RH: ROBERT's ALMOST-COMPLETE ARCHIVE OF WORKS..... My other blog is "I came, I saw, I solved it" at http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-ho-request-for-statements.html
- "DIRECTORs CID + IMH CRIMINALLY GUILTY"
- "RH: Defending against manned/unmanned/stealth warplanes and Land attacks"
- A second Singapore: Why we succeed and fail
- About Safire's article
- Albinocracy and Autisticracy
- An Unusual Challenge
- Appeal against WP Disqualification
- Break the Law - like your PAP Leaders
- Chinese New Year Story
- Computer Virus Wanted
- Cruel Punishment
- Crystal-ball Gazing
- Cult of Infallibility
- Deja Vu
- Dirty Bombs
- Email the SM PM and DPM
- Equal Justice for all
- Filmmaker Martyn SEE interviews Robert HO
- For Better or Worse
- Francis Seow's article
- GOH Chok Tong lies - Ministers who lose can remain
- Good Men don't join the PAP
- Government by taxation
- Handbook for the Voter
- Handphones against the PAP
- Hiring Foreign Talent - How many Jobs do we Lose
- ICONOCLASSING Pt 2
- ICONOCLASSING Pt 3 or RH Zero Sum Game Theory
- ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS
- Idea: Why UFO Aliens havent contacted us
- Incrementalist or Infinitian
- Interpretation of the Amendment Bill
- Jingoism Fatique
- Karl Marx on Singapore
- LEE Suan Yew Award
- Lesson from Kursk
- Let Ghosts contest GE
- Letter from the Future
- Letter to a Son
- Letter to PM Blair
- Making home movies is this easy
- Man who cried Wolf
- May Day
- Mayor who shagged me
- MVC a 100% PAP idea
- No Privacy
- Nominate CHEE for NMP
- Opposition should do Business
- Opposition up against past; PAP up against future
- Original short Singapore political jokes
- Original Singapore political jokes
- Original Singapore political quotes
- Outwit the PAP
- Overseas Votes
- PAP afraid of Truth
- PAP bans Mirrors
- PAP should throw Black Sheep out
- Proposal to build Retirement Homes in Johor Baru
- Referendum Please
- RH MicroStories
- RH: "Flexible Interiors Concept" for Airbus A380
- RH: A Future-proof PC Sony
- RH: An Idea to end Spam
- RH: Are God/s developed from Ghosts?
- RH: Business Opportunity for Radio Stations in Johor and Batam/Bintan
- RH: Changing Mindsets and Set Minds
- RH: Darwinism Revised
- RH: Demographics-based Economics
- RH: Father Figures and the Moses Complex
- RH: Fostering a EU Culture and Identity
- RH: GDP and other Lies...
- RH: Government by Referendum
- RH: How ASEAN can host an Olympics
- RH: How China can Deter a US Attack [Proxy Target Strategy] 2
- RH: How China can deter a US attack with Space Junk
- RH: How Law began
- RH: How Singapore will End scenarios
- RH: How to conduct cheap accurate Political Polls
- RH: How to force Israel to its knees
- RH: Idea for a China "Atoms for Peace" Programme
- RH: Idea to 'Turn Oceans into FreshWater'
- RH: Idea to almost eliminate computer viruses
- RH: Idea to prevent Bio-invasion from ships Ballast Water
- RH: Inflight Immigration and Other Clearances for Airbus A380
- RH: Latency Low-Base and Tiny-Country Effects
- RH: Leeconomic growth measured in GNP mediocre all along
- RH: London and other DoughNuts in the making
- RH: New ideas to deter a US/any invasion
- RH: Petrol stations to become Multi-Fuel Stations
- RH: Philosophy of Law all wrong and how to put it right
- RH: Robert HO's Theory of Brain Language
- RH: Robert's Complete Case against Leeconomics [Main]
- RH: Robert's definition of "Idea"
- RH: Robert's Dictum of Public Service
- RH: Robert's Ideas Paradoxes
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on American bestiality 6
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on SARS
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on War 6
- RH: Robert's TorchLight Effect
- RH: Singaporeans soon to be extinct
- RH: Solve this SARS problem and win $10m
- RH: The Unchanging Nature of Dictatorships
- RH: Trees Leaves Vacuumer
- RH: UK Telephone Boxes as Smoking Boxes
- RH: Why Foreign Talent policy cannot work
- RH: Why Inflation should be 0 or even Negative
- RH: Why Law is a disreputable subject
- RH: Why Singapore should NOT have a govt
- RH: Why US high tech cannot win wars
- RH: Why US produces few IDEAs but many Gizmos thus bad for world
- Samizdat and Samizdis
- sex.com and SFD
- Sneak preview' of LKY's second book of Memoirs
- Something for Physicists to Philosophers
- Stockholm Syndrome
- Sweepers can help
- The Big 'S'
- THE MOST COMPLETE RUBBISHING OF LEEconomics EVER
- Tom Clancy's next novel
- US Deputy Sheriff in S.E.Asia
- Vote out 21 politicians and transform Singapore
- When to break the law
- Who hacked NSP's Mailing Lists
- Why pay Singapore Ministers huge salaries
- You can't eat Democracy
Friday, August 28, 2009
1. To begin in a general way, here is a List of open source software packages From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. These cover many business, professional as well as home users: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open_source_software_packages
2. Here is a source I trust and use often, because download.com not only lists a huge selection of free programs but also descriptions, sometimes Editor Reviews plus Users Feedback and Reviews and most importantly, Ratings and How Many Times It Has Been Downloaded : http://download.cnet.com/windows/
3. Of course, you can also google for a specific kind of free software such as "free video editing software" and patiently go through the search results. If you do google for free software, try to read some forum comments on it before downloading in case there are problems with the software. Here are search results for "free software": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=free+software&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
4. Now to come to my slight experiences making little home videos. Among the best and easiest to use programs is Windows Movie Maker [WMM], available as part of your Windows XP or Vista operating system. If you don't have it, download from: http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+download&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a . You can also download the free, better, Windows Live Movie Maker [for Vista and Windows 7 only] here: http://windowslive.com/desktop/moviemaker
5. If you do need help with WMM, google for "WMM tutorials": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+tutorials&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
6. If you want ONLY video tutorials, then "WMM video tutorials": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+video+tutorials&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
7. If you are new to video making, I suggest you start with WMM. It is easy to learn and powerful enough. You can drag and drop [import] video clips and even photos into the program to form the video part. You can also drag and drop .wav, .mp3 music as well as sound effects [a good free source is SoundSnap at http://www.soundsnap.com/ ], etc, into the program and edit them all by clicking on each video or audio item and sliding its arrows left or right to shorten or lengthen it, etc. Or Copy, Cut and Paste video or audio items. [To delete a segment of video, Split the Segment in 1 or 2 places, select the part you want to cut and Delete].
8. You may find that WMM does not allow much audio mixing, like mixing a narrator's voice on top with softer music below his voice, on a second track. So, a good audio editing or mixing software like Audacity will help: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
9. You may encounter problems with the many different video as well as audio formats such as .avi, .mpeg, .xvid, etc for video and .wav, .mp3, etc for audio. So, to convert from one format to another, use Format Factory, which also converts photo formats: http://www.formatoz.com/
10. One problem with WMM is that it has no [as far as my slight experience knows] Reverse Motion feature so that you can make a man in your video walk backwards, for example, even in fast motion or slow motion. So I downloaded TrakAx: http://www.trakax.com/
11. Like another user who posted feedback, I could not install after downloading TrakAx, so I cleaned up my Windows, Applications and Registry [back up first so you can restore the deleted Registry files if your pc does not work properly after deleting] and I could then install without problems. Download Ccleaner here: http://www.ccleaner.com/
12. My son brought back his graduation ceremony DVD so I copied the .vob file and used Format Factory to convert it into .avi so that I could import this .avi file of 29 minutes into TrakAx, after discovering like another user that if I tried to import the whole 29 min file in .wmv format, part of it is not imported. Importing the file in .avi format worked fine. A minor bug they will soon fix.
13. At first, I imported the file into WMM and edited it, adding titles [text] and deleting big chunks of it. Then, when I tried to Save Movie, that is, finish it by saving it into .wmv format, it kept stopping at around the 9% mark. I finally remembered that when I edit/delete big chunks of the file, WMM does not in realtime delete any part of it. WMM sort of 'remembers' that certain parts are to be deleted but does not do so. The whole thing remains 29 min big file. So, when I tried to finish [Save Movie], my pc could not cope. I am using a cheap pc [my expensive S$2,500 pc illegally confiscated by police] with specifications that are basically that of a netbook. This means that if you are using TrakAx -- or WMM with smaller files, a cheap, less than S$600 netbook is good enough even for video editing, as well as all other normal uses like net surfing and email [but not powerful enough for demanding graphics-intensive games]. You don't need a supercharged speed demon with huge capacity in ram and super video card. Apparently, TrakAx does cut out chunks that I want and even save the whole finished movie without overloading my pc. My pc is an S$800 ASUS Eee Top, basically a netbook [but with touchscreen], running on Windows XP Home. If, like me, you are too lazy to learn TrakAx, use it just for making certain video segments like the reverse motion I did for my son on stage [so I could repeat his brief stage walk 3 times] then save [or "Render" it in TrakAx lingo] this segment and then import it back into WMM for the rest of your editing. This can make your work easier until you master TrakAx. You can of course, also make segments in WMM and finish off in TrakAx.
14. So, all you aspiring Seelan PALAYs out there, do try making a video using video clips from a camera or cellphone plus photos from the internet or your own shots, mixed to a soundtrack of your favourite .mp3 song or music, plus maybe some sound effects from Soundsnap all audio-mixed in Audacity. It's all far easier than you can imagine. Better and better technology and softwares have made everything so much easier.
15. You may sometimes find that you need to teach someone or a kid some procedure that is happening on your pc, so here is a screen capture program that captures your pc screen even while you are moving your mouse or doing some operations. In effect, you are making a video tutorial with this CamStudio. I have attached a short demo : http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/
16. When you start making videos, you will find that you may need to download some .flv [flash] video or audio segments from YouTube or other internet videos for use in your own video. If you are using the free FireFox browser, then download this free Net Video Hunter: http://netvideohunter.com/
17. To play back the .flv or flash videos, you can either download some free flash player or download this K-Lite Codec Pack which will turn your Windows Media Player [part of Windows] into a player that will play practically ALL media files formats, which it doesn't do currently without:
18. Thus, with para 16 and 17, you will be able to download almost any video on the internet, play it back on your Windows Media Player enhanced with K-Lite Codecs, convert it using Format Factory, import it into Windows Movie Maker or TrakAx and do your own magic. There are of course, copyright restrictions on how much of a video or audio you can use, so try not to use the entire thing but judiciously.
19. There may be times when you want to do a little sequence of one face morphing into another and even into a third face or fourth face, etc, or all together into one composite, then add this to your video. You can do this morph in a matter of minutes and save the result as a video .avi file -- or animated .gif if you want to put this animation on a website. Moving images are a lot more eye-catching than still photos. A good free recent software, Squirlz Morph, makes this very easy: http://www.xiberpix.net/SqirlzMorph.html
20. A very powerful image or photo editing software is Gimp2, so powerful that like me, you'd probably need to watch lots of YouTube Gimp2 tutorials to learn its many, many features or spend quite some time reading its Help. However, some of its features are very easy, done with just a few clicks, like the Pinnochio Lee Kuan Yew photo I attached above. This was done using the Gimp2 Iwarp feature, which can be found under the Filters menu --> Distorts --> Iwarp. I simply chose Iwarp's Grow function, set the growth to max but radius to min so that only his nose grows and not any other part of the face near the nose, clicked and dragged and voila! LIE KY the congenital liar. If you want Gimp2, here is the download url: http://www.gimp.org/downloads/ . If you want a Video effects plug-in for your Gimp2, download the big file from: ftp://ftp.gimp.org/pub/gimp/plug-ins/v2.6/gap/ . But you will also need the installer file to install this plug-in. So get this Gimp2.6 installer file from: http://www.box.net/shared/e9i2rgyn9t . Incidentally, once you have installed this additional plug-in, your additional new Video menu also gives you Morphing functions but these are not as easy as Squirlz.
21. With all these free softwares described above, and with free tutorials and video tutorials to help, anybody can make a video as good as the one Seelan PALAY made. If you write well, then write a good script and have it read by a good voice into Audacity, for example, with music under, for example. If you don't write so well, then use music as your main soundtrack throughout, with titles [text] written and animated in Windows Movie Maker, now and then throughout your video. WMM allows you to animate your text so it moves, just like a little video in itself.
21. The revolution started with blogs, which at first were just words online. Now, few blogs are without photos. Soon, videos will be as common. This is progress. This is the great story of mankind and no evil dictator can stop it.
22. I have just discovered another must-have Add-On for my FireFox browser -- VideoSurf Add-On. We all experience the problem of not knowing what a video is about until we click on it to start playing, then watch the entire video before we discover whether it was worth watching. It would be wonderful if, before we even clicked on it, we could see a series of thumbnail pics of the video to decide if we want to watch it. VideoSurf does exactly that, giving you a series of snapshot pics of the video so you get a good idea of what the video shows. You can even click on a thumbnail to jump to that scene in the video. To download: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10218
23. You will discover that playing back your home-made movies on your pc is not enough. You will want to play it back on your big-screen tv. So, download this DVD Flick dvd-authoring software from: http://www.dvdflick.net/download.php . Remember to choose DVD PAL system if your tv and dvd player are PAL. You will also need a DVD burner optical drive on your pc, or an external one plugged into your pc usb port. Plus of course, some DVD-R blank discs.
24. If you want to convert videos from one format to another in HD, this iWisoft Video Converter freeware is pretty good: http://www.easy-video-converter.com/
25. I have made a 7min beginners' guide to making Home Movies, using the softwares and resources above as well as the internet. To watch this YouTube video
"RH beginners Home Movies tutorial Windows Movie Maker, TrakAx" :
To embed into your website :
Thursday, June 18, 2009
ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS
1. An Iconoclass is an iconoclast who does it with class. This essay is an expanded version of a comment I penned in The Online Citizen 2 days ago on January 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm as Comment 22 in http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/01/15/mm-lee-lucky-indonesians/#comments in which I first publicly penned thoughts I had recently conceived. Thoughts that are a sudden realisation of something I had skimmed recently, probably a UN Report on Cities and its mention that many/most? people are now living in cities. The sudden realisation was that this fact, that many/most of humanity are now living in cities, must be because of the many advantages/efficiencies of city life versus suburban or countryside life. This instantly crystallised the thoughts that Singapore's -- and Hongkong's as well as other similar cities' -- economic progress owe much to the efficiencies of CITIFICATION and HIGH DENSITY LIVING. AS WELL AS TINYNESS. These latter thoughts are not new and I have had them for some time, maybe even a year or more, and have exampled them in the closeness of bus stops in Singapore -- and Hongkong, etc -- where buses can come far more frequently than in Less Dense Cities. There, future historians can now trace these ideas that follow in this essay.
