Thursday, 31 May 2012

Watz Online - 31 May 2012

Zhang Ziyi investigated for prostitution

Zhang Ziyi investigated for prostitution

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is allegedly being investigated for a sex scandal linked with China's former Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai.

According to various sources that have been rampant on the matter, Zhang has been barred from leaving the country, where she is currently shooting "The Grandmasters", while the investigations are ongoing.

This may explain why she has refused to appear at the Cannes Film Festival, where her upcoming movie "Dangerous Liaisons" is contending. She has also refused an invitation to present the Palme d'Or award at the festival.

Zhang's involvement in the scandal with Bo, was believed to have been arranged by another government official and an associate of Bo, Xu Ming, the founder and chairman of the Dailian Shide Group.

The actress had agreed to sleep with Bo for 10 million Yuan (approximately SG$2 million) and they had at least 10 encounters in between 2004 to 2007, according to the Chinese media.

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Crime syndicate targets Singapore flights: police

Singapore police warned on Tuesday that members of a Chinese crime syndicate were believed to be stealing money from the bags of passengers while they slept on flights to and from the country.

Eighteen reports about in-flight thefts have been filed so far this year, up from only one in 2011, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, head of the airport police division.

"Investigations revealed that some of the thieves are suspected to be syndicate members from China working in groups of three to four individuals per flight," Tee told AFP.

"They would strike during boarding operations, or in-flight when passengers are asleep or when using the toilets.

"Their goal is to steal cash which has been kept by passengers inside their travel or laptop bags stowed in the overhead compartments of the aircraft."

Tee said the thefts were confined to some carriers on regional flights.

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Rochor Road-Victoria Street junction is safe, says LTA
 


The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has checked the Rochor Road-Victoria Street junction where two recent high-profile accidents took place, and found it to be safe.

The checks were done in the day as well as in the middle of the night after the accidents.

But 'as an added precautionary measure', the LTA said it will 'synchronise the green phase' of the pedestrian crossing signals and the Victoria Street signal lights, so that both will be green at the same time.

It added that it will reinstate a set of overhead traffic signals once MRT works in the area are completed next year.

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Lexus driver charged over Bugis crash

The driver of a Lexus involved in a crash at the Victoria Street-Rochor Road junction in the Bugis area last weekend has been charged with drink driving and dangerous driving.

Kelvin Seah Koon Yong, 30, who works in the food and beverage industry, allegedly ran a red light and collided with a taxi just after 3am on Saturday. A cab passenger was taken to hospital and treated as an outpatient.

The circumstances of the crash were similar to the May 12 one at the same junction involving a Ferrari. That crash claimed three lives.

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Many still beating red light at jinxed junction


Many still beating red light at jinxed junction
Since the two crashes, the junction of Victoria Street and Rochor Road is now very much in the public eye. 
At least three vehicles ran the red light at the now-infamous traffic light near Bugis Junction, in a survey carried out on Monday (28 May).

Reporters from the newspaper staked out at the site of the Ferrari-taxi crash after the most recent accident involving a Lexus. 

In the span of one hour between 6pm to 7pm on Monday evening, at least three vehicles beat the red light during the evening peak hour.

At least three jaywalkers were spotted while two vehicles stopped illegally at the roadside to pick up passengers.
A shop assistant from a nearby boutique told reporters that the situation in the area is a lot worse at night. She said a lot more jaywalkers will cross the roads illegally after the shops close.

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A Supercar Crash Enrages Singaporeans


Wreck sparks anger at the million-odd immigrants brought in as a result of government policy

At 4 a.m. on May 12, a red Ferrari supercar driven by a Chinese national named Ma Chi ran a red light, slamming into a taxicab at the corner of Singapore's Queen Victoria Street and Rochor Road, killing the 31 year-old driver, the taxi driver and his passenger, a 41-year-old Japanese woman.

The implications of the crash have continued to mushroom, kicking off a massive public outcry both in Singapore and China. In Singapore, it has raised the already festering anger level at the enormous numbers of foreign nationals that have entered the country, as well as the ease with which foreign nationals, especially rich ones, can gain permanent residency. The crash and its aftermatn have become a factor in a by-election scheduled for Saturday in the Hougang district of the island republic, for a seat that has traditionally been held by the opposition.

Ma was described as an “expatriate financial advisor from Sichuan,” his pregnant wife told Singaporean media, adding that she didn’t know his 20-year-old companion. a mainland Chinese woman who died in hospital later. . Ma had purchased a luxury S$3 million condominium on the island nation’s east coast, she said, adding that he also owned a US$400,000 BMW as well as the limited-edition Ferrari 590GTO, which he was said to have bought for his 30th birthday. He was said to be applying for permanent residency when he was killed.

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Taxi drivers catch aggressive freeloader

Taxi drivers catch aggressive freeloader 
(Photo / Wikimedia Commons)

A taxi driver assaulted by an aggressive passenger gathered 20 other drivers within 15 minutes to bring the culprit to justice. The incident happened sometime in March at around 3:30am.

The 38 year-old taxi driver, known only as Mr Liu, picked up a well-built man in his twenties outside Gallery Hotel. The man, dressed in t-shirt and jeans, wanted to go to a bar outside Pan-Pacific Hotel to continue his night of fun.

