Friday, 23 December 2011

SMRT : More uses of cable ties! Even Santa use them!

More uses of cable ties! Even Santa use them!
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Cable ties we bring
To you and your kin
Good tying for Christmas
And a happy ride home
Oh, bring us her resigning
Oh, bring us her resigning
Oh, bring us her resigning
For all the train fear
We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
So get Saw out-of-here

Monday, 19 December 2011

Plastic Cable Ties - huge demand flies off the shelves !

The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit system broke down three times in the past week. Preliminary findings were twenty-one claws that were dislodged. These claws were essential to hold up the third rail supplying electricity to the trains. The press conference by the LTA and Minister of transport showed the remedy of using plastic cable ties to secure the claws.

To this effect, it has been reported by several citizen journalists that the demand for Plastic Cable Ties have experienced an exponential increase.

The suppliers of such cable ties, SKP and mustafa's, commented on the situation. Manager Mr Wu Lui Tan says," You all saw the news right! SMRT and LTA using plastic cable ties for the tracks! You know how long the train lines are ? Got N-S line, NE line, E-W line, Circle line and all the new MRT lines are going to use them! We sure make money one! I'm the process of discussing with my suppliers in rural china to import at least 100 more boxes!"

The national airline carrier's chief of engineering has also weighted in on the situation, Mr See Buay Khiang quips, "Since our esteemed engineering colleagues in SMRT and LTA have thought of such an innovative solution, I have put together a task force to assess if the cable ties can used for our aircraft. Some brainstorming ideas include using plastic cable ties for securing our aircraft, securing parts of the wings and the main cockpit instrumentations. The light weight and low cost plastic cable ties will save our company millions of dollars which we can distribute as dividends back to shareholders." When asked if this may jeopardize passenger safety, Mr See retorted,"Cannot be lah! Our esteemed colleagues must have already done all the tensile tests and chemical analyses of these plastic cable ties! Sure okay one!"

Hawkers are also getting onto the bandwagon, PRC-born Mrs Bao Ho Jiak explains,"Last time, my customers complain that my fish soup ta bao already always leaked. So I replaced the rubber bands with cable ties now! If they still complain, I tell them that if the China-made cable ties can hold up the SMRT trains, they can definitely tie their fish soup! The customers all tiam tiam."

Not to be out-done, International Fashion designer Mr Gavid Icreativeunot has created his latest jewelry collection with plastic cable ties, "Wee wee, itz beautiful. I not only have white plastic cable ties, I haz meda black, blue, purple, yellowz, greenz jewelry out of them. In facz, I just gave the SMRT CEO a complimentary necklace made out of cable ties. Shez likz it wery much, her only complain is that she dun know whyz the necklace seems to be getting tighter and tighter round her neckz everyday....?"

Thursday, 15 December 2011

SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa - draft resignation letter

Here is a draft for SMRT CEO's resignation letter.

"Dear Singaporeans,

I, Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, the soon-to-be-ex CEO of SMRT, hereby tender my resignation with effect. I offer my sincere apologies for my poor performance during my tenure as CEO. The Singapore's Circle Line has been plagued by diasters and disruption from the start. It exceeded its original budgeted cost of S$6.7 billion; saw a section of the tunnel collapse in 2004, killing four workers; and experienced a cave-in at one of its construction sites in 2008.

In 2010, when trains were packed and commuters were complaining, I as the CEO of SMRT, dismissed these concerns and defended the company. Instead, I insensitively said: "People can board the train, it is whether they choose to."

There have been disruptions in each of the last two months — on 20 September 2011, a faulty cable stalled train services for four hours, affecting more than 26, 500 commuters, and on 17 October 2011,"train faults" led to thousands of commuters being stranded.

There were two security breaches at SMRT's depots — the first in May 2010 at Tanah Merah depot, and the second at its Bishan depot in August 2011.

Despite all these, I was not asked to resign.

Singaporeans used to be proud to have a clean, efficient and world-class transportation system which included SMRT. The train system is the economic lifeline of Singapore. It is used by millions daily for their commute. While the public can and will accept the occasional hiccup, these disruptions are now more serious and more frequent.

Even as I now leave with a heavy heart and non-chalatant attitude, I am glad to be the highest-paid SMRT CEO ever, with a salary of S$1.67 million in 2009, and this increased to S$1.85 million in 2010. I am leaving now, not because of the recent 14 Dec 2011 and 15 Dec 2011 disruptions which left tens of thousands stranded, it is because my bank account is fat and I can retire comfortably overseas and ride in my expensive car, without the need to take MRT trains.

Good-bye and enjoy your ride. You have been taken for a ride."

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Do you feel the chill wind? Singapore's economy may grow 3% in 2012: MAS -

[Commentary : Do you feel the chill wind blowing ? Batten Down the Hatches and Hunker Down]

SINGAPORE: Private sector forecasters expect Singapore's economy to grow by 3 per cent in 2012.

This is according to the median forecast in the Monetary Authority of Singapore's December survey of Professional Forecasters.

