Links


Here are some resources to guide discussion. If these links don't support your conclusion, either your conclusions are wrong, or you need to find some other sources to support your point.

So you wanna migrate (or emigrate)? Where do you want to go, and how do they compare to Singapore?

The CIA World Fact Book. Everything the CIA knows about the world (well sort of. They also don't know what the "K" in "K. Shanmugan" stands for.)

This is the information they have on Singapore. And a rather in-depth analysis of the People's Association and other grassroots organisations that work as counterinsurgency measures in an urban setting.

Sure you can believe whatever the PAP tells you. Or what their media puppy the Straits Times tell you. Or try several alternative websites like Temasek Review Emeritus and The Online Citizen and read the anti-establishment conspiracy theories of the have-nots-but-want-to-have-what-the-PAP-have-but-don't-have-the-competence.

In either case, you run the risk of intellectual diabetes mellitus (from the sugary sweet stories of the establishment) or chronic heartburn (from the bile of the anti-establishhment).

Or you can depend on an intelligent, impartial source: The CIA (yeah right! These are the people who said that Saddam had WMDs.)

But on the grounds that the CIA (or US) had previously tried to subvert the Singapore government, we can say that they have no love lost with Singapore. Or more precisely, the World Fact Book is an information guide for their leaders to make decisions. So they have to be as impartial as possible.

Water Agreements: "Water Talks? If only it could."

Economy: Govt spending as a percentage of GDP.

GDP (Official exchange rate): $292.7 b (2015)         $267.9 billion (2012 est.)  
Revenues:         $44.06 b (2015)                                  $39.86 billion (2012; $40.53 billion, 2011)
Expenditures:   $45.48 b (2015)                                   $39.58 billion (2012; $37.18 billion, 2011)

Govt Expenditure is about 15% of the GDP. Is this good or bad? Well, the higher the percentage, the more the govt needs revenue (usually from taxes). In comparison, Brunei's GDP is about $22b, and their budget expenditure is $5.5b (25%), while their revenue is $8.2b. Expenditure is less than revenue, and revenue is assumed to be mostly from oil.

Denmark, noted as having the highest tax rate in the world, has a budget expenditure of $189b, and a GDP of $209b. Their budget is about 90% of their GDP. Is this typical of a welfare state? The govt is almost solely responsible for all economic activity in the country! (2015 Update: GDP $295 b, Tax revenue: $161.7b, Govt Expenditure: $170.9 b.)

Norway's GDP is $389.5 b (official Exchange Rate), their tax revenue is $220.2 b, and the govt spends $193.9 b.

Here's a quick summary of Singapore's economy:
Singapore is the 19th largest export economy in the world and the 5th most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In 2015, Singapore exported $250B and imported $297B, resulting in a negative trade balance of $46.9B. In 2015 the GDP of Singapore was $292B and its GDP per capita was $85.4k.

And this is what the US State Dept thinks of Singapore.

I believe the US is ambivalent about Singapore. On the one hand, we are doing well, and is a steady ally of the US. On the other hand, we are not a poster child for the US brand of Democracy. Part of the problem is that the US seem to think the Good Governance comes only from Democracy. They are mistaken.

Corruption is a major weakness in government. Here is transparency international's findings about corruption by country. Note that Singapore has not much of an entry.

World Justice Project compares government, rule of law and justice of different countries. This is their summary report on Singapore.

Wikipedia also provides a ranking of our GDP on a purchasing power parity comparison.

Country Rankings. It's a Singapore thing. We always want to know how we measure up against a whole bunch of other countries on a whole bunch of attributes. This is the link. There's ranking for Carbon footprint, water footprint, Doctors per 1000 population, etc.

Bloomberg provides a summary of rankings for Singapore - what we are good at, what we are not. Here are the lists of best and worst. There are quite a few US-centric categories.

Budget Singapore. How much does Singapore spend? And how much do we pay our Ministers? (Ans: $61.9m est. for 2011. Total budget for the year is $60.4billion. Minister's pay is just over 0.1% of total budget.)

Statistics! Damn Statistics! But without them, how would we settle bets? And even more important, there's lies, damn lies, and statistics. Yes, statistic can lie, or rather can be used to lie.

The World Bank has data on our economic growth, and labour force participation as compared to other countries.

Japanese Army Maps of Singapore. Prior to WWI, the Japanese were already planning to be a regional if not world power. To this end, they studied the region and made maps and plans.

Should we have minimum wages? An economist says no. You don't have to agree, but at least address the points raised. However, a local economist says, yes! ("Shock therapy II" is a package of ideas to help raise the lot of low wage workers.)

The Central Provident Fund is the mandatory savings and retirement scheme that all Singaporeans have to subscribe to. This links to the stats. For Dec 2010, there are 1.7m active CPF members (out of a total of 3.3m members - or less than half are not active - probably retired, some unemployed, or are Stay at Home Moms or Dads), with $186 billion in their balance. Assuming the inactive ones have minimal balances (withdrawn or not much accumulated), this works out to about $100,000 per active member. Not exactly small change, but not really enough for a carefree retirement.