2. We all know vaguely that cities, especially very dense cities, offer higher efficiencies and therefore a higher quality of life. For example, to reprise my Bus Stop examples, bus stops in Singapore -- and Hongkong, etc, can be sited less than 1 km apart and buses come frequently, even 5 minutes apart, and it can all be still profitable. Thus, high density = high efficiency = high quality of life. The 3 HIGHs Theory. Another example; in dense cities, you can find everything nearby, from cardiologists and toe transplant surgeons to shops selling pet chihuahuas. If you un-migrate from the city to the suburb or countryside, you will instantly suffer loss of or unreliable cellphone signal reception as well as a host of other inefficiencies and inconveniences from sparse petrol stations to lack of Chinese restaurants. Thus, I don't need to labour the point further.
3. Given that cities are automatically far more efficient than suburbs or countrysides, we can now examine Singapore, Hongkong and similars. Singapore and Hongkong are among the densest cities in the world and renowned for their efficiencies and high quality of life. The S$3.7++ million dollar question is then, "Are these the achievements of their govts or simply the inevitable effects of simple economic laws such as supply and demand, low costs of logistics, the efficiencies of tinyness where a deliveryman and his van/truck can do a dozen trade deliveries a day compared with say, having to drive 50-100 km to each delivery point and hence only making 2-3 deliveries a day. In shopping [very important for economics and quality of life, since life and economics revolve around buying and consuming], a Best Denki or Challenger electronics store can revenue even S$1 million a day and hence can afford to display lavish displays of laptops and flat panel TVs for shoppers to try and experience, etc. A Giant hypermarket need only be a km or 2 away and offer a vast cornucopia of products you can never try them all even in a lifetime.
4. Thus, the unending PAPaganda of Good News and Even More Triumphs of LIE KY LHL PAP and its controlled, fawning, worshipful, media must be countered with the understanding that almost all of Singapore's -- and for that matter, Hongkong's, etc, economic achievements ARE DUE TO CITIFICATION, TINYNESS AND ULTRA HIGH DENSITY OF POPULATION. In fact, I will proffer that even China's astounding economic progress over the last few decades, is largely due to Density. Of course, being Chinese, with all the usual, typical, Chinese characteristics and cultural values, etc, also help but it is probably Density that explains everything. Realising and proving this is important because it offers lessons for the rest of humanity and the world. An indication of my theory as expressed in China is the fact that almost all of China's economic juggernaut progress is in the Dense Cities and not the suburb or countryside. Point proven? Probably.
5. The fact that Hongkong never had a LIE KY -- or China, or Taiwan [among world's 20 biggest economies], for that matter, proves conclusively that LIE KY is not the reason for Singapore's progress. Singapore would have made similar progress under LIM Chin Siong, if he had not been treacherously supplanted by LIE KY in a secret deal with then British PM Harold MacMillan, to serve British interests in return for the arrest, jailing and political elimination of LIM without charge or trial under the ISA. LIE KY's treacherous nature also saw him collaborating with the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in WW2, when other young Singaporeans were going into the jungles to fight and resist the Japanese.
6. However, although with some research, I could probably draw many other cities and countries as examples of my theory, I consider it proven, even with these limited, unacademic examples. I would like to finish by comparing Hongkong's progress with Singapore's, since they are almost as identical as twins. At first glance, Singapore and Hongkong's economies seem comparable, with Singapore slightly ahead [2006 estimates of Nominal Per Capita GDP puts Singapore slightly ahead at 21st spot with US$34,152 against Hongkong's 27th spot with US$29,149] but these figures OVERSTATE for Singapore due to LIE KY LHL PAP incessant manipulation and falsification of statistics so the Cabinet can pay themselves bigger million-dollar 'Performance Bonuses', since these bonuses are directly correlated to GDP! while the Hongkong Govt gains nothing from exaggerating GDP numbers and so doesn't lie about it like LIE KY LHL PAP.
7. In fact, I believe that Hongkong's GDP is grossly UNDERSTATED and exceeds by far that of Singapore's. For example, prior to around 1978, Hongkong was the biggest toy maker in the world and every kid in the world had at least 1 water pistol or model car Made In Hongkong. After Deng Xiao Ping opened the adjoining Shenzhen SEZ around 1978, Hongkong's toy industry disappeared. Relocated to nextdoor Shenzhen. Thus, although official statistics would seem that Hongkong today has little or no toy [and other] manufacturing industries, THESE STATISTICS ARE CAPTURED AS CHINA [SHENZHEN] PRODUCTION EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OWNED AND DRIVEN BY HONGKONGERS. Hongkong has no manufacturing? Only services, mostly financial? That is erroneous. To correct this, economists should include most of Shenzhen's economic output to Hongkong, not China. Worse, Hongkongers, having conquered Shenzhen, went on to other parts of China, especially Shanghai and Beijing, not just in toy manufacturing but also a vast outpouring of goods and services industries. Hongkong businessmen are so brilliant they dance circles around the Singaporean, whose Chineseness and business acumen and native ingenuity have been distorted by LIE KY into obedient, even STUPID, fearful, cowed sheep who cannot think, let alone solve problems or start and run businesses. Every Dictator produces stupid people and since LIE KY is an Absolute Dictator, the most powerful in history over his people, naturally the Singaporean is now very, very stupid. The GLCs' dominance and deliberate elimination of small businesses so as to reduce the ranks of financially independent [and hence politically independent] Singaporeans to render all subservient to LIE KY also deleted the business genes from Singaporeans.
8. Thus, there are several lessons for humanity here. High density living = high efficiencies = high quality living. Town planners and architects, please note. Cities offer better lives than suburbs or countrysides. Hongkong is what a truly free and open society and economy can achieve in quality living as well as GDP, trumping Singapore by far in everything. LIE KY LHL PAP are stupid and cheats, not only cheating in elections but also true GDP figures and other statistics. Overpaid, incompetent, cheats. I rest my case.
Recommended Reading :
Recent 500-page brilliant, extensively-researched book, “Lion Without Teeth” that proves that everything most people, especially foreigners, know about Singapore and LIE KY are carefully planted and fabricated LIES.
Posted by Robert HO nric S0197974D at 10:11 AM
19 June 2008
ICONOCLASSING Pt 2
1. I had, in this previous Comment in The Online Citizen [ http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/02/knowledge-based-economy-needs-more-uni-education-financing/#more-527 ] first tried to reason dispassionately about Foreigners and their effects on GDP, which have led to an unbelievable tidal wave of foreigners that has swamped our islet. Today, I will try to fuller.
2. What makes a Singaporean? -- vs a foreigner? I had postulated that it is SCE [Shared Common Experience]. "Thus, a Chinese and a Malay Singaporean can have More Shared Experiences than with a Chinese from China. However, if that Chinaman has enough Commonalities when he arrives, and gains more with time, he can be as Singaporean as any local-born." [self quote].
3. Thus, while we become emotional and even angry at Foreigners many advantages over locals, we need to remember that our ancestors were once immigrants but became Singaporeans. Singaporeans vs Foreigners is not one or the other, not Black vs White, but a SCALE which we all, locals or not, are on, each at various points of being more or less Singaporean. Simply, it is how much SCE you have, I think. My maid has worked here ~15 years. She can MRT and commute about, speak, read and write fairly good English, speak Teochew and some Mandarin besides Indonesian, and in looks and behaviour, indistinguishable from Singaporeans. I think, on my basis, she deserves to be given PR instead of the 'Foreign Talent' [FT] who flies in with few Commonalities. This SCE principle may already be implicitly recognised by some countries. My wife's colleague took his maid to London for several years. When he returned, his maid did not — she had qualified for PR!
4. Thus, countries may look into granting PR also on the basis of SCE and not just 'economic value'. This will save much maladjustments to both the immigrant and the receiving society.
5. In PAPadise, it is purely economic value but as usual, stupidly and typically UNTHINKING, leading to great harm and tragic results.
6. For example, suppose you vacuum your floor and wash clothes and dishes. You are generating NO economic value or GDP activity. Thus, a housewife, according to current Economic theories, generates little or no 'economic activity' and thus no GDP. So Singapore housewives are encouraged to work outside home because earning a salary gets recorded as 'economic activity' or 'economic value' and thus gets into the GDP figures. So when she earns $1,000, she 'generates' far more than $1,000 because she commutes, eats outside, buys office clothes, etc. All these suddenly boost the GDP simply because that is how GDP is measured. Further, the maid she has to hire to look after her kids, for $350, also 'generates' far more than $350 because the maid also consumes some personal-use goods and services, etc, thus also boosting the GDP -- again, since this is how GDP is measured. This explains the Second Wave in my 3 Waves Of Labour theory in my essay on Leeconomics [ http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/search/label/RH%3A%20Robert%27s%20Complete%20Case%20against%20Leeconomics%20%5BMain%5D ].
7. Thus, we see the ATTRACTION of foreigners to the MinisterMoron, PrimeMoron, and their Cronies Morons. Even a lowly maid or other foreigner cheap labour generates far more 'GDP activities' than just their nominal salary. To crystallise it, suppose they import a foreigner cripple without arms or legs. This cripple will still 'generate' appreciable GDP activity because he will house, eat, buy diapers, medical care, etc. So more GDP activities. In short, like in the movie "Matrix", just Human Bodies are enough to generate GDP. So the Morons keep importing bodies, almost all cheap labour since they cannot lure betters. Thus, today, >1 in 4 of people in Singapore are foreigners! The most astounding rate in world history! Do LIE KY LHL PAP know something we don't? The contrary.
8. I don't think these Morons, or anybody else, have reasoned it all thus. What they do know is that every time they import foreigners, the GDP goes up and hence, their Performance Bonuses, so they keep importing foreigners even when these DISPLACE LOCALS. In fact, by not understanding all this, their importing policies have the effect of Displacing Locals because the GDP GROWS EVEN MORE THIS WAY. Let me explain : suppose a cheap labour foreigner is imported to displace a local low-wage labourer. This cheap foreigner generates far more than just his nominal salary in GDP activities, so good for the Morons Bonuses. But the unemployed local labourer does not become 0 upon being displaced and unemployed. He still needs to house, eat, utilities, etc, so he still consumes and thus generate GDP activities. So the NET GAIN is not just from the foreigner but also the captive local who still needs to consume and thus generate GDP. Thus, 2-WAY net gains from this Displacement policy. This explains the callous policies and insane tidal wave influx of foreigners, almost all cheap labour -- but never mind, they still generate big GDP. The so-called FT are only handfuls and mostly used to justify the real tidal wave influx of cheap foreigners. FTs have better options elsewhere so most don't come or stay.
9. The Morons are like lab rats in a cage. They have discovered that by pressing the Green Lever, more marbles drop into their cage and somehow, the lab scientists reward them more titbits as a result of the more marbles. So they furiously keep pressing the Green Lever, thinking they are "successful" [Performance Bonuses] even though there are so many marbles they have little living space left. But they still keep pressing as if addicted. This analogy explains the Morons unthinking addiction to foreigners and DELIBERATE DISPLACEMENT of locals -- nothing is NON-Deliberate in Singapore, except maybe the unique or extremely rare KASTARI escape from an ISD prison! Which is why it is so unbelievable and led to so many conspiracy theories.
10. Another example of this unthinking Green Lever Syndrome is the DELIBERATE [like Displacement of low-wage Singaporean workers -- IN MANY CASES, ALSO HIGHER WAGE ONES, TOO] policy to bias towards Manufacturing as against Services. Our Morons have always scorned Hongkong for its Service Economy and prided themselves on still having a big Manufacturing sector. The Green Lever Syndrome at work again.
11. In the first place, Hongkong DOES have manufacturing and very big, too, except that it is all captured as China statistics in Shenzhen and other centres. Second, it is Green Lever Syndrome again because manufacturing is mostly measurable in $ [as in widget parts costs and final selling prices] and so easily captured into final GDP figures whereas Services like a Hongkong clerk processing forms or answering calls in a Call Centre is difficult to value in $ and so only their nominal salaries get into the GDP. This doesn't mean that Manufacturing is superior to Services! as the Morons think. Only that one is more measurable than the other -- at least in $ and GDP terms. But, just like reading to a child or volunteer social work instructing elderlies in exercise, activities that are not capturable in GDP does not mean inferior or not worth doing, as the Morons believe in both thought and action.
12. Thus, Hongkong has a more 'normal', REAL economy as opposed to the LIEgime FALSE and distorted economy. For example, like all Real economies, Hongkong considers many factors besides GDP numbers, such as inflation, unemployment, jobs creation, consumer spending, social spending and welfare, govt spending and taxations, etc, and devises policies towards these [multiple] ends, whereas the False and distorted economy of the LIEgime is constructed and deliberately designed to produce high GDP numbers only. The US, probably the most intelligently monitored and managed economy, has a whole slew of economic indicators besides GDP numbers. US business media almost daily analyse dozens of indicators, from housing starts to PMI to Producer Price Indices, stock indices and prices, etc, and not just the final GDP numbers. Only the LIEgime stupidly constructs an economy solely to produce high GDP numbers. Thus, Hongkong's Real economy is probably many times bigger and better than the False economy of the LIEgime, which is more like a shop window display, artificial and FOR SHOW ONLY, like everything else about the LIEgime.
13. This False economy of the LIEgime is paralleled by its equally stupid education policies. In Education, there is also obsession with scoring high marks in exams, thus paralleling the construction of the False economy to score high GDP numbers. So, schools, principals, teachers and students are obsessed only with scoring high marks in exams. This means that non-exam subjects are hardly taught and studied. Worse, teachers and students choose subjects purely to score high marks, hence the decades-long bias to Math and Science subjects [far easier to score] than say, Lit and Lang. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Singaporeans and the way Math is taught from primary to university, this bias produces several generations of unintelligent 'scholars' [many become Cronies Ministers or Generals who later metamorphosise into GLC CEOs] who, other than high Math marks, cannot think, since Language is the Basis of Thought, not Math. Thus, when you teach [and learn] TO the test or exam, you do score high marks but learn little, in not much of an education.
