Friday, February 29, 2008

Limping Terrorist or Lame Ministry of Home Affairs?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I was laughing away when I hear the news of Mas Selamat Kastari's escape . I thought it's an early April Fool's Day joke. I mean hey, I live in a first world country, Singapore.

We are world's first in having:

  • Highest paid ministers
  • MM
  • SM
  • Poor people pay GST to help the poor and, of course,
  • YOG
F1, casinos ( or is it IR's?), nah, we are way behind other countries.

Security Lapse?

How can it happen?

How can a first world country which is top in so many things have a lapse like this?

No way!

Pai kar eh chow meh?

Do we have a limping terrorist or do we have a lame Ministry of Home Affairs?

It's funny that citizens are chided for not playing their part in Total Defence while highly paid experts are sleeping on the job? Now please call 999 if you see him.

If Mas Selamat Kastari manages to 'selamat jalan' , is it "selamat tinggal' to the minister in charge?

There's so much talk about accountability and responsibility of our first world government, it's about time they put their money where the mouth is! Even though we are getting them at a "bargain", it's time for the best paid leaders in the world to do the honourable thing - accept responsibility and do the right thing! Say sorry enough meh? Most would say, "Sorry lah, sorry no cure!"

However, if Selamat and his gang is so 'kilat' and succeeds in a bombing and bring innocent Singaporeans along, God forbids, then it's simply "Pay Back Time". Yes, paying for the sins of a government that supports a bully and an illegal war!

Then again, it may be the greatest show, ooops, I mean the greatest WAYANG on earth!

But an expensive one. The amount of manhours of our national security forces involved? Then again, it's only money. It's literally peanuts compared to UBS.

A security lapse? A political diversion?

Who knows?

All I know is if opposition can be fixed and votes can be bought, what else can't be done?

What else?

I wonder . . .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hongbao Budget 2008 - Straits Times or Reuters?

Hongbao Budget 2008 - Straits Times or Reuters?

I'm amazed by the use so many pictures of red and golden "hongbao" and inverted "fu" luck symbol in the Budget 2008 supplement in the printed version of Straits Time today.

Headlines and items include:
- $2,300 Hongbao for the Tok family
- One-off hongbao for all adult S'poreans this year
- Those over 51 to get Govt top-up of their CPF Medisave
- What's in his hongbao ... public assistance will get $330, up from $290

Why all the celebratory "lucky", "feel good" as if "strike Toto or 4D" song and dance about? What's this excessive publicity about? What's the hype?

I know it's the 10th day of Chinese New Year today but are Singaporeans getting a fantastic and auspicious deal from Budget 2008? It's great to read the commentary "Bonanza Budget furthers strategic aims" by Ms Chua Mui Hoong that "the figure is about 62 per cent of the $1.4 billion increased revenue from the hike in goods and services tax (GST) - which means that through the Growth Dividend, the Government is giving back man-in-the-street 60 cents of every extra dollar it collected from the GST hike."

Pardon my candour but instead of Hongbao Budget, some may think it's "Peh Kim Budget" as all the Govt-imposed hikes and the ongoing ever-increasing inflation is "killing" us. (For those who are not familiar with the term, "peh kim" is donation given to bereaved family). Then again, Choi, thai kah lai see, (touch wood!) it's Chinese New Year!

Well, they changed the laws to suck much of our money last year (by increasing GST, PUB, public transport fare hikes, ERP, GST-loaded daily necessities price increases, conservancy charges, delay CPF Minimum Sum Payment, etc. and what have you). Now being wise after the event with 20/20 hindsight, they've decided to give back some. Not all but "some". Just "some" to pull wool over our eyes again?

So is there cause to celebrate being lesser victims now?

Victims to a system whereby laws are changed for the benefits of those who make the laws? Or for the benefit of the poor who may now have $330 per month instead of $290.

Remember Parliament:
[Dr Lily Neo:
Sir, I want to check with the Minister again on the strict criteria on the entitlement for PA recipients. May I ask him what is his definition of "subsistence living"? Am I correct to say that, out of $260 per month for PA recipients, $100 goes to rental, power supply and S&C, and leaving them with only $5 a day to live on? Am I correct to say that any basic meal in any hawker centre is already $2.50 to $3.00 per meal? Therefore, is it too much to ask for just three meals a day as an entitlement for the PA recipients?

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan: How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?]

Hopefully, $330 is enough for 3 decent meals a day in hawker centres?

Who knows?

It's after reading Reuters below, that I found out what the celebration is about. Oh, the huge Hongbao's and "FU" are meant for the fat cats!

Reuters - Saturday, February 16

SINGAPORE, Feb 15 - Singapore government ministers and other political appointees, the world's best paid, will cost taxpayers another 15 percent in the coming financial year starting April, according to the city-state's budget on Friday.

The state will spend S$66.5 million on political appointments, up from S$58.1 million in the current fiscal year to March -- which was also 27 percent up on 2006/2007.

The government announced two rounds of pay hikes for ministers last year, raising Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's annual pay to S$3.76 million -- at least five times that of U.S. President George W. Bush

Now I know!

And thanks to

I know better!


Feed Me To The Fish