Wednesday, 31 July 2013

精英门越窄 贫富门越大


进入精英名校的门越来越窄,相对应的现实就是贫富差距就越大。吴作栋在莱佛士书院190周年晚宴的感性发言,不正是要说明这一点吗?他说,过去,他的时代的书院,学生来自全国各地,不同种族不同家庭背景,可以说是一个大烘炉。现在呢?这个门就比从前窄得多了。为什么?

想想看,吴作栋时代的书院,新加坡的个人人均是多少,现在的人均又是多少。这段时间的变化,补习中心又开了多少,父母花在孩子身上的校外补习又是多少?吴作栋经常提到要孩子们有一个平等的起跑点,家里没钱,是否真的可以做到公平的起跑点。就拿学前教育来说,这个起跑点相差很可能就是每个月1000元, 甚至2000元。针对这点,政府也好,教育部也好,都表示无意把学前教育提前到幼儿班。

不只如此,政府还要鼓励企业在这方面大动脑筋,推出优质的学前教育,当然,水涨船高,学费当然看涨。其中,得利最大的就是职总和行动党托儿所幼稚园。他们还获得一定的津贴,奖励他们打造更好更优质的学前教育。

学前的起跑点输了,小学的起跑点也输了,小六会考的成绩自然就逊色了。这样一来,新加坡排在前面的名校,就从以前的大烘炉,变成现在的小窄门了。

难怪,吴作栋要呼吁校友要有爱心,成功人士要伸出关怀,帮助不幸人士,和社会分享技术知识和拨出时间帮忙他人。他更承认他们从社会中获得不平等的投资,因此亏欠社会最多最大, 有责任提升其他处于劣势的人。
“What we need is to get the successful to understand that they have a responsibility to help the less fortunate and less able with compassion, to give back to society through financial donations, sharing of their skills and knowledge and spending time to help others do better, and to serve the country.”
“Those of us who have benefited disproportionately from society’s investment in us owe the most to society, particularly to those who may not have had access to the same opportunities. We owe a debt to make lives better for all, and not just for ourselves,” added the RI alumnus.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/we-need-to-guard-against-elitism--esm-goh-024750768.html
事后孔明,吴作栋在担任总理的时候怎么没有这样的爱心。他在担任总理的时候,难道没有看到问题的所在吗?他还空谈要给国人一个瑞士生活水准,要培育出一个优雅有礼的新加坡。现在回头想想,这是不是政客的嘴脸,当时,为了哄得你手中的一张选票,说的比做的好听。如果真的有瑞士的水准,起跑点肯定不是现在这样,小贩中心也不需要什么自动倒垃圾运动,生活素质也不是现在这样。

不管吴作栋是否是事后孔明,有心改过,重新有了爱心,要求校友关怀社会不幸人士,落势群体,有一点,我们可以肯定的是,我们的确上了吴作栋这个把软席坐温的人的当。吴作栋担任总理14年,我们还真的给他14年的甜蜜期。我们真的相信他会给新加坡人一个优雅的瑞士生活水准。相反的,行动党政府的确给人国人一个瑞士人均所得的水准,但是,除了钱以外,素质优雅在哪里?更不用说,贫富门是越开越大,大到低收入人士,根本不敢妄想,自己的孩子有一个平等的起跑点。

吴作栋为行动党政府铺了一条经济贫富不均的路。他的的接班人变本加厉,赶超他的的贫富差距。吴作栋现在已经不是总理,也不是内阁一员,他的午夜梦回,爱心散发,关怀低收入,落势人士,到底是惭愧还是良心发现,我们不知道。因为,我们一直以为他是一只羔羊,温驯得我们没有觉察到原来他所谓的瑞士生活水准,只是一个空谈。
精英门越来越窄,贫富门越来越大,国家社会怎么会不分化呢! 


吴作栋:任人唯贤让国人充分发挥潜力和才华,但需慎防“精英主义”分化我国社会。
荣誉国务资政吴作栋昨晚在莱佛士书院庆祝建校190周年的晚宴上表示,“任人唯贤”(meritocracy)尽管不是最完善的制度,但它是让每个人发挥最大潜能的最佳途径,我国须调适和强化这个制度,确保整个社会受惠于这一原则,而不是只有少数人获益。国人也应慎防“精英主义”(elitism),别让它分化我国社会。http://news.omy.sg/News/Local-News/Wu-Zuo-Dong-Ren-Ren-Wei-Xian-Zhi-Du-Xu-Fang-Jing-Ying-Zhu-Yi-189145


李总理说,吴作栋的演讲发人深省。到底是怎么一个发人深省法?今年的国庆群众大会,他特地选择到工教局总部演讲,表示关心学习进度比较慢的人,收入比较低的人,他还说,他将谈到如何打造一个美好的家园。不知道会不会又是一个瑞士花园,另类的空中花园?

在贫富差距继续扩大下,继续引进超级富豪下,即使贫富差距进一步加大,总理也要决意进行,他的所谓正确政治,正确经济政策,那么,新加坡人可以期待怎么样的花园,怎么样的家园呢?

