Thursday, February 28, 2013

A First Class Clip on a Heart Attack

I could never predict the sort of stuff I put up here. Just got an email from a former boss to view a YouTube movie on heart attacks. Well and good. It also tells me what folks older than me pay attention to. I have been getting many such emails from older friends but this is the first with a video. This particular one is very good. Some commented on its page that it felt like they are living through the attack themselves. I think these must be the older viewers. The very young probably think it is too distant for them to worry. Say how I might feel differently if I watch this again many years later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remembering Nigel and Donovan

Although Nigel and Donovan are not with us any more. Here is something a friend from across the Pacific just put up on Facebook. I found the YouTube version and we could easily imagined adapted to our culture and the Yap's family how the boys would care for each other.

The example of others is the next nearest thing we could have. How we are connected.

The worst idea in Budget 2013 analysed

Related post: Worst idea in Budget 2013

Just as well Chan Chun Sing provided me the threads I could grasp to quickly think through this worst idea of Budget 2013. Saves me time.

It is always a good idea to give those at the bottom of socioeconomic pile a leg up not with the providing welfare but enabling them to join the middle class or better. We keep doing this for the bottom 10 or 20% and so across the board we keep getting better with each iteration.

It is a truly terrible idea to offer welfare to the middle class. Something is terribly wrong with our economy management when the bulk of the population need help. The government has been taking away too much money.

This is also an example of their nefarious philosophy of governance. They hope to take so much from you, return some and then sell it to us as a good government helping us out. If I may this is the white vice but a vice nevertheless of the black vice of other democracies addicted to deficit spending. This government scheme is good for buying voters' support, bad for our economic competitiveness and certainly putting the PAP interest before the nation.

Worse, this will become an addiction. Once upon a time goodies were given once off, then some of them become recurrent. This wage subsidy is good for three years. Eventually more and more temporary goodies will become permanent and then morphed into entitlements. We will become weak like elsewhere albeit via a different virtuous looking route! I quote the minister

"But the most important thing is that we can only do this if the pie continues to grow, and we have a bountiful harvest to share among Singaporeans."

Indeed the PAP government would love to nurture in us a dependency complex for them. Few are sufficiently familiar with Economics* to understand the huge negative impact on our economic development. It will stunt our economy. At best we will have some pockets of excellence achieved at great cost directed by the government and the rest would be stuck with third world capabilities. They would wonder why restructuring and raising productivity is like scaling a cliff. Innovation will suffer and mostly exist in technological domains. Forget about business concept and process innovations. We will continue to attract the rich in order to rob Peter to pay Paul. They will come because the taxes against them in most territories will be rising. Is this the society we want? But it is one that secures the PAP in power at our expense.

Yes, it is a Robin Hood Budget, robbing the rich to pay the poor. The way this is done, inflation will exacerbate as this is wealth transfer and not wealth creation into hands which the money would be spent, i.e., even the lucky ones will not necessarily be better off given expected higher prices. Those who do not get a regular wage will suffer (a way to tell you not to retire) and the rich, no problem this time they can still afford this involuntary expense.

What the government really need to do is to slaughter many sacred cows and restructure the economy. The evidence that we have a dysfunctional economy is getting clearer with every passing year. More of us should not just be well schooled but also well educated. The government loves to equate schooling with education. Harder to control us if we are well educated.

We should not allow ourselves to be controlled. We should always allow ourselves to be persuaded and led.

Consent, not coercion.

* An economy that is run by extractive institutions in which in erstwhile successful forms they are billed as state sponsored capitalism. They will get a new derogatory name as and when they fail. E.g., Today's Chinese SOEs.   

The worst idea in Budget 2013

Again I love it when I can find someone to use for how I feel. Saves me time!

I would add that the wage subsidy plan is the worst idea in Budget 2013. This is a classic example of something they ought to avoid from lessons of the past. Unless there is a hidden objective they are loathe to share (I don't want to speculate yet, and am too busy with other things) this is just inane policy making.

Beautiful Moon but...

Very beautiful moon this morning and I was wondering why was it still so full. This picture completely failed to do justice to the beautiful sight but instead threw up something unexpected. The effect of the traffic lights going from red to green and I had to quickly put aside my S3 and drive.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NatGeo article I received

My elder daughter emailed me this shocking article from NatGeo.

I asked her to forward it to her close Indian friends (they are all FT families from India) for their views.

Then I decided to forward it to my younger girl copy her older sis, with the following comment.

Read the article [redacted] sent me. In the main, the tragedy is because these women were uneducated

Closer to home, the protest at Hong Lim Park is because our educated middle class has been riled up. Were the people affected exclusively our bottom 10%, these people are used to suffering silently. Those above on the social hierarchy had always exploited the labor of the underclass in menial and dirty jobs to support their lifestyle. But today the upper crust had gone even further to trample on the middle class, which never had the habit of taking in lying down. All over the world the disenfranchised middle class is fighting back. What's happening here is hardly exceptional but we are less boisterous. 

The purpose of education is freedom through self determination and the ability to make sense of the world, especially the opportunities and threats. It is not about consistently doing well in tests but we need to make good grades for the major exams.

There is a larger purpose and a more durable freedom from getting educated in the moral philosophies but we have largely lost the tradition with the advent of modern university education. We will pay a very heavy price for the loss of our moral compass.

Budget 2013: Sounds good but it's the numbers

Almost every budget is like this isn't it? You can't quarrel with the policy thrusts but you have much to be dismayed with the numbers. In putting out a fire, it is like bringing in small pails for the job. In watering the nurseries, it is like using cans of water.

I had started analyzing the budget beginning with the increased Work Fare contributions, which Yeoh Lam Keong show is manifestly inadequate. Now from the horse's mouth, the SMEs cry that the support they will get in insufficient. In one line they say, it is simply about the survival of the fittest. I wished it could be the survival of the most adaptable, which is what Darwin had always meant.

After years of overly generous support with cheap foreign manpower, many SMEs might just roll over and die than adapt and innovate. At this rate, I can only hope that in most business niches there are a few farsighted and gutsy entrepreneurs waiting for others to give up and hand over the opportunities to them. I also hope the government do not allow the GLCs to quickly fill the vacuum left behind but give more time for the private sector to come in.

