Monday, May 08, 2017

Making Mom Upset.


I was having a Mother's day meal with my mom and I realized that my mom was upset. Apparently, the Town Council accused my mom for dripping dirty mop water.

Initially I was wondering how did my mom do such a thing. She was in Genting last weekend, and has been traveling quite a bit. And well, I do not mop. No one else in the house mops. I was checking the grills we have by the kitchen window and they were locked. The locks were also rusty and can't be opened.

It was in fact quite impossible for us to hang the mop outside or any form of laundry.

I would have to thank the Toa Payoh Town Council for making me check on my window locks as I have removed them since, but the fact remains, I don't think we mop the floor much and certainly did not hang the mop outside -- Well if you consider the mop heads "outside" (See photos below)

The mops were NEVER hung outside as the window grills cannot be opened.

I don't understand why the town council would put our address in all the elevators and notice board around the flat like loan sharks shaming us if we had owed money.

Then I recalled. I did complain about the lift not being level, lift doors not closing completely. I highlighted the flaws of the lift to the town council, and perhaps I have given them my address. And is this how they treat whistle blowers?

Is it wrong to put the mop where it is?... (No, we don't usually mop the floor, not me, not my mom, not since Chinese New Years Eve )

Please let me know. Otherwise, is the Town Council not happy because I reported about the bad and possibly unsafe lifts to them?

And I have do not hang my clothes outside as well -- BECAUSE THE GRILLS DO NOT OPEN.

-- Iron Bowl.










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Update:

The notices are sent by Town Council.



I am not sure if my family was harassed because it was politically motivated or perhaps it was due to me informing them that the lifts have been dangerous as they were not level and the doors don't close properly. 

I would like to ask if you think such behavior of sticking notices of your unit number for something you could never have done is considered fair?

Please let me know what you think.

Regards,

Robin


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Stealing People's lunch.


In Singapore, the Prime Minister entourages citizens to "steal other's lunch". This seems to be a rhetoric that he keeps repeating.

I guess this can be said about his success.

It is of course, his wife Ho Ching that manages Temasek Holdings. And together with him managing GIC, they manage all the sovereign funds. It could be said that the sovereign funds are not managed as well as it should, and they probably over charged, but such behaviors where related parties are placed into important positions and given high salaries is all too common.

In the SMRT, the CEO is paid a very high salary, and yet there are no improvements in the train system. Without relevant experience and connections, and accountability, breakdowns are common.

On the Crony-capitalism index, Singapore is #5.

People in parliament, and high ranking officials in government linked companies are much related.


With connected people in high positions, they seem to get away with mediocre performance, and enjoying high salaries.

I would say there are a lot of people whom I respect, made their way to the top and became rich, but also many others who are there because of their connections.

Many rich families with mediocre second generations get into the family business, and in Asia, by managing properties, get even wealthier and believe they have made it. With their egos inflated, they fail at everything else and then increase rents to cover their outside losses.

With enough of these rent seeking families who own most of the properties in the market, they create a non-elastic situation where they can make money off the backs of everyone else.

In many countries, such practices are often curbed as it affects social mobility, but in countries where the ruling party controls finance and much of the economy with their friends and families, they can create rules and regulations that favor their friends and families.

In the case of a country where the GDP is so high but a lot of people do not have buying power, it is easy to see how some of these cronnies have so much money to enjoy the high life, yet they provide so little value to society.

Controlling media, it is easy to make others angry at foreigners for "stealing your lunch" but with lax immigration policies, "low business morality" and paying people below market values, it is easy to sway others away from the fact that "There is much less social mobility than before"

If you are born in those families, you can do nothing and be rich, and if you are outside, you can work till you die and not even afford public housing.

Don't get angry at foreigners and think that unskilled labor and semi-skilled cheap programmers can easily come to steal your lunch. Remember, it is the policy makers and their connected friends who own the business that decide to hire these low wage staff and not pay market rate while they keep the profits to themselves and pay little taxes on that.

They have been stealing your lunch from the start yet people are often too distracted to realize that they are in for the ride.

-- Iron bowl.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Most expensive motorcycles in the world.

Can the Finance Minister stop meddling with poor people?

In his Ivory Tower, the Finance Minister who survived a stroke, decided that to lower the cost of small motorcycles, he need to increase the tax for all motorcycles.

I don't think increasing price will ever lower cost. Perhaps, when they increase prices for public transportation, it made buses and MRTs more affordable?

Well, there is the COE. See, in Singapore, you have to pay to buy a piece of virtual paper before you can own a motorcycle for 10 years. This paper now cost $8,081.


In the past (like 2015) A Harley Streetglide would cost $45,000. And Today, the same motorcycle (the 2017 model) costs $65,000.

That is a hefty 25% - 30% increase.

Sadly, for smaller motorcycles. The situation is much worse.