The most likely outcome, as reflected by the mean probability forecast, is for growth of between 3 per cent and 3.9 percent.

That is down from the September survey range of 5.0 per cent to 5.9 per cent.

The outlook is slightly more bullish than the official growth forecast issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of between 1 and 3 per cent for 2012.

Private sector economists expect first quarter 2012 year-on-year growth to be zero per cent, before picking up for the rest of the year (Q2: 3 per cent, Q3: 3.6 per cent, Q4: 4.8 per cent)

Overall, a moderation in growth is forecast across all sectors next year, with the sharpest adjustment in the manufacturing sector.

In 2012, the industry is expected to grow by 3.4 per cent, down from an expected 8.5 per cent this year.

The financial services sector is expected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2012, less than half the 9.4 per cent pace forecast for this year.

In the manufacturing sector, growth is expected to be at 3.4 per cent, down from 8.5 per cent this year.

For hotels and restaurants, growth is expected to be around 4 per cent, down from 5.9 per cent in 2011.

Amid the forecasts of slower growth, unions are preparing workers for the bumpy road ahead.

Francis Lim, President of the United Workers of Electronic and Electrical Industries (UWEEI), said: "The union is working with e2i and WDA to help the company to go for training. The last few months, we've started our union, our officers and also e2i have met up with some of the companies. So, they are working out and mapping out some training road map for the companies and also for the workers."

Mr Lim said he's seeing some retrenchments, as well as workers going on shorter work weeks although not at an alarming rate.

Hiring has slowed down considerably.

He added that: "Looking ahead, normally at year end when people get their bonus, they start to move around, especially after Chinese New Year. There will be a slowdown because I think many of them dare not leave their companies, because a lot of uncertainties are ahead of them. They won't know whether they can find another job."

For 2011, economic growth forecasts have been trimmed to 5.2 per cent from 5.3 per cent in the previous survey in September.

The official forecast by MTI for 2011 is for Singapore's GDP to grow by 5 per cent.

In 2012, headline CPI inflation is expected to taper off to 3.1 per cent from the forecast of 5.1 per cent for this year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Additional buyer's stamp duty for private property from Dec 8

[Commentary] is about time that the FTs and Foreign Speculators kena tax on the purchase of Singapore private property. See my posting
Powerful eh my blog....
We did not serve NS to protect empty private luxury appartments owned by that they can make money to send back to their home countries...In my view, the 10 percent is still too should be at least 50% tax and we use that 50% to rebate Singaporeans (with a PINK IC) for purchase of their HDBs or private property.... Many Singaporeans feel that we are 2nd class citizens in our own country.

SINGAPORE: The government has imposed an Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) for private property of between 3 per cent and 10 per cent for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and foreigners to moderate investment demand for private residential property and promote a more stable and sustainable market.

The changes take effect on December 8.

Foreigners will pay 10 per cent Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) for any residential property.

Permanent Residents owning one and buying second and subsequent properties will pay 3 per cent ABSD.

Singaporeans owning two and buying a third and subsequent residential properties will pay 3 per cent Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty.

The ABSD will be imposed over and above the current Buyer's Stamp Duty, which are 1 per cent on the first $180,000 of purchase consideration or market value of the property (whichever is higher), 2 per cent on the next $180,000 and 3 per cent for the remainder.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Finance and National Development ministries say the government's objective is to promote a sustainable residential property market where prices move in line with economic fundamentals.

They said prices of private residential properties have continued to rise, albeit more slowly in the last two quarters.

Prices are now 13 per cent above the peak in the second quarter of 1996, and 16 per cent above the more recent peak in the second quarter of 2008.

They said that even with the current economic uncertainties, the demand for private residential property remains firm.

Given the uncertainty in stock markets and with interest rates remaining low, private property in Singapore continues to attract local and foreign investors.

They added that excessive investment demand will make the property cycle more volatile, and thus increase the risks to Singapore's economy and banking system.

The government said the higher ABSD rate for foreign buyers in particular is necessary, in view of the large pool of external liquidity and strong buying interest from abroad, and the relatively small size of the Singapore market.

The government said foreign purchases account for 19 per cent of all private residential property purchases in the second half of 2011, up from 7 per cent in the first half of 2009.

For purchases made jointly by two or more parties (eg a Singaporean with a PR, or a PR with a foreigner), the higher applicable ABSD rate will be imposed.

For example, if a citizen purchases a property with a foreigner, the ABSD of 10 per cent will apply.

In the case of a joint purchase by Singaporeans, who each already owns properties, the ABSD of 3 per cent will apply as long as one of the purchasers already owns two properties.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam, said: "We have always had open markets and must keep them that way. However, the reality is that investment flows into our property market are now larger than before, and unlikely to recede as long as interest rates remain low.

"The additional buyer's stamp duty should help cool investment demand, and avoid the prospect of a major, destabilising correction further down the road."

Nicholas Mak, Executive Director of Research and Consultancy at SLP International, said: "It will curb investment demand for private residential properties quite drastically, especially demand from non-resident foreigners. And I think in the next one to two months or so, demand from non-resident foreigners will almost dry-up."