人生有几个十年,有几个14年,吴作栋14年没有带来瑞士花园,李显龙又能给我们怎么样的家园?他不可能再提瑞士生活素质,那他又能给出怎么样的家园呢?我们自己的家园由我们自己创造,行动党的打造家园计划,很可能又是一个空中楼阁,就是要你手中的一票。在你给它选票前,先三思这是不是有可能实现的家园!不然,又再一次中了吴作栋的美丽诺言的当。

Monday, 29 July 2013

Stereotyping, Ignorance and the Joke of Singapore Education


[Closing down Nantah is an easy decision but can the stereotyping, ignorance and the joke of education about ‘Chinese heritage’ be removed after 33 years, even at the same Jurong campus?]

Even graduating with Chinese majors, English is still the first language for these graduates who still has better command of English than that of Chinese.   

We may have found the last laugh or at least a good laugh after the closure of Nanyang University 33 years ago in 1980.  

Yes. Closing down Nantah is an easy decision which needs only one vote. But has it achieved the objective of removing the prejudices against Nantah graduates or Chinese stream students?   


33 years later, the story continues…..

It begins with the following statement at the second day of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) 2013 Conviction by a student representative in his closing remarks:  

“the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten anything I said in English”.

Chinese readers of mainstream media may have already known the story last Friday and days after.

Stereotyping continues even after 33 years

There is basically no Chinese stream school in Singapore in 1987, seven years after the closure of Nantah.  English is the first language for all Singapore students and the mother tongues of Chinese, Malays and Tamil become second languages. 

Every student having 10 years (up to ‘O’ Level) or 12 years (up to ‘A’ Level) education in Singapore will have to study English or General Papers respectively in schools.  The current situation is we are facing more problems teaching our young the mother tongues than the English language.

This makes one wonder where is the basis of this stereotype coming from?  After studying 10 or 12 years English, for graduates another 3 or 4 more years, yet still can’t understand English? Is this a joke? Or maybe our education system is something like the USA system,  there are some students even after graduating from colleges still cannot command proper English – the average level of American English.      
 
Our society, our education system and even the government must have certain types of stereotype thinking against certain groups of people or students.  One example is ITE. We know about the case of ITE students so much so that the Prime Minster has to hold his National Day Speech at ITE HQ this year.  

This is why closing down Nantah is so easy but to do away the stereotype is not.  Even among local graduates, some may consider themselves higher class than others depending on their graduating universities and majors.

Ignorance of social change in the past 33 years

What surprise me is the student representative is from sociology department.   If sociology students do not know the social changes in Singapore, what and how about graduates from other disciplines.  All graduates can then claim they are ignorance about the social stereotyping and prejudices. Think deeply, how many of our top 20% or 30% of the educated population do think it in this way?  Does the PAP government intentionally want this ignorance and stereotype to happen?

The student representative must have a very short memory.  Just before him, the invited guest speaker is a Chinese majors from NUS.  She spoke in English and talked about her experience and the importance of Chinese language in her work. NTU and the faculty must have some reasons for inviting such a speaker – giving emphasis and importance to bilingualism.  This is really a slap to the university and the academics in the school of humanity and social sciences. 

In fact, many of the Chinese majors students, even after 3 (NUS) or 4 (NTU) years of study, their first language is still English.  And it is not surprised their command of English is still better than that of their Chinese after graduation. Singapore university system is different from other Chinese universities in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.  Chinese majors does not mean you study 100% Chinese or in a 100% Chinese environment.   There are other courses and electives all in English that a student needs to take.   Our university’s Chinese department is more like the western style universities rather than a Chinese speaking university.  This makes the difference between Nantah and NTU.

The objective of closing down Nantah is to move away from the image and environment of a Chinese speaking university and yet this stereotyping and ignorance still exist today. Why?

It takes a political decision to close down Nantah but the problem remains.  A political decision, no matter how high handed, still cannot solve social, education or worst cultural problems, especially the decision is purely made on economics and politics. 

Perhaps, it is time to rethink the calling of PM Lee on right politics, and then right economics.  How to prevent stereotyping and ignorance under right politics right economics?  We already have this experience in the Population White Paper and the Hong Lim Park protest.

Sociology graduates fail to see the social and educational changes in Singapore.  Is this a joke of education or an intentional strategy?

Joke of bilingualism

Bilingualism is the aim of our education system, bilingualism here and bilingualism there with different kinds of funding.  The more we talk about it, the more difficult we will  face for the learning of Chinese language in schools.  For some students, we need to even provide them a Ipad so that he or she can complete a short and simple Chinese composition.

So, the problem is not English, especially in university level. It is the Chinese (Malay and Tamil as well) causing problem. The Malay Minister had even suggested teaching Malay language as a foreign language!  Can we assume that a foreign language standard will demand a lower proficiency than the standard of a second language?   We already have mother tongue B now we want to create another mother tongue F (F for foreign).     

So, this is a joke of our bilingualism policy and the joke of our education system.  We are training English speaking only graduates and yet some graduates are still stereotyping and ignoring the social changes.  They are still thinking like 30, 40 years ago - the era of ‘Chinese helicopters, Chinese heritage’.

