Thursday, September 16, 2010

Optically Challenged Minister

For a trained ophthalmologist, Vivian Balakrishnan must be way out of practice if he thinks Singaporeans can't spot the $79.8 million (of the total $387 overblown YOG budget) anomaly classified as "Other costs". Surely such a large outlay demands more details and transparent accounting? Did they buy a private jet to fly the Olympic torch or charter one? Does the "medical services" item buried in "Other costs" include the cost of condoms distributed during the Games? And why was it necessary to issue free rubbers in the first place - to protect our locals from a calibrated influx of foreign crap (rhymes like clap, meaning probably same)?

With a PAP dominated parliament, he must know he will be lobbed only soft balls when called to account for the gross misuse of public funds. When Singapore bidded $104 (US$75) million against the Moscow challenge of US$175, and with the Minister's own admission that "Moscow has hosted Olympic Olympic Games before, it has hosted Youth Games before, and they know what they are doing," why didn't he learn from the experts? Balakrishnan puts the blame for the debacle on his ministry's lack of experience in organising a "sports extravaganza on such an Olympian scale." Well, he should look himself in the mirror to see who is the inexperienced one, not only as an event organiser, but also as an overpaid Minister.

Again, in character with his personal penchant for highlighting the flaws of others without admitting foibles of his own, Balakrishnan said this of the Resort World Sentosa management on the subject of the free shuttle bus services targetted at the heartlands, "Because the profit motive is so strong, I don't believe there will ever be a final solution." The corollary of this is that with a Minister motivated by a million dollar paycheck, there will be no solution in sight for the future of Singapore. Of course, Singaporeans could see another eye doctor to remove the political cataract clouding their vision, and save our hard earned sovereign funds from being raped for another showboating extravaganza.

[Update: Someone has posted the link to the original budget. Click here for the screen capture.]


  1. It would be a wise move on the part of the ruling party to reduce the salaries of their ministers before the elections. I think people are beginning to see that highly paid ministers cannot improve the quality of life for the average singaporean.

  2. The Singapore govt owes the Russian govt a big apology for undercutting its bit will a load of crappy estimate well below, as we all now know it, actual cost.

    Is it possible NOT to be cynical about the reply given in parliament by VB for the cost 'overrun' which in fact wasn't but an ACTUAL and DELIBERATE underestimation to pip Moscow? Who can blame the Russian PM and President if they now harbour anger against this red dot? BY HOOK OR BY CROOK, IT SEEMS!

    Therein lies the danger for Singaporeans - we have officer bearers who would stoop to any measure to get things their way and later excused themselves without any sense of regrets (of course, we are by now all too familiar with such behaviour after HC's famous, 'no regrets' and MRs GCT's 'peanuts' comments!

    There is no honour among thieves, it would seem.

  3. VB..juz tell us frankly HOW MANY CONDOMS ISSUED and what happended to the remaining like the tickets???

  4. >>the Moscow challenge of US$175

    Thank God the russian did not have talented Ministar like our. How in the hell did they dare to bid with this miserable amt...Our VB said it - any idiot would've compare to cost of Beijing Olympic.

  5. I read somewhere this isn't actually the FIRST youth olympics. A similar one was held before by the IOC but it failed and IOC did not broach the idea until recently. Reason? It failed, much like the one that just happened. So vivain is technically not speaking the truth.

  6. IT equipment: $97million. that's almost the Whole Sum spore bid for the games!! did no one check out how much the equipment would cost before bidding?

    venues etc: $76million. that's about Two Thirds the Sum bid! did no one bother to get an estimate of how much the work would cost before the bid?

    other costs: $80 million. that's about Two Thirds of the bid!! what was it spent on?

    did no one do a simple back of the envelop costing before the bid? the grossly high over-run in budget is not a matter of being naive or even stupid, its flagrant irresponsibility. makes you wonder what other figures given us are plucked from the air. and what does all this say about those handling our billions?

  7. wat tokin u?9/16/2010 9:30 PM

    "Moscow has hosted Olympic Olympic Games before, it has hosted Youth Games before, and they know what they are doing." - minister Bala

    Is this his backhanded way of admitting that he did not know what he was doing? Did Bala and his whole team simply charge into the bidding without so much as doing a study of the project and its costing? Was the winning bid submitted purely to win regardless of how ridiculously inaccurate it might be?

    Excuse me but 300% inaccuracy is surely not a laughing matter and no carpet made is big enough to hide it!

  8. It seems that whatever this idiot Ministar touches, it will turn into a nightmare that will continue to haunt him forever.

    Remember :

    Where do you expect to have your 3 meals
    we promise to have them deliver to you;
    To build our International Sports Complex
    you can take your own sweet time;
    Don't be selfish and small minded
    if we buy atheletes for their awards;
    How can we guarantee success for YOG
    if the budget is not exceeded!

  9. Our overpaid million dollar minister was outsmarted by a lowly salaried Russian official!

  10. If the "others" category can amount to a sum as high as the top category in terms of expenditure, then surely the items in the category can be reclassified under new categories! They would surely amount to more than "education and culture". One big cat hidden in the bag :(

  11. Sadly, he got away scot-free, barely challenged. Only in Singapore can this happen. We are the suckers.

  12. Did I read wrongly or did the ST report wrongly? Dr VB was quoted in the ST that the last time Singapore hosted a multi-sport international event was the SEA Games in 1973. I remembered that we hosted it twice after that, in 1983 and 1993. Check out the Wiki entry:
    And this guy is the Minister in charge of sports???

  13. VB also made a faux pas by saying it is hard to get MPs to attend the whole session of Parliament and most of the time Parliamentary sessions are poorly attended (like most of the YOG events). Well, there is a diff. People have to pay to go to YOG events. MPs are paid $13K a month (at least) to attend parliament. We should have a shame list to see the attendance records of MPs for parl hearings. The list should also show how long they stay. As VB said, many just mark attendance and then chabot.

  14. "many just mark attendance and then chabot"
    They should do what MOE did to the school kids - make them pay a deposit, refundable only after they show up for attendance!

  15. @Pecos Bill
    reduce salary now before election, we all know that if they win they will raise their own salaries again if they have majority