Thursday, October 29, 2015

Man in seat storm

Reference: Man caught in seat storm says he has heart condition & has not been feeling well

Lady’s rant against man who wouldn’t give up seat leads to heartwarming reunion

So now the seat for the disabled and needy has become the seat of morality and ethics. If you're on the seat and refuse to give up to someone that's shown on the sticker pasted above the seat, you have bad manners.

Says who?

Everyone can have their opinions, sure. But who are you to judge who's the right one to deserve the seat?

The guy already said that he's tired and that's a good enough excuse that he needed the seat. The woman carrying the baby also needs a seat. So how do you choose?

Take me for example, when I board trains, I don't sit even when there are empty seats. If I am tired and happen to sit at the new morality/ethics seat, I'm likely not to give it up too. I stand for most of my trips so that I can give other people a place to sit, whether they are abled or not. If one day I sit and the some moron took a photo of me, and paint whatever picture that moron wants to paint, is that an accurate picture?

In short, if you want to sit, sit. Want to give up the seat, do so. But don't turn this into a freaking morality test and go judging people.

And stop using the "ownself check ownself" or "you voted for this" arguments. Those are just excuses for your inability to argue with facts and sensibility. People using shortcut arguments are killing their brains without knowing so.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Knowing your rights at the airport

I saw this Facebook post pop up. It's quite interesting.

The guy in the story, PJ Wong, was stopped the ICA officer for a spot check. Wong questioned the intent of the officer and basically questioned all the procedures. Wong even started taking videos. The police officer tried to snatch his phone. The supervisor was called in and Wong was left off.

Here are some thoughts, the officer is doing his job and is within his power to carry out the search. The questions are unnecessary and the officer don't even need to give him any reason. The police officer has no right to take away the phone. That would be stealing. The situation can turn extremely ugly. Luckily for the officer, he did not get the phone. If I'm in the same situation, I would proceed on with the search. What's the big deal? By the way, Changi Airport is not a public area. Many people mistake places where public have access as public area. That's not true. The property owner has the right to remove you any time from the premise.

Update: There's now a facebook page to support officer Eugene Ng.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Khaw Boon Wan vs UberX

Reference: Brace yourself, UberX. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is coming for you

I seriously do not understand what is meant by "leveling the playing field".

This is competition. Competition helps lowers the price of taxi fare which is too bad for the taxi drivers of course. Competition also improves the service by getting more cars out to work as transport vehicles. It benefits more passengers than taxi drivers.

So how does "leveling the playing field" generate positive utility for the economy, or even benefit passengers?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Will taxing the rich make Singapore richer?

Reference: S'pore's total tax collection hits record high of $43.4b

So there are now 4,557 people earning more than $1 million each.

Their combined income came to $8.63 billion and they paid about $1.6 billion in income tax.

That works out to be 18.5% tax rate.

Singapore's total tax revenue recorded the 12 months before March 31 is $43.4 billion.

Those 4,557 high earners are only contributing 3% of the total tax revenue.

Say for example if we were to tax the hell out of those rich people at various tax rates below
30% - 2.59b in tax - 44.39b tax revenue - 5.8% of total
40% - 3.45b in tax - 45.39b tax revenue - 7.6% of total
50% - 4.32b in tax - 46.12b tax revenue - 9.3% of total

The rest of the so-called lower earners contributed $41.8b.

Say we increase the tax of the rest by 1%. That will give us an additional $4.18b.

To get that amount with high earners, we had to increase the tax level of high earners to you're-going-to-piss-them-off 50% level.

That's the law of large number. You will get a more significant result when you increase a small percentage that affects a large number.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Indonesia's comments on the 2015 haze

Shocking statements from “senior people” in Indonesian gov’t: Shanmugam

So what can you do, Singapore?

Nothing would be quite an accurate answer.

I can't stand all these wayang that's playing out on the international stage where politicians are ALL TALK NO ACTION (NATO). It's the biggest wayang playing live right now.

Shuqun student bullied for 5 months

Source: TMG Exclusive: Teacher knew about the bullying, teen was bullied for 5 months before video

There's this Shuqun Secondary School student who was bullied for 5 months before anything was done.

