Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Federal Law Requires Owners To Register Drones

The United States is a very strange place.

In the wake of Sandy hook Elementary School Shooting that happened on December 14, 2012, in 2015, we see the most guns purchased on black friday in the history of the United States.

We have today, a requirement that needs drone owners to register. Not their gun drones, but their drones.
It seems that FAA needs people to register their drone that weigh more that 0.5 pounds. Still, there is no federal laws really restrict guns.

With so many other things banned in such a stupid way, has anyone with a gun stood up and stop the rogue government from banning things they like?

6 Americans have been shot by their dogs! (in the past 5 years)

Perhaps it is payback for the dogs accidentally shot by humans?

Perhaps the shooting of dogs by police is not so outrages as you think as there are armed dogs out there that are not afraid to shoot their own owners.

So I do think dogs should go though gun safety course before they are allowed to own a gun and have a gun license.

-- Ironbowl

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Globalization, Labor, Immigration

When you look at this issues, much of it is heavily politicized.

On one hand, businesses want cheap labor. They want to pay people below market rates and increase profits. They get government to allow more visas and open floodgates for foreigners to come in to work in these jobs.

When the foreign labor enters, the locals which cannot find work or have their wages depressed complain about the liberal immigration policies or the illegal immigration problem.

In the end, its about money.

In the case of Singapore, they attract the world richest people who pay little tax. How does the state benefit from this? Trickle down economics? Welcoming these people who don't want to pay taxes in their own countries with questionable sources of funds is not going to create jobs directly.

One thing immigrants do in most countries: They will buy properties and cause prices to go up. For Singapore, it means that the government can sell state land to private owners or developers at a higher price and gain more revenues which is not used or spent on public welfare, but rather, kept in the reserves for investment.

How does higher property prices affect residents?

1) Higher property taxes
2) Kids and next generation cannot afford properties
3) Cost of everything will have a "rent cost" -- INFLATION
4) Cost of doing business increase
5) All profits go to -- pay rent

For the small % who own a few properties, they will quickly realize that there is no point working as the yields of their properties can be more than their jobs.

How does this make sense? Why will rich people buying properties cause inflation?

Well, the liberal immigration policies in Singapore also allow other low wage workers to enter. But it does not end here. With the Free Trade Agreement signed, skilled labor can also enter Singapore to find jobs. They will also legally be allow to work in Singapore.

This will indeed create a demand which will drive up the rents and prices.

So how does this affect Singaporeans?

You get people in their 40's and 50's, university graduates unable to find jobs, and have to drive taxi or become tutors. The perceived "more hungry" foreigners from third world countries come and take the jobs at a much lower wage.

In many other countries, this is how slums are created, and in Singapore, you get HDB flats and apartments squeeze more people inside.

How does this benefit Singaporeans?

As a business owner, property owner, you do get low wages, and big demand on your properties. As an average Singaporean, you get to complain more.


Is it a problem of Globalization?

Over the years, I've been to Africa, Australia, Europe, N and S America, Carribbeans, and Australia. Both to areas where there is extreme poverty and to large cities.

I would say that this problem where foreign born people outnumber the locals is fairly rare, is a issue with UAE and Singapore. In both countries, profits seems to be above the people. The low wage workers' rights are violated constantly and immigration policies are tweaked to give the rulers an advantage in politics.

I don't really feel that having more workers or foreigners cause a very big problem. The main problem is probably due to incompetence of the government to plan ahead. To have the different departments within the bureaucracy work together to benefit the country. If the trade industry needs more workers, then the health ministry, education ministry and national development needs to increase capacity.

If the reason for having cheap labor is to be more competitive, then commercial properties and industrial land should be also cheap to keep cost low. Having the mentality of, "Businesses are making money, government should also be making money..." does not help as the government should be seen as collecting enough taxes to provide necessary services, and not having hidden taxes and finding ways to collect more funds for vanity projects.


Back to the problem with immigration in the US.

There is a fair bit of illegal immigrants in the country. I would say, most of these immigrants are in the country for work. However, this problem involves less on skilled labor and the graduates are less affected. Instead, the blue collared workers may see their wages depressed with the availability of cheaper labor.

There is also a spin of these illegal immigrants collecting benefits. And the people who are collecting benefits are probably the ones worried as there is a limited budget and the state find it hard to manage.

By looking at the military spending and corporate subsidies, social benefits are so small in the whole picture.

In the US, there is a lot more land, and property prices are not inflated by immigration and better managed.


In my opinion, the whole labor and immigration issues are politicized to get political miles. The real problem remains is the incompetence of the government to coordinate and manage change.

You get what you vote for.

-- Iron Bowl

Friday, October 02, 2015

Please don't solve any problem and make everything expensive.

I was at the Bukit Timah Hawker center today and the whole area is a big mess due to the construction. The carpark is FULL and causing a jam, and the surrounding areas are also very slow in traffic due to construction on Clementi Road and Bukit Timah Road.

And strangely, with all the chaos, the hawker center is rather empty. (Due to haze?) I've heard about this complain almost daily now, "Stop Upgrading! It only causes the prices to go up." It seems that their argument on upgrading and rents are not invalid. In my experience, all upgradings lead to increase in rents and increase in prices.

Going on Facebook, when citizens complain that PRs and Foreigners are paying almost the same for education in Singapore and Singapore education is expensive, the government increase the prices.

When Singaporeans complain about not having enough preschools in their estates, the fees go up.

Too many cars, COEs, ERPs price go up.

Train breakdown, MRT fares and Bus fares increase despite drop in oil prices.

People (foreigners) are speculating in housing market, Stamp duties go up.

It seems like having this 49 million excluding bouus (a year) worth of ministers in parliament their solutions seem to be, lets tax more and make it more expensive.

Nothing has changed much in the last 10 years except.. You guess it ... price of everything go up... Unfortunately, salaries don't increase as fast.

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Disaster Preparedness - Singapore

There are many ways to predict the haze. By looking at hotspots burning in Indonesia, the wind direction and the amount of smoke produced in Indonesia which is miles away, etc.

Can this be a disaster?

-- Of course.

Riau Islands, once the land with a lot of biodiversity is losing the forest at an amazing pace to loggers, turning beautiful rain forest into a baking hellhole. After selling the trees to loggers, vast tracts of land are cleared using illegal slash-and-burn methods to make way for plantations.

