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Speak Your Mind, Singapore!
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lighthouse



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject: Speak Your Mind, Singapore! Reply with quote

Finally, we can!: http://views.sg - Speak Your Mind

looks like one site dedicated to forum chatters like us.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13853
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks lighthouse,

Will pay you a visit.

All the best.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tan Kin Lian speaking his mind

Tan Kin Lian has developed a new speak your mind culture in cyberspace. He spoke about things he knows best, insurance. And he went one step further by taking on NTUC Income on the changes in the payout of insurance bonus. He was unhappy when the payout formula was changed and policy holders will be getting less than when he was in charge.

He ran a protest in cyberspace and would have taken the issue to the NTUC Income AGM. Fireworks were expected. Then, pssssst.... He was invited for tea by Lim Boon Heng and Matthias Yao.

As reported in the ST, 'Mr Lim told him that his committee would ensure that Income's policyholders would continue to get good value, while Mr Yao said the restructure was designed to improve Income's solvency position.' Wow, if the payout formula was not changed, Income's solvency will not improve.

Matthias added, 'those who terminate their policies this year would not be in any worse off position compared with the previous bonus structure.' What about those who did not terminate their policies this year? Should they all scramble to terminate their policies so that they will not be worst off?

Anyway, 'Chairman Ng Kee Choe called the restructure a "very carefully considered decision" and one in the best interests of policyholders.' Was the old bonus structure carefully considered?
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being led to believe

You were being persuaded to buy something on the belief that it will perform according to some specifications or will provide some satisfaction to you, or will reward you in some ways. A certain expectation is being built into the transaction. And if it is not met, no deal, or there is a breach of the agreement, in this case a downgrading of expectation.

This is perhaps what the NTUC Income bonus issue is all about. Tan Kin Lian said, 'please keep to your promise.' Is such an expectation unreasonable? Why should the buyer be made to accept terms that make them worst off because the seller has to juggle and improve his solvency problem? The key question here is whether the existing buyers are better off.

Would it be too much to ask for or to demand that the seller keep to its promise to existing buyers and only apply the new terms to new buyers? I thought this is the only decent and ethical thing to do.

Apparently this shifting of the goal posts and applying it to existing buyers and incumbents is the accepted way of doing business here. The changing of the terms of CPF contributions affecting the date of withdrawal, the interest rate, and the withholding of the money saved are similar to changing the terms in an agreement.

The affected people keep quiet, so they are presumed to have given their consent or approval to the changes. The decision maker will say, see, no protest, so the people must be happy. The people who made the changes think that it is ethically and morally right to do so, probably on the declared objective that 'it is for the good of the buyers or incumbents.'

What kind of logic is this? There are many brilliant people here but none of the brilliant people has questioned these changes. Would Ngiam Tong Dow say something on this since he is on a speak your mind spree? Maybe all the super talents share the same logic, that it is alright.

Another Uniquely Singapore feature?
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Transparency versus behind the scene dealings

PN Balji was not too happy that Tan Kin Lian took the issue with NTUC Income public. To Balji, it is better done behind closed doors. I thought transparency is good. Now that the issue is open and no matter the messenger or the way it is being done, right or wrong must be upheld, and so must be the insterest of the consumers.

In this case, Balji's conclusion is that because of the way it was aired in public, the consumers will suffered. He is presuming that all the great leaders will take it personally and will dig in their heels at he expense of the innocent consumers. I believe our leaders are objective and rational people and will rise above personal differences and will put the interest of the consumers first.

Let's see if I am right or Balji is right. Will the consumers be better off or at least not be worst off.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moral and Ethical conduct of people in high office

Whether a person is in the public service or in private organisations, there is this unwritten rule of maintaining a high moral and ethical standard of conduct in the performance of his duty/business. These include making profits and treating their consumers/clients and staff fairly and equitably. Money or profits made through unethical means are ill gotten gains and are to be despised. As we cheered our great monetary wealth, if we allow all the immoral and unethical conduct to go unpunished, it will destroy our social moral fibre and be the cause of our ruin and infamy down the road.

