Friday, June 15, 2012

Christopher Balding is back and he makes another point.....

Prof. Christopher Balding's new website: http:\\

In this latest posting he makes a less controversial point backed up with good statistics for comparison. Before I go into it, here is a photo I took from TOC showing 2 Workers' Party members holding a sign at one of the rallies at Hougang.

The WP supporter's English is not too good and he got some of the numbers wrong -our reserves are closer to $600B than $60B! But it does echo the sentiment on the ground of "rich govt, poor citizens".

Professor Balding's latest posting [Link] explains clearly that this is not just sentiment on the ground but the assertions can be supported by numbers and facts.

Here's a summary Balding's findings:

1. Among the countries with the biggest surpluses measured as a % of GDP, the Singapore govt spends the least on its people:

Note that the other countries are oil producing or resource rich countries. While Balding says on his blog that some people may accuse him of making an unfair comparison, I would think that since most of the govt revenue in Singapore is collected from economic activity (say, sweat and blood of working people), the Singapore govt should feel even more obligated to return this money to improve the lives of the people through social spending.

2. Next the Prof Balding shows the countries that has similar level of govt expenditure as Singapore. Singapore is ranked 181 just above Myanmar and below Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia.

3, Balding concludes that "Singapore is treating its people as sources of wealth extraction. Rather, people should be considered resources. The people of Singapore deserve better than Myanmar and Bangladesh".

As our SWF gets bigger so is number of Singaporeans are falling into poverty.  Today, 400,000 workers belong to the low income group and work at jobs that don't pay enough for subsistence [Link]. What Prof. Balding is telling us is consistent with what is felt on the ground in Singapore. 

Thanks for the numbers Professor Balding....but Singaporeans already know because they feel the real effect of this "wealth extraction". 


Anonymous said...

It is so very clear that the papist Leegime has been robbing Singaporeans of the rewards for their hardwork and productivity. How else do u explain that the government is so rich when more than 80% of the citizens are struggling ? They are like dracula, sucking the blood of the people. That is why they are so afraid to reveal how much they have taken from the people. Robbers must be punished.

Anonymous said...

And it's not just tax. It's COE, sky high housing property prices, maid fees and others. The aim is to turn Singaporeans into wage slaves.

Ng Eng Hou said...

Yes, many Singaporeans are struggling and yet many still voted for MIW in the last election. This means the pain is still not painful enough. Those who voted for them still like to be treated as dogs and hoping to seek favors and help from them when in need.

We can cite many examples and facts, but what's the use?

When can Singapore really wake up?

Anonymous said...

When i listen to the PM, DPMS, ministers and MP talk. They remind me of the dummies, they seem to be void of any personal opinions, ideas and convictions,
They all seem to be parroting the ideas of the party or you know who...

Its really hard to believe them, they really do not have much ideas or convictions, period.


Anonymous said...

I have long suspected PAP is daylight robbers. Unfortunately, due to their majority in parliament, the court became controlled and cannot protect its people from unfair treatment. Singaporeans are slave to PAP, that is an undisputable fact! If we don't uproot the source of pain, I can't imagine what will happen as years gone by.

Anonymous said...

"Today, 400,000 workers belong to the low income group and work at jobs that don't pay enough for subsistence."
Lucky Tan

But there are a total of about 2 million voters. So 400,000 is only 20% of voters.

Assuming all 400,000 voted opposition, this is only half of the 40% who voted opposition in GE 2011.

So only 20% of the 80% above subsistence voted opposition.

And (100-20) = 80% of those above subsistence voted PAP!

Not bad for PAP, right?

Anonymous said...

One popular reason why Sgp govt needs to continually build up reserves is becos Sgp does not have the luxury of other states which have significant natural resources e.g. the Mid-East countries. Even HK which does not have much natural resources, has the unenviable benefit of China being a massive consumer of its services & goods.

Do these "fundamental" differences justify the Sgp govt doing what they have been doing to accumulate reserves?

