Friday, April 27, 2007

A Must-See by Dick Lee

This is absolutely hilarious! See in YouTube -> here.

Funny thing was that Singaporeans laughed so loud.

*ahem* I did too! You rock, Dick Lee!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Danish citizen responds to MM Lee's "mediocre government" comment

Fantastic, insightful comments taken from another blog (read here) or below.

Firstly, we shouldn't undermine other countries to highlight our success. This is definitely not gracious of a 'first-world' country.

Secondly, how can you compare a tiny island's success with larger countries? I'd think it would have taken a long time, perhaps months, for a policy to reach the far end of the country, let alone enforce it.

Thirdly, our good geographical position and safe waters were huge advantages. They were not created by the government. I acknowledge it took a wise man his vision and foresightedness to leverage on it and sell Singapore. No disrespect for their dedication and effort but isn't it stretching a tad bit far to attribute every success to the old guard?

My advice for PAP is to move on. Stop dwelling in past glories and success. To me, they have become 'crutches' for our future, broken record harpings and simply 'scare tactics'. So much that if they are unmentioned/removed, you would have us believe Singapore will collapse.

We are living in the NOW.

If only we learn to be humble.

---
Mr. Gregory Glen Holstebro, Denmark

I read with interest Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s remark in Singapore’s Parliament that Denmark, Finland and Switzerland can afford mediocrity in the remuneration of their ministers.
I shall restrict my observations to Denmark and Finland.

These 2 Nordic countries reward their leaders, in both the private and public sectors, somewhat less handsomely than Singapore. Despite this, I would suggest that both countries’ governments are by no means mediocre, and neither have they evinced any indication of being able to afford it.

Finland has managed to weather the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s, a market for 20% of its exports, in no small part due to its successful transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. Its leading multinational, Nokia, is the market leader in the mobile telecommunications industry, with a global market share of 36% in the manufacture of mobile phones (Q42006) and revenues of €41.121 billion (2006). While most of the credit for this success story can be attributed to the Finnish private sector, Finland’s government had a significant role to play in creating the optimal framework for the flourishing of the technology sector. From the mid 1960s onwards, there were special efforts to expand higher education, with a law on higher education passed in 1966, the result being that Finns are some of the most well-educated people in the world.

The Finnish government was also instrumental in pushing for the promotion of GSM as the European mobile telephony standard, based on the Nordic countries’ experience of NMT, an earlier, pan-Nordic standard. The early adoption of GSM in Finland provided the platform for Nokia’s global breakthrough. Decades before the global liberalization of telecommunications markets in the 1990s, Finland’s telecoms market had already been liberalized, and thus had possibly the world’s most competitive market for telecom operators and equipment makers. Credit for this is in no small part due to the role of the Finnish government. Finland devotes a higher percentage of its GNP to research and development than most countries, and the role of the government has been critical, especially in the early 90s, where public-funded research increased despite recession.

In the case of Denmark, the government made the decision in the 1970s to intensify research into renewable energy. Important research was carried out at Risoe, the government research centre, into wind energy. It took political courage to subsidize feeder tariffs for wind turbine-produced electricity. That decision has paid off handsomely. Today, Danish-based companies have a global market share of ca. 50% in the manufacture of wind turbines, an industry with global annual growth rates of 30%, and estimated revenues of €10 billion (2006, est.). Indeed Denmark’s Vestas has recently set up engineering and research facilities in Singapore.

In more general terms, I would submit that both countries’ systems and governments are not mediocre, and are like Singapore’s, acutely aware of not being able to afford it. Rather than Europe being there to catch Finland and Denmark should they falter, both countries have been net contributors to the European Union budget since their accession. Mediocrity is not a hallmark of either society either. In the last 30 years, both countries, despite their small populations, have produced individuals who have won Olympic gold medals, Oscars and Nobel Prizes. They have produced New Economy pioneers, for example Finland’s Linus Torvalds, the creater of Linux (an open-source operating system and competitor to Microsoft’s Windows) and Denmark’s Janus Friis, co-founder of Skype (a peer-to-peer telephony application).

