Thursday, 24 November 2016

Recycling - pursuing the last grain of rice

From a TODAY article:

‘Malls, hotels must look into improving efforts to reduce waste’



SINGAPORE — From hotels throwing out leftover food to shopping malls discarding paper and plastic packaging, such large commercial premises alone churned out about 302,000 tonnes of waste last year, taking up 4 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

How (not) to order steaks at a food court

Stories from the food court
At lunch. Western Grill at a local food court. 
Man (Customer, potential): Your Airflown Ribeye Steak from Australia or New Zealand, ah?
Hawker Stall Operator (employee): It's... frozen.
Man: Ya, but from Australia or New Zealand?
Hawker: Honestly, I don't know leh.
Man (on phone to wife): Honey, he says he don't know... Okay. (walks away).

Friday, 18 November 2016

Elected Presidency

From the last PE, there are two issues that the govt needs to address.

First is the public's understanding of the role of the EP. Until the public's understanding is aligned to the actual legal role and responsibilities, any tweaking of the qualifying criteria will be seen as rigging the rules to exclude some candidates.

Educating the public on the role of the EP would be a major campaign, and in the absence of a viable "role model" for an EP, voters will adopt Presidential "models" that they know. Like POTUS.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Democracy Trumps

When Trump refused to confirm that he would accept the outcome of the elections, he was rightly criticised for undermining the very basis and legitimacy of democratic elections.

Well, the elections are over. The people have spoken, and Trump has won. And Obama, and Clinton, has rightly accepted the will of the people. This is Democracy at work.

Similarly in 2011, when there was a 6.5 percentage point swing against the PAP, and the WP won Aljunied GRC. That was democracy at work.

Then in 2015, when PAP had a 10 percentage point swing back for them, and they regain Punggol East, and the WP were not able to take new GRCs, and barely hung onto Aljunied, That was democracy at work.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A case for pessimism

I grew up mostly during the Cold War.

I read about nuclear weapons in my impressionable youth. About how the USSR had enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world 10 times over.

But it's ok, 'cos the US had enough to destroy the world 20 times over.

(Figures not checked. ALL figures, including those to follow, are based on memories.)

Of course, we tried to comfort ourselves that Singapore would not be directly targeted in a Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) war between USSR and USA.

Until I read that the nuclear winter that followed would wipe out 98% of life on earth. Or 99%.

(With Global Warming now, a Nuclear Winter doesn't seem so bad.)

And there was the "Doomsday Clock" or something, where scientists (or some other experts) would assess the risk or chance of a MAD War, and move the clock closer to midnight of Doomsday. I think we are always about 3 seconds from doomsday.

And then the USSR collapsed. Poland broke away (or something). And the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and East and West Germany united.

And suddenly the Cold War was over.

Samuel Huntington wrote "The Clash of Civilisation" and Francis Fukuyama wrote "The End of History", and the US was the sole Superpower in the world,

And we lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Singapore's Aircraft Carrier Ambition.

There is an article from 2015 that suggests that Singapore has aircraft carrier ambitions:
In early March last year, a model of what appeared to be a Landing Helicopter Dock was put on display at the Singapore Air Show. The model betrayed no other information other than the fact that it was a variant of the Endurance class Joint Multi Mission Ship (JMMS). Although the Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) didn’t make that big a deal out of the whole event, it doesn’t take an expert to look beyond the unpretencious fa├žade of the vessel. To look towards Singapore’s growing role in the establishment of security in the maritime domain of South East Asia.

China, the South China Sea, and UNCLOS - References and Resources

The Chinese Media - actually, just one, the Global Times - has continued their campaign of disinformation and distortion of facts to present their delusion (or illusion) of persecution by global and regional players. Their latest was to accuse SG of trying to put on record the status of the South China Sea dispute, in opposition to the views of "many"  at the Non-aligned movement (NAM) meeting.

It is interesting that the Chinese media (which in this case was just the Global Times, and apparently a mouthpiece of the Chinese Govt), felt it necessary to a) "target" SG for acting against Chinese interests, b) completely misrepresent (i.e. lie) about the proceedings, and c) fabricate from whole cloth the entirely fictitious narrative in order to do so (i.e. they didn't even try to lampshade it with some semblance of facts).

