Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Watz buzzing - 14 Aug 2012

Home Today, Gone Tomorrow



[In a country publicly defined by wealth and GDP, a good number of people have only the streets to call home. The PropertyGuru’s Cheryl Tay reports on the worrying prevalence of homelessness in Singapore.]

Singapore is often hailed by its own government and those in business as a financial hub, seemingly immune to economic issues which plague other countries. Even as the Eurozone faces a severe sovereign debt crisis, Singapore boasts one of the world’s highest GDP per capita and continues to impress tourists and other foreigners with its infrastructure.

Of course, it would be unfair to assume that Singapore is ideal only for tourists and foreigners. The government has enforced laws to ensure that all citizens can live comfortably — public housing, in particular, is subject to a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to encourage home-ownership. Home loans, grants and schemes are available to first-timers, senior citizens and low-income households. In Parliament earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam uttered the infamous words: “Our enhanced housing grants for lower income families are such that a family with a monthly income of as low as S$1,000 can now purchase a small flat.”


OPINION: Homeless in Singapore 
Yahoo! News Singapore, 8 Aug 2012 
In a country publicly defined by wealth and GDP, a good number of people have only the streets to call home. The PropertyGuru's Cheryl Tay reports on the worrying prevalence of homelessness in Singapore. Singapore is often hailed by its own government and those in business as a financial hub, seemingly immune to economic issues which plague other countries.

Even as the Eurozone faces a severe sovereign debt crisis, Singapore boasts one of the world's highest GDP per capita and continues to impress tourists and other foreigners with its infrastructure.

In Parliament earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam uttered the infamous words: "Our enhanced housing grants for lower income families are such that a family with a monthly income of as low as S$1,000 can now purchase a small flat." Full story
A History of Singapore’s Population Control, 1947 ~ 2001 

According to the government, a significant reason Singapore is opening up to foreign workers and immigrants is because our fertility rate is currently one of the lowest in the world at 1.2 TFR (total fertility rate). 

In this article, we present a visual look at how for more than 30 years since 1947, the Singapore government has introduced birth control measures to bring down the population, and how from 1977 onwards till now, the government has battled Singapore’s ever decreasing birth rate with little success.

Fertility rate comparison between Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and the world.

From 1947 all the way to the early ’70s, the Singapore government was concerned how given our small land area and (then) small economy, overpopulation will lead to lower a lower quality of life across the board for all Singaporeans – more mouths to compete for scarce resources

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Why would people want to have kids in Singapore?

Back in the 2000s, each time my wife gave birth, my friends would joke “Hey the Baby Bonus worked!” We had a good laugh, because it was very clear to my social circle that the Government’s fertility policies had nothing to do with our decision to have children.

As the years went by, we rolled our eyes at the hundreds of millions of tax dollars being poured into the Baby Bonus scheme without any significant result.

Now, of my close friends who are married today, the majority of them have at least two children. What’s even more interesting is that like me, quite a few of my friends are sole breadwinners, with their wives choosing to give up their careers to ensure the kids are well-looked after. We made the decision with our wives even when it didn’t seem like our paychecks could support it.

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Lee Wei Ling, it's miserliness, not frugality

Poor little rich girl, Lee Wei Ling, insists that her family was frugal. In reality, it is more like a miserly family.

Perhaps Ms Lee is embarrassed that she has lived off the riches of her family. And currently, many of her family members and extended family members live off the sweat of Singaporeans. So she has to make it look that she is not the girl born with the silver spoon in her mouth. Hence, she tries to portray she "didn't have the good life".

But in doing so, she has actually insulted many Singaporeans who have truly gone through thick and thin. She's also insulting the current bottom 10% Singaporeans who find it a struggle to feed their families. 

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OPINION: Tipping point for Singapore property mart? ― Tan Chin Keong
The Malaysian Insider, 10 Aug 2012
AUG 10 ― For the last three years, the trend in Singapore’s residential property market has been virtually one-directional: Up.

Despite the Singapore government’s repeated efforts to cool the market, home prices have remained resilient and recently hit new highs. It is not hard to see why.

Population growth has been on an uptrend, there has been a housing shortage for years, and borrowing rates are currently low. Full story

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Love Hate Parodies 

When Sin Chew Daily reported that a "quirky" music video depicting the frustrations of the average Singaporean had received an unexpected endorsement from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, we thought it was referring to the cheeky Mentos rap that has the truism about government scholars cramming real hard, working all night to make life more miserable for ordinary citizens. Who do you think came up with the money making COEs and ERPs? 

Instead it was a saccharine sweet delusional diversion, a pale parody of a Bollywood production with prancing zombies zonked out on the prosperity placebo. The video clip was supposed to put in perspective the love-hate relationship many Singaporeans have with their country's foibles, but the portions are way, way skewed towards la la land. And it's not even accurate.


Dream on. Cleaning tables can afford you a $73,501 COE for a small car (as of 9th August 2012)? Sure, if you still think you can pay off a $100,000 HDB flat on $1,000 a month.

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Beer Aunties in Team Singapore?



 “For the record, Tao Li is 1.6m tall and it would be unchivalrous to mention the lady’s weight.”
But it’s okay to make fun of her “fat arms”, call her and her colleagues “beer aunties” and say you want to burp her like a baby. Oh, well done you.

Also, has anyone else noticed that in the mocking of Team Singapore the writer only mocks the women? And when he does mention a male athlete, it’s to say, “Ah, there’s someone who looks like a champion!”


