Thursday, April 30, 2015

Govt increasingly don't need MSM

I have been waiting for something like this. The PM invites us to catch his speech live tomorrow from the Star Vista. I asked myself why would he need Mediacorp at all.

The media stalks ministers Facebook page and followers get the news from the horse's mouth as quickly as journalists. Why most of us do not do that is because we have other priorities. Increasingly the MSM do not bring you the news but help its readers and viewers save time by prioritizing and filtering them.

Opposition parties no longer worry as much as before when they had to count of the MSM to tell their side of the story which they often accuse of bias.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Indonesia: Lessons from capital punishment

I woke up early this morning to news that Indonesia have executed 8 of them but spared one.

Tragic as it was I told myself it is finally over. Only the media had gained from this, all of us are losers.

I feel sorry that Indonesia had to drag this out for so long. If they had to do this they should have proceeded swiftly. I can't imagine us a small country doing the same, it would surely gravely hurt our interests. This is yet another lesson for small states to bear in mind. Don't wait for full lessons from other small states to take home the relevant lessons.

In the longer term I wonder if we should continue to hang people for some crimes. I think at least we must begin (perhaps we are already) to reduce the crimes that invite the death sentence with the view of doing away with it eventually.

To me the death penalty is not about revenge or even justice but what we want to achieve for the safety of our society. If we can promote the well being of our society without killing criminals we should. However for me this Indonesian episode it a takeaway of how inept the Indonesians are. I am not that optimistic that President Jokowi can do a good job. The shoes of the presidency are simply too large for him. I am reminded of the naive speech he made at the recent Asia-Africa summit. His speech on a world without a dominant power but equals is the most unstable arrangement possible. He is totally out of depth in foreign affairs.

Update: 4:00pm

I wasn't expecting this. Yahoo carried this by AFP. They went to their deaths singing Amazing Grace. This is as close as you get from the other person hanging beside Christ and he asked him to remember him when it is all over.

The only way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The prison pastor did his job very well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

PSC chairman on selecting scholars

Not that I purposely try to but Eddie Teo had never made a speech or written an article that I could criticize like I do his other colleagues who has also serve as head of civil service at other times.

I find this true too when I read, Values that stand the test of time in public service by the ST.

The PSC needs members who are good judges of character and motivation. They interview young 18 year olds whom I feel by and large do not even know themselves all that well. Therefore they must look for some qualities like litmus paper turn red to test acid with other tests to ago along. Then they judged and at that point science becomes art, the candidate is chosen or rejected.

Really, how do you assess a young person who doesn't even know himself or herself? Within very strict limits I would think. It becomes a process of recognizing attributes in the interviewee which he or she does not yet know their impact on his or her future because of inexperience.

Then there is the skill needed to sieve the genuine ones from the fakes. My ex colleague was one such fake who joined the admin service in mid career. I suppose it is harder to judge an older and more experienced candidate.

I also wonder if top executive recruiters try to learn the tools of the trade from the PSC. Are its methods copied by these Search firms? Imitation is the ultimate flattery and symbol of success.

What worries me is that our system failure to anticipate this, which I think is best to quote Mr. Teo.

But I do worry quite a lot about one downside of our meritocratic system. When scholars are told they have succeeded on their own merit and given public acclaim, a few may become swollen-headed. They may think that they have arrived on their own effort and owe nothing to anybody else. They forget that nobody succeeds in the public service or in life, for that matter, without the support of other people. They must never forget that their family, friends, school, bosses, peers and subordinates all play a key role in helping them succeed. From time to time, they have to be reminded that they must not believe in PSC's hype and should stay humble if they truly want to be a good public servant.

But I am not criticizing Eddie Teo or the PSC after all this wasn't his meritocratic system. I think it is just a statement of reality. At the end of the day there is not enough of the type of people the PSC is looking for. Take such types in too and then teach them. Why else do you get them so young if not to mold and groom them?