Nantah is not NTU

Or if you wish NTU is not Nantah.  Even today, Nantah graduates still regularly receive alumni magazines from both NUS and NTU. Even today, the Nantah logo is still with NUS.  However, the academic records have been transferred from NUS to NTU. Who are they? NTU says its history dated back to 1955. Why?

Why does an easy political decision in 1980 still looking for a difficult solution today? The former President of NTU even suggested a rename of NTU by removing the word ‘technological’.  This is another dilemma – to please the Nantah graduates?
  
Why can’t we just close the chapter of Nantah from 1955 to 1980? Perhaps, it is better for NTU to cut off its relationship and history with Nantah and develops its own future without this historical burden.

No matter with or without the burden, the stereotyping, ignorance, prejudices and the joke of our education will continue as far as the PAP is still in power.  The PAP government with its ‘right politics, right economics’ mindset will not be able to find a proper solution to tackle this issue. It is because stereotyping, ignorance and prejudices work well with the PAP.  The PAP wants to be the man in between to balance and please different groups of people according to different pressures. So, what is the problem even there is a joke in our education system? So what?

Closing down Nantah is a policy option worked well in the past as there were basically no objections.  Or even there were objections, it was not loud enough.  Only now, 33 years later, we finally see the last laugh or at least a good laugh.   Will the past decision work really and finally? 

It is now a moment that we will see more good laughs out of the PAP policies, be it Swiss standard of living, AIM, CPIB, cleaning of hawkers' centre, population, housing, health care, foreign workers, ……. and education.

However, the PAP will consider this as an isolated incident – stereotyping, ignorance and prejudices are all one-time event.  This is why we have to define who has the last laugh – the people or the PAP.


Chinese media in Singapore has no choice but to report this news in a ‘balance’ way.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

可惜,鼎泰丰不是新加坡品牌。


不然,那该多好呀!新加坡竟然能够选到,创新到,原创出世界上最好的小笼包牙签!

鼎泰丰的牙签最好!edu.163.com

搞了这么久,吃了这多,牙签部长知道不知道鼎泰丰不是新加坡品牌,新加坡不是鼎泰丰的原唱者。原创者是谁,台湾的鼎泰丰是也。不信,你上网看看http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/tw/default.htm

企业最有价值的地方就是它的原创力,创新精神。就像苹果电脑一样,推出的ItunesIphoneIpad使到它成为世界市价最高的企业。但是,随着乔布斯的过世,苹果的原创力,创新精神都受到影响,市场竞争力面对其他对手的更强烈竞争。

面包物语很好,新加坡鼎泰丰也很好,新加坡公司能够做到这个地步,已经很不错了。但是,就是差这么一点点,这一点点其实关系到新加坡的将来,新加坡的未来,而这也是新加坡的基本问题:创新力不够。

或许,在林瑞生部长的眼中,面包物语总部的鼎泰丰已经很好了。只要好吃就好,只要牙签最好,只要能够创造就业机会就好了。行动党不是整天提醒国人,不要做温水中的青蛙吗?没有了创新动力,新加坡不也是一只温水青蛙吗?林瑞生的牙签论,表面上没有问题,事实上,就是误导企业往模仿的道路前进。 想一想,在牙签的选择上,品牌统一的鼎泰丰能够或者难道就只是钟情于新加坡,只在新加坡的餐馆提供最好的牙签吗?而不是全球统一规划和规定吗?

这就是行动党要的新加坡吗?创新由政府来做,(也未必能够胜任),模仿由本地企业来做。这是把行动党的政治思维搬到企业发展上。行动党的政治创新可不少,从集选区到总统选举,再到非选区议员和官委议员,这真的是有别于其他国家的政治选举创新。偏偏这种思维,演化到企业哪里,就变成今天新加坡的企业精神,创新由政府来做,创新由政府出钱,创新由政府公司来做,你们新加坡私人企业,不需要动脑筋,跟着做就可以了。甚至,你想创新一点都不可以,一越过界,就好像在政治上一样,就变成了反对派了。

说白了,行动党还真害怕企业的创新精神太强大。创新精神大,原创力丰富,就会出很多点子,尤其是不喜欢政府的约束。从经济发展的约束到企业发展的约束,就会约束创新力,而会把企业的原创力消磨掉。或许,这就解释了为什么本地企业的创新力低,原创力低的原因。政治影响经济,经济影响企业,总理不说了吗?搞好政治接下来才能够搞好经济,经济搞好了才来搞好企业。如果企业自己自作主张要发挥原创力,创新力,这个行动党的顺序不是给企业给颠倒了吗?到时,总理又会说2006年大选的话,这么多反对党议员,问题多多,意见多多,总理的名言又出来:fixing the oppositions。 企业原创力太强,创新力太强,总理顶不了,就会抛出fixing the enterprises 的伟伦来。

新加坡的本地企业,就像政治一样, 给行动党政府绑到死死的。如果,你要有所成就,就要跟政府有着同样的思维。就像政联公司那样,思想正确,然后,企业才可以发展。就像那些和政府走得近的私人企业一样,不需要什么原创力,创新力,只要听话就可以了。因此,你有听过本地企业主导过什么创新项目吗?政联公司到中国,越南,印度,中东等地发展,你就跟着去就可以了,听话的,还可以分一点蛋糕给你。