Home buyers are mixed in their views.

One Indian foreigner said: "I know there is a stamp duty, but any increase in that will probably take it out of my level where I want to buy."

An Indian who is a Permanent Resident said: "Nowadays, HDB properties are also difficult to buy, because of more conditions. So they have to buy property here. Definitely they'll keep buying more irrespective of whether the stamp duty is increased or not."

One Singaporean said: "It probably wouldn't have an effect in the short-term, because the property market prices are still rising, people are still speculating."

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said: "We are ramping up the supply of new Executive Condominium units through the Government Land Sales Programme.

"This will help higher-income Singaporeans own private condominium units in an affordable way, as the sale of new EC units is restricted to Singaporean households only."

Singaporean first-time buyers and upgraders, and buyers of HDB flats will not be affected by the new measure.

Certain reliefs will be provided so that the measure will not impact home occupation demand by residents.

For example, relief will be provided for Singaporean-foreigner/PR married couples buying their homes.

Reliefs will also be provided for qualifying developers and for purchases falling within the scope of Singapore's international trade agreements.

The government will continue to ensure an adequate supply of private housing to meet-medium term demand.

There are 41,000 unsold private housing units in the pipeline.

The government will inject sites that can potentially yield a total of 14,100 units in the 1H2012 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, similar to the supply in previous GLS programmes.

Of these, about 7,000 units will be from sites on the Confirmed List.

These numbers take into account the ample pipeline supply and the dampening effect of the ABSD.

The government will also expand the supply of executive condominiums (ECs) in 2012 and is prepared to release sites that can potentially yield 5,000 EC units for the entire year.

Sites for 3,500 EC units will be made available in 1H2012, including 3,000 EC units on the Confirmed List.

The Confirmed List quantum is comparable to the 3,000 EC units from five sites sold for the whole of 2011. More details will be provided in the press release for the 1H2012 GLS Programme on MND's website.

The Government will continue to monitor the property market and adjust its property policies in step with changes in the market and the economy.

- CNA/de

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Singapore Home Prices May Be Poised to Plunge - WSJ

November 28, 2011, 4:12 PM SGT. WSJ SEA
If you’ve been waiting for a chance to purchase a property in Singapore, maybe you should wait some more.

The city-state’s red-hot residential real estate market could be poised to plummet 20% to 30% over the next three years – at least according to some analysts, who say demand is dampening just as a flood of new flats is hitting the market.

“We now expect a multi-year downturn in the residential market, with overall private home prices falling by 22% to 26%,” by the end of 2014 said David Lum, an analyst for Daiwa Capital Markets, in a recent report.

Analysts predicting a drastic drop in Singapore property prices are still in the minority. Yet a growing number of analysts are at least somewhat concerned that the conditions driving Singapore property prices and rents higher in recent years – notably brisk demand and tight supply – are about to be reversed.

The country’s gross domestic product growth is expected to slow this year and stay low. Meanwhile, recent government restrictions on migration are expected to crimp the population growth, which was also underpinning demand for homes.

“In 2005 to 2010, Singapore’s population grew by 21%, or 3.3% (per year). This is over three times faster than the 1% per year recorded in the previous four years,” said Standard Chartered Bank in a report last week. “Due to the high population growth and the low home completions, residential rents and prices have climbed 75% since 2005.”

As political pressure from concerned citizens has forced Singapore to make it tougher for foreigners to work in Southeast Asia’s financial capital, population growth will slow to less than 2% per year and residential property prices and rents could fall as much as 30% over the next three years, the report said.

While prices and sales of new flats are stable recently, there are some creeping indicators that demand and prices could tip soon. In October, pre-sales for lower-priced projects were stronger than for luxury projects, suggesting that consumers are becoming more price-sensitive.

The number of unsold properties is rising and expected to continue climbing, as more than 100,000 new residential units are scheduled to be completed by both public and private sector developers over the next three years, according to the Standard Chartered report.

“From late 2012 we believe the sector’s structural issues – rising levels of unsold inventory due to robust launch schedules coupled with a formidable pipeline of completions – will continue to depress rents and capital markets,” Daiwa’s Mr. Lum said.

Singapore has faced similar predictions of big declines in property prices, and slowdowns in population growth, that didn’t fully materialize. During the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, for example, some analysts worried about a potential swoon in the Singapore property prices, and while the market did turn down briefly, it snapped back quickly on the back of a strong economic recovery in 2010. Many analysts note that the government’s close regulation of Singapore’s property market, including oversight over releases of land for new construction, will help keep the market on an even keel in the long run.

