Saturday, July 21, 2007
That discussion certainly left a deep impression on me and my teacher's pride on Singapore easily rubbed off on me. A country where we are 1st class citizens indeed.
Let's fast forward to present day. Are we still first class citizens?(I'm assuming that we were.) Should we still be proud of Singapore?
Here's what i think of Singapore now.
1) A country which citizens have their rights stripped in the name of economic prosperity.
2) A country which low income earners such as cleaners are unable to make ends meet despite having a job. In Australia, cleaners, construction workers, garbage collector,miners etc. earn as good a wage as anyone else. No one looks down on people holding such jobs. Totally unlike Singapore.
3) A country which leaders haggle over a misery increase for welfare benefits for the poor while catapulting their own sky-high pay to out-of-this-world levels. (Where high pay = moral authority)
4) A country which males are so severely disadvantaged by national service and the subsequent reservist trainings that companies prefer to hire foreign workers with no NS commitments. And if you died or became disabled in the midst of "protecting you country", the compensation dished out by the state is peanuts. Not Mrs Goh's kind of peanut though. Fat hope.
5) A country which funds most of it's foreign students' tuition fees. Amazing isn't it? In other countries, foreign students pay tuition fees of up to SGD$50,000 a year to subsidise the local students over there. To add insult to injury, it seems that Singaporean taxpayers are funding foreign students at the expense of local students who cannot get places in a local university.
6) A country lacking in social grace. Think about all the Singaporean-who-refused-to-give-up-seat-to-elderly-or-pregnant cases
7) A country in which suicide by jumping on MRT is gaining popularity
8) A country in which most charitable organisations are turning out to be scams.
9) A country full of "stealth taxes" in the form of cars, ERPs, GST, excessively priced HDB flats.
10) A country which education system is dumbing down its students by stifling creativity, placing excessive emphasis on memory work, discouraging critical thinking and fostering too much respect to authority. (Remember how your teacher told you he/she was right because he/she was the teacher and not because his/her facts were right?)
11) A country in which you have to work long hours till an old age, leaving you with little time to spare for your family.
Not a very nice place to live in right?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Let's look at the report closely.
"The three local universities will provide 14,685 places this year, a 10 percent increase from the previous year." From the first report.
"In fact, out of the 23,000 foreign students who applied for local universities, the actual number admitted was 4,218." From the second report.
So, the percentage of foreign students in Singapore is 28.72%. which means that slightly more than 1 out of 4 students in our local university is foreigner.
"Full fees for foreign students enrolled in non-lab courses in local universities are about S$26,000 a year.
This year, nearly 19,000 foreign students applied for local universities and did not get in, which translates to over S$480 million in lost revenue annually."
I would say WAH! SO MUCH MONEY LOST!
Hey wait. Look at the first sentence. "The three local universities will provide 14,685 places this year" Let me think. Isn't 19,000 more than 14,685? I guess not, in the eyes of our journalist here.
Let's read more into the line. If i am not wrong(disclaimer), locals include PR. Not that i have anything against PRs, but then i would like to think being a citizen should get some privileges, especially those who serve National Service.
"In Singapore, the priority of universities is to meet the demand from local students."
"It has capped the number of government-subsidised foreign students in Singapore at 20 percent because it does not want schools to expand too quickly.
However, this cap makes it difficult for universities to take in more full fee-paying foreign students."
After reading this this all makes sense. So 20% of the foreign students are subsidised and that is the cap, if there are more foreign students with us, it means they are paying full fees, which means there is no effective cap at all, contrary to popular belief. This is only an opinion express and may not reflect the actual situation though.
If the priority is to meet the demand of local students, the economics of the situation should not be taken into consideration.
" "Foreign students bring diversity to the university. Can you imagine a university classroom (with) 100 percent Singapore students? Too homogenous a group is not going to create that diversity in learning," said Professor Tan Chin Tiong, Deputy President and Provost of Singapore Management University. "
We are not against having foreign students but more than 25% of them in a cohort at the expense of local students, isn't it a bit too much? And remember, the priority is to meet the demand of local students.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I REFER to Mr Janadas Devan's article, 'Can mum, mum and kids make a family?' (ST, July 7), and Dr George Bishop's letter, 'Special-needs kids thrive, thanks to mum and mum' (ST, July 11).
Both writers had used anecdotal examples of children having been raised by same-sex parents and, based on the high divorce rates in the US, suggested that children of same-sex couples were not worse off in any way. They argued, therefore, that the idea of same-sex couples having children, whether by adoption or otherwise, should be tolerated, indeed even legislated.
Such a line of argument is flawed. Using similar logic, one might say that since we might know of some smokers who are still alive and healthy, and there are a number of non-smokers who still develop lung cancer anyway, smoking should therefore be tolerated, even promoted.
It has long been known by human intuition and affirmed by studies, that the presence of both a nurturing mother and a nurturing father play a critical role in a child's well-being. Children are best served when raised in a home with a married mother and father. In addition, the parental, mother-father relationship provides children with a model of marriage - the most meaningful, enduring relationship that the vast majority of individuals will have during their lives.
The fact that many marriages are 'unhappy' or 'on the rocks' does not mean that marriage in itself is a faulty institution. We need to look into the varied reasons that plague marriages today, notably so in many 'tolerant' Western countries.
Let us use an analogy. A doctor may give the best and most well tried medication to his patient to treat an illness. If the patient is not doing well despite the medication, the doctor does not immediately dump that medication and try a new one, especially so when it is one that is risky and hardly tested at all. The good doctor looks into other reasons for the patient's poor response: Has the patient been taking the medication as instructed? Has he taken to habits that are detrimental to his health? Has he been mixing the medication with other concoctions?
The same goes for marriage. The fact that many marriages are threatened today does not mean that it is losing relevance. Rather, we should as a society examine ourselves and see how it has been misused, indeed abused, in recent times. As a bastion of civil society, it has served us remarkably well, and it will continue to do so, as long as we put right our values that must necessarily complement it.
True creativity lies not in blindly aping all the values of the West, but rather in acknowledging those that help promote the public good, and integrating them with our own in a way that continues to build upon the important pillars of our country, an essential part of which is the family, founded upon the marriage between a man and a woman.
Dr John Hui Keem Peng
Now, what's wrong with this letter this time round?