Business problems can often be solved, but the socio-economic ones are the hard nuts to crack because it is often tied up with an increasingly outdated social compact. The government which claim to be extraordinary and paid to be cannot simply recuse itself that it is a global problem. We had gone along with paying and trusting them because previously they were good at solving the really hard problems. This is no longer true. How can it be with a budget of tweaks and action-response better described as fire fighting than farseeing. Where are the progressive and unifying ideas that tie them all together?

Link to CNA story:

Budget 2013: First Take

Click on pic to enlarge.

I was lamenting to myself for not putting up more of my thoughts for Budget 2012 because now I find it impossible to compare this one with last year's. In fact until I checked I was under the impression that I didn't blog about it at all.

As usual the Fin Min managed to make it look good except in the places which you are more interested and familiar to assess the impact.

Wifey and I were discussing this on the way to work this moring: the minimum wage versus the increase in workfare. I said, gotta to make some calculations which I am loathe to do because I need to pause and think how to do it.

Ah, Yeoh Lam Keong has done it and straightaway I could see how it is done. That is the difference between a much smarter and more experienced dude and me.

On 93.8 this morning, most calling in were talking about cars and houses in this budget. I learned not to expect too much from the program. At least they are the least bad of the alternatives.

Overall my quick impression of the budget is that it is mostly Band Aid although the government would like to call it tweaks in most places and revolutionary in others e.g., coercing productivity out of business.

Update: 12pm

Read Bertha Henson's take on my phone. I am going to shamelessly borrow it especially to compare against next year budget.

I have been too busy to think through this more deeply but off hand I sense slowly this government is being pulled by a ring to its nose to where it actually doesn't want to go: a creeping welfarism. Just because we make it look different and complicated compared to those in the West, we thought we are doing something different. A better way must be found to narrow the wealth gap. Like I had posted here before, our meritocracy isn't working. That's why I call all these measures to help this and that constituency Band Aid. It is bad to be philosophically vacuous and that is exactly where we have been landed since GCT took over.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Traffic Cameras in Action

My sis told me about it and now someone has kindly put up a video of how this super efficient and effective speed cum red lights camera works.

Notice how quickly those coming behind learn the lesson of those gone before.

These cameras are presently installed at Upp Thomson Rd and Sin Ming Rd towards Lornie Rd and at junction of Victoria St and Arab St towards Geylang Rd. Eventually they will be rolled out island wide

Frontline Program on the Pop. White Paper

Over the weekend I watched MediaCorp Channel 8 Frontline program on YouTube courtesy of Lucky Tan blogging about it. As the program progressed, the green bar went from 80% to above 90%. At about the 48 min, Grace Fu imaginatively read the results are supporting the government Population White Paper. Quite clever but I don't think that's how most people read it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turning On Adsense

I was reading this book tonight and finally decided to do something I was set against before: turn on Adsense for certain posts for this blog.

Adsense had worked very well for me with my other assets but I want to keep this blog for myself. On the other hand rising traffic show that there often posts many people find interesting and are not personal. They  may now carry Adsense messages. See an example below.

As of now only seven posts including this one out of more than two thousand carry Adsense notices.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Forum: Foreigner's appeal to Singaporeans

Click on pic to enlarge.

I rarely read letters to the Forum but like his father, I bet the PM reads them as regularly as brushing his teeth. Unfortunately in this new year that might be where the similarity between father and son ends. One statement echos through my mind when I finished: abysmal failure of political leadership. The government conveniently assume our society will take care to adjust and adapt to foreigners. My earlier post, 'From SG plus to SG grave' is one conveniently located shred of evidence landed on my lap among countless you can find that the government never paid serious attention to integrating foreigners with the local population much less make sure the infrastructure and housing were adequate.

I couldn't find anywhere in Mishra's letter a desire to integrate with us to create a Singapore Plus. He is here to pursue his material and career dreams. No where can I find any desire to give back what we have given him.

As for Ramsamy, he belongs to the minority who takes a lot of pride in national achievements. Too many people are dislocated or suffering to share that mindset. The government love such types who are always ready if necessary to "eat bitterness" to create a big Singapore. This government serves Singapore the concept and not Singaporeans. The people are the means to bring Singapore glory. Not very different from the PRC government.

I agree with Wei Ming Kai point of view and I believe it is widely shared. Unlike many other societies carrying far fewer foreigners, none of them here will be lynched. The foreigner is sometimes a scapegoat and mostly collateral damage in our unhappiness with the government. It has overwhelmed us with so many of them that we are just unable to absorb them to achieve a SG Plus. Too many frightened foreigners naturally fail to see the point.

How many Mishras are there who are not keen to integrate? If that is their attitude we have an impossible problem. Who wants an impossible problem? Many of us are amazed at the naivety and stupidity of the PAP government. Instead of quickly and wisely go about rebuilding trust they invested in defending their superiority and went on to add insult to injury with the White Paper. Now I think unless the PM and DPM Teo step down, there is no hope for the PAP government. They have caused too much damage already. You can only apologize once and make good. He missed that only chance. At least Margaret Thatcher was stubborn but I am still trying to get over how my highly intelligent PM has turned out to be so foolish.

Update: 8am

Li Yeming has every right to make a police report but was that a clever move? Of course not. You are now a SG citizen. If you are serious about your citizenship, you want to integrate to add to making a SG Plus. If you are committed to this place you would realize that you have not put in the work expected of you to help your compatriots from China integrate, yourself included. We are bringing people like him here only to divide Singapore. This government only cared about the economic P&L.

We warmly welcome long term stayers but only if they respect our way of life and want to add to it. Folks like Li Yeming wants to turn this into a mini China. Now the other arrivals e.g., the Indians would by instinct do the same. Eventually we are back to the tinderbox of race relations from where we inherited this place from the British. If this is not stupid, what is?

The PAP has become stupid. LKY had often called people stupid. Never did he expect this is returning to his party and his son.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The SIN-KL Rail Link: This is not serious

SIN-KL Rail Link? I can see immediately the name is already a problem. The Malaysians might insist that it ought to be KL-SIN Rail Link. You know how much trouble the British and French had to resolve when they built the rail link between them under the Channel? Their difficulties are child like easy compared to those that would come between Malaysia and us. No, this whole thing for now a PR exercise to help each other under some political difficulties.