The latest reports were analyzing the prices of stock prices and real estate investment trusts and were not intended as guides for home buyers. However, should their predictions on real estate prices turn out to be correct, it could be good news for families that have been waiting for a better deal before they buy – and of course bad news for anyone that has just invested in a home in Singapore

Monday, 28 November 2011

New High : Foreigners bought 18.6 per cent of all private homes sold in Q3

25 Nov 2011 - Buyers from mainland China continued to snap up private homes in Singapore's east in the third quarter, pushing up their share of deals, according to a new report from DTZ. The property firm, which analysed caveats lodged for both new and secondary sales, also found that foreigners bought 18.6 per cent of all private homes that were sold in Q3 - a new high. Foreigners (excluding Singapore PRs) accounted for 16 per cent of all private home sales in Q1 and Q2. Buyers from mainland China were the biggest group of non-Singaporean (that is, foreigner and Singapore PR) purchasers. They accounted for 30.6 per cent of all private home transactions in Q3, up from 26 per cent in Q1 and Q2. (BT)

[Commentary : WTF! This place is really becoming Chinapore. We need a 50% property tax for all foreign buyers transactions and the $$$ transferred as a rebate to Singaporeans buyers. We are slowly being bought out with foreign money...what's the use of serving NS to defend the houses owned by foreigners !!!!]

Friday, 25 November 2011

Private Property Prices 'to fall by up to 30%' from 2012 to 2014

Prviate home prices in the mass market could fall by up to 30 per cent over the next three years as supply ramps up amid falling demand according to a new report.
Standard Chartered analysts see demand being hit by the stuttering economy and slower population growth in the wake of tighter immigration rules.
Population growth will shrink to between 1.5 and 2 per cent for the next three to five years, they noted, while economic expansion is set to slow to 3 to 4 per cent, from an averag of 6.1 per cent over the past five years.
But housing supply will go the opposite way with the number of mass market units expected to rise by 3.1 per cent next year and 5.4 per cent in 2013.
"We expect lower population growth and high completion to induce a 20 to 30 per cent decline in home prices from 2012 to 2014." The report said.

Monday, 21 November 2011

iHeaven, iCloud, iGenius

iHeaven, iCloud, iGenius
Some great cartoons in tribute to the Genius Steve Jobs.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Spoil Market - Even Monks kena

Local monk Ang Juat Chong says he spoke to his MP, Mr Yaw Shin Leong, about unlicensed monks working in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE

Monks face pressure of foreign competition

Income from prayer sessions down as foreign monks charge lower rate

Some monks here are feeling the heat of competition provided by their foreign counterparts.
In particular, the local monks claim that foreign monks, who are mostly from China and Malaysia, are undercutting them by charging up to 50 per cent less for prayer sessions conducted at funeral wakes.

Mr Ang Juat Chong, 59, a Singaporean who has been a Buddhist monk for the last 18 years, said his monthly income has gone down by as much as 70 per cent in the last two years because of this.
'Local monks charge about $1,200 to do Buddhist rites at funeral wakes, but these foreign monks charge only $600 or $700. So of course, funeral parlours will prefer to hire them,' he told The Straits Times yesterday.

[Commentary : Whilst competition in principle is always good for the consumer and promotes continuous improvements, un-fair competition kills off local talent, cultivates $ only society and export Singapore dollars overseas....maybe we should have illegal Ministers who don't have to pay taxes, don't need to live in high cost Singapore, and don't need multi-million dollars salaries, to replace our current Ministers...Fair or not!] 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Who can you trust with your money?

[Commentary : Who can you trust with your money? It seems that many forms of investments are risky or do not provide the returns that they are promising. Wine brokers claiming huge profits from wine investments, Land Banking companies that tell you buying an obscure piece of undeveloped and in UK is a sure win, brokeages that take too much risk and UBS letting a rouge trader lose Billions of dollars.

You wonder where all the moo-lah goes is a zero sum game, so if someone is losing big time, someone is winning big time, which side of the fence are you?]

Wednesday, Nov 02, 2011
AsiaOne, Reuters   
Worried investors swamp MF Global Singapore's office 

As MF Global Holdings, the futures broker run by former Goldman Sachs chief Jon Corzine, filed for bankruptcy in New York on Monday, retail investors swamped its Singapore office early yesterday morning, anxious about their investments.   

The Straits Times reported that about 30 investors clamoured to withdraw funds and close accounts at the brokerage's office on the 17th story at One George Street yesterday, as they feared for the safety of their money.

According to the report, a female employee asked investors to queue up and fill out withdrawal request forms shortly after 9.15am.

At around 10am, investors were no longer allowed to enter the office. They were met in the lobby instead where a male Caucasian employee, who declined to identify himself, told investors: "There is no trading taking place on any product. All trading platforms are inoperable at the moment. All incoming and outgoing funds are suspended.

"Your funds are segregated under MAS regulations and SGX regulations in Singapore. They are not the property of MF Global, they are your funds, they are held in Singapore."

One of the investors, Madam Kelly Tan, 48, told The Straits Times: "I couldn't sleep the whole night, can't eat the whole day. I called them but nobody picked up the phone. It was very scary for me.

"Now my worry is not just that I can't take back my money - I've also incurred debt."

Despite the fact that MF Global's trading platform has been down since Monday afternoon, her account has not been suspended. She said that yesterday alone, she had already incurred up to $40,000 debt from her open positions. She had invested more than $100,000 of her life savings in contracts for difference (CFDs) with MF Global.

