Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Watz Buzzing - 16 Oct 2012

PAP MP Lee Bee Wah: 60% are good Singaporeans, 40% are litterbugs


Here are some comments from irate Singaporeans:


PM Lee: ''Let us be mindful of what we say, online and in person,''

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6+ million? At what cost?

It was reported in The Straits Times that Singapore's population stands at 5.31 million. Although this figure is helpful, we don't need to have these numbers to know that our country is over-populated. You only need to be out on our streets to know this.

And yet PM Lee says that the population can afford to go up to 6 plus million. Does he know what he is talking about?

Has Mr Lee ever ridden on the MRT during peak hours? Has he ever seen the hordes of commuters in a train station even up to 10pm?

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Recent tuition scandals causing more Singaporean parents to shun cheap low quality tuition services

A Frustrated Student
Quote startHe would have done better with English tuition and get a scholarship for an overseas university to improve on his job prospects in future.”Quote end

Talk to any Singaporean parent about English tuition in Singapore and they will reply “It’s really expensive nowadays to hire a private home tutor! Why should parents pay so much for an English specialist to educate their child when the teacher in school is good enough.”

Is paying a few hundred dollars a month for quality English tuition really a high price to pay? What is the price that parents pay when their children does not receive adequate tuition?

Assuming their child does not have tuition and struggles in class, where do they look for help? does the teacher in school have the time to help? Given the workload and number of students teachers have on their agenda, there is little time given for after-school consultations for clueless students.

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Singapore residents unfazed over news of economic contraction
CNBC.com, 12 Oct 2012
Singapore's economy may have slumped in the third quarter, but it’s hard to tell from the crowds filling the city’s main shopping district, a booming property market and extremely low levels of unemployment.
However, for majority of the residents in the tiny Southeast Asian nation, the steep drop in growth seems to have had little impact on their daily lives. When asked to describe the how the economic pull-back is impacting them, a common response across a range of income groups is, "What slowdown?"
"There's no sign of a slowdown - there are new shops, bars and restaurants opening literally every week, it's hard to keep up," said 23-year-old Saloni Bhojwani, a business analyst at an international consulting firm in Singapore. Full story

  1. Singapore's Q3 economic growth contracts by 1.5% - The Hindu Business Line
  2. Singapore Q3 economic growth slows - The Economic Times

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Fabrication about the PAP Facebook

I stumbled upon a Facebook page "Fabrication about the PAP Facebook" and realised its a PAP supporters' group standing firm against "groundless" accusations about the goodness and the policies that benefits all Singaporeans. The picture attachment is already so glaringly wrong, questioning those who opposed immigration: "SO YOU'RE AGAINST IMMIGRATION? TELL ME AGAIN HOW YOUR ANCESTORS GOT HERE"
I am a Chinese Singaporean and my grandfather and his brothers came to Singapore because there were famine in China and land were limited for crops. The siblings had to seek greener pasture and Nan Yang or South Sea was booming under the British which controlled India, Burma, Malaya and Penang and Singapore being labled Crown Colony.
Looking at the perspective of a native Malay Singaporean living in Singapore since their generations of ancestors settled in Malay Peninsula, their ancestors were "home grown" and were the true son of the soil. We, the 3rd generation Nan Yang Chinese came because of the need to survive and we consider ourselves Singaporeans.

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Technical Issues About Money

In April 2012. the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had restated Singapore’s fiscal data in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) database. The restatement increased the figure for the cumulative government surplus for the period 1990-2011 from $271bn as reported in the WEO database in September 2011 to $429bn.

So what were the "technical issues" (in IMF language) that resulted in a increase of the cumulative government surplus? "Factually yours" would like you to believe that the restatement of data in the WEO database was due to "technical errors".

There's no error. The IMF presentation format (Government Finance Statistics Manual - GFSM 2001) includes all receipts, including land sales proceeds, and total investment income.

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Crisis and Inequality explained

Our leaders like to say that our income inequality is due to globalization - so they don't have to do anything drastic to solve this problem. But the truth is the problem for Singapore is the rest of the world became more like Singapore in the last 2-3 decades and our leaders stretched their old tired strategies further so that they can attract capital.

The last card they are playing is to open the floodgates to foreign labor. A policy that has caused our income gap be to the worst among developed countries and the cost of living to shoot up. This policy has caused the wages of hundreds of thousands of working Singaporeans to fall belong what is needed for basic living - 400,000 Singapore workers have wages so badly depressed they are eligible for Workfare.

In a recent dialogue session, DPM Teo Chee Hean tried to present the case for more immigration[First hand account of the dialogue session. He wants to double down on policies that have failed to deliver positive outcomes for a vast majority of Singaporeans. The audience of Singaporeans who have already seen the outcomes of this policy were not so easily persuaded. We all know what the outcomes are if we give the PAP a free hand to import as many people as it wants. To even tell the audience that the PAP wants to import more people before the deep problems caused by the current influx is solved is simply unacceptable for ordinary Singaporeans. If the PAP imports more people, the problems will just get larger

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Changes to MediShield announced ahead of increasing healthcare cost and premiums

Yahoo! News Singapore, 12 Oct 2012

Singapore’s health insurance scheme will be tweaked in March to cover more people and treatments, the health ministry announced on Friday.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said that from consultations with the public it had received strong support for proposals to make MediShield more inclusive.

