Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Watz Buzzing - 30 Oct 2012

Only 19% of expats in Singapore feel they have integrated well in local community

inSing.com, 25 Oct 2012
According to the study: “The number of expats who agreed strongly that they had integrated well in the local community in Asian countries including Malaysia (25%) Singapore (19%), Thailand (14%), and Hong Kong (11%) were much lower in comparison to many English-speaking countries such as Canada (44%), Australia (43%) and the UK (41%).”
The study was commsioned by HSBC and was conducted by research company YouGov.
5,339 expats were questioned via an online survey. Full story

Foul-mouth foreigner threatens workers and warns he will hunt down their families - stomp.com.sg

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Foul-mouth foreigner threatens workers and warns he will hunt down their families

"This Caucasian trespassed into the construction site and shouted vulgarities non-stop. His dangerous behavior of throwing construction materials into the pit nearly endangered the lives of two workers!

"The video was taken by my staff at the site. We are constructing a house for a client and the Caucasian stays nearby. We comply with the government's regulations on construction, after about six months of construction, we have a year to go before the house is ready. "The neighbour is not happy with the noise generated for the construction. I also understand from the surrounding neighbours that this guy has a lot of problem with noise. If a dog barks, he will throw a shoe at it, and he has also thrown things at neighbours and picked fights with them.

"From day one my staff have encountered a lot of problems with this guy. He threw things at them, scolded them, imposed his rules and regulations on what time they can start work. He told them to start at 9am, so we try to, but on this particular day we started at 8.45am. The government allows work to start at 8am. "On Saturday, it was the last straw as he barged into the site, and it is very dangerous for both my workers and himself. He started an aggressive tirade at the workers, and didn't even look into the pit to see if there were workers inside before throwing the zinc sheet down. It almost hit them.

"You can also see he is not wearing any safety gear and I am worried he can slip and fall on the site, not only endangering himself but also becoming our liability. "We have made a police report and consulted our lawyers on this case."

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A Consummate Joker

Dr Tony Tan won the presidential election by a razor-edge 35.20 per cent of the votes narrowly beating Dr Tan Cheng Bok. Morally, though not stated in the Constitution, there should have been a run-off between these two candidate as neither managed to obtain an absolute majority in the first round. It would have frightened the shit out of the PAP leaders as it was obvious that their pet candidate Dr Tony Tan would not have stood an earthly chance against the more popular Dr Tan Cheng Bok in a run-off. So Dr Tony Tan managed to emerge the winner  by the slimmest of margin in the first past the post system of the Westminister model. An obsequious supporter had described his victory as an overwhelming mandate which is the acme of ludricrousness.

At best Dr Tony Tan can claim to represent only 35.20 per cent of the electorate as a minority president and could hardly claim to have a mandate  in the strict sense of the word.He can be said to be a lame-duck president as if a referendum is taken an overwhelming majority would have repudiated him. The PAP has happily inherited him as he is their pet candidate and so we are stuck with the comical spectacle of a minority president performing the presidential functions of the State. Of course the precarious President Tony Tan could not afford to show any queasiness in performing his official functions as this would have given the game away. Outwardly, he receives the proper respect from foreign dignitaries but whether they harbour any belittling feeling would be an interesting point as they may find it a unique experience interacting with a minority president.

Dr Tony Tan has so far not shown that he has the making of a people's president in the manner of the late President Wee Kim Wee. In fact he seems to be living under the shadow of former President SR Nathan, who was himself not an illustrious president. When asked by reporters what was his achievement in his first year as president, the joker President Tony Tan showed incredible naivety to say comically that watching the Olympic in London was his best achievement so far. Can one imagine paying a president millions of dollars a year from the taxpayers' money to watch Olympic in London and to top it all he claims this to be his best achievement in his first year in office.

Singapore has changed, will the PAP change too?

When Lawrence Wong said that an emerging thread in the public dialogues that he has been part of has been one of “wanting a kinder society, a more gracious society,” his is a rather late observation. I wonder too if the Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth has merely scratched the surface, because, if the Sunday Times story of his epiphany is anything to go by, he transplants  these outward demonstrations of simple decency into the term “values”. “Values” mean far more than that, they go deeper than that, as I will discuss further down.

His realisation is late. Many academics and observers I have spoken to have been saying something similar for years now: that increasingly, Singaporeans consider the questions of identity and values to be high priority.

It’s been the People’s Action Party government that has been blind to it. They still see things in econometric terms. Their own feedback loop has been so broken, they didn’t even realise that every time they boasted about GDP growing by such-and-such a percent, people were switching off. Some saw it cynically as another excuse to reward ministers and top civil servants handsomely.

PR from China who assaulted Singaporean taxi driver with iron rod has his sentence reduced from 1 month to 5 days

XIN MSN News, 25 Oct 2012
The director of a manufacturing company who was sentenced to a month’s jail for hitting a taxi driver with a steel rod, successfully appealed against his sentence on Thursday.
42—year—old Zhai Lu, a Singapore permanent resident, had his sentence reduced to five days instead.
The scuffle between the two men took place in May 2010, when Zhai boarded a taxi driven by 60—year—old Mr Teo Siang Toh.
Zhai was carrying some steel rods, which he loaded into the boot of the taxi. Full story

Socialism or Free Markets? Consider Myanmar and Thailand

IN TERMS OF LAND area and population Myanmar and Thailand are close in size, and i n the 1960s both countries had similar rates of growth.

