Monday, March 31, 2014

Tommy Koh on Market Economy to Market Society

Professor Tommy Koh contributed a magnificent article to the ST on Saturday. Someone also asked me if I had read it. More than that, I had been thinking about it on and off since then.

Tommy Koh feet is firmly planted on the ground. This guy gets it. Few can articulate the issues as well as he had.

He said that what we want is a market economy but not a market society. I think that market economy has already spilled over into society and its presence is growing. I have no idea how this can be restrained because the market economy cannot be fenced off  from society at large. It wants to grow and push the edge of the envelope. A market based economy if successful will want to assert its confidence in using prices to decide more and more rights, activities, goods and services. The only value it understands is price. Every intangible will be given a price and everything that has unrecognizable short term value but essential long term necessity would be sold for a song.

Experience shows us that we cannot reverse the market without very serious negative consequences. What we can do is put up no-entry signs in spaces where the market is hopeless at pricing in view of its short term and philistine character.

Giving up my PO Box

Surrendered my PO Box to Sing Post this morning. It had been 24 years. I had used it to receive USD cheques for my Shareware business and later other businesses. From that time when there was no Internet and I had to settle for very expensive Compuserve. Things have gone from physical to virtual with credit cards and especially Paypal for financial transactions. I haven't needed this box for many years. It should have been given up long ago.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The fear is beyond Geylang....

An undercurrent of fear in Geylang? I think they mean the fear at the periphery and beyond Geylang. If you must insist that there is fear in Geylang then I will concede that it is the men in blue that are afraid. It may be the only place in our small island where police officers risk getting a beating anytime they perform their duties.

So I wish the ST would be more to the point. We don't even need to visit Geylang to figure this out. But to suggest that the policemen are afraid in Geylang is terrible for public confidence, and better left unsaid and silently imputed by readers.

Now we have every reason to be angry why the Minister for Home Affairs allow the situation to deteriorate to such a sorry state. Wong Kan Seng and Ho Peng Kee have more to answer than the escape of Mas Selamat. Meanwhile what is Teo Chee Hean doing about this, and why didn't Jayakumar do something when he was the senior minister in charge of security? If they could brush off a Sylvia Lim questions on this subject, it is really telling us we need to install more Sylvia Lims in Parliament to keep the government more honest and responsible.

What's new in this article for someone who never go to Geylang? It is the thriving business ecosystem supporting an unhealthy nexus between the legitimate and the vice. In other words common sense or if you must systems thinking inform me that the problem will grow. The vice chiefs are patient people and will take their time to expand their business and territory. Many of them must be copying the "best practice" from other cities and practicing it here. Do we want to be like other cities with their criminal enclaves? Of course not!

If our leaders think the problem is local to Geylang, they cannot be more wrong. Don't even think of solving the problem when you have no idea how to stop their business from growing.

MS Office for iPad: Self deceiving downloads

Like many who are more than just IT users, I have been unhappy with the bullying and monopolistic Microsoft for many years. I am not disappointed when other successful enterprises came along and took away the opportunities Microsoft missed. I wonder if the erstwhile giant from Redmond is not too late with their Office for iPad but this is not as serious as the decay of their corporate DNA, which has been going on for a while but increasingly obvious to outsiders now.

This is silly self deception. Massive downloads of the Office for iPad app will not translate into equal numbers of Office 365 subscriptions. In fact I uninstall the app while it was still loading yesterday. Mr. Nadella is not a strong and confident CEO if he has to resort to such gimmicks to show out performance which really isn't at all.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wifey's new Nike

Got this pair of Nike running hose for wifey at the Nike shop for only $63.90. This is the perfect replacement to her current pair.

The Kids' Milk

Came across this at Giant Hypermart last night. These were the infant formula the kids had so many years ago. The characteristic giraffe is still present with Grow but Friso Soy is less recognizable.

Friday, March 28, 2014

China is powerful but also weak

I read the NYT version early this morning but what's new? China is powerful but also deeply insecure and fragile. I don't think it would destroy itself and most likely it will keep growing more powerful. However its methods are brutal. Now since her leaders cut its teeth this way how can we expect it not to behave the same way with weaker powers when it conduct its foreign relations?

