Monday, 13 August 2012

Watz Buzzing - 13 Aug 2012

Singaporeans either reproduce more or be prepared to get replaced by migrants and work permit holders : Lee Kuan Yew
Yahoo! News Singapore, 12 Aug 2012
Lee acknowledged the pivotal role that work permit holders have played in building Singapore’s infrastructure, and the contribution of permanent residents, without which he said the country’s population would be older, smaller and would lose vitality.

Further, he noted that in the long term, Singapore’s “educated men and women must decide whether to replace themselves in the next generation”. Currently, 31 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men are choosing not to do so, he noted.

“But we’ve got to persuade people to understand that getting married is important, having children is important,” he said. “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.” Full story

S'pore to lose majority to migrants if declining birth rates continue - The Malay Mail
Singapore's former minister mentor concerns about low birth rate - Xinhua

UBS denies report that it is moving German funds to Singapore to evade tax 
MarketWatch, 10 Aug 2012
Swiss banking giant UBS AG UBS denied a newspaper report which alleges that the bank is moving German funds to Singapore ahead of the implementation of a German-Swiss tax treaty, which will take effect in 2013 if it is passed by the two parliaments.

The Financial Times Deutschland Friday published a report alleging that Swiss banking institutions are helping German citizens to avoid taxes on unreported savings deposited in Switzerland by transferring the funds to Singapore, citing a person close to the North Rhine-Westphalia state finance ministry in Duesseldorf. Full story

Wayang Papaya 

Some minister started to meet commoners. [link] Specifically bloggers. No doubt, the majority of Singaporeans will now think that that tide has turned. The government is listening to the people at last. Along with their newly formed internet brigade, they are taking over the internet slowly but surely. The same monkey performing the same trick to a different audience. Can fool most but never everyone.

The traditional monkey trick is not new to everyone. Talk to one or two guys. Tell the whole world you have met the whole world. And make it BIG. Just look here

Visited a resident, but Shitty Times photographer can teleport into a house in advance to take a picture. So natural.

Why I oppose the national pledge

Had enough of the National Day rah-rah? Now let me tell you why I oppose the National Pledge. Yes, you read that right: oppose.

We are beginning to make a fetish of it, reciting it at nearly every opportunity even at election hustings. Certainly, the language is quite beautiful, with an economy of words and the sonority of cadence. But it says the wrong thing!

Its grave error is right at the end: “so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.” 

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The Citizen and the State

I don’t usually respond to the writings of bloggers, but I’ll make an exception to this one. Alex Au’s article is arguably the worst one I’ve seen. Unusually for him, this article is based primarily on appeals to emotion, instead of actual research.

His explanation on the origins of nationalism and the nation state, for example, are laughably superficial. He also conflates ‘people’, ‘nation’, ‘state’, and ‘us’. ‘Nation’ is a geopolitical entity, with defined borders and culture. ‘State’ is the institutions that run the nation. ‘People’ in this sense means the inhabitants of the nation. ‘Us’ is a generalisation.

So is ‘we’. It’s sad that a man who criticises the government for merging ‘party’ with ‘nation’ and ‘state’ do the same thing. Most critically, he seems to have a mistaken understanding of the relationship between individuals and groups.
I think the common tendency to emphasise the individual over the group is sorely mistaken. 

A national conversation for our common future

What is the point of having a national conversation for the sake of conversation, to give the impression that the govt is willing to listen, to engage the people, when all the decisions have already been made unilaterally by the govt? It has been like that all the time to the extent that a minister proudly claimed to be deaf and do what is right rather than listening to the lunatics.

If one is to read the Sunday Times today, the same attitude is printed in black and white, the govt has decided which way to go and that’s it. ‘Get married, have babies’ screamed the headline. ‘If we go on like that, this place will fold up because there will be no original citizens left to form the majority….So the choice is simple. Either accept migrants at a rate which we can assimilate them, and make them conform to our values….said LKY. He ended his speech with the following questions.