14. Thus, the LIEgime has only 5 aims of govt. First, to entrench and further the LIE family stranglehold on power and to increase that power without limit so as to control every aspect of work and life in Singapore. Second, to LOOK GOOD always -- an obsession -- even if this is only surface or cosmetic. Third, as regards the economy, to produce high GDP numbers. Fourth, to produce huge budget surpluses. This means decades of unremitting, relentless, Overtax and Underspend policies, overtaxing exorbitantly on everything possible, especially HDB housing, car taxes [both giving many, many, multiples of profit or rather, profiteering], GST, etc, while underspending on everything else except the military, which always has the biggest budget allocations. Thus, Singaporeans are overtaxed in every way possible and imaginable while spending on heathcare, education, the poor, etc, are all shortchanged. The budget surpluses are not enough apparently, so in order to create even bigger and more impressive Reserves and SWF [Fifth goal], Singaporeans CPF are withheld to make the Reserves bigger. Thus, Singaporeans have little access to and cannot even withdraw their own monies because the LIEgime wants it in its own kitty. CPF was as much as 40% of every worker salary and bonus OVER HIS LIFETIME CAREER, now slightly less. Thus, 'managing by/for results', which is pretty legitimate, became bastardised, like everything else, to become 'managing by numbers', further bastardised to 'managing FOR [GDP] numbers'. Thus, the economy is constructed mainly to score high GDP numbers and the easiest way is to massively import foreigners -- preferably rich -- but practically, mostly cheap labour, since millionaires or FTs cannot be imported in numbers for various reasons. This explains why the LIEgime bends over backwards [this time] to play nice to all foreigners. It also explains why there is such an unbelievable tidal wave of foreigners in Singapore, the Third Wave in my essay.
15. The >1 in 4 of us being foreigners has obviously [how can anyone NOT notice!] become 'sensitive', meaning actually 'explosive' -- as it would be in a democracy instead of the secretive, suppressive dictatorship here. So, being politicians, and a govt obsessed with looking good ["Every time LIE KY looks good, the Truth doesn't" -- self quote] they spin and rationalise. They also Reclassify. This Reclassification trick reclassifies foreigners as Residents, PRs and even citizens to reduce resentment when the 'official' figures are out. If we grant PRs and citizenship more on SCE, this Reclassification trick will be harder. As is now, they can, with a simple sleight of the hand, change the numbers of foreigners into Residents, PRs and citizens. There is here, the 'magic trick' of DOUBLE or 2-WAY 'gains', just like in Displacing local low wage and even HIGH WAGE workers with foreigners. When the LIEgime reclassifies a foreigner into a PR or citizen, 1 MORE is added to the PR or citizen group while 1 LESS is reduced in the foreigner group. So double-counting 'gains'! But foreigner or local or whatever, the buses, trains, food centres, roads, infrastructures, malls, etc, are all overcrowded [noticed the many big groups of dark-skinned young men watching the big tv displays or loitering near the money-changers or just loitering]? The problem is vaster than anyone, including the Morons, realise. They are just rats pressing levers and thinking they are doing a great job.
16. What can anyone do about it? Nothing. LIE KY LHL PAP are proven to have rigged the 1997 Cheng San GRC election, almost certainly also the 1963 General Elections in a suspicious 6-hour electricity blackout centred around the City Hall Vote Counting Centre, most probably also the Ong Teng Cheong Presidential election, plus the Malaysia Referendum that offered no, only rigged, choices. We can all do nothing because LIE KY LHL PAP need no mandate since they cheat massively ['winning' 82 out of 84 seats is mathematically, politically and electorally impossible without massive cheating -- like Saddam Hussein >90% votes every 'election'] so they do what they like, "never mind what the people think" -- LIE KY.
17. According to a 2008 report from the Asian Development Bank, "The Singapore govt estimates that foreign labour contributed 3.2% of its annual growth rate of 7.8% in the 1990's." Another factoid : >40% of Singapore total labour force are cheap foreign labourers and >170,000 of the nearly 1 million foreign labourers are maids.
18. In an official Report from the ManPower Ministry for 2006 : http://www.mom.gov.sg/publish/momportal/en/communities/others/mrsd/Publications/ReportonLabourForceinSingapore2006.html
The 2006 Total Labour Force was 2.59m; 'Residents' [note Reclassification Trick] were 1.80m. UNEMPLOYED 'Residents' [seasonally adjusted] were 70,000 or 3.6% but 84,000 or 4.5% non-seasonally adjusted.
19. The point to note is that the overwhelming PAPaganda which has overpowered all thinking and discussions about foreigners, is that firstly, "foreigners do the dirty and dangerous jobs we locals shun". Secondly, "FT do the kind of Talented Jobs that we locals don't have the Talent to do so shut up and don't dare complain when YOUR job goes to a foreigner". Thirdly, "foreigners average DOWN business costs so businesses can profit more" [this is actually done by rigidly tying foreigners to employers so they cannot jobhop to better, plus other draconian conditions to give employers great advantages to exploit them, which explains why no employer wants Singaporeans!]
20. To this, I can only ask, pointing to MOM statistics in Paragraph 18, are there really so many "dirty and dangerous" jobs in Singapore? Or so many Talent jobs we cannot do? To the extent 3.6%/4.5% of us are unemployed? Or is it the usual politicians scapegoating and 'blaming the victims'? After all, even garbage collection is highly mechanised, requiring few workers. Same for cleaners who even drive cleaning machines. Same for construction work, since there is a limit to how many workers can work at any time because concrete floors are laid and harden floor by floor. The Truth is, employers PREFER foreigners because they can be exploited far more easily due to LIEgime policies, entirely pro-business and anti-workers at the best of times, having jailed union leaders from the moment LIE KY seized power half a century ago, who then constructed and maintained by force, a fake NTUC 'union' body to further supppress workers, an NTUC whose main objective like every LIEgime org or institution, is to profit from its multiplicity of businesses from supermarket 'co-ops' to condos and even funeral parlours.
21. This is the tragedy for us -- not for the Morons. They just keep pressing levers and collecting marbles and Performance Bonuses. While the tidal wave of foreigners continue to swamp every aspect of life on this little islet.
Recommended Reading :
A recent 500-page brilliant, extensively-researched book, “Lion Without Teeth” that proves that everything most people, especially foreigners, know about Singapore and LIE KY are carefully planted and fabricated LIES.
On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 10:03 AM, Robert HO wrote:
1. Since this is INFLATION Week in TOC, thought I would contribute the following snippets. Just short quotes and their urls :
"...fixated on wholly meaningless govt data that managed to report the lowest inflation... However, the govt's ability to make 'economic growth' magically appear is based purely on statistical finesse."
"...govt [should] adjust nominal GDP gains using the GDP deflator, which represents the inflation rate. This is done to strip inflation out of the GDP calculation so that only real growth gets counted: not nominal gains that result purely from inflation."
"Similar illusions are created in other numbers, such as retail sales, corporate earnings, and stock prices, which are all rising merely as a result of actual inflation being higher than the official reports. For example, higher retail sales reflect consumers paying higher prices for the products that they buy. They may in fact be buying less stuff, but are paying more for it."
"Similarly, just as inflation causes prices to rise for goods and services, it causes stock prices to rise as well. Though such gains may be less than the actual increase in the cost of living, as long as the govt gets away with using bogus CPI numbers which fail to fully reflect inflation, ...takes credit for nominal gains as if they were real."
"However, as ridiculous as the phony GDP number was, yesterday's biggest joke was a report on global competitiveness put out by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which ranked the [LIE KY LHL PAP] economy as [among] the world's most competitive. To arrive at this conclusion, the forum has obliterated the obvious under a mountain of theory. In determining country rankings, the WEF weighed strengths in their "12 Pillars of Competitiveness", including: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation. It is as if the WEF decided to judge a weight loss contest without using a scale, by instead focusing only on mental attitude, dedication, perseverance, and nutritional education! As a result the prize is awarded to the fattest contestant. [Singapore] is clearly not [among] the most competitive economies in the world.
"More Proof That Numbers Lie"
"Numbers don't lie, do they? Ha! Numbers are the biggest liars on the planet."
"...govt statisticians – and corporate ones too – typically "crunch" numbers into the shape they want. Numbers get punched, beaten, hammered, bullied, and bamboozled. When the torture session is over they'll admit to anything. That is how we get a "consumer price index" of only 3%...when everyone knows prices are rising a lot faster.
"Increasing prices in just about everything has overshadowed the city state's prosperity in the last four years."
"The city-state has been hit by an unceasing bout of price increases that has overshadowed the city's prosperity in the past four years. Inflation is at its worst here in 12 years [now 26 years] and has become the people's biggest worry today. For many, the high costs are blurring the Singapore Dream."
"Worst affected is the broad middle class, ...a punishing [from] 5% to 7% rise in the Goods and Services Tax (GST)."
"There are two immediate effects. The value of money is dropping by the week, and savings are discouraged since consumer prices are rising faster than interest the banks pay on deposits."
"The govt appears unable to take action to stop the epidemic, a contrast to the first-generation govt during such crises."
"But so strong and persistent is inflation that many Singaporeans feel they are the poorer for it."
"...the govt ...priorities are economic growth and asset accumulation (for foreign investments) – even at the expense of a higher cost of living. To that end, it has increased GST from 5% to 7% and may eventually reach 10%. Fees for public services are being raised to ensure no drop in Treasury collection."
"Deficit budget, although not entirely unknown in Singapore, is a very rare happening."
"Many young professionals who just start off in life are worried that the sharp run-up in property prices has made it virtually impossible for them to buy a flat. Some are putting off marriage or raising children."
"Understandably inflation has become a hot debate subject. This is tough for the middle class and working class, which are just struggling for a living amidst the perceived wealth, unhappy and with few choices in life."
"Grocery bills increase as prices for foodstuffs go up."
"A Straits Times check on a random basket of basic goods sold at supermarkets here revealed price increases in almost every category, from fresh chicken to coffee and milk formula."
"Rising food prices have contributed to inflation here. September's  overall Consumer Price Index showed that prices generally retreated by 0.3 per cent from the previous month, but the food component - the biggest item at 23% - rose 3.7% as the cost of fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood and milk powder, as well as hawker and restaurant food, went up."
"Consumers The Straits Times spoke to said that while increases for each item may seem like a token sum, together, they add up to a much bigger grocery bill."
"She said that rental on her stall, which is now S$4,500 a month, is set to rise to S$5,500 at the start of next year, and then to S$6,500 in 2009."
"In GDP math, sometimes one plus one equals zero."
"If you don't understand that, welcome to the confusing world of national income accounting, where up sometimes is down, and where sometimes one plus one can equal zero."
"Because of the way govt counts and reports the numbers, real-life inflation was understated and growth was [therefore] overstated."
"The economy didn't really grow 3.9%, and inflation really wasn't 0.8%. The numbers aren't as good as they look."
"...it did produce quirky numbers that don't accurately reflect reality, even though they are correct from an accounting point of view. The accounting is right. But it's not reality."
"Why the GDP link?" "...the higher the gross domestic product (GDP), the bigger the bonus — even some ruling party MPs question the wisdom of such a link."
"If Monday's parliamentary debate on pay revisions for ministers and civil servants focused mainly on that "benchmark thing", yesterday's session saw the spotlight being trained on the GDP bonus."
"This bonus is a component which ministers, parliamentary secretaries, top civil servants and MPs are eligible for. Several of the 13 backbenchers who spoke yesterday had reservations about the GDP bonus. One common refrain heard in the House was whether it is a fair performance peg to use."
"We all know that a rise in GDP may not benefit all sectors of society equally. Some may even lag behind. I would suggest that the Govt consider using indicators that directly impact the livelihood of all Singaporeans," said Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC)."
"He proposed one other indicator to be considered: That of the total cost of running the Govt as a percentage of total revenue. After all, CEOs in the private sector have to ensure profits are not eroded by increasing [inflation] costs and expenses, Mr Loo said."
"Other suggestions of alternative benchmarks included: The consumer price index and the inflation rate, as a way to keep cost of living affordable and protect savings; citizens' feedback to major public services; the number of jobs created for Singaporeans; and even the number of Singaporeans who migrate."
"Based on the latest revisions, ministers will enjoy a GDP bonus of between 3 and 8 months if the economy grows between 5% and 10% or more. But they will not get any bonus if the economy grows by 2% or less. For example, the entry-level annual salary of a minister this year is expected to include a 5.9-month bonus based on Singapore's estimated GDP growth of between 4.5% and 6.5%."
"Another comparison, between the civil service pay increases and the S$30 monthly increase for those on Public Assistance, was raised in the House. Said NMP Kalyani Mehta: "If we are going to be [so] generous to civil servants, then let's be generous to the very poor." In response, Mr Teo Chee Hean, Defence Minister and Minister-in-Charge of the Civil Service, said: "The needs of these individuals are quite different and we need to find more holistic and flexible ways of looking after their needs.""
"One new issue that cropped up yesterday was the danger of concentrating too much power and money in the hands of top public officers. MP Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) said: "As responsible leaders, we must be careful not to leave behind a system or structure that combines power and monetary rewards to such high levels that incumbents are so handcuffed by this lethal combination that they find it hard to let go." NMP Eunice Olsen argued that the coupling of political and financial power is more likely to lead to the creation of a rogue govt."
"On this issue, Mr Teo said that the checks are elections [RH: a lie since elections are routinely rigged] and the ruling party's selection process. "If (a person's) motivations are self-serving or to make money, we do not select him. And if we discover that's what he's about after he has come in, we drop him," he said.
"But economists say one crucial aspect to watch out for is rising inflation. It hit 2.9% in August - the biggest monthly rise since 1994. MAS expects inflation of 1.5% to 2% this year, and up to 3.5% for the first half of 2008. But it expects this to ease in the second half of the year, with inflation at 2% to 3% for the whole of 2008."
