increasing prices on things that very inelastic in demand......

guess all the expertise goes into identifying things that r very inelastic in nature.......energy...housing....transportation.....etc.....they also good at identifying things are called luxury items......

all got a* for basic economics....

Onlooker said...

It is inevitable because the divide was created and socially engineered.

That is the real truth of the meritocracy System.

Anonymous said...

I am very tired of my job. Stress level is high, income stagnant and cost of living forever going up.

Wish my life was like a PAP MP; earn big bucks, got pension benefits from only 8 years of service and got all kinds of connections to join stat board and GLC as director or vice-president even after stepping down.

All my connections useless after I quit, or only can get me low-paying job.

Life sucks!

Kojakbt (kojakbt@gmail.com) said...

Please take note of our current calculation from Dept of Stats:

http://www.asiaone.com/Business/News/My%2BMoney/Story/A1Story20080215-49841.html

But the Gini coefficient may underestimate total income and wealth inequality in Singapore as the Department of Statistics used only income from work - wages, as well as business proceeds for the self-employed. Income from dividends, rentals and interest was not included, and such income is likely to accrue more to high earners.

Also, the Department of Statistics only included employed households - defined as households with at least one working member - in its computation of the Gini coefficient, leaving retiree or unemployed households out of the picture.

Don said...

I feel that a lot of people as long as they are doing ok, they will fail to see the problem as a whole.

eg. a friend who took public transport, when i tell him ERP more and more, COE went up, his reply is "nothing to do with me."
But when i tell him next month there will be a fare hike, he will start to "@*#)(*@*#)@#XYZ!"

Which is why even there are so many things that are wrong and not making sense, the ruling party will still stay in power. If there is a slight fall in %, we should be glad that the citizens are improving.

I am not one of those that suffer from the present system, I am one of the lucky one who are able to semi-retire before 40 with 0 debt or loan.
I feel that I am watching a big fire burning the land across the river. Even it doesn't affect me, I still can feel the pain.

So for those selfish people who are doing well, please look at the people around you who are suffering.

Anonymous said...

We have a lot of civil servants around; admin, police, teachers, firemen, SAF personnel.

They make up quite a large voting bloc. Are they expected to vote for the ruling party?

And are these group of voters affected negatively by the increasing income gap and social divide?

Please, most civil servants are not raking in big bucks like the ministers or perm secs or have their career paths plotted out like some President Scholars.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why with globalisation, S'poe still has the most expensive ministers in the world!!!

Anonymous said...

If PAP is so damn good, why do they have to come up with a policy insisting on the CPF minimum sum which can only be taken out monthly after reaching 65 instead of 55 ?

For those who die before reaching 65, it is as good as saying good bye to your minimum sum. You don't even have a chance to touch this amount of your hard earned savings. Never mind, your loved ones would be the ones to benefit if you die earlier.

What kind of stupid policy is that ? And for that, you expect me to vote for PAP ?

Anonymous said...

The Govt talk about CBF [Cheap, Better, Faster] for the workers. Again focus on the poor workers who earn $1,500 a month in comparison to a $128,000 per month for a entry Minister. Why not do a CBF for the Cabinet first and see how they stand up to the test....

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. This social divide will also divide his son out of the Istana.

S'pore is the only country within the region that is anti-china.

With the ascendcy of China, and our pm being in the blacklist of the chinese, i think we need to depend so much more on our neighbours than the americans.

However, with our poor records of friendships with our neighbours, i really dont think they will forgive us so easily. Unless one is so good at licking ass.

But let's be fair and wait to see which divide will happen first.

Kojakbt said...

MM Lee said that the problem of a widening income gap is one that most countries - not just Singapore - have to contend with and that such a split is inevitable in a globalised world. Global competition, he said, both depresses wages at the bottom and boosts wages at the top.