Nevertheless I told my children please do not apply for a PSC scholarship. We don't even want the bond free NUS scholarship.

IKEA is Swedish for pissed-off boyfriend

IKEA is Swedish for pissed-off boyfriend, I borrowed that line from this WSJ story.

Courting couples should prepare and try to test or take their relationship to the next level with a visit to IKEA eh?

Love is blind as they say but such a visit could be eye popping. Don't waste time. Go find out.

Strike small petrol jackpot

A small jackpot at the SPC petrol station yesterday. It deserves an entry here because I don't think it is likely that I would hit this again. I can't remember if I ever had an earlier strike. The office Christmas lucky draw gives much better odds.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal 7.9 Earthquake

Who is that man deep in grief crying. He was doing so for his dead sister Today Online explained. There were two more photos and one shows several funeral pyres.

My wish and prayer that the number of reported deaths would slow. It was under 2,000 when I checked this morning.

I also remember some Pacific island recently suffered a Category 5 typhoon. They were devastated and practically nobody went to help them. In this sense Nepal is a lot more fortunate but this is only because they are connected to the wider world as an irresistible spot with Everest beckoning. So it is important to relevant to others. Now they are rushing aid to the country.

I was also trying to find out if there wee rioting and traders hiking prices. There were none. I would like to quote one:

Mr Jaiswal said stocks were running out, and more shipments were not expected for at least a week, but added, “We are not raising prices. That would be illegal, immoral profit.”

God bless Nepal.

Update: April 28 10am

Death toll has passed 4,000. I was simply and stupidly wishful. This is a major earthquake in an poorly developed region. Gotta get real.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SCDF superior to SPF?

From the SCDF I think we are getting a real time lesson that helping others is no different from helping ourselves, and we always need to do that for ourselves.

My thoughts return to the superior performance of SCDF during the Little India riots. Putting one and one together I wonder if not for all these rescue missions would SCDF be a superior performer than the SPF? Peace and stability lull us into complacency but the SCDF never could rest on its laurels. They expect to be constantly tested and now they are heading into the next mission.

Even with a corrupt man at the top before, they continue to perform. They are going to do even better with a good person at the top. I hope to see a woman leading them some day.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Don't tell me Meritocracy

Meritocracy even when honestly applied is often a matter of luck. Lots of people apply for a position and regularly the wrong person gets chosen. Sometimes the mistake is really graphic and there are innumerable examples. The latest I come across is Michelle Phan from a story I just read off CNet.

Lancome turned her down for a beauty counter position and the rest as they say is history.

Yesterday I came across a young lady whose name I cannot now remember. She tried and tried and failed to get a position in Airbnb. But she was very determined and creative and figured a way to promote her merits for the job. You see the judges of meritocracy are often also blind and deaf.

Meritocracy yeah? I submit the organizations that beat others in spotting talent wins.

Which stupid committee placed LG Desmond Kuek into SMRT? And how did he became an LG in the first place? Costly staffing mistakes are made every day. Can we afford this? I am afraid most times people don't care. Those at the top in the best organizations do but what is the use when pay back time is often very far away.

Women complain men don't want to marry

First impression, I am interested to write about this article because my oft repeated point about marriage is that it has little to do with love. Good for you if you are among the exceptions but by and large marriage is about dollars and sense (cents too). Not in this article but children used to be about pensions too.

I didn't read more than 20% of the article. There is no need to do that now, may be forever.

But marriage that is based on making calculations is a big a loser as blind faith. One don't get married and eventually suffer the consequences of their short sightedness when they grow old; the other produced a brood and get stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty and want. British society is polarizing into both ends eh? Here we are doing better but I am not sure for how long. We are imbibing external values unaware. If we adapt them constructively for our use well and good.

I think our problem is we calculate too much, i.e., too much sight and too little faith. The problem shows itself as delayed marriages and no kids. It might eventually and may already have lead to no marriage as well. For faith is something policy makers have no blinking idea of and rationality is the only strategy they bring to solve all problems.

