Nov 19, 2008

PAP Town Councils - What A Fiasco

Nov 18, 2008
Town councils' exposure: $16m
Another $3m invested in Pinnacle Notes Series 6 could be at risk
By Goh Chin Lian

EIGHT town councils (TC) run by the People's Action Party have about $16 million invested in troubled structured products.

The lion's share of $12 million is from two TCs: Holland-Bukit Panjang ($8 million) and Pasir Ris-Punggol ($4 million).

The products include Minibonds linked to bankrupt US investment bank Lehman Brothers and the now worthless Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series 3 LinkEarner Notes.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, chairman of the Holland-Bukit Panjang TC as well as coordinating chairman for the 14 PAP town councils, disclosed this yesterday.

Earlier in Parliament, Senior Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu identified the two TCs when she was asked whether a stricter cap on risky investments was needed.

In his statement, Dr Teo defended the TCs' investment strategy, saying the funds are diversified across deposits, securities and other financial products.

Surely there must be some accountability for this. Unlike Temasek and GIC, town councils have no way of pretending that their money is not public money.

This is not the first time I am criticising how the town councils handle public money. You can read this post that I wrote last year: You Give Your Money To Your Town Council So That It Can Play The Stock Market.

Maybe I should change the title of my current post to "You Give Your Money to Your Town Council So That It Can Buy Lehman Minibonds".

The fact that town councils invest your conservancy fees into stocks, shares, bonds and structured products really just goes to show that Singaporeans have been paying way too much in conservancy fees.

What do town councils need so much money for, anyway? As of last year, they had more than $1,000,000,000 of excess cash in their sinking funds! Surely it doesn't cost that much to build a few playgrounds and basketball courts, and to pay some Bangladeshi workers to clear the rubbish and sweep the floor every day.

Note that town councils aren't responsible for maintaining everything in your HDB estate. Organisations like the National Parks Board pay for the maintenance of the parks; while the Land Transport Authority pays for maintaining the roads and bus-stops; the Singapore Sports Council pays for the maintenance of the public swimming pools and sports stadiums etc.

In yesterday's Straits Times, Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman for the 14 PAP town councils, is reported to have said that town councils need to build up their sinking fund for long-term improvement works, like replacing lifts every 28 years.

Seems like a poor excuse to me.

Under the Lift Upgrading Programme, the town council pays only a very small fraction of the overall cost. For example, according to the HDB website, on average the town council pays only 7.6% of the cost of upgrading the lift for a 4-room flat in a standard block, or approximately $900.

Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol lost $12 million. That could have upgraded lifts for more than 13,000 flats. All at one go ... and not over the next 28 years!


Anonymous said...

It might be blindingly obvious but it's my personal opinion that the Singapore Government and all it's affiliated or remotely affiliated organisations aim to take as much money away from Singaporeans in order to lock them down in Singapore.

Singaporeans with money typically look overseas, resulting in a net outflow of capital. Especially since the younger generation of voters are not so malleable as the previous generations, it becomes critical for the ruling faction to control as many aspects of life in Singapore as possible.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to know if any of the opposition town councils like Potong Pasir and Hougang got into trouble by investing in structured products.

Seems not or the States Times would have gone to town with it.

Remember the mantra at election time about PAP wards being better managed than the opposition's?

hojiber said...

Wang, I... don't know what to say...

a beautiful lie said...

I remembered some PAP feller saying that residents should be "thankful" that town councils are investing for them or something like that...


Anonymous said...

Hhm...perhaps it's about time that "I feel rich every month" guy approach them for investment advice...

Anonymous said...

Wealth transfer.

chnrxn said...

Accountability is the only thing missing from all the reports, statements and comments, up till now.

What's the point of making these disclosures in the first place? If nothing is going to be done, then I'd rather it be like GIC.

I think they just stopped short of saying, "That's how it's going to be, deal with it!" straight into our faces.

David said...

MM Lee once said "a sense of proportion" if you compare ministers' pay and the GDP.

