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(Post 1551 of 13293)   05/03/2001.23:59:30
Author :
Mccool
Mr Simon Tay: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Bill.

Sir, I think I will limit myself to comments on the Bill rather than to elections or, more generally, democracy.

Firstly, I would like to say, in my view, that voting is not a privilege for Singaporean citizens. It is clearly a right. Even if it is not in the Constitution itself, because we uphold the idea of a voting democracy, it is a right. Secondly, I would also say it is a duty, because in Singapore if you do not vote, you have to explain yourself or pay a fine. So it is a right and a duty, and not a privilege.

NMP Simon Tay in Parliament, 19 April 2001

(Post 1552 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:02:55
Author :
Lee
McCool,

I was thinking if Equity is the core issue here.

(Post 1553 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:07:09
Author :
Mccool
If you ever want to gripe about this, you might as well get your facts right:

WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTION (Parliament 19 April 2001)

REMUNERATION PAID TO MINISTERS IN 2000

1. Mr J. B. Jeyaretnam asked the Minister for Finance if he will furnish the amount of remuneration paid to Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State in 2000, showing differently the basic salaries and other amounts paid by way of allowances, etc.

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau:

The overall amount of remuneration paid to Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State in Financial Year 2000 was $27.8 million. This comprised $18.0 million in the basic salary package, $4.5 million in non-discretionary allowances (ie. the Car Allowance, the Special Allowance and PSL Allowance), $3.0 million in Performance Bonus and $2.3 million in GDP Bonus.

(Post 1554 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:23:39
Author :
Mccool
Lee

Agree with you. The statements were made in relation to overseas voting and how to decide who can vote when overseas, the qualifying criteria, etc.. Gotta read the boring Parliamentary debate to get the whole picture.

(Post 1555 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:29:50
Author :
Mccool
One interesting thing from reading the Parliamentary reports: you get to know the Chinese names of members.

E.g. Who is Chiang See Ngoh? Yap Giau Cheng?

(Post 1556 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:31:07
Author :
Lee
Mccool,

There may be concern that the vote not going the desired way. Hence the differentiation. Was this concern brought up in the debate?


(Post 1557 of 13293)   05/04/2001.00:33:10
Author :
Mccool
Not fair to comment (yet). Reading bits and pieces only.

(Post 1558 of 13293)   05/05/2001.20:58:50
Author :
Mccool
Warren Fernandez's ST article - Gen M, are you world-ready?

A cynical look at Generation M (a term coined by PM recently). Are you one of them?

In fairness to Gen M, he also wrote: "No doubt, these young minds will grow and mature, with time and exposure to the world. ... Besides, every generation laments the follies and foibles of the next."

His sentiments are the same that motivated MC in maintaining Landmines & Barbed Wires.

Read on.

Cheers.

Extracts:
...

But, cut to safe, serene Singapore, and what do you find? A new Generation M (Millennium) - edgy, cynical, globally connected, and blissfully oblivious of the world around them, both at home and abroad.

If a portrait of the lives of well-educated and well-heeled teens - born in the last millennium but growing up in this one - published in this newspaper on Thursday is anything to go by, these youngsters spend most of their time buried in their books, hanging out at upmarket coffeeshops and yakking on their mobile phones when they are not using them to send endless SMS messages to each other.

They remind me of the lines from that great Paul Simon song, Born At The Right Time: 'Never been lonely, never been lied to, never had to scuffle with fear, nothing denied to...'

... they believe that to be cynical is to be cool. To be anti-Establishment is de rigueur. To be hip is to be holier-than-thou, never deigning to show any sign of interest in the mundane matters of the day, let alone getting involved in it. Politics is propaganda, history lessons are brainwashing sessions.

Current affairs? Boring, don't waste my time. Opinions? Nah, the system drummed it out of us. Participation? Please, where's the time?


Such cynicism is cheap. Apathy is so simple - it is always somebody else's role, somebody else's fault, somebody else's business.

Wired and connected, Gen M-ers say they want to see the big wide world, to travel, work and live there, if only to get away from 'small, restricted Singapore'.

Yet, their idea of the world out there seems more virtual than real, centred on images of the developed West, of cities rather than countryside, and myths about a technologically and socially advanced one-world, where all men are equal, educated, ethnically neutral and with similar edgy views about life, labour and love.