There is no point thinking much less talk about the economic and social benefits of this proposal before we could even be confident about its political feasibility. I can understand the wayang nature of Malaysian politics but why is Singapore going down to play at that low level? Indeed the PAP government isn't like it used to be. They have not learned the lessons of the Pop. White Paper and henceforth they will be operating at that pathetic level.

If both governments were truly serious to make this happen a lot of details would have been hammered out before making this public. Both were just playing politics. They are facing the pressure of elections which the might lose, and ours trying to shift attention away from the White Paper fiasco.

Look at how little our Foreign Minister know about the project. The whole thing is just premature. Everyone is thinking of short term political fixes but naturally coy about admitting so.

Morning visit to the Healing Garden vs GBB

Found this at the Healing Gardens at our Botanic Gardens this morning. It looks much better on site. The S3 cannot capture the glory of the moment seeing this little snail glowing in the sun.

Unlike the GBB, I hope this 152 year old garden never charge a fee to enter. We were quite disappointed when they bumped up the entrance fees at the Orchid Gardens from $1 to $5 when they built the Cool House. Now we only go during the school holidays when they give free admission to students and accompanying adults. I hope they will eventually do the same for the two conservatories at the GBB. After all aren't they all managed by NParks? Don't even think about it were it run by the Wildlife Reserves.

We were among the first to visit the GBB when it first opened in the middle of last year. We balked at the entrance fees to the two domes and it took me more than half a year to decide to plonk down $68 x 4 for annual memberships. I am glad we took our time to decide but if wifey didn't keep urging me to commit I wouldn't have gone ahead. I would be waiting for freebies like the Orchid Enclosure.

Why am I writing about GBB when I was visiting the Healing Gardens? Because I passed the GBB on the way to the Botanic Gardens and was deciding between the two. At the end of the day, the grandmother of all our gardens still wins. I think gardens are like universities. Age is important and unbeatable as long as it had been well kept. I agree with someone who commented on my previous day post that the GBB is not worth the money. It is not inclusive, it is too superficial and techie. I can't imagine how young kids who visit GBB regularly would form rooting memories of their growing up years here. You can do that with the granny Botanic Gardens. And the reason is simple. The two conservatories do no belong to our ecology. They belonged to the world for a price on our scarce land. Unless they run it like the Orchid Enclosure, the pay wall will stop the poorest 20% among us who must contend with just looking at pictures of what is inside. Well they might as well look at pics of the best in other parts of the world on the Internet.

I have another more promising view of the GBB which I might blog about later. Perhaps when I have thought through more deeply how our relationship with the Super Trees might evolve. I must bear in mind how the San Francisco locals hated the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica building when they were first erected. I worry that we loved the Super Trees too much. It could very well just be puppy love. A love affair that skipped infatuation is superior and more enduring. But we don't know ourselves well enough to build an equivalent Golden Gate. Before our identity could coalesce, we might already be massively reshaped into something else. The GBB tells me we are losing Singapore to the world. I need several more blog posts...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rain at GBB

The Super Trees are quite beautiful in the rain. Took this pic with my S3 after dinner tonight.

Gardens by the Bay is such a mouthful. We now just call this place GBB.

First visit to the Cloud Forest conservatory at night. Next time we will ride the elevator up to Lost World. Didn't want to stay too long as one of our kids forgot to bring her membership card and she waited at the gift shop for us.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Better Living with Whatsapp

Whatsapp change your life. I just got this from my daughter. She is conducting the silver mirror test for aldehyde, ketones...reminded me that I  also took pics of lab experiments sometimes. We didn't have digital technology then and using films were expensive.

If we only have SMS, we would not have pics. The family have been sending each other pics of interesting stuff we do and see for several months now. I wished the school my other kid is at would be more liberal with smartphone use.

Recently I paid the 99 cents USD each for renewing our Whatsapp service. The company has hit on the right strategy. Once most of your contacts have Whatsapp accounts you don't want to switch to another service just to save that miserly 99 cents.

I had resisted Whatsapp for a long time until my brother forced me to install it for the sake of organizing a family lunch. And as they say, the rest is history.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From SG Plus to SG Grave

Oh, the brouhaha from Zaobao has now come to ST: Low refutes claim of 'inciting xenophobia'

One of those commenting provided an interesting link which I pursued and got a screen shot (ST Oct 29, 2010). Huh, these immigrants clan leaders have utterly failed in achieving integration with the newly arrived. Now it is like the swimmer who is not able to dive complaining that the pool is too deep; the water too cold and the trunks too loose! Sounds better in hokkien. Learned it long ago no less from my Sunday School teacher. You can't do the job, you blame everything else except yourself. When you wag your finger at Low Thia Kiang, you asked for it. Low doesn't need to do very much. He just borrow the wind to do the lynching for him. I am not part of the mob but I can't resist noticing this is yet another one who should have kept his own counsel or open his mouth and removed all doubt.

It is a long journey which at its quickest pace is still measured by the decades: the evolution of the Singapore identity. We have always welcomed foreigners to help us build a Singapore Plus. But if we take in too many too quickly, we will suffer a Singapore Minus, which we are living down now. The Pop. White Paper promises more of the same, which many of us perceive must take us to the Singaporean grave. We become extinct. Nothing could be more serious. I have started my calculations that the PAP might lose power in the next GE, as I had earlier concluded that they would lose PE in the by election. I didn't even need more evidence which the good doc generously provided later after my blog post. It's quite simple. Character is destiny. Ask yourself what is this PAP government character? If they don't metamorphose to suit the times, they will be out. Truly, with a government like this which threaten to destroy our homes and way of life why do we even need enemies much less an invasion to respond with the SAF?

Actually I am making a premature call. One of those I love to be wrong. There should be positive surprises. Do not despair. It's not the end of Singapore, but it is also time to read the tea leaves often and carefully.

Update: 12:55

Click on pic to read article.
The quote marks is now code from ST not to believe what they sandwiched. It's their way to appease the government. Thank God for Cheong Yip Seng's OB Markers book.

Update: Feb 22, 9pm

He is getting it as I had expected earlier.

Mindstretcher Advert

A red light ahead and behind Bus 165. I cannot resist pulling out my S3 and snap this. I thought I would only see something like this in the malls. Now it is even papered on buses. May be bus stops already have them too.

It boggles my mind why if you can get into GEP, you would need extra help. Our education system is among the best in the world could be a false claim and an empty boast if we need to put our kids on steroids of tuition to win the accolade.