As the taxi neared Marina Bay Sands, the man suddenly accused Mr Liu of purposely going on a detour to earn a quick buck. Mr Liu tried to reason with him and even offered to deduct $1-2 from the fare. However, the man declined and wanted the taxi to stop immediately.

“After I stopped the car, he refused to pay. As we were in a standoff, I decided to drive him back to where I picked him up,” Mr Liu said.



Low explains comments on media

I SHARE the editorial writer's view that 'anyone who claims to promote the idea of a First World democracy should take care to uphold its institutions, including the media' ('Fallout from the Hougang showdown'; yesterday).

At the by-election public rally last Thursday, I said: 'The media is a potentially powerful tool for or against certain political parties. Therefore, it is imperative that the media must become a reliable source of information for the people, independent from the strong influence of the Government... We must not allow the media to be used by the Government as a political tool.'

At the press conference last Saturday night, I reiterated that only with an independent media that presents fair and accurate information, can the people make an informed choice of their Member of Parliament.

In the recent campaign, I detected biased reporting, calculated to damage the Workers' Party (WP) candidate and the party itself. For example, the front page of The Straits Times last Wednesday showed a large photo of party chairman Sylvia Lim and myself talking to each other with grim faces at our rally, with the candidate in between, with the headline 'WP faces allegations of dishonesty'. This was after the accusations had already been publicly clarified.

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File Picture:

Maid jailed for pouring menstrual discharge into employer's coffee

An Indonesian maid was jailed for one month on Tuesday for pouring her menstrual discharge into the coffee of her employer.

Jumiah, 24, pleaded guilty to mischief at her employer's home on Aug 31, 2011.

The court heard that Jumiah, who had been working for the family for 1-1/2 months, wanted a change of employer but her request was turned down.

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Overseas votes for Hougang by-election evenly split

SINGAPORE: Twenty-seven of 43 registered overseas voters cast their votes in the Hougang by-election.

Thirteen votes went to Workers' Party's Png Eng Huat. People's Action Party's Desmond Choo also received 13 votes.

One vote was rejected.


This brings the total number of votes for Mr Png to 13,460 and that for Mr Choo to 8,223.

Mr Png's final share of the vote is 62.08 per cent while that of Mr Choo is 37.92 per cent.


The overseas votes cast in the Hougang by-election were counted on Wednesday at the counting centre at Serangoon Secondary School.

The Elections Department said that with the overseas votes added, the total number of votes cast in the by-election of 26 May is 21,978, including 295 rejected votes.

This means 94.05 per cent of 23,368 registered electors in Hougang constituency voted in the by-election. 

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Phony exorcism in the bedroom


Phony exorcism in the bedroom

It started with innocent lunches at work.

But soon enough, the topic over a meal between the 31-year-old woman – known only by the surname Cao – and her supervisor would veer towards the supernatural.

The supervisor, 53, claimed he could see spirits.

“He would talk incessantly about supernatural things. He kept saying there was something ‘dirty’ following me, and that it will affect me sexually,” said Ms Cao, a sales coordinator who only joined the company in February.

“After the meal with him, I felt out of sorts, with no control over my actions. I even burst into tears,” she added.
One day, the man, who was not named, said he was tipsy and brought her to a hotel to rest.

The man then said he would help her get rid of the spirits and forced himself on her.


CPF, Medisave minimum sums to go up: MOM

Central Provident Fund (CPF) members who turn 55 between this June and July next year will have to set aside the minimum sum of $139,000, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said.

The new minimum sum is up 6 per cent from $131,000 last year.

According to MOM, the amount has been adjusted over the years to account for inflation, longer life expectancies and Singaporeans’ rising expectations of their quality of life post-retirement.

The government has explained that the CPF minimum sum scheme provides members with a monthly income to support a modest standard of living during retirement.

Since 2004, the CPF minimum sum has been increased by $4,000 each year to reach $120,000 in 2013, as recommended by the Economic Review Committee in 2003.

MOM also announced that from the start of July next year, the Medisave minimum sum (MMS) will be raised to $38,500 from $36,000 -- an increase of 7 per cent.

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Singapore To Ease Car Control Measures; May Help Ease Inflation

Singapore will allow its car population to grow at a faster pace in the next few months than previously announced, a move expected to reduce the cost of owning a car and ease inflationary pressures in the city state.

The Land Transport Authority said Wednesday that it will reduce the annual vehicle growth rate to 1% starting August from 1.5% now, less steep than the earlier announced reduction to 0.5%.

The move will make available 390 additional Certificates of Entitlement, or COEs, a month starting August, the authority said in a statement on its website. The pace of car growth will be reduced to 0.5% from February 2013.

The government auctions a limited number of COEs -- which allow car ownership for 10 years -- twice every month in an effort to keep the vehicle population in check.

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Singapore Telecom Fined Following 3G Network Outages

­Singapore Telecom (Singtel) has been fined by the Singapore telecoms regulator, the IDA following a disruption to its 3G networks last September. The IDA found that Singtel had failed to comply with license regulations calling for "resilient mobile telephone services".

The service disruption caused some of Singtel's mobile subscribers in the central region of Singapore to experience intermittent difficulties in making and receiving calls and accessing SMS, MMS and mobile data services. At all times, 2G services were available.