"Of course I'm afraid I may not get back anything, that is why I am here," said Andre Chia, a 32-year-old pilot. "I'm waiting for the liquidation, MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), maybe I'll end up at the Speakers' Corner," he added, referring to the only place in Singapore where protesters can gather without a permit.

In the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, hundred of Singaporeans gathered at Speakers' Corner to protest their losses from mini-bonds linked to the failed US bank.

Liquidators from KPMG have assured MF Global customers in Singapore that they are working to ensure all money in client accounts is returned to them.

However several investors vented their anger that they were closed out of trading positions at a loss, with no option to wait for the market to turn.

"I feel uneasy, I don't know how much I will lose. If I have to cut losses, I have to know how much I will lose," said 57-year-old John Wong, who had invested around $8,000 with the brokerage.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Lobangclub is an Apple app that has just been mentioned in the newspapers because they were comparing prices of cigerettes in Singapore. HSA did not like that.

Lobangclub comes from the Malay term “lobang” which means “tips”, is an app that allows users to scan a barcode and compare its prices with other local merchants.  Lobangclub is currently incubated at the Innovation Centre of Nanyang Technological Univeristy (NTU) and was launched a few weeks ago

How it works:

Choose a product, scan the barcode, compare prices with other local stores around you, decide where you want to purchase your item. As simple as that. The app also allows you to follow your friends and see their activities. The focus of Lobangclub, unlike other deal or bargain sites, is entirely community based and focuses on everyday prices for things that you buy.

Pros :
(1) It is power of the consumer and collectively strength of many. Similar to SummonsAuntie and such social media, it only works if a lot of people get on board.
(2) It breaks down the walls of mis-information and advertising perceptions.
(3) It is a locally based and Singapore focus app.
(4) The bar code scanner is pretty quick and accurate.

Cons :
(1) This type of app is not new, there was one based in UK and another setup by Singtel which I liked, but was then limited only to Singtel customers
(2) Seems to have an limited number of choices for some products. Like when I searched rice, it gave me Want Want rice crackers instead.
(3) Repetition of some of the products, when I searched for beer, more than one entry for Tiger was inside.  
(4) It kicked me out of the app when I was trying to enter the price of one of the products.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

OMG Margin Call !

Margin Call The Movie

Margin Call does offer a highly realistic view of Wall Street firms. Characters like Paul Bettany's hard-bitten player display the mixture of insecurity and hauteur that fuel the financial services world. Zachary Quinto, Spock in the most recent Star Trek, is a ph.d. in physics from M.I. T. who now runs financial models instead of figuring out how to keep spaceships aloft. The higher the rung on the organizational ladder, the better the suits and haircuts -- and the less the executives seem to know or care about how the company is making its money. Jeremy Irons, who plays the vulpine CEO John Tuld, parachutes in via helicopter, and doesn't deign to descend to the floor where the action is taking place.
Like real people on Wall Street, the characters in Margin Call are very interested in making money, and not much else. The long-term vision extends about as far as the year-end bonus for the junior people, and for the current quarter at the top. And they're fatalistic; some trades work, some trades don't. Some people make money, and others lose it. People get downsized or blow up all the time. If you're asked to be a scapegoat, take the generous severance package, cash in your options and move on. In order to ensure the survival of the century-old firm, the remaining executives have to dump huge positions of mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets quickly. Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), a 34-year veteran of the firm, argues that doing so will hurt the firm's customers and clients. But in a crisis, firms worry about themselves first and everybody else last.
The film is sharply written and fast-paced despite the absence of fireworks. In the end, though, Margin Call lets Wall Streeters off easily — and not because there's no single, Madoff-esque villain. The model and the markets went against the company. But the story was never that simple. You can blame policy and government and the Fed and Black Swans all you want. But in the end, the financial crisis of 2008 was the product of a series of extremely stupid moves made by people who should have known better, and who were paid huge amounts to know much, much better. Lehman Brothers could have survived the meltdown in the markets in 2008 — if only its executives and board hadn't decided that running an investment bank with 30:1 leverage was a great idea.
Wall Street II resolved with an improbable happy ending. By contrast, Margin Call has a more realistic denouement. The firm survives, and some of the traders and executives still have their jobs. But they're diminished, demoralized, in need of a hug and support. Yet nobody seems to be going home to anybody. In one of the final scenes, Spacey's character is weeping over his dead dog in the front yard of his ex-wife's house.
An obvious metaphor? Sure. On Wall Street, you may have temporary allies, colleagues and co-workers. But if you want a true friend, you'd better get a dog.

Monday, 24 October 2011

LTK : Better, faster and perhaps cheaper ministers ! Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage !

As the last speaker to speak from the opposition bench, Low -- the MP for Aljunied GRC -- took aim at Minister Lim Swee Say’s oft-repeated slogan of “cheaper, better, faster” and said that  “perhaps we will start to see better, faster ministers at work and perhaps cheaper (ones) after the ministerial salary review is completed”.