Haze was not much of a problem before, but due to corrupt officials in Indonesia, Greedy companies in South East Asia, it becomes a common problem which occurs yearly.

We are losing plants and animals forever, and seeing bad air every year. Prolonged Haze can cause respiratory problems. This will cost the country a loss in productivity. Businesses which are outdoors or not protected by the weather will also suffer a loss of wages.

Last week when the Haze persisted at the 200 PSI range, Malaysia canceled schools, but it seemed like in Singapore, the officials simply would like to just take the moderate approach, perhaps a 3 hour average or 24 hour average, and by the time, the air is really bad (unless it is bad for 3 hours) then they may start to act.

How prepared is Singapore when you cannot even find n95 Masks for kids?

-- Ironbowl

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is Healthcare Affordable for Seniors?

Is seems like there is a lot of "tweaking" in the healthcare system in Singapore. There is so much advertisements on the Pioneer Generation (PG) card and how affordable healthcare is going to be.

I've spoken to many seniors, and for those who have not been to the hospitals perceive that the PG card works, but others still feel that healthcare is unaffordable.

I do not understand why healthcare has to be so complex. The ads on TV are in English and Mandarin, and the YouTube videos are in other dialects, but how many seniors go to YouTube? There are also people going door to door to explain the benefits of the PG card. I've followed them to my neighbor's house and even after 1 hour of explanation, everyone seems to be confused.

When I asked about how to lower medical bills, and recurring drugs, these agent have no idea how, and their suggestion was to visit private doctors, polyclinics and hospitals to see which one gives the best price. I don't get it, do they expect seniors to try their luck and test?

One question remains, healthcare is affordable... but to who?

My mom went to Tan Tock Seng on her regular checkups to get her blood thinners. I followed her to collect the medicine and heard many seniors getting turned back because they did not bring enough money. When I saw the bill, it was not any different from 4 months ago. The reply I got from Tan Tock Seng hospital was that the cards do not apply here.

With today's information system, especially in a hospital where you have a record and appointments, why do you still need to bring so many cards, and why can't the cards be used? In this case, the deduction of $400 was from my Medisave. My mother has more than $1,000 in her Medisave and she cannot use it.

What is worse is, this is 4 months worth of medicine, and I've hit the cap on my Medisave. So this means that I cannot use Medisave for future payments and she cannot use her Medisave as well. And as for all the cards she carry, None of them can be used.

This is not an uncommon problem, and for some cases like flu and fever, the PG card and the CHAS card can be use in private clinics to get discounts. And back to the question. With so many complex systems set up, so many different cards, and so much marketing for the different programs, I believe what the public wants is simply, can we have lower medical costs?

-- Iron Bowl

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Fear of not Voting for PAP

Your Vote is important, the future of the country lies on your vote.

This is an article on how the votes are counted in the polls, so please read it.

There may be much fear or anger with a certain party. This is a common thing. on social media, there are lots of angry people out there. Make sure you vote wisely during polling day as every vote count and a spoiled vote or a wrongly marked vote supports who you dislike.


What I'm concerned about is the perception of the PAP as a vengeful, all knowing entity. Many Government employees could even relate rumors of some people who had their career destroyed for voting in favor of the Opposition.

What is worse is people who are applying for HDB flats, getting government subsidies, getting grants from the government when running their businesses are afraid of voting for the opposition. Rumours like these have been passed around for so long, it achieved urban myth status; where everyone has heard of them but no one has been able to prove that it exists.

This feels like you are in an abusive environment where you have no choice in a democratic country to choose who you vote for. My big question is, why live in fear and continue to vote for PAP because of fear?

Stop living in fear, vote for who can represent you in parliament.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, August 17, 2015



"Take the Money"

So true.

That is why they are highest paid in the world.

-- Iron Bowl

Saturday, July 11, 2015

10 things you do which dogs hate.

This is an observation that apply to most dogs, but some may be exception.

1) Not providing structure and rules

Dogs want, need, and love having rules. You might think having strict rules makes life boring or unhappy for your dog. But dogs really want to know what’s what according to their leader. Rules make life a lot more predictable, a lot less confusing and a lot less stressful.

Dogs thrive when they know where the boundaries are, and when you spend time enforcing consistent boundaries with positive rewards, you also are building up their trust in you as a leader. You’re setting up conditions for a very happy dog.

2) Keeping a tight leash, literally

Just as dogs are amazing at reading our body language, they’re amazing at reading our tension levels even through the leash. By keeping a tight leash on a dog, you’re raising the level of stress, frustration, and excitement for your dog, and conversely, for you.

A dog that walks on a tight leash is more apt to bark or be reactive in even the most mild of social situations. But a dog that can walk on a slack leash is more likely to be calm.This is not easy to master, but it is worth it.

3) Using words more than pictures

Dogs don't really read, and they like to judge things by the title or how it looks. They will automatically be annoyed at something even before reading by just the title. Especially if it something bad about their masters.

4) Invited to an event where the public is allowed to join

Just like so many other social species, dogs have their favorite friends and their enemies. It is easy to see what other dogs — and people, for that matter — that a dog wants to hang out with and those with whom she’d rather not associate. Yet, there are a lot of dog owners who go into denial about this or simply fail to read the cues their dog is giving them.

They like closed door events which public money is spent on small group of dogs so they can feel special. Having to squeeze with the public, even when public funds are used is frowned upon and will cause unnecessary barking.

5) Teasing

This should be obvious, and we won't spend too much time on it. But it's worth pointing out because too many people still think it’s funny. Don't bark at a dog as you pass it on the street. Don't wave or talk to a dog that is barking at you from behind a window or door. Don't pull on a dog's tail. The list can go on and on, but in short, don't do something you know makes a dog mad just because you think it's funny.

Calling them names will piss them off, even when it is true.

6) Being Tense

Tension on the leash isn’t the only way a dog can pick up how you’re feeling. You can tell when a person you’re around is feeling tense, even if you don’t realize it. Dogs have the same ability. The more stressed and wound-up you are, the more stressed and wound-up your dog is.

Simply it means that when shit happens and the master is to blame, they will be defensive to show support. If you are stressed out because of fuck-ups you have caused, your dogs will also be stressed out as they will try to share your stress with you.

