May 12, 2011

George Yeo and His True Legacy for Singapore

Now that George Yeo is quitting politics, many people are saying that this is such a pity for Singapore's foreign affairs. Personally I am somewhat hazy about what George Yeo actually achieved in this area, but perhaps that's just because Singapore's foreign affairs is not an area to which I've paid that much attention.

Instead I will remember George Yeo as the minister who brought the casinos to Singapore. Yes, in case you've forgotten, George was the guy who first proposed the idea and pushed for it. Even within the PAP, there was plenty of debate and resistance about the casino proposal (to such an extent that another ex-minister, Lim Boon Heng, recently broke down in tears when he revisited those memories). But in the end George prevailed.

(George Yeo was also the man who famously said, "But we are building integrated resorts, not casinos". I found this statement very annoying, not merely because of its inherent dishonesty, but because it also assumed that Singaporeans were so stupid that they would fall for it. However, let's not digress.)

George Yeo's true legacy for Singapore is the casinos, for they will continue to exert an influence and impact on our society long after George himself is dead and gone. Billion-dollar infrastructure projects backed by serious international investors will not just fold up and expire tomorrow - once they are here, they are here to stay.

I am not one of those people who are fervently against casinos. Firstly I am not a Christian nor a Muslim and therefore have no religious objections against gambling.

Secondly, I recognise that the casinos do earn easy tourist dollars and create jobs (even though I do not think well of many of these jobs - would you really encourage your son to pursue a career as a professional croupier?).

Thirdly, I am not terribly persuaded by the argument that the casinos will spawn widespread gambling addictions among our people. That's because (in my view) such addictions may just as well arise in relation to 4D, Toto, Big Sweep or mahjong, all of which are forms of gambling which were here in Singapore long before the casinos ever came.

My concern about the casinos is that they will breed a lot of crime in Singapore. As long-time readers of this blog know, I began my legal career as a DPP, working frequently with the police as well as with CPIB and the Central Narcotics Bureau. Through my work experience, I have developed an intuitive sense of the kinds of environments and conditions under which crime, like magic, will spontaneously appear and flourish.

Casinos strike me as a rich, natural breeding ground for many types of crimes. Casinos are to criminals what garbage dumps are to rats, or shit is to houseflies. Specifically, a casino environment is supportive of the following species of criminal offences - theft, robbery, extortion, cheating, drug trafficking, consumption of illegal drugs, illegal moneylending, money laundering, vice activities, human trafficking and other immigration-related offences.

The two casinos have opened only in the recent past, so some of you will argue that it is too early to say if I am right or wrong. In fact I hope to be proven wrong about what I have said about the casinos - for who would want to live in a crime-infested country? Nevertheless, we can already begin to get a flavour of George Yeo's true legacy for Singapore. See below:
"AN UNEMPLOYED man was charged in court on Thursday with armed robbery of $450,000 from a businessman at a hotel room in Marina Bay Sands last week. No plea was taken from Octavius Tok Tien Howe, 37." LINK

"SINGAPORE: A punter who cheated the Marina Bay Sands casino of S$31,500 (US$24,800) with the help of a dealer was sentenced on Monday to 54 months jail. Thirty-two-year-old Tan Tiong Loon is the first person to ever be convicted and sentenced for being in cahoots with a dealer to cheat a local casino." LINK

"A VIETNAMESE woman was fined $700 on Wednesday for soliciting at the Marina Bay Sands casino after she lost money in gambling ... A district court heard that at 1.30am last Saturday, police received a call from security staff of the casino that they had detained a woman for soliciting for the purpose of prostitution." LINK

"SINGAPORE: A former croupier at the Resorts World Sentosa casino and a full-time gambler were jailed Tuesday for working together to cheat the attraction of nearly S$29,000 between October 2 and 9 last year." LINK

"A Singaporean man has been charged with acting as a bookie at the Resorts World Sentosa casino. 50-year-old Ng Ah Chye allegedly committed the offences between 11 July and 17 August, last year." LINK 

"SINGAPORE: A court in Singapore has framed charges against five Indians for allegedly using fake casino chips at a resort in the city state, local media reported on Saturday. The Indians are accused of using an unknown number of counterfeit chips valued at SGD 1,000 each ..." LINK

"After gambling and losing the $1000 he had brought to the Resorts World Sentosa casino, an Indonesian tourist resorted to theft. 49-year old Paulus Djohar has been sentenced to 4 weeks' jail for the attempted theft of a $500 cellphone. He followed 18-year old student Lim Tse Min from behind at Changi Airport and took the phone from her backpack." LINK

"A CHINESE national gambled with $250 in casino chips that did not belong to him while an Indian national stole $12,180 worth of electrical cables meant for Marina Bay Sands so as to get some money to bet with. On Wednesday, the two construction workers pleaded guilty. Ni Guo Jian, 45, was jailed nine weeks for criminal breach of trust. Kakkayan Govindarasan, 26, was jailed seven months." LINK
For better or for worse, this is George Yeo's legacy. For all of us, in this country.

88 comments:

The said...

/// Marina Bay Sands just opened in May last year, and the other casino is not open yet. So some of you will argue that it is too early to say if I am right or wrong. In fact I hope to be proven wrong about what I have said about the casinos - for who would want to live in a crime-infested country? ///

Gilbert, you seldom get your facts wrong, but you boo-booed this time.

The other casino (Resorts World Sentosa), in fact opened before Marina Bay Sands. In fact, you quoted Resorts World in your 4th & 5th examples.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post. George's legacy is that of bringing gambling dens to Singapore and by exstension the corruption of our moral fabric. Kuan Yew's agreement and the cabinet's acquiesence make them equally liable.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a voice of reason.

Wang, he is still pushing for GRC leh, what kind of "transformation" he talking about? just go away lah

Anonymous said...

The IRs decisions basically means the government ran out of ideas, ideas which other Asian countries can replicate very easily. Our advantage will narrow once other SE Asian countries jump on this gravy train. What happens, build more casinos??

Anonymous said...

I'm no PAP supporter here but honestly, what alternatives were there when gambling cruise ships and casinos in the neighbouring countries were already sucking our senior citizens and local gamblers dry? With local casinos, at least some of those money is retained within S'pore govt's coffers to be channeled towards common good and at the same time revitalize tourism. However, it remains to be seen if the benefits outweighs the problems caused in the long term.

Anonymous said...

For all the millions we have paid
them, casino operation to boot the
country`s GDP ,is the best they can
come out with? What happen to the
Swiss journey we have supposedly
embarked on? I feel that our abode
has been hijacked without our
consultation and pushed to a path
leading to the seedy lights of Macao.
So I am to tell my son to excel in
math and science so that he can be the best croupier in the state?

Everlearning said...

Hi Mr Wang,

If an appointed MP compromised and did not uphold the moral ground, ultimately, he would have to answer the higher ground.

Knowing that gambling is a vice, the answer to building these two casinos on this little dot should ban.

Interestingly, a lot of Christian words were being used in this election, and being a Christian I understood them fairly well.

May our future plans for Singapore work for the good of our people that I hope to see in my lifetime.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

To understand what alternatives there were, you can visit Disneyland in Los Angeles or Tokyo. You will notice that it is possible to have very successful, world-class tourist attractions without casinos or crime.

Chee Ming said...

Nah, George Yeo also had other legacy.

This is just his dark side, he also do have times when the force is with him. Example, the establishment of Esplanade.

Without George Yeo, we would be stuck with art performance in Kallang Indoor Stadium.

I guess this just shows that a wrong move and you will fall into the "dark" side of somebody.

Anonymous said...

