Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Taiwan midterm elections results – lessons for Singapore?

The Broad Outline: The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), President Tsai Ing-Wen’s party lost big. The DPP is seen as “pro-independence”. There were scepticism about the conduct of the elections, with accusations that China was manipulating social media to undermine the DPP and their candidates, to create an outcome favourable to China’s interest, and to lead to the eventual ouster of President Tsai.

Saturday, 24 November 2018


Recently (12 Nov, see news extract below), Dr Mahathir visited SG, and because he was here, being interviewed by the local media, he said nice things about us.

In particular, he mentioned Malaysia being Singapore's hinterland:

Malaysia and Singapore are like twins, but one is older and bigger than the other: Dr Mahathir
12 NOVEMBER, 2018
SINGAPORE – On his first official visit to Singapore since becoming Malaysia’s Prime Minister again, Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the two countries as “twins”, although one is "older and bigger" than the other...
Singapore has got no hinterland but must regard Malaysia as its hinterland. On the other hand, for a very long time, Malaysia had to depend on Singapore for its exports and imports because Singapore has developed into a great port that is comparable to any of the greatest in the world,” he said.

Interesting, I thought.

When Singapore merged with the Federation of Malaysia, we did speak in terms of lacking a hinterland, and needing a hinterland, and how Malaysia would be our hinterland.

Which got me wondering about the etymology of the word, "hinterland".

So I googled. And found:

late 19th century: from German, from hinter ‘behind’ + Land ‘land’.


"Hinterland" is from German and means "behind land".


Monday, 12 November 2018

Who will replace PM Lee?

The S.I.A. (Short, Irreverent Answer) is "Who cares?"

The Long Polite(r) Answer (L.P.A.) is as follows.

Is there a difference whether Heng Swee Keat, Chan Chun Sing, or Ong Ye Kung becomes PM?

Or for that matter, if Tharman takes over?

Invisible Heroes

Today has A Big Read on Invisible People. This refers to cleaners, security guards, petrol station attendants, and other low-wage workers who are often "invisible" to us.
People simply walk past them without greeting or talking to them, and they are not shown the respect they deserve or treated with dignity.

Long used to being given the cold shoulder, it did not take much coaxing for these low-wage workers to lay bare their suppressed frustrations and unaddressed hurt in interviews with TODAY.
Then I saw a video from the South China Morning Post reported on free drinks for the City's "Supermen" - delivery workers, cleaners, and police officers. This is not exactly a new video - it's about 3 months old. But a friend just shared it. Coincidence?

Friday, 9 November 2018

Being Right and Being Effective

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that said the world needs to take drastic and unprecedented steps to hold global warming to a moderate but still devastating level. Every country will need to increase their commitment to reduce carbon emissions under the 2015 Paris Accord.

Also recently, Oxfam release their Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index that ranked Singapore very low (in the bottom 10) of countries making efforts to reduce inequality. Note that it does not assess that Singapore has inequality that ranks it at the bottom 10 countries. With a Gini index of 45.9, SG is 35th. US is 39th with a Gini index of 45. Philippines is 44th with 44.4. South Korea is 93rd with 35.7. (The lower the Gini Index, the less inequality.)

The point is not that SG’s inequality score Gini index is anything to crow about. But neither are we the worst. There are 34 countries with more inequality. But yes, we could do better in that. The issue is that the report simply castigates Singapore for not doing enough. And “enough” is defined solely, simply and only by Oxfam. Which to Oxfam means taxing the wealthiest, and giving money to the poor. You know, so that there would be less inequality.

And SPENDING a lot of money on Education. Regardless of whether that spending is having an impact. More on this later.