In conclusion, both countries’ positions as globally competitive economies and high-achieving societies have been attained against the backdrop of low corruption levels, and high levels of trust between citizens and government, and seemingly despite high taxes and comprehensive welfare states. This has not required stratospheric levels of remuneration of government leaders and officials (bold mine).
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Friendly banter

From p65 blogsite: To Increase or Not To Increase? speech by Michael Palmer

Urge you to read. Pretty good points he had highlighted about the timing, etc. Comments from bloggers came in fast and furious.

I wrote to Michael about the pay hike. I've commended his speech. However, guessed some pro-PAP supporters decided to get personal. Here are the exchanges:

whybegay Says: April 16th, 2007 at 1:27 am
Kaffein,
since you have mentioned that you have migrated away from Singapore to Australia. Then I don’t think you should be more concerned with Singapore affairs rather than Australia’s. For instance John Howard’s recent anti-HIV migration suggestion.

Easternwind Says: April 16th, 2007 at 3:15 pm
Whybegay,
Gd logic why shld a former sporean be so concerned abt the island matters, if indeed he was so concerned he wouldnt hv left in the 1st place. Hahahahahah

Easternwind Says: April 18th, 2007 at 12:32 am
oh yeah kaffein was the one who criticised me for being overly aggrsive lest I forget well may I remind kaffein hving quitted spore u r not entitled to speak ur mind here, being a foreigner i woudl see u interfering with local politics and finally let me WARN u anyone out to block spore path towards success must be politcally eliminated no wonder what u included

Kaffein Says: April 20th, 2007 at 7:34 pm
To whybegay and easternwind,I’ve decided not to debate with you here. This blog belongs to the p65 MPs.
PS. Have a question for you both. Am I a foreign talent if I decide to come back after 5 years?

whybegay Says: April 22nd, 2007 at 2:09 pm
Kaffein,
this blog is exactly for debate and discussion since the MPs are here.
To answer your second question, the answer depends on whether you have any talents that Singapore wants.

Easternwind Says: April 23rd, 2007 at 12:22 am
Y did kafein refuse to debate with me, the reason is is simple, far from being logical and constructive, he has long labelled me as a PAP lackey (but dared not say so openly).

Hving quitted spore what makes u come bk, hao ma bu chi hui tou chao, u must hv hated the PAP so much (me included) thts y u left spore. U must hv wished LKY a speedy death for he was nvr in ur list of top leaders who shld run this place.

The issue of foreign talent has long been debated, far from “selling spore out” as claimed by opp, this foregniers actually value add to oor economy but this is a highly emotive issue and opp wasted no time in capitalising on it for its own political gains.

No great empire in the world make it without foreigners, li si who served in the state of Qin was not born there. Li Kashing was originally from chaozhou but fled to HK, microsoft employed many foreigners whose names I doubt u knw how to pronounce.

U really think with ur own pple u can flourish, prosper, etc etc i doubt so. What if the chap u intend to hire dont belong to 1 of u and u shut the door to him but u knw he can bring u millions if u hire u.

I urged sporeans to look wider and clearer tth hving foreigners in our economy is to help us not robbing jobs away from us. If u believed in the rubbish uttered by opp then spore would go down the drain in no time. Thks u!!!

Kaffein Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. April 23rd, 2007 at 10:14 pm
Probably my last attempt here:
To whybegay“this blog is exactly for debate and discussion since the MPs are here.”

Kaffein>I disagree. This blog is NOT my blog. There is no reason to debate about ME. I should not be the focal point but real issues/concerns highlighted by the public. But then again why not have some interesting debates here since this speech is going to get archived.

“To answer your second question, the answer depends on whether you have any talents that Singapore wants. ”

Kaffein>*sobs* other countries want me. Go figure.

To Easternwind,
Y did kafein refuse to debate with me, the reason is is simple, far from being logical and constructive, he has long labelled me as a PAP lackey (but dared not say so openly).