拾到牙签的高兴和悲哀

当我们解读林瑞生的牙签论时,不妨想一想牙签最好的背后意义。牙签最好,刚刚好挖到肉,但是,这个选择牙签的决定,不一定要是新加坡公司,别人决定好了,你就跟着做就行了。因此,我们是拾到牙签的高兴,拾人牙签的快乐。

所以,我们极度欢迎外国大公司,外国人才,这些人在这里投资,在这里管理,事实上不需要创新,不需要原创,只要把国外最新最好的牙签带来就好了。这个企业投资的牙签,这个企业管理的牙签,一定是最好的,本地人就是跟着学跟着做就可以了。当然,因为你是跟着学,跟着做,你拿的回报,你拿的工资,当然不能够和原创者相比,当然要比他们低。这样解释为何新加坡工人,新加坡的就业人士,薪金偏低就比较合理了。你们没有创新,没有原创,自然地竞争力,生产力,也就低了,回报当然就得低。


拾到牙签的高兴,其实是一种悲哀,最可怜的是,拾到别人用过的牙签还在哪里沾沾自喜,还要大把大把的拿走,那就是可怜又可悲了。

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What if CPF Board files for bankruptcy?


[Individual lapses can happen in an organization despite safeguards and processes to prevent wrongdoing.]  
http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/pms-office-statement-cpib-officer-case

Is it possible? What will be the consequence?

In business world, in investment and even a wrong purchase of property, one will get into trouble and face huge financial difficulties. So, noting is impossible, especially when you see a weaker and less credible leader taking over an important institution likes Temasek Holdings or gaps in internal control and staff competencies at National Research Foundation.

Why is it possible? CPF Board buys bonds from the government and in many ways these bonds are guaranteed by the government.  There is less concern about this link. But the next link about investment is a big concern to many Singaporeans and up till today, CPF members still worry about the CPF Board has no money to pay members.

Why? It is because of the investment and investment risk that the bond monies are being used and invested.  The government entrusts these monies to Temasek Holdings and GIC Pte Ltd to invest.   If they are unable to generate income and make punctual and due payments back to the government, the government will have to default the loans (bonds).

Of course, the government may use the huge foreign reserve to pay CPF Board under special circumstance but the use of reserve is subject to President’s second key.  Of course, the government can quietly use the reserve without informing the President. 

So, there is always a risk that the government may dishonour payments to CPF Board when all the bad timings plus all the bad and wrong investments come together. If you recall the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995:
"Barings' collapse was due to the unauthorised and ultimately catastrophic activities of, it appears, one individual (Leeson) that went undetected as a consequence of a failure of management and other internal controls of the most basic kind".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barings_Bank

Comparing this with the above PMO’s statement on CPIB officer, does it look alike? Or, in the case of National Research Foundation, it is again the lack of internal control and staff competencies.

Detroit files for bankruptcy why not an institution

Detroit filing for bankruptcy protection is not a sudden event.  It is forecasted and expected due to the sharp drop in population.

(Reuters) - Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history on Thursday, setting the stage for a costly court battle with creditors and opening a new chapter in the long struggle to revive the city that was the cradle of the American auto industry. The bankruptcy, if approved by a federal judge, would force Detroit's thousands of creditors into negotiations with the city's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to resolve an estimated $18.5 billion in debt that has crippled Michigan's largest city.

In fact, CPF Board may escape filing for bankruptcy if Singapore population is allowed to increase to 6.9 million. Under a big population background, the cash inflow contributed by new employees and young members will be bigger than the cash outflow of older members who reach withdrawal age or pass withdrawal age.  So, even the government defaults in loan payments temporarily, CPF Board still has sufficient cash flow to meet the withdrawal demand. 

Unfortunately, 6.9 million is a political issue which is bigger than the cash flow problem of CPF Board now.  It turns the possibility into impossible and advantages into disadvantages.

There are two impossibilities which under normal circumstance should not have happened. Firstly, it is the default of the government due to bad investment management and lack of internal control.  Secondly, without bigger and younger population, the CPF Board cannot raise enough funds internally to pay its members.     

CPF now faces a situation of no external cash flow from the government and no sufficient internal fund to pay members.

What are the consequences?
 
Under bankruptcy protection, cities, institutions or businesses will have an opportunity to renegotiate new terms and conditions for payments to creditors.  CPF members are the creditors and so full payments or temporary full payments are very unlikely because there are insufficient cash.

CPF Board can also request contributing members’ understand and help by raising the contribution rate to improve its cash positions.
However, it is a difficult option.  The government has always stressed that the current burdens should not be passed to the next generation.  Why should existing members help those old and retired members?  It is against the PAP’s philosophy.

The consequence of a collapse of CPF Board is unthinkable but it is no impossible.  It looks impossible but we cannot deny the risk.

Who can imagine Detroit will file for bankruptcy many years ago even they see the problems coming?

