Thursday, January 3, 2013

Magic With Numbers

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday analysts were telling us the economy may have slipped into a technical recession - two successive quarters of contraction - since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said on Monday GDP rose a mere 1.2 percent for the full year, way below the government's forecast of around 1.5 percent.

Today the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is saying the economy expanded by 1.8 percent in the December quarter, reversing a 6.3 percent contraction in the July-September period. Maybe MTI is hinting to us the PM Lee can't read the statistics submitted to him, or can't add, subtract or divide without an expensive calculator.  After all, those fancy degrees from Cambridge were just pieces of paper issued decades ago. Someone should check the expiry dates.

OCBC Economist Selena Ling said, "The Singapore economy escaped a technical recession, probably the skin of its teeth as both third and second quarter growth data were revised lower." Can they actually do that? Simply change the numbers if they don't look good enough to justify a GDP bonus?

Let's imagine what happened. A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same MTI job.
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and ask,s "What does two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies, "Four." The interviewer asks, "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says, "Yes, four, exactly."
Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question: "What does two plus two equal?" The accountant says, "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."
Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question, "What does two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?

Chandra Das may not be much of an economist, but he seems just as deft with numbers. Blatantly ignoring the fact that AIM was a dormant company with $2 in the kitty as paid up capital, he wants us to tell us this whopper: "AIM has been in business for 20 years. It has got cash and it paid the $140,000 in cash." What do you want to believe?


  1. I want to believe that Temasek Holdings and the GIC are as strong and well capitalised like OLAM and remain profitable. It's ok that they do acccounting like Singapore airlines which bought Virgin airlines at more than 1 billion dollars, sold it at 360 million and still make a profit of 330 million. So long as they remain "profitable".

    1. Those genius at temasek holding and GIC should be awarded a nobel prize for such profound and outstanding achievement ! A gigantic loss endup as profit which defy logic. Of course, one condition for that research paper for nobel prize is that "citizens must be daft, and citizens must have unquestioning blind trust in the establishment".

  2. Oh no! Singapore is entering into a recession.
    We need more investments.
    We need more $2 companies to help us.

  3. Didnt he said before he will manage and adjust statistics to fit into their political objectives. That I supposed, to mean fixing the oppositions as well.

  4. If they can flip economic figures like flipping pratas, I am actually quite worried about the health of our reserves. Or could it already be emptied out? The 60% still sleeping...

    1. 60% is not paid to safeguard our reserves.

      Uncle Tony is paid to do the safeguarding.
      Not go watch the Olympics.

    2. Where and how much is our Reserves?

    3. Reserves ? What reserves ? It must be a figment of your own imagination.

  5. Rather be a Malaysian...1/03/2013 10:38 AM

    Magical. Absolutely magical.

    When you have the entire armed forces, judiciary, civil servants, business people standing behind you and USA, UK on either side... man o man, you can say with certainty that the sun rises from the south.

    Is there no one brave to stand up and say:

    "I do not believe you, you are a charlatan."

    Is there none?

    Looks like we can really tolerate a lot of pain.
    Maybe lose our kids, home and jobs.. then maybe, maybe there might be some reaction.. maybe.

    But at this rate, I doubt. Perhaps only if we take away cars and hawker centres, chicken rice, and char kway teow.

  6. Other than mathematician, accountant and economist, we also have mathematian, accountant and economist Magicians in Sin.

    When the Issue abour AIM is abour propriety, Mayor Teo Ho Pin is spiniing about its' efficiency. A magician that plays a different trick from those above.

    The Questions asked about AIM are what value does a superfluous arrangement having it plays a middleman brings? Who made the Arrangement and for what purpose? Did the Arrangement disadvantage anyone and or result in benefitting anybody or organization unjustifiably?

    Does Mayor Teo understands?


    1. Of course he understand but he is not telling. After all, Christmas is over and Santa is not coming to twon. No worries!

    2. White can be changed to Black, and Black can be changed to White as long as it makes PAP happy. These are the privileges of PAP, don't you know that ?

  7. Inflation job security and wage stagnant are what the common people are caring about. GDP don't amount to much if the above is not met.

  8. It's very easy to call Chandra Das' lie. What was the track record of AIM when it was awarded the contract?

  9. "Can they actually do that? Simply change the numbers if they don't look good enough to justify a GDP bonus?"

    YES THEY CAN! Per the same story for Q2, they instructed all contractors of major construction projects like HDB flats, SMRT new lines, and MINDEF of course, to delay invoicing from Q3 and to invoice in Q4. So Q3 would have been far worse then reported, while Q4 will show growth compared to the low base of Q3. Hence no 2 "consecutive" quarters of negative change in GDP! QED.

    The key of course is the year on year figure, of 1.2% which really sucks, BIg TIME! Again don't be too happy, they might have delayed a few major invoices or government projects originally scheduled for Q3 and Q4 of 2012 and save these for 2013 GDP, since 2012 was already so far below the all-important 3% GDP bonus target, you would expect the same Oxbridge-trained number massagers to repeat what they so successfully pulled of for Q2 and Q4, to pull down 2012 saving the best for 2013! QED QED!!

    Its sick, but all the senior civil servants understand the game, which is why I think when the changeover of rulers finally comes, there will be a big bonfire to destroy all evidences and trails! A la Qin Shihuang!

    1. Gallup may find that SIN government is the happiest government on earth. Can suga suga change figure to benefit themselves to feed their ego and supremacy, how can this type of government not be happy ?

      Chen Shui Bian may have cursed the heaven of why he isn't born in SinCity because for all money he siphoned, he will still be revered as the Holy White, if only he is born in SinLand. Too bad.

  10. lightning strikes many times...1/03/2013 3:21 PM

    Look at all the well fed Singaporeans.

    Do they feel as though they are ready to take on the challenge of changing the status quo?

    Ha! ha! ha!... no way! they look at LTA website to bid for even higher COE!! they visit property showrooms and imagine they are landlords collecting
    passive income!! They stare into trading platforms monitoring share prices and gold prices.

    "no worries man!" they say..

    "I've got a ticket out to Perth and may passport
    is in my back pocket, ready to leave town anytime"

    With that, he turned and continued playing World of Warcraft... cursing " damn, if only they gave us faster broadband!"..
    Locked in a world of fantasy, the Singgie is more in tune with games than in real life issues of politics... no daylight.

    1. Painful, but so true; I know many bankers from across the causeway or from HK, now with red I/Cs plus OZ PRs for their whole family as plan B. All are speculating with at least 5 properties, some 8 properties! And many junior civil servants with 3 properties under mortgage. How will a number-massaging garmen ever allow the banks to go broke? Strong Sing dollar, more hot money will be encouraged. An economy with no more manufacturing jobs" or capability can only rely on blowing financial bubble, hence "No Technical Recession, Ever". "It's not allowed, against the law". Who will pay eventually? Those with no OZ PRs!