Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is Singapore Cracking Up?

I fear so.

Here's why:

Reason 1:
Economy and money is more important than people.

In "MM Lee explains Singapore's long-term investment horizon" by Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia on February 6 2009, he said,

"So those MPs who say, 'Give S$300 to every citizen and we will boost the retailers', they just do not understand the bigger picture. You give S$300 like that and it is gone in a shot, and all the things that they will buy, three-quarters of it are imported," he said.

As my mother is not a graduate, understanding the bigger picture may be 56 man years away from me.

I may be wrong but I think the MM was referring to MP Denise Phua's 2009 Budget Debate when she said, "provide a grant of up to $300 per month per eligible Singaporean for as long as the Jobs Credit Scheme is running or when a job is found, which ever is earlier" for the needy retrenched.

Being a lesser mortal, I understand Denise's proposal and objective is to help the needy retrenched. Is MM Lee scoffing at the MP's suggestion? Or is he referring to something else? If Economy is more important to him than his fellow Singaporeans, then I'm sad that Lee Kuan Yew is no longer the human leader he used to be. Does he consider the down-and-out Singaporeans and "needy retrenched" worse than lesser mortals? Are they better off dead since they have become unproductive digits in the grand scheme of 1st world Singapore?

Or is MP Denise Phua the target of MM's dismissal because she highlighted Temasek's Singapore Semiconductor's retrenchment and the loss of more than $400 millions in ABC Learning when she expressed that Jobs Credit Scheme may not do the job of saving jobs but help CEOs and Board members get rich?

Now that MM's daughter-in-law Ho Ching is quitting Temasek, has Denise Phua's comment in Parliament added insult to injury?

Reason 2:
Will foreign talent finally take over Singapore?

As much as Tharman is to Lee Hsien Loong and Chip Goodyear is to Ho Ching, (both may be holding the shit end of the stick) I'm sad that Goodyear (not a Singaporean) knows more of the reserves in Temasek (created and own by every Singaporean) than lesser mortals like us! Having trusted Ho Ching who finds a convenient time to jump ship, am I now asked to trust Chip for more good years? Maybe Ho Ching should offer her services to USA as United State's Secretary of Treasury? Quid pro quo? That is if the man who dares to own up to say, "I screwed up" is able to accept and work with a risk-taker with no regrets!

Reason 3:
Checks & Balances = Trust.

On dipping into reserves and why it takes only one week for the President to approve the $4.9 billion, we are told by our Finance Minister, "This is a system that relies on trust in the individuals who are in charge, including those appointed to the CPA and the Elected President. "Do you trust them? Have they made decisions wisely? Has the government been acting responsibly?" Pardon my cynicism but after all the song and dance of the incorruptible checks and balances that our Government crows about ad nauseam, we are now asked by Tharman Shanmuguratnam to merely trust?

It is scary! Due to the fact that our "system relies on trust in the individuals who are in charge" we are now losing millions through Town Councils and billions through Temasek and GIC. Majority of Singaporeans who happen to be lesser mortals are respectful and trustful. Question is: Are those to be trusted worthy of our trust?

One key? Two key?
Puki, it's such a quickie!

What's inconsolable is the fact that President Ong Teng Cheong who was denied a state funeral was told that he had to wait 56 man years to know the value of our reserves. Now it takes only one week for the ex-Japanese translator and his council of presidential advisors to agree in principle the release of the reserves? Fantastic! We have progressed by leaps and bounds!

Honestly, the reserves are nothing but a mirage. Except for the leeders, who in Singapore knows what reserves are all about? Transparency is a bloody joke! Far as I know, my CPF contribution (my untouchable Medisave that I cannot use in full for my heart attack), what I paid in taxes and what I paid for my little overpriced (subsidised???) HDB pigeon hole add on to the reserves.

Minsters dear, I do not grudge your obscene pay because you have worked and scheme your way up there. I take offence to the fact that you are not doing what you are paid to do. With all the 'A' Team talents that's been claimed in justifying the obscenity, why are we lesser mortals worse off than before you had your increment by the millions? Fair is fair. If you cannot deliver, do you still deserve so much?

The scary fact is:
Too many in Singapore have trusted too few for too long.

As long as the rulers insist on being opaque and think that common folks do not deserve any better, the skeletons will always be in the cupboard. Then again, life is such that truth shall prevail. We all know the skeletons that's dropped out of the cupboards in Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia.

Time will tell.


ps: Please bear with me for being repetitive but I thank Charles Chong for the use of the words, "lesser mortals"


At February 10, 2009 at 6:57 AM , Blogger family man said...

I agree it is time for the President and his Council to speak up.

