Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ultimate American Hypocrisy


Yep, this is not new and shouldn't be news but it is only because it surfaces, got no traction and then disappears until the next time it pops up. America ought to be ashamed of this. It takes away any fragment of moral authority they have left to go around the world telling others how they should run their country. Physician heal thyself!

Hanbaobao Pte Ltd


McDonald's here knew how to have fun. Its business is registered as "Hanbaobao Pte Ltd". I have never noticed this but it caught the eye of the daughter this morning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

US-China relations: Keep Trying


Tom Plate calls Singapore "Smart Power". As a foreign writer he is unconstrained and may be where he comes from they are used to being more imaginative. Here we watch over our shoulders too much.

PM Lee has always been a good student of his late father's ideas and it comes sparkling through in this conversation with Tom Plate. What we do not know and may never is if he is able to when to adapt or reject old ideas when things change permanently. That is when the why of whys of previous ideas change.

PM Lee and his team are first class for understanding our problems but what is lacking are bold and imaginative solutions. I think from the late LKY perspective many of our problems are intractable if we cannot up our birth rates and it is clear we have not. Now I am not discussing this topic here, another time perhaps.

What I waited and did not get the satisfaction of reading is for PM Lee to say to the US and China is simply this: Keep trying to get along but also always commit to peaceful solutions. Make use of the time to understand each other better. In the past America's overwhelming superiority was a buffer to play nice and generous with China. Now that is gone the US feel insecure. Security blanket must be replaced with knowing China better. The Chinese must understand there may not be a peaceful rise for them but a huge waste of resources from overcoming obstacles the Americans will put in front of them if they do not do more to help American feel less threatened. China has to understand more haste means less speed and in this instance great danger as well. Domestically both sides must do something to rein in their hawks. There is not future in conflict. It is a totally bankrupt path.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

An impossible Indian Christian AG for Malaysia?


What an intriguing development next door! Mahathir and PH want to appoint a non-Muslim at the next AG for Malaysia? Coming from an old fox there is certainly more to this than meets the eye. No harm taking him at face value for now but I would be most surprised if in the end it isn't a Muslim (not necessarily Malay) that is appointed as AG. I have not the time to work this out. Even if I do, I am not confident I can figure this out. In the first place there is so much about Malaysia I don't know. My primary concern is if our leaders up to dealing with Mahathir.

Update: June 5, 11:50 am


Mahathir gets his way simply because the Constitution is on his side and as PM he has the initiative as the executive power. This is a multi-step play. Time will likely show that this story will not end normally like you would expect in most other countries. Keep watching.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Best place to grow up: They forgot to ask the kids


My friend whatsapp this at our chat group yesterday


This morning I remarked that they forgot to ask the children.

Later when I was reading that on my PC, my daughter remarked that they were never asked their opinion and quickly offered that when they were in school her classmates were unhappy and wanted to leave Singapore if possible. Well only one had left and the rest are still here.

Singapore is indeed an excellent place for kids to grow in the same sense Churchill observed that democracy is the worst form of government saved all else. In this sense there is much room for improvement in the best country to bring up kids. Sharing pole position with us I suspect Slovenia kids are much happier and moe satisfied than ours.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Big Four: Ownself check ownself


They "own self check own self one" as explained in the FT. This would have stayed remote if not for the fact that the daughter works for a Big Four and mommy had similarly started her career at a Big Four as well. How standards have fallen and right into the gutter as well. Mid-tier imports to make up for hemorrhaging talent every one the daughter came across were aghast how audits were carried out. Those fresh from university were bewildered why what they taught as absolutely unacceptable is de rigueur. Since daughter could benefit from the long experience of her mommy, we advised her better move on. She is learning all the wrong things and if she stuck around for too long will acquire all the bad habits.

It is a matter of time these biggies get into trouble in Singapore like they have elsewhere. The bigger lesson is there is only moral bankruptcy in "own self check own self". That is what the PAP believe in but is too embarrassed to admit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

High Pay: The solution became the problem


Spotted this in my Economist Daily Dispatch this morning. Nothing new here except that it helped me realized time has helped me made my mind clearer and sharper on the subject of our politicians' pay. I also believe time must have done the same for others as well.

Highly paid CEOs aren't admired. They are tolerated. Ditto our highly paid ministers. I watched how SR Nathan lost so much moral capital because of his high pay. He was much more admired before and after he left office. Tony Tan was forgettable and among practically all my friends, Halimah is disdained.

Paying them well was supposed to be a key plank in the solution to attract the right people into politics. The solution is now the problem, so what is the point? Their pa is so high that when you cut it is still very high.

This 130 times the pay of median workers will not be forever. Then what? The end result is hardly the point here. It is the journey from here to there that could sink us. Nobody is looking into this because those are highly invested in this structure are in charge and any answer to this problem must revolve around their high pay. In other words it is only a matter of time the PAP lose power because they will not negotiate on pay.