Thursday, 12 September 2013

Watz Buzzing - 12 Sep 2013

The Prime Minister- in-waiting

Ever since The Straits Times has published the possibility of Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and Social & Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing to succeed PM Lee Hsien Loong as prime minister in the future, there seems to be a decidedly attempt on the part of The Straits Times to give more prominence to Minister Chan as the more preferred choice of the prime minister-in-waiting

Hardly a day passes without The Straits Times giving publicity to the so-called political posturings of Minister Chan, be it in expounding government policies or clowning among old folks. Without doubt, the prediction of being the prime minister-in-waiting could not have passed off without a heady effect on this young minister. Will this be manifested from now on in his persona when dealing with the public or with his colleagues

What kind of a prime minister will Chan Chun Sing project if indeed he becomes the prime minister-in-waiting? He is hardly a popular figure in the Internet world and judging from the amount of snide comments about him is a clear indication that he is the least likely minister to be welcome as a prime minister-in-waiting by this section of society. In the beginning of his political career, he was fond of asking his audience to "kee chiu" (raise hand), and so he was seen as a joker  given the moniker of "kee chiu". He is commonly known as kee chiu on the Internet.

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Law Minister Shanmugam misses the point totally

The Law Minister K Shanmugam missed the point totally when he made the following remark: “… if you say I am a stupid fool who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, and the Government comprises ministers who don’t know what they’re talking about and you criticise every policy of the Government, no one can sue you.”

The Law Minister made this remark in the context of discussing what speech is considered defamatory or not defamatory. He said that Singaporeans should feel free to discuss politics and even criticise ministers and policies, provided they do not make spurious allegations they cannot substantiate.

Mr Shanmugam’s comments come at an unfortunate time. The reason I say so is because people feel that the government has not listened to them sufficiently, despite putting forth what they feel is legitimate criticism

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The Real CPF Scam

Let me pose a not-so-hypothetical.  I am an investment manager and you have money for retirement savings you want to invest.  Like any informed consumer you ask me how much I will charge you to be the investment manager.  I reply, if you invest your money with me, I will keep most of the money you make and if I lose money, well you lose.  Would you invest your hard earned money with anyone who gave you that sales pitch?

If this one-sided deal sounds too absurd to believe then look no further than Temasek Holdings and GIC.  While there are valid unanswered questions about the returns of Temasek which have been written about in great detail, all Temasek money belongs to the citizens of Singapore not the government, executives, or other special parties.

Public surpluses and CPF capital saved by the citizens of Singapore is used to fund Temasek and GIC.  Yet, the government of Singapore only pays savers 2.5-4% despite claims of earning 7 and 17% respectively between GIC and Temasek.  That claimed 7%  earned by GIC in USD belongs to CPF savers and the people of Singapore.  The claimed 17% earned by Temasek in SGD belongs to the people of Singapore who provided the public surpluses and capital investment to build companies.

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A bit more graciousness and civic consciousness or just as bad as ever?


The scene in the picture above, taken at City Hall metro station, is not that remarkable now. It might have been so ten years ago, but queuing to board is beginning to catch o/n. As is standing on the left on escalators.

Social graciousness and civic responsibility are slowly inching forward. I must admit that for a long time, I have been skeptical that Singaporeans would ever change. Our rude, selfish behaviour seems ingrained in our DNA. With intense competition for scarce resources (e.g. seats on trains), the rational response should surely be to remain pushy. Add to that our deep reluctance to speak up when we see others behave uncivilly, and there is nothing by way of social penalty. 

As recently as May 2009, I wrote of several incidents that appalled me. You can read that article here: The rosary woman and other head-shaking tales

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No Cigar - Ng just lost to Thomas Bach of Germany

Ng Ser Miang's qualifications for the bid of International Olympics Committee (IOC) President - reputedly most powerful man in world sports - were listed as President of organising committee of 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics, vice-president of International Sailing Federation 1994-98, and non-resident Singapore ambassador to Norway.

The "Pros" in his favour:
Candidate from Asia, continent of increasing influence; organiser of inaugural Youth Olympics, affable personality, popular with members, diplomatic experience.

The "Cons" against his selection:
Seen by some as "too nice," not viewed as having imposing public presence, potential opposition from some Asian countries.

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Operators of 21 Clarke Quay outlets petition against 3am liquor deadline

Operators such as Attica say that banning alcohol sales in convenience stores within a 1km radius and implementing a dry zone will work better in cleaning up the Clarke Quay area. -- PHOTO: ATTIC 

Nightclubs, pubs and restaurant operators of 21 outlets in Clarke Quay are appealing against the new liquor licensing hours which will take effect in the area on Oct 1

The new rule bans the sale of alcohol after 3am on Sundays and weekdays, but operators are hoping the police and Liquor Licensing Board will consider a 4am deadline instead.

Currently, tenants with a liquor licence can sell liquor to patrons until 6am

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