Did you know LEGO considered building a LegoLand in Singapore some years ago??

It would have been the first LegoLand in Asia, but our government turned it down. Now they are building one in Malaysia instead.

Apparently LEGO was told that Singapore doesn't have enough land to build such an attraction. Yet we have land for Universal Studios and 2 IRS?? Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Disneyland?
Do you know the HK government paid for the land and practically all the hardware, and Disney only provide the know how and the Management. You think our Government will be such sucker?

Just the land cost of the 2 IRs already earn them more than $1b!

Anonymous said...

Oh, don't want to be Disney sucker? Then go be a Las Vegas Sans sucker, lor.

lisa said...

I do not believe that the casinos were built to create job opportunities.

Someone I know who works in the casino told me that there is little room for career growth because majority of the so called "big-shots" and superiors in the casino are foreigners.

And these foreigners (msia, china, philipines) will only promote or "look after" people from their own country. And Singaporeans working there will only be stucked in the same position with their measly pay, and the foreigners, on the other hand, are converted to PRs with their high pay cheques.

Probably explained the influx of foreigners here.

Anonymous said...

GY's legacy has more to do with the FT policy. He was the foreign minister when serving his term in parliament, and obviously was responsible for opening the floodgates enough to allow for workers from all these various Third World countries to come in en masse, other than just from the developed nations. I am not sure how good of a legacy that actually is.

Anonymous said...

That was probably more to do with the Manpower Minister

Pkchukiss said...

Yes, I do agree. Reading the newspaper reports about theft and robbery at the 2 casinos has given me the impression that crime does appear to be attracted to the casinos.

And I do hope that what it has done is to merely attract criminals who would have otherwise committed their acts elsewhere anyway, and not provide additional inducement for more people to commit these crimes.

If it is the former, I think a boost in security at the 2 casinos ought to be sufficient to concentrate and capture these criminals.

But if it is the latter, then the social repercussions for bringing the casinos to Singapore may have been more severe than the moral arguments made many years back. In that case, I would question whether the plan was fully considered.

Was the Cabinet aware of the casinos' impact on the crime in Singapore?

Anonymous said...

GY was also Arts Minister. He oversaw the banning of political films and the general stifling of the arts and culture scene in the 90s. Anyone remember the 'Renaissance City' vision back in 2000? All gone quiet and forgotten. The Ass-planade is just hardware and no software. It also went way over budget. In fact the Ass-planade was the harbinger that laid the path for many more wastage of public funds to come, e.g. renaming of Marina Bay, and especially the "7 Wonders" brought up former PAP MP Tan Soo Khoon in parliament.

Overall GY never achieved anything of note. He was just more "likeable" than his thoroughly arrogant and unlikeable colleagues in the cabinet.

Anonymous said...

I saw this interesting George Yeo eulogy from another website.

A Political Eulogy
===================

A leopard cannot change its spots.
You cannot change a leopard from within.

Instead of you changing “The Party” from within,
“The Party” changed you from within.

George Yeo, Feb 1994 said:

“Remember your place in society before you engage in political debate…
Debate cannot generate into a free-for-all, where no distinction is made between the senior and junior party…

You must make distinctions -
What is high, what is low, what is above, what is below,

and then within this, we can have a debate, we can have a discussion…
people should not take on those in authority as ‘equals”

But you are in good company. You have fellow travellers:

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (2007):
“How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?”

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We seek not your counsel, nor your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you;
and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
– Samuel Adams

Anonymous said...

It's really a sad case (the casinos).. think it brings in or induces more crime than necessary - a lot of gambling-related thefts and other crimes popping up in the news every other day.. Mr Wang's compilation is probably not exhaustive..

Only a few MPs spoke against it at the time - Tony Tan, Gan Kim Yong, Loh Meng See, Tan Soo Khoon, etc, and of course the opposition MPs (LTK, CST, ..)

http://iamsg.blogspot.com/2011/05/based-on-parliament-debate-on-casino-in.html

Anonymous said...

Is it George Yeo? The whole PAP cabinet voted forthe casinos. Some would say they shed tears over it but nonetheless they voted in the end for the casinos.

If an alternative government speaker (aka opposition) suggests that GRCS be dismantled he or shoe would be shot down and dismembered. And he/she would be shot down by the Cabinet and the PAP ruling regime as a whole.

So the decision to go ahead with the casinos lies not with George (I am sure he doesn't mind me calling him George now as he is a citizen like me) BUT SQUARELY WITH THE PAP. Let's not have any sleight of hand pinning the fault on poor George.

At the most he was the willing emissary! So for GOOD OR BAD the effects of the casinos lie with the PAP.

Anonymous said...

George Yeo said politic is with everyone and no one can be detached from it. He WILL BE with politic for his remaining time in life.
This man and maybe one of his GRC Team mate, has just recover his(their) conscience. They were probably jolted by the scorns and swears of the Aljunied Voters.
Must say it took them a long time, prior to (their)his awakening, George Yeo was a 'gentle' killer, always using kind words to do the slayings of his detractors.
However, the greatest sign of his hypocrisy against his own belief was his push for the IRs. Maybe he had visited them in the US and/or Macau and saw the amount of monies there.
Anyway, he had spoken and hopefully on his way to repentance, hopefully he will inspire many of his cabinet colleagues who are still there behaving much liked before. And if George Yeo's conscientious awakening could arouse the consciences of the others in the Leadership, it would be a good deed to his merit.

Anonymous said...

George Yeo was the guy who came up with the idea, in the first place.

Later PM supported it, and MM supported it, but the idea was first proposed by George.

Anonymous said...

there was some talk that lhl is the true sponsor of casinos, george is only the messenger. only the son dare to raise this idea given the strong opposition of casino by lky.

note also that casino idea was publicly discussed on 2004, abt same time that the son took over.

Anonymous said...

All Ministers are the same be it George or Harry. I don't understand the outcry of loss over his retirement. Some even suggest him to be the next President. Just that he has no bread and butter issues, it didn't make him a better minister. Don't forget, he did not stand up for Singaporeans during his tenure. Also he has let off the Romanian diplomat and only to go after him when the diplomat criticised the unfair human right practice. Singaporeans are so forgetful.

Anonymous said...

George has his band of supporters alright, with many throwing up the idea of his standing for the Presidency.

I think that is a bad idea. Unless we are willing to have more of the same, rather than expect George to contribute to change as President. In all probability, George will never be able to do what Ong Teng Cheong did, and paid for it. The PAP will make sure of that, internally.

So, unless George in wanting to become the President, is just prepared to collect the stipend, wave hands, and contribute little, the suggestion that he stand for the Presidency is a waste of his talents that the PAP so loudly touted.

Anonymous said...

Gambling is bad. Casino is big time gambling, big time bad.

It can never be right for foreigners to gamble away their hard earn cash or that of their companies (Remember ABC Breweries?)just as it is not right for Singaporeans to be enticed to gamble at the casinos.

Poison is poison, locals or foreigners.

Anonymous said...

yeo and lhh are like lilies. lost one election and they call it quits. where is all the talk about their desire to serve the people?

Anonymous said...

20 Feb 1994 Straits Times - George Yeo: "Remember your place in society before you engage in political debate... Debate cannot (de)generate into a free-for-all where no distinction is made between the senior and junior party... You must make distinctions - What is high, what is low, what is above, what is below, and then within this, we can have a debate, we can have a discussion... people should not take on those in authority as 'equals'."

Anonymous said...

Gilbert,

The real question to ask is if George Yeo is an autocrat or democrat or chameleon or something in between?

Why all the talk of reforms in the 11th hour?

