Saturday, 23 June 2012

Watz Buzzing - 23 Jun 2012

The Truth about that IMF

Yesterday I received confirmation from the President’s office that his permission had not been sought for our republic’s loan to the IMF.

So now we know three things in addition to the recent confirmation by the President.
  1. We know that parliamentary approval was not sought because it is not in the Hansard
  2. We also know that Article 144(1) of the Constitution governing loans has not been followed because this requires the President to concur with parliament. Both in fact must approve.
  3. We know that the government is going to pass this over to the MAS because the President’s letter tells us so.
Actually we know a lot more than this. We also know that the President can’t give a simple yes or no answer to a letter about the role he was elected to do. In fact he cannot give an answer at all unless snookered into it.

I am not proud of having to resort to that but as the PAP has sewn up every avenue and imposed a blackout on me in the media, I was left with no choice. I had to exhaust that option before I could make any progress.

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Two faced S'pore grovels at both America's and China's feet

The US and China are at loggerheads (militarily) on several points. That includes what US sees as China's military assertion in the South China Sea, as well as China's dispute with other nations pertaining to the Spratly Islands.

China on the other hand, sees America as a nosy outsider, flaming the situation by placing their big ships and guns around the region.

So who does tiny but wannabe big Sinkiepore side? Yep, both! Here's Sinkiepore trying to curry China's favour - yeah right after we angered them by allowing Americuh's big ships and guns to be docked at our shores.

Sino-Singapore bond is special, says Ng Eng Hen

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) paying a courtesy call on Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping yesterday morning during his four-day visit to China. PHOTO: MINDEF
Years of interaction and mutual learning have forged a 'special relationship' between Singapore and China, which are seeking to deepen cooperation between their militaries.

But a closer bond with Beijing will not come at the expense of Singapore's relations with other countries, including its 'closest security partner', the United States, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

'Military relationships, as we build them, with different countries are not mutually exclusive. Both US and China, and in fact all stakeholders, know that this is not an issue of choosing sides,' Dr Ng said.

'And we certainly do not want to move along that path, because that is an unproductive outcome, and it's a loser's game.'

Eh? What talking you, Defence Minister? It is because this issue is about choosing sides that's why you talk so much about not choosing sides, isn't it?

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Singapore – safe haven for Asian fugitives?

At first glance, Bambang Sutrisno looks like your average Indonesian Chinese. Born in 1941 and of slight build, he walks along the streets of Singapore just like any other tourists from Indonesia.

However, Bambang Sutrisno is anything but your average Indonesian Chinese. Convicted of corruption in Indonesia, sentenced to life imprisonment and with an Interpol Red Notice issued against him, he is one of Indonesia's top wanted fugitives.

Like many other Indonesian fugitives, he resides in Singapore, and is alleged to have Singapore Permanent Resident status.

Bambang Sutrisno together with brother Benny Suherman made their fortunes by linking up with Suwikatmono, the cousin of then President Suharto, to established PT Suptan Film. PT Suptan Film gave birth to Cineplex 21, which hosted 650 movie screens in Indonesia.

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Underage prostitute case – shrewd, calculated defence move by Subhas Anandan

The law is the law is the law. If you have paid sex with an underage girl, you break the law. It does not matter if you were tricked into believing she was not underage. Too bad, you should have been more careful.

So when some of the men charged in the underage prostitution case decided to claim trial, I thought these men were crazy. Until Subhas Anandan reportedly said that the underage girl may have to take the stand.

Excerpt from Yahoo News:
The underage callgirl at the centre of the online vice ring scandal is likely to have to testify in court should trials be held, says defence counsel Subhas Anandan.

Speaking to reporters after a round of closed pre-trial conferences on Monday, Subhas said he once again objected to the prosecution’s application for a gag order on the girl’s name in amended charges served on his clients.
“She (will have to testify) if they are going to trial,” he said.

“I objected to it [the gag order] on the basis that the provisions of the law do not protect people like her because she’s not a victim of rape or molest, and provisions do not apply,” he said.

The prosecution was required to serve amended charges on the accused men, adding the girl’s identity, as it was not disclosed initially.