The teacher has failed to protect the student who was unable to protect himself. There should have been follow-up to see if the initial verbal warning to the bully is actually working. Apparently not in this case and the victim has to suffer because the teacher is incapable of teaching discipline and conduct to the bully.

Parents can avoid this type of behaviour by asking their kids about school and work occasionally. It's most important to foster an open-minded culture where kids can talk freely and won't be afraid to talk about this type of things.

This case reminds of the SMRT bully case where someone else has to stand up for the victim because the latter choice to suffer in silence.

People need to stand up for yourself because nobody else will do that for you. Your happiness should not have to depend on others.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The ball is round

"The ball is round" is the most stupid answer you can give to any question.

Do you want to pay more taxes?

Another great post I spotted on Facebook, written by a sensible person. In short, she wants her CPF money back.

CPF is a savings instrument. It's supposed to pay you a monthly allowance when you retired.

So the reason she wants her money back in lump sum is because? Or is it because her CPF account is not giving her enough money monthly?

One of the main reasons why you can't take out money is because the government don't think people have that responsibility to manage their own money. If you look at the number of people who post irresponsible comments on Facebook, you ought to be scared. What will these people do if they do get back their lump sum CPF payment?

Say someone tells you that there's a good stock you should buy and you bought it and one year later you lost 10% of your money? 10% of your life savings is a lot. Put in another way, you lost 10% of your life. When you have a lot of money and don't have the financial knowledge to handle them, it's dangerous. People are greedy and like a good deal. When you see a good investment, you will want in. And if you're not savvy, then the risk is high. I recently bought shares and it went down 25%. The money I used, I can write off 100%. But when you're old, and you lose 25%, your heart will sink and you'll never forgive yourself because you won't have the luxury of time to earn them back.

It's not like the government wants to be a nanny state. In fact the opposite, they want you to be responsible and independent. Besides CPF, have you not been saving money outside? If you only depend on government to save money for you using the CPF system, you might not be in a good situation. You could be a low wage earner and cannot save money on your own, sure. But without CPF, as a low wage earner, you won't even be able to save anything without CPF.

Personally for me, I never depend on CPF for my savings. I treat it as an invisible savings account. On my own, I work from 9am to 1am. I work hard and save money while I'm young. I don't want to have to depend on CPF when I'm old. But it will be great if there's a monthly allowance from CPF when I'm retiring. Also when I'm buying a flat, or as many people say leasing a flat, the invisible money suddenly turns into something I can use to finance the purchase.

Source of the story below: Facebook

This is the standard question we get asked when we question if we should give an allowance to our old folks, provide them better healthcare or get our CPF back at 55.

Almost immediately, and almost always, the answer is a straight no. It is so easy to predict Singaporeans, it becomes sad.

When I just started work, Singapore was not a tax haven. Our personal income tax rate could go progressively up to 33%. In my first job as a non-executive, my basic salary was $1,100 but I had to pay 12% income tax.

25% of our monthly income went to our CPF account, and our employers paid another 25%. Singapore was not a developed country, and unlike today, we didn't get the kind of respect and admiration from people all over the world. We strove hard to put our country on the map.
It was tough, but we didn't mind. I don't ever remember complaining about tax. To me, it was a privilege to have an ability to earn, and paying tax was and has always been a responsibility.

Singaporeans were a much happier bunch, then. We understood there were children's education to pay for, and we wanted to build a nation that is strong. We saw the airport move from Paya Lebar to Changi, and then in the 80s, Terminal 2 was built. Now, we have Terminal 3.
When the MRT roared into town, we were curious how fast it could travel and would sometimes race against it. We were impressed how it made life so much more efficient. It cost us billions. Yes, it cost us, the taxpayers, billions.

In a few years, I'll be reaching 55 years old. It is supposed to be something to look forward to. For all the financial sacrifices we made in our younger days, we were looking forward to that delayed gratification.

We were promised that we could have our money back after loaning it to the country for decades. Three decades. But now, we are told we are not capable of managing our own money and we cannot have it back or the government might increase tax to feed us if we squander it away. Me? Not capable of managing my own money? Joke.

As if it is not enough to take away the right to our money, they must take away our dignity as well.

And you think this is right. You, the ones we put into schools for a proper education. The ones we give up well paid jobs to teach, the ones we care about. The ones we built the MRT, the best airports and harbour in the world as assets to grow your GDP for.