If he was seriously pushing for reforms in his years in the PAP CEC, his last news conference did not shed any light on how far he went or how much he pushed for change.

Alerting the PM of the groundswell of discontent on the eve seems like a total cop-out which suggests that his previous efforts were feeble or meek?

If George is truly a liberal and wishes to reform PAP and Singapore, sir, please JOIN THE OPPOSITION.

He was still talking about a "new compact" with Singaporeans, a passe concept in today's democratic environment. Why have unity when the elites forge ahead leaving the rest of us behind? Selling out our nation.

I don't recall any mention of Chen Show Mao. A true measure of a man is how he treats his "worthy opponents" and finally, he is still discussing GRCs as if it is here to stay.

I am truly puzzled by this man and what he really stands for. Perhaps that's a topic for your next blog.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 7.24. George Yeo, who are you ????

Anonymous said...

"To understand what alternatives there were, you can visit Disneyland in Los Angeles or Tokyo. You will notice that it is possible to have very successful, world-class tourist attractions without casinos or crime."
Mr Wang May 12, 2011 10:39 AM

Mr Wang you forgot one thing lah. Singapore is a hot and humid place. Nobody or few want to go to open air attactions under this type of climate.

If it can be easy to be successful with such attractions, our neighbouring countries would have done it cheaper, better and faster already.

Anonymous said...

Please lah. Might as well say no one will go to open air attractions in temperate countries because it's too cold.

Anonymous said...

No mention of Romanian diplomat or indonesian sand?

Anonymous said...

Opening of the casinos is like legalizing brothels and "coffee houses" a la Amsterdam style (well we may come to that one day). Pragmatics rule the day, not ethics whch went the way of 40 year old Singaporeans "retired" for foreign talents.

All three are consequences of an avowedly capitalist system that sees everything including morality, housing even its citizens as commodities to be traded for the advancemet of that system. Of course, that system ensures that those at the top will be paid handsomely because it needs to differentiate itself from the underclass of serfs (well, in addition to pure greed).

Anonymous said...

NTUC pays tribute to 'special 50' reads the Straits Times as NTUC celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

If NTUC is really serious about its role as guardian and developer of the Singapore Labour movement there would onlt have been one special person - the Singapore Worker.

Countries have cpecial places for the unknown soldier who fought and die for the country. The NTUC cannot find it within itself to acknowledge the Singapore Worker without which there would have been no Singapore.

Even the best politician in Singapore cannot do it by himself. What can he do: play with himself?

Once again NTUC reveals its elitist arrogance of taking the workers and our forefathers for granted.

caramel said...

I think what Tan Jee Say of SDP says about the casino makes sense. If we instead invest the money in education and healthcare, we will create
1.) better jobs
2.) better educated children for the future
3.) reduced healthcare expenses
4.) more foreign dollars coming in for good education & medical care.

i have friends who are going to the casinos and spending significantly.money that can be better used.
there is also the invisible effects like money laundering,hot inflows of money(unstable)etc

The casinos at Jeju Island in Korea totally ban koreans.Why can't we do that instead of wanting to earn a extra 100 bucks?

Anonymous said...

Lim Hwee Hua was asked in the Straits Times, "How can the PAP win back Aljunied?" to which she gave he quite incomprehensible and worrying reply, "A lot depends on whether the Worker's Party decides to make this a national issue again."

The implication is that MPs should not make election "national issues". So in future MPs should be judged and elected entirely on whether they keep toilets clean, speed of sweeping the roads and timeliness in clearing the rubbish. Don;t get me wrong. These are clearly important issues but if I am expected to judge my MP on these grounds then I really do not need an election. I can look at the sweeer, toilet cleaner or maintenance company.

Surely, ALL elections should be about national issues as well as municipalissues.

otherwise one day me might get an MP saying, "Duh. You want to now the future of Singapore. Hey kawan, not my business to tell you leh.You ask those guys at the top. I only check light bulbs hor. Otherwise how I keep my job?"

Anonymous said...

Why are all the MPs defated at Aljunied falling over themselves to say they are "old". My friend who is in his 60s is most insulted. He says if you were all to make him MM he would be able to goon until the late 80s. Trouble is that all these young folks sit too long in front of their home theatre systems and get spinal problems.

Anonymous said...

Geroge Yeo was the minister responsible for reviewing our health and legal sector in the early 1990s and his conclusion then - was that we have way too many doctors and lawyers! He was the one who cut medical school admission from 200+ to 150 per year.

Anonymous said...

To anon 10:27am

Beside running Gambling dens, they could also do Drugs and Prostitution. In short the future 3 pillars "GDP" of our domestic economy in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Prostitution is legal is Singapore if you do not know (yes?)

Less crime does not mean no crime, i guess the key word is less and what is the threshold defining less.

Perhaps all that crime since the casino is opened is still within the "less" definition.

Anonymous said...

"Do you know the HK government paid for the land and practically all the hardware, and Disney only provide the know how and the Management. You think our Government will be such sucker?"

HK is very capitalistic when it comes to land development and they were willing to pay for the land, assuming what you said is true. Probably they know something that we do not know or vice versa.

Our government is not sucker - as it may be at our expense. I thought HDB once made a loss as announced. Now who is sucker ?

Anonymous said...

When Stelios- founder of Easy Jet - wanted to refit a former gambling ship to become a cruise liner, he did it in SG and soon came upon a strange problem; he was legally unable to unload the gambling tables at the shipyard because Singapore law did not allow them to be brought ashore. Even for the purpose of disposal. I believe this was either just before the IRs got underway or were already under construction. Try to imagine how strict the anti-gambling laws of SG had been just a few short years ago.

Eaststopper said...

I think it is still early to say that crime rate has increased in Singapore due to the 2 IRs. You should check the statistics at the Singapore Police Force before jumping to conclusions and accusing GY of indirectly turning Singapore into a crime-infested country.

http://www.spf.gov.sg/stats/stats2010_intro.htm

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Well, there were 40+ comments on this post two days ago, and now there are none. Some of you might be wondering what's up.

Blogger had a big malfunction (worldwide), lasting more than 24 hours. Bloggers using the Blogger system were all affected.

During that time, this entire post vanished. Now the post is back, minus the comments. Hope that the comments get restored later too, but if not, oh well, just too bad ....

Anonymous said...

Big Brother is watching, and deleting unsavory posts. Well then, we'll just have to painstakingly re-submit all our George Yeo criticisms. The PAP must reap what it sows.

Anonymous said...

George Yeo is a thinker.

Having casino and packaged as integrated resort is one thing that he thinks out of the box.

Now he is out due to the outcome at the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

Out of the box? Didn't he talk about shaking the box in his exit interview? George Yeo said a shaking of the box is necessary because feedback does not reach the government.

This is very funny, sir. First, plenty of feedback was given. You guys were not listening because you treat citizens with contempt.

Singapore is such a tiny country, teeny-weeny, and yet you and your ministers were not only deaf but blind to all the sufferings of the people. One can only conclude you people never left your Ivory Towers and bred a loathsome culture that had the likes of Samantha of Holland Village telling us where we should and should not show our plebeian faces.

PAP ministers have betrayed us. They are traitors.

Anonymous said...

What does George Yeo think about out of this world ministerial salaries? Did he say? Did he object when in office or simply took and kept quiet?

Anonymous said...

The PEOPLE OF ALJUNIED must have been very vehement in protests with scorns and swears so strong that George Yeo and his team will not likely remain to contest there anymore. And it must be one of the reason why some of them chose not to be candidates anymore.