Tan Kin Lian said that he did not know that Income made 7.8% pa yield over the last 10 years. And he was the CEO for some part of this duration I think. I am not sure how long he has left Income. What's happening?

And Income was paying out bonuses to its policyholders that 'were lower than orignally projected, due to the cut in bonus in some of the previous years.' He 'felt that it is more important for these past bonus cuts to be restored, subject to financial solvency.'

I think anyone reading his article published in Today would be able to see the kind of problems that are surfacing. And it all boils down to transparency, ethics and moral conduct of how corporations are being run and how consumers are getting an unfair share of what they are deserving. Maybe Income has quoted wrong numbers.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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Location: singapore

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What it could have been

A clean and good looking young professor packing his two kids into his car and driving them to school on a bright morning. On the way to the college he drops his wife to work.

Back in campus, standing in front of bright eyed and eager students delivering his lecture, and the young ladies swooning over him.

A lawyer in court mesmerising the judge and his opposite counsel with his brilliant oratory skills. And at the end of the day drinking at the Cricket Club with all his peers to make merry.

These could be the wonderful lives of Dr Chee Soon Juan, JBJ and Gopalan Nair. Life could be so beautiful and easy. All these are gone now. Is it worth it? They have paid very heavy price to want to participate in the political system of the country. And not only they are suffering, their families are equally badly affected. The wives and children don't deserve all these.

Paradise can be hell for some.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Below is a letter by Huang Chih Mei, wife of Chee Soon Juan which I copied from Sammyboy.com. I am not sure if it is printed in our msm. If does give a different and personal perspective from the family angle of how a family has to cope with the political wrangling and spillover effects.

Singapore, my home too
Friday, 06 June 2008
Dr Chee's children visiting their grannies in TaiwanHuang Chih Mei

We were on our flight back to Singapore from Taiwan. I picked up a complimentary copy of the Straits Times before boarding the plane. My eldest daughter glanced at the front page and read out loudly, "Papa, 12 days; Korkor, 10 days...are they going to jail, again?"

I quickly surveyed those fellow passengers nearby, no one seemed to raise an eyebrow. I presumed they were either tourists or Singaporeans who were not quite on the radar of this island's political watch. For me, I was apprehensive that we were just in time to send them off to prison the next day.

Our kids are great, especially the eldest one who was born when her father was in jail. My then gynecologist was a bit fazed for a moment after sewing me up and looking for the new father for the customary congratulations. He ended up shaking my hand.

We have our kids late, but we always feel thankful that they came at the right time – just when things are getting more difficult and challenging for us, they are best in keeping things in perspective for us.

Several years ago, we met Malaysia's DAP politician Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty when they were invited to speak at a public forum organised by the Open Singapore Centre. During our private conversation, Mr Lim mentioned that their young kids were told that "papa went to work" when he was jailed for 18 months. Subsequently, their children were frighten and didn't want him to leave the house whenever he told them he was going to work. We didn't have kids then, but I sort of learned that it's better to tell children the truth although they might not fully understand why.

Most parents will naturally think of what they can best provide for their own children. But we never know where life will bring us or what fate might deal with our dearest in future. To impart them a positive attitude and right values would go a long way than giving them things material.

Our children are involved in some of their father's activities and they are familiar and comfortable with the people who participate in these activities, too. Apparently, they come to know that these are decent and interesting people to be around and there's nothing sinister or needed to be fearful about. Our youngest boy always enjoys "going to the democracy place to light candles". In Singapore, these are certainly rare occasions that not every child gets to experience.

Before I embarked on my Ph.D. program in the U.S. decades ago, I was rather hesitant and uncertain about the prospect of continuing my miserable student life for a few more years in a totally different university located up north that the weather can get really icy cold in winter. That was about the same time I met my future husband. He was all very encouraging and saying things such as "you've got to have dreams in your life." - the kinds of words we frequently wrote for our composition class in school but we don't actually believe in them. I couldn't help to take a second look at him.