How will we solve the problems Singapore faces? The problems after the early years are not simple ones. But the problems today are complex ones. And there is this quote about complex problems:
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
Unfortunately, it is not going to stop people from coming up with simple answers to complex problems. And you are not going to convince these simpletons. I mean simple answers providers, that their answers are simplistic, linear, and inapplicable.


Singapore Elections - Facts and figures.

Singapore Govt  answers the Usual Questions.
But some quick information on The CPF Minimum Sum
First implemented in 1987 with a sum of $30,000.
In 1995, the sum was raised to $40,000 (this was announced in 1993), and thereafter at $5000 per year to reach the target sum of $80,000 by 2003.
Then in 2003, the target sum was set at $120,000 by 2013. Tbe sum was raised by $4,000 per year until it reached $120,000 on Jul 2013. But those are figures in 2003 dollars, After adjusting for inflation, the actual dollar sum in 2013 was, $148,000 and this was raised to $155,000 for those turning 55 on 1 Jul 2014.
At the 2014 National Day Rally, PM Lee announced that the MS would be raised to $161,000 for 2015, but it would hold at this level for a while.



Singapore Before and After.

Singapore disasters remembered.

Reflections on WWII & the Japanese Occupation: One perspective of Sook Ching


Old Postal Codes and New. (Duplicate: URA's official "translation" of Postal Districts - often used by property agents - and postal sectors.)

Defence matters as blogged by an ex-Defence correspondent/ columnist for the Straits Times.

Singapore Infopedia. Singapore's History, Culture, People, and Events.

Futurewatch: Will we build farmscrapers to be more self-sufficient?

Rumours and urban legends debunked!

Bloomberg's Best and Worst list. A great way to waste time!


What is your income compared to the rest of Singapore?

Feel like you're taxed too much? Check out the taxes in other countries!

Climate Change should be on your radar. And you might want to ask, if the sea level rises, how much of Singapore will flood? This link answers that question. It defaults to 7 m sea level rise. You can adjust. The low projection is 0.5m, but most scientists/prophets believe that is too low. A good estimate now is about 2m by 2100.

Think you know what are facts? Here are some Common Misconceptions.

Internet forums are all about debates. And debates should be able facts and logic. Not fallacies. But most people are not very logical, and resort to the usual fallacies. Here is a list of fallacies. Try to avoid them.

What are our energy resources in the future? How about nuclear? Small Modular Reactors may be the way of the future.

Conspiracies -or theories about events.

Like anyone else I love conspiracy theories! And the psychology of Conspiracy Theorists. Why? It suggests a world that is more controlled, less capricious, less random. That our disasters and crises were man-made and so avoidable if only people were less evil or good people were just smarter, and innocent people were less trusting, less naive, more alert, more vigilant. In other words, there is no bad luck, only bad people doing bad things to good people who could have avoided the bad things if only we were aware of and ready to fight the bad people.

The "truthers" who believe that 911 was a conspiracy, and who refuse to believe that their theories have been debunked. I provided these links to show that incredible events may give rise to spectacular theories, partly because we find it hard to believe, and partly because we want to seize control of the event and own it, tame it, and make it avoidable in future.

If you believe that 911 were a conspiracy, I am not interested in debunking your belief. Just as it is impossible to convince Donald Trump that Obama was born in the US. Or some die hard supporters of Lance Armstrong that he is not a victim of a conspiracy. Or that there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll. Google "911 truth" and you will find lots of entries on both sides of the story, the conspiracy theorists, and the mainstream explanation. The point is, past a certain point, these things take on a life of it's own and become immortal urban legends. And the more we try to debunk these theories, the more it is seen as part of the conspiracy to hide the truth from the believers.


On Mar 8 2014, MH370 left KL for Beijing, but was lost enroute. The mystery of where the plane was led to some interesting sharing of information on the Professional Pilots Rumours Network (PPRuNe) - a forum for pilots to share ideas and tips.

Here are some of the links I found while lurking on PPRuNe:

Nasa World View (satellite map of the world). This database allows you to go back to the date the aircraft went missing to possibly see if you can spot the aircraft or it's contrails. Unfortunately, the image of the assumed crash site is about 4 hours after the final ping (i.e. about noon on Mar 8). NASA's satellite only makes one pass every 24 hours, so it was not particularly helpful.

Marine Traffic map. This provides live update of non-military ships worldwide. So at the time of this post/update, the XueLong ("Snow Dragon"?) was at the site searching/or on the way to the new search site. However, the map only shows non-military ships so it was again of limited use.

FlightRadar24 is a website that allows you to track planes around the world. This is "Live", so no, you can't go back in time to Mar 8 to see what happened. But it is a cool site, and you will note that planes on the ground routinely turn off their transponder (usually at the request of the ATC, or as a matter of courtesy to the ATC and other planes).

Live ATC feed. In case you want to listen to Air Traffic Controllers all around the world. No, you can't talk to them.

A list (probably incomplete) of the Conspiracy Theories behind the disappearance of MH 370. Because the best thing you can do in a tragedy, is to turn it into a movie plot. a  BAD movie plot involving aliens, Russians, China, and the US.

[Other links as I compile them.]