‘Do we want to replace ourselves? Or do we want to shrink and get older, and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders?’

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Singapore a costly city? It depends

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.

Defender of Yale-NUS venture Fareed Zakaria suspended by Time, CNN for plagiarism
Huffington Post, 10 Aug 2012
A few hours ago Fareed Zakaria apologized publicly for passing off New Yorker writer Jill Lepore's work as his own in an essay he wrote for Time magazine. Not to put too fine a point on it, Zakaria committed egregious plagiarism, as Alexander Abad-Santos of the Atlantic Wire reported.

But the offense does not end there. Zakaria is a trustee of Yale, which takes a very dim view of plagiarism and suspends or expels students who commit anything like what he has committed here. If the Yale Corporation were to apply to itself the standards it expects its faculty and students to meet, Zakaria would have to take a leave or resign.

He should also apologize to Yale. Last April Yale's trustees, under fire for their ill-conceived venture to establish a new liberal arts college bearing Yale's name in collaboration with the authoritarian city-state of Singapore, wheeled in their fellow trustee and favorite journalist, Zakaria, to write a column defending the venture in the Yale Daily News that, I wrote here in Huffington Post at the time, then read as if it had been written by a wind-up toy of Zakaria at his self-important, elitist worst. Full story

Fareed Zakaria Suspended For Plagiarism: Time Editor, CNN Host Apologizes For 'Terrible Mistake' - Huffington Post
CNN suspends Fareed Zakaria for alleged plagiarism - Los Angeles Times
Time and CNN suspend Fareed Zakaria for plagiarism - Yahoo! News
Fareed Zakaria suspended for plagiarism by Time, CNN - The Washington Post
Time, CNN Suspend Fareed Zakaria's Column, After Plagiarism Claim -

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No Singapore Without Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

I am not surprised that our ex-PM Mr Lee Kuan Yew is still so popular among Singaporeans especially in a poignant occasion like our National Day Parade (NDP).

Even though he may have step off the limelight for quite a while, NDP will not be the same without him around.

There were  many  rumours of our fast-ailing elderly statesman  entering the hospital due to serious health reason. 

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Lee Kuan Yew laments Singapore’s low fertility rate

Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has expressed concerns over Singapore’s low fertility rate, referring to statistics where he noted that the Chinese reproduction rate is 1.08 – with two Chinese becoming one in the next generation. For the Indians, the rate is 1.09, and for the Malays, 1.64. He was speaking at the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru National Day celebration dinner on Sat (11 Aug).

“If we go on like that, this place will fold up, because there’ll be no original citizens left to form the majority, and we cannot have new citizens, new PRs to settle our social ethos, our social spirit, our social norms. So my message is a simple one. The answer is very difficult but the problems, if we don’t find the answers, are enormous” Said Mr Lee.

He then stressed the necessity of foreign immigration, saying that without the work permit holders to build the roads and homes and dig the tunnels, Singapore would be a very different place, and without the permanent residents, Singapore’s population would be older, smaller, and will lose vitality.

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Lee Kuan Yew wrong about the babies problem

LKY says we must have more babies or we shall eventually fold up. The latest TFR he has by race are Chinese 1.08, Indians 1.09 and Malays 1.64 (I think caused the Tiger year effect, but this shouldn't matter for the Indians and Malays). TFR may be declining.
He suggested umpteen times before that mindsets must change. I wonder what has happened in all these years of babies dearth that would cause mindset to change. 

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Interview: Director Eric Khoo talks about his brushes with Singapore film censors - BBC News
BBC News, 10 Aug 2012
Award-winning film director Eric Khoo tackles controversial subjects head on and is credited with breathing new life into Singapore's film industry.

His first short film Pain in 1994 was about a sadomasochistic man who tortures and kills. It won two awards and the prize money paid for his first feature Mee Pok Man touching on prostitution and necrophilia. Full story

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Smoke and Mirrors in the Government’s Accounts 

SMRT’s quarterly results brought into focus the Finance Minister’s decision to set up yet another new fund, the Bus Services Enhancement Fund, with $1.1 billion being set aside out of current spending.