Investigations showed that the service disruption was caused by a software glitch in the new switches that were progressively being installed by Singtel.

The glitch affected the normal routing of data packets in the network, and mobile services in the central area were intermittently disrupted over three periods between 6 and 7 September causing a total of 22 hours of service disruption.

More than 5 percent of the mobile network's base stations were affected.
Given the serious impact of the service disruption, IDA has decided to impose a financial penalty of S$400,000 on Singtel for its contravention of the Service Resiliency Code.


UPDATED: A Singapore soldier's shame? His maid carries his rucksack

Singapore soldier maid 2011 03 29

UPDATE: The recruit has been located and "counseled" by superiors.

A fellow soldier interviewed by Straits Times Indonesia feels "pity" for him. Perhaps the real pity is this kid doesn't have friends who would mercilessly ridicule him for even thinking about handing his rucksack to a maid.

Here we have the latest victim of a cell phone camera lens: a young Singaporean soldier, in full uniform, trailed by a maid lugging his rucksack.

The photo was first uploaded to Facebook, then circulated through message boards and, finally, broadcast on Singapore's local lifestyle Web site, Stomp!.

Now, it's become more than an excuse for Singaporeans to tsk-tsk at a young man's lameness.

The photo has whipped up a debate: are the island city-state's well-off youth are too pampered to defend their nation?

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Singapore’s maid addiction

Singapore maids 2012 05 29

BANGKOK, Thailand — They call it a job. But working as a live-in maid in Singapore is really an all-consuming way of life.

As it stands, domestic workers in the affluent city-state are guaranteed no days off. Maids — inevitably women from poorer Southeast Asian countries — are largely under the dominion of their employers. How a maid calls home, or when she’s allowed outside, can be dictated by her boss.

These practices, however, appear to be prompting soul-searching among Singapore’s lawmakers. In recent years, they’ve tinkered with rules governing employers’ control over their live-in servants, which are found in roughly 20 percent of Singapore’s homes.

For domestic workers, the latest legal gain is their biggest so far: the right to demand at least one weekly day off starting in 2013. And as maids hanging laundry out of high-rise condos continue plummeting to their deaths — there are nine cases this year and 75 since 2000, according to government figures — Singapore has vowed to punish families that don’t provide safe working conditions.

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Southeast Asia: migrant maids as modern day slaves

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The scar on Porn Sothea's bottom lip has turned into a permanent lump, while her arms and lower legs bear recently healed wounds and bruises.

She has only just returned to Cambodia after working for two years as a live-in maid in Kuala Lumpur, a job assignment that became a harrowing ordeal.

Sothea, 23, signed up for the work in late 2009, believing it would offer a way out of the dire poverty in her village in central Cambodia. Three months after arriving in Malaysia, however, her employer began to subject her to physical abuse and extreme working hours.

"Every part of my body was tortured at one time," Sothea said in December, a few days after she returned. "She punched me in my mouth and face many times, used a thin piece of metal to hit my back, and she grabbed my hair to hit my head against the wall," she said.

Experiences like Sothea's are common among Cambodian migrant maids. During the past year, human rights groups have been overwhelmed with complaints of abuse and exploitation of maids by Malaysian employers and the Cambodian job agencies that recruit the workers.

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Singapore drops to 4th spot in IMD World Competitiveness study

Singapore has dropped one place in an important global competitiveness study, coming in fourth, behind Hong Kong, the United States and Switzerland.

The Republic's ranking in the IMD World Competitiveness study was dragged down by fast-rising prices, a slowing economy and falling productivity.

This is the second year running that Singapore's ranking in the study has fallen. It grabbed the top spot in 2010 but slid to third place last year, in the annual study of 59 economies conducted by Swiss business school IMD.

Hong Kong topped the latest rankings, with high scores for being business-friendly and having an effective legal framework.

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'Not the job' of Yale-NUS College to tell students what to think

It is not the role of Yale-NUS College to tell its students what to think, politically or otherwise, said the college's newly appointed president, Professor Pericles Lewis, yesterday.

Instead, the education institute's role is to encourage them to engage in more critical dialogue to help move Singapore's society forward, he added.

Speaking during a media conference to announce his appointment, Prof Lewis, 43, made clear that his key focus was to broaden the knowledge of students at the new liberal-arts school and for them be able to ask important questions in any field they join.

"It is not the college's job, or mine, to tell Singaporeans what direction to move their society...in," he said.

"(But) it is the job of an education institution to encourage dialogue that contributes to the development of society."

His comments come after controversy surrounding the tie-up between Yale University in the United States and the National University of Singapore (NUS) to establish a liberal-arts school here, whose fundamental principles are closely aligned with the notion of freedom.

Last month, the US university's faculty reportedly voted 100 to 69 to pass a resolution expressing "concern regarding the history of lack of respect for civil and political rights in the state of Singapore".

It also called on the planned Yale-NUS College to uphold principles of "non-discrimination for all...civil liberty and political freedom on campus and in the broader society".

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Watz Buzzing - 30 May 2012

A Questionable Donation by Rotary Club




Giving money for a good cause is welcomed but giving money to a politician for a good cause during a political election campaign is venturing into the political arena. By doing this, has the Rotary Club taken a new direction? Is the club taking a position in politics? Is it within the ambit of its constitution? I have always been a supporter of the Rotary Club but I was disappointed by this action.