Whether people are conscious of Keynes oft quoted and misused remark that, "in the long run we are all dead", fewer and fewer people are going to entertain marriage and having children by just working off Excel models. Those who do must decide to throw away those spreadsheet models and go with their heart. I love kids damn what the numbers say would be a good starting point if very risky one. To be practical and that is also absolutely true which I had been wrongly taught from my days in church: A wife is meant more to be loved than as a partner or helpmate. Of course again to be practical find someone that is easier to love. Exceed your faith to our peril. God have mercy on you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What deflation in Singapore?

Five continuous months of deflation but meanwhile for my neighbours and us, the price of roti prata around my place has gone up by 10 cents. Apricots in one kg packing had gone from $12 to $14 and the fruit slices are smaller and inferior quality. Oranges seems to have gone up to. Saboten looks like giving up serving oranges as desserts for their set lunches. And I haven't finish, only listing those I can remember off the top of my head.

Sure some things are cheaper but they are just on offer. Normal prices will return shortly.

Honestly we are experiencing deflation as the process of calculating the CPI is not gamed. It is just that for many of us the basket is simply not meaningful.

SMRT and LTA admitted they were clueless

So it is true that SMRT and LTA do not understand the train system (ST yesterday). Sad it took them so long to admit and ask for help. If they had more sense of shame and responsibility that would have gotten to this point much sooner. Wasting time and money.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Don't ignore Amos Yee

In an earlier post, I suggested that the best way to deal with Amos Yee is to ignore him. However the media just loved to milk him for eyeballs. It is just good business for them.

Now I think we shouldn't ignore Amos Yee because Vincent Law a parent and youth counselor just posted bail for him (CNA story). Vincent is also a Christian, i.e., the group Amos was publicly disparaging.

Unless Christianity gained political power, the faith is very familiar with verbal abuse and even persecution. Right now ISIS, Boko Haram and its evil brothers are hunting them down to be killed. In return the families of the murdered Christians ask God to forgive the murderers. Amos will have to try so hard beyond what he is capable of  to offend the Christians. The Christian Vincent Law is more interested to help him than take revenge on him.

Muslims share a common prophet with the Jews and Christians in Abraham. Those with evil crazy ideas of fomenting a theocracy by any means in a multi-religious society ought to consider how the way of Christ is superior.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gundlach: Full impact of Fed action not over

Someone sent this to me and I thought isn't Gundlach simply pointing out the obvious? Tharman said as much yesterday too about MAS policy on the SGD. Central bank actions always create ripples for quite a while.

It is disturbing that people need to be reminded.

In my email reply I wrote,

Gundlach is prepared to let the market tell him what it wants. So many others are unaware that they are trying to impose their wills on the market. They confuse this with their wishing where their portfolios ought to be. It is an important sign bad things are already in the making. Living moment by moment they have no idea where all these are leading to. Irresponsible and dangerous. 

I wonder how much of this is just racing each other to the cliff. They only see who is winning or losing the race and not where they are going. 

Gundlach put it differently but he was referring to central banks than fund managers put in more graphically thus.

“sort of like a man who jumps out of a 20-story building, and after falling 18 stories, says, ‘So far, so good.’”

But I don't think he or anyone knows how tall that building is and how much left to go before hitting ground. You need two hands to clap. It wouldn't just be the major central banks that cause the next crisis. The other hand are the market participants. They are even more dangerous because they decide how fast they are falling as they race each other down.

Perhaps I ought to have used a fall from building metaphor as well in my email response for market participants.

Update: 2:25 pm

Have most likely at least gone past half of the building on the way down. Where in between midway to the bottom is hard to say. Also one should probably be looking at the debt supporting it than just where stock prices are.

Blog Hiatus

I have lost many blog posts because the last five days were just very busy days. I didn't even get enough work done. Didn't realize how joining some of these Whatsapp chat groups can use up so much of your time. Nevertheless it was worth it. People more important than business and definitely higher priority than these blog postings unless they were written for my children.