SM Goh said, "need to have a sense of perspective" when he compared Minibond investors' losses to stock market losses. His wife said "It's peanuts" refering to Durai's 600K salary.

PM Lee said, "What to do, it has happened" when refering to Mas Selamat escape.

So I said, "What can you folks do?So let's move on lah."

Anonymous said...

The $1 billion town council fund could have been more if they didn't waste money on turning every open space into concrete structures which few residents have use for. What's wrong with green space?

What I want to see is a limit on the amount of money town councils can hog. And if the money is not used, to give them back to the residents.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (Nov 19, 6.54pm)

Apparently the opposition wards are not invested in these financial instruments. Low Thia Kiang for Hougang was quoted to have said his TC is getting an average of 6% return on their investments. That's better than GIC's performance of 4.5%!

Ser Ming said...

Despite losing so much monie, no one's heads roll in the Town Council?

Iron rice bowl?

Alex Tan said...

it just shows that amount of experience in managing town councils the PAP accumulated over the years is nonexistent. the WP can, and has proven, do a better job.

like-wise for Singapore's ruling party. PAP's 43 years of experience in governance could come to naught and even perform poorer than a fresh opposition ruling party.

also, i think PM Lee's recent speech on one-party rule is baseless. we are currently seeing poorer management and an arrogant leadership who doesn't know the word "sorry" when an honest mistake is made. if we carry on with one-party rule, it is going to ruin Singapore in years to come. who knows the "ruin" could already be taking place latently.

his theory of "change must happen within the party" reminds me of Obama's speech during the campaign:

"a pig with lipstick is still a pig."

we will need the opposition to lead the changes Singaporeans need. lets vote for someone who will do something for Singaporeans, and not Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Town councils pay for upgrading??? What upgarding??? the residents got to forked out extra $$$ to get the lift to stop on every floor...

Anonymous said...

I gotta pay almost $600 (for HDB 3-roomer, 4-roomer pays more) for a lift that stops on every floor, their mistake for not building it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Was wondering whether the ministerial salaries would drop by benchmarking with the six professions in this current year-end economic situation.

Anonymous said...

keep hitting them wang...dun let up.

Anonymous said...

Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, and then one day they do a Marcos. Unthinkable? Time for singaporeans to wake up from their slumber.

Anonymous said...

In the 1st place, is there a need to form town councils to do HDB maintenance? Town councils were introduced in mid-1990s as a PAP election strategy to counter Chiam SeeTong's by-election strategy. Prior to that, HDB, ENV and other organisations were responsible for maintenance of HDB estates (and upgrading) at national level. There were no compelling reasons to put the maintenance job in the hands of the Town Councils other than for the PAP's self-serving election agenda.

Alan Wan said...

Thinking about all these public investments, I just can't help comparing LKY with Chen Shui Bian of Taiwan.

Both are lawyers and both have a son and daughter-in-law to manage their respective coffers.

Except that one is dealing with legal funds while the other involved illegal monies.

I just keep wondering is there any difference ?

Anonymous said...

When the gangsters loses money thru gambling, they will go after the ordinary folks who are helpless to demand for more protection money for their evil gambling habits. So folks get prepare the gangsters will come after us very soon for more money.

Anonymous said...

hi alan wong,
good point regarding both men.
the difference is one is made accountable while the other is deemed above accountability or scrutiny if you wish.
Singapore will lose out to Taiwan in the long run without check and balance in governance.
spectacular success in the past does not mean there will not be a spectacular failure in the future
with a one party rule.

porcorosso said...

Do we think town councils could get away with the argument that they did not know what they were buying?

Anonymous said...

Singapore actually could be a great place for the citizens. However, PAP insist that S'pore be a stress-filled and anxiety-ravaged environment.

The people not only have to endure the cost of ERP, GST, COE, CPF, etc, you have to pay more in conservancy charges than necessay. Why? God knows why. Other than every bit make the people endure higher cost of living.

To make sure the people are really stressed out, the PAP make sure the average income is kept low by bringing in foreigners - whether more talented than locals is highly controversal. Seems like the PAP wants a clean beautiful place but not a place of cheer and happiness.