It was reported in the ST Thursday 24th may 2012, and I quote ST:
“The Rotary Club is pledging a $100,000 gift to PAP candidate Desmond Choo’s initiative to retrofit aging toilets in Hougang.”… “The club decided to make this donation after watching a video produced by a group named “The People for Desmond Choo” (unquote).
The cause is noble, helping aged people to sit rather than squat, a real problem when you are old. I applaud the Rotarians for that.
However the reason and timing for the donation is misplaced.

Is the Rotary Club giving to an individual PAP Desmond as reported in ST or to the old residents of Hougang?
Now that PAP Desmond lost to WP Png in the election, what is the Rotary Club’s stand?

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Toilet Tales

Chairman of the Foundation of Rotary Clubs, David Tong, has boldly stepped forward to clarify that its constitution bans members from taking part in any political activity in the name of the clubs. He was probably responding to former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bok's Facebook posting, questioning the $100,000 offer to support PAP candidate Desmond Choo's scheme to upgrade old toilets in Hougang. Tan had commented the cause was noble, "However the reason and timing for the donation is misplaced."

Click to read the fine print
Note the letter of offer was dated 22nd May 2012, at the height of the epic Battle for Hougang. Choo's campaign team said 50 more toilets can be retrofitted with the extra money, on top of the 11 already upgraded, and 19 in the pipeline.

The letter is addressed specifically to "Dear Mr. Desmond Choo Pey Ching, Hougang", and yet we are told Tapan Kumar Rao had not even met Choo before - how many strangers know him as Pey Ching? The last line reads emphatically, "I am sure, together we can make a difference." He must have crossed out "Always Here For You," that would be too obvious.

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Rotary's plan on Hougang flushed down the toilet

Some people do the obvious only to deny the obvious. I am talking about Rotary's plan to fund Desmond Choo's campaign with a $100k toilet upgrade, then claiming it has no political inclination.

This reminds me of Subhas Anandan's claim that the Association of Criminal Laywers of Singapore's (ACLS) attempt to set up a free legal clinic has no political links. Note that both these incidents took place at the height of the Hougang by election.

Here's the ACLS case - Free legal clinic at Hougang is a political gimmick

Here's the Rotary toilet case. No political intentions: Rotary Club of Singapore

The Rotary Club of Singapore is going ahead with a plan to help retrofit old toilets in Hougang, but dismissed suggestions that it was linked to political intentions.

The club had raised eyebrows last week when it said it would raise $100,000 to support a scheme by People's Action Party candidate Desmond Choo.

The announcement, which came during the Hougang by-election campaign, prompted some to question its timing.

But the club's president Kumar Tapan Rao told The Straits Times on Monday: 'The Rotary Club is not making any donation to any political party. We are raising funds for a project to help the elderly in Singapore.'
Only fools will believe Subhas and Kumar.

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OPINION: Toilet money really non-political?

mrbrown, 29 May 2012

The club's president Kumar Tapan Rao told The Straits Times on Monday: 'The Rotary Club is not making any donation to any political party. We are raising funds for a project to help the elderly in Singapore.'"
Let's see:
1. You announce your $100,000 donation a few days before the by-election.
2. You give it to the PAP candidate's program.
3. The PAP candidate himself announces your donation.
4. The donation benefits the residents of the ward the candidate is contesting.
But it is all non-political? Full story

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Tan Wah Piow and Toh Soh Lung to speak at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand event
The Phnom Penh Post, 28 May 2012
Entitled “Prelude to the post-Lee Kuan Yew era”, it will take place at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand and will feature two Singaporean lawyers speaking about the recent history of their young nation.

Entitled “Prelude to the post-Lee Kuan Yew era”, it will take place at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand and will feature two Singaporean lawyers speaking about the recent history of their young nation. Full story

 

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They Outsource Babies, Don't They?

Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing was quoting ex-DPM Wong Kan Seng when he said Singapore could turn its dismal total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.2 around, as Nordic countries managed to do, if it accepts women having children out of wedlock. That should make him popular in those countries, children born out of wedlock are usually associated with the "b" word.

In March 2011, Wong had quoted OECD figures to show that Sweden, Denmark and Norway have a high TFR because many people there are having babies out of wedlock as much as they are within marriage. What the keechiu general conveniently skipped was the qualification by Dr Yap Mui Teng, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, "although parents may not officially get married, they are more or less in stable cohabitating relationships.

Sometimes they go on to marry after a child is born." Something Brad Pitt and Angelina Joline planned to do, after having 3 biological and 3 adopted kids.

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NTUC Fairprice confirmed it went to China 4 times to recruit PRC workers

TR Emeritus (TRE) earlier published an article (‘NTUC FairPrice recruiting its staff from China instead of locally‘), reporting that advertisements of NTUC FairPrice looking for retail assistants, cashiers, store keepers and skilled fish cutting workers were found being put up in Shenyang, China.

TRE then wrote to NTUC asking about the matter and why, as a national labour movement, it would want to hire workers from China when any locals would be competent enough to fill the positions advertised.

NTUC FairPrice has since replied TRE’s query and confirmed that since 2011, it has conducted 4 recruitment exercises in China looking for PRC workers.