No doubt, these young minds will grow and mature, with time and exposure to the world. Travel, they say, broadens minds. Besides, every generation laments the follies and foibles of the next.

Yet, I cannot help but fear that not a few of them are headed for a fall, a shock to their senses, a shattering of their get-quick-rich, retire-at-40 dot.com dreams.

This sense of unease about whether Gen M is growing up in virtual reality is well captured in a recent book, Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls And The Search For Home, by travel writer Pico Iyer.

He notes: 'The richest 358 people in the world, by United Nations calculations, have a financial worth as great as that of 2.3 billion others and, even in the United States, the prosperous home of egalitarianism, the most wired man in the land, Bill Gates, has a net worth larger than that of 40 per cent of the country's households, or perhaps 100 million of his compatriots combined.

'The rich have the sense that they can go anywhere tomorrow, while 95 per cent of the new beings on the planet are among the poor; I worry about the effects of e-mail and transprovincialism, while two thirds of the world have never used a telephone.'


To bring home his point, Iyer takes his readers to Haiti, just two hours from New York City.

'Stepping off the plane, I walked into the pages of the Bible. Women were relieving themselves on the main street, and the principal sights on view along National Highway One were tombstones... Most of the adults I saw around me, I learnt, had never had a day of formal schooling, and the average man would be dead by the age of 44.

'Haiti still remains the globe's rule rather than exception - more and more countries I visit are descending into anarchy... There are more telephones in Tokyo, it is often said, than on the entire continent of Africa. But these very discrepancies are one of the by-products of the age, and more and more of us, moving between countries as easily as between channels on our screen, are tempted to underestimate the distances between them.'


The point here is this: Unless our Gen M-ers understand how this country got where it is, how it relates to the region around it, as well as the wider goings-on in the world, they will never have the 'Big Singapore' mindset that Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo talks about.

Without it, equipped with only a superficial sense of globalism, they will be focused too narrowly on themselves and their seemingly pressing woes to see or understand the many opportunities open to them.

Gen M-ers may be au fait with Hollywood. But do they know about Haiti and Hanoi? They may dream of making it big in Manhattan. But do they know about the nightmares of people in Manila or the plight of the Madurese?

They may think that not having a mobile phone is a 'social handicap'. Do they know that this island is more wired than many countries, or how or why this is possible?

They may moan and groan about how dull this place is. Do they know about the 'excitement' breaking out in countries all around them? They may think these events are far off and removed from their charmed lives and will probably never affect them because Singapore is, well, different. Do they know how it became so, or what they must do to keep it that way?

Oh, how boring, they might cry. Yet, for their sakes, and that of this country, you and I have a role to play in making sure they find out, sooner rather than later.

Sure, perhaps the national-education classes launched in 1997, to try to help them find answers to some of these questions, could be improved. Perhaps the methods of delivery might be more subtle, more slick, given more spin, made more interactive and even more fun.

All that is well and good. But let's not kid ourselves, or our children for that matter. Let's not let them grow up with the notion that history can be sugar-coated or jazzed up. That political realities can be wished away or ignored into oblivion.

Or that the rights and responsibilities of citizens are anything to be sniffed at or be cynical about.
Or that gaining an understanding of the world will be possible without putting in more time and painstaking effort than simply surfing the Net, while slurping up another cafe latte.

(Post 1559 of 13293)   05/05/2001.22:29:28
Author :
Pnd
Let's hope that the M-generation if they grow and if there is a reversal, such reversal to a BIG MINDSET about Singapore as suggested by Minister George Yeo, exclude copying soem of senseless democractic proclamation like this one, today from USA:

US bid to lift ban on foreign assassinations


NEW YORK - A Bill that will allow the US President to order assassinations of his foreign enemies has sparked fear and concern around the globe.

The proposed Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001 document was moved by Republican Congressman Bob Barr on the first day of the 107th Congress on Jan 3 and submitted to the House International Relations Committee.

Buried among hundreds of Bills introduced that day, it would have gone unnoticed but for its contents.

Technically, the Bill nullifies parts of the executive orders signed by three presidents since the 1970s, prohibiting assassinations by the US government.

The first executive order was issued by Mr Gerald Ford in 1976. Mr Jimmy Carter and later Mr Ronald Reagan renewed the ban.
According to a report in The Tampa Tribune, of Florida, Mr Barr contends that ending the ban would make US foreign policy more straightforward and could keep military people out of harm's way.
'Our federal government should never put the lives of our troops at risk when there is an alternative method of accomplishing the same goals,' he said.