Everything PAP govt have built about themselves and Singapore is just an illusion. No happiness. No cheer. Just a clean sterile place of stress and anxiety.

Anonymous said...

since TC accumulate so much fund, they should reduce car park charges to say $50 instead of charging us $90. Really blood suckers.I prefer opposition TC where they are more transparent, and they don't increase SC unnecessary. Vote more oppositions in pls,singaporeans, don't be afraid of pap

Anonymous said...

Non-opposition wards should really give the opposition a chance. I know Hougang is well looked after and no, do not let them frighten you with the 'rubbish up to the second storey horror story'.

The upgrading nonsense is the ultimate weapon they always use to justify conservancy fee increases. When the walkways and gardens needed repairs they will come to you for more money. That's the idea. Now, with the massive funds locked-in the coffers of the PAP Town Councils, you know we have been conned long term. And to add insult to injury, they are loosing your hard-earned money big time.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans should give oppositions a chance to run TC.If they feel oppositions in charge is sub standard, then they can always vote them out the next GE.No try, no gain.What pap can do,normal people also can do, don't tell me pap is GOD.They are trying to threathen the voters, actually they are licence gangsters.

Anonymous said...

100% agree, vote the 'alternative party' in... if they did not do what is necessary for them to, then as citizens you can vote them out the next round...

As far as I know...Hougang and Potong Pasir is pretty well managed. They may not have hte luxury of lift upgrading, etc... but they are still taken care of in terms of other areas...otherwise no fool will want to vote them in again and again!

Anonymous said...

I was eating during lunch time today. I went to get food and when I came back, this old lady was sitting down next to our table and start crying, holding on to a large bag of empty drink cans.

One passerby asked her whats wrong and she sobbed, "I'm hungry, no money to eat."
That bag of cans is probably worthless now, considering the current market. But what's disturbing was that the lady then started eating the left overs from my colleague, who've pushed it to the next table awhile ago, all the while crying and staring at us.

Words cannot express the mix of feelings I had; For us wasting food, for not being able to help her and for myself when I'm old and frail and no longer a useful "talent".
"Don't she have children?" one colleague lamented
"Whats the government doing?" asks another
I dryly replied "Do you think she knows how to get help even if the government's giving any? She too hungry to even think about that"

16 millions...if that can upgrade 13 000 flats with every-floor-stopping lifts, how many of such old folks can it feed?

Anonymous said...

.... does it mean paying maintanence fee in a condo is more worth it than paying conservancy fees??

Anonymous said...

IMO, voters who are currently under PAP wards are in this dillema. they are well aware of how mis-managed their TCs (or rather their conservancy fees) are, but they may have this thinking that , it's bad, but it could be worse. because apparently TCs like hougang have difficulties claiming for reimbursement from HDB and their privatised Surbana for repairs and maintanence of the HDB flats. *this is taken off wp's website, about the 2004 budget deficit*. has this situation improved yet?

Anonymous said...

And to think about the last time when I was out of job and owe some hundreds of my SC&C charges, they just sue me in court and slapped me with another $400 fine, damn bloody tu_lan, and the judge don't give a damn about whatsoever problem I said, just sit there like a bloody kangaroo and the the only words that comes out from his bloody mouth is "do you plead guilty or not?" more shocking to see so many citizens are being sued by the TCs, hundreds in the queue, goodness me!

Anonymous said...

Sinkees deserve it.

And mark my words, nothing will change in the next election.

Anonymous said...

"Sinking Funds....supposed to sink" PAP MP when asked abt TC fiasco

Anonymous said...

How Much/Many
a) Packets Of Rice Can be bgt with 1% of Sinking Funds Total Lost?
b) Build new playgrds?
c) Build new lifts?
d)Give S$100 for est. no of residents
affected by job loss or economy?
e)Buy plates of chicken rice for residents (Free)?
f)Waive S$20 from every resident medical bill?
Then you know how much S$12k meant to ordinary Singaporeans or 1% of total money lost.
Can someone pass the ans in pics to our Dr Teo & PAP TCs as illiterate.

