Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Temasek as the Citizenship Transit Point

 To the naturalised citizens who tore up their pink IC in the end, good luck, good bye!

I don't bother much about locals leaving. They must have their own reasons, valid or not is subjective. Maybe because their banana kids cannot cope with Chinese, they find life is too stressful in Singapore and they want a slower pace, they are retiring overseas and want to enjoy quality of life, they are SPG and married foreigners and moved out, these are common stories we hear of why people leave Singapore. They would miss their heart-stopping add-hum-add-egg char kway teow, but they won;t miss it that much to stay here. I wish them the best in their greener pastures yonder, especially the guys as presumably they did their NS obligations.

My shitty comments on citizens leaving are reserved for the naturalised citizens. Supposedly about 300 a year according to the stats bugger off. About 300 of the average 1,200 citizens every year. About 25% of the citizens who tear up their pink IC every year in recent years.

Now is that an anger-festering fact or what. These foreigners come here, get citizenship, sumpah what "we the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves...". Then they have the privilege to buy HDB flats or landed property, make a killing in the recent bullish property market and then pack up and go. They managed to make money out of property, and the guys don't even have to do NS. Very galling man the idea. I very sour grapes, so what.

Furthermore, it is not a small percentage of freeloaders. It is about 25% of the people who threw away their pink IC. What I want to know is whether there is a pattern in this citizenship freeloading where Singapore is just a transit point or a stepping stone to citizenship in another country. What nationality are these people who come here, pledge allegiance to the red, white, stars and crescent, and then cash out their citizenship? PRC, India. Malaysia?

SINGAPORE - An average of 1,200 Singaporeans renounced their citizenship every year between 2007 and 2011.

Of these, 300 were naturalised citizens.

But the renunciation rates for both naturalised citizens and Singapore born citizens were low at 0.1 per cent or less, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, as he gave this update in Parliament today.

Mr Teo also explained why some give up their citizenship and assured members that every application for citizenship was carefully evaluated.

"Every application for permanent residence or Singapore citizenship is evaluated holistically on a range of criteria, including economic contributions, qualifications, age, family profile, and length of stay in Singapore," he said. "The reasons for emigration vary. Some emigrants leave for family reasons, because of marriage or to reunite the family members overseas, while others do so for a different living environment.

"All Singapore citizens and permanent residents who own HDB flats will have to sell their properties if they renounce their citizenship or cease to be permanent residents. There are no exceptions to this rule."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hawker Centre Panel Recommendations Akan Datang

The Panel, headed by towkay neo Elim Chew, went about to ask for feedback. But you know the same song, we Singaporeans complain that nobody listens to us but yet we don't give feedback to such panels, and then later complain that there was no consultation. BTW, I also didn't know there was such a panel as I don't hang out at Reach at all.

The panel talked about green hawker centres but not too sure if customers want to pay more for biodegradable plates, graciousness in hawker centres but I think hawker centres bring out the worst in many people like the chope seats with tissue packet mentality, about affordable nice food in hawker centres but we all know about Singaporeans' ai pee ai chee ai tua liap nee everything also want, but don't want to pay.

What I hope to hear is hawker centres making a big come back to the heartlands and beyond. Right now, there are 112 hawker centres in Singapore, managed by JTC, HDB and MEWR. Only 112, not 1,112. If they are indeed part of our culture and heritage, if they are needed to provide cheap food for the masses, and if they can give honest employment to those who want to strike out on their own, then one major recommendation for the renaissance of hawker centres is that more should be built. Furthermore to encourage more to enter the hawker profession, loosening the criteria for subsidised stalls (rental of max $320 / month) and not restricting it to the original relocated street hawkers of the 1970s, and phasing out the non-subsidised stalls and the tender scheme for hawkers are just as important. Let's wait for the panel's detailed recommendations.

Panel presents initial ideas for new hawker centres in Singapore

The way new hawker centre food stalls are run, priced and assigned could face major changes if recommendations put forward by a public consultation panel are adopted.

These changes, however, are aimed at ensuring that hawker centres continue to offer affordable food for Singaporeans.

Proposed changes unveiled by the 18-member panel at a press conference on Monday include lower than market-value rents, no subletting of stalls and joint-tenancies for stalls.

The preliminary proposal also recommends having a non-profit social enterprise operating the hawker centre with the Government providing guidance and financial support.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hawker Food Soup Tulang, Hilang!

 Eating next to roads, drains, don't know how the hawker wash the dishes for the next customer but yummy dish...

Super interesting episode about hawker food, culture and heritage in Singapore over at Singapore Talking earlier.

