Thursday, January 28, 2010

The truth is out... what are you gonna do now?

So they finally figured out the truth.

The state counsel confirmed the Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionesco is the prime suspect and 'murderer'.

Harsh words from me? Yeap. A young man and newly-wed husband's life had been snuffed out because of a cowardice act. Mr Ionesco then chose to flee the scene and country. Why would anyone do that? To return to Romania at -5C temperature in December versus sunny Singapore at 30C.

Now no one knows where he is.

Perhaps a good quote related to a similar Mas Selamat's escapede by the Home Affairs Minister Wong KS will diffuse the situation:

"Silviu Ionesco is either in Romania, or he is not."

Too bad the late Mr Tong is not related to LKY. You see a few years ago when a certain Mrs Lee had a minor stroke, the SAF bothered to set up a make-shift hospital in an SIA plane and fly her back to Singapore. I am sure this special arrangement can be made for Mr Ionesco to return to Singapore. The cost is just an insignificant fraction compared to the losses by GIC and Temasek.

The onus is now with Prime Minister Lee, Foreign Affairs Minister George, and Home Affairs Minister Wong KS to call for the extradiction of the ex-diplomat from Romania to stand trial. Not in some country where his whereabouts are not even known. But here in the Lion City.

Well you wanna be a Lion Leader? Here's your chance to prove it. And surely hit-and-run cases in Singapore don't bode well for the culprit drivers.

This is a spaghetti situation. I know it is complex with international and legal laws thrown in. Hence we are paying you 'millions' to prove your worth.

Don't let us down. Be the lion you often claim to be.

Romanian diplomat was driver in Singapore fatal accident
Jan 27, 2010, 8:04 GMT (link here)

Singapore - A Singapore state counsel confirmed Wednesday a Romanian diplomat was behind the wheel of an embassy car when it ran over and killed a Malaysian man in December, a news report said.

Silviu Ionesco, 49, the highest-ranking Romanian diplomat in the city-state, had filed a police report that the embassy car had been stolen and left Singapore three days after the accident.

But in a court briefing on Wednesday State Counsel Lau Wing Yum said police investigations proved that the car had not been stolen and that Ionescu was the driver in the fatal hit-and-run accident, the online edition of the Straits Times newspaper reported.

The Romanian embassy car hit Malaysian Tong Kok Wai, 30, who was walking on a pedestrian crossing, and another man on December 15.

The car then sped off and hit an 18-year-old student at another junction.

The car was found later with its front screen smashed and bonnet dented, according to the newspaper.

Tong died 10 days after the accident from severe brain damage, the two other victims were injured.

Romania's Foreign Ministry recalled Ionescu shortly after the accident and said it was conducting an internal investigation in the matter.

According to the state counsel, the whereabouts of Ionescu were not known.

An inquiry into the death of Tong would be held from March 3 to 10, said the report, adding that at least 35 witnesses would be heard.

Copyright Deutsche Presse-Agentur
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Of 'Ovis Aries' and Leadersheep by SM Goh

I am bemused by SM Goh Chok Tong's statement (from Temasek Review),

"(The ancient saying is) ‘an army of sheep led by a lion is stronger than an army of lions led by a sheep’. In other words, leadership is critical in battles; the leadership qualities, the courage and the ability and getting the team to follow you is crucial."

With this mentality there is no wonder why GM is down in the dumps. That goes for Temasek and GICs which are losing so much of our public money. Write off, mind you, and not something recoverable. And they are still paying top dollar for these 'lion-headed' leadersheep.

Stop over-selling yourself and the PAP. As I have blogged before, it is both the captain _and_ the crew working together to steer the ship through the storms. This 'higher-than-thou' attitude needs a good dose of bad voting to 'wake up your sheepish idea'.

First I am a lesser mortal, now I am categorised a sheep. But you call the elites - lions. In future when I fill in a form, I will remember to write:

Country: Lion City
Race: Sheep

Let me tell you that the lions are among the laziest animals in the animal kingdom. Been to the zoo lately? They are always basking in the sun, lazing and sleeping. The male lion seldom makes the effort for the kill but he always claims credit and takes the largest share. Hence 'a lion's share' is coined. Are you saying the PAP party exhibits this trait?