"Both writers had used anecdotal examples of children having been raised by same-sex parents and, based on the high divorce rates in the US, suggested that children of same-sex couples were not worse off in any way. They argued, therefore, that the idea of same-sex couples having children, whether by adoption or otherwise, should be tolerated, indeed even legislated. "
Yes agreed. Anecdotal examples are seldom conclusive of anything. BUT BUT BUT .......... similarly, anecdotal examples of how homosexual couples make bad parents or provide an environment with negative effects are also not conclusive. So far in the letter, there's no conclusive evidence cited by the author that suggests that homosexuals should not be allowed to have children.
The 2nd paragraph just elaborates a rather redundant point made in the first paragraph. Let's skip to the 3rd paragraph.
"It has long been known by human intuition and affirmed by studies, that the presence of both a nurturing mother and a nurturing father play a critical role in a child's well-being. Children are best served when raised in a home with a married mother and father. In addition, the parental, mother-father relationship provides children with a model of marriage - the most meaningful, enduring relationship that the vast majority of individuals will have during their lives." (Emphasis mine)
First, Dr Hui talks about making decisions based on the magical/never wrong/always right HUMAN INTUITION!!!!!! I expect something better than that seriously. Gamblers in casinos after all have "INTUITIONS" that after a long run of "SMALL" on the Big/Small table, it is unlikely to be small for the upcoming round. Shows you how reliable intuitions are.
Next, the phrase "affirmed by studies, that the presence of both a nurturing mother and a nurturing father play a critical role in a child's well-being." is rather carefully worded. What it says is a mother and father is critical in the well-being of a child. It does not say that homosexuals parents are detrimental to the well-being of a child. Nor does it says male-female parents are better for a child's well-being than same-sex parents. The rest of that paragraph is just meaningless ramblings of personal opinions.
"The fact that many marriages are 'unhappy' or 'on the rocks' does not mean that marriage in itself is a faulty institution. We need to look into the varied reasons that plague marriages today, notably so in many 'tolerant' Western countries."
True. But does not in anyway support why same-sex marriages should be forbidden. The next 2 paragraphs are about his analogies again. This fellow likes to use analogies to explain points that are of no value towards arguing against allowing homosexual parents. Seems like he's using the false dilemma fallacy, that heterosexual parents must either be better or worse than homosexual parents and that if heterosexual parents are good then children, homosexual parents must be detrimental to the children.
"True creativity lies not in blindly aping all the values of the West, but rather in acknowledging those that help promote the public good, and integrating them with our own in a way that continues to build upon the important pillars of our country, an essential part of which is the family, founded upon the marriage between a man and a woman. "
In the final paragraph, he attacks western values but not the arguments for allowing homosexuals to have children. That's like trying to discredit your opponent by attacking his character when u are unable to attack his arguments. As for the "public good" part, i don't see how by practising discrimination is for the public good. And the idea of "an essential part of which is the family, founded upon the marriage between a man and a woman" sounds very christian to me. Don't you think so?
And finally, take a look at this research article i found on the web. I copied the abstract below. It is unable to conclude that homosexual parents are detrimental to the well-being of children. I suggest for those who are interested in finding out the fact to search the net for the many studies done on this subject, come to your own conclusion based on those studies instead of making baseless assumptions all the time.
Twenty-three empirical studies published between 1978 and 2000 on nonclinical children raised by lesbian mothers or gay fathers were reviewed (one Belgian/Dutch, one Danish, three British, and 18 North American). Twenty reported on offspring of lesbian mothers, and three on offspring of gay fathers. The studies encompassed a total of 615 offspring (age range 1.5–44 years) of lesbian mothers or gay fathers and 387 controls, who were assessed by psychological tests, questionnaires or interviews. Seven types of outcomes were found to be typical: emotional functioning, sexual preference, stigmatization, gender role behavior, behavioral adjustment, gender identity, and cognitive functioning. Children raised by lesbian mothers or gay fathers did not systematically differ from other children on any of the outcomes. The studies indicate that children raised by lesbian women do not experience adverse outcomes compared with other children. The same holds for children raised by gay men, but more studies should be done.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I WRITE in response to Mr Janadas Devan's article, 'Can mum, mum and kids make a family?' (ST, July 7) and Dr George D. Bishop's letter, 'Special-needs kids thrive, thanks to mum and mum' (ST, July 11).
The main thrust of their letters are that lesbians and homosexuals can and are a normal family unit and can take care of children just as well as any other family unit and thus should be allowed to get married and be one.
The basic building block of society has always been the family which is defined as a married father and mother with children. Without strong family units, society will be fraught with problems. Our Prime Minister has rightly stated that the family unit is the core of our Singapore society.
Now homosexuals and lesbians want to redefine 'marriage' and 'family'. Why so? There is an inherent need for them to be accepted by society that their sexual behaviour is not abnormal but just a variation of normal sexual activity.
Do we want a Singapore where same-sex marriage prevails? If so, one might ask why not incorporate the following as diverse families.
1. two brothers;
2. two sisters
3. a brother and sister (case in German courts)
4. a man and a horse (film 'Zoo' shown in Sundance Film Festival - bestiality)
5. why not a combination of three or more?
6. why bother have a marriage or a family?
All these questions are not too remote; because those pursuing a perverted lifestyle must have the endorsement of society to secure their very identity, and the only way to achieve this is to go down the slippery road to establish that perversion is normal like incest is normal; bestiality is normal.
It is an issue of self-autonomy. Self is god. The point made is not academic but it has already happened and will continue to happen. This may be seen in the case of the four legislators in Massachusetts who followed up 'their success at legalising homosexual unions by pushing for softening laws against other forms of sexual deviance' including bestiality viz reducing the penalty to a fine (See First Comes Gay Marriage then comes Bestiality in Massachusetts http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/nov/05111703.html )
The four Democrat legislators 'are all vocal supporters of abortion, homosexual unions, and are all endorsed by all three of Massachusetts' gay lobby groups. Family lobbyists opposed to the re-definition of marriage were frequently ridiculed for their warnings that dissolving the natural basis of marriage in law would end with legalising and normalising a host of sexual perversions, including incest and bestiality. The case of the Massachusetts legislators is in point.
Following this, 'the media has quickly picked up on the trend of acceptance for any and all sorts of conditions that before the 1960's sexual revolution and the politicising of the psychiatric profession, were universally recognised as serious psychological disorders. New terminology has been established, calling those persons interested in having sexual relations with animals, 'zoophiles' or 'zoos' for short, and a campaign has been discretely under way for some time to reduce the public 'stigma' against 'zoos'.