The presiding judge decided, however, that under the interest of justice, the gag order must remain enforced, said Subhas.

Note the argument above. Subhas Anandan tried to get the Court to remove the gag order because the young lady in question is not a victim of a sex crime. In other words, there is no need to hide her identity.

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Foreign national from Sri Lanka rammed his car into family of four killing 64-year-old granny

The Temasek Times, 22 Jun 2012
One month after a PRC ‘FT’ driver Ma Chi killed a Singaporean cabby by ramming his Ferrari into his Sonata taxi, another innocent Singaporean had died in a traffic accident caused by a ‘FT’.
This time, a 32 year old Sri Lankan engineer was responsible for the accident after his car mounted a curb and rammed into a family of four, killing one and injuring three others.
The fatal accident occurred at Woodlands Drive 14 at about 5.45pm.
64-year-old Wei Han Xiao, her daugher-in-law and two grandsons were reportedly on their way to a nearby coffeeshop for their dinner when the car which had P-plates suddenly mounted the pavement and knocked them down. Mdm Wei was flung several meters away and died in hospital at 8pm.
The Sri Lankan driver got out of the car and tried to escape, but was stopped by passer-bys. He told the media he had swerved the car in order to avoid a boy who had ran onto the road and also denied any attempt at escaping the scene.
Despite the recent high-profile cases of fatal accidents caused by foreigners, the Singapore Traffic Police continues to defend foreign drivers, saying that only ’1 percent’ of accidents were caused by them last year while laying the blame on Singaporeans

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The squeeze intensifies

A NEW trend has arrived in land-scarce Singapore and it is coined the “shoebox condo” – a tiny apartment just about the size of half a badminton court.

The Singapore government has pledged to put an end to it but private developers have sold nearly 7,000 of these flats that measure less than 500sq ft to young Singaporeans desperate to buy a condo.

They buy them either as a lifestyle choice or but more likely for economic considerations. Property prices have spiralled out of reach for most people.

To developers, this is a potential goldmine if they are allowed to go on, getting a bigger bang for their investments.

But with land growing scarcer, downsizing people’s homes remains a long-term certainty to accommodate the mass influx of foreigners.

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Measures in place to help servicemen make informed decisions about insurance

We thank Mr Tag Yujie for his letter on 11 June 2012, "Help national servicemen make informed choices on insurance" and Mr Elgin Seah for his letter on 16 June 2012, "Yes, stop the NS insurance hard-sell"; and their concern for our servicemen.

MINDEF provides compensation to our servicemen to cover any death or injury that is due to service. On top of this, all servicemen are encouraged to sign up for the SAF Group Term Life (GTL) Insurance which covers them for injury or death due to service as well as those that are not due to service. The GTL Insurance provides additional financial protection for servicemen and is therefore purely voluntary.

The coverage extends beyond NS duration up to the age of 70, so long as they continue to pay their premiums. For a monthly premium of $12.80, servicemen will be insured for an amount of up to $100,000.

To help pay for the monthly premium, the NS allowance was increased by $20 in Jan 2009. Hence, there is no additional out-of-pocket expenditure on the part of servicemen.

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Woffling Through Cheng San

Will the Woffles Wu case turn into waffle? [Link]

The bloggers are Woffling . . .
The coffeeshops are Woffling . . .
The lawyers, including Hri Kumar, are Woffling . . .

There are so many inconsistencies in this abetment case that I don't know if I want to laugh or cry. Or stamp my feet and shout, "I don't know what to say!"

What do you think?

Woffles Wu admitted to the press that, "I was fined for providing the name of someone who was not driving the car" [Link] and the AG Chambers respond with:

2. Woffles Wu was charged for abetting his employee Kuan to give false information to the police about the commission of speeding offenses in 2005 and 2006. Kuan gave the false information. Woffles Wu, who did not give any information to the police, was charged with abetting Kuan to do so, which is an offence under Section 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act. There was no evidence of payment or gratification given to Kuan. Kuan, who is 82 years old, was given a stern warning.

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Wonder if this will ever happen here?

