Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wait For The Numbers

It was the fog of war that clouded the initial reports of what happened at Benghazi, an act of terror that turned out to be a terrorist attack. That happens when an incident takes place in a foreign country thousands of miles away. But why can't the local media get their details right when something occurs within our own doorsteps?

The number of Chinese nationals involved in the SMRT strike went from 200 to 171, and at last count could actually be 184 (4 charged, 1 sentenced, 29 deported, 150 given a "severe warning"). It was not just semantics at play in the first strike in 26 years (according to the manpower ministry the last strike in Singapore was staged in 1986 by shipyard workers, ignoring the bus strike of 1955), the reporting seems to be malleable to political direction.

The number of casualties at Jurong Shipyard, subsidiary of offshore engineering group Sembcorp Marine, where the jack up legs of a platform were being tested while other workers were still onboard, is currently listed as 89. The ministry says the injured workers were taken to hospitals and 80 were later discharged, with 3 remaining in an emergency ward. They are probably trying to come up with an appropriate adjective for the state of well-being of the balance of 6 humans at risk.

The numbers matter. Expensive overheads like Tan Chuan-Jin depended on data from TODAY and Lianhe Zaobao to account to parliament for the percentages of local workers employed by the two Integrated Resorts (IRs). That's the euphemism used for the gambling joints at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Tan is obviously not prepared to be caught by the number of jobs promised (36,000? 24,000?) that was used to justify the construction of the dens of iniquity. Then chairman of the People's Action Party (PAP), Lim Boon Heng, cried on  national tv while explaining that he agreed on the casino issue only because it had brought jobs to Singapore,  "It is a difficult one for me, because I do not like the idea of using gambling as an industry for Singapore and using that as a means of earning an income."

There is good reason be prudent with the reporting of the major industrial accident at Jurong.  The spot light has just been shone on the welfare of the foreign workers, the (lack of) safety precautions at the shipyards will have to be carefully aired. Brigadier General and Acting Minister of Manpower Tan will probably reprise his line for the SMRT debacle, "The labelling of industrial action such as this is not trivial.. it would then open up  a series of actions that would follow thereafter." The souls at Bukit Brown must be rolling over in their graves.


  1. The last sentence takes the cake. Haha...

  2. All is not well in Singapore! Things started to crack already. Its time the million ministers and team do some serious repair work. Can?

  3. Poor Singaporean12/04/2012 11:13 AM

    In Yijing it states that "things will go the reverse way when pushed to the extreme." Its about time that things start going the reverse way lor...

    1. Cannot.
      Limpeh says all this current problems means that we are not paying enuff for talents.
      Must pay even more.

    2. Can't you guys see what's going on? This is their way of telling you: you cut my pay, you be prepared for substandard governance. You want betterer, fasterer service? Be prepared to pay and pay some more.

  4. The incident happened at around 10am yesterday but the Chinese Wan Pao reported the orignal figures as 40 injured & 2 missing. Separately, the Tiananmen Night Club denies that a Vietnamese hostess was employed despite its customer making a police report about close to S$1m theft.

    What sort of impression that this initial under reporting of figures gives us ? Something fishy about illegal workers being employed ?

    At one of the two Govt approved biggest gambling dens, I came to understand that most of the supervisory & management roles are offered to Foreign Talents mostly Filipinos and many of them will eventually obtain PRs which they will then be classified as locals.

    So is this not the legal loophole that allow companies to manipulate to get away with our job restriction quota about providing jobs to local Singaporeans ?

    If this is indeed true, is there an hidden intention to hide real job statistics about jobs provided by companies ? So is that why we have never been presented clear job statistics separating PRs from local Singaporeans ?

    1. Perhaps Muddy Waters should start investigating the government? Could be stickier than tar.

    2. Haha....

      Muddy Waters investigates Muddy Sin
      and things will get muddier or more muddy?
      all becomes lost in mud.


  5. The sleight of hand with numbers reminds me of the news coverage of the tragic SIA crash in Taipei in 2000. I watched the breaking news on TV while the plane was shown on TV engulfed in flames, and the SIA spokesman said that there were no fatalities. Unfortunately, there were 83 deaths from the crash.

  6. You have to take your hat off to all these spokesmen for making the anncts they do despite evidence to the contrary.

    1. I find our news media entertaining, really!

      And we should keep them since we do not have any comedy of the cerebral kind! Most are slap-stick anyway.

      But seriously folks, reporters here dont know how to dig for dirt. Its a skill. They are very compliant and get news through press briefings, all data sterilised.

      They should not be referred as reporters.
      Note takers really.

  7. Spokesman/woman who made announcement contrary to fact(s) that they knew should be charged telling lie.
    No reason to let them get away scotch-free especially when the Announcement they make affects members of the Public. If the Law of the State does not cover such fallacy, then ir is not fit to be a nation.