Over the last few days many friends were running around trying to help another friend who was hospitalized at NUH critically ill. Sadly he didn't survive his cardiac arrest and passed away. Then it was a busy time (much more so for the others than me) getting set up for the funeral wake and all sorts of unobvious must-dos. He left behind a wife and no kids, so the bereaved widow needed lots of help. The poor wife is completely disoriented feeling totally marooned. Three of us went to comfort and spent some time with her yesterday afternoon. It was peaceful and quiet then. Evening time is when most visitors appear and you wonder at the purpose of all the noise and even laughter. Folks posing for photo ops smiling. Too many people cannot even keep quiet when eulogies were given. It is as if the deceased and family were side shows.

We are a cultural melting pot and people often do not know how to behave appropriately.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

COE supply to go up by 41%

This is a significant increase in supply. It is just impossible to smooth the bump. Prices should fall but who knows how much.

I blogged about this in 2011 reminding myself to review this when the time come. Should we be trading our current car for a new one in the months ahead? I need to study this more carefully.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Natgeo Magazine, do not renew and save $30

Natgeo made me an irresistible, lowest price possible renewal of $89 a year. I said no because unknown to the sender another part of their organization offer me a new subscription for $59 a year.

I don't want to go into the details. The very fine magazine aside their customer service was horrid and their administration a mess. They are deaf to customer complaints. No wonder they had to close their beautiful shop, which we loved to visit but not buy at Vivocity.

I tried timing the expiring and the new subscription well but guess I failed to avoid at least one overlap.

By the way I had earlier threatened to blog about their bad customer service. That was months ago. I never carried out my threat but suddenly my complaint was escalated and the service became very good. They even wanted to sent me a nice jacket. My response? I ignored them. I didn't want or need their jacket. I started a new subscription saving myself $30.

Actually these are small sums and I couldn't remember them. I had to retrieve old emails to locate the amounts. I just love to save money and it has been most satisfying to see over the years the children also sharing this habit.

Remembering LKY as inspiration for future PMs

Just as well today the NYT has a story on Abraham Lincoln as the role model for modern US Presidents when we are trying to figure out how to honor our founding fathers as well.

Too many new states in the last century have founding fathers which are not even perceived as such. In fact they are best forgotten. They achieved independence from their colonial masters but made their people worse off than when they had no political freedom. Singapore is the glaring exception.

When LKY was alive but no longer PM, no PM dared to imagine trying to wear his very large shoes. Now that he is gone, I think future PMs will try to emulate him as American Presidents look to Lincoln for inspiration.

Like Lincoln, LKY can be expected to be beyond the reach and grasp of Singapore's future leaders.

Nevertheless we would have benefited in ways no less than US Presidents also had.

As Lincoln was the embodiment of the model top leader for them, ours would be LKY. So we must try to remember him in analogue ways the Americans remember Lincoln.

A lonely future Singapore PM  cannot but quietly and privately do the equivalent isn't it? Where else can he go for insight and inspiration? Don't tell me he looks outside Singapore. Of course he would but he cannot reject LKY. As I saw Low Thia Khiang trivalized LKY's contributions, I immediately rejected him. The opposition Democrats were wise to try own the Republican Lincoln. What was Low thinking?

Lincoln is their standard. LKY would be hours. 

And in the NYT story, Obama even trying to copy him as thoroughly as possible. He even tried to set up his own version of a Team of Rivals.

Update: 10:10 pm

I just read the above article and of course I can't helped but compare this against the main blog post.

We are also known widely at home and especially abroad as Singapore Inc. If the metaphor of business is more pertinent than nation everything I wrote in the main post is off  the mark (I don't believe that). Whatever, we must be cognizant of our tiny size and a big part of our livelihood is about making a living like many businesses do.

As our environment changes and the imperative to adapt successfully might take us far away from the challenges LKY faced to take us here. Immelt could never use the methods used by Welch and similarly Welch was quite different from his successor.