7) Bad News about their Masters

Dogs are prideful animals. They like to be associated with their leaders and bathe in the glory. Somehow, serving a high profile master doing the right things is glorifying themselves. Conversely, dogs also loathe bad news about their masters.

Luckily, in many countries which have controlled media, these bad news can easily be hidden away and discarded as noise. So their masters do not really need to know what is really going on or how people hate their masters.

8) Other People's Ideas

Its not about good ideas or change, its just other people's ideas. Acknowledging that there can be a possibility of good ideas from outside is admitting that one may not be as all knowing as they should be. As their masters are often paid with extremely high salaries, showing that someone earning a percentile of that salary can come out with good or worse -- better ideas than their masters will cause their world to crumble down.

9) Taking Responsibility

Dogs follow orders. That is a fact. How can they be wrong? However, as their masters are the smartest people of the land, how can anything go wrong? Luckily, it is in their DNA to blame others, or simply keep quiet.

When multiple failures occur which there seem no one else to blame, keeping quiet is the best strategy. Otherwise, come out with something else interested to distract others, that works most of the times too.

10) Think about the REAL problems

Dogs like so subscribe to the mindset of NIMBY (Not in my backyard). If something happens, as long as it does not affect them or near them, they do not need to bother about it. Poverty, joblessness, homelessness -- Not where I live, its managed well.

Prostitution in Woodlands - (phew) I don't live there. Workers Dormitory in Serangoon Gardens - as long as its not near where I live. Rape / Murders - I don't see it, nobody I know is affected, not my problem.

They think the bad branding of Singapore from the poor handling of high profile cases does not affect them, and hope that it will go away. And even the fact that most foreign media agree with how the unfair law violates human rights, they will still be by the side of their masters.


It is actually not too hard to please your dog. Give them treats from time to time, pay attention to their needs and give them an impression that they have preferential treatment for most policies, they will remain loyal to you.

All they want is a forever home, and if it is possible to provide more laws and rules as guidelines for them to follow to reduce ambiguity and restrict media to reduce stress for them, all will be good.

-- Iron Bowl

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Sick People, Sick Country.

Amos Yee, a 16 year old teenager created a video.

He spent more than 55 days in remand and sent to Block 7 in the IMH where the criminally insane were held.

People who killed others with their vehicles had less prison time.

Yet, some Singaporeans still feel "hurt" that he was actually released, because anyone offending their god king LKY needs to be in jail forever?

I do not agree with what Amos did, but I find that the law used on him is against human rights and excessive.

I guess sick people vote for their sick leaders in a sick country.

-- Ironbowl

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bruce Lee Gif

Animated Gif


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bad Service from Malaysian Airlines

I recently took a MAS flight to Nepal from Singapore and my luggage did not arrive.

Firstly, the last luggage took more than 1 hour to come out. Next, the Malaysian Airlines staff in Nepal are not very helpful and it took a long time before they decided that the luggage did not arrive. There were no systems or anything to check whether the luggage was lost or simply delayed.

They informed me that there was a late night flight which may come with my luggage and they will call if it arrives.

I did not receive a call and no one answered the phone when I call the numbers they gave me. And on the next day, I finally managed to get someone on the other side and they informed me that my luggage did arrive. As I was outside, I did not carry the form with me and ask if the luggage could be delivered to my hotel 1km away from the airport but they refused.

When I arrived at the airport to collect the luggage, I saw my luggage and was not allowed to collect it without my form, even though I had my air ticket stubs and my passport. The hotel was not far luckily and I had to go all the way back to the airport again to collect my luggage and the staff did not even check the luggage tab and simply let me take the luggage after giving him the form.

There was no apology or any form of guilt and it feels like losing luggage was to be expected.

After the multiple crashes of Malaysia Airlines last year, I wanted to give MAS a try, but was turned off by the poor service.

I would strongly advice anyone to consider other airlines as MAS feels like an airlines winding down, with low staff morale and poor service.

-- Robin Low

Monday, June 08, 2015

Digital Branding Fail #Singapore - Khaw Boon Wan / Henry Thia

I don't know which is worse, being associated with a talented comedian that plays incompetent or annoying roles, or being associated with a Singapore Minister that makes clueless comments or considered by some to be incompetent?

I'm not sure this is a result of Google Bomb or just social media chatter and comments that confused the Google algorithm.

Anyway it has happened and if some of the ministers continue to make unpopular moves in parliament, I'm sure more would come.

-- Robin Low

Saturday, June 06, 2015

10 reasons why throwing money does not solve anything.

Singapore wants to be a financial hub, a knowledge hub, high tech hub, bio-medical hub, and now an aeronautical design hub and a social business hub. Singapore plans to spend $$$ to make it happen, to attract a lot of foreign companies to come in.

I've seen a lot of money spent on projects, and not much success, yet more money is thrown in. The following are some of the reasons why I think there will not be much success even if the government throws in more money in this path.

1) Good talents are not appreciated.

Software developers, Engineers, Bio-medical researchers, Industrial designers, Social Entrepreneurs are not really respected much. In Asia and Singapore, most of the time, you are respected by the car you drive, the house you own, and the salary you draw. Even if you may create a lot of social impact, the Singaporean society does not care much for it.

Talented Software developers, industrial designers, engineers do not get their fair salary, as a result, these trained people would rather go towards a managerial role, to be an IT manager, or project manager, which pays more and gets more respect, but nothing much to do with technical skills.

2) High Supply of IT graduates from Asian Countries.

India and China are producing an enormous amount of IT graduates every year. A good engineer or software developer is nothing more than just a number. So these jobs becomes some what a commodity.

3) Low demand for real talent in these developing industries.

With the IT, engineers in large supply, and the start of these new industries in Singapore, there is still not really a lot of pick up for these workers, hence the low salary. There may be an initial surge when the company is desperate to look for these staff, but once they have enough, the salary become stagnant.

4) Local companies in Singapore do not really invest in technology.

Even with the great push from the government, SMEs do not really use technology much, most SMEs are not even online, let alone use technology to solve their problems. Hence there is also relatively low demand for good talents.