We, in Singapore, want to conserve our marriage institution as one between a man and a woman so that the needs of our children for a father and a mother are catered for. We abhor any regression into perversity which, as history has shown, has led into the decline and fall of a society.
Dr Alan Chin Yew Liang
Let's dissect this piece of rubbish step by step.
1. two brothers;
Sunday, July 15, 2007
First of all, i am not specifically against alternative medicine treatments for diseases. I couldn't care less what type of medicine is used as long as it works. Before advocates of alternative medicine jump at this opportunity and point out that certain treatments under alternative medicine are indeed efficacious, let me say that while certain type of alternative treatments do work, this does not mean that alternative medicine as a whole is effective. It's like saying all dogs are animals and since all dogs have four legs, all animals have four legs. That's a logical fallacy known as Hasty Generalization.
The reason why i am opposed to alternative medicine is because it is used without sufficient evidence to prove it's safety and efficacy. By proof, i do not mean anecdotal evidence. That in itself is also a logical fallacy know as Proof by Example. An example of that would be by saying
When one tries to use anecdotal evidence as proof such has knowing people who have been cured by alternative medicine or hearing stories about such beneficiaries, even if we play the devil's advocate and assume that the people who told such stories did not lie, one should consider the following:
1) Would they have recovered without any treatment in the first place?
2) Could it be the placebo effect which has been proven to be pretty powerful indeed?
3) How about those who died and hence were unable to tell you how "effective " those treatments were?
4) Is there a biased that enhances the circulation of such sucess stories? Eg. Those that benefited from alternative medicine seeking out others who have similar experiences and then spreading such stories together?
So proponents of alternative medicine might be tempted to attack western medicine by using the same arguments as i have put up above. To answer the question of how scientists determine if a particular drug is useful indeed, scientists frequently use a method of testing called a Double Blind test. The following description of a Double Blind test is taken from Wikipedia:
In a double-blind experiment, neither the individuals nor the researchers know who belongs to the control group and the experimental group. Only after all the data are recorded (and in some cases, analyzed) do the researchers learn which individuals are which. Performing an experiment in double-blind fashion is a way to lessen the influence of the prejudices and unintentional physical cues on the results (the placebo effect, observer bias, and experimenter's bias). Random assignment of the subject to the experimental or control group is a critical part of double-blind research design. The key that identifies the subjects and which group they belonged to is kept by a third party and not given to the researchers until the study is over.
Double-blind methods can be applied to any experimental situation where there is the possibility that the results will be affected by conscious or unconscious bias on the part of the experimenter.
Computer-controlled experiments are sometimes also referred to as double-blind experiments, since software should not cause any bias. In analogy to the above, the part of the software that provides interaction with the human is the blinded researcher, while the part of the software that defines the key is the third party. An example is the ABX test, where the human subject has to identify an unknown stimulus X as being either A or B."
DR ANDY Ho, in his article, 'The metaphysics of existence' (ST, May 25), has confused the whole issue between science and religion.
First of all, to describe the difference between them as an adverbial one - between a 'how' and a 'why' - is very superficial.
All 'how' questions finally lead up to the 'why' question. Science is ultimately interested in the 'why' questions, the biggest of which is, 'Why is the universe the way it is?' In the broadest sense, this includes the question, 'Why does it exist at all?'
Both science and religion try to find answers to these same questions. There can be no comforting division of labour by which the areas of enquiry of the two endeavours can be kept nicely separate.
Because all the big questions are ultimately interrelated, the answers to the questions of value, meaning and purpose can only be glimpsed at through a proper understanding of how and why things are the way they are.
Science and religion differ on how they approach these questions. The processes they follow are diametrically opposite to each other.
Science follows a particular methodology for explaining the reality around us - the methodology of induction and deduction. Induction is based on data, and deduction on logic, which is formalised in the language of mathematics.
In fact, science is defined by this methodology, and not by the subject matter it studies, nor by its specific findings. As the scientist, John Casti, puts it in his book, Complexification, science is more of a verb than a noun.
Religion, on the other hand, has nothing to do with data or logic. Its approach to explaining the reality is based on speculation, dreams, mythologies, visions and subjective mysticism.
Dr Ho has got it completely wrong when he suggests that science defines reality by what can be studied by its method, that anything that cannot be so studied is denied existence, that all religious claims about transcendental non-material reality are 'defined away' and are 'not allowed' to exist.
This is a bad distortion of the scientific approach. In fact, Dr Ho turns the scientific epistemology on its head.
Science does not compartmentalise reality into that section which is amenable to its method, and that which is not and then 'define' away the latter. There is no reality, as experienced by human beings, either directly or indirectly, that cannot be studied by science. But it has one dogma. It will only follow the method of induction and deduction - data and logic - in trying to understand this reality.
But, why this dogma? What is so great about induction and deduction? Well, it is the only method that works. We survive in the real world (and have survived throughout the whole history of our existence on this planet) by applying consciously or unconsciously a myriad of technologies ranging from the simplest, such as a twig from a tree to scratch my itching back, to the most complex, such as the computer on which I am writing this.
All of these technologies are the result of understanding the nature of reality by applying the methods of induction and deduction, sometimes, almost intuitively, as in the case of the twig, and sometimes more deliberately, as in the case of the computer.
In contrast, there is not one single evidence of an alternative explanation of reality, through, mysticism, the supernatural, et cetera, actually working in the real world. There are millions of anecdotes, brilliant myths, evocative literature, but not one piece of verified evidence.
Now, in applying the principles of induction and deduction, there are many speculative hypotheses about the existence of various entities which do not pass the test - entities such as ghosts, angels and transcendental supernatural beings.
In this list could also be included things like unicorns and aether. Science does not believe in ghosts and spirits and God, not because they are not amenable to the scientific method, but because there is no evidence, empirical or logical, of their existence.
Science does not believe in unicorns and aether (any more), not because they are outside the scope of science, but there is no evidence of their existence. The supernatural is not 'ruled out by fiat', as Dr Ho says, but by lack of evidence.
Actually, the protagonists of religion and the supernatural are acutely conscious that they cannot stand up to the scrutiny of induction and deduction. So, they make out as if they are playing a different game, where the rules of induction and deduction do not apply; where a different epistemology rules.