Rather than set up this fund, I believe it would have been more beneficial for our  Finance Minister to have chosen to provide an annual subsidy to the bus operators. This could have incentivized them to lower costs and raise productivity. Instead, without providing any economic cost benefit analysis, he chose to set aside a huge amount, far more than the capital costs of 550 new buses that the government said it would purchase.

Of course if he was not challenged by the Opposition, the NMPs the NCMPs or his own backbenchers in Parliament to provide a rationale or any cost benefit analysis for a fund as opposed to other methods, then why would he?

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National Day Week Series: Ground-up Movements: Stand Up For SG

Yesterday, downtown and in neighbourhoods around Singapore, you may have met people in red shirts emblazoned with this logo. Distributing large brochures with a message to give up our seats in appreciation of the elderly and our mothers, they made curious passersby turn their heads through the conviction of their beliefs and their commitment to help shape a more gracious society.

This was an event from the ground-up, receiving no funding or support whatsoever from the government. The fact that it was a ground-up initiative certainly added to its appeal – my fellow volunteers were people of passion and vision, who aspired to create a spark of human connection through the campaign’s message of appreciation for our elderly and mothers; who aspired to bring hope to our society; who aspired to bond Singaporeans together over graciousness; who aspired to make Singaporeans proud of their own country… the list went on.

There are other events doing the same thing too – Project Hello Stranger, for one, for one, aspires to create a loving, warm society.

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Malaysians feel real proud winning bronze in women’s diving event

Malaysia's Pamg Pandelela Rinong poses with the bronze medal on the podium of the women's 10m platform final during the diving event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (AFP Photo)

KUCHING (11 Aug) – Reactions of Sarawakians to Pandelela Rinong Pamg’s bronze medal win in the women’s 10m platform early yesterday were of absolute delirium.

The 19-year-old Bidayuh diver’s achievement at the London Olympics was celebrated by Malaysians all over the globe, more so by Sarawakians.

“I woke up to receive the live Twitter updates on her progress because Australian national television only showed bits and pieces of the event. When I knew she had won, I jumped up and turned on the television just in time to witness her receiving the medal,” said student Melody Bedindang, who is currently studying in Australia.

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Looks like the NATIONAL CONversation Is Not Going Anywhere

I'll be damned!

The conciliatory feeling I had for PAP lasted less than 24 hours. I am sorry. The comments I received from my readers woke me up to the fact that I erred. I made a stupid mistake when I wrote that the PAP scumbags did not take advantage of our 47th NDP to advertise their brand, Horror of horrors, they did it with a contingent of indescribables carrying flags showing their 'circled lightnings'. What a shame!

The beauty of blogging about the sins of PAP is that I learn much from my readers who take the effort to comment on my writing. Good or bad, I gratefully and humbly accept. For as old as I live, I shall continue to learn

Now seeing this video,

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OPINION: No glitter in ‘imported’ medals
Malaysia Star, 11 Aug 2012
A TUSSLE of will appears to have broken out between the government and many of its people over the issue of attracting foreign talent to win sports medals.

Actually, sports are only a part of an overall policy that is becoming increasingly controversial of using its wealth to short-circuit national achievements.

In an online poll, some 77% of Singaporeans said they did not feel proud of her achievement – comparable to another that showed 78% of people were opposed to foreigners.

So far, the government seems unimpressed with this statistics.

As the public opposition grew, the pro-government media argued strongly for the players, and acting Cabinet Minister (for Social and Family Development) Chan Chun Sing congratulated the table tennis team for “uniting the nation”.
Some observers believe the public feelings reflected the country’s mood against foreign workers in general, blaming them for taking away jobs and opportunities.

For winning the bronze, Feng will be paid S$250,000 (RM625,000) by the state of which she will have to contribute 20% – or S$50,000 (RM125,000) – to the table tennis association. Full story