Kaffein> Truth? Can you handle it? I didn’t take you seriously. But then…

Kaffein>I could sue you for libel and making assumptions that I have never said. But blogs aren’t not to be taken seriously. Or are they? Perhaps ex-EDB chairman Philip Yeo might want to expound on this. Seems to be one rule for a group, and another for the common.

Kaffein> Anyway, you have declared that term yourself. I did not disagree. I will like to think many posters tend to agree with what you have declared about yourself.

Hving quitted spore what makes u come bk, hao ma bu chi hui tou chao, u must hv hated the PAP so much (me included) thts y u left spore. U must hv wished LKY a speedy death for he was nvr in ur list of top leaders who shld run this place.

Kaffein> Again you are putting yourself at risk for putting words in my mouth and making bold statements. Do you feel rich today?

Kaffein> I have openly declared my email, my blogsite. Have you? There is no credibility in your posts, btw.

Kaffein> If Singapore can accept ‘ungrateful sons’ from foreign countries who come here, get their milks’ worth from the country and then return back to their home, I can’t see why I cannot do likewise.

Kaffein> Also can you also repeat what you have said to SM Goh’s daughter, or ex-Minister Yeo’s daughters? What if they decide to come back? What will you call them? Patriots, loyal citizens? Awww, c’mon. I think the narrow, shallow thinking does not stem from me.

The issue of foreign talent has long been debated, far from “selling spore out” as claimed by opp, this foregniers actually value add to oor economy but this is a highly emotive issue and opp wasted no time in capitalising on it for its own political gains.

Kaffein> Again, the issue wasn’t an opposition’s political gain. It was raised by our very own sons (think NS and you are not far off) of Singapore. The opposition just highlighted a very true concern many have felt.

No great empire in the world make it without foreigners, li si who served in the state of Qin was not born there. Li Kashing was originally from chaozhou but fled to HK, microsoft employed many foreigners whose names I doubt u knw how to pronounce.

Kaffein> Your point is?

U really think with ur own pple u can flourish, prosper, etc etc i doubt so.

Kaffein> Yes I can. Can you? I doubt so.

What if the chap u intend to hire dont belong to 1 of u and u shut the door to him but u knw he can bring u millions if u hire u.

Kaffein> I’m not stupid. But then again, are you saying that Singaporeans cannot bring in millions but foreigners can? If yes, gosh, your popularity just took a nose-dive.

I urged sporeans to look wider and clearer tth hving foreigners in our economy is to help us not robbing jobs away from us. If u believed in the rubbish uttered by opp then spore would go down the drain in no time. Thks u!!!

Kaffein> And thks u 2!!!
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Wow, you must be kidding, right?

Someone posted me what MM Lee said in the St James Power Station. I was stumped.

Let me try to understand what he said. All respect to him for modern Singapore, I think he is missing the point(s). The people of Singapore are not saying that there should not be a pay hike. It's just that:

  • The government has just raised the utilities fees, transport fares, GST hike, etc over the past year. Is this a right time with another hike again?
  • The ministers' salaries are already so well-paid, highest in the world. It still is a laughing stock, considering the impact to the world should a Singapore PM step down.
  • The income gap is widening so fast. The government has recognized the gap but nothing has been done about it. Or is it purposely?
  • The middle- and lower-income group have not seen a significant pay rise over the past few years to move with the increasing cost of living. Don't you think it's a bit far off to give yourself >50% pay raise?
  • There is so much wealth in our reserves and the government keeps telling Singaporeans that it isn't enough. Really?
  • To help the poor and those living from hand to mouth, there was even a debate if the mere $40 increase from $250 was justifiable. Ridiculous and absurd, in my honest opinion! Those people once gave their all to contribute to the economy.
  • The Straits Times newspaper put up 8 pages of comments, articles, etc to justify the pay hike. Necessary?
  • Do a blog search on the words 'minister pay hike' and you probably get >80% disapproval.
  • With so many disgruntled voices over the pay hike, I strongly believe the government will carry it out. So why need a debate/discussion then? Isn't it like the casino issue?
  • Etc...

(Do yourself a favour. Read those blogs. Many have given valid reasons why the pay hike should not take place. Perhaps my MPs are afraid to bring those reasons up in parliament debate.)