By targeting SG, they are either trying to blackmail us, get us on the defensive, put us on notice that they require us to fall in line. And in case we missed THAT point, they mentioned their disappointment as SG is the country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations.

By fabricating a lie out of whole cloth, they are basically displaying their arrogance and assumed ability to warp reality as they so dictate. If they were referencing an actual incident and putting a spin on things, or their perception of SG's actions, that's one thing. In this case, they don't even care to have any tenuous link to facts or reality.

It's almost like they are channelling Donald Trump.

Friday, 14 October 2016

China does a Galtieri

Why did a Chinese paper make false accusations about Singapore in a move seemingly designed to coerce Singapore and put us on the defensive?

China today may be at an inflexion point. For the last 3 decades or so, it has been growing fast and strong, and the Chinese people were willing to let the CCP lead and govern. After all, it was leading to good times and better times for all (or almost all). What is there to worry?

But the good times may be ending - at least, there are signs that it may be ending. Growth is slowing and even suspect. Quality of life is dropping in the mega-cities. And the CCP knows that in the absence of strong growth, and betterment of living standards and quality of life, criticisms of the CCP govt will grow. And with those criticism, the authority of the CCP to govern will be questioned.

But there is no clear path to solving their economic growth questions. All the low-hanging fruits have been picked. Further growth will need hard, long-term strategies that may not work (SG faces this same problem). And even if those strategies work, growth for a newly developed economy, by math if not by definition, will almost always be lower than that of a developing economy. Which means that the CCP govt will not be able to give the Chinese people the rate of growth that they have enjoyed in the first 30 years. (Same for SG).

What can the CCP do to maintain their legitimacy, and the support of the people?

Do a Galtieri.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Conversation: Jiao Wey on CPF

"Nabe. Kong Jiao Wey, lah!"

"What are you reading?"

"That Tharman lah, he says younger Singaporeans who have enough savings can take 'controlled risks' - tok cock lah!"

"But that's not wrong advice - "

"This kind of advice my Ah Ma also can give! 'Take controlled risk' - like anyone will tell you to anyhow take risk, ah? And if you have enough savings, then what you worry? If you are young and have enough savings, you dem good already! No need gahmen to helpchyu. No need gahmen to give you jiao wey advice like 'take controlled risks'. The problem is people who don't have enough savings for their retirement - what is the gahmen going to do for them? Give them jiao wei advice?"


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Jiak Ba Buay

The govt produced a Hokkien info-drama series to reach out to the Hokkien-monolingual seniors to inform them of govt policies that would be beneficial to them (I believe the subject would be about Medishield). 

The comments on FB were generally along the lines of "Finally!" or "Why is it being aired at noon on Friday?"

Here is the music video promoting the series.



Wednesday, 31 August 2016

In threes - Duterte, Brexit, and Trump?

First there was Duterte, a.k.a. "Trump of the East", winning the Philippine's Presidential election.

Then there's the Brexit vote. Led by a Trump clone (among others).

Are we going to see a President Trump?

Pundits reading the tea leaves think the results of the Brexit Referendum is bad news for Hillary Clinton:
As Brexit proves, working people around the world are in no mood for common sense. They are angry, restless, uncooperative.
And that means (if US voters are like UK voters) that the angry, restless, working people of the US is also in no mood for "common sense" (because "common sense" will only bring them more of the same, which for them so far, has been nothing.

And the US will vote in a President Trump in November.

Right?

Well, good and bad things comes in threes, it may well happen! Right?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Singapore at 51

"Do you know the meaning behind our Singapore Flag?"

"You think I bo tak cheh issit? Of course I know lah!

"So you know the Red is for brotherhood, the White is for purity, the crescent moon is for a young nation, and the 5 stars represents the qualities in the pledge: Justice, Equality, Peace, Progress, and Democracy?"

"Wah liao! where you get your education? In my days, we were taught Red is for Sambal, White is for Coconut milk - two very important ingredient in Singapore food. The moon is in the shape of a "C" and the 5 stars are for the "5 Cs" - Career, Cash, Credit Card, Condo, and Country Club Membership!"

"Er... nobody talks about the '5Cs' anymore."

Monday, 25 July 2016

What's bothering the World, today?

We all have problems. Our problems always seem to be the biggest.

Here are today's problems, as seen on the Internet. By region/nations.

