Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Questions I would ask the Prime Minister

Over the course of 2 weeks and in 2 different languages, the PM engaged two dozens of Singaporeans across all walks of life and asked him the pressing questions that they have.

I was wondering what would be the questions I would have asked him. Not discounting that these may not be within the confines of the topics which ChannelNewsAsia has culled from its survey, I think these are important questions for Singaporeans to get answers for:

My questions are:
1) When would the electorate not need the GRC system to support a minority candidate? And what are the steps the government has taken to instil colour-blindedness into the populace to ensure real total defence?

2) When are you going to press charges against Mas Selamat? Afterall, the people who helped him have all been charged and sentenced? To date, Mas Selamat is just a terror suspect. When do you expect to charge him in a court of law?

3) What were the criterias you have put in place to curtail the influx of foreigners? And how will these be tightened moving forward?

4) Can you provide statistics on how many jobs were created for each foreigner we have taken in? And also what is the empirical study which supports that foreigners help to create jobs for locals?

5) How many people are living below the poverty line in Singapore? What is considered by the government a poverty line in Singapore in terms of wages?

6) Given the close relationship between the PAP and the PA and NTUC, what would become of these organisations should the government fall into the hands of an opposition party? Would these national institutions cease to exist? Or would there be a need to co-opt opposition MPs into these organisations.

I think the answers to the above would be telling for the populace to understand.

Of course, no one would allow these questions, but I for one, would like to know his thoughts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

His body language and tone tells us more of him than his words.

RazorTV's clip

Go watch the clip from 4:00mins onwards where MG Chan Chun Sing explains why calls for a reduction in defence spending is a dangeous thing.

MG Chan (in this video) appears to talk down to the reporters and the Singaporeans at large. Take a close look at his mannerisms and the tone of his reply. He is telling you what he knows to be the truth. He understands history and you don't tell him that defence is not important.

Let us analyse a person who speaks like this. He was an ex-general. He has not fought a war or a conflict. He is the chief of army in his early 40s. He is used to be saluted and called Sir. He tells others what to do as a profession. He orders, and his men do the deed. No questions asked.

But now he is a politician. He is not even a parliamentarian yet. He has not won a single vote. He may not need to if his assigned GRC gets a walk over again.

But he comes in here and TELLS Singaporeans what is the truth and what is important.

Let's take a look at the 2011 Budget expenditure on defence.

A total of S$12.075bn is estimated on defence.

Some facts on this amount:
1. This is the single biggest item on the government expenses list.
2. It represents 20% of the government's spending.
3. Every $1 that the government gets from you, it spends $0.20 on defence.
4. It is an increase of $580 million increase from 2010's expenditures.
5. In one year, we have increased our defence 5.2% on what is already a very large base.
6. We have(going to have) in Parliament/Cabinet a large representation of military personnel. Given that this is a large representation in a Cabinet of 12 members, these represents a rather uneven proportion of military representation in the core political office. Are we run by a benign military apparatus?

 - PM Lee
 - Teo Chee Hean
 - George Yeo
 - Lim Hng Kiang
 - Lui Tuck Yew
 - Lim Swee Say

 - MG Chan Chun Sing
 - Col Tan Chuan Jin

7. Not to mention we have many government linked defence organisations in Singapore.
8. The next biggest item on the Budget is education at S$10.9bn. In recent years, the proportion spent on education based on % of GDP has increased, whilst % spent on defence has decreased. However, the amount spent on education is $1.165bn less than defence.
9. We spend 10.6% more on defence than teaching our young and preparing them to be contributors to society. Is that the right priority?

I do not particular disagree with the message that he brings, in that we live in a small country and that for our own security we should really take care of the security of our nation in a careful, considered and holistic manner. That said military defence is only part and parcel of an overall defence strategy.

What I disagree with is the over-reliance on the current regime to call upon the military men who very brilliant in their academic studies and their leadership abilities. These men work for 1 employer their whole life. They rely on a chain of command to execute their duties and they obey orders. They get promoted based on their superiors' assessment, not a P&L. Their achievement as militarymen (and fortunately) is to organise the National Day Parade.

They follow their superiors. They must because in war, men live and die by that.

But do we want so many of them running the country? Do we get empathy from them? Do they understand the private sector and the need for profits and innovation? Do they know when they need to step out of bounds? Do they think there is an alternate voice? Will they listen to their men?

And if you take a look at this video and how MG Chan (brilliant as he must be) answers the reporters' questions... I am not sure he is the right leader for us...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Minister Khaw: We need more information and updates on H1N1

The following report appears in the ChannelNewsAsia website November 24, 2009

27 cases of adverse reaction to H1N1 vaccine reported so far

SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority said on Tuesday that 27 cases of adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of the H1N1 vaccine have been reported so far.
But "these reactions are non-serious anticipated side effects such as fever, rashes, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting", said an HSA spokesperson. "These reactions are commonly expected from all flu vaccines and most of these reactions are resolved within a few days."


HSA said it is closely monitoring the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that are available in Singapore, and doctors are "strongly encouraged" to report all cases where patients have suffered serious side effects due to the jabs. - TODAY/vm

When H1N1 first struck, the health ministry and the populace were shaken to action. We took active preventative measures to curb the rise of cases in the country. We were not entirely successful and we were one of the countries with the highest incidence rate on a per capita basis. We reported cases daily and were concerned about the death rates, new cases and recovered cases.

However, when the cases reached a significant high level, we stopped reporting. Of course, we followed WHO guidelines and it is now at a community level infection. But should we be given more information on at least a monthly basis.

I would like to know the number of new cases each month. This is important information so that we can be constantly reminded on this disease among us. And we continue to take good preventative measures like hand-washing and going out when we are not feeling well.

Are we still coping well in the fight against H1N1? How many deaths are there in Singapore as a result of H1N1? Give us a scorecard, because it is good to know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I need to go to the toilet now so as to avoid going to the toilet for a bigger one later

I like Singapore leaders' logic.

Applying the same logic to a person's life, i can imagine the thought process if the person wants to eat a dinner buffet. Sensing that he is going to have a large bowel to move after the buffet, he starts to take a laxative now, just so to avoid having to move a bigger bowel later (if he indeed have a larger bowel later).

Sorry for my shit logic. But I hope you at least appreciate the possible parallels here.

Reason for property tax hike 

THE property tax of HDB flats is being raised next year partly to avoid having to introduce a bigger increase later should home prices continue to rise, said Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew.

He gave the reason on Sunday when he was asked, at a dialogue with Aljunied-Hougang residents, whether the Government could have delayed it since the recession has just started to ease.

Noting that the adjustment had been delayed once, in 2008, Rear-Admiral (NS) Lui said: 'The problem is the longer you defer it, the larger the increase will be in the property taxes if HDB prices continues to go up.'