The reason given is that despite their ‘extensive’ recruitment efforts to hire locals, it is “still facing a manpower shortage just like most retailers here do”.

It assured that NTUC FairPrice’s recruitment policy has always been “to hire Singaporeans first” and boasted that 80% of NTUC FairPrice’s staff are Singapore citizens currently.

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Chinese no longer the top foreign property buyers in Singapore

Chinese buyers have lost out to Malaysians, who reclaimed top spot among foreigners buying Singapore properties despite the tough cooling measures introduced in December last year.

A report by DTZ Research revealed that the Chinese, including permanent residents (PRs), purchased 292 homes in Q1, down 54 percent from the 640 homes acquired in Q4 2011 – the lowest number in over two years.

This means that the proportion of Chinese buyers relative to non-Singaporeans fell to 23 percent from 29 percent last quarter, making it the lowest drop among all nationalities.

On the other hand, Malaysians had a high of 362 transactions, marking a 28 percent share among foreign buyers due to the larger number of Malaysian PRs in the country.

The latest measures include a 10 percent ABSD (additional buyer’s stamp duty) on all home purchases by foreigners. Meanwhile, PRs need to pay an extra three percent on their second and subsequent home purchases.

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Can Satan Play God?

"SHIOK MAN!!!"

That is the response of a dear relative to my email when I shared with her my thoughts that, after Workers Party Png Eng Huat's win in Hougang, there is hope yet for Singapore! She joined in the celebration in Hougang's at 1.30am on Sunday morning at Hougang Avenue 5.

After participating and videoing the celebration, I stayed up the whole night editing the video.

Apart from the blog, I have also uploaded the video on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA2dlcmdWyA

For the sake of our children and our children's children, we must stop this Arrogant Party from hurting us further.

They have been sitting in their ivory towers for so long that they are deaf and immune to the cry of the ordinary people. The only way to make PAP treat Singaporeans with respect is to vote in more opposition MPs. Without more opposition in Parliament, PAP will continue to treat us like dirt and walk all over us!

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Globalisation used to be the in thing

We plugged ourselves into the global system in every field. It was a good thing and we have had phenomenal growth by holding on to the coat tails of the American economy and system. And many countries too jumped in and everyone got hooked up into the same system. When the system is sound and doing well, everyone shares the prosperity. When the system is sick, everyone will be infected.

The unfortunate part today is that the global system is so sick, operated by crooks in all colours. And no matter how well run a country is, it needs a badly run country like the US or one in Europe to drag everyone else along. And this gets worst when many of the so called well run and well off countries are troubles themselves. Every crisis is an opportunity to patch up holes, and to create bigger holes.

And the rot does not stop here. The Americans and Europeans have plundered the system, corrupted the system and cheated the system for so long that it is no longer able to continue with just printing money for the crooks. They just cannot print fast enough.

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‘Not in my backyard’ syndrome hits Bishan

Yahoo! News Singapore, 28 May 2012
The Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to build a six to eight storey nursing home on the 0.3ha site, which is located at Bishan Street 13 and is closely flanked by Blocks 175, 181, 186 and 182 on three sides. Currently a fenced up football field, it is situated directly opposite Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary and Secondary Schools.

“I disagree with it [building a nursing home]. It will block the wind to our flats. They [MOH] should build the home somewhere else in Bishan, but not on this plot of land. There are better and bigger fields in this area,” said 25-year-old Hema Sedemparam, a nurse.

Housewife Madam Cheong echoed Sedemparam’s view, saying: “I’m not comfortable with it. I have lived more than 20 years here, and the air is good. But the nursing home is about seven floors high and will block the wind from my apartment.” Full story

Is this another ruse to attract more foreigners to become Singapore citizenship with free medical training?
Yahoo! News Singapore, 28 May 2012
More Singaporeans will likely join the healthcare sector once a planned new school of medicine opens, said Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat on Monday.

Speaking at the ground-breaking of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Nanyang Technology University’s (NTU’s) Novena campus, Heng pointed out the new school would “create more opportunities for Singaporeans locally” and that “more Singaporeans will choose to study medicine in Singapore and contribute to Singapore’s healthcare sector thereafter”. Full story
NUS student bullied online after questioning scholars’ programme: report
Yahoo! News Singapore, 28 May 2012
A National University of Singapore student who questioned whether a scholars programme has turned into a club for the elite has allegedly become the target of cyber-bullying.

In the article “Cyberbullying in NUS” published in online student newspaper The Kent Ridge Common (KRC) on Monday morning, student-writer Koh Choon Hwee said that Keira Chen, a history student under the University Scholars’ Programme (USP), has been called “stupid” and other names by fellow students since writing articles in the paper about the programme. Full story

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Foreign woman goes berserk after she's fined for illegal parking
STOMPer Supernovi says this foreign woman kicked up a big fuss after being issued a fine for parking illegally along a double yellow line at Bukit Timah. The police eventually had to be called in to resolve the matter.

Says the STOMPer:

"My friends and I were at Bukit Timah Plaza and we came upon a Chinese National woman getting booked for a parking offence along a double yellow line.

"Apparently, she insisted that the enforcement officer allow her a grace period but when she came back, she received a ticket.