RH: Many, many, THANKS to Mr Kaye Poh, from whose brilliant email all the above articles are sourced and excerpted here. The thrust of all these articles prove convincingly enough, that GDP Numbers are faked Higher when Inflation is faked Lower than it really is. They prove why LIE KY LHL PAP kept reporting abnormally Low inflation numbers for decades, when the experience of every Singaporean is of rampant inflation. Also, by reporting falsely Low inflation numbers, LIE KY LHL PAP disguise the simple fact that our CPF monies are actually Reducing in value, eroded by Inflation because the miserable, exploitative, cheating, scam 'interest' they give us are far, far, below inflation -- "an implicit tax" as Prof Mukul Asher [ http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/Faculty_Mukul_Asher.aspx ] wrote. . Also, by reporting -- and convincing us through their PAPaganda media -- that inflation is 'low', the alleged GDP each year becomes automatically and fakedly Higher thereby giving the Ministers and top civil servants more millions in GDP 'Performance Bonuses'!!! Disgusting, dirty, cheats and scammers who routinely rig elections so as to be able to keep paying themselves more millions.
Posted by Robert HO nric S0197974D at 10:03 AM
09 December 2008
ICONOCLASSING Pt 3 or RH Zero Sum Game Theory
1. Today's essay is Iconoclassing Pt 3, which continues from "Iconoclassing Singapore GDP Myths" and "Iconoclassing Pt 2", whose urls are just below :
19 June 2008
ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS
19 June 2008
ICONOCLASSING Pt 2
2. Today's essay takes off from a speech "The Puzzle That Never Was" given by Dr CHEE Soon Juan in 2001 to Stanford University, Institute of International Studies, url and complete text just below :
THE PUZZLE THAT NEVER WAS
January 29, 2001
Dr Chee Soon Juan
Secretary general, Singapore Democratic Party
Speech given at Stanford University, Institute for International Studies
Singapore society confounds the theory that wealth leads to an opening up of society. The Lion City is an affluent society unable, some say unwilling, to break out of its authoritarian mode. Therein lies the puzzle that the Singapore is.
A. THERE is a myth that goes something like this: Singapore's post-independence story has been one of a money-making miracle and the miracle-maker is, of course, the People's Action Party. We all know a myth, when repeated enough and left unexploded, gradually becomes fact. When you add to this another myth which is that Singaporeans, having become rich, seem not to mind living in an authoritarian state, a veritable puzzle develops.
B. Sieve out the hubris and scoop away the public relations puff, however, you have a reality that is very different and a politico-economic puzzle that is very explainable.
C. Singapore's economy has been designed to maximize GDP gains in the shortest time possible. The best way to go about doing this is to yell like crazy to foreign investors about the generous tax incentives that are on offer with cheap wages to boot. To make sure that the locals go along with the plan, the opposition, labour movement, and civil society in general is dismantled through laws such as the Internal Security Act which enables the ruling party to arrest anyone at pleasure and detain them at leisure. Workers must also be maintained on a strict diet of intellect-numbing presentation of government pronouncements sans critical analysis through a controlled mass media. Once these conditions are in place, one will be surprised how quickly multinational companies come in.
D. More than 7000 of these multinationals, involved in every type of business conceivable, have setup shop in Singapore. They account for more than 90 percent of investments in the manufacturing sector, 70 percent of the gross output in the manufacturing sector, over 50 percent of those employed, and 82 percent of direct exports.
The addiction to foreign capital
E. As foreign capital poured in and employment grew, the PAP started to get too comfortable in government and rationalized that continued discipline brought about by its austere measures was the way forward.
F. Of course with growth, cost has also risen. With its neighbours competing for foreign investments, the government has had to rethink its strategy. One solution would be to get Singapore out of direct competition with its neighbouring economies for low-end, labour intensive industries. Thus in 1979, the government embarked on a series of measures to encourage the influx of high-tech industries to replace low-tech ones. With typical authoritarian efficiency, the PAP raised the level of real estate prices and wages of the workers. Political economist Garry Rodan wrote: "Without any apology, the PAP tried to force lower-value-added, labor-intensive industries to upgrade operations or close operations in Singapore altogether."
G. The result was that unit labour costs rose by 40 per cent in six years.
H. But instead of responding to the PAP's call to upgrade their operations in Singapore, many of the low-tech companies simply moved to cheaper countries. Magaziner and Patinkin wrote: "The EDB [Economic Development Board] people explained that they'd misunderstood why companies had come to Singapore. Good infrastructure was important, but it wasn't the main driver. Cheap wages were."
I. In 1985, this policy resulted in a full-blown crisis. A combination of a 40 percent decline in investments and slothful international trade saw Singapore's economy plunge into a recession with the GDP registering a negative 2 percent down from its usual 8-10 percent.
J. Then, as it is now, it is the people who end up picking up the tab. With the same autocratic style that announced the switch to a high-wage, high-skilled economy, the government now decreed that wages of the workers be cut by 15 percent. Lee Hsien Loong, who was then the Minister for Trade and Industry, exhorted workers to increase their working hours to "44 hours a week...and to do third shifts and keep plants open 24 hours per day." In the meantime, the government declared that it no longer mattered whether the techs were high or low, "all forms of investment which can make profits were welcome."
K. And so with wages cut and dissent muffled, the government went about serenading foreign investments again and growth was subsequently restored. The question was for how long and how much do the people have to sacrifice again when difficulties revisit the economy?
L. By the early 1990s the economy was wheezing and puffing again. In 1994, nearly 8000 workers were laid off by more than 200 companies. This was an increase of 19 per cent of retrenched workers over 1993. In 1995, the number of retrenched rose to more than 14,000. By 1996 there were unmistakable signs of an imminent recession. Again the government pointed to the "restructuring" and "upgrading" of the economy. Then Minister for Trade and Industry, Yeo Cheow Tong - without a hint of knowledge of the problems that the triggered the 1985 recession - said: "In actual fact, such restructuring and upgrading are signs of a healthy manufacturing sector." Someone forgot to tell him that the companies that were moving out were high-tech electronic ones which the economy was supposed to be upgrading to.
M. As it turned out, the PAP was saved from an embarrassing situation by the Thai government which buckled under the weight of the baht and devalued it on July 2, 1997, sending Asia into its worst economic nightmare. Perhaps, we will never know the severity of that economic downturn because of the Asian crisis. It does, however, make the PAP's claim that Singapore's economy tumbled during the crisis only because of it was dragged down by its neighbours' financial misfortunes seem, at best, disingenuous.
N. As before, the workers end up having to make yet more sacrifices. In 1999, the Singapore government announced that it was cutting wages by 10 per cent. The retrenchments continue into the present and is set to get worse. The government's latest explanation for the loss of jobs is not very different from that in given in 1994, or for that matter, way back in 1979. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told Singaporeans that "economic restructuring also meant retrenchments will rise" and this was because "low-skilled jobs are being lost and high-skilled ones created." Here we go again.
O. The fact of the matter is that Singapore cannot, or doesn't know how to, get out of its dependence on foreign investment. Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld noted: Despite its seeming prosperity, Singapore in 1990 is trapped in the treadmill of the export-oriented economics that it once so enthusiastically embraced. Having so completely opened itself up to the world market and the multinationals with the illusion that it could influence the former and manipulate the latter, the PAP technocrats now see that their policies have reduced Singapore's economy to a mere service economy, the fate of which is totally dependent on the calculations and whims of the multinationals.
Economic growth for whom?
P. The reliance of Singapore's economy to foreign investment exacts a significant toll on the welfare of the people. The government's willingness to sacrifice workers' wages whenever economic conditions become unfavourable means that Singaporeans are consigned to having to work harder and harder just to maintain a standard of living that, contrary to government pronouncements, is not all that its made out to be. Let me give you a few indicators.
Q. In the Global Competitiveness Report 1999 which surveyed a total of 59 countries, Singaporean workers, especially those in manual jobs, were found to be relatively one of the worst paid in the world. The median wage of an office cleaner or driver, adjusted for productivity, "is among the lowest in 59 countries worldwide." Only Russia, Ukraine and Ecuador are paid less. Secretaries don't do much better, their wages rank 50 among the 59 countries.
R. During the Asia crisis, monthly wages for low-skilled workers fell up to 34 percent from $746 in 1998 to $492 in 1999. During that period, 16 percent of the work force earned below $1000 a month. Nearly 30 percent of households were not earning enough to afford the minimum standard of life. But when the crisis was over, salary increases among 14 Asian economies was the lowest in Singapore. While Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan had rewarded their workers between five to eight percent in wage increments (after accounting for inflation), Singapore averaged only 3.6 percent with the number predicted to decrease to 2.9 percent this year. It was reported that between 1998 and 2000, the average monthly income of the lowest 10 percent of households fell further by half to $133. The subsistence level in Singapore is estimated to be $1000 for a household of four persons.
S. All this in a city that is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive in the world. In the mid 1990s the Union Bank of Switzerland ranked Singapore as the 7th most expensive city - even costlier that Paris, New York and London. Just last week, the London-based Economic Intelligence Unit rated Singapore as the ninth most expensive city in the world.
T. And yet Lee Kuan Yew, without batting an eye, recently boasted: "Foreigners have noted how the people of Singapore have responded, putting national interest first by taking CPF cuts that helped this rebound (from the Asian crisis)." With trade unionism rendered comatose by the government - the umbrella National Trades Union Congress' chief is a government minister - a significant question arises: How do the workers tell the Senior Minister that they are hurting? How do they tell him that they don't want to be the ones having to put 'national interest first by taking CPF cuts' when the ministers increase that own salaries, which is already the highest in the world? Under the new pay scheme Goh Chok Tong's annual salary will jump by 14 percent to S$1.94 million, five times that of the US President's. How do they let him know that they don't want their employers to cut their wages by 10 percent when in the same period, the average household income for the top 10 percent rose by more that 3 percent while the number of millionaires in the country increased by 40 percent to a record high 742?
U. Gerald O'Driscoll, Kim Holmes, and Melanie Kirkpatrick wrote in the Index of Economic Freedom report 2000 that in Singapore "the authorities strive to be first but at the cost of efficiency and the ultimate well-being of the people."
V. For all the hype about Singapore being a near-paradise, 20 percent of its citizens indicated that they want to leave the country predominantly because of the stressful lifestyle and high cost of living. In 1999, a consumer health survey found that among the various Asian societies, Singaporeans are more likely to have suffered depression, stress and fatigue.
W. But in spite of all this, the PAP apologia will point to the political stability in the country and the notable lack of strife, and tell you that this is due to the ruling party's sound economic record and the people's contentedness. If the lack of civil strife is taken as an index of a government's popular support, then the North Korean regime must be one of the most loved ones in the world; Saddam Hussein, still in power after the rest of his counterparts in the US and Europe have left office, must go down in history as one of the most endearing political figures; and Burma's military outfit must be doing everything right since the crackdown in 1989.
X. Just because the surface of the water is calm, don't always assume that there is nothing lurking beneath. In an authoritarian state, the seeming tranquility is more a reflection of fear and of the effectiveness of the tactics of repression, than it is an indication of the masses affection for the ruling elite.
Y. There is no question that economic growth can occur in authoritarian states under the guise of free market regimes. There is no puzzle here. However, for there to be economic development, one that genuinely benefits the masses and one that is sustainable, the people must be active participants rather than mere digits of the assembly line. For this to happen, democracy is vital. History has shown that how right wing, free-market authoritarian regimes were not able to hang on to power forever. Singapore is no exception. The reason why the regime is still firmly in place is that the founder of the authoritarian system is still alive and very much in the political equation. The second reason is that Singapore is a much smaller country both physically and in terms of its population and because of this control is that much more effectual. Put Lee Kuan Yew in charge of a bigger country like say Malaysia (let alone even bigger ones like Thailand and large ones like Indonesia) and the results could be very different.
Living with fear
Z. I have related how much of a myth the PAP's economic achievements have been and shown you how the picture of the rich, fat, and politically contented Singaporean is just as fictitious. Let me now tell you about the climate of fear that Singaporeans live under and how this fear is induced.
AA. On the eve of nomination in the last general elections in 1997, I received a phone call from a woman who was the wife of one of our candidates. She pleaded with me to persuade her husband not to stand for elections. She was in tears. When I tried to explain to her the situation, she grew increasing desperate and threatened to jump off from the flat and take their children with her. We quickly sent some of our women folk to see her to make sure that nothing tragic happened. In between sobs she said that they had a family to look after and joining the opposition would ruin everything. She didn't want to see her husband again unless he agreed not to stand as an SDP candidate. Our candidate later managed to return home and pacify his wife. He continued on with the elections but hardly campaigned as he stayed home most of the time to make sure nothing happened.
BB. On an earlier occasion, I met up with an academic to discuss the possibility of him standing as a candidate. He picked me up and we quickly drove to a field that was unlit. We sat in the dark and started talking. He was visibly nervous and suggested another spot. And so we found another darkened place, this time in a carpark to talk about the business of his candidacy. We were behaving as if we were planning something illegal when we were just making plans for the elections.
CC. Another instance involved a well-known Asian author who had come to Singapore to work as well as do some research for her book. She told her Singaporean housemate that she was going to have lunch with me, whereupon the housemate became so terrified that she immediately asked the author to move out.
DD. In 1998 I was in Perth, Australia, to give a talk. A professor there told me that some students confided in him that they were interested in attending my talk but were afraid they would be blacklisted. In a similar occasion in Sydney, I was walking to the toilet after giving my presentation when a few students came up to me and said they were very supportive of what I was doing, but didn't want to be seen in public talking with me.
EE. We presently have a few younger Singaporeans who started the youth wing of the SDP. It is called the Young Democrats. Each and every one of them has come under intense pressure from their families not to get involved with the opposition. I am very glad they were able to persuade their families otherwise and stand firm in their convictions. Needless to say, I'm very proud of them.
FF. In case you think that these are just anecdotes that may not be reflective of the political situation in Singapore, a recent survey found that 93 percent of Singaporeans are afraid to speak out against governmental issues.
Is such fear unfounded?
GG. Singapore still retains the Internal Security Act (ISA) that allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely. Scores of opposition leaders, trade unionists, and social activists were arrested under the ISA and detained for years. Chia Thye Poh was one of them. He was imprisoned for 23 years without given a trial.
HH. Then there are the lawsuits. J. B. Jeyaretnam has recently been bankrupted because he could not pay the costs and damages outstanding to his opponents some of whom are PAP MPs. He has been sued repeatedly by Lee Kuan Yew and other PAP leaders and has paid more than a million dollars to these people, selling all his possessions in the process.
II. Tang Liang Hong, a successful lawyer who stood as an opposition candidate in the last elections has also been sued. He was declared a bankrupt and charged with tax evasion. He now lives in Australia.