Many company complain about software developers being hard to find, but that is because the skills that they need are obsolete, too old to maintain a legacy IT system, or the skill set is too specific, because everyone is following a trend, and hiring the same people. However most of the time, these companies do not want to pay for talent. $2000 per month in Singapore will not get you much of a programmer, though you may get one who claims to have a lot of experience, but may rarely deliver. Even when the business is paying a lot for rent, they rarely pay enough for labor in Singapore.

5) "Kiasu Culture"

Although Singapore government wants Singapore business to be market leaders, like the next Silicon Valley, designing new cars and forms of transportation for the world and discovering new cures to save humanity, the fact is, the price of failure is still too "high"

The risk adverse nature of Singapore does not approve of "radical projects" and most things need to be "proven" before funding can proceed. If things are proven, then how are they new and cutting edge?

6) Lots of laws, rules and regulations

When Singapore invites a foreign company to come, it is rarely straightforward. Such invitations often come with lengthy paperwork, some promise of funding which may or may not materialize and an application process which takes months or years, and may somehow fall apart when the next "scholar" boss does not agree with his predecessor.

There may be much willingness to innovate, but the laws and regulations are very tight. In the finance industry, there is so much room to offer more value with IT innovation, but the whole product when it finally completes have too much "safety" built in, that it can actually make online banking, a VERY negative experience which you have to call the customer support constantly to get new passwords and reset the account after 1 month of inactivity.

7) Low technical skills in higher management.

Most companies are run by people with MBAs rather than MEng or MSc. There may be good management skills however, a lack of technical abilities may make it hard to understand the challenges and may not allocate enough resources.

It takes good technical expertise to recognize and promote technical talents, and since managers are the ones who recruit and promote, this may lead to a vicious cycle.

8) Startups run really lean

In Singapore, there is a large push for various startups, but they rarely have enough funding to pay sufficiently. Without enough capital, without enough seed funding, it is hard to get the right talents to succeed.

If you are a really good software developer or a designer, with today's global economy, it may not be that hard getting paid a good amount overseas, rather than starting your own company in a country that does not fund you enough, and have a lot of red tape in your way of success.

Even if you have a successful innovative product, the market in Singapore may also be too small to sustain your high tech innovative company. Otherwise, the SMEs are not ready to use your technology as well. Market is not here.

9) Higher burn rate

Cost of living is really high here. Salaries not so. The jobs that get high salaries in Singapore is often in Banking or Real estate development. Technical skills not so in high demand. If you have a talented team with a low budget, if you can relocate to the neighboring countries, like Malaysia, you can stretch out your budget for much longer.

There is not much advantage to develop the latest technologies in Singapore, especially when there is not a big enough market here for it. Cost of food, rents, transportation is simply too high, even higher than New York City or Silicon Valley.

10) The people funding don't know what's going on

In the government, the people in charge rarely know what they are funding, and as they are scholars or directors in charge, they must "Pretend" to know. Not saying that all Army Generals with a Masters of Arts in Literature does not understand Bio-tech, the people in charge of funding are neither researchers, entrepreneurs or software developers.

They care about their KPIs which may be linked to "innovation and high tech" which they know nothing about, as a result, they fund projects who are mentored by their friends or people they know, rather than on real merits on things they don't understand.


I am just generalizing based on my experience, and I am sure there are cases of success out there. I do feel that the government budget for education is too low, and there should be more focus on having low cost offices and incubators that can have rent controls, rather than funding unworthy projects.

There should also be more people in different industries coming together and discussing collaborations and cross overs as I think that is where innovation occur now -- cross discipline, rather than just deep specialization in one area.

Singapore has it strengths, and what makes us different, makes us better, when you copy others, you rarely can be a leader. When you spot a trend, it is already too late. Create the trend.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Government Ban on Song

Jolin Tsai's same-sex marriage music video and song banned in Singapore or not?


“We’re all different, yet the same”, is – according to GSN, “based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years.”

The Straits Times, reported on Monday that there was no such ban. The Straits Times then quoted the unnamed spokesman as saying that the “MDA advised the local broadcasters that they should not air the song and music video on channels that are freely accessed by younger viewers due to its mature content.”

So ban from Radio and TV?

Why is it banned? Christian groups?

How many songs / shows are banned without anyone knowing (under private consultation)?

Why is it silently banned without anyone knowing?

-- Ironbowl

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The floodgates of foreigners

Many Singaporeans are not happy with the Government's open door policy to foreigners. Within 10 years, the population of Singapore almost doubled, infrastructure cannot cope with the influx of foreigners and traffic, public transportation is definitely declining.

As you may know, supply and demand will definitely cause prices to change. With an open door policy for foreign labor, wages become stagnant for years. There are always new labor willing to work for lower wages.

On the other hand, the increase in population drives up rents as the housing did not catch up with the increase of population. With the increase of rents, speculators move in and buy up properties, hoping to make money on the flip. Very soon, prices double and triple and apartments that cost $400,000 in 1998 or 2000 can easily cost over $1M on 2008 and 2014.

Next, the hospitals run out of hospital beds. There are easily 10 years without any new hospitals built, and it is not until a dengue epidemic that the government decided to build more hospitals.


The government was slow to act. Only when elections is close, controls are put in place to limit the number for foreign workers. Quotas are created. When housing prices have increased so much and real estate rentals are over the top, the new stamp duties are introduced.

Lately, Singapore earned the title of the most expensive city in the world. Due to the high rental costs, businesses have to charge a premium for everything. Food courts popped up everywhere and speculators buy up some of these coffee shops and drive up the rents and in turn drive up the cost of food.


I recently have a chance to speak with a few new immigrants. Some of them were PR in Singapore from Malaysia, China and Philippines. All of them are in Singapore because of one thing -- employment.

Singapore bring a more expensive city, pays way more than their home countries. They decide to become PR because they feel that Singapore is safe and they can do more that they could in their countries.

One of them even joined the Volunteer Corp at SAF to get to know an MP who was in the same camp. PAP MP Janil Puthucheary a new immigrant has not served NS before. After talking to them, they have a very good impression on Singapore and have even joined as Grassroots members.

"In Singapore, you need to know the MP and getting connected with these people brings a lot of benefits. From getting your PR status and citizenship process expedited, getting your kids to the school of your choice, and sometimes priority queue in HDB application." He said. "Sometimes as entrepreneurs, it is important to be a grassroots member to know about some tips on good deals in GeBiz, changes in PIC grants and access to other free government money. Because these ideas generally come from Grassroots members and we share these information."