Asian nations hate to choose between the US and China but MH370 has revealed to the Chinese where the cards will fall when push come to shove.

China will grow powerful but deformed. In other words it will look grotesque because its hard power will not be matched by soft power. She has no concept of grace and will always need to go to the plastic surgeon to look good superficially and will always lack confidence before the more advanced northern states even as it stride the region with a swagger. She will be very difficult to deal with. In other words the dark scenario LKY worried about them twenty years ago will become true.

The Chinese do not understand the evil trend they are living i.e., the more powerful they become they are also getting more fragile. They will grow more powerful by leaps and then their internal contradictions would bring about a collapse decades from now. Meanwhile the rest of Asia only need to bear with them as best as possible till she somehow foolishly trip herself up. This is so senseless especially when there is a better way. Learn to be a responsible power acting according to international norms. Don't be a bully and all bullies are weak.

Update: March 29 4:15 pm

A timely contribution by LKY to the ST today.

He didn't share anything new except to point out to those who might not know China's six hundred year old naval history when Zhen He sailed the oceans. This past achievement fills their present imagination. They want to totally dominate the seas like they had before. Without saying as much, he is suggesting that nobody is going to stop the Chinese except themselves. The Chinese could have gone about this with more wisdom but the dark scenario he foresaw long ago is already upon us. Now the ball in in our courts for us to make the best of it. In other words, South East Asians should suck it up with some analgesic.

General Assembly condemns Russia

No idea how this Russia rape of Ukraine will play out but how the international community respond is vital to small states like us.

I don't think it is difficult to read Putin if you do the research and assume that he is not creative. Just as a lumberjack might see every problem as a tree to be cut down, Putin is stuck in the cage of his early KGB experience and power play for survival.

Germany is the key player and it was right and shrewd PM Lee had serious discussion with Merkel on this.

It is also a good thing that there are many small states in this world. If you are an endangered specie, you are waiting to be finished. Recall how Raja led the UN General Assembly to condemn Vietnam annexation of Cambodia. The General Assembly is not useless as some analysts think because they cannot see beyond the first two steps.

The west will use economic weapons and the Russian will use their military, poker and blackmail. Each will leverage their strengths. What we want to know is the will of the Europeans. America is not going to try harder than them.

Update: March 29 7:50 am

I am optimistic of a good outcome. It takes a long time for the Russian elites to learn that Czarist or Soviet values and entitlement will not work in the 21st century. Like alcoholics their minds always gravitate to the bottle. Very hard to unlearn. The Chinese ought to watch and learn too. Their behavior over their claims in the South China sea is unbecoming of a rising power that possess strategic wisdom.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Cooler Pad for Notebook

Got this from Challenger Parkway for $35 this evening to replace the lousy Valore one.

Quite pleased with it. It doesn't possess the bells and whistle but is highly functional and most important quiet. It also offers two USB ports, something which I don't seem to have enough.

Brand damage with Stomp

I don't understand how the business minds at the very old and well establishes Straits Time works. Stomp is taking their brand down the gutter. They should leave such irresponsible and sensational journalism to others. If you don't respect your brand you will eventually lose it.

If I may borrow a metaphor from Warren Buffett, the brand of a newspaper is the wide moat of a castle that prevents attackers from overcoming you. It is sheer foolishness to debase your brand. ST should just shut down Stomp.

Citic huge asset injection into HK

This just came in the mail for me. I googled for the source and here it is.

For a while I was wondering how HKEx lost Alibaba to the NYSE and the dim future HKEx faces sticking to its worthy principles. Every exchange in the world has become more pro business first and pretending to be regulators second with severe if not tragic consequences. Here is one guy doing the opposite. Now I think they will be rewarded. Perhaps the Chinese already told their little brother Hong Kong this was coming.

The Chinese push to securitize and professionalize their SOEs in the next stage of reform after doing nothing under Hu-Wen could yield incredible investing opportunities. But we must also try to understand how the HK tycoons feature here. KS Li seems to be decamping or just diversifying away from Asia. The writing on the wall could be there are great opportunities coming but you have to be qualified to play.