To turn the table around, to avoid CPF Board’s bankruptcy perhaps the best solution is the PAP government has to go or to be removed. 

CPF Board is the pillar of the PAP government.  If really one day CPF Board files for bankruptcy it also means the end of the PAP government. It looks so remote yet possible.


CPF monies, foreign reserve, Temasek Holdings, GIC etc. are all linked together.   Cases in CPIB, NRF, and the comments on lapses by Auditor-General all look impossible in the past but it still happens.  What are the meanings behind all these indications? 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

新加坡有没有贫民区?


从面上看,当然没有。在行动党的政治上,当然也没有。即使有也不可以承认。那么,到底有没有?或许,从点上看,把这些点加起来,就成了一个小面,这个小面,就能构成贫民区了。

贫富差距进一步扩大,会不会把这个小面进一步加大呢!形成一个更大的大面呢?过去10多年,低收入家庭的工资并没有实际的增加,这使到低收入家庭在面临高物价房价的情形下,生活更加困难。这导致国家的财富分配形成一个凹字,贫富两极发展,是很可能出现,甚至已经出现贫民区了,只是,这些个别的贫民点,还没有形成面,以贫民区的面出现罢了。

这是一个很简单的数字问题。人口中有5%的极度穷人相对5%的极度富人,在凹字的财富分配中,应该是合理的。这5%乘上我们的人口,不论用500多万居住人口还是300多万公民来计算,它都有10多万到20多万人。

这个人口数字,肯定的大过一个单选区,甚至接近一个小的 4人集选区。这么一想,把这些点加在一起,我们就能够看到贫民区了。行动党政府的聪明之处在于分配贫民居处,把这些人打散了,你就看不到了。我们所看到的只是一些小点,例如个别流落街头的人或者在公园睡觉的人。

但是,这是一个社会隐忧。而这个隐忧在10年前,在野党已经提出来了。当时的名堂叫做‘新穷人’。我们想一想,10几年来,低收入家庭的收入没有实际增加,即使当时他们不是穷人,现在,面对10几年的通货膨胀,也应该变穷人了吧!

新穷人,贫民区,当然行动党是坚决反对这种称呼的。我们的经济这么好,年年有增长,怎么会出现这种社会不公,财富分配不均的问题。我们不是一直给予穷人津贴吗?年年的财政预算,也特别拨款补助穷人,怎么会有这样的事情发生?

让我们回顾一下2006年大选,林瑞生怎么回答这个问题:

【总理公署部长林瑞生在为刘锡明站台时,表明不同意工人党提出的新穷人说法。他说,行动党从来不用新穷人一词,因为他们不相信也不会让任何年龄层的人民成为新穷人。 
   他相信,每个新加坡人都可以重新培训、而工作可以重新打造,人人都会有工作。   他指出,新加坡目前的失业率处于2.6%的低水平,是世上少有如此低失业率的国家之一。   林瑞生说:当工人党在谈论新穷人时,行动党和全国职工总会说的是新工作、新的工作前景……,所以这个星期六,当你投票时,记得每张投给工人党的选票将带来更多的新穷人,投给行动党的选票则将转变成更多工人接受培训、工作被重新打造机会。(早报200655日)
否定新穷人的出现,并不表示新穷人,贫民区不会出现
2006年行动党没有重视新穷人,2011年大选终于被‘新穷人运动’击倒,输了一个集选区。

当然,这不是说后港,阿裕尼甚至榜鹅东有比较多新穷人,而是,这里的人比较看得清,新穷人,贫民区是有可能在新加坡出现的。在局势还没有继续恶化下去前,总要有人带头提醒行动党政府,事情的严重性。在不注意贫富问题,在不扭转穷人的命运,全国其他地区的人民也会和后港,阿裕尼榜鹅东的人民一样,否定行动党。 
统计局资料显示贫富差距继续扩大,总理说引进
超级亿万富豪后,会再恶化下去。



总理的价值观,贫富差距无妨。

这里再一次引用总理的话: 
“如果能多吸引10个亿万富翁移居新加坡,基尼系数(gini coefficient)可能恶化,但新加坡人会因为他们带来生意、机会和就业机会而受益。” (早报)

林瑞生不认可新穷人,总理接受贫富继续恶化。林瑞生认为穷人,低收入人士可以通过培训,提高收入。到底政府这几年做到了没有?总理接受贫富差距扩大,认为可以带来商机和工作机会,真的能够做到吗?如果低收入人士实际工资还是像过去几十年一样,没有增加,那不是有更加多新穷人吗?说不定,这些人看准一个地方,集中在一起,形成一个贫民区。

那么,总理的道德价值是建立在什么上面?增加价值,增加国民所得。为超级亿万富豪增加价值,从中新加坡也分到一些。但是,他们没有考虑到新的旧的穷人有没有分到,他认为可以通过政府的津贴穷人计划,帮忙穷人,低收入家庭。