"Question: Which enforcement officer will allow anyone any grace period for parking along a double yellow line?

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70% of 122,600 jobs created in Singapore last year went to foreigners


Foreigners are in every industry, from construction workers to hedge-fund managers in Singapore.

Bloomberg in its report (‘Ferrari Deaths Fuel Anti-Foreigner Anger as Singapore Votes‘, 25 May) has revealed that of the 122,600 jobs created in Singapore last year, about 70%, or 84,800 jobs, went to foreigners.

This is not surprising given that even Singapore’s own labour movement, NTUC, is spearing several recruitment drives into China to recruit cheap PRC workers to work in its supermarket chain, NTUC Fairprice (‘NTUC Fairprice recruiting its staff from China instead of locally‘).

In its report, Bloomberg wrote that the recent Ferrari crash involving a rich PRC Ma Chi, which killed 3 people and injured 2 others has fueled anti-foreigner anger in Singapore. The PRC sped through a red light in his $1.8 million Ferrari 599 GTO and slammed into a taxi, killing himself, the taxi driver and taxi passenger.

The crash was caught on camera and the video uploaded onto Youtube. The video quickly went viral and was viewed more than 7 million times. This prompted DPM Teo to write on his Facebook asking Singaporeans not to “blame all foreigners” in an attempt to defuse public anger over the PAP Government’s over-liberal immigration policies and the increasing wage gap in Singapore caused by the policies.

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Lee Kuan Yew: The next generation of leaders are making a bit of sacrifice

Former Minister Mentor (MM) Lee Kuan Yew claims that the next generation of leaders are not paid “very much” and therefore making a bit of “sacrifice” to be in the government.

Mr Lee, a staunch advocate of paying out-of-this-world salaries to attract the “best talents” into the government, was speaking at the annual Nikkei “The Future of Asia Conference” in Tokyo.

Commenting on Singapore’s leadership succession process, Mr Lee told the audience that Singapore is “very careful” in selecting its new leaders – by allowing them to work with senior leaders for long years before they take over the leadership.

Mr Lee said that this is important to ensure that leaders understand the intricacies of government and also maintain high standards of honesty and duty.

“I hope that successive leaders will bring in carefully selected people who have got the potential to do more than something for themselves. They’re not paid very much to do that. It must be a bit of a sacrifice, because the people with the potential to be ministers can easily earn bigger figures outside in the public sector.”


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The Reform Party of Singapore would  like to congratulate Mr Png Eng Huat of the Workers’ Party on winning the by-election campaign in Hougang and with such a clear majority. The people of Hougang have spoken and MP-elect Mr Png is their chosen representative.

The people of Hougang have refused once again to be intimidated by the PAP’s threats to withhold state resources. They have also sent a clear message to the PAP expressing a firm disavowal of their personality and smear campaign election tactics which they propagate through their stranglehold on the Main Stream Media.

The PM has been reminded today that the Republic of Singapore is not his personal fiefdom. Let us continue to work in solidarity to put this reminder to the PM  even more strongly in GE 2016.

Meanwhile let us not forget the erosion of our constitution and our freedom that has resulted due to a two thirds majority held by the PAP since 1960 which has allowed them to alter our constitution at will.

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WP rally in 2012 vs PAP rally in 1959

By James Tan : "WP rally in 2012 & PAP rally in 1959. Both rallies response were amazing. The PAP were once the popular party like today's WP. What went wrong with PAP today?"



WP rally vs PAP rally in 2012
By Bob Lee : WP vs PAP



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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Watz Online - 29 May 2012


S'porean Navy officer charged with committing 'indecent acts': reports

Yong Chuean Benedict Ang has pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent acts on a fellow ADFA cadet in Australia.
Yong Chuean Benedict Ang has pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent acts on a fellow ADFA cadet in Australia.
A Singaporean Navy officer training in a military college in Canberra has been charged with committing indecent acts on a fellow student, reported Australian media.

Lieutenant (LTA) Benedict Ang Yong Chuean, 21, an international student with the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT), is reported to have committed the acts on a female fellow cadet officer on May 6.

Ang, who is a former Sword of Honour (Navy) winner, has since pleaded not guilty to two charges of committing an act of indecency. The Sword of Honour is given to the best officer cadet in each cohort training batch.

He is currently out on bail but his passport has been impounded. His bail was continued when he appeared in a Canberra court earlier on Tuesday morning.

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Opposition must keep Hougang momentum going: Tan Jee Say
Former presidential hopeful Tan Jee Say sees the Workers’ Party’s (WP) victory in the Hougang by-election as evidence that the “fire of democracy” is spreading in Singapore.

The 58-year-old, who lost out to Tony Tan in the race for the presidency last August, congratulated the WP on his Facebook page on Tuesday, saying the WP’s win is a good sign for opposition parties contesting in the next General Elections in 2016.

“With this solid endorsement from Hougang, ‘the fire of democracy’ will surely spread to East Coast, Joo Chiat and beyond as described by Mr Png [Eng Huat],” he wrote.

“There is much for WP and all the other opposition parties to do in the rest of Singapore to keep the Hougang momentum going. The road to GE 2016 has already started.”


S'pore expats have second highest incomes globally
SINGAPORE - Expatriates in Singapore rank second in the world for income, with half earning over US$200,000 ($254,973) a year, a recent survey found.