George was a Army General before he became a Cabinet Member and he had his hands and brains deeply in the formulation of policies for a long 23 years. It was a long TWO DECADES in which he pushed for one of THE MOST SINFUL VICE INDUSTRY IN SIN, the INTEGRATED RESORTS WITH CASINOS AS ANCHORS. How any one has got any respect for him as a pious, philosophical chap is beyond comprehension.

Anyway, there are a few other Army Generals BROUGHT INTO THE CURRENT CABINET. Rest assured that THESE WILL BE FAR WORSE THAN GEORGE; from their demeanours, it is plain to anyone that these ex-military personals can only rule with power and authority. IT IS PURE IGNORANCE OF THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT THESE PARLIAMENTARIANS WILL BE CAPABLE OF RULING WITH COMPASSION AND COMPETENCY.

THE WORST IS YET TO COME and the VOTERS are waiting for their JUST DESSERTS!

Anonymous said...

Well i posted before and i will post it again. GT is one over rated non-minister who got lucky and became a minister and he sucks!

Anonymous said...

I am another one very baffled as to why some Singaporeans think he is a brilliant minister.

Seriously, I can't find any part of his track record that is sterling.

Maybe the Straits Times should list out all his wonderful achievements in print so that we are all on the same page. Being nice is not a ministerial quality, it is the basic of human.

Either Singaporeans are daft or they are so into this slave mentality that anyone giving you an old sock is God.

Anonymous said...

Well written, but I disagree with the comparison between 4D, Toto etc with casino. First buying 4D or Toto is a one-off thing which does not cause the person to spend time away from work or family. Gambling at a casino is very different from that. The gambler has to be there at the expense of work or family. Second, I think gambling at a casino is far more addictive than buying 4D or Toto.
In any event, Mr Wang I agree with you that this is the true legacy of GY. I didn't know that he was the one which first proposed the idea. Before that I didn't think very highly of him, but neither did I think ill of him. After that he is the same as other ministers that I despise and dislike.

Anonymous said...

most of the PAP minister are better remembered for their failure than archievement.

Seriously, what have MBT, Vivian, LBH etc archieved?

GY is at least, do not have much failure to comment about. But in a way, it also proof that he really is CBL...

kelongkia

Anonymous said...

using of words IR to hide the evil of casinos.
george yeo, u r just like one of those bloody investment bankers who embedded & mixed sub-prime toxic into look nice investment products.

Anonymous said...

check out this song


http://michelle.sg/

Anonymous said...

the youtube link of this song by singaporean. its called dear leaders

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nePpJwCzhhg

Anonymous said...

From a note by Martyn See reposted on TOC's facebook page.

"As Arts Minister, George Yeo presided over the ban on political films, forum theatre and performance art. As Foreign Minister, he struck deals with the Burmese junta while justifying to the world why we should hang drug mules. To Georgie, have a good retirement. You can afford it."

Anonymous said...

George yeo says he is a "free spirit". if so, what the hell has he been doing joining and sticking with the PAP?

Anonymous said...

"George yeo says he is a "free spirit". if so, what the hell has he been doing joining and sticking with the PAP?"
Anon May 15, 2011 11:34 AM

Maybe his "free spirit" was liberated on 7 May by the voters of Aljunied?

Anonymous said...

Traitors? I like. Will they be charged with treason for selling out our nation to foreigners? For so long they were worried about Muslims in NS who were never made offices for the longest time when they were the ones all along selling us out.

Disgusted

Anonymous said...

How about the Durian building at the Explanade? They are George's legacy too? Promoting the art in Singapore?

Anonymous said...

this is the same man who said at a dialogue with Bukit Batok constituents on 21 March 2004, i quote:

"For a long time, the Singapore government has said that it will not have casinos in Singapore. The reasons are very clear to us: Gambling can be addictive. If husbands go there after work, housewives go there and gamble with their family money - the money that is intended for the kitchen and to look after the house and their children - then there will be problems."

"While we want to attract international gamblers, wealthy people to come here, I don't think we want to encourage Singaporeans to go and patronize the casino when they cannot afford it."

"We don't want to be a Las Vegas, we don't want to be a Macau, we don't want to have the crime and the sleaze."

(above extracted from: http://app.mti.gov.sg/default.asp?id=606)

According to Las Vegas Sands' Annual Report for 2010, "gaming patrons have principally come from three core markets: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia", so after a year of opening can we know how many Singaporean visited the casino?

You just can't take whatever a politician said at the face value!

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way. Singaporeans who are intent on gambling their bread and butter away will do so even if there is no casino. They will board a ship, sail to international waters and gamble, or worse, go to one of those illegal gambling dens to do it.

Although I do not agree with the decision to set up casinos as well, I do not think all the blame can be laid on GY for that. In fact I would say good move by GY to come up with casinos with the $100 levy for Singaporeans and the casino regulatory authority to monitor it. At least now we can catch some of those people who are hard core gamblers and put them on rehab.

At the end of the day, I think all of us should take more responsibility for our own moral conduct.

If you want to blame GY for casinos, then you should also blame all those who visit prostitues in Geylang for breaking up good families, blame all those who buy and download pirated stuff for stifling our local artists, blame all those who buy cheap goods from China for exploiting the workers there.

People who are in power make bigger decisions, people like us who are not in big power make smaller decisions but they always affect others nonetheless. My question is, when are we going to look inwardly at ourselves before just putting the blame on everyone else?

Anonymous said...

May I add that GY has done alot for Singapore. At MICA he promoted the arts and gave us our big durian. At Health Ministry, he revived traditional chinese medicine. At Foreign Affairs, he spearheaded ASEAN integration which means that we will be in a position to grow with the rise of China and India in the next few decades to come. In his personal capacity, he has also set up a Cancer Foundation for Children.

No one's perfect at the end of the day, but if you use 1 issue to judge him, I should think that's a bit shortsighted.

Anonymous said...

The casinos and durian didn't have the consent of the people. Like it or not, we now have to live with the new physical landscape and everything that emanates from it, good or bad. George Yeo is a pseudo-democrat (bullshit democrat?) and if he's serious about being enlightened and different from his compatriots in the PAP, then he should REPENT and join the opposition...

Anonymous said...

ASEAN still doesn't strike me as integrated. Certainly not in the way that EU is integrated.

As for things like Esplanade etc, basically they will never have the kind of economic and social impact on Singapore that two casinos will have.

What the word "legacy" means is something significant that endures and lasts a long time, and I think that indeed the casinos will be GY's legacy.

Anonymous said...

My friend's father who's 83 and has never been to any casino outside of S'pore, lost $300K (his lifelong savings) in 3 months. Integrated resorts to earn tourists' money? Ha!

Anonymous said...

A concerned Singaporean Part 1.

This maybe outdated based on a 2009 reported i got based on some circulation, but the truth still hold. While the election is over, we have to watch careful what the government is going to handle the whole dirty affair of politics!

-------------------------------
Subject: Fwd: Fw: Singapore Living standards... Every Singaporean should read this ! A must !

An analysis of the UBS study: Singapore has the lowest wages and domestic purchasing power among the Asian Tigers

By xxx, Consultant Editor

The worldwide study conducted and released by UBS lately, titled “Price and Earnings 2009″ has some unflattering results for Singapore. (download the study here) While our economy has the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Asia at $49,288 according to a World Bank report (source: Wikipedia), our people do not enjoy a quality of life which commensurate with it.
Though we are technically a developed first world country, some economic indictators as shown by the UBS study suggested that Singaporeans are not that better off than those in Third World countries..