过去几十年,我国经济不是都是通过增加价值的手段来提高国民所得吗?怎么贫富差距越拉越大。从早期的鼓励外来投资,带来了经济增长,接着引进外来人口,外来人才,也是为了增加价值,再到现在的超级富豪,更是为了为他人增加价值,然后自己得到一些。至于如何分配这些外人留下的剩余价值,几十年来,都是行动党说了算了。喜欢分多少给穷人,行动党说了算了。不喜欢的时候,就拿这些津贴,这些组屋提升计划来威胁选民。

外人可以来也可以去,只要这里没有增加他们财产价值的机会,他们便会到其他地方去投资。这是行动党经常说的。国人要珍惜外来的投资外来的人才,但是,刚好就是这些人可以来去自如,不留下一片彩云财运。行动党诸公当然有所收获,高工资平安入袋。人民呢!穷人呢!就要看行动党政府的脸色。

总理的价值观是建立在增加价值上,没错,但是,增加后的价值,却没有和国人分享,就是问题的所在。他还为贫富差距加大辩护,差距加大有理。这个差距加大刚好就是建立在压低低收入人士的身上。

当然,政府会说通过培训,通过训练,可以提高生产力,这样就是个人增加价值,工资也会提高。但是,生产力运动,不是现在才提出。80年代就有了。搞了几十年的运动,为何还是在原地踏步,贫富差距没有拉近,反而加大。这不是分配是什么问题呢!


Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Trilemma of Singapore and its property market

There is nothing much the government can do to help Singaporeans under the trilemma of international finance, especially an effective money supply policy.

As far as we maintain free flow of capital and stable (managed float) exchange rate policies, we will be in a difficult position to have an effective money supply to help Singaporeans. 
We will also not be able to maintain low interest rate and have to follow the trend of international finance.

The recent downgrade of our banking system is an example of this trilemma. International buyers of our financial assets, including property, have full right to move their money in and out of Singapore.  Also to maintain our position as a financial centre, we have to allow the free flow of capital.

As regards to exchange rate, a depreciated Singapore dollar will result to higher inflation.  Singaporeans are complaining about price increases of almost everything. Cost of living is a political issue in Singapore but it has nothing to do with international buyers of financial assets and they look for returns. The Moody’s report is pointing to assets inflation and high debt of local people. If the returns are no more attractive, international buyers can move their money away from Singapore with a rather stable S$ exchange rate.  In fact, they lose very little.  They can always come back after assets inflation and weaker S$. Their returns may be even higher considering the huge drop in financial assets and weaker S$ in Singapore.  

To effectively arrest the situation, an effective money supply policy is needed but it is quite impossible to achieve under the trilemmna of international finance. If you recall how Malaysia and Thailand/Indonesia reacted to the financial crisis, you will have a clear picture. Malaysia stopped the free flow of capital so that it can have effective money supply policy.

What is the trilemma of international finance?

source: blog.telegraph.co.uk

It basically tells us you cannot have all the good things in one go. You have to choose two out of three policies and cannot have all the three policies at the same time.

To understand the issue, The New York Times has this easy article to help you understand trilemma. #1 We can draw a simple table to show how different countries based on this article of their trilemma position:


Free flow of capital
Effective
Monetary policy
Stable exchange rate
USA
Yes
Yes
No
China
No
Yes
Yes
Individual European countries
Yes
No
Yes

Singapore’s situation is quite similar to individual Euro-zone country, e.g., Grace or Spain. They cannot have an effective monetary policy of their own.

The reasons for our ineffective monetary policy are different from Grace or Spain or Portugal but the aftermath is the same.  The government, however clever however smart and how many million salary collected, is not able to help Singaporeans under the trilemma of international finance.

Of course, if you are rich enough to act and work like an international buyer of financial assets, you will be benefited from the trilemma system. You can restructure your portfolio you can park your money overseas for future advantages in Singapore.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is right to point out the risk of higher interest rate and bubble property market but has failed to explain the operations of international finance that is against the small not so rich property buyers.

Individual Singapore property buyers are in fact casino-ing in a closed market called Singapore. They don’t have the luxury and capability to move their money out of Singapore. They have to stick with the assets inflation and deflation in Singapore property casino.

International buyers are operating in the open world market.  They don’t need loan to buy a property and international financial advisors and our professionals, be it lawyers, accountants, financial institutions, are all willing to help them.  Even they sell their property at a loss, they can still come back to buy cheaper properties later. Can our not so rich property buyers do that? Perhaps, bankruptcy is waiting for them.

Ordinary Singapore property buyers are not in equal position as international buyers.  Of course, the government likes to see the blooming in property market so that they can collect more taxes and fees.  And then, when there is a crash, they can use the money to help Singaporeans? High hope!

They are caught in between too. International buyers move their fund out with a stable S$ but the MAS cannot come out with an effective monetary policy under the trilemma.

The most the government can do is to tell you
“Property market stabilising but curbs will stay: Tharman”#2.  DPM Tharman also confirmed international buyers are looking for yield here.   