Anonymous said...

PAP always said that its people are its resource. So does it not make sense that we keep our best resource, look after them well, keep the resource happy, etc.. all for the sake of the country?
It seems PAPies treat their only lifeline like dirt, expendable and discarded once they extract all our economic value.
Vote for them at your peril...

theonion said...


Frankly the comparisons to Bangladesh and Myanmar is ludicrous considering every middle class citizen there wants to get out.

Further, it only refers to
spending and not economic wellbeing outcomes eg medical spending highest in USA, yet life expectancy, infant mortality is below par.

If spending monies can produce better outcomes, well , welcome to Greece lucky.

Anonymous said...

Why is this ahmoh so interested in exposing PAP?

stop lying to your own people said...

Many rich european countries made use of slaves in the old days to be where they are now today. The difference is LHL uses own people as slaves.

Anonymous said...

LHL do not use own people, 'chi ka in' as slaves. His own people are the royalty of Lanfang. He uses his subjects like slaves.

The Pariah said...

Pay And Profit (PAP) Govt have sucked us dry - our blood, sweat and tears from two generations and now the next two generations.

Wake up - the 60% fellow Singaporeans who voted for PAP in GE 2011.

Anonymous said...

Actually i have feeling just like what the good professor said for donkeys years already. So when "Old Man" said Sinkaporeans were/are daft, he definitely knows a lot of things, Sinkaporeans don't know. So are the 60.0% of Sinkaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Unanswered Question #9

Is Singapore just the vision of one old man?

Or does Singapore belong to all Singaporeans?

ah lian said...

The "misunderstanding" here, on purpose or not, is that the gahmen think Singaporeans want so much WELFARE that it will make a BIG LOBANG in our (secret) reserves.

I read this analogy from a poster somewhere: It's like you ask the hawker for more rice, it doesn't mean you want a whole mountain of it!

But the gahmen have a really warped way of thinking. We ask for something reasonable -- like priority for citizens -- and they can jump to the conclusion that we want a SHIT LOAD of welfare!!!

Come to think of it, how come we NEED to ask the gahmen to put Singaporeans first? Isn't that a given?! Government of other countries give their citizens priority over foreigners, as a matter of course. Only in Singapore do citizens need to compete with a foreigner (maybe holding a fake degree!) based on the gahmen's convenient excuse of "meritocracy"! Hey, what's the point of citizenship if foreigners are treated the same or even better?!

And the gahmen wanna continue with the FT policy!!! As they've NO OTHER IDEAS how to lead Singapore forward.

Frankly speaking, our average citizens are v meek people (probably due to decades of "taming"). That's why 60% still guai-guai vote the PAP.

But, eg, many are still able to "own" their HDB with a 30-yr loan using their CPF and have bought the gahmen's sales pitch about it's good being asset-rich. HOW ABOUT THEIR RETIREMENT?! Sell their flat, move in with their children? HOW ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN'S FUTURE? Do they want their children to slog their whole lives for miniature flats with depressed wages?!

Really, is this the best future the MIW elite scholars can offer?

Anonymous said...

Our PAP regime seems to be more interested in showing us their subsidies based on their own paper calculations for practically everything, subsidy for this, subsidy for that, all on paper only.

See their pattern of claiming recognition, subsidy for new HDB flat, for that policlinic bill & hospital bill, for medicine, lifetime subsidy amounting to S$500,000 for whole family, S$1,000 salary can purchase new flat because of generous subsidy; etc., etc.

Supposing they add the Ministers' pay and then consider it as part of the costs and then calculate it as a subsidy, will it be equitable ? As they said, the devil is in the details, so how are we to know whether they are telling us the truth and nothing but the truth ?

Lye Khuen Way said...

Very depressing reading.
We sure need those well qualified in finance and are patriotic enough to join Lucky Tan, Kenneth & Prof Balding (a non Singaporean) in putting up a serious publication for the Singapore Authority to explain.

