Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Watz Buzzing - 6 Mar 2013

Singaporean frustration directed at government, not mainland immigrants

Conflicts between locals and new immigrants happened occasionally.

Singaporeans have no interest in attacking any specific group, but are only upset with the people who disrupt their normal lives.

As a country of immigrants, the plural society is a symbol of Singapore. Unlike similar countries, natural resources, particularly land, in Singapore are extremely limited, and population is a real problem.

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IT Staff Being Retrenched As Mediacorp Outsourced Services To A $10 Company

A TRS Reader working in Mediacorp shared with us this email from January of 2013. In the email, the head of IT at Mediacorp was informing all employees of an organisational change about to occur. He promoted the change as a way to strengthen Mediacorp's capabilities.

In reality, this ‘organisational change’ meant that almost the entire SAP application team was axed. About 30% were made redundant on the spot. The rest were given a timeline of 3 to 6 months to perform transition to the new vendor before they completely exit.

It is also concerning that DWC, the new vendor assigned to take over the SAP projects, is a very new company registered only in 2010 worth only SGD 10.

What’s worse is that the head of IT, is a FT.  It was his decision to outsource and ‘reorganize’ causing many people to lose their jobs. Will the retrenched Singaporean workers be replaced by ‘cheaper and more efficient’ foreign workers? Full story


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Singapore Airlines to seek flight attendants in Taiwan


Singapore Airlines said Saturday it will recruit flight attendants in Taiwan, urging interested Taiwanese to send their resumes through the carrier's website by the end of this month.

It will be the fourth consecutive year for the Singaporean carrier to hire flight attendants in Taiwan.

The recruitment is part of a growing trend among airlines flying to this region which want to tap Taiwanese people, because they speak Mandarin, to handle the increased travel by mainland Chinese.

The kind of Taiwanese job applicants the Singaporean carrier is seeking are people who hold the Republic of China nationality and a university degree, and who are fluent in both Chinese and English.

Those who are hired will be required to reside in the city state.


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Press freedom and publication bias go hand in hand in Singapore

Singapore was placed 149th in the “World Press Freedom Index 2013”, a further drop of 14 places. This is contrary to Singapore income position in the world#2.  So, Singapore can achieve economic development without press freedom.

No wonder the ruling People’s Action Party dismissed the low press ranking#3. In fact, all mainstream media are controlled by the government.  The Singapore Press Holdings#4 and Mediacorp#5 are the only authorized publisher and broadcaster.

The 149th poor ranking wasn’t mentioned in local media. Surprisingly, even Singapore based yahoo.sg also dared not provide the details#6. The website gave a publication bias #6 headline: ‘Watchdog launches global press freedom 'indicator'. 

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And You Thought That Bishan HDB Was Expensive

For months we’ve seen the government roll out tighter limits and restrictions for almost every aspect of property, from loan-to-value (LTV) to loan tenures to eligibility restrictions. Recently, however, they seem to think that, even when it comes to cars, Singaporeans need help with financial prudence.

The recent Budget 2013 announcement included changes to some of the numbers for car loans in Singapore. A major change was a drastic decrease in LTV when purchasing motor vehicles, and a decrease in loan tenure. For vehicles with open market value (OMV) of $20,000 or less, the maximum LTV is 60% of the purchase price, which means the purchaser must come up with a 40% down payment. For vehicles that have OMV exceeding $20,000 the down payment required is even greater; 50% of purchase price. Not only that, the tenure for car loans has been reduced to a maximum period of five years.

Going back to the most recent cooling measures for Singapore property, we can see certain similarities emerging. Both LTV and loan tenure were targeted as well, in the January 2013 property cooling measures. We certainly wouldn’t fault you for thinking that these are cooling measures too, but for cars!

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Ships filmed crashing off coast of Singapore

Two large ships were captured on camera colliding off the coast of Singapore yesterday.

The two boats, which appeared to be bulk carriers, were reportedly transiting the Straits of Singapore when one cargo ship passed too close to the other. The Singaporean coast guard was then called in to rescue the crew of the smaller boat, which reportedly began sinking after the accident.

No casualties were reported.

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Why is my salary STILL so small?