So which part does MM Lee NOT understand?

Anyway, article here:

MM Lee: Why fuss over ministers' pay when it's your own future at stake?

Really? I'm unconvinced. Still.

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, 83, has issued a heartfelt appeal to Singapore's next generation. As you reap the benefits of your higher education and global mobility, he said, be

I have not seen my pay rise by 10%, let alone 100% like what the government has proposed for the ministers. What benefits did I receive when the cost of living keeps going up and my salary does not match it?

mindful of those who made those opportunities possible - fellow citizens who stayed behind and toiled for the good of the country, and capable leaders who stepped forward to run it and made it prosper.

Again, opportunities for whom? There were the p40s, p50s who stayed behind and toiled to see Singapore as what she is today. What did they get?

Crap loads like "Your CPF contributions are not enough for retirement", "No more pension for you" (yet you give yourself pension?!!), "You can't retire so early now, people live longer, etc"

He was speaking to over 40 Young PAP members at a 2.5-hour dialogue at St James Power Station on Saturday.

Labelling the recent brouhaha over ministers' pay hikes as 'completely unreal', Mr Lee said: 'You have a dumb govt in Singapore, you are done for. And you want to quarrel about $20 million over a $4-trillion economy? I say, rubbish... You mismanage this, it's not your

We don't have a dumb government. We only have dumb Singaporeans. At least 66.6% of them. You want to quarrel with me about the $250 to $290 justification debates?

Also the $20 million is shared by only a small percent (the ministers only) as compared to the whole population? Do you think it is fair?

shareholders who will lose money, 4 and a half million people will suffer - of whom 3 million plus are Singaporeans, of whom 80 per cent cannot migrate.'

Pointing to the often-heard wish of the highly-educated young to migrate to greener pastures, Mr Lee urged them to consider the plight of their fellow citizens who are not so mobile.

Question: Who are the REAL shareholders of the $4-trillion economy, pray tell me?

Also by saying 80 per cent cannot migrate, you acknowledge the fact that a whole lot of people want out?! Perhaps you should rethink your policies. They could be the push factors.

In spite of the Singapore success, people still want to leave.

Migration statistics of Singapore that we don't see in our newspaper.

'As a government and personally for me and my colleagues, my responsibility is to look after those who cannot migrate. Without them doing the hard and the dirty work, I would not have had a decent life, I would not have been a leader, my children would not have been educated, you would not have been educated, so I owe them a responsibility, an obligation... Can you in good conscience say, "Goodbye! Thank you very much?'


Yes sir. I have just migrated.

Perhaps SM Goh can also share with my fellow Singaporeans why his daughter is in London? And why isn't his son-in-law living in Singapore?

Or can ex-MP Yeo Cheow Tong explain why his daughter did not reject New York's offer? Read below:
"Yeo Cheow Tong told me that JP Morgan, a leading Wall Street investment bank, recruited his daughter before she even started her final year in a top US university. Upon joining the bank after graduation, she was assigned to a corporate finance team that executes billion-dollar projects. Apart from the pay, such a first job excited and challenged her.

I asked Cheow Tong whether his daughter would come back to Singapore. He could only say, "I hope so." I hope so too."
excerpts from SM Goh's nation day rally 2001

His daughters are still in the US today.

The MM's bottomline: Singapore is an honest meritocracy that relies on hard-nosed decisions and proven individual talent - and that applies to everyone, including even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Alluding to critics who accuse the Lee family of nepotism, he countered: 'I have not created this Singapore to have it ruined by my son. If he can't do the job, I would have stopped him faster than anybody else. It's as simple as that. Why? Because the future of Singapore is more important than his future.'

'Let's be blunt about this. At stake is not the PAP losing a few seats. At stake is you losing your future.'
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Puffing Billy and family photos

Sorry for the delay on the photos.
Long story: I had to transfer the photos from my camera to the laptop (also editing them to smaller sizes for viewing), copied to the thumbdrive and then to the current PC which does not belong to me.