Let us then compare the Gini coefficients of US and Singapore. I chose US because it is also one of the most affected by global competition and after Singapore, US is the country with the next highest income gap among the advanced economies. No doubt, the Gini coefficient of US is also high but we want to see how the US managed in all these years comparing with Singapore:

http://i35.tinypic.com/333wry0.jpg

The blue color line refers to SG Household Income Inequality after accounting for Govt Benefits & Taxes. SG's Gini coefficient is based on household Income from work per household member. Data from US and SG Govt sources:

http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/papers/people/op-s15.pdf
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/IE-1.pdf

http://i35.tinypic.com/207tdu1.jpg

Here's a better view of the graph without the values:

http://i34.tinypic.com/15pq0ox.jpg

In general, we can conclude one thing. US's income gap may be high but it is not widening. For Singapore, under PAP's managment, our income gap has definitely increased in the last 9 years!

Anonymous said...

Our PAP leaders are an integral part of the problem of the growing income gap. They are the problem, and certainly are not part of the solution.

Our PAP leaders insist on paying themselves millions each year, and pay themselves a handsome lifelong pension. How many of us are paid pensions upon retirement?

The PAP insist on depressing our wages by flooding the market with cheap labour. We are threatened that if we resist, companies will relocate and we will lose our jobs.

But if we don't resist, we will see our incomes shrink by double-digit percentages.

Either way, it's a lose-lose situation for us.

Anonymous said...

It is inevitable that some people support what the government is doing while others are opposed to it. Those who support could be part of the elite who wants to maintain the status quo. There are some who just blindly support even though they struggling daily competing with foreigners. They always look at countries that are worse than Singapore and say how lucky they are and grateful that PAP has done such a good job.

There some people who criticise the government because they are struggling to make ends meet due to government policies. All they want is to make an honest living and live a decent live. There are others who are financially well off but still criticise the government because they cannot stand by while their fellow countrymen are suffering. These people look at countries that are doing better than Singapore and say why can't we do better despite paying our ministers the highest salary in the world for running a country.

I don't think it is so much about envy of ministers' pay. It is more about being unhappy for not getting our money's worth. People feel short changed. Some even feel cheated. That's why many are unhappy. Perhaps we should remember one of the reasons for such high pay is to eliminate the temptation for corruption nothing to do with delivering world class performance.

Anonymous said...

don't get so riled up. it's true:

the social divide is inevitable if PAP continues on its current course.

Vote Out PAP based on Justice and Equality.

Anonymous said...

If you vote out PAP in a 'freak election', MM may stage a coup. His sons were once generals. Many of his MPs were generals. His relative is home affairs ministers. The president is his puppet and good friend.

In the previous elections, MM has threatened to stage a coup if Singaporeans do not vote wisely.

Please don't vote against PAP.

Anonymous said...

Either way we die, but we stand a better chance if we vote out PAP. I say we vote out PAP. If not, we will be suffocated by them into economic poverty and suffering forever. Be prepared to eat bread and water. That's the life you want under PAP?

Kojakbt said...

If you vote out PAP in a 'freak election', MM may stage a coup. His sons were once generals. Many of his MPs were generals. His relative is home affairs ministers. The president is his puppet and good friend.

In the previous elections, MM has threatened to stage a coup if Singaporeans do not vote wisely.
Please don't vote against PAP.


It's people like you who form the 66.6% and vote in PAP out of fear. You vote with your conscience. If you think PAP is a good govt, then vote for it. If you think PAP has been caring for themselves and not for the people in the last few years, vote them out. Don't vote for them out of fear. This is the most stupid thing to do. A nation cannot survive if its citizens dare not voice their opinions out of fear. In the end, you'll become either Hitler's Germany or Kim's North Korea.

Don't worry, if oppo wins and MM calls the SAF in to suppress Singaporeans in an open mob, the bros in 3in1kopitiam all pledged to fire and kill off those regular officers and march off to Oxley Rise to hang the bastard!

Anonymous said...

The only thing inevitable is that the PAP will lose the next election big time.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. How can he say such a thing. In essence, he is saying that if we vote for the ruling party, it is inevitable that there will be more hardcore poor in Singapore.

The foreign MNCs will have big profits. The government link companies will enjoy fat profits. The foreign talent will be highly paid and our ministers will get big fat pay rises.

But the people of Singapore? Well they have to be satisfied with being poor.

The are not even giving us a tiny piece of the pie. They are feeding us the crumbs.

Anonymous said...