Even when I do not trust 100% in everything that he said, the fact that he is now in SAFVC, an active member in the Grassroots at a GRC and juggling with his new job and training makes it really really credible.

From this perspective, I could see why the PAP want to bring in more foreigners. Getting them involved and giving them some benefits will essentially secure votes. With them pouring in, it does not matter what happened before and how much screw ups is created, the new citizens will generally support and vote for PAP, because many of them are also not considering staying here for long term.

The new immigrant from PRC, also joined the grassroots as a volunteer, said that it was easier for him to try to get work in the US as Singapore and USA has a free trade agreement, and he is already in the midst of getting a H1B1 visa to work for a US company, after becoming a Singaporean for less than 2 years.

Not all of these new citizens will stay long term, but be assured, once they get a better offer, many of them -- Permanent Residents and new citizens would jump ship.

-- Iron Bowl

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Smart Nation need Smart Leaders

I was using the Microsoft site (how-old.net) and it could not guess the age of Ultron from the movie age of Ultron.

I've often heard many politicians talk about "Smart Nation", the idea of a smart nation is very cool. But in essence, it is collecting personal data, recording videos, eliminating jobs, losing personal touch in services, and having an app for everything.

A smart nation sounds very cold, one that has defined rules in place, and defined consequences when breaking those rules, but does not care for any reason why those rules are broken. A smart nation with a lot of information is also prone for abuse. The easier it is to use a tracking software to track a person using all the connected CCTV cameras and a facial recognition software, the more it will be abused by people to use it for personal errands.

I've been pushed around in a bureaucratic system and having a webpage which the government forces everyone to use is by far one of the worse experience I have had. I wanted to buy a police report for an accident between my motorcycle and a bicycle, but could not do so online because the bicycle had no license plates, and when I arrived at the Traffic Police HQ, I could not buy the report over the counter as there is a webpage doing that, and since this was an exception, the people at the Traffic Police HQ denied all responsibility as they were not in charge of the system, and told me to look for the IT department, which was in a separate building, and the IT department could not access police reports as it was the duty of the Traffic Police.

With a computer system to blame, the service inevitably will be either very efficient (for things that are common) or impossible as exception will not be handled at all.

From my experience working with many different government departments across different countries, I realize that communications between the different government departments simply does not really exist.

In many countries, a "smart system" can be built relatively easily, but getting the data to work with can be impossible. Many government departments already collect a lot of data, most of the time, there will be an over saturation of data, and sometimes reports are run, but without any context or inputs from other government departments, most of these data are just nice to have and may not be enough to solve problems.

When the leaders do not have a clue about "Smart Nation" but pretend to know, then roll out initiatives and provide a lot of budgets for people to try things, There will be a lot of money wasted, as it is hard to achieve anything if the goal is not defined. Throwing money at the situation does not solve anything if the problem is not even properly defined.

Many of the Leaders have too much ego to learn. Having read a few pages from a book, they automatically can speak the lingo and become an expert. I've seen projects measuring traffic density, air quality and movement patterns, but the sensors are placed in any space that it fits with the least efforts required. So money is saved when sensors are just attached to pre-existing mounts, yet a lot more expensive sensor have to be bought because many of the sensors record the same thing as they are too close together to be effective.

Without a proper understanding of the problem, and an eagerness to talk about Big Data and other forms of analytics, the leaders will spend a lot to make sure that the data is collected, and have no idea how to parse the data into something usable. What's worse is that when other departments want to collaborate to use such data for their processing, the approval process to allow the sharing of the data or even having a sample of the data may take years. In the meantime, even what kind of data is collected remains a secret.

Well, I've spoken to some people who believe that collecting excess data in the beginning is a good approach, because we will never know what kind of data we need. I used to think that is a good strategy as well, but looking at the finite storage of the data collected, many of these data gets corrupted after a year or becomes unusable when the database structure is updated or a new system or new sensors are put in place, with a new format of data. Sometimes, even when changing different vendors for the sensors, the old data that has never been used, is discarded.

We can have a smart city, but if the leaders does not really know what's so smart about the city and having automation for the sake of automation, then it will be a big waste of money, hopefully the solution does not cause service levels to degrade.

I think the notion of a smart nation is a bad one, and I'd prefer to see perhaps a progressive nation, which focus on using technology to empower people and to reduce the barriers to marginalized people. From the implementation of many of the solutions I've seen from various government departments, the idea of a "smart nation" will indeed widen the income gap and create more barriers for people who are not the "average" person.

-- Iron Bowl

Friday, May 01, 2015

Impatient to donate?

"Some donors who had to be turned away by Mr Shrestha expressed unhappiness and asked if they could leave their items at the restaurant. One of them, a woman who declined to be named, said she had spent more than $100 on food items including cereal, cup noodles and nuts. She said: "I spent about two hours doing this and came all the way from Bukit Timah. I could have spent the time with my daughter instead. If you want to help, you have to be fast." 

I don't even understand the need to be angry when someone is also trying to help Nepal. "I could have spent the time with my daughter instead. " 

Singaporeans are even impatient to help but unwilling to do more, and they expect quick results to be quick.

There is no need to be angry.

I am building a list of is you want to support Nepal. Good people working on the ground.





-- Iron Bowl

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Check the empty units in Vacant Hi-end properties for Dengue NEA!

I've owned many properties before, and I would say, empty properties do breed lots of mosquitoes. From the toilet bowl, to the sinks, modern U-shaped drain pipes are everywhere in your house. Used as a seal to prevent foul smell from coming to the toilet, it holds water in dark and damp areas of the house, making it suitable for mosquito breeding.

Today, many houses, high-end apartments are empty in Singapore because too many speculators who have bought them (for speculation, duh) cannot rent them out due to the bad economy. And many of these apartments and houses have lots of toilets.

I've been to a house today which was unused for 2 weeks and there was already a swarm of mosquitoes in the house.

I'm sure NEA will tell you the house that you live in now is breeding mosquitoes because you have plants and your flowers are breeding mosquitoes, but are they actually checking on the empty expensive units that people cannot afford to rent?

Is it because expensive homes do not breed mosquitoes? I serious hope they do.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, April 13, 2015

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

When Lee Kuan Yew passed away in March 2015, many people mourned for him. In India, some of the villagers were really sad, and even though they did not meet the man, they believed he did great things.