'Nuff said. Let's not bore you with the details.

Here goes:
1. At our beautiful rented house.


2. Visited Puffing Billy (last visit was 5 years ago, without Rachel, of course!)


- Drove through a 'scenic route' along the way to Puffing Billy Railway.
- Grants Picnic Ground to feed the birds

- Puffin Billy train

- Family, Rachel and with her carriage friends (Mitchell, Abigail, Rachel and Sarah)

Nice, good, worthwhile family time!
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How God answered our prayers

Well, things have sure changed a lot since our arrival to Melbourne on 9 Apr, 1 week ago.

Our migration plan was this:

  • Keep eyes focused on Jesus.
  • Take each day as it comes. God's grace is like the mana from heaven. Eat your fill for today. There will be sufficient for tomorrow.
  • Eat, drink and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is God's gift to man.
    (Eccl 3:12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.)
So we did just that.

Today we drove to the Puffing Billy Railway in Belgrave, east of Melbourne. Rachel had a blast! Not only did she enjoy her train rides, she made friends with Abigail, an Aussie gal who is 1 year older than her. (I'm trying to upload the pictures I've taken. Until my PC arrives by shipment, I am unable to do so as this PC belongs to the house owner. Internet included.)

They made the train carriage rock with their jumpings, screamings and runnings. They sat with their legs sticking out from the carriage windows for the most part of the train journey.

More to come. I think next is either the Melbourne Zoo or the Werribee Open Safari.

God loves my family and me. All our prayers were answered.

And much more. He always does that - the much more than we can hope or dream of.

Prayer updates:

  • Get a job and a well-paying one as I will be the only one working (Adrian)
    - I had two well-paying job offers. Just accepted one of them this afternoon.
    - Many people told me not to expect too much. Most jobs are clinched in an average of 1 -2 months.
    - I trusted in a God who works wonders
  • Able to cook well (Selene)
  • Able to give thanks and eat whatever is on the table (Adrian, Rachel). If not, we'll be fasting soon :P
    - Surprise, surprise. Meals were not only edible but good too.
    - We finished all of our meals.
    (Selene ate in front of us. So we had no choice but to finish, right? Juz joking!)
  • Able to adjust to new climate, culture, lifestyle (All)- We went to Puffing Billy.
    - Going to another attraction, and another, and another...
    - Managed to adjust to the weather too.
    - People are really nice and helpful. Selene didn't have change on the tram once. An old man paid for her, $5.20 and all!
  • God to send nice, wonderful people (hopefully Singaporeans, Christians) along our way to guide, help us settle in (All, esp. Selene)- Through my sister-in-law, we managed to meet up with some Singaporeans and Chinese.
    - One of whom was so accommodating that she invited my family for dinner. She cooked really well - Nasi Lemak, Pulut Hitam, Fried Chicken Wings, Steamed Siew Mais... yum!
    - All Christians too. So Selene had lots of support, godly advice and guidance in house rentals, etc.
    - They also recommended a good church which we visited, CityLife Church.
  • Have playmates around her age (Rachel)
    - Gotta give this to Rachel. She prayed earnestly for friends to keep her company. And She got it.
    - The Christian friends whom we met up with (see above)? 'Coincidentally' they all have daughters aged between 4 - 7 years old. How close and accurate can a prayer get?
    - Rachel has been playing with them ever since.
    - Also she's been enrolled in a pretty nice kindergarten in a good neighbourhood. Actually she simply prayed for a good kinder to attend.
    - Guess what? When we called on 16 Apr Monday morning, surprise, surprise! There was 1 vacancy.
    - The administrative officer was stumped. She said it was so unheard of as the school is always fully booked (it being a very good school) and that Rachel was so 'lucky' to come in just in time.
    - Yeah right, Rachel has BIG connections from high above. Her big and wonderful DADDY.
  • Have lots of fun and family time (All)
    - We are enjoying every bit of it.
    - Yes there were challenges - those adjustments, sometimes confusion on how to proceed or what's next for us.
    - But in each and every step we took, God went ahead and prepared the way before us.
    - As the Psalmist said, "SURELY goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

So that sums up our 1-week stay.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Hats off to you, Sylvia Lim! Kudos!