And worse, you think it is fair that the old folks collecting cardboards do not deserve social welfare. They too contributed to your expensive lifestyle. You think it is right that the tissue sellers should carve out a living on their own. Just so? Just so you need not face the possibility of higher taxes or a run down of reserves that WE and THEY built up?

What happened to the CSR hours that you put in? Has the education system that we paid for to educate you taught you that you need only live with clear conscience just once a year?

Yet, I am fortunate that I am only in my late 40s, and I can still feed myself, and I can still run my companies. What about those from the pioneer generation? How do you expect them to fend for themselves when they don't get their promised CPF, are too weak to work, and cannot afford basic healthcare? You really think they are pushing cardboards, tens of kilos a day... for fun?

No matter which party you favour, have a little conscience, have a little heart. Don't be too cruel with your words to those who built the country for you. Don't be too selfish and claim all glory to yourself.

We are a country, and when we were young and able, we did not calculate the tax monies we paid for your education, your parks and your sporting facilities. It is beginning to look like by making you prosperous, we have created some monsters without any sense of social justice.
Everybody grows old and will become helpless one day. I will, and so will you. Karma is something I don't ever mess with. What about you?

Singapore Savings Bonds are now available

I think the Singapore Savings Bonds is a really good idea. It's basically low risk investment for people who are not so savvy at investing.

The other great advantage is that it keeps money in Singapore and not let it flow out.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Taxing the rich to give to the poor

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam is one of the MPs that I respect for his sensibility and logical thinking. There aren't many in the PAP that I know of that's at the same level he's playing at.

This is one of the video that came from the election rally of him explaining the tax system:

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam explains about our tax system and how it has benefited our middle income and low income residents in Singapore at the Holland Bukit Timah GRC & Bukit Panjang SMC Rally tonight.Listen to the end about whether GST will be increased in the next 5 years.Video Credits: Toggle.Sg#GE2015 #PAP4SGGet breaking news, live updates, and exclusive content, on the go, please click:

Posted by People's Action Party on Saturday, 5 September 2015

A lot of people have commented that the government should tax the rich more. I feel the same way too but the thing is, the effect return you get from the tax will not significantly increase.

In the video, Tharman explained that the rich are able to move money around. So if you increase the tax, those rich people will just move their money around, reclassify their earnings, or do whatever their tax lawyers advise. At the end, you're not going to get a lot of out of them.

If you don't understand why taxing the rich is not the best solution, then you're probably not in the rich tier. I'm not in the rich tier either, but I do know that, yes, you make money so that they are not taxable.

In the end, it will be the middle income who will end up paying more taxes if more social benefits are to come from the government. Because it's this huge group of people who don't have the financial intelligence to do what the rich do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bully on SMRT train

Reference: Action against MRT bully? What about man who threatened Amos Yee?
K Shanmugam Sc's Facebook post
The Singaporean blind spot that gets so glaring at times

The background: Someone who looks like a foreigner scolds a local guy and wants to pick up a fight. The local guy ignores the whole thing and a Malay guy stands up for up by scolding the bully.

I find it interesting that K Shanmugam has come out on Facebook asking for the employer of the bully to "take some action, against him". Yes, there's no law against bullying people in Singapore. Is that why Shanmugam has to imply action to be taken?

Another very interesting article relating to this incident is the one written by Limpeh. It's about how apathetic Singaporeans are. It's so scary it's true. Read it.

MCE accident caused by moron driver

Dangerous drivers should be taken off the road. Simple as that.

PLEASE PASS THIS MSG AROUND!! My brother and his wife met into an accident a few days back, a cut-short video has been circulating around. This is the full video of the incident. Toyota driver is still unknown. To anyone who witnessed this accident or have any information please PM me straight. Thank you!! Your help is highly appreciated.

Posted by Syahdirwan Jumari on Saturday, 11 July 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Looks like there's no COI for SMRT's July 2015 disruption

Reference: COI for latest MRT disruption "unnecessary": Lui Tuck Yew

"Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said he did not think another COI - which was convened for the Dec 2011 breakdowns - was necessary."

Yeah, that's because the previous COI was pretty useless as we are still having these problems with train disruptions. How many times are there already? Did anyone count? Was anyone held accountable?