Low wages
Singapore has a GDP (PPP) per capita higher than Switzerland, but our wages are way below the Swiss. The UBS study found that employees in Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva and New
York have the highest gross earnings. With its extremely high gross wages and comparatively low tax rates, Switzerland is a very employee-friendly country. The net wages used have been deducted for taxes and social security. Zurich and Geneva have wage indices (gross) of 119.8 and 107.5 respectively. In contrast, Singapore has a wage index of only 31.3, comparable with Moscow (30.9), Tallinn (28.7) and Johannesburg (26.7). In the Asia-Pacific region, it is exceeded by Tokyo (83.0), Sydney (74.1), Auckland (44.1), Hong Kong (42.3), Taipei (35.5) and Seoul (32.3)

Low domestic purchasing power
Where does an average income buy the most products and services? Wages alone do not determine the standard of living in a particular city or country. A better way to measure prosperity is to divide the average annual salary by the total price of a selected basket of goods and services (as used in the UBS study). This tells us how much purchasing power local wages.
Again, Zurich (106.9), Sydney (95.9) and Luxembourg (95.4) topped the list. Its citizens have the highest domestic purchasing power. Singaporeans have a low purchasing power of only 39.9, comparable to Kuala Lumpur (39.5), Warsaw (34.0) and Bogota (33.7). Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region which are ahead of us are Tokyo (82.2), Auckland (68.9), Taipei (58.9), Hong Kong (58.1) and Seoul (57.4). In other words, though the cost of living is higher in Tokyo, the average Japanese has a domestic purchasing power more than twice that of an average
Singaporean.

Though Malaysia is still a developing country and has a GDP (PPP) per capita of only $14,215, less than 3 times of ours, the ordinary Malaysian citizen has about the same domestic purchasing power as the Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

A Concerned Singaporean Part 2:

Low relative purchasing power of wages
This is calculated in the UBS study by using a specific, highly uniform product that is available everywhere in the same quality, and then calculate how long an employee has to work to afford it in each city. For the purpose of this article, the iPod nano (with 8 GB of storage) is
used. An average wage earner is Zurich and New York can buy a nano from an Apple
store after nine hours of work. A Singapore worker will have to work three times longer after 27.5 hours. The figures for selected Asia-Pacific cities are as follows: Sydney (9.5 hrs), Tokyo (12hrs), Auckland (16hrs), Hong Kong (19hrs), Seoul (22hrs) and Taipei (23.5hrs). Again we came in last among the 4 Asian Tigers.

Long working hours
People work an average of 1,902 hours per year in the surveyed cities, but they work much longer in Asian and Middle Eastern cities, averaging 2,119 and 2,063 per year respectively.
European cities had the lowest working hours per year. A global comparison showed the people in Lyon and Paris spend the least amount of time at work: 1,582 and 1,594 hours respectively.
Singaporeans spent on average 2,088 hours at work per year with 11 days of vacation. This is less than Hong Kong (2,295) and Seoul (2,312), but more than Tokyo (1,997), Taipei (2,074), Sydney (1,747) and Auckland (1,884). Singaporeans also took the least number of holidays after Hong Kongers (10 days/year).

High cost of living
Singapore was ranked the second most expensive place to live in after Tokyo, surpassing Hong Kong for the first time. Let us compare the food prices in Singapore and other developed countries since food is a basic necessity. In the UBS study, a basket of 39 food items is put together and weighted mainly according to Western European consumption habits. The average
worldwide cost of the basket is USD385. In Asia, Tokyo topped the list with an index of 124.7, followed by Hong Kong (96.5), Singapore (89.4), Seoul (89.0), Taipei (67.9) and Sydney
(66.3).

Conclusion
The high cost of living coupled with low wages and domestic purchasing power condemns the average Singapore worker to an ignonimous, monotonus and stressful working life. Singapore workers have to work harder to earn the same amount of money and save for a longer period to purchase the same product. In 1991, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong promised Singaporeans that we will be able to achieve the “Swiss standard of living” within a decade. Ten years later, we have a living standard which is closer to Russia than Switzerland. Like Singapore, the Russians has a low wage and domestic purchasing power and Russia, especially the city of Moscow, has one of the highest cost of living in the world.

Anonymous said...

Part 3:

In the next part of this article, we shall examine the uncanny similiarities between life in Singapore and Russia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. When Mr Goh Chok Tong became the second Prime Minister of Singapore in the 1990s, he promised Singaporeans that we will attain the “Swiss standard of living” within a decade. In 2001, during the National Day Rally, Mr Goh said: “I was also quietly satisfied that we realized our vision of reaching the
1984 Swiss standard of living last year.” Have we really achieved the Swiss standard of living?
Though we do not have economic indicators for Switzerland in 1984, we have the figures in 2009 and it appears that Singapore is heading towards a Russian standard of living, rather than Switzerland’s. Let us compare the indices for each category:
Singapore Moscow Zurich
Wage level: 31.3 &nb sp; 30.9 119.8
Domestic purchasing power: 39.9 49.4 106.9
Working time to puy iPod nano: 27.5 36.0 9.0
Price of services: 72.5 65.0 110.9

As the above figures have shown, the Singapore worker has more in common with the Russian worker than a Swiss worker. Like the Russian worker, the Singapore worker has low wages and domestic purchasing power which is aggravated by the relatively high cost of living in their respective countries. In fact, the Russian worker has a higher domestic purchasing power than the Singaporean worker though his wage is slightly lower. And don’t forget Russia is a vast country. If one cannot survive in Moscow, they can move to the countryside where cost of living is lower. There is nowhere for Singaporeans to move to.

Anonymous said...

Part 4:

A greying population
Both Russia and Singapore have suffered from low birth rates though the latter is making the numbers up through mass immigration. Russia’s population growth is almost stagnant at -0.085% in 2008. Its population could drop by as much as one third by 2050 if current trends
does not improve. Singapore will have about a quarter of its population above the age of 65
by the year 2030. A greying population is expected to place heavier burden on the younger population to keep the economy going. With no social safety net to speak of, the Russian worker will have to support themselves in their golden years. Many of them become addicted to
vodkha which results in a higher mortality rate than the European average. The Singapore worker is not in a better position either. Their CPFs will not be enough to support their retirement needs as most of it is tied up in mortage loans to finance over-priced HDB flats.
The government has encouraged Singaporeans to work beyond the age of 80. Parliamentarians recently consider passing a bill to legislate that children take care of their aged parents.
With a high cost of living and declining wages, the future of Singaporeans is becoming as bleak as the Russian winter.

A modern serfdom
Not surprisingly, the economies of both Singapore and Russia are dominated by state-linked companies. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s disintegration in 1991, many Russian
politicians and crooks made use of the economic turmoil then to purchase national companies and assets at bargain prices. These are the oligarchs who soon become the new aristocracy of Russia. The politicians at the Kremlin maintained their tight-fisted control of Russia
with the financial backing of the oligarchs. Like Singapore, Russia has one of the highest income gap between the poor and the rich in the modern world. Ordinary Russians are being enslaved in a modern serfdom to contribute to the state while getting very little in return. Both states are very rich while its people have to slog daily to earn a pittance at work in order to keep themselves afloat. Russia has Gazprom, Singapore has Temasek Holdings. The former obtain its
funds from sale of natural gas which Russia has in abundance; the latter accumulated funds from years of budget surpluses. Neither channel their returns back to the people. Russia is now returning to back to tsarist era where its people are nothing more than serfs toiling the fields for others. Ordinary Russians do not benefit from their country’s economic boom whose riches are plundered largely by corrupt oligarchs and politicians. Singaporeans are not too far off from the Russians. The state is very rich and powerful, the politicians are the highest paid in t he world, rich businessmen well connected to the elite dominate much of the economy together with gigantic state-linked companies and sovereign wealth funds but the people are poor, miserable and powerless.