I don’t think anyone is going to object to getting a bigger pay packet and it seems that seven in 10 workers might well be made very happy with the Wage Credit Scheme going by what ST reported today.

The question is whether employers will bite – and why not, you say? Well, the worry about what happens after the three years of wage subsidy is up will be on their minds. Can they afford to take up that 40 per cent portion of G-funded wage rises, especially if productivity efforts did not work? Will they clamour for a continuation of that gigantic $3.6 billion package, given that, hmmm, the next general election will be due then? The political pressure will increase for continued help with even more dire scenarios of companies closing shop painted.

Another issue that hasn’t been quite canvassed: The reaction of workers. I think we can expect pressure of another kind, this time on employers to raise pay. Expectations of seven in 10 workers will rise. All will be scrutinising the size of their wage packet and doing their sums on whether they should have got more, given that the G is giving bosses a helping hand. Employers will be doing their sums too with an eye on Year 3, and might well be more careful in doling out pay raises. So expect dashed expectations

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The Plight of the Early Government Pensioners

It is a well-known fact that the prime minister and his ministers are drawing millions of dollars in salaries which are paid out of taxpayers' money. They are in fact wallowing in wealth at the public expense and whether they deserve such humongous (some call it obscene) salaries has been viewed with disdain by the public, especially those who are struggling with the high cost of living. And are they self-serving? PM Lee Hsien Loong and his ministers, while enjoying the comforts of life with their well-deserved{?} whopping salaries, can be said to be callous in ignoring the plight of Govenment pensioners who retired in the seventies in the last century.

At that time the salary scales were very low and as a result civil servants who retired during this period received pensions which could just possibly cope with the cost of living existing at that time. This was more than thirty years ago and the cost of living has risen so many folds during that time but the sad thing is that the pensions of these pensioners have not risen accordingly. To show the callousness of the Singapore Government, two representatives of the Singapore Government Pensioners' Association met a former Finance Minister to seek his assistance for an increase in the pensions of Government pensioners to cope with the rising cost of living and the response they got from this former Finance Minister was too shocking to be believed.The former minister told the representatives that the pensioners had served their purpose, what they were getting was enough for them to get by and the Government was just waiting for them to die off.

What kind of human being is capable of such callous atrocious utterance is beyond any human comprehension.

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Whither Car Ownership?

Car buyers were whacked on two fronts after Budget 2013. New car loan limit of 5 years, down payment of at least 40 per cent of the purchase price. Additional Registration Fee (ARF) of 140 per cent for bigger cars. With the quota of cars allowed on the roads continually decreased while the population numbers are kept growing, can the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) offer any respite? 

The theory behind the COE is that, instead of raising taxes to discourage vehicle buyers, the Government sets a quota on the number of vehicles that can be put on the road at any time, and leaves it to market forces to price the COE via a fortnightly auction 

Bidding for a COE can be effected by motor dealers, or individual car buyers at an ATM, as long as you have $10,000 in your bank balance. 9 out of 10 buyers let the motor dealers bid for their COE because dealers set different prices for cars sold to buyers who supply their own COE and those who take up one of their packaged deals. The difference is not a simple arithmetic of deducting the COE price from the package deal price. Let the greedy dealer explain that.

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Tolong, tolong, give back our dreams

4 senior citizens posted an open letter in TRE (‘A joint letter to PM Lee from 4 senior citizens‘) pleading to the PM to give back the Singaporean Dream of 5Cs, car, condo, credit card, country clubs and cash to their children. It was only a few years back that Singaporeans were all in their highs, dreaming of the 5Cs, to do good in life. Everyone was full of confidence to achieve his dream of a comfortable and better life. The appearance of this letter is kind of a sudden and exudes a sense of despair that things are not getting better.

Is this a true version of the state of affair in the island or just the imagination of some desperadoes? Housing prices are still shooting to the sky, COEs hitting $100k for a car, everyone is still going on holiday. Life must be good and many citizens must be living a life of plenty. A HDB resale EC costing more than a million while a new HDB penthouse is more than $2m. And they are all being taken immediately. They must be very affordable.

Why is there such a despair call? Boon Wan is promising that 2030 will see the life of Singaporeans getting even better with better quality living. Who is out of touch, who is misleading?

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