Even to disagree with the drawdown of the job credit scheme which gives all MNCs and GLCs free unfettered monies, monies which our poor retrenched need for their daily expenses.

Imagine, the poor retrenched can't even withdraw or borrow against his CPF monies to tide over a few months, but need to go begging from CDCs.

JCS has made it so seemingly easy for employers, without having to apply, no preconditions, no cap on their CEO salaries, but to apply for CDC, you must proof that you earn below %1,000, etc etc. and if you are 'profitable' they withhold your Allowance (I recall the case of the MRT suicide who's allowance was stopped)

I have to agree, bankrupting our hard earned reserves has suddenly become Puki Quickie. (Was that a Malay word?)

At February 10, 2009 at 9:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes Mr.Fish, the cracks were already there... oldfart and his eunuchs manage to do a lot of touchups and other distractions to cover those cracks.

The way things have unfolded in recent times, made those cracks more visible to the public eye...

but if I were a conman, I would certainly admire oldfart.....
because he managed to convince many S'poreans that measures such as check and balance plus transparency and accountability were in place.

At February 10, 2009 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone is just a economic digit to the pap govt.
when u loose ur ability to pay in old age, u will be shipped to jb by khaw as he hinted today.

i don't get it. what is so very evil or bad about giving people some money to tide them over, to make them feel safe?
why must everything have a ROI?
where is the heart?

At February 10, 2009 at 7:56 PM , Blogger We love Singapore said...

Hi you should check out my blog i created out of the frustration of current state of Singapore:

At February 11, 2009 at 8:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone care to guess what the biggest Ponzi scheme is ?

Hint : its a 3 letter acronym

At February 11, 2009 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Xtrocious said...

Funny hor...

The last time people complained they kena missold minibonds because they "trusted" the relationship managers and whatnots, the gahmen said these people should not do anything based on trust alone or something to that effect...

Now they just want us to "trust" them...

At February 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess that he totally forgot that virtually all businesses in Singapore(that's going to get up to $300 CPF credit per "local" employees) also get 3/4 of their resources (and some, like MNC's, take their profits) overseas.

Very smart.

At February 27, 2009 at 7:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is really sad to see how the Ministers, MPs and senior civil service bureaucrats have totally lost touch with the common folk and with reality. They are in continuous denial giving the impression they do not give a stuff. Their response to social issues being raised continues, sadly, to be to shoot the messenger. The standard response, and the only one they seem to know, is to bludgeon dissenters into submission. They behave like thugs. The Singapore Parliament is full of people with Masters degrees and PhDs from prestigious Western universities - this does not seem to make one iota of difference. If the PM is so concerned about "Western spectacles" why in the hell is he sending scholars to the US and UK? Does not make any sense. This business of everything Asian being good and everything Western being bad is utter nonsense. The level of stupidity among the Parliamentarians beggars belief. The real problem for Singapore is that it is sitting on a social time-bomb, created by the Government. And, it does not have any idea how to diffuse it - none at all - absolute zilch. Foreign workers are suppressing the wages of the bottom 70% of the labour force. On the other hand, foreign workers at the upper end actually cause salaries to increase, as well as property prices. Wages for the bottom 50% of Singaporeans have not moved upwards in the last 15 to 20 years. Just look at the limited statistics published by the Singapore Department of Statistics. The stats they put out are deliberately aggregated to make analysis difficult. eg they provide data on household incomes but barely anything on individual incomes. No data on households with no income. And so on. The only strategy the Government knows is to treat its citizens like mushrooms (keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit), put the fear of God into them, and if they still persist, bludgeon them into submission or bankruptcy. The day will come when going to jail would be a badge of honour. That would be a really sad day for the country. I hope it never arises, but I live in fear of it happening. I have always been an ardent admirer and supporter of MM Lee and what he has done for the country. However, if he lives for another 10 years and the Government does not come to its senses, I fear that when he passes on there will not be many tears shed, which would be a real shame after all that he has achieved in the early years. In those days the Government stayed connected with the common folk. Now they only care about themselves. If giving cash payouts to the poor encourages laziness, surely more money to the top end of town - politicians, scholars and others of the ruling class - would encourage avarice. Last time I checked, laziness was not a cardinal sin; avarice is. Wonder how many of the Parliamentarians are Christians - I would fear the wrath of God if I were them. The Government has dug itself and the country into a hole, a social hole. It has foolishly positioned its back against the wall. The trick, when you find yourself in a hole, is first and foremost to stop digging. Indeed, throw the shovel away. Stop defending the indefensible. It is terminal. The PM has a first class honours degree (double firsts?) from Cambridge - surely he must have learned a thing or two at university. Let's hope so. I haven't seen much to date that is encouraging. One lives in hope, of a brighter tomorrow.

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