Only Blogging for Myself and Family

I think a couple of years back I explained by replying to comments that I am blogging for myself and family with totally no interest in attracting eyeballs. Some asked me why not make the blog private and I told them that it was naive to think anything on the web can ever be private. Keeping is under electronic lock and key gives one a false sense of security. Look at how easy it is to break into safes. Just check how much Bitcoins were stolen in Japan. Without the Internet could the NSA mount such a pervasive and efficient cyber spying effort? But I shouldn't blame people for not knowing the danger. Most people do not have a systems or software development background.

If anyone wants to keep anything completely private they should take a page from Deng Xiaoping and Suharto. Both took their secrets to the grave locked between their ears forever, don't even write it in code on paper.

Going forward, privacy is an increasingly scarce commodity. People should just learn to live their lives with as few secrets as possible. Imagine yourself running for the US Presidency where every secret you have will be dug out and exposed. Fortunately all of us are not running for President and few people are interested in our dirty laundry.

I am amazed that my sloppy writing has attracted thousands of page views every week. Unless I am thinking and writing at the same time, I write quickly and never write clearly, and only make the exception for the kids benefit. Even so, I sometimes have to tell them to come back and read it when they are older. Most times, I can only be correctly understood if you have been following this blog regularly. I thought this should put paid any significant interest in this blog but I was wrong. Crazy coming to this blog to misunderstand what I mean but I have learned people see what they want to see. The evidence is in the comments they sometime leave behind which I very rarely respond to. Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely etc., had explained this well to us.

So when I blog I feel like living in a glass house with people walking by and turning their heads to look. I have learned much from this valuable experience and I think everyone ought to try it. Of course if you are seeking fame, it wouldn't work.

This is my first and only post for people beyond the glass wall.

No more Valore products for us

I renewed my Challenger membership perhaps a year or so ago and they gave me free Valore lamp. Brought it home and discovered it didn't work properly. I eventually threw it away.

I bought this cooling pad for my Notebook PC a few months back and it also turned out to be bad. In slow motion, first the pretty blue LEDs kaput and then I don't when it happened, one of the two fans stopped working.

Can't remember what we bought that got us this Valore hub and card reader but again some of the ports do not work.

Lesson: Don't buy any more Valore products from Challenger.

I wonder if Challenger knows how poor quality their Valore products are.

The Valore cooling pad will make way for a Cool Master one as and when I can get away to buy it from Challenger, but all Valore stuff are no no from now on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

COI: Commissioner Ng threw the ball back!

I am very glad for some Police confession here. Indeed our police is grossly under resourced. Commissioner Ng is one savvy fellow. He is not going to allow his men to take the rap for nothing. See how he skillfully threw the ball back at his bosses? 

For too long this country have been managed by policy makers with an accountant's mindset. We have been penny wise and pound foolish from people who lack insight for real life but are on the job because of their outstanding academic and CCA records. School as many of us know is a poor laboratory to test and discover the best specimens for real life performance. Just like I saw at Shell, once you are a high flier you are also given a high quota of mistakes which you can be forgiven. Shouldn't we make our scholar policy makers and politicians more accountable? Must it be so obvious that even the stupid can see that they are failing before we remove them? By then big damage done already! 

The meritocratic anointed are not princelings! 

The Police boss is asking for one thousand more men in blue. Who dares say no? Just look at the horrid statistics below and you will see that he is asking for the minimum. 

Bertha Henson's has a far better write-up than I do. After all I am only blogging for myself an often my family. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MH370: Evidence of the Chinese menace

As reported in Vanity Fair.

And this is what the families of the Chinese victims say

Officially the Chinese government is still demanding the Malaysia side cough up the data from the satellites conveniently forgetting that they were not Malaysian assets to begin with.

We are indeed caught between a rock and a hard place. To the north we have in the words of my late father who warned me about the "wild hearted" Chinese after seeing how the Communists dragged my grandfather away and to the south we have the savage Indonesians.

Chinese public opinion is vengeful and unrestrained. They will wait patiently for revenge as I believe that is what they are planning to do with Japan eventually for World War II atrocities. This is utter madness.

Today I see close up what my late father had warned me about the Chinese.

Malaysia is paying a heavy price for their bumbling incompetence. Dr. Goh was right that we should have no patience with stupidity. The price is simply too high.