JJ. Francis Seow, the former solicitor-general, was also detained under the ISA. He later ran for elections with the Workers' Party. He now lives in exile in the US after he was charged and convicted in absentia while he was in this country receiving treatment for his heart condition.
KK. These are just some of the higher profile cases. There are many more which time does not permit me to relate. I tell you about them because you will not read them in political science books or journals. Nevertheless, they are very real cases involving real people. The next time you read or hear anyone telling you that Singaporeans live in the comfort zone under cheerful climes with relatively little to fear, you can at least carry on a discourse with some intelligence.
LL. Which brings me to my next point. Why is there such a mistaken impression of Singapore in the first place? The mass media has much to do with this. Singapore's local media has been comprehensively subjugated in the 1970s when editors and journalists who crossed the government with their reports were put in prison. Many of the newspapers were closed down. Today all of the country's newspapers are published by state-run companies, the biggest being the Singapore Press Holding which is run by a former cabinet minister and a former ISD director.
MM. What about the foreign media? Time, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, Asiaweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, and the Economist have all been either sued or have had their circulation restricted, or both. The foreign broadcast media also recently came under attack. These actions by the PAP has had a lasting impact on the way the foreign media tends to report about Singapore.
NN. In such a situation who are the losers? The PAP? Hardly. It was a resounding victory for the government over the international media. The owners of these foreign publications? Not when you consider that their bottom line is to keep up their sales. The real losers are the people who have been deprived of yet more independent and uncensored sources of information. The PAP may have won the battle this round. But it has not solved the problem of the people being denied the right to freedom of information. All it has done is to set Singapore up for a much bigger fall in the future.
OO. This is not the only way people are deprived of dissenting opinion. Books critical of the PAP system, cannot find their way onto shelves in bookstores. None of them would carry my books. When I sell them on the street, I am prosecuted for illegal hawking. When I call up the Ministry of Environment to apply for one, they say that no such licenses are given. None of the newsvendors dare sell newspapers published by opposition parties.
PP. I have not even begun to relate all the appalling tactics employed by the ruling party during elections. Because of time restrictions, I will instead refer you to a report entitled 'Elections in Singapore: How free and how fair?' published by the Open Singapore Centre, copies which are available for sale here.
QQ. Having heard all that I've just said, can you truthfully say that this sounds like a government that has the kind of support it claims? Does this sound like a people who are unafraid and willingly allow the PAP this continued control over them? Or is there some truth to the fact that the PAP knows that the people want democracy and the only way to deny them of this is to institute more controls and device more ways of intimidating them?
RR. It is important to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the PAP is this visionary architect of Singapore's economy and, worse, that Singaporeans are so comfortable that they will just roll over and play dead every time the PAP cracks its whip. Why should Singaporeans be any different from the rest of the world which has unreservedly embraced democracy. From Mexico to Mongolia, Soviet Union to South Africa, people want to live in freedom and dignity, and to be able to hold their governments accountable. The last time I checked Singaporeans are humans too. And because we are humans we have this one thing in common that cannot be crushed. It's called the human spirit.
3. Dr CHEE is the only person in Singapore who has spent his entire recent life, >a decade, fighting/understanding/critiquing/writing/exposing the crooked, corrupt, nepotic, murderous, torturous, election-rigging, greedy, venal, LIE KY LHL WKS Cronies PAP LIEgime. He is also the only one who has done this well, with courage, skill, talent that no one else has displayed in Singapore. That makes him uniquely qualified to not only know and identify what is wrong -- and the entire system is hopelessly wrong -- but also how to fix it, given the chance. His books are not mere rants but contain insights into the problems and solutions to the problems.
4. As a sometime essayist/blogger, I would today like to take off from his above Puzzle speech, that portion relating to cheap labour that I have paragraphed-named as F to J and L, N and O.
5. It is my contention that Singapore has all along been a cheap labour economy, despite the few showcase high-tech and service sectors that are always trotted out and boasted to foreigners, like when they are bussed to some spanking HDB township touted as evidence of success. Dr CHEE has done me the service of stating the facts and figures in the paras mentioned. However, as in my 2 previous Iconoclassing articles, my theme is how LIE KY's GDP is a Myth. In today's article, I would like to postulate that "Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy." Evidence of this is in Para O : "O. The fact of the matter is that Singapore cannot, or doesn't know how to, get out of its dependence on foreign investment. Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld noted: Despite its seeming prosperity, Singapore in 1990 is trapped in the treadmill of the export-oriented economics that it once so enthusiastically embraced. Having so completely opened itself up to the world market and the multinationals with the illusion that it could influence the former and manipulate the latter, the PAP technocrats now see that their policies have reduced Singapore's economy to a mere service economy, the fate of which is totally dependent on the calculations and whims of the multinationals."
6. If you allow my arguments in my first 2 Iconoclassing articles and allow Para O, then it is clear that LIE KY is far, far, from being the genius and miracle worker that he and his lapdog media have endlessly portrayed him to be, but a total failure whose overhyped image is due to faked statistics, the Green Lever Effect, and an economy driven to ruin through 'managing FOR numbers'. The collapse of the Singapore economy and country will be when the Housing Bubble and Foreign Cheap Labour Bubble burst, as burst they must, as is inevitable with all bubbles. If you allow that "Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy", then you understand why so many citizens are unemployed, their woeful statistics disguised by renaming citizens + PRs as "Residents" and why an astounding 35% of the people on this tiny 700 sq km islet are FOREIGNERS.
7. Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy, only that, in the early days, we Singaporeans were the cheap labour, nowadays, the foreign workers are. This is inevitable. Through the years, due to the moronic policies of OverTax & UnderSpend in order to amass huge surpluses and reserves, which are regarded as evidence of success, as all money wealth seems to indicate success, the LIEgime raised the prices of everything, especially HDB flats where a typical tiny 4-room flat that costs S$30,000 to build, as proven by successful contractors' published tender prices, are now selling for >S$640,000. This Bubble can only burst and it will make the US subprime crisis seem modest. So, with frequent price hikes in GST, HDB flat prices, transport, utilities, every single possible cost, Singaporeans cannot pay their mortgage and eat 3 meals without a salary of at least S$1,000, which would be subsistence level. So, in order to keep the cheap labour economy going, Singaporeans are deliberately undercut by importing cheap foreign workers, until now they comprise 35% of people on this islet. UnderSpend means that the housing, transport, whole infrastructure do not keep pace, hence overcrowded metros, buses, malls, even parks. So, high GDP growth is at the expense of or balanced by ruinous social policies and conditions of life for the vast majority.
8. The common thread running through my Iconoclass series is that the supposedly high GDP growth that LIE KY got is false and distorted. Today, I would like to postulate that "True GDP growth is almost impossible and growth in one sector is always offset by decline in another or in a future foregone." We can call this the Zero Sum Game Theory.
9. Let us look at this puzzle or paradox by briefly checking the GDP growths of the advanced economies, especially that of Europe. After all, they have many of the best economists, planners, experts, think tanks, economic data gathering and studies, in the world. So how is it that they can manage no better than the ~2.5% in the best of times, even less in the inevitable troughs and downturns? If you minus the bad times GDPs from the good times, you get No Growth. Even the ~2.5% in good times becomes 0 when inflation and other factors are factored in. So, it is entirely possible that my Theory is right, that GDP Growth is impossible.
10. What of China and Singapore and other seemingly high GDP growth countries? Remember my Theory about 'future foregone'? In the case of China, its laudable record of >10% GDP growth over 3 decades is probably due to its one-child policy in which 2 adult parents pay taxes and contribute to economic activities while producing only 1 child to use back some of those taxes, mostly in minor expenditures such as schooling and a little healthcare, etc. This gives the China govt a big surplus for every family of 2 adults taxes/economics - 1 child's spending. Further, when that child leaves school to work, all 3 contribute for many years thus giving the China govt all 3 surpluses in economics. Any wonder China developed so quickly in just 3 decades? This may seem to contradict my Zero Sum Game Theory that no true GDP growth is possible and any growth is just a rebalancing of different sectors in which some sectors' growth are balanced by others' declines OR balanced by a future foregone or decline. In China's case, when the demographics turns bad, when there are many more old non-working people than young working people, the Zero Sum Game will happen and all the years of positive growth will then be nett off by years of decline. 7 years fat followed by 7 years lean.
11. The US also has had better GDP growth than the advanced European countries but this is offset or balanced by poorer societal conditions and many poor sectors. There is also future foregone in the huge deficits that future generations will have to pay back for the current generation's enjoyment. Zero Sum Game again. Nothing is for free. There is no free lunch.
12. If my Theory is right, then govts and economists must be very, very, careful what they wish for. If they want Big Growth in some sectors, then they must be very careful to ameliorate the declines in other sectors, or society, which will be inevitable. Or costs to future generations. The one salutary effect of my gloomy Theory is that govts and economists may stop chasing the mirage of high GDP growth and ask themselves what it is they really want to do, what they want for their societies. They may then become more like the advanced but slow-growing European countries and try to better the lives of their people, not just feed the economy. Better childcare, better healthcare, better schools, better public transport, better and more rewarding careers and jobs, more fulfilling lives. In the end, isn't this what govt should be all about?
RH Zero Sum Game Theory : "True economic growth is impossible. Growth as measured by GDP and other accountings are possible in some sectors, but are always negated by declines in others, usually measured over-optimistically for the growth sectors and over-pessimistically for the decliners. True growth over a defined period is possible, but only at the expense of future declines, like booms are always followed by busts and bubbles eventually burst. All this is due to the finite natures of Man and his systems. An emphasis in one area/s of endeavour is negated by neglect in another/s. A gain now leads to a loss later. In the end, it all adds up to zero."
Related somewhat to :
RH: Robert's Complete Case against Leeconomics [Main]
From: Robert Ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: RH: Robert's Complete Case Against Leeconomics (Main)
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format
Date: 2003-06-18 07:02:04 PST
ROBERT's COMPLETE CASE AGAINST LEECONOMICS
No discussion of LEECONOMICS can begin without a definition of GDP, so
I will offer one here, a fairly standard definition of GDP: "Gross
Domestic Product is the total market value of all the final goods and
services produced by labour and property in a country, regardless of
the nationality of the entities producing the output."
The last is key to understanding Leeconomics: "…regardless of the
nationality of the entities producing the output." Thus, in this one
definition can be understood why Leeconomics has failed the people of
Singapore and ultimately, Singapore itself. To quote from Dr Chee Soon
Juan's January 2001 speech to Stanford University, entitled The Puzzle
That Never Was, "More than 7000 of these multinationals, involved in
every type of business conceivable, have setup shop in Singapore. They
account for more than 90 percent of investments in the manufacturing
sector, 70 percent of the gross output in the manufacturing sector,
over 50 percent of those employed, and 82 percent of direct exports."
Meaning that, as in the arguments that follow, since most of the
entities producing the output in Singapore are foreign Multi National
Companies [MNCs], the people and economy of Singapore derive little
benefit from such unusually heavy reliance on Foreign Direct
Investment [FDI] except initially, in the profusion of jobs created,
but which are now, also very unusually, largely taken by foreign
workers deliberately mis-named "Foreign Talent" [FT]. But more of
these later. [As an aside, China today stands in danger of becoming
another ‘economic slave' with as little chance of upgrading out of
When did GDP come about? After all, it wasn't even understood by
Governments a few decades ago, although now, every single Singaporean
seems to know the latest figures, thanks to a Government and a
Government-controlled media that has come to regard this Magic Number
as a kind of national scorecard and a kind of indicator of how well
Singapore is run as compared to other countries. It has been subtly
portrayed in Singapore by Lee's Regime as almost a kind of athletic
event race to the finish line, with Singapore, of course, usually
among the leaders, if not well in the lead.
This was not always so. In Singapore a few decades back, there might
have been some statistical measures of economic performance but it was
probably the GNP, and hardly made the news, since it was just a number
only the very few statisticians around understood, or knew how to
calculate, and even the collection of statistics was in its infancy
and wholly inadequate. In those days, probably even the Government of
Lee Kuan Yew and LKY himself did not fully understand the import of
GDP. Certainly, LKY then did not even think of measuring himself using
this, by now Magic, Number of GDP.
‘ADVANCED' AND ‘BACKWARD' COUNTRIES
In those days, countries did not compare with one another. And when
they did, they merely thought of themselves as 'advanced countries' or
An advanced country was one where the people had enough to eat, had
decent homes, a good public transport system, decent work with decent
working hours and adequate healthcare, etc. In other words, the basics
of good social and physical infrastructure. A backward country was the
How much simpler things were then, and how much more relevant
comparisons were than today's over-emphasis on the GDP Number. Today
in Singapore (at least, until recently, when the Number began turning
ridiculously low and even negative), the GDP is used to justify the
$1-2 million salaries the Ministers pay themselves. It is also used in
other nefarious ways, for example, to change the entire workforce into
a GDP-enhancing system, without regard for whether this all-consuming
drive for high GDP actually translates into an 'advanced' country's
quality of life for the citizens.
As one example, the overriding desire to produce high GDP Numbers has
led to the influx of 1 million foreigners, deceptively labelled by the
PAP as 'Foreign Talent' so that locals would not baulk at the numbers,
the highest in the world for a small domestic population of 3.2
million. Also, it was a non-too-subtle putdown for the locals for, if
you are not a talent, would you dare oppose so many foreign 'Talents'
pouring in, and being treated even better than the locals, to boot?
Also, we are told by the Great Man himself, and repeated by his
faithful Heir and Court Eunuchs, 'that foreigners create jobs that
would otherwise not be created' and which has been disproved by me in:
RH: Why Foreign Talent policy cannot work:
Why is this incessant chasing after high GDP Numbers bad? Isn't this
how all countries are ranked and measured now, if not way back then
but very true now?
CHICKEN ENTRAIL READERS
True to some extent. Nowadays, with the Economist having become the
modern day Oracle and Soothsayer, [but reading the innards of
computers instead of chicken entrails], from whom even world leaders
have to seek advice and prognostications, the GDP Number is indeed
important. But it was not always so. I would put the Rise of the
Economist about 20 years back. (Different countries would have
different times for their Rise of the Economist until today, we are
all living in the Golden Age of Economics).
Around 20 years ago, the world and LKY began to adopt statistical
measures for everything. For everything, there was a number. Without a
number, you could be accused of generalities, of not being 'accurate'.
