Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Watz Buzzing - 26 Dec 2012

An elderly's life is worth only $7,500 in Singapore

Hardwarezone Forum, 20 Dec 2012
SINGAPORE: A 40-year-old driver has been fined S$7,500 and banned from driving for 42 months for causing the death of an elderly pedestrian.

On 22 January this year at about noon, Chang was driving along Telok Blangah Road towards Pasir Panjang when his car ran into the elderly couple.

He had shut his eyes for three seconds while driving because of fatigue. Before the accident, the credit officer had been gambling at Resorts World Sentosa casino for 15 hours. When he dozed off at the wheels, Chang veered to the left of the road and into the bus bay.

Mdm Ler Sock Hua, 70 and her husband, Yeo Ah Bah, 73 were standing at the bus stop, waiting to cross the road.
The collision killed Mr Yeo and seriously injured Mdm Ler. Full story
 

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High prices, low wages will lead to crisis



Dr Vincent Wijeysingha recently spoke at the Online/Offline forum held last weekend where he talked about the current economic arrangements in Singapore and its implications for our future. Below is the text of his speech.

The issue we are addressing today – and the incident that gave rise to it – is a serious one and has wide ramifications for societal stability.

I think we should, therefore, be very clear about what we are talking about, because a wrong approach can so easily ignite the wrong gunpowder: History has many examples of problems that have derailed societies because of a misapprehension of the core problem.

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Poor in Singapore can't afford food


Mr Lui should just shut up

That is my kind advice. Repeated attempts to explain something that sounds wrong only made it sound even worse.

If raising fares also meant improving service standards, can the Minister of Transport explain how is it that service levels continue to deteriorate after all these years of fare increase? Since past increment in fares actually translate into worsening service standards, history obviously shows that a rise in fares will not improve service standards. Service standard is also not simply achieved by paying bus captains more. It is a combination of reasonable fares, timeliness of buses, training, bus captain’s personal service, efficient planning of bus routes etc.

If the minister is concern about ‘keeping transport operators commercially viable’, he need not worry. SMRT and SBS continue to earn great profits and even manage to generously give out dividends to shareholders after a year of breakdowns and accidents; thanks to it’s monopolistic position and PAP’s generous transfer of $1.1 billion from the tax payers’ pockets (that could have been used for public projects) to capital owners, investors and of course, the bulk of which goes to Temasek Holdings. And can someone remind Cambridge educated Mr Lui commercially viable does not equate huge profits (with the cheek to hand out dividends after a government bail out)?

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OPINION: Questions surrounding Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) and PAP Town Councils
The Online Citizen, 21 Dec 2012
As Sylvia Lim pointed out, the questions have to be: Why did the PAP Town Councils relinquish ownership of the computer and financial system, and how much did they sell it to AIM for?
After the [general election] in May 2011, the Town Council was served with a notice that the Town Council’s Computer and Financial Systems will be terminated with effect from 1 August 2011 due to material changes to the membership of the Town Council. This Computer and Financial Systems had been developed jointly by the 14 PAP Town Councils over a period of more than 15 months but was in January 2011 sold to and leased back from M/s Action Information Management Pte Ltd, a company which was dormant. This effectively meant that ATHC had to develop its own equivalent systems, in particular a Financial System, within a 2 months’ timeframe.
http://www.ahtc.org.sg/ahtc/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/TCMR-Media-Release.pdf
Full story

Related:
  1. Where is the financial logic? Town councils develop computer system only to sell and lease back from dormant company run by ex-PAP MPs - CNA Forum
  2. Eternally Gratified - Singapore Notes
  3. What has Aljunied-Hougang TC’s IT system got to do with Changi airport? - TR Emeritus 
  4. REVEALED: The Chairman of the 'dormant' firm which bought the Computer and Financial Systems jointly - Hardwarezone Forum 
  5. Town Council IT systems developed by TC fund and sold back to dormant company - Hardwarezone Forum 
  6. Directorships of Mr S. Chandra Das - spicei2i.com
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Shameful: MOM could not help when PMET is bullied by lady boss in government body

There are a lot of people who think that just because the government supports people starting a family then the work environment  within any particular government body will be an ideal place to work in for them.

But this is hardly the case for me.

Moreover, in the event that a staff meets a terrible boss who does not want pregnant women on their team, there is nothing available to help the staff when the boss decides to remove the person indiscriminately.

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Singapore is Pro-Employer

On the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) blog, Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin has said that the MOM is neither pro-employer nor pro-worker but they seek to strike a balance between the two. I know Mr. Tan has not been the MOM minster for very long but if this is truly what he thinks, then it would kind of explain why Singapore is having such a spate of industrial disputes.

Basically Mr. Tan has no idea what he is saying because Singapore is as pro-employer as you can get in the world.

That is just a simple fact accepted by every company that comes to invest in Singapore. Hell, it's something we winked at when we pitch our country as an investment destination to them. Take the latest case of employer/worker dispute yesterday at Yishun.