If you have not seen this video in YouTube, please do.

Ok, that's being polite! Go see for yourself and stop reading my blog. The video is worth much more than my blog.

If only our MPs have this calibre to speak like her, instead of learning to dance or tell 'spin' stories.

Did you see the other MPs cringe. Straight, direct, hard and to the point!

Hats off to you, Sylvia!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Transparency. The price of hiring an SG Minister.

Just read this:

Someone tell me it isn't true.

The simple issue is that there isn't much transparency in the financial polices regarding profits, revenues and surpluses. I understand opposition MP Mr Low TK has brought this up many times during the parliamentary debates. However, the rebuttals were quick and fast and usually fall along the lines of: if these (financials) were made transparent, external forces (market, political) could manipulate our reserves, etc.

For me, I believe it is every citizen's right to know where the national reserves and how the monetary gains/revenues are managed.

That's why Singapore keeps having bad press about how it handles its financial budget and surpluses. For me being a Singaporean for at least 30 years, I have absolutely no idea how and where the investments, profits and revenues are generated and how much flow back to us. It's like the airy-fairy kind of stuff that you know it's there but you can't know what makes it tick (or if it is ticking even).

The article also remembered the respected Morgan Stanley economist Andy Xie? Google it to know what happened.

Fishy.

-----
Just added the Workers' Party website to my link. I really liked the way how Mr Low TK and Ms Sylvia Lim put forth their arguments on issues.

Hits directly to the points with very good statistics and background. Also without all the fanfare and hip-hop dancing (punt intended).

Good stuff and worth the read.

-----
I think I've come up with a brilliant solution on the hoo-ha surrounding the ministers' salary hikes.

Perhaps we should outsource them since it's becoming too expensive to keep them. How about it - having foreign talents as our ministers in the government!

I mean I could afford 2x George Bush(s), 4x Shinzo Abe(s) per month, eh?

Quite nicely actually.

And still have some spare 'peanuts' left over.
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Initial struggles

Well, five days have passed since we arrived in Melbourne on Monday, 9 April.

We have not looked back since.

Alright I'll be truthful: The first two days were messy - adjusting to the climate (it was getting cold and officially autumn), figuring out all the administration, procedures, adjusting to new lifestyle, culture, grocery location and food stuff prices, travel routes, parks, playgrounds, etc.

Can you believe it? No hawker centers! And no roti prata or teh tarik! It was like starting all over again, a new born baby. Hardly even crawling yet. Oh... it was supposed to be that way, I guessed. Life sure knows how to hit you when you least expected it, especially when you don't know what you are going to get.

Yet I still couldn't figure out what I was in for. Emigration is no joke!

As Forest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates..." Yeah, you get the picture.

The first night was long, the second longer still.

My thoughts were along the line of: Did I make the right decision? Was I stupid to quit my well-paying job in Singapore and venture into the unknown? I had interviews lined up throughout the week but they were just interviews, ie no job offers yet.

Kinda reminded me of Abraham. God called him out and he obeyed. Did God call me out in the first place? Or was it my wife's voice? Sshhh...

All I clung on to was that God is faithful and He has never let his children go hungry or beg for food. The whole earth is mine, the gold and silver therein belongs to Me, declares the Lord. I'm not only convinced that my family will overcome these challenges and adjustments, I strongly believe my household and I will be greatly blessed. And we will be a blessing to others.

Selene? She cried. Sshhh...

Firstly, she doesn't take well to cold weather. So if you see an Eskimo in Melbourne tagging a bubbly 4-year old girl along a street, it's probably Selene. Furthermore, she doesn't like major changes. Yeah, she can say she likes traveling, changes in life, experiencing different cultures or the like. But when the rubber meets the road, she cries.

Nothing sad about it actually. It's just her adjusting. Like the first night in our new home, she cried. Like when she was bonded to MOE, she cried. Breaking down is her form of stress reliever.

And Rachel?