What is accountability? How are the salaries of SMRT management determined? How are the salaries tied to the performance of the transport network?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Amos Yee given 4-week backdated jail term

Reference: Amos Yee given 4-week backdated jail term; blogger is 'remorseful', says lawyer

So Amos Yee has been released because of the 4-week backdated jail term he was given. Good for him. I felt that the length of the sentence is just right. I've a friend who felt that it should be 4 months. But a whole lot more thought that the government was too tough and should just "give chance" (that boat has sailed off long ago).

Anyway, I found it interesting that it is the lawyer who said that the blogger was remorseful. What's interesting is it is not Amos Yee who said that he's remorseful. He definitely looks shaken from all the photos plastered online. But is he remorseful? So far we have not heard a single apology from him. Personally, I hope he has learned a bit of humility and that thing called responsibility.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Anyhow Hantam on Mary Toh & Amos Yee

Reference: Only Mary Toh Can Save Amos Yee

What a smart article. Go read it.

It's rare to find a blog whose author actually thinks analytically.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

UN Human Rights Office calls for the release of Amos Yee

So the Amos Yee saga continues.

Following the social media online, it seems that the general consensus is that the government has gone too far to punish Amos Yee.

Personally, I don't think that he's mentally ill enough to be remanded into IMH. Look, he's a smart kid who behaved in a stupid idiotic manner. Stupidity is not a mental illness. There are a lot of stupid people in Singapore, just look at all the type nonsense that are posted on online forums for evidence.

Somehow from somewhere, there's this UN Human Rights Office that has suddenly come out to call for the release of Amos Yee. Just because you say that we should release Amos Yee and we should listen to you? What if you change your tune and say we should give Amos a BMW? When it comes to the law, there's very little leeway for flexibility.

Should the government just drop that case? Would they drop the case? I don't think so. They have to follow through to the end. If not then they are no different from the AWOLED doctor Wang Yinchu they gave 18 months detention to. I mean, you wouldn't like a government that do things halfway right?

Amos Yee tried to refute the charges against him.

Let's see the charges as he wrote on his blog.

1st charge – Charged for deliberately intending to wound the religious feelings of Christians in general and the feelings of Fong Huiling Pamela, female 26 years old and Lim Zijin, male 27 years old in particular (Section 298 – wounding religious feelings of a person either verbally or through an action) Punishment of up to 3 years, fine or both.

2nd Charge – Charged for insulting Lee Kuan Yew and intending for it to viewed by people who would be distressed by it(Section 4(1)(b) punishable under section 4(2)) Punishment of up to a $5000 fine.

3rd Charge – Charged for uploading an obscene image (Section 292 1(a) – distributes any obscene materials) Punishment of up to 3 months, fine or both

The first charge is serious. YOU DO NOT INSULT/PLAY/USE RELIGION FOR ANY POLITIC CAUSE OR WORSE, ENTERTAINMENT, IN SINGAPORE. If you haven't understand Singapore's history enough, it's the the government will do any and everything to keep things stable. This first charge makes the seriousness of the next two charges seem so pale by comparison.

The second charge I think is a bit far-fetched. Is insulting people a crime? How do you quantify those people who are hurt by the insult? How do you measure their distress? And are they made less off that they cannot recover because of the distress? This is a stupid charge. Oops. Did I insult anyone by saying stupid?

3rd charge of uploading obscene image. Amos Yee may not have known that there's this law in Singapore. Sure. I don't doubt that. Tourists who litter in Singapore also may not know that littering is a crime in Singapore. Look, the picture of Lee Kuan Yew buttfucking Margaret Thatcher is clearly obscene. Any reasonable person can tell that. There's no need to write a few paragraphs to refute something that's so clear.

This Amos Yee saga is a sad case. It's sad that it has been allowed to drag on for so long.

But Amos Yee brought it upon himself. He was given the chance to back up. But he even sabotaged his own bailor Vincent Law by claiming that he was molested, only to reveal much later that it was a lie. He has the heavens to thank that Vincent Law did not sue him.

What I find sad about the whole thing is Amos Yee didn't show any remorse. He isn't apologetic at all. Even when he's now a pale shadow of his former arrogant self, he has not apologise to anyone. I know apologies can be cheap, but for Amos Yee to not apologise, it just shows that he has learned nothing from in.