Anonymous said...

doesn't this sound abit like NKF claiming that it doesnt have enough money, but have lots stashed away?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it obvious that PAP government is run like NKF? The last time i know when Dr. Chee asked this question, he was sued for defamation, found guilty, thrown in jail and made bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

As i recall, Low Thia Khiang managed to lift upgrade a significant number of his constituency flats WITHOUT the joint-payment scheme championed by PAP-run constituencies.

During the 2006 elections, PAP despite their grandiose claims, never had an answer to Low's initiative. And this was WITHOUT an obscene sinking fund, which Holland-Bukit Panjang TC has now lost 12 Mil.

Had it been an alternative ward, you can be sure the PAP would be all fire and brimstone, demanding heads to roll...

Teo's nonchalant response: it was just 1% of the overall fund, does not sit well with the people and draws comparsions to the cold, calculating machine PAP has become, bereft of real people governance and merely treats SG as another state-run company, to be sucked dry at the taxpayer's cost

Anonymous said...

mr wang,

im more concerned as to what now? what can we common ppe do anything abt it? abt paying converservancy charges? abt letting the govt take our money like this and get away with it.

will it matter or work for me to go right up and meet my pm and say i do not want to pay conservancy charges bcoz the tc have too much money from my payment to lose in such investments!!?

it is one thing saying it, letting the main stream media expose this issue, but to what end? how can anything change in that regard?

it is extremely frustrating!! i get this strong feeling that after all that has been said and done, we the ppe will continue to suffer. they (the govt) will make us suck it.

do u have any advise to what we can realistically to alleviate the problem?

Anonymous said...


We don't need to work so hard if they don't make us pay so much!

And working is MEANS to the Ends of happiness! Not now when PAP makes it becomes the ENDS to the MEANS! SACK THEM!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang,

It is a fact that the total exposure of our Town Councils to toxic bonds is $16million.
Yet it is also a fact that Mr Teo Ho Pin said that the total loss incurred by these TC's is around $8million.

How come there's still a residual sum of $8m (total exposure of $16m - loss of $8m)?

I would have thought that most of these bonds would be worthless by now. Is Teo understating the losses again, or is there some truth in his statement?

Anonymous said...

With reference to ST Forum letter by:

Simon Koh
General Manager
Tanjong Pagar Town Council


"The town council did not purchase any Lehman Brothers funds directly. One of the town council fund managers, Lion Global Investors, has informed us it has a small exposure to Lehman Brothers bonds. It invested $250,000 in the bonds. This amount accounts for only 0.14 per cent of the town council's total sinking funds."


TC does not invest LB directly but fund manager did. Er, this is like pushing the blame to the fund manager. You mean that TC did not know what FM invested in, till now?

Does this statement imply that TC can invest public money directly? I would have thought that you need to go the fund managers all the time for investments.

But, it is still using public monies, direct or indirect.

Anonymous said...

So, what can you guys do about it?

Other than writing here and to the ST Forum Page?

In the end, the worst feeling must be that of feeling impotent.

Anonymous said...

True, there is nothing we can do about it. But for those who visited blogs like this, it will give them some comfort to know that there are really Singaporeans who are not happy with what the PAP and PAP Town Councils are doing and perhaps change their mindset about what to do in the next general election. Nothing is impossible. Like the fall of Marcos, Suharto or China's gang of four, or perhaps Lehman Brothers, who would have thought of that!

Anonymous said...

The most sad thing is i think a lot of people will be mislead by what the ST forum people is saying, about the funds "should be invested instead of parking inside, so don't blame them.. "

My block had been asked whether do we vote for having lifts on every floor.. and we are supposed to pay for a fraction of what the cost will be. I wonder why can't they absorb the cost totally since they got so much $ parking inside..

Anonymous said...

How come Lehman Bros, etc big bosses get sacked over the big losses, TC and Temasek big bosses still sitting there and maybe even getting bonus?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang,

Do you think there's legal obstacles from preventing resident groups getting together, hiring a lawyer to sue their town councils for mismanagement of funds? This is clearly an abuse of trust.