They just postulate the existence of the supernatural and go on to build elaborate, but vague, speculative structures of concepts, not needing to be constrained at all, either by the demands of data or logic.
They package all that up in some obfuscating verbiage and call it a special kind of reality which science cannot penetrate, thereby hoping to gain legitimacy for their unbridled speculation. Dr Ho's article is another exercise towards that end.
Now, anybody has the right to withdraw from the real world and create an artificial construct for his own pleasure. It is like playing Monopoly with its make-belief currency and special rules of property ownership based on the throw of a dice.
Everybody is entitled to such indulgence. Enormous trouble would arise, however, if the player attempted to use the Monopoly money for real-world transactions. Unfortunately that is what happens when religion claims to have explanations for the real world phenomena and thereby provide answers to questions of values, morality and purpose.
A quick word about the Anthropic Principle that Dr Ho touches on. It is only the Strong Anthropic Principle that hints towards a purposeful universe created by an ultimate 'first cause' with a purpose of its own.
But, hardly any scientist of note believes in the Strong Anthropic Principle. Most recognise the Weak Anthropic Principle, which does not require the postulation of a God-like being. There are various interesting attempts to solve the riddle of the fine-tuned 'cosmic constants' which make us, human beings, possible. Current 'Inflationary' theories are also attempting to answer the first cause question using the rules of quantum fluctuations. But the moot point is that all of these theories are subject to the harsh scrutiny of induction and deduction. Only those that pass will have a claim to reality.
Dr Ho ends his piece by advocating humility on both sides of the debate. Here also, let us take a reality check. Science is the most humble and humility-generating human endeavour. Since it relies on data which are ever changing, all scientific truths are 'contingent' - till such time as contrary data do not overthrow current truths.
There are no absolute truths which are unquestioned for all times to come. No matter how exalted the position of Einstein, one verified evidence of contrary data, no matter how lowly the student or research worker who generates it, will overthrow the theory of relativity, and replace it with some other that is better able to explain the new data.
Science is the only human endeavour that progresses by trying to prove itself wrong. It accepts a theory only if it has failed to do so - and even then, temporarily. The only absolute for science is its epistemology - data and logic.
Contrast this with the posture of religion. All religions claim absolute, universal, eternal truths which can never be questioned. Even though different religions propagate different wisdoms, they all claim that their truth has come directly from God. How much hubris is required to claim that a book that was written 2,000 years back has the answers to the problems of life today! There is no humble egalitarianism in religions. All religions arrogantly claim special dispensation from God for their adherents.
So, how should we deal with religion then? With great respect. Everybody should study religion - all religions. But only as history; as a part of mankind's brave striving to make sense of his reality.
It does not matter that the religious explanations of this reality do not hold water any more in the light of modern scientific epistemology. The subsequent invalidity of a hypothesis does not detract from the glory of exploring it in the first place.
Ptolemy and Newton are no less revered figures today, even though their schemes were overturned at a later date. The problem arises when religion is yanked out of its setting in history and is made to masquerade as an explanation of eternal reality and a prescription for modern life.
All the views expressed in this note are far better explained in Richard Dawkin's latest book, 'The God Delusion', which I strongly recommend to all readers.
Friday, July 13, 2007
PM's son among four reprimanded
A SINGAPORE Armed Forces (SAF) officer has been charged with and reprimanded for emailing a letter of complaint, which he had addressed to Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, to hundreds of other military personnel.
The letter, which also found its way into cyberspace and prompted numerous postings on forums and blogs, was written by 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Li Hongyi (picture) — the second son of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The 20-year-old signals platoon commander accused one of his superiors – a regular officer with the rank of Lieutenant — of going Absent Without Official Leave (Awol) on two occasions.
2LT Li detailed the circumstances in a more than 2,000 word letter, sent out on June 28, via the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) intranet system.
The email was also addressed to the Chief of Defence Force and the Chief of Army among others.
A Public Service Commission Overseas Merit Scholar, who is due to disrupt to read economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2LT Li stated that he had reported the matter to the Lieutenant's supervisors but no disciplinary action had been taken.
Last night, Colonel Benedict Lim, Mindef's director Public Affairs, said in a statement to Today: "Arising from 2LT Li's complaint, an investigation was conducted and appropriate disciplinary action has been meted out to the officers who are the subject of the complaint.
"The officer, who was found to have been absent without leave will be court-martialled and two supervising officers have been issued letters of warning for poor judgment in administering inappropriate disciplinary action."
However, Mindef also punished 2LT Li — pointing out that there were proper channels within the SAF to address grievances or concerns.
"2LT Li was found to have contravened the General Orders of Mindef by broadcasting his letter of complaint to many other servicemen — almost all of whom were neither directly under his command, nor in an official capacity where they could deal with the matters contained in his letter of complaint.
"2LT Li has been formally charged and administered a reprimand after a summary trial," added Col Lim.
Stressing that the military takes a serious view of misconduct by any serviceman, Col Lim explained: "To maintain organisational discipline, all SAF servicemen with complaints or grievances should take them up through proper channels for redress, to ensure due process and to protect confidential information.
"All complaints, which are not anonymous are investigated and dealt with properly."
It is understood that after 2LT Li's email found its way into cyberspace, another message was sent by one of his superior officers instructing soldiers not to circulate the email.
Soldiers in his unit were also briefed about the importance of following the "chain of command".
In his email, 2LT Li, who was one of more than 400 officers commissioned last December after
a 10-month Officer Cadet Course, questioned the "quality control of officers" in the SAF and the process by which senior officers were selected.
Calling the Lieutenant's continued service in the SAF "an embarrassment", he criticised the decisions of the battalion headquarters in accepting "lower standards of discipline".
He also wrote: "I was told that one of the reasons this was so, was that they did not wish to ruin his career with a summary trial.
"However, the SAF is not a charity organisation and does not owe anyone a career."
In addition, the original email by Li Hong Yi also claimed that the Officer-in-Charge failed to dish out the appropriate disiplinary measure against the Lieutenant was either gross negilence or corruption. In his own words from the email:
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We have reached a "world class" country, but sadly, that does not include our morals. Just recently, i was on board a packed train to work with my gf. An obviously pregnant lady was standing in front of a lady, who was seated under the label "Please give up the seat for those who need it more than you", yet, she could be so blind to continue reading the newspaper. I approached the lady to give up the seat to the pregnant lady in return for a glare for her, as she has lost her treasured prize, a seat, where she could rest till she reach the station. I am appalled by this behaviour but i have gotten used to it. It truly pains my heart to see the direction the country is going.