In a letter to President George W. Bush, Mr Barr said: 'While on several occasions the military has been ordered to use a military strike hoping to remove a terrorist leader who has committed crimes against the US, these executive orders currently prohibit our military from deliberately removing a terrorist leader by more precise action.'

A White House spokesman, however, said Mr Bush had not taken a position on the Bill.

The Age newspaper of Australia believes the Bill is an outcome of a strong sentiment now running through American foreign policy that it is time to stop mollycoddling dictators with sanctions and engaging in endless consultations with ungrateful allies.

To support its belief, the newspaper points to the American and British bombing of Iraqi military targets a few months ago.
The Bill, if passed, would allow the US to eliminate Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and other 'enemies'.


(Post 1560 of 13293)   05/06/2001.10:31:42
Author :
Mccool
Hi Pnd

This is a brief on the Constitution found in the Parliament website. Do you know if the Constitution of Singapore can be found on the internet?

Rgds
MC

PS. Will comment on the "assasination" article later.

THE CONSTITUTION

Our Parliament derives its authority and power from a supreme law called the Constitution. The Constitution states who can qualify to be an MP, the life of a Parliament and how the powers of Parliament are to be exercised. There are also other provisions relating to individual rights, the powers and functions of the President, the Prime Minister, the Courts, etc.

The Constitution is often referred to as the supreme law. This is because any law made by Parliament which is inconsistent with the Constitution will not have any effect. Most of the provisions of the Constitution can be changed by Parliament. However, unlike other laws which only require a majority vote in Parliament, at least two-thirds of all the elected MPs must agree to the changes (or amendments). There are some provisions in the Constitution that cannot be changed by Parliament alone, but must be subject to a national referendum.

(Post 1561 of 13293)   05/06/2001.12:09:06
Author :
Pnd
Hi McCool, do not really know whether our constitution is on the net. However, our constitution like most is supposed to be the final arbitrator governing the members of Singapore society, but it is not, for there are many by-laws under the administrative framework of individual ministries that regulates their activities within the scope as mentioned generally in the constitution. I think most of the effects of such administrative regulations are the true governors of the fate of Singaporeans living in Singapore.

The recent example of voting rights for Singaporean that are overseas is a useful reference on the limitations of our constitution that is largely ineffective or subordinated by the greater urgencies of meeting the politics of Singapore favouring the incumbent in government. The government debates had from start buttressed with intelligent and cogent arguments where the means are skillfully directed to meet a limited end - to satisfy a sembalance for Singaporeans overseas to exercise their citizenship in the name of democracy - one that is usually much defined by most incumbents in whatever society found in the world. Does not the slogan "Winners takes all" ring with some convictions and familiarity in this particular instance.


(Post 1562 of 13293)   05/06/2001.14:22:25
Author :
Mccool
Hi Pnd

I found it: http://www.lawnet.com.sg/freeaccess/Constitution.htm


(Post 1563 of 13293)   05/06/2001.15:53:00
Author :
Mccool
Hi Pnd

The trouble with the US is that they try to carry out covert operations with transparency. Therefore, they are at a disadvantage if ever there is another conflict.

That's the way it is!

(Post 1564 of 13293)   05/06/2001.16:01:33
Author :
Mccool
As a service to silent readers, I've downloaded the file on the Constitution. I'm now uploading it here.



BTW, I'm not even a lawyer, so any discussion on the Constitution will be based on layman's interpretation. If I get into difficulties, perhaps a legally trained person can help out. Thanks.

(Post 1565 of 13293)   05/06/2001.23:06:08
Author :
Mccool
ST article - Looking outside to get the big picture

Also inspired by George Yeo's Big vs Small Singapore mindsets.

(Post 1566 of 13293)   05/07/2001.14:02:40
Author :
Mccool
ST article - education special, Learn the fine art of argument from ST

The mentioned articles have been zipped for reference here.