Anonymous said...

i dont think you can just go up to ur TC and demand to pay lower conservancy fees... cause they'll tell you that after this lesson, they'll invest in a diversified manner and a more conservative manner..

Anonymous said...

This is the problem with Singaporean. Nothing can be done! There are absolutely many things can be done. For a start, all of you can stop paying the monthly SC&C to the Town Councils. If only all Singaporean can act united, what can T&C do? They can't evict all of you and put all Singaporean on the streets.

Singaporean are in this sorry state today purely because most of you think that nothing can be done and did do nothing about it. You are the only one to be blamed for this.

Anonymous said...

Dear "A beautiful lie",

thank you for bringing up the point where 'the residents should be "thankful" ' - aka Dr Teo says ‘be thankful’ article.

Quote article: "8-million loss should be viewed in the context of the $24 million in investments generated over the past six years. If the Town Council had invested all its funds in low-risk investments, it would have earned only $5 million, he said. "

i felt that this was very ridiculous. its as though we should be grateful that they didnt (stupidly) do poor investments.

Dr Teo's tone is full of arrogance.


Anonymous said...

They don't evict for not paying conservancy charges or do they? In Hougang, LTK will invite you to the town council office to find out your problem for not paying and work out a solution. I don't know about the others.

SM Goh called on residents to check on opposition town council funds earlier this year. I guess Low and Chiam are having the last laugh.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous Nov 20, 10.14 pm.

I was eating during lunch time today. I went to get food and when I came back, this old lady was sitting down next to our table and start crying, holding on to a large bag of empty drink cans.

In the end did anyone buy her any food?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang. A slightly different issue, but along the lines of banks behaving badly. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the ST story yesterday:

"A 91-YEAR-OLD woman, accompanied by her 43-year-old adopted daughter, went to OCBC Bank in May, asking to close her account containing $8.8 million - but the bank would not let her."

Presumably if she had walked in to deposit a huge sum, her mental acuity would not have been questioned?

Mike Takena said...

yup.. they are a fiasco... we need to change this aspect... but well...people in power are not on our side and will just shove it away saying:

(1) its just a mistake..

(2)no heads should roll because everyone got burnt (yar.. which i think is crap excuse)

(3) we have an economic situation more serious now... can you offer solutions to our current economic woes than pointing your fingers?"

Anonymous said...

It's kind of sad how they treat us like dirt and think they can get away with it.
Well this incident and facts does prove a point. Complacent, kiasu, kiasee, bochap and hao lian elites got to go.
And This is only the tip of the Iceberg as there are still a lot of stuff that are unaccounted for.
Why the need to convert to CPF SA which have limits.
The loss is only known to a "privilieged" few.
And most important of all why should we bear the burden for their folly.
Do we really need to be lucky in order to see a reduction in electricity bills when the whole world are already returning to normal?
It's time for a change in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I have never voted for PAP, and will not vote for PAP in the next election.

Anonymous said...

85% of the people will vote PAP in the next election.

January budget will probably handout $$$ to everyone.

Where else can you see such gifts of compassion?

And during the campaigning proper, PAP will say they are the only one who is capable of leading this island in times of great financial and economic crisis.

They will ask: Do you really want to put your trust in people with no experience in governing at such dire times? Do you want to risk you jobs, your homes, your quality of life?

And ta da, they will mop up the votes.

You can't say you don't know Sinkees' mindset.

Materialistic, me-first, kiasu and kiasi.

Do you really think Sinkees will vote for change?

Cows will fly over the moon before that happens.

Expect the expected and perhaps the disappointment will not be too heart-wrenching.


Anonymous said...


blunder, botched situation, breakdown, debacle, disaster, dumb thing to do, dumb trick, embarrassment, error, failure, farce, flap, flop, mess, ruin, screwup, stunt, washout

advantage, benefit, blessing, boon, miracle, success, wonder

One can guess which is Dr Teo's perspective. He thinks that a $8 million loss is ok as it involved a $19 million gain.