And many posters that can make you cringe can be found and above are 2 examples which shows good intentions of the villagers going totally wrong. One would simply as; if you really care about your benefactor that much, would you not recognize him? Or not know how Singapore flag looks like? Or is this just a political move to show the popularity of Lee Kuan Yew overseas getting backfired?

-- Iron Bowl

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things we put in our mouths decide on our future?

Who has had the bubble gum above?

Did it make you a smoker?

What would you do if you had the candy below?

-- Iron Bowl

Sunday, March 29, 2015

We will probably not have another leader like LKY.

LKY is a great leader, he voice out for Singaporeans and dares to challenge authority and create change. From his speeches, you can feel his passion and courage.

Eugenics: A social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits (positive eugenics), and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

"There are many sons of doctors who have married doctors. Those who married spouses who are not as bright are tearing their hair out because their children can’t make it. I have lived long enough to see all this play out.

So when the graduate man does not want to marry a graduate woman, I tell him he’s a fool, stupid. You marry a non-graduate, you’re going to have problems, some children bright, some not bright. You’ll be tearing your hair out. you can’t miss. It’s like two dice. One is Jack, Queen, King, Ace, other also Jack, Queen, King, Ace. You throw a Jack, Queen, King, Ace against dice two, three, four, five, six, what do you get? You can’t get high pairs, let alone a full flush." 

― Lee Kuan Yew

"I understand the Englishman. He knows deep in his heart that he is superior to the Welshman and the Scotsman... Deep here, I am a Chinaman." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"I believe in democracy. Here, Kuan Yew and I don’t agree. He says, “You are very na├»ve. You don’t understand. One man, one vote won’t work.” Recently, he said there should be two votes for every educated man." ― S. Rajaratnam

"In the older generations, economies and culture settled it. The pattern of procreation was settled by economics and culture. The richer you are, the more successful you are, the more wives you have, the more children you have. That's the way it was settled. I am the son of a successful chap. I myself am successful, so I marry young and I marry more wives and I have more children.

You read Hong Lou Meng, A Dream of the Red Chamber, or you read Jin Ping Mei, and you'll find Chinese society in the 16th, 17th century described. So the successful merchant or the mandarin, he gets the pick of all the rich men's daughters and the prettiest village girls and has probably five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten different wives and concubines and many children.

And the poor labourer who's dumb and slow, he's neutered. It's like the lion or the stag that's outside the flock. He has no harems, so he does not pass his genes down. So, in that way, a smarter population emerges." 

― Lee Kuan Yew

"Malays abhor the state of celibacy. To remain unmarried was and is considered shameful. Everyone must be married at some time or other. The result is that whether a person is fit or unfit for marriage, he or she still marries and reproduces. An idiot or a simpleton is often married off to an old widower, ostensibly to take care of him in his old age. If this is not possible, backward relatives are paired off in marriage. These people survive, reproduce and propagate their species. The cumulative effect of this can be left to the imagination." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"All the bright young men became Catholic priests and did not marry. Bright priests, celibate, produce no children. And the result of several generations of bright Fathers producing no children? Less bright children in the Catholic world." ― Lee Kuan Yew

In fact climate is only one of the factors against which the Chinese had to battle in coming to Southeast Asia. They were also coping with the debilitating effect of moving from a superior to an inferior civilisation. At the Institute of Engineers' din...See More

"The Chinaman who came out to Southeast Asia was a very hard working, thrifty person. I mean he faced a tremendous stride [sic] because he faced floods, pestilence, famine..., [but] we are getting soft. You know, all sunshine and bananas growing on trees and coconuts falling down by themselves - this affects people." ― Lee Kuan Yew

In fact climate is only one of the factors against which the Chinese had to battle in coming to Southeast Asia. They were also coping with the debilitating effect of moving from a superior to an inferior civilisation. At the Institute of Engineers' dinner in April 1965, Lee continued his dissertation on the problems of migrating to Australia or New Zealand: "I told my hostess that where I think it is a ghastly error all this large movements of human beings seeking a better life is that one has got to be quite sure that in the end [one] is going to offer a higher civilization.

Otherwise, you end up just eating more beef steak and pork chops and mutton chops and what happens when people cease to want to buy your dairy produce and leave you stranded in the South Pacific as I am stranded in Southeast Asia. I advised her against settling in Australia and New Zealand because I am quite sure that her progeny will regret all this because they were unlikely to create a civilization vaster and greater than the one they left behind. I say, before you leave behind all these things just make sure you are going to create something better. And if you are not going to, then perhaps it shouldn't be done because this is the way I thought about my great grandfather leaving me here."

― Lee Kuan Yew as quoted and written on by Dr. Michael D. Barr

"The numerical preponderance of the Chinese must be maintained, or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"I have said this on many a previous occasion: that had the mix in Singapore been different, had it been 75% Indians, 15% Malays and the rest Chinese, it would not have worked. Because they believe in the politics of contention, of opposition. But because the culture was such that the populace sought a practical way out of their difficulties, therefore it has worked." ― Lee Kuan Yew

“If I tell Singaporeans – we are all equal regardless of race, language, religion, culture. Then they will say,”Look, I’m doing poorly. You are responsible.” But I can show that from British times, certain groups have always done poorly, in mathematics and in science. But I’m not God, I can’t change you. But I can encourage you, give you extra help to make you do, say maybe, 20% better.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

"There is only one other civilization near the Equator that ever produced anything worthy of its name. That was the Yucatan peninsular of South America - the Mayan Civilization. There is no other place where human beings were able to surmount the problems of a soporific equatorial climate. You can go along the Equator or 2 degrees north of it, and they all sleep after half past two if they have had a good meal. They do! Otherwise they must die earlier. It is only in Singapore that they don't. And there were good reasons for this. First, good glands, and second, good purpose." ― Lee Kuan Yew

“There are some flaws in the assumptions made for democracy. It is assumed that all men and women are equal or should be equal. Hence, one-man-one-vote. But is equality realistic? If it is not, to insist on equality must lead to regression.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two… We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“The human being is an unequal creature. That is a fact. And we start off with the proposition. All the great religions, all the great movements, all the great political ideology, say let us make the human being as equal as possible. In fact, he is not equal, never will be.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“It is essential to rear a generation at the very top of society that has all the qualities needed to lead and give the people the inspiration and the drive to make it succeed. In short, the elite. Every society tries to produce this type.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion?" ― Lee Kuan Yew

“If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society…So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

 “The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more... the Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

However, with the system he built up today, it is impossible to have another LKY. When you have an opinion that is different or unpopular, you will be hammered down or worse, arrested by ISA or charged with sedition.