Back to the topic of the lady, she has given birth to 4 children, and now, left them all to her hubby to pick up the pieces through no choice of hers. I would hope for a change in a system but that's all i have hope. Cause our voices are not heard in this inclusive society.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Here's some proof of mine. Nah, i can't claim that it's proof. At most it's just food for thought.
Suppose Mr Egomaniac's IQ is in the top 0.1 percentile of the population.
Suppose IQ is the sole determinant in the academic awards given out
Given these, what would you do to ensure that you latter generations are of superior quality?
That's right. Go sniff out a wife with superior IQ as well. It doesn't matter if she's ugly or what.
Now let's say you have a 50% chance in finding a wife with superior IQ.
Assume that IQ has a heritability of 50%.
Assume that the chance of you providing the optimal environment to realise the potential in your children is 50%.
Assume that 15,000 other students are vying for top awards with each of your children.
Assume that 15,000 other teenagers are in the same cohort but did not show enough promise to take the National Exams. (So all the smart ones are in the 15,000 that did take the National Exams)
Since just about all those vying for the Awards obtained perfect scores (ie. they all have excatly the same grades), assume that the chance of not getting the Awards even though u are the smartest and most talented is only 50%.
So let's do some math now.
1/2 chance of finding a clever wife X 1/2 chance of your child inheriting all your intelligence X 1/2 chance of providing your child with the right environment X 1/300 (your child got to fight it out with 300 other students with excatly the same grades as him) X 1/3 (you've got 3 children) X 1/2 chance that the panel giving out the Awards did not make a mistake in distinguishing the Chosen One
1 in 432 million!!!!!!
Now 1 in 432 million is the same chance as...................................
Striking toto, a 1 in 8 million chance event 3 times in 3 tries!!!!!!!!
Now is that luck or what?
Per Capita GDP at Current Market Prices
From 1998 to 2006, the increase in GDP per capita was around 3.5% per annum.
Feeling sceptical, i decided to look for an alternative source of information, the International Monetary Fund website, for similar data. The below was what i found.
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product, Current Prices
Based on these figures, the increase in GDP per capita from 1998 to 2006 was about 1.8% per annum.
My understanding of the term "Current Prices" is that inflation has not been taken into account yet. Please correct me if i am wrong. If we were to take the inflation rate to be at 2.5%, this means that Singaporeans as a whole are poorer. Furthermore with the stratification of the income distribution, you can see the sorry state of affairs the working class in Singapore are in. No wonder casinos have to be built. No wonder the retirement age has to be raised. No wonder cheap labour in allowed in to fill the coffers of the business owners. No wonder commiting sucide by jumping onto MRT tracks is getting popular. No wonder those who see through this charade have migrated and hence the brain drain.
The future doesn't seem as rosey as the Straits Times paint it out to be.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
1) Ownership of cars in Singapore: Instead of spending $80,000 on a car, why not invest that money? A return even a misery 5% PA would give you $333.33 a month, enough to cover you daily public transport fares. Is the cost of a perceived lowered social standing that great without a car? Perhaps we are all filthy rich in Singapore.
2) Vitamins: Having a balanced diet absolutely eliminates the need for vitamin supplements. The drug companies are good at marketing indeed
3) Free range eggs: Welfare groups turning crazy, successfully lobbied for the banning of caged eggs in Europe on flimsy grounds of welfare concern. Free range chickens actually suffer a higher mortality rate than their caged counterparts. Free range eggs also mean that prices of eggs will double due to inefficiency in production. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
4) Colostrum as a protein supplement for body building: Colostrum, also known as cow's first milk, tastes yucky and is deemed unfit for human consumption. As a result, colostrum is typically considered as a waste product. However some marketing genius managed to turn this waste product into an expensive protein supplement.
5) Fund managers: Very few funds manage to outperform the market in the long run, ie. 30 years time span. You are better off throwing darts to choose your own diversified portfolio of stocks to invest in and you don't even have to pay management fees.
6) Luxury goods, jewellery, and collectibles: Pure snob value and totally devoid of economical value.
7) Religion, seers, alternative medicine: Believers just want to believe. Tell them that it cannot be scientifically proven, they will come up with some hogwash concepts outside the realms of science and explain it with their alternative logic. I wonder if they do not believe in science, why are they using the products of science in their everyday life.
8) Slimming centres: The only way 2 ways to lose weight is to consume more calories than you eat or to undergo liposuction. Either exercise, eat less or pay your plastic surgeon, not the slimming centres.
9) Singapore's first world status: The homeless are labelled as "sleepers". Many do not have enough to retire at age 62. Call me biased but I'm one who believes that if a citizen is willing to work as a cleaner or construction worker, the wage earned must be sufficient to afford basic necessities.
Finland's senior citizens happy to delay retirement
Pension reform and flexible work schedules help older employees extend their careers
HELSINKI (FINLAND) - FINLAND, the European country with the most rapidly ageing population, has succeeded in convincing its workers to delay retirement, setting an example for the rest of Europe as well as farther afield.
Often dubbed the 'Japan of Europe' because its population is ageing so fast, Finland introduced a pension reform in 2005 that initially appeared to be a bitter pill to swallow, but that has in fact gone down easily.
Workers are encouraged to work longer in order to earn more, thereby easing pressure on the state pension system to support the growing number of retired people.
Last year, 16 per cent of Finns were aged 65 or older. The figure is expected to soar to 26 per cent by 2030.
Since the pension reform was introduced, the average retirement age in Finland has increased from 60.1 years in 2004 to 60.7 years last year.
The employment rate for workers aged 55 to 64 is also now more than 50 per cent, 10 points higher than the European average.
'We are on the right track,' said Mr Ismo Suksi, project manager at Finland's Social Affairs Ministry.
According to a poll published last month, 65 per cent of people aged 50 years and older were in favour of the pension reform.
Up until 2005, Finland set the legal retirement age at 65, and taking early retirement was popular.
The financial ramifications were minimal, with a significant part of a worker's pension based on the salary earned during the last 10 years of employment.
Now, after the pension reform, employees can take full retirement any time between the ages of 63 and 68, and early retirement is penalised with lower pensions.
Work-related pensions are based on contributions from both the employer and the employee, with the former contributing about 20 per cent and the latter about 80 per cent.