She was the only one having a blast! Heh. As long as she could do her art and craft, reading, watch TV, have friends (she simply prayed and believed that God will send kids of her age to be her playmates. I'd swear God will do it because she asked so trustingly), she was basically happy.

We ought to learn from the kids. They take things easy and are worry-free. Thus they can be so adaptable and lovable. No wonder Jesus loves them.

Our prayers:

  • Get a job and a well-paying one as I will be the only one working (Adrian)
  • Able to cook well (Selene)
  • Able to give thanks and eat whatever is on the table (Adrian, Rachel). If not, we'll be fasting soon :P
  • Able to adjust to new climate, culture, lifestyle (All)
  • God to send nice, wonderful people (hopefully Singaporeans, Christians) along our way to guide, help us settle in (All, esp. Selene)
  • Have playmates around her age (Rachel)
  • Have lots of fun and family time (All)

Stay tuned... another update coming up on how God is so faithful to us!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No money, no honey!

I read two articles on the Singapore PM's pay hike. Sentiments that followed are:
  • Inital shock last year from SM Goh (but then this was what I have expected after the elections)
  • Dismayed and frustrated at the lack of voice or oppositions
  • Insulted that my country was a mockery to the world after reading
  • Laughable and hilarious when you think of the self-imposed pay hike justifications. Hmmm, think GST justification for the poor. ROFLMAO!
  • Indifference, apathy and glad I have migrated
Article #1
Singapore PM's salary stuns White House official
Posted on Wednesday, 11 April 2007 (EST)
A senior White House official on Tuesday admitted he was floored by the news that Singapore's prime minister earned five times more than US President George W. Bush.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - "I'm going to emigrate and run for office in Singapore," the official said on condition he be identified only as "a senior administration official who sits in disbelief after reading that story."

On Monday, the Singapore government had announced a fresh 25.5 percent pay hike for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, boosting his salary to 2.05 million dollars per year.

Bush gets paid 400,000 dollars per year for doing his job, according to the White House.

Combined with personal investment income, he and his wife Laura reported 618,694 dollars in taxable income in the 2005 fiscal year. They had to pay 187,768 dollars in federal taxes.

But maybe Bush shouldn't feel so bad. The Singaporean's paycheck is eight times fatter than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's. AFP

Article #2 (The Australian, on Tues April 10 2007)
Singapore to pay PM $2.5mAU a year
I cannot find the article from the internet. However the part that made me feel insulted and then laughable was:

"His salary leaves those of other world leaders trailing (bold mine). Mr Bush earns $US400,000 ($489,000AU) a year, while Mr Howard's salary is $309,270 after a 7 percent increase last year.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who receives $US240,000 a year and presides over the world's second-biggest economy (bold mine), slashed his own salary by 30 percent (bold mine) and his ministers' by 10 per cent after taking office in September."

And then the article mentioned that Mr Teo Chee Hean, the minister in charge of civil service defended/justified the pay hikes.

Alright, this article made the government look greedy and Singaporeans like idiots. Should not the ministers' pay be pegged to the world leaders instead of the private sectors? The mockery stands out so to me.

Ok, let's talk global - a dirty term often used by politicians. Who is Singapore PM compared to the other world leaders? You mean if Singapore economy collapses, the world economy is affected? I think not majorly too.

So why not pay himself to a ratio percentage of the US president salary to the country GDP? If Bush earns 0.1% of the GDP, then Lee should do so. Shouldn't he? Then perhaps he understands what peanut is.

So Singapore likes to be first in everything. Why not be the first government to slash your own pay? Er wait, the Japanese government has already done so. What's new, Singapore?

I feel for you, Singaporeans.

But I personally like these parts in the article:
"...has sparked public anger in the city-state amid a widening income gap, and concerns that the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet are already overpaid."

"But the ministers' salary increases have sparked strident comments from a normally reserved public."

"This is plain injustice," said Zac Neo, who was among more than 850 people who signed an online petition against the pay increase. "I will agree with your pay hike only if you state very clearly what you will achieve for my pay in 12 month's time, said another signatory.

What a mockery!
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