Following the twists and turns of the tale of Woolly Wally Woffles especially the apparent factual inconsistency(details below) and how the AG’s “clarifications” have been challenged, made me wonder if S’pore’s administration of justice could ever become first-world: by admitting that goof-ups can happen.

I read that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said that the way it had handled some seized material in an investigation into the role of a property developer in the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing “was flawed and thus unlawful”

It has now dropped the investigation and is likely to have to pay serious damages.

Has the identity of driver been established?

Both the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Law minister said that investigations were ongoing, as to who the driver actually was; and that the case has not been concluded. But reports from the constructive, nation-building media on what happened in court give the impression (see words in red) that Woolly Wally was the driver.

On the face of these reports, Woolly Wally Woffles was the driver (Otherwise why get someone to take the rap for him?) unless the local media got it wrong (Always a possibility despite Yaacob wanting us netizens to use it as an example.)

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Of incredibly light sentencing of Woffles Wu

"Wu Woffles Wu pays fine, but speeding probe is ongoing". I like how this Straits Times article title omits the title Dr for this shameful plastic surgeon.

Woffles Wu somehow got his elderly employee, Kuan Yit Wah (in his 80s) to take the rap for his two speeding offences in Sept 2005 & Nov 2006!

For his crime, he has only had to pay merely a $1,000 fine.

Yes, you read it right. No jail term. And to consider that it's not one, but two charges, and that how the maximum penalty for the offence is $1,000 fine and six months' jail on EACH charge.

So by right, he should have been slapped with a $2,000 fine AND 1-year jail!

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PM Lee mulls sexual favors for Ministers in bid to combat corruption

The recent investigations and arrests in the civil service has left Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong fuming mad, an insider with knowledge of the situation disclosed.

“He’s pissed, that’s for sure, and you can expect to see him crack the whip to ensure ministers don’t end up getting caught in a compromised position,” says our source.

The Prime Minister has tabled a raft of other measures for consideration. The most controversial one: Offer sexual favors for Ministers as part of their compensation package, to ensure they don’t seek illicit sexual pleasure.

Singapore has been hit by a recent spate of high profile investigations and arrests of senior government servants for corruption, the most recent being Lim Cheng Hoe, Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Earlier this month, another two senior civil servants, Peter Lim and Ng Boon Gay, were charged for performing sexual gymnastics with women seeking favorable government contracts.

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High nursing home cost over-burdens Singaporeans

In 1994, the Singapore govt enacted the Maintenance of Parent Act shifting the responsibility of care of the old to their children[Link].

On the surface it looked like something out of Confucian ethics put into law - children should be filial to their parents so we might as well legislate it. So instead of the govt providing a safety net for the old, this was shifted to Singaporeans. A tribunal was setup to allow parents to legally force their children.

For high income individuals, taking care of their parents isn't really a big issue but that is not the idea of the PAP govt. Their approach has been to push as much of the financial burden of care from the govt to children of the old folks even those in the low income bracket.

The biggest strain comes when the parents of low or lower middle income earners need special care - nursing home care or they are sick and need to be hospitalized often. If the person is struggling to take care of his family, the added financial burden of caring for his parents can be extremely challenging to shoulder.

The level of Government subsidy will depend on your family income. With effect from 1 July 2009, the Government subsidy framework for community hospitals has been enhanced from 4 tiers to 9 tiers with subsidy level ranging from 10% to 75%., as shown in the table below. The same framework has taken effect at the hospices from 1 Oct 2009 onwards, and will take effect at the nursing homes, chronic sick facilities and psychiatric homes from 1 Jan 2010 onwards.[Source]

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Are You Kidding Me?

Last month, Mohammad Ridzuan Jamari, 30, robbed a full-time national serviceman (NSF) of a SAR-21 assault rifle while in Pasir Laba Camp. NSF Kang Tai, 21, gave up his SAR 21 rifle without a fight when threaten with a screwdriver?

WTF? A screwdriver? Whatever happened to “your rifle is your wife”, or “do not lose your rifle no matter what”? A 20cm-long screwdriver? He gave up when faced with a 20cm screwdriver?