Without the American restraint, it is a matter of time Asian nations are at each other throats since face here is regarded more highly than life. Forget about economic imperatives. When they are proud and rich they will forget and stupidly believe they could bully others and win.

Update: March 26 9:50 am

The Malaysians are more composed and restrained. We can all understand why indirect evidence that the plane crashed isn't good enough. After all this is about life and death. However we wished we cannot expect people to be rational and we have to engage them emotionally. But the manner the Chinese had behaved was inexcusable and unbecoming of a great power aspirant.

Update: March 26: 10:05 am

I just received in my mail William Pesek's scathing commentary on Bloomberg over China's behavior over Flight 370.

I agree! China is a brute. Here is my response to that email.

You know how I have always felt about the Chinese, what I had learnt from my late father about them. 

Peaceful rise of China? People should grow up and stop being in denial. If ever they are truly able, they will teach Japan a lesson by repaying them with Nanking. Just hope I am no longer alive to see that day! But more likely a civilization based on the Guojian mentality of getting its revenge will more likely destroy itself. Throughout history until the Enlightenment the Chinese can be seen as the least worst. Of course relatively speaking, least worse always look good. Unfortunately for them we live in a post Enlightenment society. Unless they can ideologically succeed where we just came from in the last 200 years or so, China can forget about being a great power. It doesn't have the bedrock to build on. Ancient China has class. Modern China is a brute. 

Update: March 28 8:50 pm

The Chinese chose to provide more evidence to my thesis. Shame on them. This is so unbecoming of a rising power. See Malayisakini. Meanwhile they must bear in mind how the HongKongers dislike them and why the youths in Taiwan have occupied the legislature protesting basically against the Chinese. Don't we all know how the Africans also hate them. You see, their habits at home are exported overseas and they are brutal and self serving. If they oppress their own people they will do the same everywhere as long as they have the means to project power.

China must change its cultural DNA or it will become a prisoner of history like it was for millennial. Their best hope for achieving this is in the underground church which they persecute. It is a huge act of faith to suggest this because it truly feels hopeless.

Changi Airport Security

How I wished our airport security was good enough so that additional measures aren't necessary. Can I conclude that we were vulnerable but lucky? Coming from the fiascos at the Woodlands Checkpoint, I am not surprised that there are now additional measures at Changi Airport.

I don't know who authorities everywhere view airport security. Is it a zero sum game? Then the most secure airport is useless because nobody can use it. Similarly the most convenient airport has no security.

Learn this from the world of computing. They keep making the processors more powerful so that it can run security software in the background without degrading performance. Now what would the equivalent be for securing airports? If we fail to come up with solutions, terrorists will eventually succeed at paralyzing air travel as we add layer upon layer of cumbersome security.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MH370 'Found': Heart vs Mind

No time, I have stopped following this for many days but US intelligence assertion that it had crashed in the Indian Ocean had stayed in my mind throughout. Emotionally I had preferred that the passengers and crew were still alive somewhere in the northern corridor, rationally by Occam's razor the Americans made more sense. Many questions remain unanswered but the evidence has strongly led to a crash in the southern corridor.

A kind word for the Malaysians. I thought they were learning fast and dealing with this crisis better every day.

link to article.

Update: March  25 12:40 pm

Indeed they are learning to do this better and well.

The menace of Prabowo Subianto

I don't know if Jokowi is good for peace and stability in SE Asia but if Prabowo Subianto becomes the next President of Indonesia we might find him the living being of the spirit of Sukarno and worse. Just consider how narrow minded and dumb he came across when FT invited him for a lunch interview last year.

His first foreign target would be Singapore and he is stupid enough to use the armed forces. This guy cannot think; loses his temper easily and lacks self control. He only learns by making mistakes which is already too late.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Gap in Engineering

Kudos to NTU for trying very hard to attract the best students to join them.

Two years ago my niece was accepted into this program but shortly after I discovered she had ended up in NUS Medicine instead.

I asked my daughter if she is interested in this course but she said no. Anyway I wouldn't encourage here either.

Engineering education at the university level here has changed. The effect is the same as streaming. Are you in the GEP? Likewise the winners are in elite programs like Renaissance Engineering or those pursuing engineering with another major. These are perceived to be the best students. In time they will leave engineering or perhaps never picked up an engineering job at all and moved into management and leadership positions. If you only have an ordinary engineering degree you will have fewer opportunities since the best have already been identified even at university. You will likely be a low wage engineer and with the passing years worry about job security.