The panelists, one guy from ieatishootipost, one from hungrygowhere and a food critic discussed that old hawkers sifu are retiring and there is nobody to hand their kungfu to, cos even their kids don't want to slog out a greasy, hot, blue-collar 12-hour day. That Singaporeans unrealistically expect hawkers to dish out great food at $2 or less although prices of ingredients has increased since the 1980s. That culinary schools in Singapore teach ang moh dishes and not focus on char kway teow, mua chi, hokkien mee. That hawkers who want to retire and have nobody to impart their skills to should sell their secret manual to culinary schools so that the dish does not die out once the hawkers go.

That guy from ieatishootipost talked a lot and quite yaya but his views were well argued especially that line of hawker food being cheap and no frills as that was where we came from as a society - poor migrants who slog it out here, who had to eat cheap food. It was an emotional appeal to our heritage err "our" means not those first-generation Singaporeans. He also suggested that "heritage hawkers" i.e. 2-3 generation hawkers should be given assistance in terms of grants by the government so that Singapore's hawker culture is preserved.

However, there is conflation of nostalgia, culture and heritage. They can mean the same thing, but should not always be so. Culture evolves through time because of changes in our society. Our hawker culture is changing. From unregulated illegal street hawkers to centralised regulated hawkers centres, now to kopitiams and food courts dominating the "cheap" food sector and sidelining hawker centres, the annex to the also evolving wet market.

Heritage is different slightly albeit it overlaps with culture. Heritage is one's past and we should generally preserve it for historical reasons and it is a story of where we came from and ideals of the past. However, spitting on the floor, illegal hawker stalls next to drains, squatting on stools at hawker centres, this is also our hawker experience heritage but nobody is that nostalgic about it as it is a turn off and offends our modern sensibilities on hygiene and social etiquette.

Whatever it is, there is truth that hawkers are finding it harder to survive and hawker food is evolving to a point that we don't like - the food is not tasty, the price is not right and "authenticity" is being lost. Hawking is a blue collar job and the younger generation don't see it as an art, or at least a lucrative career. Many of us don't want to pay $5 for hawker food as we cling on to the notion that hawker food should still be priced to that when we were kids. Hawkers can't survive if they don't increase the prices of their wanton mee, satay, soup tulang to keep up with inflation.

You know what is going to happen right as no local wants to carry on the hawker tradition although there is still a demand for it. The immigrants from PRC, Burma etc are going to take over the hawker industry. They already are. Hawker fare is the fare of immigrants - like our past, and our current.

Friday, February 24, 2012



More news of more unauthorised withdrawals from DBS ATMs and more bitching about DBS is justified and expected. Previously, 700 over customers and close to $1million stolen from ATMs. This time about $23,000 was stolen from 17 unfortunate DBS-POSB customers over the weekend. Compensation is on the way for them though.

DBS was quick to assure its customers that it was not new skimming, just that it was the horrible thieves who stole ATM card info did not have time to steal all the money the earlier round. Right, very assuring. Now that the thieves had spent all the booty on booze, women, gambling, their kids overseas' education fund and God knows what other vices, they need more money and dug deeply into their bank accounts ahem... DBS customers' bank accounts, which are the same thing.

So! Some questions we should ask, while we decide whether we should move all our money into a competitor bank or just stuff the cash into Milo tins in the kitchen,

1) The skimming were from 2 ATMs located at Bugis Street some time in November 2011, and 2,726 people had used those dodgy ATMs. Simple maths meant that up to 800 people had their bank accounts broken into already from the news reports and close to 2,000 more are next in line. Did DBS earlier inform these 2,000 customers that they might be next and they should get a new card and change their passwords as a temporary security measure?

2) The police were quick to arrest 2 Malaysian ATM card skimmers soon after the big ATM heist last month. The latest ATM theft of $23,000 simply showed that the lads in blue did not nab all members of the ring. Or they snared a different ring last month, which is fantastic I really know, but unfortunately it isn't enough.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hunting Sengkang Crocodiles and Hougang Buayas

 A monitor lizard! Not a crocodile senkangus, not a buaya yawshingleongus

Just today, I read news that some people are so stupid that they can't tell apart a monitor lizard from a crocodile in Sengkang. Those people panicked and wanted to call the zoo, police, PUB, HDB, SPCA and the SOF. Well at least they were not that stupid to try and catch it and put it on Stomp that they caught a Komodo Dragon in Singapore.

Similarly, from WP big chief Low Thia Khiang defensive indignation that he does not spy on his epic fail protege for Hougang SMC, some Singaporeans are dumb enough to think that Low Thia Khiang should resign even over Yaw Shin Leong being a horny buaya! Seriously? The wonders of PAP propaganda. If that is the case where the party's big chief must be aware and responsible of what his henchmen do in their private time, then what about Teh Cheang Wan.