(Post 1567 of 13293)   05/08/2001.20:50:45
Author :
Mccool
The term Generation M was coined by GCT in a speech that began as follows:

In preparing for this lecture, I asked myself these questions: What do I tell bright, young people like you? Do I talk to you about the struggles of the pre- and post-independence generations? These may be of little interest to you, but they are crucial for you to understand your present. Or do I predict the future for your generation, which I shall call "Generation M" to help you decide on your individual career paths? No, "M" does not stand for "money". It is for "millennium". You are the millennial generation, born in one millennium but growing up in another. It is a generation born with a silver spoon in its mouth, unlike the earlier generations. It is also more internationally mobile, with the world at their feet. However, Generation M will be buffeted by political and economic uncertainties in the region, and powerful global forces. From this generation will come Singapore’s leaders 25 years from now. What your attitudes are towards nationhood, and how you respond to challenges, will determine Singapore's future viability and prosperity, and your own future.

You can read the speech here.

Read also this posting of mine which featured extracts from Warren Fernandez's ST article - Gen M, are you world-ready?

Happy reading.

(Post 1568 of 13293)   05/10/2001.07:06:20
Author :
Mccool
DJ FEER(5/17): Singapore's New Naval Base Could Make Waves
Source : Dow Jones 10/05/2001 06:16
By Trish Saywell

Nowhere in Southeast Asia could fallout from escalating China-United States tensions present a greater diplomatic challenge than in Singapore, which has skillfully played a fine balancing act between the two powers. Will Singapore's new naval base rock the boat? In March, the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk docked at Changi naval base with an underlying message to the region: The U.S. will remain a factor in regional security and Singapore is more than willing to help.

"We built it at our own expense to facilitate the deployment of the U.S. 7th Fleet in Southeast Asian waters," Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo said in a speech in April. "At a time when the region is going through dramatic political change, the presence of these ships has a stabilizing effect . . . "

For Washington, the facility meshes with the "places not bases" strategy it has used since the 1992 closure of its Subic Bay base in the Philippines. For Singapore, experts say, the base shows that the city-state is a true strategic partner of the U.S., and values the American military presence in the region.

Nonetheless, "Singaporeans are past masters at coming out with rhetoric that is acceptable to China and others in the region," says Alan Dupont, a regional security specialist at the Australian National University. "What they are saying is: 'We've built this for our own purposes and of course other navies are welcome to use it on a commercial basis. It's not a foreign base . . . ' But how many countries operate aircraft carriers? Clearly it's designed to further enhance U.S. strategic interests and capability to project naval power in the region."

Publicly Singapore emphasizes Changi is available to everyone. "The message is it's open to all," says Melina Nathan, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore. "You may even have large Chinese ships possibly using it as well." Tim Huxley, a Southeast Asian security expert at the University of Hull, says Indonesia, Malaysia and Beijing have probably been reassured over its role.

When Singapore first said it intended to build a base where U.S. carriers, and others, could dock, there was carping from the left of centre in several states in the region. But in their leaderships there was relief that the U.S. was being helped to stay in Southeast Asia, notes June Teufel Dreyer, a political science professor at the University of Miami. Adds Carolina Hernandez, president of the Institute of Strategic and Development Studies in Manila: "In the Philippines there was a view that we used to carry the ball for the region. It's time we had a free ride."

Though Southeast Asian nations may welcome Changi, Beijing could take a different view if Sino-U.S. tensions escalate. The Kitty Hawk visit showed Beijing that, if necessary, the U.S. could provide fighters to protect EP-3 spy aircraft flights, notes Carl Thayer, professor of Southeast Asia Security Studies at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Honolulu.

Moreover, U.S. carriers in Singapore could be viewed in Beijing as evidence of Washington's resolve to maintain surveillance on China, academics say. "Some in Beijing may even read 'docking' as 'checking' -- a new policy of containment that could pre-figure Cold War II," says Donald Emmerson, a senior fellow at the Asia/Pacific Research Centre at Stanford University.

At the end of the day, however, Singapore will do its utmost to avoid taking sides if relations deteriorate. Says Huxley: "In an extreme situation, such as open conflict between China and Taiwan, the U.S. might not be able to rely on Singapore's government making its facilities available."

(See related article, "The Region -- East Asia -- Diving For Cover Cost Billions" -- FEER May 17, 2001)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires 05-09-01

1815EDT

Copyright (c) 2001 , Dow Jones & Company Inc
______________________________________________________________________

Footnote: The passage in blue came from the opening paragraph of this speech. He said:

Political Change in Southeast Asia

Last month, we opened a new naval base in Changi large enough for a US Navy aircraft carrier to come alongside. It has a berth the length of four football fields. We built it at our own expense to facilitate the deployment of the US 7th Fleet in Southeast Asian waters. At a time when the region is going through dramatic political change, the presence of these ships has a stabilising effect, notwithstanding the recent mid-air collision between a US EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese F-8 fighter.