Anonymous said...

Part 5:

State-sponsored repression
Though Russia and Singapore are supposedly democracies, both are authoritarian governments with little tolerance for political dissent. In Russia, political dissidents are kidnapped and murdered. Singapore’s opposition politicians who dare to seek the truth are sued till bankrupt
and barred from participating in elections. Repressive laws are put in place in both countries to curtail freedom of speech, assemblies, and other forms of civil liberties. The mainstream media are muzzled and becomes nothing more than mouthpieces of the regimes. Russia’s United Democratic Party is the dominant party in the Russian Duma as in the People’s Action Party in Singapore. The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin was Russia’s ex-President for
two terms and he is now mulling a bid for the Presidency again when his current term expires.
Singapore’s two former Prime Ministers have remained in the present Cabinet with the portfolios of Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. Their exact responsibilities are not outlined.

Conclusion
With so much in c ommon between them, it is no wonder that Singapore’s state-linked companies are flocking to Russia to explore opportunities of collaboration. Not only are our standards of living becoming more and more like Russia, there is an insidious ”Russification” of our economy and politics as well. What started out as a “Swiss dream” is fast becoming a “Russian” nightmare under continued PAP hegemony. Isn’t it strange that Singapore, with one of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world has a standard of living closer to Russia than
Switzerland? How is it possible that the state is flushed with cash and yet ordinary Singaporeans have a domestic purchasing power comparable to the Russians and way far behind the Swiss?
What went wrong? Are Singaporeans getting a fair deal from their government? Why are we paupers in a first world economy? Until the global financial turmoil last year, Singapore has enjoyed 10 years of continuous growth of more than 5% per day.

The Singapore government has always used GDP growth as a basis for citizens to appraise its own performance. Even a variable portion of their multi-million salaries is pegged to the GDP.
Singapore’s GDP figures are indeed impressive: Singapore is ranked third in the world by the World Bank in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita ($49,288). (source: wikipedia) [PPP = Purchasing Power Parity, GDP at PPP per capita refers to the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year divided by the average population for the same year] Only Norway and Luxembourg are ranked higher than Singapore. The United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Sweden, Austria, Iceland and Holland are the other countries within the top ten.
In a way, our economy’s sterling performance is a vindication of the government’s ‘growth at all cost’ economic policy. Singapore has a first world developed modern economy.

GDP growth is usually translated somewhat to a better quality of life for the citizens, but not exactly in Singapore’s case. If we study the indices such as wage level, domestic purchase power and spending power as shown in the UBS study, we will realize that we are ranked way below the developed economies. Our income gap, as measured by the Gini Coefficient, is the highest among the twenty most developed economies, comparable with the Philipines, Nigeria and Nicaragua. (source: wikipedia) This means that the gains we have made as a nation from years of economic growth are not distributed evenly across the population. A minority becomes richer, but the rest are not better off. Some even become poorer. According to a NUS study completed last year, lifetime income inequality has been increasing rapidly especially after the Asian financial crisis. In fact, despite the substantial growth of the economy, the lower income
quantile has seen a drop in their real lifetime income. (source: NUS SCAPE)

Anonymous said...

Part 7:

High prices of public housing
Over 85% of Singaporeans live in high-rise public housing built by the government. Though they are meant to be cheap and affordable to the masses, recent price hikes has priced ordinary Singapore workers out of the market.

In the 1980s, a new four room flat in Bishan cost about $60,000 while the median pay of a fresh graduate is about $1,500. A young couple paying a monthly mortage of $1,000 will be able to repay the entire housing loan in 5 years time. Today, a new four room flat under the Design, Built and Order scheme in Bishan cost around $600,000. The median pay of a graduate is only $2,500. Ho w much will a couple need to pay a month in order to service a thirty year loan?
The high cost of public housing means that families have to save more to finance the bank loans which translates to less cash for domestic consumption in the purchase of non-essential goods and services. It is little wonder that Singapore’s domestic purchase power is the least among
the Asian Tigers in the UBS study. We are “paupers” compared to the Taiwanese, Hong Kongers and Koreans because we are unable and unwilling to spend as much as them. The monopoly enjoyed by the HDB enables t hem to set prices arbitrarily though the new flats are pegged to the resale markets. There is no incentive to lower the price because there are no competitors.
In a completely free market, HDB will be competing against smaller private firms to build flats at a cheaper price to serve the needs of the buyers who are mainly from the middle and lower income group, thereby bringing down prices considerably.

Lack of social safety net
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme was originally introduced to ensure that Singaporeans have sufficient funds to serve their retirement needs. However, recent studies have shown that most Singaporeans have insufficient funds left in their CPF. In the government’s CPF Life brochure, it claims that CPF is inadequate to provide a lifelong income to the elderly because they are living longer. (source: MOM) This is only one of the reasons. A more important cause lies in the exorbitant HDB prices which tie up the CPF funds. Most Singaporeans finance the purchase of HDB flats through their CPF which has become a basic necessity in Singapore since there is no hinterland to retreat to like in Hong Kong. The government parcels out state land to HDB which built the flats to be sold to its citizens. The selling price is not determined by market forces, but is set by entirely by the government. Nobody knows the cost of the land and building the flats. Is it reasonable for a new 4 room HDB flat to fetch more than $300,000 and still considered “affordable”?

Though healthcare costs remain heavily subsidized in Singapore, citizens are expected to foot part of the medical bill from their own pockets. A single hospitalization is enough to wipe out one’s lifelong savings. Faced with a grim and uncertain future, Singaporeans have to save more than they can spend, contributing to our low spending power.

Anonymous said...

Finally Part 8:

Conclusion
Every elected government of the day has an implicit ’social contract’ with the voters. Citizens vote for a government to take care of their interests. To many, this means a roof over their heads, a decent standard of living and provision of basic medical services. Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, but are we living the lives of people in a first world economy? Has the government fulfilled its ’social contract’ to us? The UBS study has once again exposed the inherent fallacy in the government’s argument that unbridled economic growth will bring prosperity to all Singaporeans.

Besides the high cost of living, all of Singapore’s other economic indices are far away from those of first world countries including our closest competitors in Asia ? Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. In fact we are closer to the Russian than the Swiss standard of living. Singaporeans are “rich” as defined by the assets we possessed? 90% of Singaporeans “own” their homes, but in name only as most of the households are mired in debts due to borrowing from the banks to finance their mortages. As a result, we have little disposable income to spare? ‘Asset rich, but cash-poor’. With no social safety net to speak of, many Singaporeans cannot afford to retire. They have work well into their twilight years till the day they die. Is this the kind of future you want for yourself and your family?

Many developed countries now realize that the obsession with GDP growth does not necessarily bring happiness and well-being to its people. In fact, high GDP growth has a propensity to cause inflation, rising cost of living, longer working hours and greater stress level for the working population and does not always lead to wealth creation or distribution to the lower
income group. The Sustainable Development Commission in U.K. is now advocating
”prosperity without growth” to the government in order to engineer a rethink of its economic policies from one which is mainly econometric to one which is more humanistic.