1) Globalisation exacerbates income inequality - no developed country can escape its effects, but the respective governments can try to mitigate this. It is arguable whether Singapore has done "enough".

2) The Singapore Govt knows that the "native" population size is insufficient both in terms of absolute numbers and expertise to support the number of industries based in Singapore - ranging from MNCs dependent on relatively low cost labour to the finance/pharma/ IT/bio sectors which rely on skilled foreign imports

3) Without a liberal foreign labour policy, there is no way to maintain, let alone increase, the current GDP growth trajectory, which is itself beginning to show signs of a "developed" country and is therefore showing signs of slowing down.

4) What all Singaporeans who are clamouring for a) tighter immigration policies and b) better social safety net need to realise is that these are not bad ideas in themselves, but there are tradeoffs. Implementing both a) and b) will mean less money(bonuses etc) and jobs for most pple as the foreign manufacturing/IT/finance companies must uproot elsewhere, and higher income tax rates (since the govt no longer enjoys the gearing effects) without necessarily benefiting the middle class - just the lowest class. As things stand, our government collects very little from personal income tax as a proportion of its revenues, but makes up for the shortfall from the amazingly large (relative to population size) incomes of the corporate sector.

5) But yes, a) and b) would certainly result in improvement in the social divide, but with everyone at a lower level of wealth. If the population is willing to accept this, the PAP might be willing to do this, but you will agree that this is not a trivial thing - the majority of Singaporeans are not in the lowest segment of society, and it doesnt seem democratic either to embark on a course of action that benefits a small group (i.e. the poor) at the expense of everyone else.

6) This is the paradox of capitalism: Helping the rich has measurably positive effects on lifting the middle class but not to the same extent - which breeds unhappiness abt the income divide etc. But helping the poor does not have any measurably positive impact on the middle class - which is why most countries are still stuck with option 1.

Kojakbt said...

Globalisation exacerbates income inequality - no developed country can escape its effects, but the respective governments can try to mitigate this. It is arguable whether Singapore has done "enough".

Here's a graph comparing the Gini coefficients of US and SG for the last 9 years: http://i35.tinypic.com/333wry0.jpg

So, do u think PAP has done "enough"?


Without a liberal foreign labour policy, there is no way to maintain, let alone increase, the current GDP growth trajectory, which is itself beginning to show signs of a "developed" country and is therefore showing signs of slowing down.

Did you also know that while our GDP is growing, but our productivity has been going down. What does this tell you? We are merely throwing "bodies" to grow the economy. Do u think this is good?

What all Singaporeans who are clamouring for a) tighter immigration policies and b) better social safety net need to realise is that these are not bad ideas in themselves, but there are tradeoffs. Implementing both a) and b) will mean less money(bonuses etc) and jobs for most pple as the foreign manufacturing/IT/finance companies must uproot elsewhere, and higher income tax rates (since the govt no longer enjoys the gearing effects) without necessarily benefiting the middle class - just the lowest class. As things stand, our government collects very little from personal income tax as a proportion of its revenues, but makes up for the shortfall from the amazingly large (relative to population size) incomes of the corporate sector.

This is a complicated issue with multiple factors affecting the decision of a company where it would locate itself. It's not just wages alone. Your thinking is too simplistic

5) But yes, a) and b) would certainly result in improvement in the social divide, but with everyone at a lower level of wealth. If the population is willing to accept this, the PAP might be willing to do this, but you will agree that this is not a trivial thing - the majority of Singaporeans are not in the lowest segment of society, and it doesnt seem democratic either to embark on a course of action that benefits a small group (i.e. the poor) at the expense of everyone else.

Today, over-liberal FT policy is not only affecting the poor but also the middle-class. Please take a look at this excellent article from an academic of the LKY School of Policy: http://singaporemind.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-social-divide-is-not-inevitable.html

Anonymous said...

wah anon 16.57,

If u r an economist, it is safe to say that u will not win the economics nobel prize in your second life, let alone your first.

your arguments jump too far when nothing you said is concrete.

i bet u are against minimum wages when singapore is in the global minority not implementing minimum wages.

US, Europe and Japan face the same economic problems like singapore and they have come out with very good economic policies (minimum wages, universal healthcare, free education, unemployment benefits, progressive taxes)

Even US is moving towards universal healthcare.