Conformity is the norm now. The pitchfork gang is waiting and the news is ever changing history on how Singapore is built and shaped.

Many people don't understand that you can still respect the man, but not agree with the policies. LKY did many things, some good, some not so good. But I do believe that in his heart, he was doing it for Singapore.

The other leaders today however do not seem to be of the same caliber, would rather follow status quo than make lasting change for the better. For many who loved LKY, it is disappointing to see the things he stood for, "Clean and Green Singapore" becoming a "Cleaned" country even at his wake.

He was against the casinos, and now that is part of the skyline in Singapore. A wise man said, the greatest asset of Singapore is its people. However, today, more than half the workforce is imported.

Change is here, and sometimes not for the better. The tools which he used to stay in power, controlling the media and ISA are still running strong.

His passing has seen many Singaporeans come out to pay their last respect, hopefully they can relive the good times if in 2016, the government can finally work for the people, regardless of language, race or religion, providing prosperity and progress for our nation.

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mourn Fatigue #Singapore

LKY was a great man, he achieved much with his greatness. These few days of 24/7 coverage on everything LKY is getting a little unbearable as there is so much repeats and loop covering his funeral and all things great about the man.

3 Days of mourning is what I can take as the media coverage seems to be very one sided, not acknowledging other founding fathers of Singapore, claiming all the success of Singapore to just one man.

I respected the man for the things he has done and the civil liberties he has taken away. I do not agree with many of the things he has done, and the choices he has made, but I do believe everything he has done was for Singapore.

For much progress made from 1965 - 1990s, I thank you sir for your great conviction on getting things done.


Well this is also a good time to hide in a corner, away from TV, media and everything because the constant glorifying of the man is a little too much to handle for me.

I feel that this is actually a time for change. Singapore has progressed so far, and built up so much reserves, but many principles which the country is built on needs to change.

I confess that Singapore is very much a nanny state. Censorship is rampant and people are not at liberty to discuss many things in public. The university -- a place to nurture critical thinking -- cannot hold anything form of political activism, and students cannot even demonstrate in campus about the things they believe in dearly.

With China opening up their economy, their media and society, China has progressed much. In the past, our forefathers came together and built the National Libraries and the communities seemed to be much more connected. There seems to be too much competition to be #1 in Singapore today, and society is fragmented.

The top down approach of solving problems, paying top dollars for consultants and ministers does not seem to work. The scholarship system also creates an elitist society which a small pool of ruling elites paid highly and so disconnected with the ground as they get feedback from a few layers of middlemen which filters out the bad.

I feel that SG50 is a good turning point where Singapore needs to learn to let go. Let go of total authoritarian control and embrace the fact that today, the average Singaporean is much more educated than 50 years ago. We are able to solve problems together if we are enabled to do so.

We do not need high paying ministers to speak and think for us. PAP does not need to control PA, NTUC and other government linked companies, and we should be more lax on censorship and allow dialects and various movies and programs to come to our countries.

Singapore is not a religious society, and outdated laws should be slowly phased out and people should be treated more humanely. Economic success is important, but GDP should not be the only measure we should focus on.

Social safety nets should not be seen as taboo and even when people should be responsible for their own health and finances, there will always be circumstances which make people fall off the track and there should be ways for them to climb back up.

Singapore is a small countries, and we share the same aging population and income gap problem as many countries, and having an inclusive system which eliminates poverty in Singapore is something that can be a model for the world to see and learn from us as well.


Mr Lee has built Singapore up , and we should not be afraid to take the lead and rebuild the fragmented communities. Moving forward, perhaps we can move in another direction that is more inclusive, allowing more human rights and civil liberties.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, March 23, 2015

The beginning of a new era: Singapore 2.0

Today marks the beginning a a new era. The passing of a man -- Lee Kuan Yew. Many people credit him for turning Singapore from a Malaria ridden British Colony to an air-conditioned Metropolis.

There is no doubt that his style of leadership with single minded push to bring Singapore this far is commendable, and his ideals that help shaped the country, while benefiting some groups of people, had some consequences which will indeed affect future generations as well.

One of the policy "Stop at Two" is largely effective in reducing the population growth, but with TFR at 0.8, Singapore does face a situation where the population does not replace itself.

When Mr Lee took a step back, but is still involved in politics by being Mentor Minister, MM, many policies which he and his team designed and built were slowly eroded. Casinos were allowed in Singapore, Formula 1 came to Singapore, the public were more eager to voice their opinions on the government's policies and PAP suffered their worst performance with 60.1% approval rate, yet getting 81/87 seats in parliament. Change was inevitable.

There was no doubt that Mr Lee dedicated his life to build Singapore in his vision and he believed it was for the good of all Singaporeans. (except for those who threatened him in 1963 and later in 1987)

With the passing of this great man, I expect some change to slowly come to Singapore. The principles we learn from the founding fathers have changed much and although, many of them were still relevant today, some of them were not followed anymore.

There future presents many challenges ahead. The government and PAP can continue with the authoritarian rule and build an elitist society or build a more inclusive society which supports everyone no matter which economic background you come from.

In the national budget 2015, there seem to be a slight move towards this direction, instead of the rhetoric, "Everyone needs to be responsible for their own health and finances."


There is a lot of talk about Singapore failing without the lead of PAP, and with the passing of their glorious leader, there seems to be a heavy solemn mood in the air today, rather than anarchy breaking on the streets burning Singapore to the ground. (There is burning in the air due to Haze and Forest Fires though)

I guess with this historic event happening, we should all reflect -- both citizens and ministers -- on how to proceed forward. It is a wake up call for those who are politically apathetic to perhaps be more active in their communities if they wish to participate in building and shaping their nation, a Singapore 2.0.

Perhaps a more inclusive society, with less restriction on the media space is a good start, after all business, arts and culture does support one another, and restricting opinions will only limit our options in better solutions to face the future.