Problems, worries, questions in First World Countries:
1) In Germany, a bomb attack in Ansbach.
2) At the French Border, a 12-hour traffic jam after the French decided to beef up border security (after the Nice attack).
3) In the UK, people are asking, “are we really Brexiting?”

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sui Pian

On 17 July, the PUB reported that Johor Water Dept had requested, on an urgent basis, that SG (through the PUB) provide an additional 6 million gallons of treated water per day for three days, staring from Sunday 17 July.

PUB obliged.

It was also reported that Singapore already provides on an on-going basis, 16 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated water to Johor. Under the 1962 water agreement, SG may draw up to 250 mgd of raw water from the Johor river and is obliged to provide treated water in return up to 2% of raw water drawn. So, 2% of 250 mgd, is 5 mgd. But we provide 16 mgd, at Johor's request.

Is that a problem? And why is Johor asking for more treated water than we are contractually obliged?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

What ifs: Questions, Speculations, what do you think?

What if a Chinese Naval or Coast Guard vessel suffered damage during an incident with Indonesian forces, and needed repairs and sought refuge in Singapore?

Should Singapore allow a Chinese military (or para-military) vessel dock in our ports for repairs?

a) Should we be concerned about spying (on our naval/military assets) by the "damaged" ship and crew? (Maybe, not really, but it is a pretext we can use for not granting docking permission.)

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Rise of China and the Chinese Apologist

The Shangri-La Dialogue was held over the weekend of June 3 to 5, at where else, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.

It was the last chance for the US and China to come to an agreement for resolving issues of the South China Sea.

But there wasn't much hope of that, and instead the representatives for each country took the opportunity to warn or threaten each other.

And of course, the China Apologists took to the comments section of the online newspaper to explain how China was merely asserting her rights, while the US was an interloper interfering in regional matters that were not their concern.

It was propaganda on autopilot.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Overheard: Singapore Claims Indonesian Islands

"Eh, Boss! I got another worried buyer. He was told by his friends that Funtasy Island is right in the middle of a serious piracy area. He wants to know about our security arrangements!"

"Another kan cheong spider ah? Aiyoh! Liddat how to do business?"

"What about our plan to get the Singapore Coast Guard or the Navy to increase patrols around the area?"

"We already spoke to MHA and MinDef, they say we are in Indonesian territory, so they cannot patrol in Indonesian waters. Something about sobriety. Really? Then don't drink on the job lah! Hai-yah!"

"I think they said 'sovereignty', not 'sobriety'. That means Indonesia will be a little sensitive about foreign vessels in their waters."

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Racist Chinese?

In case you haven't read or heard, a Chinese laundry detergent manufacturer has been accused of being racist in an ad they produced.

Specifically, this ad:



Thursday, 26 May 2016

Life and Death

In the US, states with the death penalty often take years to carry out the death sentence. Decades even.

So a man can commit murder in the heat of passion at age 25, may be caught and charged with the crime, convicted and sentenced to death... and then wait 20 years on death row while his lawyers and the system work out all the appeals and avenues to commute his death sentence.

In the meantime, over 20 years or so, he would have settled into prison routine. He is facing death, but in the meantime, he lives. And for as long as he lives, there is hope. Even if he is in prison.

But maybe he comes to accept his guilt, comes to terms with his crime, comes to understand that what he did at 25 was impulsive and wrong.

And he finds religion.

Or philosophy.

Because nothing helps one sees the futility of life, like impending death.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Three Elections. Three Candidates.

Chee losing the By-election was not a surprise. At least not to me.

Interestingly, he says his loss does not feel like a loss. It was a triumphant loss for him then.

Conversely, Murali was more sanguine and took the win with apparent humility and a focus on the work ahead. Magnaminous in victory, perhaps.

And of course there are various biases and partisan analyses of the results.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Overheard: Lightning strikes MRT tracks.

Overheard:

"Ok. Make a note. We use the "struck by lightning" excuse this time. Cannot use again for at least 5 years. People won't believe it if we say struck by lightning TWICE within a short span of time. What is the next excuse on the list?" 
"Er... 'hit by meteorite', sir." 
"WHAT? Who's going to believe that?!?"

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A stroke of bad luck - awkward.

Heng Swee Keat is rumoured to be the PM-designate, the most likely to succeed PM Lee.