In deed, I had my share of middle class prejudice such as that I would have readily agreed with the opinion that those who cannot provide for their own children financially should not have more than what they can afford. To respect each individual's reproduction rights is just one of the things I have learned over the years. With a life partner of beliefs, I am glad to be exposed to pluralistic ideas as well as humanitarian values and become a more sensible person.

The fact that I am from Taiwan, another Asian country with its own authoritarian past, has somehow equipped me with the ability to empathise with the present Singapore and continue to be hopeful about its future. What we are going through right now is certainly not the best arrangement, but I always believe that the process itself is as significant as its final destination, because often times our best human qualities are redeemed through these unenviable tasks and challenges.

It has become increasingly clear to me that my own destiny and the wellbeing of my family are closely tied to Singapore's political development. To me, it's very important to see Singapore democratised soon.

Dr Huang Chih Mei, Dr Chee Soon Juan's wife, has promised herself to write something every time he goes to jail.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13853
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Chee boomerang

'I would have thought there could be a little more charity in commenting on Chee rather than indulge in augmenting the already prejudicial opinions of this man.' - Anthony Yeo

The tarring of Chee has reached an overkilled position that it is boomeranging and ricocheting in all directions. For many years, people have written Chee off for his ruffian style of confrontation politics. Sensible people just stayed clear of him.

A strange development is happening over the last few weeks. He is getting the sympathic vote that is escaping him all these years. And people are speaking out for him and ignoring his offensive style of politics. More are saying things in his favour, even lambasting the labels tagged on him. The labels are falling off quite rapidly.

There is a kind of disbelief that Chee is so bad.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Master and Student

There is a Buddhist teaching that the person that gives you the most trouble, makes your life miserable and challenging, that person is your master in life. Through all the pains and suffering inflicted by that person, you grow stronger and experience more of the ups and downs of living.

The Lees versus Chees case presents a great opportunity for both parties to grow and become better people. From one party, there are great lessons to be learnt in humility, magnanimity, kindness, and generosity. From the other party, there are lessons in forgiveness, lessons in abrasiveness, graciousness, and lessons in accepting fate.

There are many other lessons to be learnt by both parties. Who is the master and who is the student? Maybe both are masters and students at the same time. They are definitely masters, dishing out lessons. But were they students, learning from the lessons and coming out better at the end?
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Grunt



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 373

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the student is ready ..... the Master will appear !
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Green Peas



Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Madness for Power! Reply with quote

Dear Red Bean,

You are the one who is learning.
You have become their students.

They are both masters in their own rights.

Only difference is KY did not get his masters degree, while SJ not only
got his masters degree but also his PhD in neuropyschology.

One is not a psychologist but tried to label the other as a psycho case,
while the other who happens to be a qualified psychologist but let himself
be called a psycho case without a micro iota of care for that name-calling
because he knows who is the one who is really mad.

Madness for power! The outwards manifestation of this mental illness is
the intense fear of losing power, so much so every single base for power
has been turned into instruments to safeguard that power irrespective
of self-respect and public opinions. That is a self-illusion that is oblivious
of the Emperor without wearing any clothes on.

Surrounded by lap-dogs, sycophants and yes-men/women who are too
eager to please and say only the nicest things as music to the ears, what
can a self-conceited, self-righteous, self-centred, proud and arrogant
man do but fall prey to his own Super Ego?

Over prolonged period of time, without anyone in higher authority to tame
and discipline the incorrigible urge to tell others what to do, the Super Ego
becomes so infected and infested with the virus of greed for power that it
simply turns into Madness.

Paradise is beautiful. Paradise is a make-believe world of madness!

Green Pea.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do Singaporeans want?

The average Singaporeans are not too demanding, I believe. I will venture a guess on what an average Singaporean would think is a decent and comfortable life.

1. To be able to raise a family of 4, ie two children, put them through schools, polytechnic or university, without begging for assistance.