My kids have no tuition but they informed me almost everyone in their class get such help. As a result the younger girl often falls behind but she easily catches up with them. On the other hand my niece always had tuition even for the A levels. She went to RGS, RJC and now in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. My kids will never become doctors and it helps that they absolutely have no interest to.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Something to remember: "We Want Change!"

Was it 3,000 or 5,000? There were people coming and going. The inclement weather wasn't helpful but whoever was there, it was a show of seriousness and determination. At some point they chanted in unison, "We Want Change!", "We Want Change!" The PAP must be very worried. They ought to be. But if I cast my sight further, I pause and worry. The PAP will not change. What happens then? I hope the opposition parties are attracting and beefing up their numbers with quality candidates for the next GE. Not unreasonable to think that the PAP is on its last leg.

If this was Hong Kong, I think we will see at least 50,000 protesters. Future protest gatherings could very well attract more people as long as the PAP government refuse to bend to the people's will.

Update: 1:25pm

And I can confirmed from just reading page A6 in the ST today that change isn't coming. Hopes spring eternal. People should just talk with their votes. We don't have a normal democracy much less a first world one. Always engage in meaningful conversation only. Anything else is a waste of time. Of course if you go to Hong Lim Park to meet your compatriots for fellowship and solidarity that's different, but don't expect the government to listen. To them this is tantamount to caving in to public pressure. It does not matter who is in the right.

Dispatched a Praying Mantis

The four unacceptable crawlies in the house are roaches, praying mantis, hornets and houseflies. Among these, the praying mantis is the rarest that I wonder if I should even blog about this. Unlike roaches, most likely it would be years before we can count the next one.

Praying mantis can deliver a nasty and bloody bite. I saw it first hand many years ago when a friend snatched one with his hands.

This one was killed last night. The kids spotted it resting on the ceiling.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moldy Bak Kwa

The bak kwa has become moldy. We have been too slow to finish them. I didn't even help myself to a single piece. The price might have been very good but I think we are worse off eating them. Told wifey better not buy them next year. Get the vacuum sealed one. We can eat them slowly.

CNY feasting is a terrible idea. No festival cookies this year at all. For years we had been throwing away far more than we ate.

Political Fodder at Speakers' Corner

Alex Au has a good round up of the protest event against the Population White Paper at his blog: Five thousand gather to protest population White Paper.

I agree with him completely. I always love it when someone write and and I agree. Saves me the trouble of doing the labor myself. So I am going to quote him.

Will the government be moved by this event? Unlikely. Never underestimate a ruling class’ capacity for denial.

I do think however that they were shaken by the angry responses they saw on social media, and taken aback by opposition from among their own backbenchers. But since they simply cannot see any other way ahead, they’re not about to change their minds. As for this protest, even 5,000 people on a field is something they can conveniently dismiss as yet another “vocal minority”, or “the usual suspects”.

More likely, the ministers will retreat a bit more into a sense of martyrdom. They are still convinced that they know best, but hurt that their well-thought-through plans and hard work are not appreciated. “We will go down fighting, let history be the judge” is an easy cry to adopt. It has the benefit of preserving pride while mitigating the need to think again.

People here forget that whilst Malaysia next door which shares many similar security threats with us have changed their security laws, ours have found it apt to keep them unchanged. My point? Don't make the government desperate. These are people who deeply believe that only they can save Singapore. Soon they will stop seeing you as anti-PAP and as anti-Singapore. We cannot use the usual methods seen elsewhere and transplant them here. It simply does not work as Alex Au had also concluded.

In the end this event would be used as political fodder by the WP and PAP. Life is tragic that we always need sacrificial lambs in order to move. Nobody if they are aware want to be such lambs. There will always be such people and I pray like someone left a comment for me earlier about the Boston Tea Party that providence will smile upon them.

Stay foolish, but please do it like Noah. WP Low knows how to stay foolish that way. My Jan 28th post: 'WP: How to win together' was only part one. I had avoided including the Machiavellian aspect of political strategy - too far ahead of time. In other countries a secretary general speaking like Low had would have provoked a rebellion among its ranks and had him removed, but we are not any other country and the PAP isn't any other democratic political party. Neither are the majority of Singaporeans like citizens of other nations. We don't know how special we are and we will not know until another young Lee Kuan Yew thrown up for such times galvanize us. History must rhyme or we are sunk.

Finally for those who were at Hong Lim Park must remember that the Singapore identity is hard to pin down because it is still evolving. We must embrace foreigners but not the totally mad idea of 6.9 million. We must not be confined by geography and without a civilization and single race bedrock, we must create the Singapore idea built on our pledge of regardless of race, language or religion to build a democratic society based on justice and EQUALITY...equal opportunities; equal before the law; before God; not necessary equal in performance....we need to reinvent our meritocracy which has kept its name but lost its essence. Then we will have hope and confidence for the future. Not this morning stupid idea from the PM of working with the government on their morally and philosophically bankrupt terms.

10th Anniversary of Mom's passing

I woke up this morning and found an email notification of a Facebook post. A friend I knew from our old church was reminiscing his younger brother passing a year ago. Suddenly it dawned on me that my mom had passed away ten years already. Not that I didn't know but it took someone who is still raw from his loss to bring me back to the 8am moment on Feb 14 2002 at Assisi when I watched my mom breathed her last.

I thought of her very often last year because that was the 10th anniversary I took her to Floriade. I have succeeded at remembering her living and not dead. So easy for another to just flip your memory around.

Mom had always loved pink roses and red carnations. As she grew older she preferred tulips but for practical reasons she loved orchids because they last a long time. Since when did she switched to yellow and purple? Must be sometime after I got married and moved out. I knew she was always impressed with yellow roses and do not like white ones very much. I even knew over time she traded her love for pink roses to peach ones. I used to pick them for her. I guess because young love must mature? You see, she inculcated in me the love for flowers. When she was not able to go out any more, I prepared on a notebook PC hundreds of beautiful flowers photos I downloaded from the Internet.

My best shot from Floriade 2002. It had turned out to be yellow. For a while it was the screensaver on my phone.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The National Anthem at Hong Lim Park today

The thousands of people gathered at Hong Lim Park today ended the meeting with the singing of the National Anthem. As I watched the clip on Facebook, I thought how reluctant the students in our schools are singing it. In fact schools have given up. Unlike my time, the singing and music is played over the sound system.