The 2011 Expat Explorer Survey by HSBC also revealed that expat wealth remained widely immune to global economic troubles.

Expats in Singapore ranked top in Asia and third in the world for expat wealth and finances in areas such as earning levels, disposable income, spending, saving, investing patterns and the impact of the current global financial climate.

As such, it is no surprise that the survey results concluded that Singapore is regarded as the ideal expat destination - able to offer the best balance of career prospects, economic returns, quality of life and raising of children.

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MP, lawyers and businessmen lose over $10m in investment 'scam'
SINGAPORE - A group of more than 20 investors are crying foul after investing more than $10 million in a Hong Kong-based start-up which has failed to take off.

They include an MP, several businessmen and lawyers, who are unnamed due to requests of anonymity.

The business was supposedly an online marketing portal for regional suppliers looking to sell products in China, started by a Hong Kong businessman who appeared to have links to Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

According to a report in The Straits Times (ST), eight of the investors claimed to have been approached by a trusted stockbroker in 2006 and 2007.

The investors claim that they were told that the company, which had been developed over a period of six years, was worth HK$857 million (S$140 million).

They said that they were not allowed to see the business' accounts, and were led to believe that it was doing well.

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More foreign law firms will be allowed to practise here later this year.

So far, six foreign law practices have been awarded qualifying foreign law practice licences here.

The second round will see applications open from July 1 till Aug 31, and the Ministry of Law will announce which firms are awarded the licences by the end of the year.

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No political intentions: Rotary Club of Singapore

The Rotary Club of Singapore is going ahead with a plan to help retrofit old toilets in Hougang, but dismissed suggestions that it was linked to political intentions.

The club had raised eyebrows last week when it said it would raise $100,000 to support a scheme by People's Action Party candidate Desmond Choo.

The announcement, which came during the Hougang by-election campaign, prompted some to question its timing.

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Pinoy Cuisine's owners fined for employment offences

Two partners of a restaurant were fined $5,000 each on Tuesday for making a false declaration to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Jackson Tan, 44, also known as Muhammad Rafiq Tan Abdullah and Canares Lualhati Sikat pleaded guilty in a district court to engaging in a common intention to falsely declare information to the Ministry of Manpower in a work pass application. Another charge of employing a foreigner without a valid work pass was taken into consideration by the judge.

Tan, a Singaporean and Canares, a Filipino national, are partners of the Pinoy Cuisine restaurant along East Coast Road

Investigations revealed that they paid an employment pass holder a monthly salary of only $1,600 from Jan 7, 2011 to Feb 7, 2012.

However, they lied to MOM that the monthly salary was $2,500 to satisfy the salary criteria for work pass applications. Canares signed the declaration form while Tan was the one who submitted it to MOM. They had also employed another foreigner to work in their restaurant as a waiter without a valid work pass from Dec 10, 2011 to Feb 7, 2012.

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37% of employers in S'pore struggle to fill job positions
SINGAPORE - A manpower survey released today has revealed that 37 per cent of employers in Singapore struggle to fill job positions; compared to the global average of 34 per cent.

ManpowerGroup's seventh annual Talent Shortage Survey found that the jobs Singapore employers have most difficulty filling are production operators, accounting and finance staff and engineers.

For another consecutive year, engineers and sales representatives have stayed on the top ten chart as the most difficult roles to fill.

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Maid dies after church lift falls on her

SINGAPORE - A Filipino maid died after a church lift fell on her in a freak accident at the Catholic Church of St Michael off Serangoon Road, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

Ms Clarita Abanes, 46, was on the ground floor of the four-storey church helping a 70-year-old woman enter the lift when the accident occurred on the evening of May 16.

She was going to the second floor for mass, her friends and relatives said.

According to Ms Abanes' cousin, who gave her name as Ms Logie, it was likely that Ms Abanes did not notice that the lift had not descended to touch the ground floor when she pulled open the glass doors of the lift.

The lift then fell on both Ms Abanes and the elderly woman and trapped them underneath.


KL-Singapore high-speed rail link gaining traction?

IT LOOKS like there's going to be war between sky and land, if the second technical study being conducted by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) finds it feasible to give the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project the green light.

The sky between the two cities was already in war mode when budget carriers started providing shuttle services since the implementation of the Asean Open Sky Policy in 2009.

Competitive fares, as a result of the policy, have benefited travellers, who are basically tourists and businessmen. Bilateral trade and tourism activities are the long-term benefits that Malaysia and Singapore are set to gain.

When the high-speed rail project was proposed six years ago, Khazanah Nasional Bhd conducted a feasibility study but shelved it as the country could not afford such a mega project then.

In 2010, a similar proposal was raised again.

Last year, SPAD set up a technical committee to conduct the first phase of a feasibility study to ascertain whether it is feasible to embark on the massive project.


Made by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Heron-1 UAV is capable of remaining in the air close to two days without refueling.

Photo: Reuters

In the latest glimpse into ties with Singapore, the island nation inaugurated a squadron of Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles last week, according to The Straits Times newspaper.

Made by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Heron-1 UAV is capable of remaining in the air close to two days without refueling. In comparison, the UAV used before by the Singapore Air Force – called the Searcher and also made by IAI – can only remain in flight for 12 hours.