If true, his aneurysm and stroke is most untimely. Yes, there is a chance that he might make a full recovery. But there is also a chance, a better than fair chance, that he might not.

If so, the PAP's succession planning has been thrown a curve ball. Maybe not into disarray, because like all good plans, there are back-ups, stand-ins, and contingency plans.

There are at least three alternates who can step up if Minister Heng does not make a full recovery (or enough of a recovery) to take over in a few years time. Likely PM Lee will want to hand over leadership in the mid-term (in about 2 to 3 years time).

Also who will hold the Finance portfolio while he recovers. Or if this job is too critical for a holding position, who will take over? If someone takes over, Minister Heng will have the "honour" of serving as Finance Minister for the shortest term.

[Edit: Missed the news that Tharman will be covering the Finance portfolio in the interim. But this is presumably temporary. But it may become permanent. Which would be a bad sign.]

(I had to rephrase the above sentence.  I first wrote, "Min Heng will have the 'honour' of being the shortest Finance Minister in Singapore's history" which might have been misunderstood as a jibe about his physical statute.)

Minister Heng is being treated by the National Neuroscience Institute. Professor Lee Wei Ling used to head that institute. Now she is the Senior Advisor and does not have direct operational duties (I assume). And recently she accused her brother of abusing his power.

Might make for some awkwardness if they bump into each other in TTSH.

And in case anyone is wondering (I'm looking at you, Chee), there probably will not be a by-election in Tampines GRC.

However, speculation about Tharman being PM as a stop-gap measure (to allow newer ministers get enough experience to take over as PM) may arise again.

Or (more likely) PM Lee will have to continue a little longer than he intended.

This is a major blow to the PAP's leadership. It's a bigger deal than if SDP had won the Bukit Batok by-election.


Monday, 9 May 2016

US Presidential Elections - Prediction and Counter Predictions

So it is The Donald.

The joke that went too far.


Will the joke ever get to "President The Donald"?

Well, here is an article that predicts a Republican win in 2016 "because voters typically shy away from the party currently in power when an incumbent isn’t running."

And they note that Obama's approval rating (in Oct 2015, when the article was written) was rather low (45%) and the model predicted that a successor from the same party (Clinton), would have only a 14% chance of winning the presidency.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Conversation: The Chee "Buy" Election

"So, the Chee By-election is on! Ho sei lah!"

"You just like to say, 'Chee By-Election', right?"

"Abuden! How many times do we get a chance to say this?"

"But don't think he can win, leh."

"You are wrong. He win already."

"Because it's a 'Chee By-election'?"

"Yes. But, spelt, B-U-Y."

"What do you mean?"

Sunday, 1 May 2016

"I hope he wins..."

A comment on Chee's aspiration to surpass PAP-run Town Councils (from FB):

Friday, 29 April 2016

Unemployment Insurance or Retrenchment Benefits/Severance pay?

First Sylvia Lim proposed Redundancy Insurance for workers who are retrenched.

Then Chee jumped on the bandwagon because... political advantage?

Here is a summary of the proposals by the various parties, and their stance on the issue. Note, I make no warranty as to the accuracy of the summary. It's from the internet. As is this blog.

But the summary and the attributed statement seems credible.

And Lim Swee Say has rebutted Sylvia's proposal.

Briefly, the rebuttal is that Redundancy Insurance is not needed in Singapore because unemployment is low and Singapore employers provides Retrenchment Benefits (RB) and work with MOM to find re-employment for retrenched workers.

The retort was: "That's like saying you don't need fire insurance because fires rarely occur, and in any case we have a fire brigade (or SCDF)!"

Monday, 25 April 2016

Conversation: WP and the EP dialogue

"Very nice. Send a written submission to the commission on the EP, then don't want to speak at the public hearings."

"What tokking you?"

"Workers' Party. They wrote to the Committee on the Elected Presidency to say that the EP should be abolished. But when the committee invited them to attend the public hearings, they refused."

"Orh! That thing ah? They already write in oredi. Go there and tok for what? Waste time lah! Anyway, I hear they say that they will tok in parliament when the committee submit their report."