The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) agrees that the reform has been generally well-accepted, though some compromises were necessary to get the Bill passed, including more flexible work schedules and work conditions for the oldest seniors.
At lock company Abloy, workers older than 55 are entitled to exercise on work time in the company gym. They can also choose to work part-time and enjoy extra paid vacation, starting with six days a year at age 58 and 20 days a year after the age of 63.
Oras, a company that manufactures plumbing fixtures, is a forerunner when it comes to elderly workers.
'Experiences have been good,' said Oras human resources head Merja Helkelae, adding that the company had raised the average retirement age from approximately 59 to 63 since 2001.
The world's largest mobile phone maker, Nokia, has no special programme for seniors, but the company offers them special working conditions if they do choose to stay on.
'Part-time pension is an option, and employees can also, when possible, work in two shifts instead of three if they have health reasons,' said Ms Paeivyt Tallqvist, a spokesman for Nokia.
Unions are quick to point out that not all companies have adopted special programmes, and senior citizens are the first to suffer when there are cutbacks in the social welfare system.
In addition, most seniors who choose to extend their careers are those who are already financially stable and have stimulating, fulfilling jobs.
'Those people who want to continue working after the age of 63 do not think much about money. Most of them have a nice working environment and an interesting job. They like working,' said SAK adviser Kaija Kallinen.
Ms Marianne Roennberg, a 56-year-old former businesswoman who now works for a pensioners' association, said she wanted to stay in the workforce 'as long as they will have me'.
'You feel better when you are working as long as there is no stress. It is idleness that makes you sick,' she said.
Finland aims to prolong careers by an average of two or three years by 2050 to raise the average retirement age to 62 years.
Experts noted that the rise in the number of working seniors coincides with Finland's strong economic recovery after a stormy period in the early 1990s.
Looks like the decision for peasants to retire at age 65 has already been made. The sacred cow finally is going to be slaughter, the strongest indication that things do not bode well.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Suppose you and your wife want to have an average family. 2 children. A $350,000 HDB flat. Your dream of a happy family. Will $5000 a month suffice?
Of your $5000 monthly salary, 34.5% of it will go to your CPF contribution. In addition, 4.33% will go to pay the tax man (based on a $60,000 annual salary). After such deductions, you would be left with a take home wage of $3060.
So now you decide to take a bank loan to purchase your dream home. A $350,000 bank loan at 4% interest for 30 years would mean a monthly repayment of $1671. Since you've completed your national service and spent 4 years to pursue your degree, you would probably be 26 years of age, you would be 56 years old by the time you paid off your loan.
To meet the minimum sum of $100,000 in your CPF account, assuming the retirement age is at 62, you would need to make sure a positive cash flow of $231.50 every month going into your CPF account. This means that of the $1725 that is suppose to go into your CPF account, $231.50 goes towards building up your minimum sum, $345 (20% of $1725) goes towards your medisave account, leaving a balance of $1148.50. Since your loan installment is $1671, after using the remainder $1148.50 to pay part of your installment, you would need to top that up with $522.50 from your take home wage of $3060, leaving you with $2537.50.
From that remaining $2537.50, you would need to deduct $200 for utility bills, $500 for transport ($125 per person in a family of 4), $1200 for food ($300 per person), $100 per month for doctor's fees. That would leave you with $537.50 per month. With that remaining sum of money, you still have to clothe your family, buy furniture, pay your children's school fees etc. And if your wife is working, you'd probably need to send your children to a childcare centre or hire a maid.
Mind you, we are not even talking about purchasing cars, overseas holidays, fancy laptops, luxury items. We are only talking about basic necessities. Doesn't it seem hard to make ends meet?
So is this the kind of life an average Singaporean drawing an average pay living in an average flat lives?
This should ought to make you wonder:
1) Why are Singaporeans willing to pay so much for their flats to the point they can't make ends meet? (We been told HDB prices are solely determined by market forces)
2) Who's the largest land owner in Singapore
3) Can the prices of HDB flats be rigged?
4) What's the motive in doing so?
5) Where does the money from HDB sales go to?
6) If HDB prices are high would private property prices be high as well?
7) Who are the ones that lose out?
8) Who are the ones that gain in such a situation?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Ex-defence chief Ng Yat Chung joins Temasek
|By Bryan Lee|
|FORMER defence chief Ng Yat Chung has joined the senior management of Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings. Lieutenant-General Ng, 46, took up the position of portfolio management managing director on Sunday - a newly created role, The Straits Times understands. Temasek confirmed the appointment on Tuesday but declined to provide further details. The appointment comes less than four months after Lt-Gen Ng stepped down as Chief of Defence Force and handed the baton to then Major-General Desmond Kuek. It mirrors similar movements of other military leaders to civilian positions. Lt-Gen Ng's predecessor, Lt-Gen Lim Chuan Poh, for example, is the chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. A career soldier since 1979, Lt-Gen Ng was awarded the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Overseas Scholarship in 1980 and has since held many key command and staff positions. Before taking the helm of the SAF in 2003, he was Chief of Army. He has also served as director for joint operations and planning and Chief of Staff (Joint Staff). During his four years at the head of the SAF, Lt-Gen Ng was credited with improving the SAF's operational readiness and steering it into the next generation. Outside the military, he is a member of the board of trustees at the National University of Singapore, chairing its campus planning and development committee. |
Lt-Gen Ng is a Cambridge University graduate, has an MBA from Stanford University and recently completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University.
Why would people think that Singapore is an elitist society? Look at Lt-Gen Ng. Look at his credentials. He is more than qualified to be Managing Director of Portfolio Management in Temasek Holdings. A Cambridge University graduate, MBA from Stanford University and Advanced Management Programme from Harvard. Wow wow wow.
Hey wait a minute. Isn't Lt-Gen Ng the Chief of Defence? And this is the post for portfolio management managing director that was newly created? How does the jobscope fit? Don't you all know that Chief of Defence controls how many soldiers in the military. Humans are resources, resources are money, therefore humans=money. He has the experience of controlling so much resources, of course he will do a better job controlling portfolios.
There is no iron rice bowl/pension schemes in society now, so please don't think that he got his job just because he was a scholar. He got it on merit and based on his job experience. He is a highly sought after individual who took 4 months to consider his numerous job offers before deciding on working in the management of Temasek Holdings.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
SINGAPORE: Singapore is ready to fight dengue should the situation worsen in the hotter months of July and August, according to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim.