In the working world the income gap is widening. Among and in universities an equivalent prestige and talent gap has also appeared. Looks like the lottery was decided even before they graduate.

The A levels was such an important exams isn't it?

Friday, March 21, 2014

China: Losers are Corrupt

LOL, if you lose in the power struggle you are corrupt. Simple as that in China. I should have read this from the back to the front. I was just waiting to confirm his association with Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai. I was not disappointed.

Inside a Bluetooth Earpiece

Broke apart this relatively new but useless stereo bluetooth earpiece to see what it is concealing.

The Li battery was faulty and couldn't hold a charge. That's the risk you take buying really cheap off eBay. So far the record is quite good. Goods lost in the mail  happened more often than faulty products.

Some merchants are really slippery characters but I have learned to deal with them and get what I want.

Contrasting Spectacles

What a contrast. Last night it dawned on me here together are the most expensive and cheapest spectacles I have ever own. The reading glasses is only $10.

Gmail Encrypted

Google in a hurry to shore up consumers' confidence. Gmail will be encrypted.

To me security is always temporary and all about staying ahead of the game. Specifically to be practical for most of us ordinary people, it is about not being on others' radar. If this cannot be avoided then at least the stalker do not have enough motivation or capability to tear away the protection.

Today Google offers an additional layer of protection. The game continues.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not enough policing resources

Many of us know that police resources here are quite limited and the Police concept of what is serious is often at odds with those who call for their assistance.

Now there is nothing like hearing that from a senior officer (see the red box)

Policing in some ways is like house cleaning. Say we have always kept every corner of the place clean and one day decided it didn't make sense to be so thorough. So we decide what is a practical good enough.

Unfortunately over time cobwebs accumulate and some the dirt begins to appear outside of their hidden places and then you realize you neither have the manpower or time to clean those places. That is how I think policing Singapore has become. Conserving resources was a sensible action then but when the uncivic, dangerous and miscreant elements in society after a while notice the police would not come for them and began to behave badly we start to have problems. Running red lights and speeding become common etc., and the incidents like "Gintai" just experienced is classed as mischief. In other words the police will not waste resources pursuing these two miscreants who would likely attack another cabby another time. Now imagine how the tone of our society would have changed for the worse as a result. It's time for a spring cleaning. May be we have to dedicate more resources to policing for the next few years before we can afford to pull back again.

Update: March 23 9:20 pm

Not good. In some cities cabbies are protected in a cage. After all we don't have enough police resources and criminals eventually learn the risk of getting caught for various crimes. 

Boy showing his granny the PC

I just love this picture in the ST today. A boy showing his grand mother how to use the PC. The pages before were quite dismal reading especially the lost Boeing plane and Russia annexation of the Crimea. As always leaders and people never respect that a stitch in time saves nine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Renewed our GBB membership

Renewed our Gardens by the Bay membership this evening and took the opportunity for a quick trip to the Flower Dome. We also went up the Skywalk after dinner at Satay by the Bay.

We were pleasantly surprised bumping into our girl's classmate when we went into the office to sign up for a new GBB membership. She is working at there until university begins. I  hope she gets into the course she is applying for because according to my daughter she didn't do very well. Seeing her reminded me that I had spent more time thinking about those I know who didn't do well than my own daughter's A levels performance. Why did so many of her friends not do better? I don't them well enough to easily learn the reasons. Nearly all of them had excellent O levels and went to the top JCs aside from RI and HCI.

Globalization: Global Boom with Unequal, Unsustainable Benefits

A very good chart accompanying an excellent article by Eduardo Porter in the NYT I just read. I need to add the insights into my map.

We all know globalization has helped the global income gap narrows but within nations, the gap has widened.

The emerging trend is to progressively tax the rich to finance safety nets within nations. After all politics are mostly local. Increasing employment would also be the highest priority. It is not going to be easy to persuade voters to buy into greater liberalization because they mostly feel that the dividend promised a couple of decades before didn't materialize and they have ran out of patience.