A recent study published by the New Economics Foundation shows that the happiest people on Earth are not from countries with the highest GDP per capital. Costa Rica, with a GDP a quarter of the United States, has the highest G lobal Happiness Index in the world. As we stand in a pivotal moment of our history, Singaporeans must decide whether it is worthwhile to continue pursuing high momentum growth at all cost at the expense of the quality of life or refocusing its energy to really achieving “happiness and prosperity” for everybody albeit with less impressive GDP figures. There is an old Chinese adage: “Resting is merely a preparation to walk the
longer journey ahead”. We have come a long way as a young nation and there are still many years ahead of us. What do we really want to achieve together as a people, a community and a nation? Have we lived up to the aspirations of the National Pledge to “build a democratic society, based on justice and equality?” Are we brothers and sisters or are we simply “digits” in the economic machinery which makes up Singapore INC? A country is not a corporation. Neither are its people shareholders. A nation deprived of purpose, ideals and vision will never survive the test of time. We need to look beyond economic indices and nurture a sense of belonging, pride and patriotism among Singaporeans. This will only be brought about by a government which truly respect and care for its people.

--------------------------------
An expat in the company once said Singapore is worst than communist!

Anonymous said...

Part 5:

State-sponsored repression
Though Russia and Singapore are supposedly democracies, both are authoritarian governments with little tolerance for political dissent. In Russia, political dissidents are kidnapped and murdered. Singapore’s opposition politicians who dare to seek the truth are sued till bankrupt
and barred from participating in elections. Repressive laws are put in place in both countries to curtail freedom of speech, assemblies, and other forms of civil liberties. The mainstream media are muzzled and becomes nothing more than mouthpieces of the regimes. Russia’s United Democratic Party is the dominant party in the Russian Duma as in the People’s Action Party in Singapore. The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin was Russia’s ex-President for
two terms and he is now mulling a bid for the Presidency again when his current term expires.
Singapore’s two former Prime Ministers have remained in the present Cabinet with the portfolios of Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. Their exact responsibilities are not outlined.

Conclusion
With so much in c ommon between them, it is no wonder that Singapore’s state-linked companies are flocking to Russia to explore opportunities of collaboration. Not only are our standards of living becoming more and more like Russia, there is an insidious ”Russification” of our economy and politics as well. What started out as a “Swiss dream” is fast becoming a “Russian” nightmare under continued PAP hegemony. Isn’t it strange that Singapore, with one of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world has a standard of living closer to Russia than
Switzerland? How is it possible that the state is flushed with cash and yet ordinary Singaporeans have a domestic purchasing power comparable to the Russians and way far behind the Swiss?
What went wrong? Are Singaporeans getting a fair deal from their government? Why are we paupers in a first world economy? Until the global financial turmoil last year, Singapore has enjoyed 10 years of continuous growth of more than 5% per day.

The Singapore government has always used GDP growth as a basis for citizens to appraise its own performance. Even a variable portion of their multi-million salaries is pegged to the GDP.
Singapore’s GDP figures are indeed impressive: Singapore is ranked third in the world by the World Bank in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita ($49,288). (source: wikipedia) [PPP = Purchasing Power Parity, GDP at PPP per capita refers to the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year divided by the average population for the same year] Only Norway and Luxembourg are ranked higher than Singapore. The United States, Switzerland,

Anonymous said...

Part 6:

Hong Kong, Sweden, Austria, Iceland and Holland are the other countries within the top ten.
In a way, our economy’s sterling performance is a vindication of the government’s ‘growth at all cost’ economic policy. Singapore has a first world developed modern economy.

GDP growth is usually translated somewhat to a better quality of life for the citizens, but not exactly in Singapore’s case. If we study the indices such as wage level, domestic purchase power and spending power as shown in the UBS study, we will realize that we are ranked way below the developed economies. Our income gap, as measured by the Gini Coefficient, is the highest among the twenty most developed economies, comparable with the Philipines, Nigeria and Nicaragua. (source: wikipedia) This means that the gains we have made as a nation from years of economic growth are not distributed evenly across the population. A minority becomes richer, but the rest are not better off. Some even become poorer. According to a NUS study completed last year, lifetime income inequality has been increasing rapidly especially after the Asian financial crisis. In fact, despite the substantial growth of the economy, the lower income
quantile has seen a drop in their real lifetime income. (source: NUS SCAPE)

In a way, we are “paupers” compared to our counterparts in other first world economies? Singaporeans have lower spending power, they are likely to work longer hours and even then, many may not save enough for their retirement. Why is this so?

Anonymous said...

Part 7:

Influx of foreigners
When MM Lee said recently that foreigners are vital to our economy, he was not exaggerating. Foreigners contribute to almost one third of our workforce. Our economy will collapse without them. In the past, foreign workers in Singapore consisted chiefly of the low unskilled blue collar workers and the highly skilled white collar professionals. The former do not compete directly with locals as they worked mostly in industries shunned by Singaporeans while the latter helps
to add value to our economy and create more jobs in the process.

However in recent years, we are seeing more semi-skilled foreigners entering our labor market. Not only are they competing directly with Singaporeans for jobs, they also have a certain degree of spending prowess which compounds the problem of inflation. These foreigners took up many jobs which can otherwise be filled by locals such as engineers, mid-level managers, and administrators, leading inevitably to stagnation or even decline in overall wages. Of course the widespread use of foreigners help to bring labor costs down collectively, contributing to GDP in the process. While other countries are exploring ways to improve productivity, Singapore continue to take the easy way out by importing foreigners en masse to pop up its economy.

Government dominance of domestic economy
The economy of Singapore is a highly developed state capitalist mixed economy. While government intervention in the market is kept to a minimum, the state controls and owns firms that comprise at least 60 per cent of the GDP through state-linked companies such as DBS and Capitaland and its two giant sovereign wealth funds, GIC and Temasek Holdings. The government is also the largest employer, giving it leverage over the wages of ordinary Singaporeans who are employed in the civil service. State-linked companies stifle entrepreneurship and retards the growth of small and medium enterprises. Singapore has the lowest number of entrepreneurs and local startups among the four Asian Tigers. The state’s only legal trade union, NTUC, controls all facets of the domestic economy from supermarkets, pharmacy chains, medical clinics, food courts, insurance, taxis and even the undertaker business. Singapore workers have their natural rights forfeited under the government’s “tripartite” arrangement which is strongly pro-business. Strikes and protests are outlawed. Ordinary workers have few official channels to turn to for seeking redress or settling labor disputes.
The government’s overwhelming dominance of the domestic economy leads indirectly to a passive, subservient and risk-adverse citizenry who prefers to earn a low, but fixed, regular income as employees rather than strike it out on their own as bosses. The brightest college graduates either pursue a professional degree such as medicine and law or take up attractive government scholarships to serve in the civil service upon graduation. Very few Singaporeans aspire to be businessmen, scientists or innovators.

Anonymous said...

Part 8:

As a result, the population lacks initiative, motivation and creativity, becoming overly dependent on the nanny state to guide, manage and control the economy which also partly explains why Singapore produces lessmillionaires than Hong Kong and Taiwan. (source: asiaone
)

High prices of public housing
Over 85% of Singaporeans live in high-rise public housing built by the government. Though they are meant to be cheap and affordable to the masses, recent price hikes has priced ordinary Singapore workers out of the market.

In the 1980s, a new four room flat in Bishan cost about $60,000 while the median pay of a fresh graduate is about $1,500. A young couple paying a monthly mortage of $1,000 will be able to repay the entire housing loan in 5 years time. Today, a new four room flat under the Design, Built and Order scheme in Bishan cost around $600,000. The median pay of a graduate is only $2,500. Ho w much will a couple need to pay a month in order to service a thirty year loan?
The high cost of public housing means that families have to save more to finance the bank loans which translates to less cash for domestic consumption in the purchase of non-essential goods and services. It is little wonder that Singapore’s domestic purchase power is the least among
the Asian Tigers in the UBS study. We are “paupers” compared to the Taiwanese, Hong Kongers and Koreans because we are unable and unwilling to spend as much as them. The monopoly enjoyed by the HDB enables t hem to set prices arbitrarily though the new flats are pegged to the resale markets. There is no incentive to lower the price because there are no competitors.
In a completely free market, HDB will be competing against smaller private firms to build flats at a cheaper price to serve the needs of the buyers who are mainly from the middle and lower income group, thereby bringing down prices considerably.