My kids said in school they were forced to sing. Among these thousands they sang for solidarity and hope that they might not lose the country. I have mixed feelings. This protest gathering was naive. I wonder if they know what they are doing and which road they are going down. Of course I am angry with the PM. It boggles the mind how he and his ministers could be so out of touch.

Note to self: See also later post: Political Fodder at Speakers' Corner

Bloomberg: Singaporeans Protest Plan to Increase Population by Immigration
Reuters: Large crowd braves rain to denounce Singapore population plan
BBC: Rare mass rally over Singapore immigration plan

Update: Feb 17 7am

Channel News 5 report on the event, which I thought was quite good. Note that the WP was missing. They were the shrewd ones. This is not the wise (it's not wrong) to engage the PAP. We can't do it like elsewhere and get the best results for ourselves. If we were like other countries, you would have seen at least ten times more turnout. Most of us are quite inscrutable especially to the PAP. That is why we keep surprising them when we vote.

Friday, February 15, 2013

SMRT commuters might be burned to death next time?

I just bashed the government in my previous post. As per my habit I then try to look for something praiseworthy about them. It is good that I didn't need to look very long or far. Minister Lui hits the nail on its head about taking fire incidents with utmost seriousness. Now my question is why didn't LG Desmond Kuek gave a similar view PUBLICLY soon after ascertaining that it was fire? So far there is little evidence to suggest that Kuek can handle this job except that it is too early to tell.

One down on Kuek's record for failing to return to Singapore while away on vacation in the USA during the bus drivers' strike. For giving SMRT a B grade, his choice of new hires and explaining his plans I am worried if he is up to the job. Let's apply Joe Pillay style of looking at SMRT challenges as I sort of pointed to in my previous post. Like Paul O'Neil focus on safety at Alcoa, the number one objective for SMRT must also be safety. Immediately the number one activity is that everyone must know their work VERY WELL because that is the first rule of safety. All the troubles that SMRT has tumbled into show that they don't understand the train system which they are responsible for. My suggestion is actually very mundane. It is a complete ripped off from the aircraft industry. No point talking about zero defect or tolerance. That is passive. You must use action and positive words. Therefore Kuek newest hires were not the smartest choice. In fact the board wasn't wise to hire him as CEO. They ought to have found a leader and team who know train systems well. There is no time to waste and only old hands can get up to speed quickly and most importantly restore public confidence.

Now some commuters must be wondering if they might be burnt to death in the next tunnel fire. A quick answer (very confidence building) isn't available because nobody in SMRT knows the system well enough to talk authoritatively about it. Sigh! Isn't it clear as day now what sort of team the board should assemble to run SMRT? Isn't it obvious like I suggested before that MOT should fire the entire board? But that is not going to happen because MOT must 'strike a balance' between many competing interests SMRT is tasked to fulfill. It has no understanding of the overriding interest which makes all others meaningless.

PM and Cabinet fruitless balancing acts

I found this one from Susan Long's interview with Lawrence Wong in the ST today.

Not a week passes by without us reading 'balancing act' from a government minister. In fact the PM and his Cabinet thrive on tricky balancing acts.

I have lost my patience with them, and am not so kind any more. I think it is plain stupid. Just use your common sense. You know how almost impossibly difficult it is to manage down the line what that right balance is? You will be spending most of your time communicating and yet missing the balance!

Finally because I am making this post, I bothered to go look for something the good old Joe Pillay said which had impressed me completely many years back. I quote him having found it in AsiaWeek.

In a rare interview, he once explained how he used this approach with his colleagues: "Look," he would tell them, "whenever you embark on anything, please tell me what is your object. And there must be one. I don't want five."

This is a great stress reliever for my children. Whenever they are stressed I also asked them: "what is your one objective?" And things clear up and there is focused action. Imagine me buying into this holistic education nonsense and trying to help them strike a balance? I don't even know enough to do that. We will end up like many kiasu parents striking a balance means going for As in everything. We will produce a people who knows a lot but not sure what they actually know. They never know where and how they are going. If most people we educate here are like that, Singapore is finished as they try to always strike a balance when it is time to change course.

You lose it when you try to strike a balance. You can only do this with yourself. I bet you can't even do that with your spouse.

Therefore striking a balance is a futile and eventually doomed approach to governing Singapore. Expect the PM and his Cabinet to continue performing below expectation as they keep up with striking a balance. Honestly too much energy is wasted finding that balance. Without them knowing, the skill of striking the balance with every member of the team eventually create the dangerous outcome: Group Think. We just saw it when the ministers valiantly but futilely tried to defend the Population White Paper. Very intelligent men and women made stupid whilst trying to strike the right balance.

I thought I have finished but have a final thought: It is impossible to successfully explain to citizens how you strike the balance and why that balance is optimal. A sure vote loser they will discover for those times they could not gain support by producing extraordinary results and had to explain under performance. That time is now.

Update: Feb 17 6pm

Only two days later. No need to wait too long and we have another example of striking a balance! Sure you must strike a balance but you don't begin that way. You start with what is your one single objective. You will be forced to think, read and researched and finally understand deeply in which the right balance is a by product of the one single objective. Officers down the pecking order would also be thus empowered to use their initiative and judgement as a result.

Capitalism Bedrock

Clayton Christensen says it better than what I have told my kids many times. Values matter and often it has to be religious values with an all seeing God standing behind it. At the same time looking at the broader picture it also remind me why Singapore's development paradigm is broken. Everyone might enjoy and agree with Prof Christensen but practically nobody is going to act on his advice. Fortunately I think the days of the fat cats are coming to and end. The pendulum is going to swing the other way until we get a version of the bad times Thatcher and Reagen inherited and then we have push the pendulum in the opposite direction once more. So on and on aperiodically the pendulum swings measured by the decades, sometimes punctuated by violent discontinuities till kingdom come.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ng Boon Gay Acquitted: The lessons for my kids

On Facebook, the Yahoo entry summarizes it best (SPH you are the professionals, you need to do better)

I have lost confidence in CPIB and I am happy that this did not extend to the courts. The AG better drop this and walk away with tail between the legs. Leave Cecilia Sue alone. Anything you do will make AG and CPIB look worse.