-- Iron Bowl

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Singapore Inc. - Taxi

Public Transportation is quite ok in Singapore. Although the reliability could be better, overall, Public Transportation seems to be ok.

I am however not really happy about oligopoly of the public transportation. It seems like the government, PAP, and many of the Temasek owned companies are in cahoots when it comes to making profits from the public.

SMRT and SBS seems like a riskless private company as the infrastructure is paid by the government and they get to keep much profits, raise fares despite breakdowns and lower oil prices. The CEO is an Army general who does not seems to add much value to the company, yet earning millions a year.

The Taxi system seems to be a mess as well. It is even hard to predict how much the trip is going to cost due to ERP and surcharges. The same culprits are in the game, NTUC etc, and taxi operators (almost like a oligopoly) charging taxi uncle about $120 to $140 taxi rental a day. (This adds to about $50k a year) So if a Taxi cost $120k, then the operator can break even in 3 years?

Much of the risk is upon Taxi drivers, the $1000 deposit withheld when they get into an accident, pay rental everyday, and not guaranteed customers. Taxi passengers pay for booking fees and even the booking system is profitable for taxi operators.

The most handworking taxi driver only take home about $2k plus a month. And perhaps the taxi operators can make the same amount per taxi as well because of their high costs? I assume LTA is regulating Taxi, yet allowing the operators to make so much money? Why can't Taxi drivers own their own Taxi?

If the lifespan of a Taxi is 7-8 years, say the cost of taxi is $140k, should the rental be set to around $2000 a month? If there are about 30,000 taxi drivers, they would be able to make easily $1 - $2k a month from the lower rents. This would allow them to save up more as they do not have CPF and other savings yet standard of living in Singapore is high.

It seems like many of these companies that have monopolized the market are just out for profits. They seemed to be run with the public servant mentality -- do as little as possible, just to get by.

I feel that companies that are funded by GIC or Temasek holdings should have a primary focus to better the lives of Singaporeans before making unreasonable amount of profits off hardworking poor Singaporeans.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, March 09, 2015

Green Wall... So yesterday.

Once hailed as a great invention, the HYGROWALL or Green Wall where plants can grow on a vertical surface was largely marketed and installed.

As seen in the photo above, the Green Wall was just installed in 2013 and looks pleasant. The Government promoted it everywhere.

A lot of promotion and support was given to the Green Wall, however, I've tried with some of the plants and setup my own version of the Green Wall, and I've often face with dead plants.

I've spoken to some people at Hort Park, and they even informed me that there is 18m high Green Wall at 118 Killiney Road Condominium. Singapore condos get Guinness World Record for biggest green wall, and many companies started research and development on improving the Green Wall.

I was doing some tests and I wanted to find a purpose for this Green Wall (like growing vegetables or other edible plants) but many plants just can't grow sideways. When I looked at my control plants, they died too after a few months.

The system needed much maintenance, it needed piping for water and power. It does cost quite a bit of money, and overall, besides being "Green in color", I do not feel that it is much green at all.

So going by some of these places with Green Walls installed, I realized that most of them that had plants constantly replaced when the plants died, were now bare, and all it took was 2 years.

Great job / Great innovation / Great Recommendation.

-- Ironbowl

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Land cost for everything - Singapore

Lately, I've noticed that there is land cost on everything and when the oil price falls to half it was last year, the petrol prices are only lowered by 15%. "Since June 2014, the benchmark Brent oil price has declined from a peak of US$115 per barrel to around US$50 per barrel recently."

From an unverified source, the tender for 10 years to run a petrol kiosk Temporary Occupancy License can cost up to S$40 million. This means $4 million a year of rent, on top of the high petrol tax in Singapore.


Building of Condos can be an expensive risk for developers. Many developers though old loopholes and partnership with Temasek Holdings, have already made it big. The newer estates that was up for tender in 2014 in Punggol and Seng Kang are about S$280 per sq ft per plot ratio. Lowest since 2011.

This means that the apartment that you buy (excluding taxes and stamp duties) $280 or up to $700 per sq ft. goes to the government. The government gets the land free or at low cost (formally grass or forest), and sells it at a profit, driving up housing prices.


Looking at this trend, it seems that everything that the government says, "fair market value" and they call for tenders, it means there are market forces (which may be related to government linked companies) that will buy and drive up land cost and overall property cost. This translates to higher rents and expensive housing.

Compared to various other countries, like German, and even land scarce Japan, many of the industrial land has "rent control" and certain pricing in place, favoring the industries and businesses in the area, ensuring that the rents are kept low to keep the country's export and business cost competitive.


Driving up cost in everything, allowing speculators to come in, declaring "market value" on things like coffee shops, public housing and many other properties which should be regulated will only drive costs up.

For a small coffee shop, the cost can be S$10 million, and the rents of each stall can be $10,000 a month. This usually mean the rent actually cost more than labor costs. And in Singapore, the business owner that is faced with high rent can either increase price, lower quality of materials used, or exploit their workers.

I'm no economics guy, but I'm certain that everything you buy, coffee, a watch, clothes, etc. A significant portion of what you pay, actually goes into rent cost. I'm not sure if I like paying more thing because rent is high, even in far away places.


So where does the money go?

The money that SLA make from land sales, property taxes, stamp duties and the excess taxes collected by the government, along with ERP, COE, and various other schemes to siphon money. Along with your CPF, medisave and other $$$, along with profits made by Temasek holding and GIC, say about S$10B a year for about 10 years, will see about S$100B or more in the reserves.

I'm not sure that the "rainy day fund" will every be used to better the lives of Singaporeans, and the excess money now seems to lead to "constant over budget" on projects which do not really benefit the average Singaporean.

I do wonder if anyone knows how much in the reserves do we actually have, and how is it audited, since it is managed by Temasek Holdings and GIC, and whether are there plans to use the money in the near future perhaps when the funds grow beyond S$200B (say a 5% return) eliminate GST, and have more programs to benefit the ones who are left out in the Singapore success story.

I personally do not think such a high reserve is necessary, and I do feel that a lot of people in Singapore are not doing as well now compared to 10 years ago, and something needs to be done to help them aspire more and keep their dreams alive, so that we can all have prosperity and progress for our nation.

-- Iron Bowl