But in 1962 Myanmar’s General Ne Win led a coup d’état, establishing a nominally socialist military government that followed an economic policy of autarky. The country closed its doors to the world and expelled the Indians who had come with the British to help in the retail industry many decades before. Although Ne Win resigned in July 1988, the military junta remained firmly in control of the country.

During the same period Thailand experienced multiple army coups, but its leaders chose a different economic path. Thailand became a free-market economy, open to all investments from all countries, and it absorbed its Chinese immigrants, who had arrived during and after British rule. Today Thailand is one of Asia’s busiest manufacturing hubs

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Psychopath with an anti social personality disorder?

Or is he?

"I've had several of my own doctors who are familiar with such conduct . . . tell me that he is a near psychopath", Lee Kuan on on Chee Soon Juan.

'Today one cannot help but conclude that the trailblazer is more a sputtering meteor, and perhaps one with an anti-social personality disorder", ST Political Editor Chua Mui Hoong on Chee Soon Juan.

For almost 2 decades, I have never seen or read of the mainstream media putting Chee Soon Juan in a good light. If he was not condemned, he was totally ignored. His recent party's alternative National Healthcare Plan [Link] and other ideas were shunned and never brought up for discussion by the msm. Considering the NATCON that is supposed to hear from citizens to make their lives better, isn't it a waste that such ideas from Prof Thambyah and CSJ and his team are silenced?

MOE turning a blind eye to a known problem and unhappiness on the ground

The hard truth is that MOE has been struggling to get English and Humanities teachers to fill its secondary school teaching positions for more than 10 years now. There is a CRITICAL SHORTAGE of HUMANITIES and ENGLISH teachers in our secondary schools.

About 3 years ago, MOE has resorted to recruiting and recognizing English and Lit degrees from SIM University in its desperate attempts to get English teachers. MOE had also collaborated with MOM to get Humanities teachers (Geography) from Canada.

Many of these Canadians were unhappy that they couldn’t teach the subject in their own critical thinking way as they’re required to cover the syllabus content at all cost. This situation was made worse when a Yahoo online article: “Are Singapore Teachers Overworked?” was ran at the same time when this recruitment was taking place.

Self And Society

The doctor who owned "just a Ferrari spider convertible 430", dined at fine restaurants with Michelin Chefs and kept company with the likes of Miss Universe and Eduardo Saverin (net worth $2.6 billion) said society made him do it.

The relationship between individuals and the social environments in which they live is a topic which fascinates sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists and political theorists. Interactions between Self and Society can help explain:
(1) the impact of one individual on another individual,
(2) the impact of a group on its individual members,
(3) the impact of individual members on their group and,
(4) the impact of groups on one another.

An understanding of the priorities of individuals in respect of the social systems into which they are immersed  helps to explain social problems (attributed to foreign intake or competition), social norms and values (unresolved "visceral" racial issues), moral and political change (exacerbated by institutional promotion of gambling), organizational practices (meritocracy eroded by cronyism), and interpersonal and cross-cultural conflict (conflated to xenophobia).

PM Lee blames divorcees for causing current housing problems

inSing.com, 25 Oct 2012
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong related some Singaporeans’ housing problems connected with the issue of family breakups via his Facebook page in the wee hours of the morning today.

PM Lee said he received such messages on his Facebook page as well and added that family breakups lead to more than just housing problems.
While MPs do their best and the HDB builds more rental flats, PM Lee said “ultimately the family members have to work things out themselves, and ideally avoid breaking up in the first place”. Full story 

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Grace Fu: Workers’ salaries to increase in tandem with productivity gains

If higher wages for cleaners were attained through productivity growth, why would the hawkers who are the customers need to pay higher fees?

In a 20-minute keynote address at the Economic Society’s annual forum last Thu (25 Oct), Minister in PMO Grace Fu said Singapore is aiming for quality growth driven by productivity and innovation, not labour – and this will ensure sustainable wage growth.

She stressed that increasing productivity will ensure sustainable wage growth for Singaporeans. She then referred to the progressive wage model as an example of an inclusive growth strategy. She cited the cleaning industry as an example.She noted that the progressive wage model for the cleaning industry spells out clear progression of wages with skills upgrading and training, allowing pay increase to move in tandem with productivity gains.

OPINION: When a single party state goes wrong — Celia Lim

The Malaysian Insider, 24 Oct 2012
OCT 24 — For years, Lee Kuan Yew educated Singaporeans there was no need to have a multi-party parliament because a single-party one would be more efficient and effective.
He gave examples of third-world countries, despite being ruled by dictators, having able to achieve decent economic growths. He also added that history had shown when a strong government became corrupt, a man would rise to overthrow the bad government.
These are words of selfish rulers who want things to be done in their own way, hate to be challenged, do not want to be held accountable for their failure and insist to hold onto power indefinitely. Hence, now and then, such dictators would come out with theories along the above lines to justify their need to operate without noises and challenges. We, the citizens of 21st century, should be sober enough not to be taken in by such selfish arguments. Full story