Makes one wonder if his performance bonus is linked to AUM(Assets Under Management).

Quote article: "8-million loss should be viewed in the context of the $24 million in investments generated over the past six years. If the Town Council had invested all its funds in low-risk investments, it would have earned only $5 million, he said. "

Anonymous said...

but the govt isnt going to cut GST. even with a payout, singaporeans will be able to know that in the long run, they are still the ones that are short-changed. i supposed during the next GE, majority of the votes will still go to the PAP, but the margin might shrink or be similar to the times of the last GE. people have to realise that change in the govt doesnt happen overnight... the opposition has to start getting the votes for TCs first and prove their worth and capability before they can garner votes from other areas... i hope the oppo is still in the running for this GE in my area... i heard the last GE was the first time they ventured into the dragon's lair..

Anonymous said...

When your country is run by a God Father, who only wants power, fame and money, what can you expect?

The Unholy Trinity!

So, when your bodies are dead, the only thing left is to try to save your souls. BUT do you have a soul?


kilroy said...

think 8.39am is probably right. You can be almost sure that the $$ to handed out post budget Jan 2009 and pre GE will sway opinion in the PAP's favor again. This is the real reason that they do not want to modify (e.g exempt food and medicine) , rescind or reduce the GST citing these as blunt weapons. Paying out one time hard cash has worked previously so they will use it again. The FM's claim that reducing the GST will only benefit the rich is treating us as naive simpletons. Do not the non rich also consume?

Anonymous said...

There should be a cap to the amount of money in the sinking fund. once achieved, the town council must stop collect conservancy fees.

Otherwise, true to their training, they think its a business to see how they can keep milking the cow and get as much money out of the citizens as they can.

Anonymous said...

Quote article: "8-million loss should be viewed in the context of the $24 million in investments generated over the past six years. If the Town Council had invested all its funds in low-risk investments, it would have earned only $5 million, he said. "

If the PAP Town Councils have not been collecting TOO MUCH more than enough, we'll all be not be asking for higher wages, and jobs will not be lost without million dollar ministers.

Anonymous said...

This is a salutary lesson about feedback and transparency. When citizens query and ask questions they are not "stirring" and being mischievous or "politizing" the issues but often have the best interests of the country at heart. If the Town Councils had been more open about their investments this debacle might not have happen. Today we have Town Council investments in toxic products, tomorrow...what may happen. It is a real shame and source of concern that the authorities refuse steadfastly to conosider the view that it is the LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND CONSULTATION that precipitated this problem. If we continue to sit on our hands and be prepared to be led by the nose it is surely only a matter of time before catastrophe strikes. So the authorities should be prepared to listen to citizens, just reverse the repetition of listen to use, we know better that they intone so monotonously.

Anonymous said...

Speaking on the sidelines of a community event on Sunday, Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council chairman, Ahmad Magad, said the council has been communicating with some residents who have asked about the investments. And going forward, it will listen to what residents prefer.

Dr Ahmad said: "If they feel that the way forward is best for us to just park our funds in fixed deposits – that's what we'll do. But bear in mind that FDs will only give you minimal returns. At times, it doesn't even cover inflation."

Just look at their arrogant reply. It not their fault for losing so much. ButIt's your fault now if they can't earn more.

Sing Republic said...

I wonder what's the point of endlessly finding fault with the ruling party. In the end, there's nothing we're going to do about it. Is the purpose of all this complaining to ensure that we vote "properly" the next time round? There is still no better party around, so how?! We would have to vote back the same old people.

Anonymous said...

I do not disagree that the TC funds should be invested. It was of course unforeseeable and unlikely that the funds would have become worthless then. But what irks me is that even after making so much money, what has the TC given back in return? Do they say that, we have done a great job in generating returns from this year, so next year's charges are waived? So every month and year we keep increasing the amount in the TC's funds... for what!?? Waiting for someone to get tempted and misuse/abuse/steal the funds???

Also the other point of not voting for the PAP. I think the main problem is having a credible opposition. Besides the current 2, who else is there to pick from? Would any of you who made all these complaints about the current gov quit your jobs and join the opposition wards and make things better?