Shame on singapore economists for not trying to be on par with their counterparts from US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, S.korea.

Anonymous said...

Talking about pension scheme, do you know that the government once attempt to persuade the older or last generations of civil servants to convert their pension schemes into some fuck fully CPF scheme?

From what I know, most do not convert to fully CPF scheme with slightly higher interest rates but no free health care for both own-self and dependent, i.e. spouse, after retirement, as most probably knows what the government is up to.

Those who convert from pension scheme to fully CPF scheme will be cursing and swearing at recent changes to CPF life. A few visits to hospital means return everything slogged back to government.

Obviously, most people are not being conned, the liability of them is further reduced by changing a small rule - if the owner of pension scheme dies first, then there is no free health care for his wife.

Who is the real evil?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what goes through most people's minds when they are asked to recite the pledge nowadays.

Especially as one socially divided people.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21:44,

Singaporeans are being made guinea pigs. Please read Michael Young's book "The rise of meritocracy" or the summary in the guardian newspaper. Check in google. The outcome of meritocracy has been predicted 30 yrs ago.

Only in Singapore is meritocracy a religion.

Anonymous said...

Reply to Kojakbt 20:35

1) I said it's arguable whether the government has done enough, which suggests that there are reasonable arguments on both sides of this fence. Looking at the Gini coefficient between the US and Singapore is one way to draw a conclusion - though one obvious problem with this data is that the US data has to average across the different states, so a more comparable gini coefficient might be to look at New York City versus Singapore for example. Who knows, we could end up look better - but you'd be right that it doesn't mean the Govt can't do more to improve.

2)Agree that productivity is declining and that's a problem. But it's not a unique problem with developed countries - base effects makes it harder for productivity to increase once a majority of your population is educated. Throwing more bodies is one way to make up for the decline, but you're right that it's not a long term solution.

3) I work for a MNC and I assure you that it's not very complicated at all. If you could see the kind of jockeying that takes place between the "EDBs" of HK, Singapore, China and Malaysia as they fight tooth and nail to entice us to set up shop, you'll soon realise that cost is the main factor that makes us move. Yes, it's also true that some fund mgrs moved to Singapore from HK because of air quality but that is also because the cost/ regulatory factor was roughly on par between these jurisdictions. Otherwise those fund managers would have bought gas masks and carried on.

4)Thanks for the link to the article, which certainly sounds promising, but showing only the beginning and the end is not exactly convincing. I'll be interested to see how the authors reached the conclusion they did - otherwise it's just like all of us here, shooting the breeze. I don't think I would doubt the authors' assertion that the govt can afford a multi-tier social security network, I would just question if the link between having these networks and spurring fertility/ economic productivity is well established. Gotta read the paper to know.

Anonymous said...

1. Our ministers not making $3M a year, there is a discretionary component bonus of up to 12 months decided by the PM himself. So can you tell me if PM isnt not rewarding himself and his dad full 12 months bonus?

2. The rich and elites favour the ruling, this is for sure. If you have so much money, directly or indirectly benefited from their policies, you wont even think about democracy, morality, freedom of speech, its all BS to you.

3. Too bad, Singapore has a big population of middle class, this is why the ruling is worried about votes and thus brought new millions of new citizens through migration or foreign talent policies to dilute and spread the votes.

Singaporeans have been nurtured to be selfish, kiasu and kiasi, we only care about ourselves, this is why you see a lot of people writing about bank accounts and stomach. Until the artic water hits you, you dont know the pain. When it hits you, its end of the world for you my friend.

Everything in Singapore is carefully planned and crafted by PMO, they did their homework ages ago and revised till perfection.

Anonymous said...

Leaders lead by example. Our present leaders are paid between $3M to $6M a year (including a possible 12 months of discretionary bonuses). On top, they have their own family businesses and a lot of directorships.

They removed pension scheme from everyone, including the old civil service. How come our ministers are still on pension??? Can someone tell me they have 50s to 100s of millions and they would still want more? Is this a case of money not enough or pure greed?

Anonymous said...