Waiting for 2016? May be too late.

Anonymous said...

Unanswered Question #10
Millionaires-In-White or MIW's definition of a SUBSIDY is not the same as a dictionary's definition of a subsidy.

Why are Sinkies so easily fooled?

Subsidy = Cost - Selling Price to citizen

MIW's Definition
Subsidy = Market Price - Selling Price to citizen.

Actual cost is a state secret.
Market Price is calculated by the MIWs
Selling Price is also determined by the MIW.

This is the Singapore Fairy Tale.
Handed down from limpeh.

Anonymous said...

"As they said, the devil is in the details, so how are we to know whether they are telling us the truth and nothing but the truth ?"
ANON: 15/6/12 19:46

Vote Opposition in GE 2016.
We'll eventually get the truth.
As we vote in more Opposition MPs.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the fact that the current batch of ministers have no ability of independent thought. Contrast this with the first generation of leaders.

I attribute this likely to the force fed, red carpet ride to the top. This route learning imperial exams method of ascending to the top will get ppl who are excellent at regurgitating past model answers.

tocqueville said...

When I was in school a long time ago, English Literature was a compulsory subject and I studied A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

The PAP government's obsession with savings/surpluses and parsimony on social spending reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge in the novel.

The novel had a happy ending. Scrooge had some sort of epiphany and changed. Let's us hope the same will happen to our goverment.

Anonymous said...

PAP talk the way they talk because they believe they are invincible.

They are promoting a dynastic system in Singapore - grooming of the next PM and future ministers and talking down to us because PAP has won every single elections since Independence and formed the government.

Even without the GRC, they still won 60.1% of the votes, enough to form the government.

Until PAP loses their 50% majority, they will not change their tack. Losing 1 GRC is not a big deal in the big scheme of things.

Things won't change until PAP no longer forms the government.

Anonymous said...

"Things won't change until PAP no longer forms the government."
Anon 16/6/12 09:17

Unless PAP make majority 60% voters angry and unhappy.

The Hougang BE 2012 result shows that the people HAVE NOT become more angry than in 2011.

This is indeed very good news for PAP, although PAP lost Hougang BE.

So based on the trend, how can people be more angry in 2016, right or not?

Anonymous said...

In Singapore we must compare negative with less negative to see positive.

Example 1
In 2011 people were angry with PAP.

In 2012 people did not become more angry with PAP. So this is positive because the anger did not become worse.

Example 2
PAP govt is not good.

But 60% thought opposition govt would be worse. So this is positive.

Example 3
Minister pay was very, very high before GE 2011.

Minister pay was cut after GE 2011, but still very high. So this is positive.

Any more examples from other commentors?

Anonymous said...

Unless and until the pap really changed, which I doubt they are capable of, the pap is DOOM DOOM DOOM.

The Pariah said...

@ Anonymous 16/6/12 09:37 - If 60% of fellow Singaporeans are happy with nutty crumbs (NOT EVEN PEANUTS), then we certainly deserve the kind of government we get.

At Economic Society of Singapore Annual Dinner on 18 Jun 2012, PM said: "Of course without being as generous as the Scandinavians, we could still increase our social spending and raise our taxes moderately as part of a new social compact. Within limits, that is indeed what we need to do in the longer term, with an ageing population and growing health care needs. But the limits are tighter than many people realise."

What do u say: ____________? Now we are being told that "limits are tighter than many people realise" for us to increase social spending?

Previously, they say our SWFs' investments earn average annual return of 17% (Temasek) and 7% (GIC) since inception over past 35 years. Assets Under Management of Temasek (US$150bn approx) and GIC (US$250bn guestimate). "Tight" - So what happened? WDUT?

Remember what PAP MP Vikram Nair said about WP MP Chen Show Mao's advocacy of social investment in Singaporeans? To the Pay And Profit (PAP) Govt, that's "A NIGERIAN E-MAIL SCAM".