With numbers, everything seemed so scientific, so precise, so
unbiased. No longer did countries call themselves 'advanced' or
'backward'. Now the world had numbers and you stand either on a very
precise 6.3% GDP growth or a less impressive 5.9%. Instantly,
countries could be very precisely ranked, which is what numbers allow,
since numbers are created for that very purpose and by definition, are
Except that, numbers can lie and do lie, and lie very insidiously.
Let's take GDP Numbers. First, let me repeat my definition of GDP:
"Gross Domestic Product is the total market value of all the final
goods and services produced by labour and property in a country,
regardless of the nationality of the entities producing the output."
That is a short definition. No proper understanding of GDP can be had
in less than a thousand words embedding several technical
sub-definitions. Ah, we begin to sense that the GDP is actually woolly
and indistinct and not a sharp featured animal -- it is a Jabberwocky.
Worse, the compilations of the numbers that go into this final
so-accurate-looking Number, are actually even more woolly. Different
countries have vastly differently-sized or even wholly different
economy sectors and so we are not even comparing apples with apples.
Since different countries have differently-sized or different economy
sectors, this means that Country A's GDP growth of 4.1% [I have always
wondered how they can manage to get it so accurate to one decimal
place!] may actually be 'better' than Country B's 6.1%. By 'better', I
would have to use the old, English, non-Economics meaning of 'better
managed and better-performing'.
THE RUNNING TRACK ANALOGY
Now, I normally dislike using analogies because no analogy is 100%
accurate to the meaning it is supposed to illustrate and often
introduce inaccuracies and irrelevant sub-meanings that distort the
original meaning intended. But I will break my rule here to offer one.
Just one. Imagine countries to be runners all running around a 400
metre running track. Also imagine that all the runners started at
different times from different start points around the track. Further
imagine that some runners are running full marathons of 10 km, some
half marathons of 3 km, some 1,000 metres, some sprinting 400 metres
and others doing the dash of 100 metres. Now, comparing these
different countries (runners) at a moment in time by putting yourself
at the Finish Line or some other point, could you meaningfully say
that Country A is better than Country B or Country C or D, etc? It
doesn't make sense to even compare.
So, when LKY found that advanced countries measured themselves using
the GDP growth rates, and that Singapore happened to score high GDP
growth rates because of its unique size and economic features, GDP
Numbers became the prime justification for everything from his own
salary to deliberately lowering the salaries of workers, and for
policies benefiting the rich to become richer while the poor were
kept poor and even made poorer by deliberate Government policies --
justified on the premise that high GDP growth rates were the be-all
and end-all of Government!
Thus, his entire economics policy (singular, because he has had only
one) became one long drive to attract Foreign Direct Investment and
lately, to bring in vast hordes of Foreign Talents to work in the jobs
this FDI brought. Where, you might ask, do Singaporeans figure in all
this? We don't. Foreigners invest here, employ foreigners to work here
to produce the goods and services –- most for export, and both these
foreign parties make the money and probably repatriate much of it back
home. We look on as unemployed locals. And meanwhile, this
'foreignisation' of the economy seems to produce decent Numbers that
LKY and his Court Eunuchs can boast about and on the basis of which
they reward themselves with yet more pay rises!
THE 3 WAVES OF LABOUR
This last policy of bringing in vast hordes of FTs is what may be
termed the Third Wave of workers. In the early days of LKY's reign, he
faced the postwar baby boom, which produced big numbers of workers
seeking work and a life – the First Wave. So he went into overdrive to
create jobs, hence the drive to attract FDI. Due to the boom in the
region, and the rise of the Japanese Yen, which drove many Japanese
companies out of Japan and many to Singapore, he succeeded. So well,
in fact, that he also encouraged women to leave their womenly chores
at home to work in offices and factories – the Second Wave. Finally,
when yet more cheap labour was needed, FTs were brought in. Thus,
Leeconomics's seemingly impressive early GDP growth was largely due to
massively increasing labour participation, in 3 big Waves. However,
this Third Wave was also designed to lower overall wages, since the
local Singaporeans were becoming used to decent wages. This resulted
in the current deliberate lowering of all wages to restore the economy
back into a low-wage, cheap labour economy, from which we never really
upgraded. "If we did not have some foreign workers to average down the
wage cost for the employers, are you sure the employers can survive in
Singapore?" admitted DPM Lee Hsien Loong, Straits Times, Oct 29, 2001.
Thus, while the elite have their taxes cut so they can get richer, the
working classes are actually heading back to become the cheap labour
attraction of a generation ago. To quote again from Dr Chee's 'Puzzle'
Speech: "During the Asia crisis, monthly wages for low-skilled workers
fell up to 34 percent from $746 in 1998 to $492 in 1999. During that
period, 16 percent of the work force earned below $1000 a month.
Nearly 30 percent of households were not earning enough to afford the
minimum standard of life," [while] "the average household income for
the top 10 percent rose by more than 3 percent while the number of
millionaires in the country increased by 40 percent to a record high
Economists will recognise from these 3 Waves of labour that
Singapore's seemingly impressive GDP growth in the early years are all
due to increasing inputs of labour and not from increasing
productivity and as such, cannot be sustained. FTs now number 1.1
million, that is, work permit holders including maids, out of a native
population of 3.2 million. What this does to the social fabric is not
just a matter for sociologists, but a concern for economists as well
because on an island of 650 square kilometers without any resources,
this is clearly unsustainable. Unless, of course, a non-economics
solution is sought, such as the invasion of Johor State, for its land,
water and Chinese population, probably on some Hitler-Poland pretext.
Thus, Leeconomics is: ‘attract foreign capital into Singapore,
bringing in their foreign technology, employing foreign workers,
producing foreign goods for foreign exports'. The peoples' crisis at
the moment [the leaders never suffer any, for obvious reasons], is
that all this foreignisation of the economy nowadays doesn't even give
them the jobs or the salaries it used to some years back.
For a fuller discussion of why FTs are bad for Singapore's economy and
people, read my post in this newsgroup
[RH: Hiring Foreign Talent -- How Many Jobs Do We Lose?]:
ROBERT's THEORY OF JOB CREATION
[This Robert's Theory of Job Creation explains how, across the whole
economy, 100,000 FTS –- and there are now 1.1 million work permit
holders -- may cause a loss of up to a million jobs. It also explains
why hiring one FT results in generating only ONE family's worth of
economic activities whereas hiring a local instead generates MANY
families worth of economic activities. Thus, from a sheer economics
standpoint, hiring locals for top-level jobs is far, far better for
This Numbers Game Syndrome is a peculiarly Singaporean phenomenon for
several reasons. Firstly, the Singapore Technocrat or Bureaucrat or
Minister is not a real politician. He has no political skills in
communicating with or moving the people. At best, he is a manager and
indeed, most of them were former managers in Government Companies or
the Civil Service. Thus, these managers are predisposed to Numbers and
totally lack the instinctive empathy with the people that all true
politicians possess. Secondly, they are totally unaccountable to the
people because Singapore is not a democracy. This leads to a totally
top-down administration that can get very, very distant from the
Today, if you have lived long enough in Singapore, especially over the
last 15 years or so, and have been reading the local media, you would
know instinctively that what I have written above is all true. Except
that I am the first one to point out this truth in this way.
So, if comparisons of GDP growth rates between countries are
meaningless, are high Numbers also meaningless? The answer is Yes.
Coming back to my Running Track Analogy, it is useless and unhelpful
to compare a 100m dash runner to one doing the 10km marathon, even if
both are passing you by at the same time. They are running different
races! Thus even Absolute Numbers are meaningless. If LKY says that he
managed 8% GDP growth last year, so what? Does that mean that all the
people got better pay/profits by an average of 8% last year? Until
that is so, even high absolute numbers mean nothing. The most LKY can
say is that, under his rule, Singapore has become better in social and
physical infrastructure and that people have a better quality of life.
Which can also be said of Hongkong, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan,
Malaysia, Thailand, etc, etc, -- more than half the world if we bother
to count. Very few countries regress in such things.
Thus, GDP growth rates used to justify astronomical Ministers'
salaries and other unfair Government policies that benefit the rich
and disadvantage the poor is a Lie at best. At worst, it DISTORTS
Government policies away from a more equitable distribution of wealth
and important things like healthcare as well as 'Foreign Talents'
taking away jobs and meaningful lives from citizens. We can say that
the PAP Government, which prides itself on being the most intelligent
Ministers in the world, have made themselves the stupidest by not
having analysed the issue as I have done here. If they had, they would
have come to the same conclusions as I have and the people would all
have been better off. I am aware that I am doing the PAP a service by
pointing out this aspect of their policies of which they are totally
oblivious. And by so pointing out where they had gone wrong and
thought wrong, I am helping them to change tack, to dephasise GDP and
to emphasise people first, at a time when GDP growth is no longer
impressive and will remain that way for years, perhaps decades,
perhaps even forever, to come. So, this little treatise actually gives
them an excuse to drop the emphasis on GDP Numbers just when the
Numbers are no longer impressive.
‘AVERAGE', ‘GOOD', ‘EXCELLENT' GDP GROWTH
It would have been better for this stupid Government to express
economic growth annually by giving it a say, 'Good' score, or an
"Average' score or an 'Excellent', etc, and be done with it. By
getting seemingly impressive numbers in the earlier years, the PAP has
gone chasing after high GDP Numbers in a kind of 'competition to get
the highest Number' contest to the extent it has forgotten that the
ultimate end result of all Government polices is to improve the
citizens' lives and not to achieve some high GDP Number. Other
countries are not obsessed with high GDP numbers because firstly, they
don't have seemingly impressively high numbers, and secondly, they are
all hitting about the same numbers range, so they take it in their
stride and don't deliberately formulate Government policies for the
sole effect of high GDP Numbers. This is because most other countries
have a free press and a more democratic system that prevents this
particular abuse and distortion of Government policies. When people
are allowed to think and criticise, the Government cannot get away
with stupid practices like this of LKY and his PAP Govt. Precisely
because only Singaporeans are not allowed to think and criticise, this
Abuse and Lie of GDP Numbers is practised only in Singapore.
If the PAP does not deliberately formulate policies for high Numbers,
what should it do? Ah, here I may have to do some National Service
again, to offer alternatives that are better than the current Number
Chase, which has gone on for too long and distorted economic and
social, even welfare (practically non-existent) policies.
SOCIAL COMPACTS THE ANSWER
For example, instead of formulating Government economic policies for
high Numbers, the Government should set itself a series of Social
By that, I mean that the Government should sit down and think out a
series of desired objectives for the people, such as:
*That no Singaporean should go hungry;
*That no Singaporean should live without a roof over his head;
*That no young Singaporean should be without at least 10 years of
absolutely free schooling;
*That no Singaporean, able or handicapped, be without a job that
pays no less than $600 a month, this to be reviewed yearly;
*That no Singaporean worker be without a non-politically-affiliated
*That no Singaporean should be without medical care when sick, even
if he cannot pay for it;
*That no working Singaporean be without sufficient leisure to rest
from work and to improve himself whether such improvement be
educational, in hobbies or community matters;
These are all easily achievable and only require a different focus and
a change in thinking from chasing High Numbers to Serving
Singaporeans. When that change in thinking is undertaken, the
Government economic policies can be adjusted accordingly, such as
reducing 'Foreign Talents' -- practically an 'instant' cure for many
of Singapore's current economic ills! These are all very achievable
and much of it requires no more than small changes in
policies. [However, change will be hard for a Regime that never admits
that any of its policies can be wrong or ill thought out -- saving
face is more important to it than saving the people].
Certainly, my Social Compacts make much more sense than the current
bullshit about 'Community Above the Individual' rubbish which is
nothing more than an excuse for continued dictatorship.
Other Social Compacts can include (although I am not hopeful):
*That every Singaporean above 18 have the right to elect his MP in a
Single-MP Constituency as conducted by an independent Elections
Commission; while every Singaporean below 18 have their vote exercised
by the mother, first, and the second child, the father, and so on
[thus achieving, for the first time in the world, truly universal
suffrage for every citizen without any arbitrary distinction due to age];
*That every Singaporean household be given a free permanent
subscription to a newspaper of his choice, which can be changed;
*That every Singaporean household be given a 14" CTV if it does not
already have a better one;
*That every Singaporean household be given a radio if it does not
already have a better one;
*That every Singaporean household be allowed to use their CPF for
the purchase of computers and peripherals;
*That there be a free-to-air Politics Channel on TV and Radio [with
related Internet websites] that broadcasts politics 24/7, including
registered Opposition political activities;
*Other Social Compacts can relate to the rights of citizens or their
legal rights, or human rights, or citizens' rights, etc.
If all these seem startling, it is only because of their novelty. I
have long thought out parts and pieces of these, so I can say that
with time, these are all very sensible, even obvious. They are not
pie-in-the-sky ideas at all. The first Social Compact is easily
achievable. The second requires a willingness to level the playing
field for the Opposition but still confers enormous advantages to the
PAP. It will actually be better for the PAP than the Opposition and
better overall for Singaporeans. All it requires is an acknowledgment
that Leeconomics has had its day and should be retired, which can also
be said of Lee himself. And about time, too. Too much damage has
already been wrought.
18 Jun 03
UK 1500 Singapore 2200
RH: I would like to acknowledge an intellectual debt to Dr Chee Soon
Juan for the above article because he had long sounded this theme in
various speeches, books and publications in the Open Singapore Centre
and the Singapore Democratic Party.
From: Robert Ho (email@example.com)
Subject: RH: Robert's Complete Case Against Leeconomics Appendix 2
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format
Date: 2003-06-17 04:59:10 PST
RH: Why Foreign Talent policy cannot work
1. My subject title is not some new discovery -- it is now an
accepted fact with the 'departures' of several top honchos in the last
12 months, including the top foreigners at DBS Bank, Chartered
SemiConductor, and probably a few more I don't rememeber. Another
note: there are 3 kinds of foreign workers in Singapore. Together,
they number 1.1 million or 1 in 4 of us. The highest-paid and regarded are the OFT or Overpaid Foreign Talent. Then there are the UFT or Underpaid Foreign Talent. Finally, there are the Foreign Workers or FW. Now, I can start my little thesis:
2. My few months in the UK have brought home to me one rueful fact:
Everything is very expensive here. And even more so in the US. And as
expensive in Europe and Japan. This across-the-board High Cost Living
is the central plank in my thesis.
3. What does High Costs of Operation mean to companies here? And how
does that connect to OFTs in Singapore being unable to do what they
were headhunted to do?