We keep the people morale up but we mustn't underestimate how challenging it is going to be navigating the future especially at the turning points. Do we even know when we are engaging one much less seeing it coming. These are not like those you can see behind the steering of a car. It is seen with the mind and imagination.

Basically I am afraid of our leaders seeing themselves as business people with political responsibilities than the other way round. We will surely get into big trouble doing that.

Raising funds: Nothing wrong with ACS but...

It is finally over because the event is over.

When a mother wrote to stomp complaining about ACS aggressive fund raising, I thought she had sent her boys to the wrong school. ACS will be always be ACS. Better to quietly transfer to another school. They will not change for you.

The school is more than a century old and is the place the who is who sent their boys to be educated. That is just euphemism for rich people and their community. Such folks will always want to mix with their types (nothing wrong with that).

MOE has rules about what you can or cannot do, so if schools like ACS wants to give their boys more, you have to get the funds from the parents. All these roundabout ways of moving what is in the parents' pockets to the school fund is beside developing the boys, it is poor form to simply write cheques.

If you feel you can't contribute your share, I am sure it is not a problem because most families could and they would gladly accommodate you. But from your point of view, you would feel you owe them something. That is when a mother decided that is not how things should be. To me she was just banging her head against the wall. It was useless and a waste of time. The wealthy have chosen this school and this school it is.

The neighborhood school could never give the exposure and education ACS could provide with its resources. That is why Petunia lambasted her boy's primary school but is over the top with praise for ACS. Petunia forgot that whilst the neighborhood school is not right for her kid, it is often the good school for most of our kids.

So I wonder if charity for most at ACS was not just the ultimate ego trip? When they grow up it will be called Philanthropy. For Petunia, is it not simply an example of charity amid the poverty of love? She is a Christian and so I would like to borrow from 1 Corinthinas 13: If I give my body to be burned but have not love, I am nothing.

By and large ACS is charitable but it isn't loving. The school will be a major contributor to the wealth and income gap in Singapore. Its efforts to narrow that gap would be futile but they never claim to try. Well I am not complaining. By and large we cannot expect better. Not here, not anywhere. That's life. There was a Tan Kah Kee and now after a long time there is still no successor.

There is charity and there is selfless charity. They are not the same. But for the handful of selfless boys ACS could produce from time to time, I think it is worth it.

I think better go to Hwa Chong than ACS especially when Protestant Christianity is losing its way. Tharman was from ACS but his son went to Hwa Chong. Also why not Catholic High?

Update: 3:15 pm

I came across this story earlier today and wanted to use this story to supplement my main post but lost it. Just saw Yahoo telling the story and found the link to the original story in the NYT.

Some boys from ACS will some day do as Dan Price in the NYT story, but I expect many more men and women from the neighborhood schools would step up to this even if you compare using ratios. In fact they are doing that but without ostentation. It is hard to find them but with some serendipity you will come across such on and off.

Fifth anniversary of my father's death

There is no Qing Ming because there is no grave to sweep. We only have memories and photos. The house is sold, not demolished as LKY requested for his. It has been five years and we can't pop by the Columbarium.

My late father's requested us to disperse his ashes to the sea but if that faced too many government hurdles than intern them at the columbarium. His shorthand but far more modest explanation was the same as LKY.

My brother is going even further when his time come and I believed he had also put it in his will.

38 Oxley Road, grant the man his wish

LKY had given his life for this nation and I hope its people would grant him his ardent wish to have his house demolished. This is the least we could do for him. In case you are too dumb to understand this (I will be counting those who wants to preserve his house) do you ever imagine bulldozing his house is not for Singapore's sake but his and Madam Kwa?