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Retorts and Rebuttals - Tap Water and Water filters

If our tap water is safe, why does my water filter turn brown after 3 months?
That's because the water filter manufacturers want you to continue to buy their products (which is not useful). The water filters are designed to discolour after continuous 3 months of use. If you change the filter after just one week, you will see very little discolouration. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Retorts and Rebuttals - Haze April 2016

Singapore should focus on its own role in combating transboundary haze‬ instead of “making so many comments”: Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya.

Comment/Response
So the rapist told the cops, "The victim shoiuld just focus on how she had contributed to the rape - the way she dressed, being out late at night, in my part of town - instead of complaining about me." 
Now waiting for the rapist's father to say, "ya la. Rape only one night. What about the 364 nights of the year my son did not rape her? She never show gratitude for those nights! Ungrateful!"

Saturday, 16 April 2016

MomentariLee

I will not mention his name in this post. Other than the hint in the title as to the subject of this post. Because I agree with his daughter.

One year on, the events to commemorate his death, and his life has been, in his daughter's view, cringe-worthy.

I understand her point and share her view.

He would not have wanted this "hero worship".

But I also understand the need people have for heroes.

My sole "contribution" to commemorate his life when he died last year, was this thinly disguised short story. Of course, I believe I got the essence of the man. It is author's pride. Or arrogance.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Hawker Culture in the Future

Will we have a hawker food culture in the future?

One like what we currently have?

Here's something to think about: Is the hawker culture we have today as good as or similar to or comparable to the hawker culture we had say, 20 years ago? 30 years ago? 40 years ago?

You weren't even born then?

Ah! The Good Old Days.

What is the future of Hawkers? This is one perspective:

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Conversation: Lee & Lee

"Wa lau eh! Sister versus brother. Father just one year gone, and the family start to fight. Some more, she say he abused his power. If she dare to say, he better dare to sue. Otherwise people will believe her more than him! Oo hee kwa liao loh!"

"Don't get so excited. There won't be a show. There won't be a lawsuit."

"Why you so sure? The Lees will sue when their reputation is on the line. Here she is accusing him of abuse of power. Smaller things than that they have sued before!"

Friday, 8 April 2016

How to be less Kiasu and more entrepreneurial


So someone (NMP Kuik) has decided to take a shot at "Kiasuism". 
Entrepreneur Kuik Shiao-Yin, 39, said Singaporeans' fear of failure has led to a lack of originality in the local entrepreneurship scene.
She has only negative things to say about our national attribute of being kiasu, and how it foments mediocrity, selfishness, short-termism, and a toxic race. And it has curtailed our entreprenuership.

She asks that we stop the kiasu culture and our fear of scarcity.

Brilliant! Bravo!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Conversation - How to be The Real Singapore

"These two buggers really know how to play the system, man!"

"Who?"

"The couple who ran that website, 'The Real Singapore'. Blardy clever! Can earn half a million dollars in less than 2 years. And now, still can play out the Singapore Government, man!"

"They can play, but they already caught and charge in court. The girl even plead guilty and sentenced to 10 months."

"And we goondu. That is EXACTLY what they want!"

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fallback old age plan

In the news today (Mar 29 2016) was the story that more Japanese Retirees are committing crimes in order to be jailed so that they can free accommodation, food, and medical care.

In other words, elderly criminals are turning Japanese Prisons into Old Folks Homes.

Or put another way, if the govt won't provide welfare one way, they'll end up providing welfare another way, anyway.

And it is not like Japan has a poor welfare system. It is in many areas better than SG's.

So would this happen in Singapore?

How to get state care in Singapore if you have not planned or provided for your old age. 
(Note: Some of these steps are illegal. But hey, if you go prison... free food and lodging!)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Conversation - Bukit Batok By-Election (Mar 2016)

"So Chee Soon Juan is going to contest in the By-Election."

"Like we surprised meh? Waiting for Kenneth J and Tan Jee Say to also jump in."

"But Workers Party and DPP have announced that they won't contest."

"WP not contesting also expected, lah! They know where they are strong, and they don't just jump in just because there is a lobang ok? That's why this By-Election is happening. Someone jumped in just because got lobang. WP will work the ground one, before they pia. Ai pia jia eh aia, but must also know when and where to pia. You never do homework, it's not pia, it's cheong only and hope for the best."

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Pursuing Happiness

Singaporeans.

We're so sad, we need people to tell us how happy we are. Or are not.

And then we refused to believe them. 