In an interview with MediaCorp Radio, he also said agencies like the Land Transport Authority and National Environment Agency are ready to deploy more resources during this period.
But it seems the weakest link currently, are Singaporeans.
The NEA found mosquitoes breeding in flower pots and other areas in the home, despite continual public campaigns.
Dr Yaacob warned that households found to have mosquito breeding sites will be fined.
There were 295 cases of dengue infections this week, bringing the cumulative number of cases this year to 3,216. Dr Yaacob said the dengue situation has become a national concern. - CNA/yy
Fine peasants for breeding mosquitoes? How did this decision come about? We can only stretch our imagination in order to gain what little insight as to how these decisions were made.
Minitoot : Expert !!!!! Why isn't the epidemic subsiding?
Expert : Sir, i'm not exactly sure. We've already implemented all those measures. But at the rate the epidemic is exploding, it wouldn't be long before we attained the rank of No.1 in the world for number of Dengue Fever cases per capita!!!
Minitoot : KNN!!!! Don't talk cock can?
Expert : Sorry Sir! I've got this suspicion that the Aedes mosquitoes are showing signs of resistance to the Organophosphates (some type of insecticide lah) that we are using. Maybe we should do tests on the mosquitoes to determine, if any, the level of resistance in those mosequitoes. Then we can switch to other insecticides such as Neonicotinoids or synthetic pyrethroids because they have a longer duration of action.....
Minitoot : Sounds good! Continue expert!
Expert : But the cost of these chemicals will be significantly higher........
Minitoot : WTF!?!?!? Do you have a brain? As if i'm gonna spend more money to save these peasants. They die their business ok? All we need to do is to spend the least money to achieve some results. The result need not be good. But they must be there so that we can show that we are actually doing something. And after that, we can magnify what little results we have achieved by using statistics.
Expert : -_-'''
Minitoot : By the way what's the other chemicals you recommended? I wanna buy some to use for me and my family. Hehehhehehehe
Expert : But Sir!!! To control the epidemic it is of utmost importance that the mosquito population be controlled. The mosquitoes can easily fly over from tekong, ubin, johor, bintan........ so our current measures of getting all the citizens to reduce mosquito breeding sites may not be sufficient. What we need to do is to knock out the current adult population of mosquitoes right now.
Minitoot : Dun be stupid lah. If we do that the public will ask why i nv do that earlier. Then it will become my fault already you twit!!! I tell you what. We'll fine all those peasants who breed those mosquitoes. Spread the news on the news. Hahahahaha. Only a genius like be can come up with that idea. I truly deserve my million dollar salary. Firstly it will make the epidemic seem as though as it is the peasants' fault. Secondly, we don't have to spend a cent. We even make money!!!!
Expert : -_-'''''''''''''''''''''
Minitoot : I can truly think out of the box indeed!!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Disclaimer: The above conversation obviously did not occur in reality and you should not interpret it as "mischievous". There is no such thing as a minitoot or an expert. All similarity to living and dead is purely coincidental
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Lift curbs on sale of landed properties to foreigners, says Goldman Sachs
IN THE eyes of some, at least, there may never be a better time to slaughter one of the sacred cows of the landed home market.
The idea of owning a nest in Singapore is becoming increasingly attractive to foreigners. The Government, too, has been effusive in its efforts to draw foreign talent here to build the economy.
So why not relax restrictions on the sale of landed property to foreigners — and satisfy both needs at one go?
Making this controversial proposal in a report released on Sunday, Goldman Sachs — one of the world's largest investment banks — cited suggestive figures.
The proportion of foreigners buying private homes here climbed to 26 per cent in the first quarter of the year, up from 21 per cent in 2005. But as of May, foreigners were involved in only 8 per cent of landed property transactions this year — compared with 29 per cent of apartment transactions. The average price of a top-end bungalow falls short of that of a luxury condominium unit by about 35 per cent.
"We think this price gap could narrow to parity, or very close to it, should restrictions on foreign ownership be relaxed," said the report, adding that "foreigners would like the flexibility of greater housing choice and the positive signal of Singapore's open door policy emanating from such a move".
But the argument will be a thorny one for the Republic to swallow, given the socio-political barbs of such a move. And going by industry players' reactions, the debate is likely to remain an academic one.
Since 1973, the Residential Property Act has restricted foreigners and permanent residents from owning private residential property without prior official approval — and for good reason.
"The restrictions on foreign ownership of landed property is unlikely to be eased because it is an emotional issue. It involves (putting) a tangible, physical part of Singapore in foreign hands," said Mr Colin Tan, director for research and development at Chesterton International.
"Landed properties should not be priced out of Singaporean's reach (or) it could lead to disgruntled Singaporeans, which would be a cause of concern for the Government," said Mr Charles Chong, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and Environment.
Even so, a concession was made in 2004 for Sentosa Cove (picture), where potential foreign buyers were given fast-track approval. Of the 36 landed transactions at Sentosa Cove, 44 per cent involved foreigners. A seaview bungalow plot within the luxury enclave set the record at $1,308 per square foot.
But that is most unlikely to herald any universal lifting of control over landed property ownership in Singapore, say property analysts.
Goldman Sachs argues in its report that removing such restrictions would not hurt the national objective "of giving Singaporeans a stake in the country"; neither would it price them out of the market.
It reasoned that the public housing market met the needs of 80 per cent of Singaporeans by making affordable homes available. The report also conceded that any policy change could be limited to selected types of landed property, such as good-class bungalows.
But Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore, argued that the influx of buyers would give landed property owners the upper hand in this land-scarce environment. "It would be a sellers' market. This will definitely have an immediate impact on prices," he said.
According to forecasts released by property firm CB Richard Ellis yesterday, home prices are estimated to have risen by 4 to 6 per cent between April and June, and they are expected to climb by another 3 to 5 per cent. One driving factor: The limited supply of new homes in the $600 to $800 psf price range.
Mr Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank's director of research and consultancy, said: "Prior to the Residential Property Act, rich Indonesians snapped up properties, pricing Singaporeans out of the market. Today, high-end property prices are up. That is starting to filter down to the mid-tier properties."
He added that keeping certain privileges of home ownership for citizens only "encourages foreigners to commit to Singapore, to sink their roots here".