He also urged the government to ask itself why Singaporeans commonly perceived the government to be "more concerned with paying its ministers well than about the welfare of the people."    

In reply, Lim – who is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office as well as chief of the NTUC labour movement —said that his “cheaper, better, faster” slogan was referring to products and services and that comparisons were unfair.

“There’s a fundamental difference,” he said in his speech. “What the NTUC and the tripartite partners and pursuing are cheaper, better, faster products and services, and a cheaper, better, faster economy, not a cheaper, better, faster workforce.”

[Commentary : LSS has a lame explanation on his cheaper, better, faster comparison. The NTUC has kept on talking about re-training and re-development workers to improve and aspire to meet the slogan, so shouldn't the Ministers also aspire to improve and make less mistakes (Mas Selamat, Transportation woes, crazy COE and HDB prices, floods in Orchard/Tanglin/Serangoon).

I think Singaporean did a great job voting in the WP's members to counter and challenge the pre-vailing group think, the WP understand Singaporeans' worries and anxieties. More WP and removal of lousy, slow and expensive Ministers in 2016!]

Monday, 10 October 2011

Apple : The Genius of Steve Jobs

[Commentary] The Genius of Steve Jobs is to make complex technology beautiful, simple and accesible to the masses. No complex manuals, no slow startup sequence, no dreaded blue screen... Just reliable, intuitive and a pleasure to use. And in the process, become the game-changer and creative-destroyer in the music industry, books industry and mobile phone industry. If only he had more time in the world to revolutionize the airline, automotive and health-care industries..... Think Different - your legacy will live forever....

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein.

Apple Inc received orders for more than one million iPhone 4S phones in the first 24 hours, topping the previous record of 600,000, the company said on Monday.
In the United States the iPhone 4S is being carried by three U.S. operators for the first time with Sprint Nextel joining AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless as an iPhone seller.
Orders started just over a day after the company announced the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Property : Couples fake divorce to earn extra $3K monthly rent

Married couples in Singapore have been faking their divorce in order to buy new flats to be rented. The flats rentals typically earn them an extra $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

Vice-president of real estate company Propnex, Mr Lim Yong Hock, told Lianhe Wanbao that such practices began about 10 years ago.

Property agents have been puzzled when couples show up to view a house together, despite being divorced.
After the couples proceed with the divorce, one party will keep the existing flat which they co-own, and the other party would buy another flat. One of the flats will then be rented.
According to Singapore's regulations, a single person above the age of 35 is eligible to own a flat on their own.

Mr Lim added that such arrangements between couples are hard to see through and even harder to foil.
In an earlier report last year by China Daily, couples in Shanghai had also faked their divorce and obtained fake divorce certificates to buy properties after the legislation passed a regulation which only allowed families to purchase only one apartment.

[Commentary] The things that people do to make $$$.. But don't forget once it is made legal, the other party may rescind on the promises and you may be left holding the debt and liability... remember the lawyer who ran off with millions of dollars and abandoned his wife and children???

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Duh why didn't GIC buy Berkshire or Apple?

Duh why didn't GIC buy Berkshire or Apple?

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - UBS AG's largest shareholder supported former chief executive Oswald Gruebel's strategic plan for the bank and believed he could have stayed on to manage it through the latest crisis, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The faith of Government of Singapore Investment Corp Pte Ltd, the bigger of the city-state's two sovereign wealth funds, in UBS's departed CEO underscores the complexity of Gruebel's resignation and reveals the extent to which a variety of internal and external factors, including political pressure, played a role in his exit.
Gruebel resigned over the weekend as UBS management grappled with a rogue trading scandal that cost the bank $2.3 billion and prepared a plan to steady the struggling bank.

GIC's support of Gruebel until the very end also shows that while his leaving may have satisfied some shareholders, it hardly reassured the Singapore fund, which owns 6.4 percent of the bank.
"GIC believed he had good plans," said the source, who added that GIC was concerned about what the leadership changes would do to the bank's future strategy.
GIC declined to comment. UBS was not immediately able to be reached.

Gruebel met with GIC's chief investment officer Ng Kok Song last week when he was in Singapore for the meeting of the executive board and the board of directors, the source said. The 67-year-old Gruebel resigned on Saturday saying he was taking the blame for the scandal.
"Gruebel succumbed to Swiss national pressure," added the source, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter and therefore did not want to be identified.