Eduardo Porter seems to have failed to imagine China as the next great importer/consumer filling in the role America was performing as the consumer of last resort. There will be two huge importers in future so that the other developing nations could get their turn to grow more wealthy as China has in the last turn.

Update: March 20 4:05 pm

As always when no permanent solutions is in sight, policy makers can only buy time.

TS quitting retail?

Yet another TS is quitting. This must be the third or fourth one we have come across recently. In particular this outlet is among wifey's favorite.

Who Chua Wen Hu left behind

Saw this reported across the media yesterday. I thought what a pity and also so reckless, only 26 years old. I wonder how the parents feel.

Then I saw this in this morning papers and I was angry with the dead fellow. How irresponsible, father is not mentioned and let behind a fiancee and a grieving mother. Notice the curious mix of surnames too. Probably a complicated family. Do not be so quick to judge as we do not know the background. Nevertheless a tragedy.

Singapore Casket is about the most expensive place to have a funeral too.

Update: March 23 10:25 am

Didn't read closely but kinda of read there were some unhappiness from the comments. I think this new obit would make things better without detracting from the message. My oversight, should have done this in the first place!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Olam: Retail Investors suckered again

I welcome ST willingness to have this story. Those of us more familiar with markets know that Temasek's investment in Olam was a mistake. In this article I read the suckers are the retail investors bidding the shares up. The convertible and debt buyers as expected were shrewder.

Olam has the potential to embarrass and my guess is that Temasek being bigger than the casino is fully capable of doubling down until it wins. Without the lifeline it offered earlier, Muddy Waters would have taken it straight to the cleaners.

Meanwhile I gathered that Olam's senior ranks are almost completely Indian. Well that is no good for diversity but what is truly terrible is the way they spend money. This is not difficult to find out. Just talk to some former secretaries.

I am often perplexed by Temasek's investments. Either they are geniuses or more likely they are cowboys with poor understanding of risk. They were lucky especially with the Chinese banks but we must be cognizant that over the long run you cannot escape mean reversion. If you are no good, the near term good luck only keep you for devastating bad luck down the road.

Two Ms separate GIC from Temasek. One has a method the other is just mad.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Charlotte Ashtons: Because she was former BBC

I heard this discussed on FM 93.8 this morning. It was all over the place on Facebook. The PM got into it and so did some of his ministers. I was trying to understand what's the big deal. What had Charlotte Ashtons written that was revolutionary. Finally I concluded there was nothing new except that it was the BBC. Sigh!

Do you think Ms Ashtons would even be given that space for her article were she not previously with the BBC? I am disappointed. I expected more from the venerable organization. But it is also a reminder and wake up call that the BBC has over they years changed and frequently not for the better. So has every major media company. Viewers and readers have been lazy and apathetic. We have failed to hold them to account, to higher standards. Some do but there are too few of them. Over time our disappointment will grow. Eventually a threshold would be reached and then the day of reckoning.

Singapolitics article.

Update: March 18 9:35 am

A very irresponsible Charlotte Ashton but BBC is complicit for allowing this. The global low standards had infected the BBC and this is not the first time. Someone left a comment here reminding us of the occasion when the BBC went undercover in North Korea putting all the visitors at risk.

Most regrettable that our leaders fell for it. They should have avoided commenting. Listening to the radio this morning, our President's remarks at Chinatown Library on compassion showed he was as clueless.

The media have become very short term looking for eyeballs to the point of mortgaging their credibility. Journalists and editors do not care because the people who will suffer are those who haven't join the industry yet. In fact the industry will eventually lose its right to exist in its current form, but as the need for information remains, something else will replace them.

First time at Triple-Os

Dinner with wifey at Triple-Os tonight at her recommendation. First time for me and second time for her.

We had to wait quite a while to be served as only one guy was manning the place.

Quite nice but mustn't have too often. Also makes you wonder how McDonalds and Burger King could become so successful. They are bad compared to Triple-Os.

Wonderful to have Rain

How delightfully wonderful that it rained for the most part of today! I just had to get this picture. Bye bye drought.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SG in crony-capitalism index

Got this from the latest issue of the Economist newspaper.

We scored an awful position five from the top and we were there in 2007 but I don't remember that.

Some wonder if the ranking is accurate. I think that is the wrong question. The right question is over precision rather than accuracy.