It leaves me speechless that our erstwhile MM who had umpteen times pronounced future scenarios for the likes of China, India, America and other nations cannot see what will happen in his own backyard. Now he throws up his hands and admit defeat that what has happen to Singapore is inevitable. In other words, it was unexpected and cannot be avoided. How can it be that he fail to see this coming? Sir, if you are not watching for us and not caring to lessen the pain, who will? Even if it is inevitable, if there is a will, there are many ways to at least deflect what has already hit us. Are we that defenseless and so inept that we just bear the brunt and say Que Sera Sera?

Kojakbt said...

Reply to Anon 15:18

"I said it's arguable whether the government has done enough, which suggests that there are reasonable arguments on both sides of this fence. Looking at the Gini coefficient between the US and Singapore is one way to draw a conclusion - though one obvious problem with this data is that the US data has to average across the different states, so a more comparable gini coefficient might be to look at New York City versus Singapore for example. Who knows, we could end up look better - but you'd be right that it doesn't mean the Govt can't do more to improve."

You miss the point. What we are trying to measure here is how a Govt copes with income disparity over time. From the stats, it's clear to me that in the US, the income gap may be high but the Govt is doing what they can to contain the gap as far as possible in the last 8 years. Hence, you see a generally horizontal line. In the case of Singapore, I was surprised to see a general upward slope in the last 8 years. I dare say, the influx of cheap FTs has increased our income gap even more widely.

"Agree that productivity is declining and that's a problem. But it's not a unique problem with developed countries - base effects makes it harder for productivity to increase once a majority of your population is educated. Throwing more bodies is one way to make up for the decline, but you're right that it's not a long term solution."

It's an extremely short-sighted and stupid solution by throwing bodies into the economy to increase GDP. It's now causing a whole lot of other social problems in our society. One of the best paid Govt in the world can only thing of such cheap and short-sighted solution?

"I work for a MNC and I assure you that it's not very complicated at all..."

Well, whatever it is, I wish you well. Hope you don't get backstabbed and replaced by a cheaper FT....

Anonymous said...

The ministers are able to buy one or two condos every years with their salary.

The lowest pay among the ministers is $1.2m so they can buy only one every year.

Property prices now increased and the salary is not enought to buy even one condo in District 9,10,11.

The people of Singapore must make sure the elites can afford to buy their condo otherwise the elites would not serve the people anymore and we will be in trouble!

Anonymous said...

So is the author going to follow up with an article on what S/HE would have done since 1959? Talk about ivory tower critics.

Kojakbt said...

Reply to Anon 11:02,

"So is the author going to follow up with an article on what S/HE would have done since 1959? Talk about ivory tower critics."

You mean to say the citizens cannot criticise on any of the Govt's policies? And must obey PAP's command that anyone who wants to criticise the Govt must form your own political party to run against them first?

So, likewise, the wet market stall holders who may be affected by the impending wet market sale to Sheng Siong cannot criticise the Govt too? And that if they want to say something against the Govt's wet market privatisation policy, the Ah Soh must "follow up with an article on what SHE would have done since 1959"?

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Anon 11:02 said:

"So is the author going to follow up with an article on what S/HE would have done since 1959? Talk about ivory tower critics."

I think you've missed the point.

If our current social divide is really "inevitable" (ie. primarily due to global trends) then there is nothing that anyone in Singapore could have done "since 1959" to avoid it.

Anonymous said...

The ministers are able to buy one or two condos every years with their salary.

The lowest pay among the ministers is $1.2m so they can buy only one every year.


I think there is a feller who become greedy and having a simplistic thought that property can only go up in Singapore and buy a lot until he became bankrupt and remove from office as mentioned on a website with his name.

Not sure whether it is true.

Kojakbt said...

"I think there is a feller who become greedy and having a simplistic thought that property can only go up in Singapore and buy a lot until he became bankrupt and remove from office as mentioned on a website with his name."

What I heard is that the fella is actually a nice guy. Typical scholar type. The problem is he married a 'howlian' greedy wife. It was the wife who got him into trouble. Wife is a bitchy lawyer herself.

In the end, what I heard is that the party decided to bail him out in order to safeguard the "good" name of that party on condition that he resigned and left politics for good. This was from the grapevine.

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