[Curbs recently imposed on foreign home buyers, such as higher stamp duties, are meant as a disincentive rather than an outright restraint, Mr Tharman said.
"It's not a closed-door policy because Singapore has to remain an open market," he said. "But we've put some sand in the wheels, a fair bit of sand in the wheels, and it's having some effect at the top end."
Mr Tharman added that rich foreigners are picking up properties here to seek higher returns, not to squirrel away money from authorities at home.
"Most of the demand for property in Singapore has been a search for yield rather than a search for a place to keep ill-gotten money," he said. ] #2

What happen if there is no good yield here?  The result is outflow of capital. However, DPM Tharman is less concern about this risk as he claims:

"Both the injection of liquidity that came with quantitative easing and the potential withdrawal are discomforts but are not going to pose fundamental risks." #2

So, are we expecting higher property price before it goes down as there is no or small fundamental risks currently? (Risks are always there as DPM Tharman sees USA and Europe are more ‘domestic’ rather than more “international’ now).  

No matter what, ordinary Singapore property buyers have to recognise the fact that they only have limited funds to play in this property casino.  Just like the 2 casinos in Singapore, just before playing you have already lost S$100 in a closed market environment.  It only looks open and international to international players and buyers.  

Good luck!


#1

#2


Monday, 15 July 2013

守住你的承诺, 太傻!


守住行动党给予的承诺,会不会太傻呢!什么承诺?搞好政治,清廉政治,搞好经济,持续增长,正确的政治带来正确的经济发展。我们守着这个承诺,一守就守了50多年。再守下去,是不是太傻了呢!

还是由人民自我判断,由选民自我做决定,比较民主,比较现实,比较接近事实。小贩中心的清理工作,谁是谁非,公道自在人心,行动党如果正如总理所说的那样清廉,那样政治正确,选民自然就会选择行动党,让行动党继续执政下去,总理又何必贼喊捉贼呢!

原本已经快要结束的小贩中心天花板清理事件,在国会又被提出来。行动党当然认为依然有戏可唱,《太傻》这首歌可以一再的唱下去,可以大大打击工人党,这个头号政敌。谁知道一方有意再追下去,另一方却不加理睬,叫人民自行判断。

自行判断是不是推诿责任,总理通过其秘书是这么认为。 
【总理新闻秘书张俪霖受询时说,环境及水源部长维文医生和李总理都分别在国会和前天的声明,指阿裕尼—后港—榜鹅东市镇理事会正副主席林瑞莲与毕丹星作出虚假和不诚实的陈述,以及他们试图掩饰市镇会的过失。 “但刘先生的最新声明没有正式解答任何严重质疑,因此这些质疑仍然没有受到反驳。”】(早报)

如果,我们看英文原文, “Mr Low’s latest non-statement addresses none of these serious charges, which therefore stand unrebutted.” Non-statement, none unrebutted 一连用用了三个否定式的语气,总理可能很喜欢这种否定式的用法,难怪,工人党对总理的声明,也是不理不睬,否定式的给予回答,让人民决定。

或许,否定式的语气,有着特别的用意。 看,这段文字多美,一连出现三个否定式。一般人,可能写不出来。但是,它似乎欠缺文字的严肃。否,否,否后,让人有点不知所云。这是行动党的象徵,否定他人,只有自己最好。这是行动党的文化,自我感觉良好,错的是别人,不是自己。所以,下笔行文,都是否定他人式的。

让人民决定有什么不好。政府做的任何事情,都是要由人民来判断的。四年或者五年一次的大选,不就是由选民来做决定,维文部长如果真的对工人党议员的诚信不信任,真的认为工人党市镇会有严重过失,他就应该向行动党中央建议,由他带领一支集选区的团队,来阿裕尼,说服选民,他的诚信比工人党议员高,选民不应该选择工人党团队,而选他作为代议士。

如果维文这么做,那么,新加坡人民就会认为,行动党是讲真的。那么,我们就可以继续傻傻为行动党守着这个政治承诺,搞好正确的政治,把不清廉的工人党踢掉,让行动党把市镇管好,建立世界第一的市镇管理水准, 也让国会继续在没有激烈辩论下,维持世界第一的水平。

我们期待维文到阿裕尼来,把不诚实的工人党挤掉。只是,会不会又是只见楼梯响,不见人下来。既然,工人党提出让人民自行判断,维文就应该接受这个挑战,前往阿裕尼挑战不诚实的工人党。这才是一种承诺,一种担纲。

从这里也可以看出行动党的政治智慧,总理,维文的政治智慧。不论搞不搞好政治,不论政治正确与否,
如果欠缺政治智慧,出发点有问题,那么,人民,选民,在作出判断时,就会根据自己的意愿来决定,来投票。而不会受到否定式的说教所影响。行动党企图以否定来叫人民否定工人党,人民却选择自我判断。

事情的进一步发展,就是考验人民对行动党的承诺有多少了。50多年的承诺,到头来,依然是一个无法落实的承诺。新加坡誓约是一个承诺,我们落实了多少?

我们是新加坡公民,
誓愿不分种族、言语、宗教,
团结一致,
建设公正平等的民主社会,
并为实现国家之幸福、繁荣与进步,
共同努力。

公正平等,我们做到多少?共同努力,我们又做了多少?不然,为何来个全国对话?