4. OK. Let's take DBS Bank as one example. Since Lee Kuan Yew began
his mantra about how FTs are necessary for Singapore companies,
especially his SGIC companies, the Board of DBS Bank began to
reshuffle its top management posts to create room for several FTs who
would prove that LKY is once again, a brilliant thinker who cannot be wrong, so steeped in wisdom is he.
5. So, DBS, like Chartered SemiConductors, and many others more about
which we do not know about, hired headhunters to lure proven and
tested top honchos with successful track records. The offer, like the
always generous offers to foreigners (and always stingy stipends to
locals who have no clout with the PAP) included a 'Name Your Price'
kind of salary, 'Name Your Conditions' kind of contract including
Golden Parachutes if the deal did not work, and finally, 'Name Your
Working Conditions' kind of contract that gave these OFTs a very free
hand to do anything they want. This last, because Talent
like these do not just switch jobs for money, they also want a free
hand to do what they think best.
6. Thus, these OFTs and there are at least a dozen of them, maybe
double or triple that number, had the best deals they could ask for.
Big money and the chance to shape or reshape their companies as they
7. With a deal like that, especially the 'freedom to achieve' bit,
they simply could not refuse the deal nor fail. Yet, they failed. Some
had to jump, saved from humiliation by the Golden Parachutes. Others,
marking time, unable to achieve what LKY and the PAP and the SGIC and
the GLCs and the whole country expected them to achieve. Why?
8. It is not for lack of Talent. This is never an issue. All these
men were headhunted and had proven track records.
9. The reason they failed and why the existing ones are not achieving
much and why future OFTs will also fail, is simply this: ASIAN
COMPANIES ARE NO-FRILLS OPERATIONS WHEREAS WESTERN COMPANIES HAVE LOTS
10. Remember my statement about how everything here in the UK is very
expensive? That is the key. Now, in the UK or US or Europe, bank (or
other company) operations are very expensive, which is why everything
to the consumer is very expensive -- the costs simply have to be
11. For example, take legal work costs to the bank. In most Singapore
or Asian companies, the legal work costs are very minimal because
contract laws are probably not as onerous (meaning not as
sophisticated). Also, lawyers are cheaper in Singapore and other Asian
countries. Also, most Asian companies merely engage a small law firm
on retainer to do any legal work they need, which, as we have seen, is
far less and less onerous than in the West.
12. In the West, the legal requirements are a lot more sophisticated
and expensive and companies maintain a large in-house legal department
of expensive lawyers as well as retaining outside law firms for more
specialised work. This all adds to huge costs.
13. This legal department example is just one example. There are other
departments that bloat up costs in Western, more sophisticated
companies that are either non-existent in Asian companies or are very
small operations in Asian companies. Another example, in Western
companies, there would almost surely be a sizeable Marketing
Department. In Asian companies, the salesmen would be doing what in
Western companies would be split into Marketing Dept and the Sales
Dept functions. Again, in many Western companies, there would even be
a HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) Dept, which would be non-existent
in Asian companies. There are many more examples but I believe I have
made my point.
14. So when a OFT is lured from a big, reputable Western company to a
Singapore company, with the expectation and mandate to 'make that
Singapore company world-class, that is, Western, what can he do?
15. He fails. First, if he tries to graft all these Western high-cost
operations onto the Singapore company, he not only increases headcount
and payroll costs, he also has to create company structures that
ultimately are not needed!!! If they had been needed in the first
place, the company would already have them. So creating these new
depts and functions, while possible structurally and costs-wise, do
not add to the bottom line or even the efficiency of the company. So,
if he tries to reshape his DBS or Chartered Semiconductor or whatever
GLC into the kind of Western company operating environment he came
from, he will do more harm than good. So he fails.
16. Now, suppose the reverse happens. The Singapore company he is
lured to join is not doing well and he needs to cuts costs. He fails
again. Because, unlike the Western company, which is padded with much
fat, the Asian company is a no-frills operation. There is nothing to
cut. Any cut results in immediate reduction of operating efficiency
that will soon hit the bottom line -- here, he either gets out before
the bottom line exposes him or he hangs on and is eventually removed
when it is clear to all that he has done nothing good for the company.
17. Now, in the West, companies have so much fat that, like fat on the
body, accumulates with time so imperceptibly that no one notices, so
when the Western company is faltering, someone like the OFT can be
brought in and with ruthless cuts left and right, he can often restore
the bottom line and so gains fame as a miracle worker. Alas, even
miracle workers cannot work miracles on Singapore or Asian companies
(Japan is probably halfway between a Western and an Asian operation,
which may be interesting to speculate on whether a Japanese OFT may be
able to do what a Western OFT may fail to do).
18. Thus (I think I have given enough examples to illustrate my
argument), Lee Kuan Yew's Great Thought about how OFTs can create jobs
and wealth for the GLCs that hire them is sheer nonsense. This has
been proven by the failures and departures of so many.
19. Now, how about the UFTs?
20. These are talents and foreign but cheap. They are the ITs from
India and China that compete directly with our local ITs for jobs and
promotions. And because they can do almost the same jobs as our local
Singaporeans but cheaper, they get the jobs and thus depress the
salary levels of the profession they enter into in Singapore. The PAP
knows this. But they deliberately want to depress wages, which are
already the lowest among all the countries with comparable per capita
GDP, hoping that cheap labour will lure investors. They had only one
economic policy since 1965 and that is to lure investors. The only way
to lure investors is by being cheap. And since the PAP refuses to
reduce land costs, rent costs, statutory costs, etc, the only cost
they can easily reduce is wage costs. Thus, the UFTs.
21. Thus, the OFTs cannot create jobs and wealth, as claimed by LKY
and the UFTs steal jobs and depress wages for Singaporeans.
22. As for the FW, these are the labourers, construction workers and
maids. Singaporeans do not want to do what they do because there is no
minimum wage, as platformed by Dr Chee Soon Juan and his Singapore
Democratic Party in the last General Election. Since there is no
minimum wage, so the actual wages of these FWs are too low to attract
Singaporeans -- you cannot blame a Singaporean for refusing a job that
pays less than what he needs to pay for his transport, food,
utilities, etc, which is why FWs continue to be 'needed' for these
jobs in Singapore. If SDP's Minimum Wage solutions had been adopted,
much of the current unemployment of about 100,000 would have been
23. Thus, it is not a pretty picture. It is a grim discovery for
Singapore and Singaporeans to discover that OFTs, UFTs and FWs are all
stealing jobs and promotions and a meaningful life from Singaporeans.
All because one Old Man tried to impose his feeble solutions on a
Singapore that no longer had the right to challenge him.
24. The UK is also experiencing some of the same disappointing
non-performance of US OFTs. These US OFTs may have a 'proven' track
record in the US but when they come to the lower cost and less
sophisticated UK companies, they fail exactly like OFTs fail in
Singapore, and for the same
reason. Generally, Japanese companies do not give US OFTs so big a
welcome because they know that these US OFTs will not be able to do
any magic for Japanese companies because the corporate structures and
practices are so different. Similarly for European companies. Thus,
language barriers seem to prevent these US OFTs from cashing in on
companies in Europe and Japan. Or elsewhere in South America, Asia,
Africa, etc. Therefore,
only the UK and Singapore remain suckers to US OFTs.
25. The question now may be asked -- why is it that these OFTs can
perform so well in US companies and yet fail so miserably and
indisputably in the UK and especially in Singapore? The reason is, IT
IS MUCH EASIER TO SUCCEED IN THE U.S. THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
First, there is the scale of doing business. There are 280 million
Americans. If you have a business that just makes a dollar profit a
week from every American, you'd have a profit of $14.56 BILLIONS a
year. And Americans being Americans, it is easy to part them from
their money. In fact, the scale of business is much, much bigger than
just that $1 a week, for example, cars, houses, vacations, clothes,
etc. Thus, this scale of business creates giant companies with giant
operations that make billions and billions of annual profit, which
simply cannot be replicated anywhere else outside of the US. Thus fat
cat OFTs fail in the UK because the UK is 'only' 59 million people.
26. However, the UK does not suffer from this OFT phenomenon as badly
as Singapore, mostly because the UK has quite a lot of native talent,
who are often as good in the boardroom level management as US OFTs.
Singapore suffers badly because of another phenomenon -- Lee Kuan
Yew's calculated sucking up to the Americans. He has the country's
reserves to play with, with which to endear himself to Americans and
he does this in abundance. He hires US OFTs so that when these news
are reported in the American media, he is seen as a benefactor to
American companies, and word gets round that he is a good friend to Americans. He even paid $1.8 million to Michael Porter basically for a speech and some very general 'advice'.
27. As further proof to what I have writtten, let me point out that
Chartered Semiconductors is third largest -- behind the world's
largest contract chip makers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
Ltd and United Microelectronics Corp. Therefore, it would have made
sense to lure a Foreign Talent from these Taiwan companies instead of a Westerner, since the Taiwanese are Number 1 and 2 in that industry. But to LKY, Asians are low-class. Only Westerners are high class and Real Talents. So he never thought of hiring Taiwanese FTs. With the result we all know now.
28. Thus, American business operating and business environments are
very, very different from Singapore's -- or even the UK's. Therefore,
what works in America usually doesn't work in Singapore and hiring
American experts do nothing for Singapore except waste money and
prevent original thinking and solutions. The only benefit from hiring
American OFTs is that Lee Kuan Yew gets to talk to them to impress
them on how up to date he is on the latest American fads and
practices, especially in management and economics theories. This makes
LKY a Big Sucker, and 'there is a Lee Kuan Yew born every second'.
29. Some American companies do do very well outside of America. Some
may think that this fact 'proves' that American Talents are very good,
that is, superior American business acumen, superior American business
management, superior American business practices, etc. (And you cannot
find a more eager believer in American 'superiority' than Lee Kuan
The truth is, all these American companies which do well outside
American ALL have their businesses succeed in America FIRST. As I have
pointed out, it is far easier to succeed in America than anywhere else
on earth because there are 280 million Americans who are easily parted
from their money. So, these American companies, in such an easy
business climate, grow big and therefore have the money to perfect
their business products and processes, from say, developing excellent
french fries fryers in MacDonalds, for example, to say, computer
AFTER having developed these superior products in America and making
lots of money in America, it is therefore easy to propagate these
products and processess elswhere because say, the MacDonalds fryer is probably among the best in the world [although not always]. So, we see American products and businesses everywhere, not because they are inherently superior to locals but because they developed these better products and services in easy America first.
Thus, all the global successes are honed and perfected in the easy
business climate of America and therefore have better chances of
succeeding elsewhere. For example, take Research & Development. If a
Singapore company started out to develop something for the home market, it could only say, spend $1 per capita, so it spends $4 million on R&D. In the UK, the same approach would result in 59 million and in the US, it would be 280 million. So, which start up would have the better
product? Obviously the US start up of course. Thus the myth of
American business superiority and its OFTs are made this way and only
fools like Lee Kuan Yew think that it is able to reproduce such
business success in Singapore, or even Britain. To sum up, it is one
thing for a huge American company to establish a branch in the UK or
Singapore and put an American OFT to head it; and quite another for a
local company in the UK or Singapore to 'import' an American OFT and
hope he can work wonders.
17 Jun 03
UK 1258 Singapore 1958
From: Robert Ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: RH: Robert's Complete Case Against Leeconomics Appendix 1
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format
Date: 2003-06-18 03:09:43 PST
RH: Hiring Foreign Talent – How Many Jobs Do We Lose? [Also
known as Robert's Theory of Job Creation]
The foreign talent issue has been with us a long time and got an
almost complete airing at the General Election of Nov 3. At least,
that was the closest it ever got to a complete airing -- the
Opposition made such a good case against it that the PAP was forced to
defend, mostly by regurgitating all the old, standard clichés that its
leaders had thought out. Instead of (as usual) debating the Opposition
arguments point by point, many points went unanswered but this went
unnoticed because the media did such a good job of painting them as
rebuttals when they were not.
That Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong, and Lee Hsien Loong did not or could
not think is proven by this following very simple observation I am
about to make.
Many letters to the Straits Times Forum and to soc.culture.singapore
defend the hiring of foreign talent as being ultimately beneficial to
the economy. Indeed, during the heat of the debate in the GE, the PAP
trotted out purported figures to show that foreign talent accounted
for a significant part of the GDP. The (simplistic) assumption was
that without them, the GDP would be lower.
However, I can point out at least one aspect of all this charade of
statistics that anyone who has ever worked (including our present PAP
ministers and parliamentarians) can instantly identify as correct. And
which, to my utter surprise, nobody from the million dollar Ministers
to the bankrupt Opposition has yet picked upon.
The observation is this: Most people who have thought about the matter
assume that when a foreign talent takes a job in Singapore, he
deprives ONLY ONE Singaporean of a job. The amazing truth is that more
than one job is lost to Singaporeans. It may be as many as a dozen
jobs or even more, depending on the particulars.
How is this so?
Suppose that a company operating in Singapore needs a Accounting
Director. It hires a foreign talent. So, the conventional thinking is
that a Singaporean is deprived of a job as a Accounting Director. ONE
However, consider what happens when a SINGAPOREAN is hired instead. He
or she will have to be almost qualified for that post, meaning that he
or she will be at least a Accounting Manager.
Now, the chain effect begins. He or she is hired to fill the
Accounting Director post THEREBY LEAVING VACANT HIS OR HER CURRENT
ACCOUNTING MANAGER POST. Another Singaporean gets the opportunity to
get promoted into that just-vacant Accounting Manager post. Since this
person is likely to be a Accounting Supervisor, he or she thereby
creates another vacancy that can be filled by another Singaporean,
probably currently a Accounting Executive. This post, in turn, becomes
a vacancy to be filled by a fresh accountancy graduate.
Thus, by hiring a Singaporean at the top, a whole chain of musical
chair vacancies is created benefiting everybody along the chain,
including the fresh accounting graduate who gets his or her first job.
Conversely, not hiring a Singaporean for that top post KEEPS EVERYBODY
STUCK IN HIS OR HER CURRENT JOB.
Thus, the nefarious effect of hiring foreign talent hits home AT EVERY
LEVEL, NOT JUST THE JOB TAKEN.
This is an observation everybody knows instantly when it is pointed
out, though few probably have reasoned it out thus.