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A Spectacular Ferrari Crash In Singapore And The Rise Of Anti-Chinese Resentment

A deadly car crash in Singapore by a wealthy driver from China has sparked a new round of national resentment toward the Chinese. And Singapore is not alone.
Chinatown in Singapore (INABA Tomoaki) 
by: bertrandChinatown in Singapore (INABA Tomoaki)

By Zhu Chong
经济观察报E.O/Worldcrunch

BEIJING - Ten days ago in Singapore, a 31-year-old Chinese man driving a Ferrari 599 GTO went speeding through a red light. His car crashed into a taxi, killing two people in the taxi as well as himself. Shocking video footage of this accident circulated on YouTube.

For days, headlines of the local media were full of anti-Chinese sentiment. Public opinion and websites were charged up with Singaporean indignation, calling on the Chinese to “Get out!” One commentator even quipped that the ashes of the Ferrari driver should not stay to pollute the very limited land of this city-state.

It’s not the first time we Chinese have heard such voices. In Hong Kong, which counts mainland Chinese as is its biggest economic partner, there has been a huge parade protesting the massive number of Chinese women “dropping in for childbirth care.

Even though Chinese mainlanders bring tens of billions worth of consumption to this former British colony, the Hongkongese still call them locusts, accusing them of being low-class, noisy and dirty.

In Europe and the United States people covet Chinese tourists’ tremendous spending power with an average of $7,200 per capita of consumption when they go abroad.

The West tries in every way to attract the Chinese, so why is it that Chinese are, on the contrary, so unwelcome in places that also happen to be populated by the Chinese diaspora.

Are Chinese facing true discrimination, or are they just too sensitive? Are Singaporeans going overboard, or are there legitmate gripes?

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Jetstar faces claims it cut costs with cabin staff 

JETSTAR
Budget airline … crews recruited in Thailand have allegedly been used to staff routes in Australia. Photo: Tamara Voninski

AIRLINE cabin crew recruited in Thailand have allegedly been staffing domestic routes in Australia for Jetstar - for half the cost of the budget airline's local staff.

The Gillard government's workplace ombudsman yesterday took the airline to the Federal Court, saying the pay rate offered to the eight workers involved is not good enough. The legal action may ultimately involve 300 international cabin crew rostered across Jetstar's domestic routes.

Jetstar yesterday refuted the claims and a spokeswoman said that it would contest them vigorously when the matter went to court in August.

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Finally there is some hope for freedom of expression

Unless the fickle finger of fate intervenes in a dastardly manner, tomorrow evening will witness a function in Bangkok that will bring great credit to Singapore and Thailand and will shame Vietnam.

On the surface, the event is innocuous.

Entitled “Prelude to the post-Lee Kuan Yew era”, it will take place at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand and will feature two Singaporean lawyers speaking about the recent history of their young nation.

No big deal you might think, but you would be wrong.

The FCCT’s first speaker, Tan Wah Piow, was president of the University of Singapore’s Students’ Union in the 1970s, and like most student activists the world over he was a bit of a sh*t stirrer.

He gave histrionic speeches about the “class struggle” between the “labouring proletariat” and the “ruling class” – the kind of heady stuff many young folks, myself included, applauded at the time.

But in those days, Singapore’s then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was at the peak of his power and at his most intransigent when it came to tolerating critics.

So Tan was arrested for agitating workers, fostering strikes and other Bolshie nonsense of the sort that Lee himself had embraced two decades earlier when supporting strikers in the post office and on the docks.

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65,000 Foreign Workers Wanted in USA



On April 1, USCIS began accepting H-1B visa applications for fiscal year 2013, which starts on Oct. 1.

The H-1B visa program enables U.S. employers to hire highly educated foreign professional workers for ”specialty occupations” jobs that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the field of specialty.

These foreign workers provide needed specialized or unique skills, fill a temporary labor shortage and/or supply global expertise.

Holders of these visas can stay in the United States for up to six years. H-1B visas can be extended beyond six years where the alien beneficiary has an approved I-140 (Petition for Immigrant Worker) but due to the backlog in issuing visas does not yet have a visa number available to them. This often occurs where the immigrant is a national of a country that has more visa applicants than visas available each year, such as Mexico, China, or India.

As of May 18, USCIS had received 42,000 petitions for H-1B visas subject to the 65,000 visa cap for fiscal year 2013. The agency had received 16,000 petitions toward the separate 20,000 cap for H-1B guestworkers with advanced degrees.

USCIS saw an uptick this year in the number of H-1B petitions filed, with 17,400 petitions filed toward the cap as of April 9 (6 WIR 233, 4/16/12). As of April 22 last year, USCIS had received only 8,000 petitions toward the 65,000 visa cap (5 WIR 228, 5/2/11).

Several years ago it was common for the H-1B cap to be met on the first day petitions were accepted, six months before the Oct. 1 start of the next fiscal year.

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Hougang By-Election in Pictures

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By James Tan : "WP rally in 2012 & PAP rally in 1959. Both rallies response were amazing. The PAP were once the popular party like today's WP. What went wrong with PAP today?"
By Bob Lee : WP vs PAP
By Edwin Koo


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By Edwin Koo
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