In 2010, My friend bought a Spark 135 for about $5,000. And Today, the same motorcycle cost over $12,000.

That is more than 100% increase.

Sadly, this increase does not only affect riders. Many dispatch riders that deliver mail, packages and your food use these motorcycles, and it will eventually end up driving costs up and affecting all consumers.

Motorcycles is a necessity. There is no such thing as a "Luxury motorcycle" In Singapore, it rains almost every day. No matter how luxury, you endure the rain, sun and exhausts fumes. There are also many bad drivers that make it dangerous as well.

Many people who own motorcycles -- even the big ones -- own it more for a hobby, riding to Malaysia for touring. And they do not use it everyday. So why TAX THEM MORE?

The cooling measure clearly failed, and cause motorcycle cost to increase. The basic principle of supply and demand plays a role. With the COE choked, the number of motorcycles is shrinking and when the Tax is increase, most people will not buy a new motorcycle, and decide to repair their 10 year old motorcycle and renew COE. This cause the available COE to be reduced, and hence price goes up.

The SG Budget should help Singaporeans but I start to wonder why driving cost up in the most expensive city in the world actually helps the people living there?

Sure many people are concerned about the 30% increase in water price, but as you do your online shipping, guess who delivers some of your food and goods. Its on Vans and Motorcycles, and be prepared that the charges for delivery to be increased again.

Perhaps the government want Singapore to be #1...

#1 in bike cost in the world

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fearmongering after Amos seeks Asylum


With Amos Yee successfully getting Asylum in Trump America, what does this tell you about Singapore laws?

To get things straight. I do not agree with Amos Yee, and I do find him rather annoying. His behavior is rather immature, but granted, he was a teenager, 16 year old when he first put up video posts, I could not expect more.

FACTs:
Former PAP youth leader or a former NMP can incite hatred over religion and race without prosecution. May get counseling or a nice talking to.
If you are a 16 year old boy who has criticized an authoritarian leader then similar comments will send you straight to jail.

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So, after Amos Yee successfully seeks asylum, many Singapore seemed to be jealous and say that US is encouraging hate speech and US lets Singaporeans "escape NS" And many people will follow.

Bitch please. Anyone can try slandering the Prime Minister and go to jail to escape NS, I DARE YOU TO DO SO. I've known of a person who broke his legs a week before enlisting and now, he walks with a permanent limp and was in a wheelchair for 2 years. He did not go through National Service.

Sure, if you are desperate to not want to serve National Service, you can jump from an overhead bridge and don't bend your knees. That ought to shatter both kneecaps and perhaps you don't need to serve NS like him.

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The IB trolls failed to get more attention on their negative replies on Facebook, now it seems that people are spreading rumors.

PAP grassroots members circulating misinformation of police action to instill fear and discourage discussion of unpopular policies

Spam message circulating on WhatsApp warning public to refrain from talking about the Government

The message goes like this.

"Don't forward any posts or videos etc., u receive regarding politics/present situation about Government/PM etc.
Police have put out a notification termed ..Cyber Crime ... and action will be taken...just delete...inform your friends & others too.
Writing or forwarding any msg on any political & religious debate is an offence now....arrest without warrant...
This is very serious, plz let it be known to all our groups and individual members as group admin can b in deep trouble. Please take note of this seriously."

I feel that such misinformation is much worse than what Amos did. During the election, there are cases where people receiving messages telling them to "Vote Wisely" because their vote can be tracked, and there will be consequences if they are in civil service or government linked companies.

I do feel that such misinformation is in fact more dangerous and the people involved should be imprisoned for a longer sentence than a 16 years old cursing on video at a dead man.

Clearly, some people in the government feels threatened. Someone is doing something right.

-- Ironbowl




Monday, March 20, 2017

Grab / Uber Offers #Singapore #March 2017

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Also: Nike's Air Max Day has arrived and here's what you need to know
ComfortDelGro
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Uber
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From a friend. Got Offer must share.

-- Ironbowl

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Making Motorcycles cost more - Singapore

Recently, with the government's attempt to reduce the Motorcycle COE prices to make smaller motorcycles more affordable, they created a tiered system to tax the motorcycles.

The current ARF will apply to motorcycles with OMVs up to $5,000. After that, the next $5,000 will be subject to a rate of 50 per cent, and the remaining OMV beyond $10,000 will be subject to a rate of 100 per cent.


On the surface for people who do not know about motorcycles, this looks like a good idea, however, if anyone actually met up with motorcycle dealers, riders and the distributors, this is a DISASTER.



So, most motorcycles WILL COST MORE.

The CB400 is simply a workhorse. If the machine price costs S$7000, with 50% for the $2000 above $5000, YOU WILL AT LEAST PAY $1000 more for a very common workhorse motorcycle which is one of the most reliable bikes.

So with COE today, this bike can be around $18,000!