2. To live in a 4 or 5 rm flat, and being able to afford it.

3. To own a car, and be able to bring the family around for leisure. This may be a bit difficult given our space constraint and further complicated by the thoughtless ambitious dream of a 6.5m population.

4. For those without cars, decent public transportation that does not cause them an arm or a leg.

5. Basic medical healthcare that will not empty one's life savings.

6. Able to retire by 60 or 65 without having to work till death.

I don't think the above expectations are unreasonable for a first world country. But it is evident that some of these basic dreams of the average Singaporeans will be unattainable. Bringing up two children is now impossible to a big number of Singaporeans. I was being generous in my earlier post suggesting that a family income of $3k could put a child to university by setting aside about $1k a mth. In reality, many, even with a household income of $4k cannot afford to save $500 pm. $3k is a bit far fetch.

Then to retire at 60 or 65 is going to be very difficult. And buying a 4rm or 5 rm flat is gradually moving out of reach of the average Singaporeans.

Medicare, if hospitalised, is going to bankrupt many Singaporeans or at least empty their live savings.

It is time the govt rethink their policies on what is good for the average Singaporeans to live their lives and at a cost that is manageable. No need to waste so many millions and billions on gardens and world class resort facilities that the average Singaporeans cannot afford to enjoy.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moderations, Mum!

In any discussion or issue, there is always the tendency to go overboard or to take an extreme view. The organ trading is one and will continue to be a hot issue as different people harbour different views arising from their social, religious or cultural background. Unless people are prepared to moderate their positions and take a sensible look at the issue objectively, nothing will change. We will see if there are any fanatics in Parliament on Monday.

Let me just talk about another current issue, babies. Go forth and multiply, so says the lord. And some mothers are literary taking this as a new commandment and wanted to have more and more subsidies or assistance. Careful mummies. 3 or 4 looks a sensible number in view of the high cost of bringing up children and the time and attention available for them. Going beyond such numbers must be the privilege of the very rich who can afford to look after them and pay for them. Expecting the society to pay for such personal interest or affection may be asking a bit too much.

And that is exactly what 5 mummies are asking in their letter in the ST forum today. They are all mothers of 5 or 6 children and wanted the govt to provide more support for the 5th, 6th or more children. It is all good if they are able to provide for themselves if they so choose to have more children. Just keep it as private matters, private endeavours.

The govt is not against people having 5 or more children. Please go ahead if you have the means. If not, be aware of the tragedies that may follow. But for the govt to go all out to support such a desire, we may end up with different problems. Population explosion!

Be sensible and pursue your dreams or hobbies within your ability. Done excessively may not be a good thing. Modern living and lifestyle is very stressful and time demanding, and money demanding. Just take it easy.

And of course these are educated mothers who are aware of the high cost of living and the problems associated with money not enough. Anyone who knows that money is not enough and goes ahead to produce without restraints is very irresponsible. We must be responsible for our own actions.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neo colonialism can save the world

During the days of western colonialism, things were cheap. Cheap labour, cheap land, and low tariffs or no tariffs. The British came and just take over Africa, India and Malaya, including Singapore and many Indonesian islands. And they plant rubber trees on them, mining tin etc. No land cost to talk about.

Then they imported indenture labour cheaply from India and China. No need to pay for work permits, maid licence, levies etc.

And their import and export to their colonies around the world, tax free also, or very low taxes.

A world economic systems built under the same principles of the colonialists must be a god sent solution to the worlds problems. There will be no inflation as all the costs of production will be very low. Instead of planting rubber trees on colonised land, they can opt for palm plantations. But better still, build high rise and high end residences for the rich. And they can sell them cheaper if they want to, as the land is free. Or they can maintain market prices and reap in obscene profits. And some land and sea are rich in oil.

And labour must also be must cheaper as colonised people cannot bargain nor have they any rights or be protected by labour law. The wages can be suppressed and kept very low.

Looking at all the advantageous of colonialism, it looks very attractive for the 21st century!
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