The ministry will implement the enhancements from the start of March next year. Full story

MediShield to be tweaked from March next year - XIN MSN News

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MediShield can afford to provide better protection

The changes to MediShield announced yesterday are a step in the right direction. However the enhanced coverage will come at a cost — almost all of which will be borne not by the government, but by policyholders themselves.

Among the changes announced are an increase in the lifetime claim limit from $200,000 to $300,000, upping the annual claim limit from $50,000 to $70,000, raising the maximum coverage age from 85 to 90 years, and removing the maximum entry age (currently at 75 years). Newly diagnosed patients who require inpatient psychiatric treatment will be covered at $100 per day up to 35 days per year. The decision on whether to cover babies with congenital conditions has been deferred pending the outcome of the ‘National Conversation’.

The actuaries from the Ministry of Health (MOH) have done their calculations and concluded that to fund this enhanced coverage without the need for government subsidies, policyholders will have to pay between $17 and $251 more in premiums per year. Deductibles (the out-of-pocket expense payable before receiving any benefits) will go up from the current $1,000 in C-class wards to $1,500, and from $1,500 to $2,000 for B2 wards or higher. To pay for the higher premiums, Medisave withdrawal limits for premiums will be raised from $800 to $1,200, depending on the policyholder’s age.

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Stay Classy. Always.

I also got hypothetical question. Not linked to anyone in real life, of course. 

"Mr. Tan likes to run for president. One day, he thought got enough people like him. So he ran. But he lost his deposit and got burned.

Should Mr. Tan run for president again, as he now knows a lot less people liked him than he first thought, and go back to writing puzzle books?"

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Grace Fu: Natioanal Conversation is not meant for people to raise bread-and-butter issues

XIN MSN News, 15 Oct 2012
The Singapore Conversation is not meant to be an extended Meet—the—People Session. Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said this to reporters on the sidelines of a community event, in response to a question on whether the national dialogue has turned out the way she had expected.

She said: "I hope there’s a platform where we can hear a variety of views. There may be a minority who are treating it as a platform to air bread—and—butter issues, but I believe this platform is necessary. Full story

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Security panic and the intoxication of power

Singaporeans Kwik Chong Oei [not his real name] and Tee Seong Joon [not his real name] were deported by a neighbouring country last month after completing a short prison term for immigration offences. They were received by our own police and quickly put behind bars again.

Kwik and Tee are leading members of the Red Iron Gang which had been planning bank and goldsmith robberies for nearly 15 years. They had been casing several banks and gold shops in the late 1990s, and then decided to cross over to a third country to learn from the Preto Pantano Gang how to plant explosives and break safes. The Red Iron Gang considered themselves affiliates with the Preto Pantano.

When the third leading member of the Red Iron, “Popcorn” Soh, was arrested by police in 2003 for planning a break-in at a diamond dealer’s shop, Kwik and Tee looked into the possibility of sending an envelope of anthrax to the police headquarters as revenge.

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The end of the WTO’s Golden Era

Globalization has been on a rapid pace for two decades. Trade has been rising roughly twice as fast as global gross domestic product in the past two decades. The World Trade Organization’s rule-based system, though with many flaws, has played a critical role.

The total number of anti-dumping cases peaked in 2001 at 372 and was as low as 155 last year. However, the trend for China isn’t as favorable.

It suffered 49 anti-dumping cases, about the same as the ten-year average. Considering that China’s exports have been rising twice as fast as the global trade, the stable number of anti-dumping cases should be considered a good outcome. The WTO system has been beneficial to China’s trade development.

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Asia will resist U.S. efforts to contain China, says Singapore diplomat

The Washington Times, 14 Oct 2012
Asian nations will resist any U.S. attempts to block the rise of China, as Washington pursues a new strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Singapore’s former ambassador in Washington.

“I think if the United States re-engages Asia to contain China it won’t work because countries in Asia won’t sign on to containment,” Chan Heng Chee said in a phone interview from Singapore.

“We don’t want another Cold War. The United States should not ask Asian countries to choose. You may not like the results if you ask countries to choose.” Full story

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A Messy End to a Poorly Implemented Vision

The big increase in the non-resident employment originated from the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally Speech on 24 August 1997. The future Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong announced a change in population policy from immigration-supplemented to immigration-centric.

The ESM described foreign PMETs as foreign talents (FTs) during the 1997 National Day Rally Speech. His biggest dream in 1998 was to attract huge numbers of young PMETs He hoped these PMETs would contribute economically & demographically by settling down & produce babies.

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