Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Watz Buzzing - 25 Sep 2012

No problem for Singapore to accomodate six million people: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Yahoo! News Singapore, 22 Sep 2012
Six million. That's the total number of people Singapore can afford to accomodate in the near future, says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as quoted by Channel NewsAsia.

Responding to a question from the host during a recorded panel discussion on MediaCorp, PM Lee said, "It's very hard to give a concrete figure, because the situation is evolving. We're gradually increasing our land area, and if we rebuild our older towns,then we can accommodate more people."

"Today our population is over 5 million. In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem. Beyond that, we'll have to think more carefully," Mr Lee added. Full story

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6 million people in Singapore should not be a problem

From ‘Singapore could accommodate 6 million people in future’, Today online
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore could accommodate six million people in time to come. The country’s total population stood at 5.26 million as of December last year.
”It’s very hard to give a concrete figure(on Singapore’s ideal population target), because the situation is evolving. We’re gradually increasing our land area, and if we rebuild our older towns, then we can accommodate more people. Today our population is over 5 million. In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem. Beyond that, we’ll have to think more carefully,” said Mr Lee.
6 million doesn’t seem too far off in the ‘future’, in fact, according to DBS Vickers in 2009, we could attain that figure in less than 7 years, even hitting 6.5 million in 2020. That’s hardly surprising, even if you take into account the dismal birth rate, because the ‘ideal population size’ can readily be topped up by PRs, non-residents and new residents, i.e foreign influx. In the space of a decade between 2000 and 2010, Singapore’s total population increased by 1 million, although population GROWTH actually DIPPED by 1%. By 2010, almost two-fifths of the population were PRs or non-residents.

6 million? Are you kidding me PM?

I had a visceral reaction to the Prime Minister's matter of fact statement that Singapore can accommodate 6 million people. Something deep inside me reacted. Really. This is NOT the Singapore i want to remain in.

A population size of 6 million for Singapore is not something new. I cannot recall when, but it was proposed that for Singapore to have a critical mass for domestic market to create enough demand (and consumption) of goods and services, the population size has to hit 6 million. This model, i guess stems from looking at Hong Kong as an example, and probably viewing Hong Kong as the closest competitor to Singapore - after all, who is vying for the position as the financial hub of Asia?

I came up with two answers. One is this - this was done in the context of a forum on TV in the midst of the government's attempt to engage the citizenry in a National Conversation. This is not a conversation - a conversation begins from an invitation to dialogue. The objective is to hear each other out, and understand where the other party is coming from. This declaration that Singapore can accommodate 6 million people is not engaging in a dialogue nor is it a conversation - it is a decree.

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Open Letter to PM Lee

Dear Prime Minister Lee, I am utterly disappointed to hear you saying that Singapore will have no problem to have a population of 6 million during your National Conversation exercise.

This disappointment is not derived from the fact that both of us are standing on the directly opposite positions of the political spectrum but the fact that we have such a distanced perspective and vision for Singapore as a whole. I appreciate your effort in wanting to have a National Conversation with citizens and hopefully, it also includes opposition activists like me.

However, I feel that what you and your ministers lack is not a Conversation or communication channel with Singaporeans but rather, the lack of empathy of the common people's life with different income levels.

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First bad news from the National Conversation

Heard over the news that Sinkieland can take up to 6m people and anything above that could be tricky. This means we have room for another 700,000 heads to fill up every corner of the island. After that no more growth.

Our local population is 3.5m and if the growth rate is 1.5%, we could self produce about 52,000 annually. This plus another 25,000 FTs, in less than 10 years we will be filled to the brim.

As the economic growth rate of the island is tied to the increase in population, in ten years time we would likely to go into a recession unless there is continued population growth. It looks like in ten years time we will be facing serious economic growth issues unless the citizens relented and allow the govt of the day to continue to fill up the island with more people and bear with the congestion. The good thing, other than economic growth is that their ageing HDB flats will still have a chance to appreciate in value.

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[ROCK] Singapore, Google and Extreme Videos [HARD PLACE]

The Singapore Government’s order that Google block YouTube viewers here from watching an extreme anti-Islam video is a case of several wrongs not making a right.

It also shows, yet again, why dealing with hateful speech is probably the single most fraught dilemma facing diverse societies that aspire to be open and progressive.It’s obvious to most that Innocence of Muslims is a gratuitous attack on a religion, with no redeeming artistic, scientific or intellectual merit.