Anonymous said...

Once again, LPPL.


Anonymous said...

my significant other did ask me to join the opposition ward if i feel that i could make a difference, or to be a journalist to write constructive criticisms. but he changed his mind quickly, saying that i'll bankcrupt him.

Anonymous said...

So nobody dares to stand as an opposition, and nobody wants to vote the incumbents out.

So why bother writing so much crap?

The feeling of impotence must be very frustrating.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"I wonder what's the point of endlessly finding fault with the ruling party."

Quite confidently, I will tell you that they do monitor what is being said on the Internet, and that what netizens say is being taken into account.

If netizens were any less outspoken and vocal, the ruling party's behaviour would be even more brazen.

Anonymous said...

we write to show that we are not just mindless sheep and that we are quite aware of their tactics and not as apathatic as they think we are towards politics and policies. a pre election payout may sway votes, but not that many anymore.

Sing Republic said...

We must salute people and bloggers like Mr Wang.

I suspect that most of the rest of us already stopped trying.

Going off on a tangent:
While millions and billions are lost, there are buses that are leaking water from the roof. (Because of the air-con) I think even 3rd world countries don't have this problem. Because their buses don't have air-con. Not to mention that the air-con is hardly working. The bus would have been better ventilated without air-con.

Sing Republic said...

Pre-election payouts will still work, because a few hundred dollars still mean a lot to many of us.

Anyway there's no others to vote for. I wonder whether any candidates will be fielded by the opposition for the next election. And what kind of candidates. I think if Mr Wang stands for election, many of us here will vote for him. But how many (if any) like him will be willing to stand for election. And people like that will end up being absorbed into the main party. (Better prospects)

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Tan Kin Lian has said that he is interested in running for presidency. This was reported in the Straits Times over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, by way of the newspapers I think you already know about Tan Kin Lian's political aspirations and his testing the waters first, by obtaining 100,000 signatures. Would you kindly alert your readers to
where they can sign an online petition to further his cause? Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I know that the sweeper, sweeping my parents block of flats is in her 60s. She has difficulty walking but had to continue working as her husband had passed away. She earns $400 for sweeping 2 blocks of flat which takes her about half a day. If she cannot complete the two blocks by 12noon, she just had to work longer hours without more pay. I rather the Town Council have some compassion and pay her more so that she can have a better life. What the Town Council is doing seemed like 'robbing from the poor (the HDB dwellers, the sweepers and people working for them) to give to the rich (the big banks and financial institutions)'. Why can't they have a heart and take care of Singaporeans more? Isn't taking care of Singaporeans their job?

Anonymous said...

for all the good 60 bucks does, I have never once seen the face of the cleaner who is supposed to sweep the corridor

Anonymous said...

Complain all you like.

At the end of the day, you losers will still vote for PAP.

Anonymous said...

dear anon_ nov 25 6.23pm

perhaps you should take a more polite manner of phrasing your words. this is afterall somebody elses blog and his comment board.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

LOL, I've never voted for the PAP. As a matter of fact, I've never voted.

Since I turned 21, the PAP has won every single election in my constituency, by walk-over.

Sing Republic said...

The PAP has more credibility than any opposition party due to its track record. The opposition has no track record. (of having been the ruling party)

I wonder if what we're now talking about now is considered politics, and if that's considered illegal by any insipid singapore law.

Alexius said...

Though we cant deny some of the success and failure of our government, it is inconceivable that they would bet citizens' money on those high risks investment without doing background research to acknowledge that the funds are toxic. I am deeply disappointed by this issue.


Anonymous said...

Heres the real reason why the GST will not be cut. In fact Tharman has already given the game away. He said if GST were to be cut, the rich would benefit more than the poor. Instead GST money would be used for cash handouts.

Now if GST were to be cut few people would see this as the govt putting money in their pockets. Ah but if you give cash handouts, then people would feel grateful because, well, money is actually being given to you. More political mileage. And we all know WHEN those cash handouts will be given....


