Friday, December 24, 2010

What Guys Want For Christmas

Santa does his darndest best to make wishes come true during Christmas, but some tasks are simply too herculean to even attempt. One party wants to sue the Government for torture during his ISA detention, another is asking the Government to cut car taxes to offset hefty COE premiums. Notice Grinch is also spelled with a "G". Good luck with the former, the latter problem is theoretically solvable.

On paper, the Government uses Certificates Of Entitlement to cap the growth of the car population. The growth was halved to 1.5% last year, although the growth in human population was significantly higher. Every 6 months, the Land Transport Authority determines how many COEs will be available, based on the number of vehicles taken off the road in the preceding 6 months. You don't need a genius to figure out that when motorists postpone their next car purchase because of economic uncertainty, less cars will be deregistered. The shrinking pool of COEs can only drive the demand and cost of premiums upwards, a vicious cycle spiralling into a black hole of misery. Control engineers will recognize it as a feedback loop gone horribly wrong.

Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport Dr Lim Wee Kiak articulated what the motoring public has been asking for umpteen years, to let the buyers bid for what they are prepared to pay. Said Dr Lim, "This means that when you bid for it you pay the actual price of what you bid. Rather than the current system where you pay the lowest (bid), not the highest." It also means car dealers will no longer have their way ripping off potential buyers with "guaranteed" COEs. He's filing a question on the issue to be addressed by Transport Minister Grinch Raymond Lim at the next parliamentary sitting. Come to think about it, maybe the guy planning a lawsuit about the ISA might have a better response.

On subject of Christmas presents, what do you give to someone who has everything? Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once told a group of young media folk he will retire when his data bank can be put into a thumbdrive. Guess what? The pdf version of Tolstoy's monumental "War And Peace", all of 2,882 pages, takes up only 6.23 megabytes. The e-book pdb version is only 1.75 MB. Lee's memoirs number only 680 pages (Vol 1, "The Singapore Story") and 778 pages (Vol 2, "From Third World To First"), including indexes. The Asia Wall Street Journal is giving away this 2 GB drive for free.

1 comment:

  1. Guy or gale,
    all he and she want
    is to be the best
    endowed; the richest,
    the best looking and
    the most powerful.
    Then nothing will be
    too expensive and
    not affordable. With
    power, he or she can
    call the shots, nor
    matter how difficult
    or depressing they
    are to others. That's
    all we want.
    For Christmas
    and any day.
    Mary and Christ!