The pressure would have made it difficult for Gruebel to implement his plans, the source said.
The Swiss parliament had piled pressure on the nation's biggest banks in the wake the rogue trading, as a center-left party pushed for a ban on risky investment banking and a plan to raise capital requirements passed the lower house.
Social Democrat lawmaker Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer narrowly failed to get enough support for her proposal to reopen debate on tough new capital measures for UBS and Credit Suisse so that a ban on investment banking could be added.
The source did not provide details on Gruebel's strategy, but sources had told Reuters last week that the former CEO had pushed for an 'integrated bank" model which meant investment bank would be part of the business.
The source said the investment bank could help facilitate the core wealth management business of the Swiss bank.
GIC's UBS investment is currently worth around 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.86 billion).
The sovereign wealth fund has lost about 77 percent of its 11 billion Swiss franc investment in UBS made at the end of 2007, excluding dividends, according to a Reuters calculation based on UBS filings.
The Singapore sovereign wealth fund, ranked as the world's eighth-largest with an estimated $300 billion in assets, has been reducing its exposure to the developed market due to long-term concerns about the U.S. and European fiscal deficits.
GIC cut its holdings of shares in developed markets to 34 percent of its portfolio from 41 percent in the fiscal year to the end of March, its annual report shows
GIC also owns 3.86 percent of Citigroup even after selling half its stake in the U.S. bank in 2009. GIC officials will meet with Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit later this week as the U.S. bank holds its board meeting in the city-state.
The source reiterated GIC's recent stance that UBS was a well-capitalised bank with a strong private wealth management business, a signal that the sovereign investor was not preparing to sell out of its holding.
GIC is not interested in a seat on the UBS board, the source said, adding it is not a passive investor and can voice its views to the UBS management.
"The board seat is a distraction," the source said.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Wall Street – A Delusional Fairy Tale for the labour force

AUG 2011

With just over 7.6 million employees, the U.S. financial industry's workforce is at a low not seen since January 1999, according to U.S. government data. The industry's headcount is down 9 percent since a peak of 8.35 million in late 2006.

Workers are bracing for further cuts as banks eke out profits from less revenue. And many finance jobs, from bank tellers to bond traders, are being replaced by computers.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS AG and Barclays PLC are among the major banks that plan to cut thousands of jobs, following disappointing earnings reports.
Experts say that unlike prior boom-and-bust cycles, the financial industry may not see more hiring anytime soon.

"In the past, brokerage firms would fire 5,000 brokers one year and then hire 5,000 brokers the next year," said Ernest Patrikis, a partner at Wall Street law firm White & Case who spent 30 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "That's not what we're seeing this time around."

If the finance industry is shrinking on a more permanent basis, as some suggest, its workers have been slow to catch on. Many of those laid off since 2006 remain unemployed, looking for work in the same sector.
Unemployment in financial services has averaged 6.7 percent over the past 12 months, far below the broader U.S. jobless rate, but more than double what it was when the crisis hit.
"Finance was at the center of the storm in this recession and its aftermath," said John Challenger, head of the job-search counselling firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Those workers don't absorb back into the system as quickly."
Some don't go back at all.
"I said to myself, 'I'm done -- this is a big mess on Wall Street,'" said Rina Lazar, who was a Merrill Lynch analyst, a hedge fund saleswoman and finance recruiter before quitting in 2008. She now uses the same skills to sell kitchen products and cookware for a direct sales company called The Pampered Chef.
Lazar, who has won a trip to Hawaii as one of the firm's top sellers, said she earns less money than she did on Wall Street, but is happier and more motivated, with more time off.
"I was making six figures by the time I was 23," said Lazar, who is 30. "At the same time, my hours were insane and I had no life. I'm glad I moved on. I'm much happier now."
In some cases, bankers and traders find themselves going for jobs they might have scoffed at a year or two ago.

Rich Rothaar, 27, cut his teeth on Wall Street selling over-the-counter derivatives, a hot commodity in the years leading up to the crisis. But at the height of the turmoil in 2008, Rothaar lost his job.
Two years later, with no job prospects in sight, Rothaar decided to get his hands dirty, literally: he opened a kitchen exhaust cleaning franchise near his hometown in Long Island.
"On Wall Street, there was no camaraderie, no helping hand," Rothaar said. "It became extremely cutthroat. It just wasn't a fun place to work anymore."
Rothaar says his day-to-day work can be mundane and frustrating, but he likes being a successful entrepreneur.
"On Wall Street, it was much easier and you made more money, which was great," he said. "But it was also very unfulfilling. It feels nice to actually build a business, to have something more tangible than just brokering contracts all day long."

Carrie Luckner-Zimmerman, who left her job as a long-short equity trader to become a pastry chef, echoed the sentiment.
"I would watch those fancy cake shows on TV and think to myself, 'It would be pretty cool to learn how to make those cakes' -- to do something with my hands and create something tangible, rather than just trading," she said.
Luckner-Zimmerman quit a hedge fund called Satellite Asset Management in May 2008. She spent several months learning the pastry craft at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and the French Culinary Institute in New York before launching her own company, Petit Paris Patisserie, in 2009. She now sells French pastries and artisanal bread at catered events and farmer's markets.
By the time she got her new venture off the ground, Satellite Asset Management had started to liquidate.
"Things weren't looking so hot and it was a little stressful," Luckner-Zimmerman said about the end of her nine-year stint in finance. "I took the leap, but if I hadn't made the decision, the decision would have been made for me."