I would think that Amos Yee would gain humility from all these, but now I think otherwise. I have no idea what that little kid wants. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't know what he wants also.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pasir Ris One DBSS is wow, plain ugly

Reference: Pasir Ris ONE DBSS – yet another development under fire

When I saw the photos of Pasir Ris One DBSS, I was "stunned like vegetable".

Alright, the exterior is ugly. That's not surprising coming from a HDB project. But the interior really looks like a prison corridor. Unbelievable. So that's the standard housing planners nowadays?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Court gives doctor gets 18 months DB for AWOL

Reference: When a Dream-Chasing Doctor is No Better than an Upskirt Pervert
Longer detention for doctor who went AWOL

This to me is a very sad story.

One month to completing NS, Wang Yinchu AWOLed in order to get into Cambridge to purse his medical education.

Mindef refused to approve his disruption. If you're so powerful, you should be confident enough to approve the disruption and force the guy to continue when he comes back to Singapore.

This article is not about what could have been.

I guess many people would read the story and get caught up by the details. A doctor's whose bright future is now ruined. There are also people who blamed the doctor for his stupidity, claiming that if he could AWOL, he could also walk out of his patients midway surgery (just like how you don't finish your food on the plate).

Some people are angry at the chief military prosecutor for imposing the 18 month detention.

The main point of the story is Mindef is never known to be flexible.

They are not flexible.

You can die and they will still not be flexible. But they will pay for your cost if they are found to be negligent.

I mean that's it.

Regardless of the story, you can always think forward into the future and know the answer. Mindef is inflexible. The details of the story are just distractions.

What I'm more interested now is what the doctor thinks.

Personally, I think we have lost a Singaporean here, in soul even if it's not in body. It may not be the desired outcome, but it's the unavoidable outcome because of Mindef's flexibility.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Using GDP to calculate Singapore's average salary

Reference: How much do you need to earn to be above Singapore’s “average”?

Read an article on Yahoo Singapore that tried to calculate Singapore's salary using GDP.

Some points to take away.

The high income earners are earning a whole lot more skewing the average upwards. One can only imagine how much they are earning to be able to skew the numbers that high, making the average $9,207 after discounting those who are unemployed.

I was back from Hong Kong a few weeks ago and food there on average cost two times that of Singapore. Hong Kong has roughly the same GDP as Singapore, but has 7.2 million in population vs Singapore's 5.4 million.

What's more interesting would be how the purchasing power of dollar has faded over the years. Or how many years you have to work before you can pay off the loan to your property.

As you can see, it's a very flawed way to calculate GDP. An article written to get eyeballs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's preventing the LTA officer from giving summons?

Reference: LTA officer questioned over reluctance to issue summons for illegally parked cars

Interesting story at TOC regarding a LTA officer who refused to give summons for a car clearly in violation of parking laws.

The correct question the citizen should have asked is what's preventing the officer from giving the summons. What a waste of an opportunity to find out the truth.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NUS law professor takes law into his own hands

Reference: NUS law professor in the dock for assaulting cabbie

The irony is thick. I hope this case blows big online and he loses his job.

Backwards-thinking Singtel wants to charge content providers again

Reference: Charge content providers, says Singtel CEO again

Singtel is one of the my most disliked company in Singapore.

I've nothing against them. I've not one of their customers and have not suffered any outages from their services. I, however, am interested in business related stories.

In the recent story by CNA, Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong has once again said she wanted to charge content providers like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. That idea really angers me.

That is just so backwards, but coming from a company like SingTel, it's not very surprising. Instead innovating and creating products to get more revenue, now they want to charge content providers who are providing value to their customers.

First of all, Singapore is a small market. Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube can just block Singapore users from their website. They can easily do that and who's on the losing end? Singaporeans.

Second, most people use those websites. If Singtel is to successfully charge, then I dare say that Starhub and other ISPs will follow suit.

SingTel's business model is so outdated already. Now they want to create a new business model that benefits nobody except themselves. When you're in business, you should be providing value, a service or product, that someone is willing to pay for.

If SingTel cannot innovative, they should not pull the rest of Singapore down with them.