It is also clear that the film was cited as the reason for enraged mobs taking violent and deadly retribution against the culture that produced it.

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About Time

Google has just reported that the anti-Islamic “Innocence of Muslims” is now blocked in Singapore. Google says that after a request from the Singapore government, Youtube will no longer be showing the “film” to viewers in Singapore.

I am shocked! Shocked I say! Shocked…that it took so long for the Singapore government to get this request! What was the Ministry of Home Affairs doing?

I mean this “film” is causing violent protests across the Muslim world, very understandably in my view, so I am shocked that the Singapore government waited till now to get Google to block the “film”. For all the reminders of the racial riots in the 1960s, I would think the Singapore government would go the extra mile on blocking a “film” that portray the Prophet Mohammed having sex with a 7 year old.

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Singapore staged another wayang show - this time for China's communist party officials

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, inspects a populace club in a HDB (Housing Development Board) flat community in Toa Payoh as he visits Singaporean Housing Development Board in Singapore, September 22, 2012. Photo: Xinhua Link

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Zhou Yongkang helping us with social challenges?

What's there between China and Singapore to learn from each other how to deal with social challenges.

Look at his abridged resume in wikipedia and compare it with what Teo Chee Hean said.

SINGAPORE and China can learn from each other in dealing with common social challenges such as widening income gaps and ageing populations, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

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Why Minister Tharman's claim needs to be examined closely

Yesterday, Minister Tharman made this claim based on a study by Ministry of Manpower:

"Young Singaporeans entering the workforce today will have accumulated enough savings in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) when they retire to see them through their golden years.

This was one of the key findings from a Ministry of Manpower-commissioned study, revealed Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.

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Playing The Numbers Game

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is also our Finance Minister, which makes it difficult for us to doubt his arithmetic. But when he said the male median earner who enters the workforce today can achieve an IRR of 70% over his working life, one starts to speculate what he had to drink at the two-day Singapore Human Capital Summit 2012, held at Resorts World Sentosa.

Fortunately the guy put in charge of our finances was referring not to the more common accounting measure of Internal Rate of Return, but to something called Income Replacement Rate.

The OECD definition refers to the old-age pension replacement rate as a measure of how effectively a pension system provides income during retirement to replace earnings which were the main source of income prior to retirement.

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Model Answer

With the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) round the corner, kids are busy swotting over their ten-year series. That's the compilation of past years' examination papers, the questions and the supplied sample answers. Hopefully their diligence will result in some "spotted" questions, for which they have memorised the "model" answers.

The people behind the "Ask The PM" charade (a website created 3 weeks ago, coincidentally at the same time the government launched its “National Conversation” project) have also been busy with the preparation of  questions which will be submitted to the prime minister.  Whether they will go the whole hog and supply the politically correct answers as well remains to be seen. The editors say they have shortlisted 25 questions, and only the top 10 will actually be presented.

One of the curious shortlisted (No. 15) asks: "Are you grooming your son for politics?"

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Proposals to narrow income gap fly thick and fast at forum

Yahoo! News Singapore, 20 Sep 2012
Calibrate foreign labour policies. Continue social transfers. Invest more in education and healthcare.

These were among the ideas put forth by a financial expert, a minister of state and an opposition politician, the three panellists at a forum on how the income gap in Singapore could be addressed.

Leong Sze Hian, statistician and former president of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, said current foreign manpower policies are a key reason for the depression of wages among the lower rungs of the workforce.

“We need to calibrate and review a lot of the foreign labour policies because currently most of them are applied across the board,” he explained. “They need to be more targeted to different sectors and industries... you cannot have a system where 72 (working) hours a week becomes the norm for everyone. No one can continue working that kind of environment, and wages will continue to go down.” Full story

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PRC netizens 'curse & swear' at S'pore PM Lee

Malaysia Chronicle, 23 Sep 2012
Despite Singapore’s pro-China immigration policies and the desperate attempts of the government to establishment good ties with China, the mainland Chinese do not appear to have a favorable impression of the island state.

PM Lee’s state visit to China from 2 to 7 September this year was greeted with derision and ridicule by netizens, judging from the vitriol poured forth on Sina.com, a popular PRC forum.. Full story

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