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OPINION: Where is the financial logic? Town councils develop computer system only to sell and lease back from dormant company run by ex-PAP MPs

Channelnewsasia Forum, 18 Dec 2012
What is the financial logic that 14 Town councils jointly develop a computer system and sell it to an ex-member of parliament and then lease it back from the ex-member of parliament?

Full story

Related:
  1. Eternally Gratified - Singapore Notes
  2. What has Aljunied-Hougang TC’s IT system got to do with Changi airport? - TR Emeritus 
  3. REVEALED: The Chairman of the 'dormant' firm which bought the Computer and Financial Systems jointly - Hardwarezone Forum 
  4. Town Council IT systems developed by TC fund and sold back to dormant company - Hardwarezone Forum 
  5. Directorships of Mr S. Chandra Das - spicei2i.com

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Why PAP and WP should use stickk.com


Promises mean nothing without an independent referee and putting up a stake in amounts that can hurt if they remained unfulfilled

We have heard promises of “Swiss standards of living”, “More good years” and “no one will be left behind” from the People’s Action Party (PAP) camp. And when we look around us, do you, the readers, believe that we as a nation (when we say “nation”, it means all Singaporeans, and not a select elite group) have reached the stage where no one is left behind, and secondly is everyone enjoying Swiss standards of living and more good years?

Likewise for the Workers’ Party (WP) slogan of “Towards a first world parliament”, do we consider the depth and scope of policy debates offered by the WP members of parliament (MPs) as that deserving of first world status, if we are to assume that a party who wants to bring the parliament to first world status should bring to the table policy recommendations or suggestions which are of a first world quality? Elections of a political nature and sometimes utterances from certain prominent politicians are inevitably filled with rhetorics. What us the voters are more concerned with is whether such rhetorics are turned into reality or remain as empty promises.

Behavioral economics is an interesting subject, being at the interface of psychology and economics. Nobel Prizes have been given out for groundbreaking work done in this area. In a nutshell, it is interested in analysing the psychological impact of certain developments, e.g. work place policies on individuals which determines their subsequent response. We previously looked at the impact of reduced wages on workforce morale and productivity, and now our focus is diverted to another interesting area – how to get individuals to keep their promise, effectively. This is where stickk.com comes in. Thus, what is stickk.com about? It is a brainchild of Yale Professor of Economics Dean Karlan, who came up with the idea of an online “Committment Store”.

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Broken Promises

Remember the falling e-clip, last detected at the Clementi station? The clip was found on the ground on the centre road divider below the MRT track along Commonwealth Avenue West, near the junction of Clementi Avenue 3.

Manufacturer PANDROL introduced their e-PLUS System for locations with very high lateral forces, such as the curving section at Clementi. Instead of replacing the old ‘e’ clips, SMRT simply put up temporary safety netting to catch falling hardware. The flimsy green barriers are still at the Clementi tracks.

When Lieutenant General Demond Kuek took over from Saw Phaik Hwa as the new CEO of SMRT in October 2012, he proclaimed with great fanfare, “What is certain is that we are first and foremost a public transport operator. This is the core business that we are responsible for and must excel in.” He also paid lip service to putting priority on engineering ("strengthen our operations, engineering and maintenance capabilities") and safety ("instill a strong customer service and safety culture in all our people”).

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Part-time MPs: It’s not about time management

I refer to the 14 Dec 2012 letter “Part-time MPs: It’s about time management” by Mr Jeffrey Law. If it’s about time management, does that mean that Mr Baey Yam Keng who recently quit his job to become a full time MP doesn’t have good time management?

Does it mean that Mr Chen Show Mao who rose to the top of his legal profession also cannot manage time well and therefore has to quit his job to become a full time MP too?

I believe it’s more about delegation. We know many MPs are well supported by grassroots volunteers and staff from the People’s Association. They are the ones carrying the bulk of the workload of addressing the people’s concerns. If MPs offload the bulk of their work to their supporting staff, they can afford to go part time.

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Is Tan Chuan-Jin a little deaf frog like Lim Swee Say?

The Online Citizen, 18 Dec 2012
A construction worker from the Sime Chong Construction Pte Ltd spoke with us on the predicament that he and his fellow workers are faced with. They were not paid for their work by their company. Its been close to a month since they stopped work at the company.
They had their salaries of 2-3 months owned by their employers for a period of about 3 months. The difference between the amount owing is due to the different worksite and overtime of each worker. The workers had sought assistance from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) but was asked to wait, as MOM could not do much since the owner of the company which they are working in said that the company replied saying that they do not have money to pay them. Full story

Related:
  1. Lim Swee Say: We are like a little deaf frog, deaf to all criticisms - VR-Zone Forum
  2. Union Chief Lim Swee Say: We are like a little deaf frog, deaf to all criticisms - mrbrown.com

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