The WP is under siege now, from CMI Yaw Shin Leong to his very exhausted mentor Low Thia Khiang. Others like Sylvia Lim would be next, fair targets for the PAP right up to the Hougang by-election. The only thing the WP did wrong was not responding well and fast enough when Yaw's horny rumours broke. But face it. They have redeemed themselves in principle and in popularity by kicking out Yaw.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Facepalm of Increasing CPF Contribution Rates for Old Folks

Tolong, tolong, don't retrench me even though I very old, expensive and not productive hor!

Come on, give the government credit. They actually want to help out the old folks by pushing employers to give employees above 50 years a higher CPF contribution rate than now. Currently, those 50-55 have their employer CPF contribution rate at 12% (a drop from the 16% before 50 years) and those 56-60 at 9% and those above 60 years at 6.5%.

From September 2012, the new tongkat for the old folks is that employer CPF contribution rates would increase in the 51-55, 56-60 and above 60 bands by 2%, 1.5% and 0.5% respectively.

Anybody who has a brain would know that this increases costs for businesses. It would now be more expensive to retain older employees, and SMEs, the backbone of Singapore's family businesses, would be affected more than others.

The government has good intentions to try stock up the old folks' CPF piggy bank so that these old timers have more for retirement, or at least more for servicing their mortgage as many in Singapore still have a housing loan to pay right until they retire.

The cruel irony is that this do-good policy actually screws the old folks more than support them. Already, employers are reluctant to retain old folks - more expensive due to seniority in the company and must spend more on retraining them, and less productive as these people just are less efficient than before. Only McDonalds hires old folks but sometimes I'm scared that the aunty or uncle falls down breaks their hip when they rush to serve me french fries. I won't be able to sleep at night if that happens.

From the cushy swivel armchair I'm sitting, if they want to increase CPF contributions and keep old folks employed, what the government could have done is actually increase the CPF contributions rates of those 31-50 (so that these lot theoretically have more for retirement but if they want to squander away their retirement savings on mortgages, their problem) and lower the contribution rates even more for those above 50 (so that these lot theoretically have more chances of being retained despite having lower productivity because of their age). Am I a fucking CPF policy expert or what.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yaw Stupid Cockhead, Not Thinking Ahead?

Shit! Why look at me? PAP MP also what!

 Facepalm. Facepalm again.

Yaw Shin Sin Leong is a dumb fuck. Firstly, got married and then want to bonk around. WTF

Bonk around never mind as it is normal as men have the urge. Instead of seeking happy ending at spas and don't get involved seriously focusing on sex and not a relationship, he got involved in an extra-marital affair. KNS

Extra-marital affair never mind, of all the women who want to sleep with a married man, he picked someone from his own party - what's that about eating and shitting in the same place? WTF

Picked someone from his own WP never mind, that woman is also married. KNS

That woman married never mind, some more she is fat. WTF

Fat never mind, even got her knocked up. KNS

In the grand scheme of extra-marital affairs, picked a fat married woman from his same party to bonk and knocked her up never mind, he got found out. WTF

Not over! Still some more! He and WP kept hush for very long, acting blur looking at their feet and pointing at the sky. He didn't dare admit or deny his affair when the rumours broke, and the controversy almost faded away as people more interested in the temptress lau chio bu who bonked the chief of CNB and the head of SCDF. Then, WP after all the silence and acting blur as the dignified refusal to acknowledge the rumours, WP issued a statement that Yaw resigned from the WP CEC.

WTF people are not daft and can join the dots. Yaw should have just carried on as an MP and a WP CEC member as the matter closed. Resigning from CEC is a clear admission of his affair and there is speculation on why WP handled this crisis badly from the timing to the message. Although frankly if they go left people would bitch, or if they go right, people would also bitch. Might be the same people who bitch anyway regardless of the decision to go left or right.

Still, he should have just admitted, moved on and scored points for his humble apology. Or act blur and delay a response. This badly timed indirect apology by resigning is worst. What do you expect from a WP MP who confessed before that he voted for PAP. Time to keep quiet, he open his mouth. Time to open his mouth, he keep quiet.

Singapore - Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong has resigned as treasurer of the Workers' Party (WP), with immediate effect.

The party accepted Mr Yaw's resignation from party leadership today at the Executive Council's monthly meeting, the WP said in a statement released late tonight.

The Council has appointed deputy treasurer Yee Jenn Jong to take over as the party's treasurer.

Mr Yaw will focus on his responsibilities as MP for Hougang, the statement said.

"The Workers' Party assures residents of Hougang of the Party's commitment to the constituency and to supporting the work of their MP," the statement added.

Mr Yaw was recently alleged to have had an affair. Both parties involved have so far declined to comment on the allegations.