So here's the latest:
UN survey names S’pore the happiest country in the region
UN survey names S’pore the happiest country in the region
MARCH 16, 2016
SINGAPORE — Singaporeans may be fond of complaining about their lot in life, but that does not appear to have stopped the city-state from being ranked the happiest country in the Asia-Pacific by a new survey produced for the United Nations.
The survey, which polled about 3,000 people in each country and asked them to evaluate their life in 11 categories on a scale from 0 to 10, also ranked Singapore as the 22nd happiest country in the world. Singapore moved two notches up from the previous list.
Overall, Singapore scored 6.739 in the “happy index” of the World Happiness Report 2016, which was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Making sense of information and "facts" in the Internet Age

We live in the age of information.

We live in the age of the Internet. With Twitter. And Blogs. And Websites.

We live in the age of Information overload. For every position on the Internet, I am sure you can find a not-necessarily-equal, but definitely opposite position.

If you try to present facts on the internet, you can be sure that someone can present links to websites and facts to counter your facts.

You can be sure that if you have a quote from an expert, there will be another expert who will say the exact (or nearly the exact) opposite. And someone will quote him or her to you.

In this age of Information Overload, how do you decide what facts to accept (or believe) and which "facts" are bunk?

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Exploiting David Ong

First of all, I do not usually post on a current event so soon after it breaks. So this is a rarity, and in case you have a suspicion, yes, this blog piece is all about exploiting the currency of PAP's David Ong resignation as an MP for Bt Batok SMC. So if you are reading this and was drawn here because you Googled "David Ong", thank you for visiting this blog. Exploiting his name has worked.

The reason I do not usually post on breaking stories is that the facts are still coming out, and really, all people have are speculation. Which does not mean that people keep from speculation and restrain themselves. The lack of information just gives them more scope, more freedom for speculation.

And we could all do with a little more freedom.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Why not Proportional Representation?

In a recent discussion on Singapore's political system, some opposition parties suggested scrapping the GRC (and presumably, first-past-the-post) voting to have Proportional Representation System (PRS).

There is a series of videos on political systems - how to choose a government - on YouTube, by CGP Grey.

First, you should watch the video on The Problems with First Past the Post voting.

This is a 6 1/2 minute video covering the problems with one person one vote, and first-past-the-post rules.

The initial scenario with 7 candidates is similar to the SG 2011 Presidential Election, with the winning candidate, getting less than 50% of the votes.

At 1:40, the video covers why eventually, all such First-past-the-post system will end up with a two party system (like in the US), and (by implication) why most voters don't bother to vote  by then (in the US, voter turn out for the Presidential Elections is about 50% or less in some years).

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

CPF Rant

A ranting comment on the CPF minimum sum, and a ranting rebuttal. From Facebook comment.

I should mention that there are some salty language, but it is in Hokkien (I believe) and most young people probably don't know Hokkien. Those that do know Hokkien, and salty Hokkien at that, they don't need my protection.

Sam Lee wrote: "U all keep your Fxxking mouth shut !!! Answer my question if u can . Dont talk cock & simg song . In 1970' s when i start working , they said i can withdraw CPF at 55 . When i reached 55 , & i cant withdraw CPF , why ? If they want to change CPF rules , should effect from that date , not when they promlsed us , in 1970's . So who is telling the truth !!!"

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

What makes good politics?

"Good Politics" is an oxymoron.

But first let's hear what WP's Low Thia Khiang proposes as "good politics" (From ST 28 Jan 2016, "WP chief Low Thia Khiang: Good politics not just good policy and lack of gridlock"):
One, politics should be "all-inclusive", so that national interest can be agreed upon by consensus instead of being "monopolised by the ruling party".
"The Government should recognise that there are many ongoing and independent national conversations and should allow for differences in opinions to flourish without marking these conversations as disloyal and divisive," he said.
Two, those with "narrow political interests" should be encouraged to engage in dialogue and such discussions should be seen as "an educational process for Singaporeans to learn and to discern what is politics for the collective good of the nation and society".
Three, Singaporeans must be trusted to be "independent, rational and wise social actors" who can build up institutions not affiliated with the Government.
For instance, universities here were "tightly controlled for fear of their political influence", but have achieved "world-class status" after their autonomy was protected.
Academics can criticise the Government and have even joined alternative political parties but "our political system has not been destabilised as a result".
Finally, politics cannot be defined just by good policies and the absence of gridlock.
"Excessive fears of political gridlock" will lead Singapore to depend on just one political party, "waiting for it to rot to the point of no return before any alternative party can be formed to take its place".