I see Cecilia Sue as a clueless victim being made used of by CPIB and the powers behind trying to do Ng Boon Gay in for reasons best known to themselves. I am disappointed the PM allowed this. Time to clean shop here and many places in his government. His credibility is eroding faster than he can repair. Right now I am thinking also of Prof Lutz thesis that the TFR of 2.1 is outdated and 1.7 is good enough. If Prof Lutz is right, such an oversight in is unforgivable. We had staked so much on that childishly written White Paper.

Back to Cecilia Sue. I told my kids that is what happened when you are not smart and wise enough and are used by others to further their nefarious ends. Get wise and you will lose much, even your life could be in danger. Darinne Ko was streets ahead smarter than Cecilia Sue dealing with CPIB.

We have become normal like other countries where government power must be checked. You will regret and come to grief if you give them blanket trust.

Losing confidence in CPIB - Jan 15
What's the matter with CPIB - Jan 12

We don't have a meritocracy anymore

I ex boss sent me this article from Bloomberg. Prior to reading this I was going through Obama's speech very quickly.

My knee jerk response to her:

To me this is just another shred of evidence to go into the bag pointing to the case that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. Singapore leaders insist there is no choice to greater globalization. They are wrong. More of the same will not happen because the previous habits want to accelerate and beat down resistance, ignoring that many civilizations will not survive. This government is not planning for a reversal of trends. May be in another 15 to 20 years, how long depends on the energy, we will get back to a version of the early 80s and need to swing the pendulum the other way again. 

Does Singapore know that the trade winds are changing? I just came from reading Obama's State of the Union speech. Every democracy is starting to protect its middle class, narrowing the wealth gap and if necessary punish the fat cats. Perceived or real, they are being blamed for rigging the game in their favor.They didn't get there by merit. In fact once ensconced, they corrupt meritocracy. I quote from Obama.

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
Here we are making a mistake of grudgingly creating a welfare state of sorts with workfare. LKY and this government beliefs about meritocracy is wrong. A functioning meritocracy will always show social mobility because in a fair game those who have arrived but cannot rig the game will rest on their laurels and discover hungrier people coming up against them. You see this in the Internet space all the time. 

We need to overhaul Singapore. Rearranging the pieces inside our big box will not cut it. We need to ask and answer the existential questions about ourselves again. That's why many blog posts back I opted out of the senseless National Conversation.

America is beginning to rebuild their meritocracy. What about us?

Monday, February 11, 2013

ROK Air Force parody of Les Miserables

Truly impressive what a bunch of Korean Airmen had done in a parody of Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables'. I must try to find the time to see the real thing especially when this amateur production could take off so smartly launching off from the original.

I also thought about our 'Ah Boys To Men'. Yawn! Good for laughs but so as the Canadian produced 'Just for Laughs'. The Singapore identity must evolve. This government lacking wisdom had carried our open door policy to reckless and insane extremes. The huge inflows could not melt into Singapore society which must be the cornerstone of any population strategy.  Really, what were they thinking?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Haircuts, Cash Box & Reunion Dinners

Just received this an hour or so ago in the mail. This is 15 mins long. I don't have time for it :-( Finally I managed to snatch some time and look at it. Happy I did. Reminded me of my childhood and connects me with the present :-)

Gardens by the Bay on CNY

Signed up with GBB (Gardens by the Bay) for an annual pass ($68/person) this morning.

This year we didn't visit anyone for CNY. Wifey's eldest brother, my grand aunt and uncle had passed away months of each other.

All pics shot with the Galaxy S3 phone.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

PWP version 1: Govt vs People; two different love languages?

Cut the PM some slack. Reading him sporadically in today's papers, you get the feeling that government and people are speaking two different love languages (borrowing from Gary Chapman)

I found the above YouTube clip at PAP website. I am simultaneously writing this and listening to the PM. I would not get to the end this time, but have read it more or less earlier.

This government has the brain power to perform global optimization. It reminds me of the early days of my career in the oil industry. I used to run a LP model of the refinery. Invariably to optimize the cost of inputs and the revenues from the oil products coming out almost every refinery unit do not run at full capacities. This is the same challenge running Singapore. Some sectors are 'favored' just like sometimes the CCRs or hydrocracker pushed to the limits...they are the 'stars'. Most units are not stars but in the interest of optimization are traded-off for them.

But this government has an overly mechanistic and engineering approach to skippering the ship of Singapore. The government is good at optimization but not so able at sharing the fruits to compensate those 'units' that had made the sacrifices so that the output is far higher than each unit fought each other to be 'stars' and rewarded accordingly.

Unlike refinery units, people have volition. They need to be informed not by throwing them a report and expecting them to read but it has to attractively shared and easily absorbed. This government get the lowest fail grade for communication. It also has a powerful engine but a body that does not match its power. Run the engine to maximum and the body starts to shake violently and fall apart! It is probably the most intelligent government in the world, but do not have matching wisdom. Wisdom must direct intelligence. Fortunately it is disciplined.

So this more than a hour speech from the PM we observe what he has learned in a hurry over the last few days of debate in the house.

More important than intelligence is foresight. SIA strategy to invest everywhere betrays its lack of foresight. This government glaring handicap and is also the deficit of almost all nations are radars to see far ahead and direct our resources toward the opportunities.

This government do not yet understand that foresight is a child of supreme wisdom. It is a way of joining the dots that forms the picture into patterns which resonates with history and our hearts so that we have the faith and confidence to proceed down the right path. There are such talents among us but they don't seem to be present in Cabinet. I hope the PM or WP do something about this pronto. It is far easier to find them now than anytime before.

Update: 9:30pm

I just came from watching Lincoln with the family. The thought that when I returned to this post, it must be read together with an earlier post has occurred to me. How much to I trust this PM?

Friday, February 8, 2013

CNY: The Journey Home

It wouldn't have been as convenient to share some of these gifts without Facebook. Someone I got to know at our kids' school parent support group many years ago just shared this. Although it is a Pepsi advert, I trust it must meant a lot to him because he has to work outside Singapore now. And the reason why this is so is because of the policies of this government. Problem is that his situation cannot be directly attributable to the government but it is true for many who share the same experience as him. The good master saw it long ago. When the weeds grow among the wheat you can't separate them until harvest time. It is really hard to tell now. This lands us in a situation where we blame the social and economic outcomes on this government's policies and yet you can't assign the effect atomically, which at the level of family is where we find meaning.