The house should be torn down but never Singapore. Preserving it will add to losing focus on what is truly important here. This is one thing we mustn't imitate other countries.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Latest issue of NUSS magazine

I can't remember how the cover of the previous issue looked like. I don't know what they all looked like going back a year and probably more. We regularly just throw them away. The last time I did not was perhaps more than ten years ago. That was Divine Providence as I found my friend among the new NUSS members. So she graduated and I wanted to congratulate her because it was her lifelong ambition to go to university. I didn't get to do that until quite a few years later when she sent me surprise birthday wishes through another friend who happened to meet her at a gathering organized by yet another friend. Way short of six degrees of freedom.

So I removed the latest issue of The Graduate from its plastic mailer wondering what surprise might be in store and yet half expecting to be disappointed. What else can they print about LKY that is not already put out by the media?

I was right.

I turned to the new NUSS members page. Looks very different from long ago. Decided not to go beyond that. I don't expect to find yet another friend has joined as an associate member. Sometimes I wonder if I should not surrender my membership. Paying my dues every month but hardly making use of it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

SBY nails SG's loss in losing LKY

Quoting SBY as reported in the Sunday Times this morning. He was here for the inaugural Singapore Forum as a keynote speaker. Our PM and Ho Ching later hoseted SBY and his wife to lunch.

I felt exactly the same about LKY and I am sure (a very good thing) I am not alone in feeling that way. In fact as a kid it was my late father who taught me that was LKY special gift. Growing up listening to him only served to reinforce that.

This is the big hole which I had mentioned many times in early blog posts that is not filled. Personally I think they are indispensable for our future success.

I worry when a day before the PM said Singapore as a tiny state has no foreign policy. May be that was just his lousy and easily misunderstood way of saying we are a price taker. Always a modest man he might not be confessing an active foreign policy in the background which will continue without LKY.

Fortunately for us, by and large in public discourse nobody is worrying aloud like me for the loss of this gift of foresight. Therefore our confidence remains intact even if it has perhaps lost its foundation. Wiser folks must grasp that LKY's genius had bought us time.

Calvin Cheng....Good Enough Meritocracy

Having my cereal and as quickly as possible scrolling through what happened overnight on Facebook when I come across this.

This provoked an interesting discussion (most times you see an exchange instead) which I thought my children should read when they have the time.

I told them in school they learned that may the best win, but this is often only partially true in real life. Meritocracy in practice is not about identifying and rewarding the best. That happens when you are looking for the top surgeon or litigator and a few other professions, all those that Nassim Taleb called Extremistan. In practice, meritocracy is about choosing the good enough and I like to offer them the example from nursing.

Nursing leaders and specialist nurses aside, bread and butter nursing is going to cheaper FTs. They perform the basics adequately (I didn't say competently) but come with language skills that make it difficult for them to communicate with most of our senior citizens, the main users of our hospitals. At this juncture, I must also add that the government say locals with local language skills do not want nursing jobs. Since the jobs must be done, foreigners are hired. If your parent coming to the hospital can't speak English to the Filipino nurse, you come along and help translate. Not good enough for you, but good enough to the hospital.

Good enough meritocracy in nursing means passable nursing skills minus language skills. When you do the sums and weigh their cost of labor, they get chosen. Eventually the few locals otherwise willing also do not want to join the profession because of the low pay and status. You are forced to put locals on another pay and career track or the pipeline to leadership and specialists positions will dry up.

Here is an example of passable skills. E.g., a foreign nurse who is clumsy at drawing blood from you and leaving a big bruise afterward and a local nurse which do an excellent job which I regularly experienced when I was a NS boy many years ago. The blood sample got drawn successfully regardless of how the arm look afterward. The foreign nurse, much cheaper is good enough because your arm don't scar much less die from this.

When you choose a profession, you have to bear in mind if you are entering a field where good enough will do or you have to be the best. Japan learnt this the hard way especially in consumer electronics and white goods when buyers refused to pay for quality beyond good enough.

There was a time when many products were poorly made and services poorly delivered. Meritocracy practically means making and doing the best to get chosen. That was also the hey days of Japanese manufacturing. Today most places can produce high quality good enough manufacture. Indian radiologists from the sub continent can interpret MRI and Catscans as well if not better than locals etc., We are in the age of Good Enough Meritocracy.