Anonymous said...

“We had, I think, a decisive win,” Mr. Obama said. “I don’t think that there’s any question that we have a mandate to move the country in a new direction, and not continue the same old practices that have gotten us into the fix that we’re in.”

But he quickly noted that Mr. McCain, too, had won millions of votes, and he said it was important to maintain “a sense of humility and a recognition that wisdom is not the monopoly of any one party.”

“I think what the American people want more than anything is just common-sense smart government,” Mr. Obama said. “They don’t want ideology. They don’t want bickering. They don’t want sniping. They want action, and they want effectiveness.”


I would be willing to pay him S$3 million to be our PM.

Anonymous said...

For once I feel that I should *sic* side with the PAP.

What's wrong with losing a couple of million dollars in the Town Councils' investments? Why should residents even care whether the investments make or lose money?

Fact is that most of us have been giving money quite willingly and unquestioningly to them for so many years, feeling gratified that our loyalty is rewarded every 4 or 5 years with hand-outs of a few hundred dollars for sending the incumbent back into power.

Why should residents care what products the TCs invest in? Do you get a single cent back or discounted even if they make 1000% profits?
Similarly, they are not increasing your conservancy fees for losing a meagre 12 million. The greater picture is not about TCs or conservancy fees.

So what's your complaint again?!

Sing Republic said...

This time round, the Town Council lost less than it gained through investments. But that's just luck. What if it loses more than it gains it future, if the market heads south further? And is it ethical to "play" with money that citizens paid on the pretext of maintaining the neigbourhood.

Secondly, what about all the money lost by GIC and Temasek? How much money has been lost? Has the losses outweighed the gains over and above what we would have gotten out of normal interest rates? Is the hiring of highly paid execs in GIC and Temasek justificable? And will losses continue to pile up in view of the deteriorating market conditions?

Anonymous said...

my point is that there is no use complaining if we are not even prepared to vote for alternative/opposition parties for fear of losing paper value on our hdb flats.

some ppl are even so ignorant as to believe that their homes would be repossessed if they voted for the opposition. on a different note, what use for a paper increase in value if u have no intention to relocate?

in that itself, we have to give credit to the PAP machinery for performing remarkably in misguiding much of the population.

my concern is how much longer can SG be pillaged before the %#$@ hits the fans?

Sing Republic said...

I regret not having voted for Chee Soon Juan. If he stands for election again, I would vote for him. I wonder how he is now. He was right all along.

Anonymous said...

When most of the public condemns a guy who dares to ask the government "Where is the money?", you know the country is screwed.

JY said...

Damn, that's where I live. That money could have been distributed as scholarships as well!

hop said...

In normal democracies, people would be walking the streets with banners or stop payments as protest. It makes me feel so impotent to not be able to hold somebody accountable for losing money that could have otherwise helped the poor and needy in the housing estates.

ILMA said...

Why sinking funds are needed or how the funds are invested, are not the right questions. The correct question that should be directed to the Town Council is, why do the town councils need to draw more conservancy charges from the residents, when there is enough excess that it could even be used for investment purposes? Or perhaps could the charges be reduced when clearly they are actually producing surpluses?

I am confident that Singaporeans are generally mature and cognizant of the need to maintain reserves, and that these investment losses are unfortunate. However, the level of the reserves is the real question.

Anonymous said...

If the old rich men are still in power, treating their sons and daughters as modern slaves, what's point of studying so hard, serving in the army, and allowing the ready-to-escape foreign talents to destroy what we have done? where is the logic? I guess this is called asian value.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous November 26, 2008 6:17 PM:

Maybe your ignorance prevented you from seeing what would and has happened in two years. Why should we care? Well here's a bit of recent news.

The SC&C charges have been raised. There is no reason why it should be raised except for the fact that the Town Councils want to recoup their loss over the $16M, seeing that the current charges weren't generating enough to cover the loss and feed their over-fed PIG bellies.


Anonymous said...

I think the residents of those TCs who lost money on bad investments should sue those TCs to recover the money. They must be held accountable.