Even our Cabinet Ministers know this sublime truth of moving up. For
example, if Lee Kuan Yew does not or cannot remove Goh Chok Tong from
the Premiership, his son, Lee Hsien Loong cannot move up to the top
job. And if Lee Hsien Loong cannot be promoted, George Yeo cannot be
promoted to be Deputy Prime Minister. And if George Yeo is not
promoted, a Minister of State cannot become full Minister. And if that
Minister of State cannot become full Minister, a Parliamentarian
cannot make it to that job. And so it goes on.
Anyone who has ever worked knows that whether you get that coveted
promotion to the next level depends not just on whether you are good
enough for that job but more on whether the current incumbent moves
out of it. No vacuum, no push to the top. Everybody stays stuck in his
or her current job, losing hope over the years at the stagnation in
Therefore, there is a great argument for promoting Singaporeans to
fill every top job available. If they don't have the skills, send them
for training or get them to understudy someone. This takes time and
effort but as I have demonstrated, the benefits far outweigh hiring
foreign talent. Hiring foreign talent is quick and easy, which is why
it is attractive to the PAP Government. Simply put out an
advertisement. Or hire a headhunter. Or poach someone from a
established corporation. But that is the shortest sighted policy in a
country with the highest myopia rate in the world, especially in a
country that has succeeded in crushing any decent debate or free
This is not the only major issue on which Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong,
Lee Hsien Loong and the entire Cabinet and Parliament have blindsided
themselves through refusal to tolerate criticism and real debate. Dr
Chee Soon Juan has enumerated many other instances of poor and
thoroughly inept thinking resulting in bad policies in his brilliant
book, "Your Future, My Faith, Our Freedom"
. It is beyond my scope to attempt the careful analyses and arguments
he has made, so please buy a copy of this 2001 classic thesis.
There are many things wrong with Singapore today in 2001. Many of them
have been creeping upon us for decades and now that they are here,
they will not just go away or disappear, even with an upturn in the US
and world economy. Many of Lee Kuan Yew's simplistic thinking and
policies are coming home to roost and it will not be a pleasant time.
But perhaps the most damaging of all his bad policies is the
curtailment of real debate and criticism. In the complex world of the
late 20th and 21st centuries, no one mind, especially an old one mired
in the 60s and 70s, can come up with the policies to cope with faster
and faster change. Punishing criticism and eliminating real debate in
Parliament have created insoluble problems that no amount of behind
the doors discussion by an oligarchy can solve. Putting the media in a
straitjacket simply means that the Cabinet cuts off any ideas from the
ground and the people. Trying to strangle criticism only strangles
possible ideas and solutions. Bankrupting the Opposition simply means
the country is bankrupt of many of its leading thinkers and problem
solvers, like Dr Chee Soon Juan.
Singapore is now in a mess and it is a mess of its own making, with
the blame squarely laid at the door of the PAP and the people who
chose to believe in it. Perhaps, after Lee Kuan Yew dies, change may
be possible. There is also the frightening possibility that like all
dictators, he has so corrupted and bent every institution in the
country that these may not survive him, that without the strongman,
everything will spiral out of control.
The people have spoken on Nov 3. But do they really know what it is
that they have said?
RH: As regards LIE KY LHL WKS biggest property Bubble of all time, I just heard that a 5-room resale flat in Queenstown just sold for S$850,000! The day of the million dollar HDB govt flat is near. When this property bubble bursts, it will make America's subprime seem like a little pop.
THEORY OF BANKS INTERESTS RATES [25 Nov 2010]
In the US and Europe, banks THEMSELVES are a big part of the economy, hence they are Too Big To Fail, which is why govts are forced to bail them out with taxpayers monies when they do. Even in smaller and less advanced economies, bank operations underpin much of the rest of the economy, through their taking deposits and lending these monies to businesses. Thus, banks in every country underpin the economy. This then leads logically to the thought that if banks normal interests rates are, say, 1-4%, can the rest of the economy grow at, say, double digits without distorting the economy leading to unsustainable and uneven composition of economic sectors eventually ending in a crash? This implies that in mature economies, GDP growth would/should be around Banks Interest Rates otherwise distortions in the economy can occur, with almost inevitable tragic consequences in the form of busts and even total economic collapse. A corollary to this theory will be that a non-mature economy, starting from a low base, can defy this theory for some time, like China and some other countries have done. In Europe before the current crisis, GDP growth was around 2%, which may be 'right' and 'normal' and 'undistorted'. The US always had higher GDP than Europe, probably significantly more than its Bank Interest Rates and therefore, according to my theory, probably became so 'abnormal' and 'distorted' that it is collapsing. In general, economists and policymakers may want to study the correlations between Bank Interest Rates and GDP, if any, and to ponder if, when the two are far out of sync, whether this will create distortions in the economy, such distortions possibly leading to the entire collapse of the economy.
From: Robert HO
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 3:50 PM
Subject: Idea: Darwinian Explanation Of US Demise
1. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:11 reads "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle always to the strong." The US is currently the swiftest and the strongest. And it is losing, even dying. Why? Darwin has an explanation.
2. When I was an 18 year old student in the Teachers Training College, I spent most of my free time in the library. Since Archaelogy began with A, its books were right on the first shelf facing the main door. Since I read everything, I browsed and read some books on archaelogy. In one, a famous digger and writer wrote about how some branches of the human race ended in dead ends, extinct. These were not always the crude, ape-like humans or pre-humans that were 'not evolved enough'. Some were over-evolved. He quoted a skull fossil whose 'delicate features, teeth, jawbones and facial bones would not have been out of place in the Waldorf Astoria restaurant, nibbling on the finest delicacies". Yet it became extinct when other cruder, less evolved humans survived.
3. If we look at one of the most famous big, dominant, loud, species of all time, the dinosaurs, the same story. Dinosaurs thrived for over 160 million years, a success by any measure. We would be lucky to last even a fraction this long. Yet none exist today. Dinosaurs died out about 64 million years ago. The first true mammals appeared about 200 million years ago and survived till today in numerous forms. Thus, these unimpressive little rat-like mammals out-survived the towering dinosaurs. Even the ants, about 100 million years old, outlasted the dinosaurs. Thus, towering, triumphant, success for 160 million years is no guarantee of future success. While the lowly mammal, scuttling about in the shadows of the towering dinosaurs, are the success today.
4. If we accept that the general concept of "survival of the fittest" is true and its related concept of "adapting to the environment" by "specialisation" in order to better exploit the riches of the environment, then how do these concepts work in the case of Man and his society?
5. If evolution is accepted as a driving force in Man and his society, in which fields are evolutionary forces greatest, thus forcing the most adaptations and therefore specialisations? We can ignore Education since Education hardly changes let alone adapt to anything other than what some silly Education Minister or some educational theorists write. [This is why we are still studying Math instead of say, software writing; Shakespeare instead of the vastly superior brilliant films and even tv dramas, especially Korean]. If Education, which has huge powers to transform society, does not change much, then the rest, such as music, religion, etc, have even less evolutionary force.
6. This then points to the economy as the biggest evolutionary force on humans and human society. Unlike in all other fields of human activities, the economy most closely resembles Darwinian wild nature. In the economy, you have animals [companies] of all sizes, each struggling in a life or death struggle to succeed, meaning to exploit its environment [access to capital, technology, skilled labour, markets, etc]. This environment of many, many, variables resembles the jungle of Darwin. Like Darwin's creatures, all companies compete against each other, sometimes symbiotically like in nature, more often as predators and prey. Some live, some die. True Darwin.
7. To attempt a careful analogy, what Darwin would call a "species" we can call a "country" today. Survival of the fittest [species] then is survival of the fittest country. A country survives, thrives and grows, when it can control and exploit the most resources, much like a Darwinian species. To this end, it must adapt more and more so as to best control and consume the best and most resources. Just to do an offhand analogy, today this would be oil, to take one example. Note the US specialisation in adapting to, control of, and high dependence on oil. Thus, the US species is highly specialised to adapt to oil, control of oil, and high dependency on oil. As in any Darwinian environment, once the environment changes, the US species is in danger of extinction. Other lesser specialised species or countries will survive, like the ants and mammals out-surviving the dinosaur.
8. If the economy creates the greatest evolutionary forces in Man and his society, which economy has adapted the most, forced the greatest specialisations, is the most successful in adapting to and control of, its environmental riches? The US, of course. The point to note is that evolution works even if we are all unaware of it, just like the dinosaurs had no idea they were evolving. If we look for signs of evolution in the US, what do we find?
9. We find that the US is probably ABNORMALLY specialised, speaking mainly of its economy, of course, since we are not discussing education, religion, etc. Not only has it evolved an economy [and society] based on cheap oil [petrol is cheaper in the US than mineral water], it also has an economy with a huge financial industry. Unlike the rest of the world. Like the dinosaurs continuing for 160 million years, this is OK as long as the environment remains much the same. When the environment changes, dinosaurs go extinct. Thus, specialisation, which improves the fitness of the species [country] to control and exploit/consume the riches of the environment, can be fatal once the environment changes, unlike to less specialised species [countries]. Since the US is almost alone in being so dependent on cheap oil and its financial industry, and we are now seeing oil rising in price and declining in supply worldwide, the US dinosaur may be dying right now.
10. Its financial industry has proven over-specialised, in creating all kinds of highly specialised derivatives nobody understands, not even its creators, and other financial engineered products of highly specialised and obscure financial instruments. Its stock markets are complicated, requiring ratings agencies of dubious accuracy, a huge number of analysts and indices, all producing a total confusion of numbers, trends, graphs and 'facts' that can be used to justify and explain any position you take or want to explain. Unlike simpler, less specialised stock exchanges in the rest of the world where good, stable companies with good earnings get bought and vv. In the US, all kinds of fancy options, hedges, futures, swaps, whatever, create a total confusion which few understand. A few do understand but only in narrow, specialised trades and make huge fortunes. But nobody understands the overall picture, meaning that nobody can regulate or control the US financial industry. Another way of saying it is out of control. Nobody is at the wheel. This dinosaur has itself so changed its own environment that it is unable to cope and probably dying from its complexities.
11. Since an economy forces the greatest changes in a society, the US economy has created a society that mirrors its complexities and perversions. For example, its manufacturing industries are mostly extinct. Its economy, besides the over-specialised huge financial sector, is also largely based on entertainment, another specialisation forced by the peculiar perversions of over-specialisation. When the US started to lose to competitors in manufacturing, it specialised in financials and also entertainment, which few could compete with. So, besides the financial industry, another huge part of the economy is the entertainment-news-advertising industry. Entertainment needs no explanation: music, movies, tv sitcoms and their derivatives into the computer-relateds such as cable tv. However, even the news, especially tv news, is a form of entertainment. TV news are brief, each story a few minutes, with cursory images, so are more to entertain than to inform or inspire thinking. Longer talk shows are also designed to entertain than to enlighten. Soundbites are more important than explanations and analysis. Simple half-truths more important than complicated full-truth explanations. Next, even the huge billions earned by Google are based on ads, so this advertising-entertainment-news-infotainment, while multi-billion industries, are so specialised that if the world reverts to a simpler form of society, these highly specialised industries would probably crash.
12. So highly specialised is the US economy that consumption is about 70% of its economy. Again, once the environment changes...
13. How did the US become so specialised? Bretton Woods. Once the Bretton Woods agreements made the US$ the world's main reserve currency, the US began on its probably-inevitable path, along the path of least resistance and easy/free money, a path nobody understood, to become the economy it is today. Highly specialised. Those competitors of the US, probably the EU and China, who want to remove or reduce the US to a more humble size, would probably try to reduce the US$ role as the major world reserve currency. Once the US$ is un-Bretton-Wooded, the over-specialised economy of the US should fall. It has become too specialised to survive as an ordinary species [country].
14. To end, specialisation, while making you better adapted to exploit, control and consume the riches of the environment, can be fatal once the environment changes. And Man is the only creature that can change his environment so much, so fast, that he himself cannot understand, let alone survive the changes he made. To draw a lesson from this little essay, the US is definitely not the best model for human endeavour. In time to come, maybe very soon, the US will seem more and more like the T-rex.
CAPITALISM, TAKEN TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION, IS COLLAPSE.
Best of All Possible Worlds? :--
GROW YOUR ECONOMY WITH CAPITALISM, THEN IMPROVE YOUR PEOPLES' LIVES WITH SOCIALISM, AND WHEN CRISES HIT, SOLVE THEM WITH COMMUNISM.
LAW OF TERMINAL COMPLEXITY:
"Societies become more and more Complex faster and faster until they become unmanageable, when they then Collapse."
A corollary would be:
"Entropy can be halted, delayed, even reversed, but only for a time, after which, Entropy resumes with all the entire force and power that have been temporarily held in abeyance."
[[[[[[[[[[ My wife, an accountant now a manager in an MNC drawing a 5-figure salary, can now confirm that I write the Truth in all these. ]]]]]]]]]]
RH: LKY LHL WKS ELECTION RIGGINGS EMAILED TO ALMOST ENTIRE GOVT:
ME ON VIDEO DESCRIBING lky lhl wks NUMEROUS ELECTION RIGGINGS:
MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR DAVID DUCLOS, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" :
MY ONLINE POLICE REPORT ON LKY LHL WKS CHEATING ELECTIONS:
a. MY SWORN AFFIDAVIT OF 16 JULY 2010:
b. SWORN EXHIBIT IN SUPPORT OF AFFIDAVIT:
c. SOME LEGAL PRINCIPLES ON WHICH I GROUND MY CASE:
d. THE PATTERN OF CRIMINAL WRONGDOINGS THAT PROVES MY CASE;
e. 3rd EMAIL TO UK PM FOR OBSTRUCTING, PERVERTING JUSTICE:
"THE PRIMAL FEAR OF A SUPERIOR MIND"
RH: MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR DAVID DUCLOS, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" :
[ALSO AT THE ABOVE BLOG, LIE KUAN YEW's LIES, CORRUPTION, WRONGFUL JAILING, TORTURE AND BEATING TO DEATH OF INNOCENT POLITICAL PRISONERS LIKE MR CHAN HOCK HUA]
READ ALSO MARTYN SEE's INTERVIEW WITH ME AT:
FOR QUICK, IRREVERENT REASONS WHY LIE KY DESERVES A NOBEL:
MY ARCHIVE OF WORKS AT:
PHOTOS OF LIE KY SCRATCHING MY WIFE's NEW CAR:
NOT GUILTY BUT TORTURED, DEGRADED 15 YEARS FOR PUBLICITY, FUN