Singaporeans, let's stick that into our collective memory until next GE 2015/6.

VOTE AT LEAST ONE-THIRD OPPOSITION INTO PARLIAMENT as part of our INSTITUTIONAL CHECK-AND-BALANCE. That's basic insurance for Singapore and Singaporeans.

DanielXX said...

Did you watch the Matrix? That is eerily similar to what Balding is alluding to here. Robot masters draining new-born human babies of their essence from birth in order to power the machines. I think the movie trilogy should have been banned in Singapore!

CRITIC said...

We copied success.
Textiles and simple electrical appliances

We copied success
Ditched textiles
moved to electronics,semi-conductors

We copied success
Ditched semi-conductors
moved to wafer production
moved to high end oilriggs

We copied success
Ditched wafer
moved to building own infrastructure: MRT/Properties

We copied success
Still building MRT
Moved into financial products
moved into casinos
moved into tourism
moved into bio-tech

We do not know what else to copy
China could copy faster
Kenna jammed into finance
Still building riggs
Still doing petro-chem

Since we do not know what else to produce.. we suck from citizens.

Our leaders are focused on economics but they are being challenged by events that they have no answer.

They are poor politicians and they soon will have to face even greater pressures from the population.

Each nail head that stands out is hammered down: no innovation, no creativity.
They cannot cope with change and the people who support them also cannot accept change. They are afraid.

The genetic make up of a capitalistic beast is fear of losing their wealth. They are naturally cowards.

In order that Singapore survives the next 10 years, we must change the way we think, the way we do things.

Having cheap labour as a resource is great, and it could be an arrangement to take in all these PRC as part of a deal to get a better foothold in China.

Instead of moving factories or production to a cheaper place ( China), why not move the labour to where it is needed?

This cannot be stopped.

But our leaders have to come up with a better deal than just: "In your fcuking face" no choice style.

We can beat this. We can have cheap labour.

What happened is that the education and skill levels was ignored by the leaders.
They wanted fast solutions.. waiting for citizens to learn new skills would take too long.

Employers are global. They look for resource everywhere. Not only price but quality too. China provides cheap but not always quality.

This is where we, singaporean should be be doing. Quality.

Where the F--K was the focus on quality in schools, universities etc?

Thumping down by senior statesman in a Q&A session is quality?

What wonderful vision!!

We have produced generations of idiots.. and it was intended. That is why the term DAFT came so easily.

CRITIC said...

"Having cheap labour as a resource is great, and it could be an arrangement to take in all these PRC as part of a deal to get a better foothold in China."

Just to add:
To whose benefit?

China benefits nationally
because we help to employ their excess workers.. keep them off the streets.

China benefits because our business people set up factories there.

But if you look at it from the other side: Do we, as a nation benefit?

What/who in Singapore benefits?

Only the businessman. They do not bring the earnings back home. They leave it in China to generate even more. Keeping it in Yuan is far better no?

Since they do not bring the earnings back home, how will we benefit? They will not build new factories here, they will not produce anything here.

That means NO JOBS for you & ME

Even the wife will lose her seat.

Anonymous said...

Satire ...

A friendly giant pair of spectacles is watching over our reserves.

A giant pair of spectacles prevents us from seeing our reserves clearly.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12.46 15/6/12
20% poor all voted for the opposition?Don't know if that was true. A significant number of middle class also voted agst PAP. A carrot of $500 in your pocket during GE would make many a poor vote for PAP

Anonymous said...

Our PM Lee has been repeating the same old shit in his speeches since he became prime minister. I see no difference about what he is saying and frankly the arsehole is not worth his salt.

Anonymous said...

The time has come, more than ever before in Singapore's history, for fellow Singaporeans to take a political insurance against the misadventures, bad decisions and mistakes made by the PAP administration.

Just as Singaporeans take up medical insurance against ill health and sudden misadventures in health; so should intelligent fellow Singaporeans take up political insurances against the unhelpful decisions and bad policies of our government.