Then they argue over this academically. They have left school long ago but remained stuck with what they had learned there. I supposed they were bright students who had done well and proud of their academic achievements. I wished they had more common sense. First ask yourself what is your interest in this. If you don't the street savvy sharks out there would and don't be surprised you end up the loser.

I think Singapore's case is unique. We are crony infested from the results but that is not obvious if we look at how our laws and regulations brought this about. Hong Kong is much easier to understand because he billionaire wealth is almost 80% of GDP. The less than 20% it is at for us allows plenty of anecdotal evidence to debunk we are not a crony state. Those are common but facetious arguments from the government and crony capitalists.

I wan to be practical here. From the personal point of view we just need to ask ourselves only one question: How much rent seeking is happening here? A lot! and it is suffocating us. What Khaw Boon Wan had done at MND to kill the golden goose for property developers was very good.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Koh Poh Koon on doctoring in SG tomorrow

I think I have worried aloud about the dark side of health insurance on healthcare here twice. It is good that Dr. Koh is also pointing out the risk of the path we are going down. Somehow I never have much faith in Gan Kim Yong as a minister. What had he done at MOM that was enlightened and farsighted? He presided over the deluge of foreign workers into this small island. Then his ministry never hand shake with Raymond Lim Transport Ministry to cater for the additional huge load on our public transport system. I even wonder if some ministers were competing rather than cooperating with each other!

I have every reason to worry where Gan guy is taking our healthcare system to. Under his watch we experienced third world crowding in a first world society in our hospitals. I am glad Low Thia Kiang punched them hard over this in Parliament recently. Unfortunately instead of feeling ashamed and taking responsibility they usually reacted defensively.

Give me the rain

I have not seen rain for a while and today's weather forecast is as optimistic as it gets that it will rain. Really it is time for rumors of rain to give way to the real thing.

Must remember to tell the girl to take a brolly with her to the NUS Open House. Perhaps how the sky look will be that cue. That would be nice.

And I hope not just the north and the west, but there would be rain everywhere. Spare us the floods though. Perhaps I can hit the PCN tomorrow morning eh? Wash the haze away. That would be good.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Tom Clancy type conspiracy over MH370

As I read this article from Yahoo Singapore, I can't helped feeling that wifey could be right that the B777 was stolen. She must have recalled how Malaysian air force fighter engines was once stolen to have made that seemingly absurd suggestion. But you must know this is Malaysia!

Of course the search parties could not find any wreckage if it never crashed. The giveaway as the Americans suggested is the data transmission from the two engines to ground receivers which the thieves must have forgotten. So it probably flew at least a few hours more and to some unknown air field. As you can't sell this plane, perhaps they want to use it as a giant missile sometime in 9/11 style? Now if this speculation has more than a grain of truth, what have they done to the passengers? Also who were the thieves? I would think the most likely answer are the two pilots.

The Police should be calling on the pilots' families soon.

Update: March 14 9:10 am

I heard over the radio that the Americans are searching the Indian Ocean for the plane. Now that is putting action to words. Again the Malaysians look bad claiming there is no truth that the plane remained airborne for a few hours after disappearing from secondary radar.

The plot is thickening and I think the US is using the search operations as a cover to buy time whilst the intelligence agencies are hard at work looking for the stolen plane and fathoming its reasons.

Update: March 15 5:55 pm

We were waiting for our lunch to be served at Swensens' when I read this off my S3. For the next couple of hours I kept checking for PM Najib statement. Typically Malaysian, it didn't start on time. He was so late that I had time to watch parts of it on CNA after we got home.

How are they going to hunt for the plane now? The Chinese are understandably very motivated but do they have the assets? Thus far this episode has shown the overwhelming superiority of US military and intelligence capabilities over the Chinese.

Update: March 15 9:20 pm

A good graphic by ST making the two corridors Najib spoke about clearer. Time the great revealer will tell what actually happened. If the southern corridor is where the plane was headed then they could have crashed into the sea when the plane was out of fuel. I am more sympathetic to the scenario that the plane had landed. In fact the most reasonable guess is that the one or both pilots were the criminals behind it all. Closet jihadists you think? And everyone who hides must eventually comes out.