Anyway for every Chinese here and anywhere, good luck if your journey home is a heart journey. Stay safe if you have to fight the squeeze to get home. 

My good old friend, I hope she would quit trying to talk herself out of taking the journey home with her husband this year. Too often in-laws become out-laws.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Khaw Boon Wan's HDB prices

Hazrul was the first one to hit the nail on its head: It's the prices! He had plenty of company later.

But not being in their position, I have the luxury to return to some thought that I have often visited since I last read Niall Ferguson's, 'The Ascent of Money' a few years back.

I read chapter 5, 'Safe as Houses' a few times. Houses are not safe investments over a long time. That is the historical record and Niall Ferguson is a historian.

When people here scream about runaway prices, I know we are getting nearer to the critical point. You understand it better if you have historical examples to compare against.

It is a matter of time but as usual who knows when that property will bring us to our knees? You see this happen everywhere but don't imagine Singapore to be immune. We just get to that point looking clever and then without knowing, we fall over the edge of the cliff.

Greed and fear, debt, the banking system etc., all converge at the real estate market. It is here we feel the pressure, over stretch and eventually throw prudence to the wind and nothing happen for a while as toxicity builds up beyond sight and then it collapses.

Elsewhere it is usually the banking system that is brought to its knees from reckless real estate financing. This is as unlikely as us facing conventional military attack. But just as the big guns were pointing south when the Japanese invaded from the north, it wouldn't be the financial system that would take us down. What might be our Achilles heel is being revealed. It is politics.

What is the least courageous way to solve the problem? Turn it into something Ponzi like. For that you need to build the 700,000 units MND is plugging for. This government will stake its political life on the Population and Land Use White Paper. Right now in private the Cabinet must be lamenting why the people don't understand. They forget that most voters are Type 2 smart and at the end of the day, you don't lead a people with reason but trust. Too bad, that has been destroyed because the PM was reckless entertaining a safe to fail policy even with housing and transportation capacity. He played it loose for not preparing the infrastructure in case the population surged. Inderjit Singh has wisely suggested how to regain the people's trust but would the government listen?

Hats off to Inderjit Singh

Kudos to PAP MP Inderjit Singh! His fellow party members ought to MEMORIZE and UNDERSTAND his speech which is full of good old fashioned common sense. I am keeping it here to remember and perhaps even quote from sometime!

PAPpies infected with Type 1 Stupidity including the PM and DPM Teo. LISTEN and LEARN!

Speech by Mr Inderjit Singh,
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

On the White Paper on Population

Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to join the debate on the White Paper on Population.

While the report has some compelling arguments for the 6.9m population figure projected, we all know it is based mainly on economic considerations. Had we focused on things like building a cohesive nation with a strong national identity, the outcome would likely be very different.

I feel the time has come for us to find a better balance between economic growth and social cohesion and yes there will have to be tradeoffs of economic growth but I would rather trade some of these for a cohesive, united nation where people feel taken care of at home and are confident of their future. I am not saying we go for low or no growth. Instead I am willing to adjust my growth expectations for a more comfortable life for all Singaporeans. I am confident we will still be able to pursue respectable economic growth when companies and Singaporeans are faced with a situation of tightened labour availability by focusing on improving ourselves through productivity and higher value capabilities. Finland and other small nations have done, we can do it too.

Our past decade of rapid population growth has already created too many problems which need to be solved first before we take the next step. I call on the government to take a breather for five years, solve all the problems created by the past policies of rapid economic and population growth. We can safely say that we have failed to achieve the goal set by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, of a Swiss standard of living for most Singaporeans, except for the higher income Singaporeans including foreigners who just recently decided to make Singapore their home. So I call for a breather in this quest of growing the population and focus on improving the lives of Singaporeans and achieve that promised Swiss Standard of living for most Singaporeans first before we plan our next growth trajectory.

Taking Care of the Singaporean Core
I have a big issue with the number of PRs and new citizens we are planning to add to our population. I don't see the necessity to be as aggressive when the key consideration of the population growth is the economy. We have already added too many new citizens and PRs and need time for integration and social cohesion to happen. Looking at history, our population grew from around 2.4m in 1980 to 3m in 1990 and then to 4m in 2000, reaching 5.3m last year. Just looking at the resident population alone, we grew the numbers from 2.3m in 1980 to 2.7m in 1990, 3.3m in the year 2000 and then to 3.8m last year. So in the last decade we added more than 1m to the resident population, and the in last 25 years, which is close to 1 generation of Singaporeans, we have added another close to 50% more to our resident population. I believe this must be the fastest rate of population growth in the world and I feel this is just too much for us to comfortably go back and build a national identity and social cohesion which was progressing very well till the 1990s. Adding another 500,000 to 800,000 more PRs and citizens as proposed by the white paper will be disastrous and add to our already difficult infrastructure and social problems.

If it is economic growth we want then let's just adopt the Dubai model of a transient workforce which will give us a lot more flexibility to manage numbers in the longer term. On PRs, today we already have too many of them and they are enjoying full citizen privileges without the citizens' responsibilities. For example;
- Far too many PR boys who skip NS when they turn 18. After enjoying the privileges they have a choice of not doing NS and then leave the country. I believe only around 30% of all PR boys do NS today. Well, our Singapore sons don't have a choice but to do NS, it is an office not to do it.
- PR children study at their International system schools sticking to their home cultures.
- PRs can buy HDB flats from the open market driving prices of HDB flats too high.

So I urge the government to reduce the number of projected new PRs and citizens just to the population replacement levels and be more selective and differentiate their privileges from citizens. I have a few suggestions for the government to consider;

• The government in the past couple of years has tried to draw the distinction between PRs and citizens by increasing school fees and healthcare fees for them. But I wonder would it not have been better to instead partially subsidize these same fees for Singapore citizens? So do it the other way round, reduce fees for Singaporeans not just increase for PRs.

• PR children must be made do national service - it should no longer be a choice and we should make it an offence if they don’t do it. We should not grant PRs to families who don’t commit their sons to National Service.

• HDB - if a PR buys a HDB flat from the open market, charge a levy of say $50k and allow them to sell only to Singaporeans. If the PR takes up citizenship within 5 years, we can refund the levy.