I don’t care if the rifle wasn’t loaded, that he don’t have any bullets, that he never sign up for the SAF, or that the idiot never got out of the camp with the rifle; you do NOT give up your rifle!

Especially when the other guy has nothing but a bloody screwdriver! If it was a knife, it still would be bad, but at least that will be understandable. A screwdriver?

What’s worse is that this NSF was actually praised by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for “diffusing a potentially violent conflict”. WTF is the SAF coming to? If this would have happened when I was in the SAF, this NSF would have been crucified for giving up his rifle without a fight!

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Ah Kong kenna fined for protecting his family

My hero, Ong Long Hock, broke the jaw of a gangster and was fined $3000. He could have been jailed if not for his age and for self defense.

The gangsters, three of them, harassed his daughter in law, whacked his son and he as well when he tried to protect his son. They ran when the daughter in law called the police. Luckily or unluckily, Ah Kong and son caught one of them and that’s when Ah Kong gave the gangster a broken jaw.

Then the law took over. The law is the law. And Sinkie law is the most civilized and kind of all laws against gangsters. When gangsters beat you up, you must be careful not to hurt the gangsters in self defense. Ah Kong forgot, and in the heat of the moment, after being beaten by the gangsters, and seeing his son being beaten, gave it to the gangster.

For beating the gangster, Ah Kong kenna fined $3000. Well done, prosecutor. You have done your job well. Justice is blind. The symbol of blind justice is on the front façade of the court.

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Making justice count

Making justice count
“MOM’s Labour Court recovers S$1.5 million for 1,500 Singapore workers in 2009.” (MOM press release, 8 February 2010)

“MOM’s Labour Court helped more than 700 workers recover about S$750,000 in first half of 2010.” (MOM press release, 28 September 2010)

The above headlines refer to local, or Singaporean, workers. The situation for foreign workers, however, remains unclear. According to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are involved in providing aid to migrant workers, many of these workers face salary disputes with their employers. And seeking recourse through the Ministry for Manpower (MOM) Labour Court is not always a fruitful exercise.

The case of Nepalese worker Rana Kumar Rai, highlighted here, is a case in point. Basically, he was made to jump through the hoops, from the MOM to the Labour Court, but to no avail in seeking to retrieve the money owed to him by his employer.

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A Clash Of Civilisations

"Most probably you're from China," were the first audible words from the video that went viral.

Muhammad K, 21, who captured the altercation said it started when aunty was eyeing the occupied "reserved" MRT seat. The young lady engrossed with her smartphone soon took notice of the mumbling about inconsiderate people and the dire need to sit down, and promptly got on her feet.

Instead of expressing gratitude, the grouchy woman stared daggers, grumbled more, and aimed her camera phone as a final threat. Unfazed, our little miss put her down smartly, "You say enough already or not, aunty?" Maybe it's a case of Gen X versus baby-boomer, but mercifully the cops were not called.

"Go back to China" and "go back to the laundromat where you work," were the racist taunts from Brit Mills Richard Jonathan.

Jonathan had earlier pointed out to Alexander Chew in the members-only club at Gallery Hotel the dry cleaning tag was still on his coat. Maybe the busybody was trying to cosy up to Chew, who was with distinguished company, specifically Mr Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook. The insults were rained, according to Chew, when he was exiting the washroom.

Jonathan's version has Chew jumping queue, thus deserving of the vulgarities and racist tirade. Grabbing Chew's shoulders, he admittedly challenged, "I dare you to hit me." Chew obliged, and floored the surprised Ang Moh. What's unsurprising about the outcome is that racist walks away with a potential sedition charge, while Singaporean gets fined.

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MRT Train Seat Spat between the young and old ladies

When I watched the YouTube video here, I can’t help wondering what’s wrong with our society. It’s rather sad if we really examine the deep implications and social malaise plaguing our society.

The scene is in a typical crowded MRT train with all seats occupied and many passengers standing. An old lady demanding for the “reserved seat” next to the door. The young attractive lady reluctantly gave up her seat for that old lady. The story should end here.

But it didn’t.

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