Do stop linking me a Homo sapien with animals. I have had enough of MacDonalds' zoo chronicles of trying to convince me that a Cu-pig (cupid) is actually a Pig.

Frankly speaking we don't need leaders with leadersheep qualities. I need leaders with both leadership and leader-heart qualities A good start is to watch and learn from 'The Lion King' movie.

True leadership always has the 'Servant King' mentality.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Food for Thought: Amusing piggy issues

(Latest) This is so humorous that I had to append it here. I laughed so hard that I actually forgave MacDonalds. Comment found in Straits Times:

"McDonald is stu-pig to kill-pig by changing it to cu-pig "

I was responding to to mrbrown's article (read here) and felt prompted to pen my thoughts. Yeah these days too free. What to do, still in holiday mood.

Why did the Mcdonald pig go missing? Because not halal, I'd think.

The funny thing is how can other races respect our Chinese traditions, customs and culture when we had to blatantly change the type of animal to an angel. It's not as if we are associating the pig with a jew or muslim. So why are we so hung up about it?

I mean Catholics don't believe in using contraceptives. Does it mean 7-11s should stop selling them?

In addtion Christians are against the use of the dragon symbols. I don't see Chinese New Year decorations taking out those dragon images and symbols and replacing them with angels? Or perhaps Singapore should ban the movie Babe the pig.

Sheesh, sometimes people make matters worse by trying to be too smart.
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Another BIG loss?

Ugh... GIC lost USD$675 million in poor investments on New York apartment complex. And it is not even just paper loss but write down. (read Reuters)

Look if you don't know what "write down" means, simply put - "it refers to (in accounting terms) the recognition of the reduced or zero value of an asset".

Big fat gee-ro (zero in English). Kosong. Lost. Hilang.

Again I have reiterated so many times. Paying top dollar to senior executives will NOT steer a company away from disasters or crisis (read here).

My top dollar question then is "How did it happen? Did we not have checks and balances in place?"

What checks and balances? As Singapore Finance Minster Tharman Shanmugaratnam (in)famous words were, "It is not the government's role to comment on or second-guess whether it was timely for the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Temasek Holdings to make their recent investments. "

So why are you as Finance Minister sitting in the Investment Committee of GIC. Aren't your title in the GIC committee website stated as 'Minister for Finance'? How can you say it's NOT the government's role?

Pray tell me what is your capacity as an Investment Committee member there for? And I always wonder if there could be a conflict of interest.

When pressed again for answers a year later when both GIC and Temasek experienced substantial investment losses, Mr Tharman assured the Parliament House with "both Temasek and GIC monitor their investments very closely, but that they were ultimately long-term investors."

In that session MP Inderjit Singh did ask, "In July last year, Temasek invested a few billion dollars into Barclays Bank... From what I understand, these values have now gone down to half of the investment. Is the minister not worried that if GIC and Temasek continue with this kind of multi-billion (dollar) investments all in one sector - in the banks, this could quickly wipe out a significant portion of our reserves?"

To this the minister replied, "We have to leave it to them - timing, decision as to whether to invest, how to protect yourself in each investment, which GIC and Temasek have indeed done in each of these large deals... We do have an understanding with both GIC and Temasek as to the government's overall risk tolerance, so this is not a situation where we are completely hands-off."

First I am told it is not the government's role. Now I am told the government is NOT hands-off. Can someone make up his mind? And it also begs the question, "Are these long-term investments? Or did you mean long-term losses?" I can assure you that USD$675million write down is not just paper money.

The truth is the citizens are the real stakeholders of the monies. These people in GIC, Temasek, Investment Committee members, etc are just stewards. Yet time and again they seem to portray themselves as the owners of the monies, and the citizens are mere nuisances in asking too many questions.

Heads rolled when investments go awry in the corporate world. If Singaporean ministers keep emphasizing that top dollar had to be paid for 'A-team' quality; then likewise we must see heads must roll for such staggering losses.

PAP has always pride itself with integrity. Don't just talk. Have accountability.

Put your mouth where your money is.
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