Chesterton's Mr Tan added: "Some things have to be preserved for Singaporeans. Landed property ownership is one of them. It is the privilege of being Singaporean."
My thoughts after reading this article is fear, a fear that landed properties will no longer be within grasp of Singaporeans as opening up the market will push up the price of the land. Currently, we are still able to purchase freehold landed properties outside the city area at a reasonable price of 1 million and above, depending on size and location. However, if this was to be open up to foreigners, i believe the prices will be pushed up to the level of prices currently seen in the property market, which is mostly fueled by foreign buyers.
The influx of capital flowing into our country can be seen as a good thing as it boost our economy, however, if in the long term, properties are held mostly by foreigners and we have to rent from them, the capital outflow will far outweigh we have received today. Singaporeans would have no choice but to stay in "the public housing market met the needs of 80 per cent of Singaporeans by making affordable homes available"
I ATTENDED my first reservist In-Camp Training (ICT) last week. I trimmed my hair before the ICT, making sure it did not reach my collar and ears, and my fringe did not reach beyond my eyebrows.
On the very first day, to my bewilderment, a warrant officer ordered me to hand over my civilian IC. His reason was that my hair was ‘not in line with SAF standards’. I was then told to join the long queue to get my hair cut.
When my turn came, the barber went through every strand of my hair with the shaver and left me with a crew cut, not much different from a recruit’s.
During the next few days of the ICT, I was surprised to see many NSmen with long, sloppy fringes. Then there was one NSman with dyed golden-brown hair.
Were the barbers instructed to trim every NSman’s hair so that they look like fresh recruits, when trimming the sides and the back would suffice?
If the warrant officer was there to check NSmen’s attire and hair, how was it possible that many with floppy and even coloured hair managed to escape his notice?
During ICT, shouldn’t the focus be on refreshing the NSmen’s skills to make them effective soldiers, rather than on the length of their hair?
How about those NSmen who have civilian careers which require them to keep their hair? Can they obtain permission to do so when they go for their ICT?
Even as we fulfil our national obligation by going for ICT, we have wonderful civilian careers where our physical appearance plays an integral part.
Take the media and entertainment industries. An actor may get to play certain roles based on his looks and appearance, and this would determine his career path.
In the competitive corporate world, where first impressions matter and we are more likely to do business with people we like, one’s looks may just make or break a deal.Do we have to sacrifice our looks just because of a one-week ICT?
Lim Chin Yuen
All servicemen in ICT require decent haircut
I REFER to the letter, 'Can NSmen keep their hair during 1-week ICT?' by Mr Lim Chin Yuen (ST, June 21).
In keeping with military discipline, all servicemen, including NSmen attending in-camp training (ICT), are required to observe SAF regulations for neat hair.
Specifically, this means a hairstyle where the hair does not touch the ears or the collar, any fringe is kept above the eyebrows and any sideburns are kept short. Short hair is necessary for reasons of hygiene, as servicemen are typically involved in field training. The SAF does not usually exempt NSmen from this requirement to keep their hair neat and short, unless there are exceptional grounds to do so.
NSmen are required to report for ICT with hair that meets SAF regulations. If their hair does not conform with SAF regulations, they are required to get a haircut. To facilitate this and ensure the haircut meets SAF standards, barbers are available in camp to provide this service. We have contacted Mr Lim to clarify the situation and have verified that he was not given a recruit's haircut.
Colonel Benedict Lim
Director Public Affairs
Ministry of Defence
I ought to be used to the typical non-replies given my government agencies. But this one really is a stunning manifestation of either stupidity or indifference. Not only does it fail to address any of the querries put forward by that hapless NSman, it is also totally devoid of logic. Let's dissect what Colonel says.
"In keeping with military discipline, all servicemen, including NSmen attending in-camp training (ICT), are required to observe SAF regulations for neat hair."
So how does having "neat hair" relates to disipline? Does having "neat hair" somehow magically makes one more disiplined and less likely to misbehave?
"Specifically, this means a hairstyle where the hair does not touch the ears or the collar, any fringe is kept above the eyebrows and any sideburns are kept short."
Wasn't this standard for a "neat haircut" excatly what Lim Chin Yuen conformed to? Why wasn't the warrant officer's actions explained?
"Short hair is necessary for reasons of hygiene, as servicemen are typically involved in field training."
Oh....but i don't see the girls in my class made to adopt a "neat haircut" for their virology laboratory practical lessons. They are simply told to tie up their hair in case their hair come into contact with the viruses they handle and is subsequently ingested. Furthermore i'm sure the viruses we handle are far more dangerous than........ NSmen's sweat? Soil ?
"The SAF does not usually exempt NSmen from this requirement to keep their hair neat and short, unless there are exceptional grounds to do so. "
What are the "exceptional grounds"? Some medical condition that will lead to the death of certain NSmen if they cut their hair? For work purposes? Isn't that one of the points Lim Chin Yuen brought up? How does one decide what work purposes constitutes "exceptional grounds"?
"NSmen are required to report for ICT with hair that meets SAF regulations. If their hair does not conform with SAF regulations, they are required to get a haircut. "
A case of blindly obeying silly rules?
"To facilitate this and ensure the haircut meets SAF standards, barbers are available in camp to provide this service. "
Did anyone accuse SAF of not providing free haircuts?
"We have contacted Mr Lim to clarify the situation and have verified that he was not given a recruit's haircut. "
Whether it was indeed a recruit's haircut or not is totally irrelevant. Besides what Lim Chin Yuen said was "When my turn came, the barber went through every strand of my hair with the shaver and left me with a crew cut, not much different from a recruit’s." "Not much different from a recruit's (haircut)" is not the same as "a recruit's haircut".
Looks like it's time to raise the salaries of Colonels in SAF. After all as the famous logic goes, you get monkeys if you pay peanuts.
Coincidentally, i read this piece of news on the Channel News Asia website today. It was tittled "SAF remains final guarantor of Singapore's independence"
Think about it. Since SAF is so vital to the existence of Singapore (which is why our defence budget amounts to around SGD$10.7 BILLION) i think Generals and Colonels must be paid million dollar salaries. Otherwise once we have a good dose of incompetence in the army, our women in Singapore will end up as maids.
I guess the senior officers in SAF are grossly underpaid. Otherwise it would mean that SAF is not so vital to the survival of Singapore, which would in turn mean that the government is wasting money on defence, which in turn means that our ministers do not deserve their out of this world salary? Impossible!!!!