And by the way, if you think this is ok, this motorcycle is around $10,000 in 2007

Looking at other motorcycle prices, The Yamaha T-max is considered a "luxury" Motorcycle because the motorcycle machine price is around $12,000

So the additional tax is $4,500 (for machine price of $12,000) so every Yamaha T-max 530 will cost $4,500 MORE



My Heritage Softail Classic, NOT EVEN a Luxury motorcycle has a machine price of $22,000 (OMV Price)

The motorcycle on the road back in 2007 is about $40,000 And today, it is $55,000.

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The government decided to charge motorcycles COE from $1 and more after 1994, and when they limit the number of COE for motorcycles, the price of the COE increased sharply.

FACT:

Motorcycles are not a luxury. It rains almost every week, and in Singapore, the weather is not predictable and you get caught in the rain more often than you plan.

The danger is real. There are a lot of bad drivers who do not check their blindspot. Recently, a van rammed 8 motorcycles on the BKE, killing 2. Whether you are riding a big bike or a small bike, you dies when you get hit hard.

Motorcycle do not really take up a lot of space on the road. During traffic jams, most motorcyclists do "lane splitting" and filter between the cars. This reduces the jam significantly as they are not part of the traffic.

Furthermore, it is a more efficient way of transport when most people travel alone and riding a motorcycle saves space and reduces traffic jams.

If you increase the price of new motorcycles, people who cannot afford to buy a new motorcycle will renew their COE and continue to ride, thus making the COE quota to decrease, and COE premiums to increase.

Singapore already has one of the most expensive cars in the world. This move will make motorcycles most expensive as well.

There is no such thing as a luxury motorcycle. Motorcycles are essential for delivery today in future business as eCommerce picks up. With higher motorcycle prices, delivery charges will increase and it will cause inflation.

Today, COE price is $7,483. It is the highest ever.

The finance minister did not solve the problem. He made it worse.

A small motorcycle like FZN150  costs $14,300 on the road, where a similar motorcycle costs $8,000 in 2007.

People who need to get places and CANNOT AFFORD cars, NEED to ride motorcycles. The public transportation system does not bring you to many places, and motorcycles is still a necessity.

WHY TAX PEOPLE WHO CANNOT AFFORD CARS BY CALLING IT "LUXURY MOTORCYCLE" which is simply a way to tax the poor more.

So sadly, Singaporeans and motorcyclists have to "eat it" and pay more again, while policymakers continue to make millions by not solving problems and using the only book they know.

"If there is a problem, charge more...."


-- Ironbowl





Monday, February 20, 2017

Singapore Budget 2017

Its seems like most years, there is only bad news when it comes to the Singapore budget.


For the past few years, there seemed to be a little positive direction in the budget in having more social spending, and I would have thought that the same would happen this year.

Sadly, it seems like the government is unable to deviate from its expansionary budget. I would say, the government collects record amounts of funds every year, from taxes, land sales and investments, building up funds to be used "on a rainy day"

With the doom and gloom in the horizon, lower investments entering the country, stagnation of industries, residential housing bust, etc, I expected perhaps the government would find ways to spend funds to stimulate the economy.

I was wrong.

Days after declaring the increase of service and conservation fees, the government decides to increase the cost of water by 30% (without any real reason given).

There are new ERP charges on Adam Road, and the motorcycle taxes will increase.

It seems to go in line with the unpopular white paper to increase the population to 6.9 million people when these charges are in place to put in more infrastructure, and control the vehicle population, etc, however, with increase cost and increase population in a time where the country is not doing so well, it just seems to create a negative cycle.

Inflation with a stagnating economy.

There is a lack of innovation and risk taking by the policy makers and by favoring one industry -- finance industry -- REITS has made it much harder for businesses to afford rents.

In my opinion, this budget does nothing much to revive the economy. The increase costs will make life more difficult for many and not really affect much the rich as there is no capital gains tax and inheritance tax in Singapore.

I feel that in our long term planning to move the country forward, nothing has changed and it reinforces the mindset that everyone needs to look out for themselves and the government does not spend much on social spending. There is not much social spending to alleviate poverty and yet we are continuing the surplus for more reserves.

In many developed economies, social spending is up and public investment in social security, poverty alleviation, education and healthcare usually raises the bottom up and reduces inequality. In Singapore, this continues to be absent as these spending is low according to OECD standards.

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In terms of innovation, Singapore seems to want to go in the right direction, but once something happens, it shrinks back to its shell.

Testing Self driving cars, nuTonomy got into an accident last year and all tests have halted. Cars are grounded and no further tests allowed. Instead of looking at how laws can be setup along with insurance policies that would cover driverless cars, innovation cease when a minor accident happens.


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If surplus budget is to store for a "Rainy Day", I would like to ask how does a "Rainy Day" look like, and would the Gini coefficient need to be, before the government takes action to solve income inequality?

-- Ironbowl