That is only wise. I'm sure Catherine Lim, Dr. Ang, Lucky Tan, Alex Au and many others are intelligent enough to vote for political insurance against a one-only party system who is deluded to think that they have a monopoly of all the right answers in life.

Anonymous said...

An aeroplane (parliamentary democracy) flies better and safer with two engines than a single engine.

Anonymous said...

Yes, every time they said that they want to increase the reserve, the big squeeze is on and the extraction begins"

Anonymous said...

Years ago, someone says:" We are just Human batteries for the Papies."

Anonymous said...


How does having a large foreign reserve benefit Sinkies?

How does Temasek Holdings or GIC benefit Sinkies?

How does CPF benefit Sinkies?

Is it false to say that these entities only benefit Millionaires-in-White?

Anonymous said...

Trust a foreigner to stir shit in other countries by creating a aura of distrust among their citizens. We have our dissatifaction with our govt but do not need foreigner to add fire. Singapore comparative wealth (with no natural resources)to endure more than 3 generations? Unlikely, if our citizens do not trust our govt whom we know for 50 odd years. Spending their spare time nitpicking by trusting strangers instead of enjoying their spending power from low taxes, taking advantage of stable emvironment to develop ourselves academically, financially, culturally, etc.

Anonymous said...

A curiousity: If SP's budget surplus since 1992 has been 13%, assuming an average GDP of abt US$100b, that would give a surplus of US$260b. yet the gvt had borrowed $360b (again per Balding's figures) to hand to GIC and Temasek as part of thee latter's 2 combined portfolio of $404b (per yahoo today GIC $247b, Temasek $157b)? Combined with the last 20 year's reserves and that $360b debt, total portfolio should be at least $360b + $250b = $610b. So where is the missing $206b?? Anyone pse enlighten!

Anonymous said...

Anon 14:05

The mission billions are missing/hidden/lost/stolen/accounting mirage/squandered/etc....

You want to know, you have to ask and ask.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 13:49

You are advocating blind trust - we have to trust and cannot question or verify.

And that by questioning or verifying that would mean distrusting them. This is a completely false premise.

By being able to question/verify and getting answers, the trust can be further strengthened and not weakened.

Please also spare a thought for those who are less fortunate and are unable to benefit from "the stable environment to develop themselves academically, financially, culturally, etc." and "enjoying their spending power from low taxes".

But, I know where you are coming from.

Anonymous said...


migrate. If you don't want to migrate, don't complain. Keep voting the motherfuckers in and you're back to square one.

The motherfuckers won't change 'cos there is no incentive for them to do so. There is no incentive to be transparent. By keep others in the dark, they have been benefitting. So what not?

If you have no balls or heart to migrate and struggle a bit for a fresher air, then keep your pink and work overseas. Use your pink ic as backup just as the pinoys, India's Indians and PRCs are holding on to their passports for backup. Do what the foreigners are doing. Move to a better land.

There is nothing to say that you were born here and therefore it makes you so special. This land is different from other lands. People here overstressed with money, competition and many more grime.

So why do you tolerate it?

Work overseas and you'll your life even more. Your children won't have to suffer hell at school because of ranking and intense competitions. Why do you put them through the system?

THere is no perfect country and no perfect system but there are BETTER and much much better systems than Singapore that you're born into. You have the choice. OR are you so used to the shit here that you'd rather stay and suffer and complain because you're familiar with this singapore shit and moving to another place scares you because it's unknown.

You're wrong. Many singaporeans have done so. They are enjoying living their lives overseas and still hold on to their pink ics.

You will love life more when you get out of this pressure cooker singapore bubble which this unenlightened and greedy administration has encroached and imposed upon you.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can end this. And it's that simple.

Anonymous said...

IN Singapore, the government is the economy and the economy is the government. That is why many young singaporeans can't find good job.

Anonymous said...

In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing.