Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Man Made Disasters

According to James Palmer's "Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes", the natural disaster of Tangshan claimed about 650,000 lives, while the unnatural disaster of Mao's Cultural Revolution caused the deaths of 6 or 7 millions. The earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale in 1976 - the energy released by the seismic wave was equal to 400 times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima - was less deadly than the man-made mistakes of Chairman Mao who died in September of the same year.

Speaking on the platform of the ESS' (Economic Society of Singapore) annual dinner, PM Lee Hsien Loong boasted how well Singapore has performed, "In terms of per capita GDP we are slightly above US$50,000 (S$64,000) last year, which placed us 11th world¬wide, ahead of the USA." He reminded his audience that in a similar speech in 2003, he had personally outlined then how he could transform Singapore into a dynamic, global city. What he did not take credit for was what he termed the "daily stresses and strains" i.e. more crowding in public places, housing and public transport falling behind the needs of a larger population, friction between locals and new arrivals. That he would lay blame on the moaners and the groaners.

It was a far cry from the "apology" at a lunchtime election rally of May 2011.
"...because of the IR, more Singaporeans are at risk of problem gambling, more families are at risk. High growth is good, but because of growth, we have to take in somewhat more foreign workers, we have to be prepared to accept a little bit more congestion for the time being.

...These are real problems – we will tackle them, but I hope you will understand that when these problems vex you or disturb you or upset your lives, please bear with us, we are trying our best on your behalf. And if we didn’t quite get it right, I’m sorry, but we will try and do better the next time."

Compare the know-it-all posturing at the ESS dinner to what Khaw Boon Wan abjectly acknowledged during the Hougang by-election rally,
"...But infrastructure, especially housing and transport, could not cope with the sudden increase in population. We are adjusting the policies, slowing down the growth of foreign population, while ramping up the infrastructure.

These national issues are of concern to all Singaporeans, not just those in Hougang. The Government is attending to them. We are confident that within 4 to 5 years, the situation should improve significantly."

Singapore is fortunate in that we do not lie within prominent seismic zones, such as the Alpide, which extends from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic. What we suffer most is from egoists who think they alone have all the answers, and refuse to own up to their duds.


  1. Some just do not see it.

    There are already more than two other pieces, tearing apart his speech.

    Sad, very sad.

  2. This is the way the elite are trying to frame the issue: they are trying to make us find a balance between increasing taxes and social programs (read the ST link below)


    This has never been about raising taxes vs social programs. This is about wasteful defense spending (2 year NS, buying arms etc), low taxes ON THE RICH (millionaires, banks, transnational corporations) VS a rational tax structure which channels savings to the needs of the common worker i.e targetted universal health care etc..

    Hsien Loong and the special interest groups do not want to wrestle with these issues in the way Prof Lim Chong Yah does with his proposals.


    1. Just increase the marginal income tax for top earners, and corporate taxes and capital gains taxes and estate duties. Make sure the rich who want to relocate to Singapore pay their fair share of taxes - because these are the culprits of our high inflation.

      12 billion allocated for defence, but they are willing to spend 7 to 8 billion on the north south expressway. For who - the Ferrari maniacs? Just cut down on immigration and save on infrastructure expenditures.

      They will not change because of the special interest groups. Still GDP at any cost. Singapore has gone to the lap dogs. Maybe we need a dose of recession and a property bubble collapse to wake their ideas up.

    2. Dear Anon 12:23

      You are right!!!!! Enormous savings can be harnessed through changing our prioirities in the national budget.

  3. Tigers can never change their stripes. This continual obsession with worldwide rankings and growth at all costs shows that promises to listen and empathy of the people's plight is just hot air, again indicating that nothing but ballots can move the tiger from the mountain, and that 40% is still not enough. The people are made to shoulder the social and economic costs of wrong policies pushed by the govt, in the form of higher costs of living, COEs, housing, cramped transportation etc. The govt errs, the people pay. Sweet.

  4. He is not sorry because he is right. Let the NTUC and PA cheerleaders cheer him on. Let the old media paint a sanguine picture of the "transformed" Singapore under his leadership. Let them party until the roof comes down. There is always a lights-off time, isn't it? Only "duds" can see it coming,

  5. Cova Restaurant in Paragon is closing --> workers retrenched --> poor business ? --> expensive ? --> high costs ? --> high rental ? ---> Paragon --> owned by SPH --> belongs to Govt --> obscene Minister pay & bonuses

    Maybe before he talks cock again, can he return back to the basics ? Just see the above clear example how jobs can be lost because of the Govt's obsession in increasing revenue at all costs ?

    Or maybe explain the example of how they can arrived at the administrative charge of S$37 for a policlinic visit with the ultimate aim to finally show our Govt's generous subsidy of over S$20 at each bill ? And how come their administrative cost can remain the same every year for the past few years ?

    For a moment, can our PM stop spinning lies again ?

  6. The egotists will never get praise from their people. So they pander after foreigners to win their praise. The so-called high per capita GDP does not reflect the gross inequality. It is nothing to be proud of. All the money is but in the hands of the few elites while the rest of the people suffer.

  7. I am sick of hearing all these GDP thing. To the men on the ground this means nothing. What happened to our salary? What happened to job opportunities?

    GDP figures if not translated to salary increase is of no use to us.

  8. It is good to be a mini-star that is part of the ruling party in Sinkieland. 10 reasons why:

    1) High Pay, in fact, highest in the world.

    2) Sure win place + Low chance of being replaced or retrenched, practically zero if you are the elite with the favoured surname, only since 2011 the percentage has increased somewhat.

    3) Even if get booted, will probably have parachute to some GLC. Life is good.

    4) No accountability - You don't have to say anything if you don't want to. Cite sensitivity and defence issues when push comes to shove. Mistakes? What to do it's happened, let's move on.

    5) As stated, no natural disasters to sort out. At most it's 'ponding', and that occurs every 50 years.

    6) Able to talk cock and mud-sling with full backing of mainstream media.

    7) No need to fulfil campaign promises. Other politicans in other countries also do that, but at least they make some effort for a year or so before stating problems.

    8) Offspring and extended family get plethora of benefits. Oh sorry, they are good enough and smart enough to make it on their own. My bad. Please retract my previous statement.

    9) No need to monitor budgeting issues if you don't want to. 3 to 4X budget. Is still justifiable.

    10) Still need a 10th? We cannot have an unthinking adoption of Western practices of development without any pruning and modification to suit our circumstances.
    There is a conspiracy to do us in, they see us as a threat. We are a unique case. Don't compare our circumstances with other countries with hinterlands. We are different. And if you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana.

  9. This government is too proud of itself to own up to its mistakes!

    They will only get in a 'sorry' mode in 2016!

  10. Please bear with us, we're trying our best not to hurl expletives at your cabinet ministers. And if we didn't quite get it right, we're sorry but we'll try and do better the next time, like taking our dissatisfaction to the polls and do it the democratic way.

    1. It's official?

      "FOOK OFF" will the the rallying cry of Sinkies at GE 2016?
      Everytime they see a Millionaire-In-White?

  11. Attended a talk recently, one of the speaker said he did not think mimum wage was feasible here. He was right that if it were applied only to Singsporean then these local workers would find it less competitive than those foreign workers ever more. And if it were to applied to the entire workforce here then how are we going to compete in this globalise market? But why had him not mentioned who has caused this delimma in the first place.