Friday, August 28, 2015


The PAP is not serious, is it? It is fielding a relatively lightweight team of mostly rookie candidates in the Aljunied GRC ward to battle the tried and tested WP team that includes its founder leader, Mr Low Thia Kiang and its Chairman, Ms Sylvia Lim. We can read it two ways:

1. Aljunied GRC is an almost surely a lost cause. The WP has become so entrenched that dislodging them will be a Herculean task. So no point sacrificing Ministers. Remember that George Yeo was a significant loss to the party and the government. This PAP team is expendable.

2. The PAP believes that the WP's reputation and competence has already been torn to shreds so that whoever (read PAP) contest the ward will surely win against the WP. It won't be a walkover, of course not, but the WP won't stand a chance as the PAP steamroller comes to town.

Whichever, my sense is that the PAP does not think that its chance of winning back Aljunied GRC is very high. But then, you never know. The same way that George Yeo was defeated may come back to haunt the WP this time around.

p.s. I stand corrected. WP's founder was the late David Marshall.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Development economics - 101

For those of you who are wondering where the free book "UNDP and the making of the Singapore's Public Service" reported in the Straits Time might be available online, I found a copy here:

You do need to sign up to the Issuu site, but it is worth it for the sheer amount of popular publication such as quite current magazines, available for free on Issuu.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Q for the money

It is said that Singaporeans like to queue. This is proof yet again. Long lines were seen outside of banks. Singaporeans were seen queueing on 20th August 2015 to exchange their money for newly designed notes that commemorates Singapore's Golden Jubilee. Although $20 million worth of the new notes will be printed, enough for all Singaporeans, people just love to queue. Yesterday morning, before the bank was opened, some people had already staked their positions in a queue in front of the bank entrance. Hello...this is not the launch of Apple's latest gadget.

This is proof yet again that Singaporeans are not as hardworking, as in being productive, working late, typically till 7-8pm,  as they have been made out to be. They would rather stand (or sit) in a queue for hours on end than to do something more productive. The only way in which Singapore has any hope of increasing the productivity of its workforce is to replace these people with robots. No no no, the robot won't replace the person in the queue, they'll replace the person in the workplace.

Singaporeans like to queue, right? Its a distinctly Singapore thing, uniquely Singapore...sigh....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Times and Seasons

Election fever is in the air in Singapore, as Defence Minister, Mr Ng Eng Hen announced. What better time to light up the fire of the election machinery of the PAP than in this Jubilee year? And what better year to hold a General Election? There is speculation that polling day will be 12 September 2015, the last day of the Ghost month. Some have even spoken about this date with certainty, as if they have the inside track on the PM's thoughts. But I'd say it isn't a bad bet.

As the days and weeks progress towards that date, the PAP has been revealing its slate of candidates, with many MPs either retiring or moving from their wards. On the other hand, the WP, being the only opposition party, has stated that its sitting MPs are staying put. The PAP can afford to play musical chairs because its proposition, its selling point, has never been about the MP, the candidate. It is about the Party. So it doesn't matter if the incumbent moves away. (Well, I am wrong here. It matters because if the incumbent stayed on to fight, he/she will lose, for sure). But the PAP's spin is that the replacement will be just as good - its a tag team, bro. That's why you sometime never knew that that person is an MP. Let me qualify that - a PAP MP.

While the WP seem to be holding together, and the other pretenders too. However the NSP imagines that it has invested too much into the constituency of Macpherson to back out now and are therefore reneging on its earlier promise. No wonder that its Sec-General resigned! How to gain the trust of the people when a party behaves so dishonourably even before elections are called? Better balek kampong lah.

Bread and milk

Breadtalk didn't really have to stop selling its "fresh" soya milk, really. It just has to learn to tell real 'fresh' milk from, err..not real 'fresh' milk, that's all. Short of having a cow (or soya milk making apparatus at the back of the kitchen), this is what fresh milk looks like:

It would have saved itself 50,000 pork floss buns, a red face and a lot of goodwill. While nobody is complaining about those freebies, for some, the damage is already done..

Sunday, August 09, 2015

50 years observed

There is something about the number 50. Maybe it is a nice round number that a 49 cannot match though the Chinese mark it as perfection (7x7=49).  In many cultures, 7 signifies perfection, does it not? Yet half a century appears more significant. Maybe it is a half-way mark to a century - and a century is a long time. Even with longer lifespans, only a select few can ever hope to live beyond. Perhaps that is why we celebrate 50 years with a vengeance because those of us who have lived the first 50 years will never see the next 50th year celebration, which our children will. What will it be called? A centenary jubilee? There isn't a word invented to mark the century mark in the same fashion. The longest is the Ruby jubilee, signifying and celebrating an occasion's 80th year of existence. But as has always been the case, Singapore will name a stone worthy of the occasion 50 years hence. It has so far defied conventional wisdom about small island nations, and prospered beyond all expectations. Nobody who has lived in Singapore over the last half century and seen the developments can deny that. Which brings us to the next hottest issue in town - will the sitting government, which has ruled for the last 50 years, continue to do so if it calls a General Election in this Golden Jubilee year?

All signs point to a GE this year, what with the publication of the electoral boundaries, all of which has been redrawn in favour of the ruling PAP government. The government has already broken the bank account to make sure everybody gets a super-duper good time these few days. It can boast of a newly minted world heritage site that is the Singapore Botanic Gardens. As the PM has said, Singapore is a home owning country, and almost 950,000 of these home-owners, or heartlanders, will get $400 or more by the end of the year. There is certainly a feel-good factor in the air which any government will be foolish to ignore.

The biggest opposition party has already stated that they are not for regime change, and probably will not wish for it, not right now. So, overall, the PAP can expect a renewal of the mandate to govern. It'll add to the feel-good atmosphere of Singaporeans exercising their right to vote. It will validate whatever celebrations that has gone before this Golden Jubilee Year.