Once you get to Good Enough Meritocracy you no longer compete on excess and unnecessary quality but overall Quality to Cost measure. Singaporeans lose out. They want to do better but there are fewer and fewer opportunities which allow them to. On the ground people perceived themselves as either over educated or no opportunities to make use of their training. They realize they can't up their pay without the opportunities. They have done their best for themselves but now the system is against them and that is too big for them to overcome. The problem now becomes the government which valiantly and unsuccessfully try to explain it is either lower pay or no pay. Impossible task when ministers and civil service leaders are so highly paid.

  • Chris J. Chung At the lower end, they can hire as many foreigners as they want (as per the 80s LKY days), they have no right of abode, and it augments the labor force. At the middle end, you're just hiring the lowest common denominator for the cheapest price at present, it not only leads to a dumbing-down of industries and services, it also drives PMET wages down, and on top of that you let those third worlders with questionable papers stick around indefinitely, thus the current anger. At the higher end, those positions are so few, the margins so high that there simply aren't enough locals who'd fill those positions, and any number of foreigners (usually high end) won't matter, that's dictated by company requirements. 
    I'm pretty sure you won't be singing this tune if a whole bunch of low-end legal grads from west ham and karachi showed up on the shores of sing tomorrow taking your job, and maybe the supreme court SHOULD allow that, after all, it'd keep fees and remunerations down, the legal proceedings would be a lot more colorful and creative (and foreigners are ALWAYS more creative and brighter innit?),and why overpay so many local lawyers when guys from India, Pakistan and the rest of the jolly commonwealth can fill those places? Yes! Its time to import more foreign lawyers with the right to litigate wholesale! 
    Like · Reply · 6 · 10 hrs · Edited
    • Hide 16 Replies
    • Calvin Cheng Any businessman who hires cheaper but worse people will quickly go bust.
      Like · 9 · 15 hrs
    • Aaron Zhang Yuanzhi If we r that easily replaceable by these lower grade fts,we really deserve to lose our jobs 
      It's up to us to upgrade ourselves in order to stay competitive
      Isn't it?
      Like · 6 · 13 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung Calvin Cheng Only theoretically, the reality is that they're hiring them by the dozens and training them in-house, those who cut it sufficiently get to stay, those who don't make it get tossed, and its STILL cheaper than hiring individual locals, filing the paperwork and paying the OT and all.
      Like · 1 · 13 hrs · Edited
    • Calvin Cheng No company that has a HR policy based on churn will compete well in the long run either. It's more expensive to hire lots of shit foreigners who u have to sack than a good local that can stay for years. Not theoretical. My own experience.
      Like · 4 · 13 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung Aaron Zhang Yuanzhi You bring up a valid point, but upgrading's a catch-word at middle levels, truth is that even if you jumped through all the hoops and got yourself upgraded, your employer might be tempted to keep you, but ONLY at your pre-upgrading pay. If you want higher, he'd figure that he doesn't need the rocket scientist for the role (and most mid-level roles in sing ARE that mediocre!), and he'd jettison you in exchange for three foreign hires, so we're back to square one. You might take your skills and make a run for it (as many have done), but that depends on luck and all, and you're outta the system in that event.
      So in short, yeah, you "deserve" to lose your job, but when the axe falls, you really gonna tell yourself, your wife and your kids that? 
      Like · 1 · 13 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung Calvin Cheng and I'm telling you from my experience (and those of guys I know) that the revolving door's still affordable, far better than keeping fat locals anyway, and in most cases, the work's so basic (by western standards) you don't need the MSc.s, the MEngs, the Ph.D.s etc, those we hire from overseas exclusively FOR our overseas desks, I will NEVER run that risk in sing whatsoever, nor will I even THINK about it! Ok, so maybe they don't do that at A*Star, but how many A*Stars are there in sing to begin with? Most work locally CAN be filled by the foreign hires at dirt cheap prices, that's where the problem lies.
      Like · 2 · 13 hrs · Edited
    • Timothy Lee I second that. I am not saying by experience. I was even the casualty! And why we even need to defend this country. We can get cheap cheaper cheaperest soldiers globally!
      Like · 1 · 13 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung ^Don't tempt them! 
      Like · 12 hrs
    • Edward Tay Chris If the job is "so basic" by your words, then the employee had been overpaid in the first place. That is why the organisation will hire a cheaper working from overseas. Don't think closing borders are going to work - this is the Internet generation and mundane work is no longer going to fetch a premium if it can be outsourced to a cheaper country.