If there is a silver lining about the job losses in finance it might be this: a hoard of bright, talented, profit-hungry employees with plenty of time to help jump-start the economy.
One such example: Luke Holden, an ex-investment banker who left Wall Street to open a lobster shack.
Since opening his first Luke's Lobster restaurant in New York City's East Village in 2009, Holden's enterprise has spread to five locations in New York and Washington, D.C.
In the process, he has helped his father in Maine, who had seen a slowdown in business at his seafood processing company, as well as the lobstermen there. The chain also sells soda and soup from local Maine businesses, and donates profits to a fishermen's society.
"My dream job would be to go back and lobster every day," said Holden.

Challenger, the jobs consultant, draws a comparison to the tech whizzes who left Silicon Valley after the dot-com bubble burst a decade ago.
"The talented, educated, smart people often make their way into new interesting areas," he said. "That's important for the country, to have an economy that's nimble enough to not squander its brainpower."

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

GIC is sitting on a substantial loss on UBS - close to $7.4 billion

[COMMENTS] If you think you are a bad investor and have lost $$$, don't worry the bigger idiots are out there...
GIC is sitting on a substantial loss — close to $7.4 billion — on its UBS stake, acquired for $15 billion three and a half years ago.

Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, was already sitting on a substantial loss on its 6.4 per cent stake in UBS before last week’s shock disclosure that a 31-year-old trader on the bank’s “Delta One” desk allegedly lost billions by taking unauthorised futures positions.
Oswald GrĂ¼bel, UBS’s embattled chief executive, met GIC as the bank’s board gathered to review the implications of the scandal, and to consider sweeping changes to the bank’s business model in a long-scheduled meeting timed to coincide with the Singapore Grand Prix.
“[We] discussed the alleged fraudulent trading that led to the large financial loss for UBS,” GIC said in a rare statement. “GIC expressed disappointment and concern at the lapses and urged UBS to take firm action to restore confidence in the bank.”

Imagine what we can do for the Citizens and poor in Singapore with the US$ 7.4 Billion Loss
- Pro-family benefits such as affordable child care/education so that we do not need to rely on FTs
- Subsidise Health care for Chronic illnesses/hospitalizations
- Affordable HDB housing
- Transport systems that are reasonably priced with no failures

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wall Street Meets Family Guy

Stewie Griffin Meets Wall Street - Family Guy... two of my favourite characters...

One from Family guy the comedy cartoon...
One from Wall Street the movie...

Hilarious !!!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How to Lose to Win !

How to Lose to Win !
Banks and all their greed!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Too Big to Fail Movie by HBO (2011)

Too Big to Fail Movie by HBO (2011)....the apparent real conversations and thought-processes/negotiations that went on in the USA administration and finance industry during the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

They managed to get actors that do look like the characters that they were portraying.
Except for Warren Buffett who look like they picked the actor from some old folks home...

Interesting Movie

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Second City - Competition in the work place

Competition in the work place - really funny video from Second City Comedy...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Who should be the priority?

"Treat your Staff right and they will be happy to serve the Customers well, the interests of the Shareholders will then be met.

Unfortunately, too many CEOs get the priorities reversed."

Monday, 22 August 2011

Horrible Bosses Movie !!! Reviews

Anyone went to watch this show Horrible Bosses? It is showing in Singapore. The reviews look pretty good!

"For Nick, Kurt and Dale, the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers...permanently. There's only one problem: even the best laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them. Produced by Jay Stern."

Official Website

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Horrible Bosses : Trailer HD

Funny trailer about terrible bosses...they haven't shown this in Singapore yet...not sure if it is even going to come...
I wouldn't mind Jennifer Aniston harrassing me!

Monday, 25 July 2011

More commentary...

Better Off Ted focuses on the corporate-optimist, Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington),

a single father and the well-respected and beloved head of a research and development department at the fictional, soulless conglomerate of Veridian Dynamics. Ted dictates the series' events by regularly breaking the fourth wall and directly addressing the audience as he serves as the show's on-camera narrator. Alongside Ted is his supervisor Veronica Palmer (Portia de Rossi), [And by the way!!! The 37-year-old, who is now happily married to wife Ellen DeGeneres!!!]

co-worker and love interest Linda Zworling (Andrea Anders),
his daughter Rose (Isabella Acres), and the two laboratory scientists Phillip Myman (Jonathan Slavin) and Lem Hewitt (Malcolm Barrett). His daughter Rose is the down-to-earth realist who has a conscience compared to the deluded employees of Veridian Dynamics. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Video - Life Better...

Life Better

Video - Welcome to Veridian Dynamics!

Welcome to Veridian Dynamics

Video Clip - Join Veridian Dynamics

Join Veridian Dynamics

Better Off Ted - Intro

Better Off Ted is an American situation comedy, which premiered March 18, 2009 on ABC.

I caught one episode of this when I was travelling overseas for business. And ever since, I have been hooked on it. It is like a hybrid between "the Office" and "Dilbert". It deals with a company called Veridian Dynamics, a USA-Based MNC that is on the cutting edge of technology with exploding pumpkins and oct-chickens (chickens with eight legs). It is funny at the same time sad, as it shows the dysfunctional side of large companies which is uncannily true. Catch some of the clips and quotes that I will post shortly and you will see.