Thursday, 28 January 2016

NCMP and the Opposition

PM Lee has proposed several changes to the Singapore Constitution in line with the call from the Presidential address to Parliament.

One of the proposal was to give Non-Constituency MPs (NCMP) full voting rights on all parliamentary matters. And to increase the number of NCMP to a maximum of 12 (less the number of elected opposition MPs).

In April 2011, I had said that NCMP should be given full voting rights on all parliamentary matters. At that time the number of NCMPs was (and still is) limited to 9. The new amendments to the constitution would raise that to 12.

Back then, the WP attacked the NCMP for not having the full rights of an MP.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Conversation - To catch a terrorist

"Wah liao! 27 Bengalis terrorists in Singapore! Are they sure there is only 27? What if they miss some? These foreign workers are just causing us trouble!"

"Actually, I want to know how did the ISD find out about them? Is there an ISD officer who speaks whatever language these foreign workers speak, and was able to infiltrate their group and learn that they were planning terrorists acts back in their own home?"

"Aiyah! This is an easy question. Remember when the Chinese and Taiwanese Presidents came to Singapore to have a meeting?"

"Yah."

"And some Taiwanese were trying to enter Singapore to protest the meeting? But kena stopped and turned back at the immigration. They didn't even get to enter Singapore! And a few managed to enter Singapore earlier, but on the morning before the two Presidents were supposed to meet, the Police picked up those Taiwanese from their hotel rooms and brought them to the police station where they were questioned for so long, that by the time they were released, the two Presidents had completed their meeting!"

"I didn't read this in the papers..."

"It was big news in the Taiwanese papers when the protesters went home and complained to their newspapers! But same question: how did the Singapore Police know who to stop at the airport, and who to pick up at the hotel? Taiwanese Police gave them information!"

"So for the 27 would-be terrorists from Bangladesh..."

"The Bangladeshi police or spy must have given info to the SG police, lah! You think our police so clever ah?"

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Conversation - on bonuses and the economy

[Note: this conversation happened some time in early Dec 2015.]

"Civil Servants to get 0.65 months year end bonus. Last year was 0.8 months, The year before was 1.1 month. Every year, the bonus is lesser and lesser. Next year if  can get 0.5 months, will be lucky! Maybe even lower."

"Aiyah! Harng Zheng Pai. But what goes down, will come up one. Don't worry!"

"I'm not sure that it will come up so easily. The world is different today, from say, the early 80s."

"Eh, since when you become civil servant you care so much about their bonus."

"The newspaper report civil service bonus because it is a good gauge of how much bonus people should expect. How much bonus civil servants get is an indication of how well the economy is doing. Of course every sector will have their own idea of what is a good bonus, but the civil service bonus is a good "pow-ka-liao" indicator of how we are doing."

"OK. but no need to be so pessimistic right? I worked so long, I can tell you from experience, it is all a roller coaster, it goes up, it comes down, then it goes up again."

Singapore Perspective 2016 - First reactions

Could also be called, "How we met our future Prime Minister".

Ho Kwon Ping said it was a "Beauty Parade of Potential Prime Minister". My friend wanted to skip to the Swim Trunks portion of the pageant.

Kudos to Chan Heng Chee who when asked to give her final summary, simply said "Amen."

Bilahari took the cue when it was his turn and said, "thank you."

Ho Kwon Ping went with the zeitgeist (it was past 5 by then).

Earlier, when the moderator toss a question to the panel and asked if they wanted to comment on a question or the answer given by Minster Heng Swee Keat, Bilahari leaned forward quickly and answered, "no".

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Review: Charlie Chan Hock Chye

You may know about the controversy concerning Sonny Liew's graphic novel "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye" - The National Arts Council revoked its funding ($8000) for the graphic novel just before the launch, causing the publisher to returned all the funds disbursed, as well as print stickers to cover up the acknowledgement of the support (now revoked) of the NAC for the publication of the graphic novel.

The reason for the revocation of the grant? The imaginary/speculative history undermines the authority of the Govt.

Well, I got to read the graphic novel recently, and here are my thoughts on it.