      Since you bring up legal practice I would highlight that law firms will hire two types of lawyers - those who have a special skill or analytical ability for the multi-ten-or-hundred-million dollar lawsuits and hire the cheap labour for the low end work - not exactly a bad thing since this would ultimately bring down the legal fees for the masses. Even for legal work, other than litigation, a lot of matters can easily be outsourced to a cheaper lawyer in India (leaving the Singapore lawyer to just review the work for Singapore law compliance). So like it or not, it is going to cut across all industries - except maybe medical (even then in the case of general practice I'm not so sure since instruments can send data overseas for prescription) or dentistry (that must be the safest profession now).
      Like · 12 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung Edward Tay What you call a premium others would call their ricebowl and fair wage, and as for legal work, tell that to Calvin, I don't think he'd too thrilled hearing that his work could easily be completed by some bargain basement counterpart working from the backrooms of Bangalore or Madras 
      Like · 11 hrs · Edited
    • Carlos Bott That's why most companies outsource entire engineering, back office medical and technical staff to (primarily) India and the Philippines. For the same cost of a fresh ITE or poly graduate you get an industry veteran with 5 to 10 experience, several published titles and credits and very specialized experience. Be happy that MNCs have seen Singapore's infrastructure and low taxes as a plus. That's the only thing it has going for it as a vast majority of companies seek to keep employment costs to a minimum. Don't you think for a moment companies like Ubisoft Singapore and LucasArts Singapore (before Disney) didn't outsource a majority of their animation and coding departments to the Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam.
      Like · 11 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung ^and given that they're no more than mere sweatshops, what's the glamor and benefits of having them around in the first place?
      Like · 10 hrs · Edited
    • Carlos Bott Ubisoft and LucasArts definitely do not run sweatshops. But as media and content providers, they have strict deadlines. Projects do not miss deadlines due to crap like Work-life balance. 
      MediaCorp is no doubt any different. As we say in the media industry, the show must go on.
      Like · 10 hrs
    • Edward Tay Chris Simple. If it takes 100 foreigners to keep 10-20 Singaporean middle and upper middle managers at work (and by middle managers I mean those in the monthly $12-15k range and by upper middle those in the $20-30k range) then it is worthwhile to keep the company here. Not to forget a few $5k O and A Level secretaries (only MNC secretaries will fetch $5k, local companies will not pay more than $3k). 

      Should we sacrifice these local jobs by forcing the MNC to hire entry level and lower-level managers at uncompetitive rates? I would contend not.
      Like · 10 hrs
    • Edward Tay Chris By the way, the employer does not owe the employee a "fair wage". The employer owes the employee instead fair value for the services rendered. If that is higher than a "fair wage", well and good. If that is lower than a "fair wage", then too bad.
      Like · 8 hrs
    • Chris J. Chung Carlos Bott If they're interested in offering only the lowest pay for any work as you mentioned, then sure, they are sweatshops 
      Edward Tay The scale seems a lil inflated,. but regardless, I'm not the one advocating the fair wage and flexi-hours conc
      ept, though the noise at the grassroots level seems rather strident these days. In terms of response, we can always pull a George Yeo I guess, and he does seem happier now than ever before 
      Like · 6 hrs