OPINION: Should Singapore ‘Import' Athletes to Win Olympic Medals?
Global Voices Online, 10 Aug 2012
After 52 years of “suffering” (according to Straits Times reporter Terence Voon), Singapore has finally got another Olympic medal in an individual sport. Table tennis player Feng Tianwei won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics last week, and finally the Singapore flag was raised over the podium and the national anthem blared throughout the stadium.

Yet back in Singapore, not everyone was celebrating. It was pointed out that Feng Tianwei is not a native Singaporean, but a Chinese-born athlete brought to Singapore under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme where talented athletes are identified and given citizenship so they can represent Singapore at international sporting events.

A Yahoo! SG online poll found that almost eight in ten of respondents did not feel proud of medals won by foreign talents. Many see the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme as an effort to “buy” medals, rather than earn them through Singapore's own efforts. Full story

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Aristocare's Great Bluff and a Singaporean Kiasu Dream 

This is one random story that makes me laugh again during this national day period as I reflect on Singapore chionging ahead to get ahead. This is the story of Aristocare, which is more aptly named Aristofuckcare. This story is even more relevant now when Primary 1 phase 2C is over and some kancheong parents are feeling so left out in the game as they felt they are letting their kids off with a bad start at the blocks because they could not get their kids into a "good" school blablabla. 

The Singapore kiasu dream - study, go enrichment classes and have tuition to get ahead of the pack. What's next is... cheating in exams. Don't shake your head. Because it is not about dishonesty, it is about winning! That's the motto for my tuition centre that I'm going to set up. After all, that is what Kelvin Ong from Aristocare is telling everyone.

 Just so you get a rough idea,the fees for Aristocare's GEP class is $1,100 for 4 lessons, each lesson 1.5 hrs, ++ other fees. If there are 5 kids in a class, that's $5,500 in the pocket. If he does 10 kids, 20 kids, 30 kids, you get the picture. MOE already busted his ass, CASE is on his ass, IRAS should be next. If Kelvin Ong Wee Loong screwed some old frigid sex-deprived MOE staff to look the other way all these years, you bet CPIB is next asking him out for kopi.  LOL


Ng Kok Lim exposes flaws in LKY School of Public Policy’s effort to debunk UBS study

Dear Straits Times,
I refer to the 1 Aug 2012 report “Singapore a costly city? It depends”:
“The survey was conducted by the Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI). One of its lead authors, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Associate Professor Tan Khee Giap, said a reason for undertaking the study was to debunk the UBS’ “flawed” survey.”
The many private sector surveys that paint Singapore as expensive are renowned ones like UBS, Mercer and EIU. It is unlikely that these renowned institutions, making independent studies but coming to the same conclusion, are all wrong and that only LKY School of Public Policy is right.

It is also wrong to break down cost of living into expat and resident categories. An expat who returns home becomes a resident in his home country. It is unlikely that he would lower his standard of living and consume a lesser set of goods when he goes home. But according to LKY School of Policy, this expat who returns home ought to be judged based on the resident category of goods when he in fact still consumes the expat category of goods back home. This will result in an incomplete comparison because the expat category of goods consumed by the resident in other countries (but expat in Singapore) is unaccounted for when compared to the Singapore resident. 

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Who are you, my country? 

Singapore’s recent Olympic successes have raised a slew of uncomfortable questions. On one hand, the Singapore Olympic team has returned with a pair of bronze medals, a laudable achievement in of itself. On the other, Singapore’s Olympic medallists in 2008 and 2012 were born in China, and immigrated to Singapore as part of the government’s foreign talent program. While Li Jiawei, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu are naturalised Singaporean citizens, many people refuse to accept them as Singaporeans.

They were branded mercenaries for participating in Singapore’s sports development program, in which lavish incentives are offered to attract, retain and reward foreign talent. They have also been called less-flattering terms because of their national origins. This phenomenon is just the latest outgrowth of Singapore’s greatest existential questions.

What makes Singapore Singapore? What makes a Singaporean Singaporean? Is a naturalised citizen of foreign origin a Singaporean, and why? While increasing immigration to Singapore unmake Singaporean society?


OPINION: I'm sick and tired of people accusing Singaporeans of xenophobia - Ryan Chen
inSing.com, 9 Aug 2012
’m sick and tired of people accusing us Singaporeans of xenophobia. As far as I’m concerned, we’d welcome Xena: Warrior Princess with open arms. It’s just that she’s come with a giant horde.

That, as any invasion goes, needs getting used to. We don’t hate strangers here. But we need adjustment time. Like three generations’ worth. But as you and I ponder upon this situation while some guy’s armpit is six hair strands away from our faces in the train, we should refrain from acting ungracious to push people out. Remember the saying – “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

It isn’t “Where there’s ill will, there’s a way out”. Full story


What do our ministers know about EMPLOYMENT?!


After hearing what Tharman said about Singapore Employment, I have finally understood why Khaw has to come out and comment on Shoebox Units and 50-yr mortgage loan. Apparently Tharman, the Finance Minister, like all the other PAP ministers know NUTS about employment!!

How dare this clown come out to say Firms have difficulties finding Singapore workers!! The correct statement should have been “CHEAPSKATE firms have difficulties finding Singapore workers”!! Years of bringing in cheap labour has crippled the original market forces of demand and supply.

Nowadays, cleaning firms don’t even want to pay their cleaners $1k because they can easily get Indian nationals to work for $800 or less!! While bosses of these cleaning firms become millionaires. Thousands of SINGAPOREANS have lost their jobs!!