Lack of social safety net
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme was originally introduced to ensure that Singaporeans have sufficient funds to serve their retirement needs. However, recent studies have shown that most Singaporeans have insufficient funds left in their CPF. In the government’s CPF Life brochure, it claims that CPF is inadequate to provide a lifelong income to the elderly because they are living longer. (source: MOM) This is only one of the reasons. A more important cause lies in the exorbitant HDB prices which tie up the CPF funds. Most Singaporeans finance the purchase of HDB flats through their CPF which has become a basic necessity in Singapore since there is no hinterland to retreat to like in Hong Kong. The government parcels out state land to HDB which built the flats to be sold to its citizens. The selling price is not determined by market forces, but is set by entirely by the government. Nobody knows the cost of the land and building the flats. Is it reasonable for a new 4 room HDB flat to fetch more than $300,000 and still considered “affordable”?

Though healthcare costs remain heavily subsidized in Singapore, citizens are expected to foot part of the medical bill from their own pockets. A single hospitalization is enough to wipe out one’s lifelong savings. Faced with a grim and uncertain future, Singaporeans have to save more than they can spend, contributing to our low spending power.

Anonymous said...

Final Part: Part 9

Conclusion
Every elected government of the day has an implicit ’social contract’ with the voters. Citizens vote for a government to take care of their interests. To many, this means a roof over their heads, a decent standard of living and provision of basic medical services. Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, but are we living the lives of people in a first world economy? Has the government fulfilled its ’social contract’ to us? The UBS study has once again exposed the inherent fallacy in the government’s argument that unbridled economic growth will bring prosperity to all Singaporeans.

Besides the high cost of living, all of Singapore’s other economic indices are far away from those of first world countries including our closest competitors in Asia ? Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. In fact we are closer to the Russian than the Swiss standard of living. Singaporeans are “rich” as defined by the assets we possessed? 90% of Singaporeans “own” their homes, but in name only as most of the households are mired in debts due to borrowing from the banks to finance their mortages. As a result, we have little disposable income to spare? ‘Asset rich, but cash-poor’. With no social safety net to speak of, many Singaporeans cannot afford to retire. They have work well into their twilight years till the day they die. Is this the kind of future you want for yourself and your family?

Many developed countries now realize that the obsession with GDP growth does not necessarily bring happiness and well-being to its people. In fact, high GDP growth has a propensity to cause inflation, rising cost of living, longer working hours and greater stress level for the working population and does not always lead to wealth creation or distribution to the lower
income group. The Sustainable Development Commission in U.K. is now advocating
”prosperity without growth” to the government in order to engineer a rethink of its economic policies from one which is mainly econometric to one which is more humanistic.

A recent study published by the New Economics Foundation shows that the happiest people on Earth are not from countries with the highest GDP per capital. Costa Rica, with a GDP a quarter of the United States, has the highest G lobal Happiness Index in the world. As we stand in a pivotal moment of our history, Singaporeans must decide whether it is worthwhile to continue pursuing high momentum growth at all cost at the expense of the quality of life or refocusing its energy to really achieving “happiness and prosperity” for everybody albeit with less impressive GDP figures. There is an old Chinese adage: “Resting is merely a preparation to walk the
longer journey ahead”. We have come a long way as a young nation and there are still many years ahead of us. What do we really want to achieve together as a people, a community and a nation? Have we lived up to the aspirations of the National Pledge to “build a democratic society, based on justice and equality?” Are we brothers and sisters or are we simply “digits” in the economic machinery which makes up Singapore INC? A country is not a corporation. Neither are its people shareholders. A nation deprived of purpose, ideals and vision will never survive the test of time. We need to look beyond economic indices and nurture a sense of belonging, pride and patriotism among Singaporeans. This will only be brought about by a government which truly respect and care for its people.

Anonymous said...

frustrating, could not get the whole report across...

Poirot said...

Come on, it is really silly for anyone of us to accredit the booming business of the casinos in Singapore to the fallen George Yeo.

The casinos do not belong to him and they will never ever be from the beginning till the end of time. The casinos belong to Singaporeans, therefore we should all claim the credits, collect our rewards when the time is due. Who said that it is his idea, he stole the idea!!!

You should take a good look at the casinos during the weekends and witness how the foreign talents from China, India, Taiwan,Indonesia and Malaysia making extra bucks.

The way the foreign croupier distributing the chips like freebies to the foreign workers will make us Singaporeans look very silly for not grabbing our share too. However, you will first have to study and learn from them, how they do it. It happens very fast.

What I mean is this, if you keep thinking that Singaporeans are losing their jobs to the foreign talents than let me tell you this, if we don't win in gambling at the casinos too then there is really no talent in Singapore in many areas because we must win and win big!!! Why only let the foreign talents take the extra bucks. Go and see for yourselves!!!

Do you think that by giving all the chances to the foreign talent in gaming will build a halo above your heads. The casinos are our legacies, not George Yeo's, are you all silly enough to let him alone inherit all the prizes!!! So, in the future his children will inherit it, is it? Fat hope, don't play dirty indirectly for the PAPs by giving the legacy to him. I am not stupid!!! I am taking it back. Truly, Singaporeans...

Anonymous said...

He has not only done damage to society. His remark that the domitory in Serangoon Garden at the expense of voting for Perpetually Arrogant Party is the bitter medicine he has to swallow. He thought he's infallible BUT people REMEMBERS. He forgets after saying ........shame..

mr wang said...

"Come on, it is really silly for anyone of us to accredit the booming business of the casinos in Singapore to the fallen George Yeo."


I didn't accredit the booming business of the casinos to George Yeo.

I accredited the IDEA, the PROPOSAL, to build the casinos to George Yeo.

It all begins with the idea. No idea, no building of casino, therefore no casino, and no business of casino to speak of.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree on the post. It is either the govt of the day was lazy or bereft of ideas. There are many ways to get the economy going. If we want to outwit our neighbours this is not one of the ways. If the region starts to have casinos and there are signs they all want the pie too, what next for us?

Anonymous said...

Pathed roadway was invented, then comes the highway, expressway. traffic accidents increase. How should we solve the accidents rate. Someone say to me, take the vehicle off the street. Then there is no more traffic accidents. That sound logistic.
How do one balance the advantages and dis-advantages. Development vs no development. Easy said then done. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

How can the government allow the casinos to stay when they know that the Muslims are not allowed to gamble? If they include this, there will be bad influences on them. How do we teach them that our religion is against gambling but the government says it is okay? Is this what they mean by fair treatment and multi-religion?

The government obviously does not care about minority groups, and expect us to solve this problem ourselves when we are not the ones who wanted it?! Look at the crimes that have come up ever since the casinos started operation. Many more cases of cheating and robbery. They have to realize that money is not everything and they need to listen and respect every Singaporean!!! We have already tolerated with alcohol being lying around and tempting our young boys, and also do not mind that there are non-halal places everywhere. But how can this go on and allow yet another unacceptable activity stain our life?

Anonymous said...

Like many others here, the one thing I really remember George Yeo for is him, scolding Catherine Lim, for being "boh tua boh suay." I thought it was ironic at the time since, "boh tua boh suay" is usually used for elders scolding young people. In this case, the younger Yeo was scolding the older Lim for daring to voice her opinion. I dunno, not a great show of democracy or reform there.