• Children of PRs should be made to study in our national schools so that we increase the chance of integrating them at the next generation.

• On the employment front, it is time we implement a Singaporean first hiring policy like what is done in some developed countries like Canada. Companies should show proof first that they were not able to fill a position with a Singaporean before they are allowed to hire a foreigner.

• Reconsider the dependents policy - I have come across a number of cases where our targeted one child from China brings in 2 parents who then bring 2 parents each as their dependents - Net is that we gain one young one child who we brought in for our future but also inherited 6 older people - making our ageing population issue worse not better.

I feel the differentiated privileges will separate the genuine ones from those who are here for a ride. We should grant PRs to those who are most likely going to take up citizenships so these differentiated privileges should not stifle our plans to attract quality PRs and new citizens.

This brings me to the point of how many Singaporeans are feeling about the presence of such huge numbers of new citizens, PRs and foreigners amongst our midst. First for housing - there is no doubt that the influx of foreigners in Singapore has driven up our property prices. PRs are buying HDB flats from the open market which drives up prices.

Just last week I had a dialogue session with my private estates residents and one of my residents complained that a new citizens recently bought a landed property in this old estate and was building a 3 and a half storey towering house. Well the, new citizen, the owner of the house was also present and when, I spoke with him during the tea session I found out that he was a new citizen formerly from China, just gained his citizenship and bought not 1 but 3 landed properties in Kebun Baru alone. I was surprised and saddened because many Singaporeans cannot afford to do the same, and this new citizen, no matter how he may have made his wealth is able to do so.

Many young Singaporeans I talk to, especially those who have recently graduated and have just entered the workforce feel demoralized because many of the things that they grew up aspiring to have are now beyond their reach. Our aggressive growth strategies, which allowed cheaper foreign workers, including professionals to easily gain employment passes degraded or depressed wage levels of many Singaporeans, not just the lower income Singaporeans. I remember when I started work in 1985, my salary was $1900 as an entry level engineer. After a few years I could afford a house and a car. Today, 28 years later, an entry level engineer in Singapore earns $2600, just $700 more than what I earned when I started. The mathematics is very simple, the cost of living did not just go up by 1.3% per annum the last 27 years and even more, the cost of owning a HDB flat is did not just go up by 37% since 1985.

Finally, I am perturbed by the banquet analogy used by Minister Khaw. We are talking about lives of Singaporeans. Our banquet guests come for one night and leave when the function is over. There is no turning back when we grant PR and citizenships. We must be more exact about the numbers we want to add to the Singapore population and not plan on a basis of 'hoping we hit some number". Because if overdo things and end up with a population of more than 7m, it may be too late to stop the fast moving train of population growth when we fire up all the engines of growing the population. We missed the mark the last 10 years, and are already paying a high price for that mistake.

In my speech in this house in 2008 during the committee of supply debate on the population I urged the government to abandon the "the instant tree mentality" in trying to grow the population in response to the declining birth rates. At that time, I did not agree with the rate of growth pursued and we know the consequences and the hardship Singaporeans faced as a result of the rapid growth, Instant trees cannot grow strong roots and can be uprooted in difficult times. I once again urge the government to slow down and plan on reaching their population target over a longer time horizon. I don't think we can live with a 6.9m population in 2030. We may be able to handle it in 2050, no one really knows. Please abandon this 'instant tree" mentality as we cannot afford to make Singaporeans lives more difficult as a result. I rather we err on the side of caution when it comes to growing our population. We cannot keep paying a high price for planning misjudgements.

In Conclusion, I would like to see us take a breather from re-growing our population again. We have too many problems as a result of the last breath taking population growth rate. As a government we need to rebuild the trust and confidence among Singaporeans that our citizens matter most to us and that we are willing take a break from our relentless drive for growth to solve their problems, make their lives more comfortable, give them a better quality of life and show them that any future growth of population will not create similar social and cost of living problems. At this stage many Singaporeans from all walks of life don't have the confidence that we can handle another steep growth of the population, so let's not push it. I would like all of us, including the government to spend the time creating and environment that gives us confidence in our future and one where our young can see a sense of hope of opportunity and if we fail to instil a sense of hope and opportunity for our future generations, we will not be able to root them here and build a strong national identity and a strong nation. This is what building a strong Singapore core should entail. So let's delay all plans for further population growth for now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

National to Panasonic Light Capsules

Bought four of these light bulbs yesterday. We had replaced one a couple of  weeks before and realized we need to get new ones for the rest because they seem to be failing at the same time.

So fortunate we found them so easily and at a good price of $9.90 each. The old ones were branded National. I can only imagine how old they are. Probably about 10 years. Truly long lasting.

Tan Chuan Jin & Gerald Giam

This is very good. Like to see more of such. Foster a superior culture of engagement than the toxic one we had been living with all these years. Thumbs up!

FM 93.8 Live on the Population White Paper

It is not often you hear Mediacorp radio plugging for the government but it happened this morning as we listened to the radio on our way to work. When I got the chance to check their facebook page, I found two comments pointing out this fact.

  • Randolph Lee are the hosts the mouth piece of the government or asking for the opinion of the people? not convinced. The "we need foreign workers" to create better jobs for singaporean theory has already been shoved down our throats a long time ago. Look at where we are now. Look at the people on the ground. Who is getting richer over all these years and who is getting poorer?

  • Sohibo Netads When the host was speaking to the radio listeners, they use phrases like " we are, we want " my question is, are they gathering views or are they " the government, or representing the government??" or trying to force people to accept.

Meanwhile ST is playing it safe acting like a post box for Teo Chee Hean speech in parliament and providing no value added or opinion. Perhaps their editors must have had a thrashing behind closed doors from the government earlier. Cheong Yip Seng's OB markers helps us imagine how it might have happened.

But the problem is with Teo Chee Hean, the PM and his ministers given their flip flopping, back pedaling and pure amateurish communication. How could they have misread the ground and screw up so badly. Yet more evidence to prove that they are out of touch. May be they decided sometime back they don't need to be in touch. They are gods, what do they care? They are doing this for the good of Singapore and that somehow it will mysteriously be good for Singaporeans along the way. They conveniently ignore that the ongoing experiment was a failure. If they were fund managers, they would have been fired long ago. Well the lock up period is until 2016 and then we can fire them eh?