请问一下,你对国家的承诺有多少,你对行动党的承诺又有多少?看来行动党本身已经无法完成国家誓约的承诺。因此,我们又何须要承诺行动党过去的政治。我们不需要对行动党有所承诺,因为,行动党的政治智慧,根本承诺不出什么东西来。他们有的是否定的教材,选民可要在这否,否,否中,找出真理,自己判断,而不需要在行动党的承诺中迷失方向。

《太傻》,守住你的承诺, 是新加坡人的歌,你不妨听听看,自行判断,要不要为行动党守住行动党的承诺,而不是你自己的承诺。



Saturday, 13 July 2013

Right Politics, Clean Politics and Is this a Right and Clean Political Strategy?


Fixing and discrediting the oppositions are always the strategies of the PAP. Is the recent PAP right and clean political strategy any difference from the past?  Will it work this time?

Microsoft is more creative but less fortunate than the PAP. Its Window OS for smartphones is fighting for  thrd position. www.docstoc.com 

The Prime Minister had issued statement on right and clean politics and we can claim that it is now the official PAP political strategy on the matter of ceiling cleaning at hawker’s center.  This is not a new strategy.  However, it did work in the past and had successfully discredited politicians like JBJ and CSJ. Will it work this time, especially the aim of the strategy is to discredit the whole party, WP and not individuals.   

Perhaps, we have to ask why the whole party. For this, we have to think of several ‘no sure wins’ of the PAP:
  • In any future elections, there is no sure win for PAP against WP.  It is an even fight, especially in the eastern part of Singapore and those seats that WP had contested before.  
  • There is no sure win voters will believe the PAP is an honest and clean party.  It has failed to explain many issues (in a clean and right way) like the AIM, management of reserve, population, and haze etc.    
  • No sure win, of course, also touches on the economic front. This mighty power of the PAP is not able to solve many of the social and economic problems, like housing, medical, education, and jobs etc.  

The three just named ‘no sure wins’ will certainly cost more votes lost to the PAP in 2016.  And the number one enemy is of course the WP. The more seats WP contests in 2016, there will be more seats lost to the PAP.  

Under this circumstance, the PAP should come out with new and creative strategies, be it be more transparent or creating more quality jobs for Singaporeans.  Unfortunately, it is using old (and outdated) strategy to fight a new war.

PAP is less creative than Microsoft

Microsoft just announced they are restructuring their business to face the changes and challenges.  Microsoft knows they cannot forever Window OS for value creation.  The Window OS will not bring in value and profit as before.

What are the changes and challenges? People are buying more I pads, IPhones, smartphones, and less PCs. Window OS is not suitable for the new change and challenge. Microsoft is fighting very hard for the third position after Android and Apple’s iOS.  It is competing with Blackberry OS and other competitors for third position in the smartphones market.

What a mighty Microsoft has to be contained in a new profitable market (smartphones and iPads) for a less favorable position?  Can it beat others and be No.3? We don’t know.

Now look at the situation in Singapore, especially in social media. Is the PAP a favorable brand in the social media? Like Microsoft, it is fighting for third position after WP and SDP.

PAP is more fortunate than Microsoft?

Instead of facing competition and restructure itself, the PAP chooses the opposite. They go back to the old way – fixing and discrediting the oppositions. Microsoft is less fortunate.  They don’t have the privilege to use government resources to fight their enemies. Microsoft has to face the real challenge.  

But the PAP chooses not to face the real challenge. They choose the easier way.  They choose to restrict and control the social media. The new ruling on social media in Singapore is certainly using authority’s power to restrict competition.  This is why international internet giants have to show concerns about this development in Singapore.

As a proof, this is why the PAP is less creative than Microsoft but more fortunate than Microsoft (temporarily) in controlling a new profitable market (social media and smartphones).  How long can the old strategy and government control work for the PAP? Microsoft knows the future of Window OS for PCs, how come our million-dollar ministers and talented all over the placed PAP does not recognize the market change?

The PAP is so comfortable with the old strategy and it refuses to change. It knows it is losing in the new market of social media.  But the traditional market is still big enough to make a profit and pay million-dollar salary to ministers. So, it has to strengthen its position in the traditional market (mainstream media MSM).

Using MSM to maintain 60% votes

Regardless of whether the new ruling will affect the PAP’s position in the new media, there is one thing for sure: MSM is controlled by the PAP.  And people who read MSM are the majority of the 60% voted for the PAP in 2011.

The PAP has to discredit WP and other oppositions in the MSM so that this 60% will continue to vote for the PAP in 2016.  The PAP knows they will lose some or more votes even in the MSM but it is important to restrict and arrest the sudden drop of votes.

The current (old and repeated) PAP strategy is still working with voters, especially those die-hard PAP supporters; those never read social media, and new citizens.

It is a political strategy to maintain the 60% votes or at least when facing WP candidates to obtain 51% votes.   

The ceiling cleaning dispute after all is not that clean and right from the strategic point of view. However, the fact is Microsoft is facing an open market and subject to open competition. However, the PAP is still able to operate under a monopoly competition environment.

So, the right politics and clean politics that the PM is talking is not an open competition.  It is interesting to see how and what strategy will the PAP apply in an open and transparent environment.

Do they have the creativity and innovation to face the real challenge?