(Post 1569 of 13293)   05/10/2001.07:22:03
Author :
Mccool
Does this American deserve to be criticised for writing this (May 8, ST Forum)? I think not. Patronising or arrogance, it's true. The reactions of Singaporeans who wrote to the ST Forum in response are all rhetoric and proves all he said about the resentment and criticisms from the sidelines.

It's not all black and white. Follow the ST Forum for the various vies, for and against.

American hypocrisy? American self-interest?

Free-riding and criticising US

I AM an American expatriate living in Singapore. Reading your constant criticisms of American policies and President George W. Bush, I wish to quote the following comments made by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer, who was asked recently by an online questioner from Germany why American foreign policy was so widely criticised around the world.

His response is appropriate for The Straits Times' writers and editorial staff who feel free to criticise the United States while Singapore prospers under its protection and open markets.

He said: 'Thomas Jefferson was concerned about having a decent respect for the opinion of mankind. I think the concern has been vastly overblown. The US is a superpower with extraordinary responsibilities and burdens that, despite all the rhetoric, no one shares.

'We, for example, defend the Persian Gulf. We defend Taiwan. We defend South Korea. We protect the sea lanes of the Pacific. We carried the burden of the war in Kosovo. We do all of this with little help, and at the cost of much criticism. Agree That's the price of being a superpower.

'The other price is that everybody resents our power and dominance. Too bad. It's the privilege of the weaker states, that free ride on America's generosity and strength, to criticise from the sidelines. Agree too We shouldn't take that too seriously. It is another cost of doing business.'

WILLIAM J. PANTIN

(Post 1570 of 13293)   05/10/2001.08:12:10
Author :
Translator
Just a couple of questions to chew on...

Do you think the defence of the Persian Gulf and Taiwan is free? Who would buy U.S. weapons if there is peace between nations?

Altruism? Purleeeez.

(Post 1571 of 13293)   05/10/2001.09:24:58
Author :
Mccool
Self-interest is to be assumed in all affairs of state and people. It doesn't even require a statement by anyone.

It's still rhetoric.

When America goes to war, US leadership has to be accountable to the Americans first for that decision (which would lead to putting American lives at risk). Then accountable to the world community.

And yet, when America does nothing (because of no vested interest in the outcome, e.g. the former Yugoslavia) the world is again criticising the world policeman for the inaction and lack of resolve.

We can't have our cake and eat it.

Surely the fact that conflicts exist cannot be blamed on the arms sellers alone? Is the US the only supplier? What about PRC, Europeans, Russians, etc.

Imagine a utopia where all weapons are destroyed and there are no more suppliers, will conflicts disappear? Nay. Mankind will just go back to hurling sling-shots, and stones at each other.

(Post 1572 of 13293)   05/10/2001.21:15:20
Author :
Mccool
Hi Translator

Not responding?

(Post 1573 of 13293)   05/13/2001.09:41:56
Author :
Mccool
The battle for hearts and minds is, therefore, also a battle for power and influence over the media. In economics, there is a marketplace for goods and services, which include the media. The market does not make value judgements unless these judgements are reducible to dollars and cents. There is no separate marketplace of ideas, which is why, when the establishment influence over the national media weakens, sensational reporting can become unbridled. That is where the money is. The marketplace for sensational reporting can be quite irresponsible. When the Monica Lewinsky story broke, the Pope's visit to Cuba was crowded out in the US media.

On Sensational Reporting, extracts from Speech entitled "A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE FOR SENSATIONAL NEWS" by George Yeo at the News World Asia Conference on 11 May 2001

(Post 1574 of 13293)   05/13/2001.09:50:18
Author :
Mccool
From the same speech, this is perhaps a statement of the PAP government's enlightened attitude towards the media.

There is no point railing against this new global media that seems sometimes to be out of control. This is all part of the new game. To play it, however, there must be no illusion that the media is always impartial. Instead, we must analyze and understand its nature. The media is always influenced by cultural biases, political interests and the profit motive. In this environment, finding ways to market one’s own version of events is very important. Political parties in the West understand this and invest considerable effort in media management and spin control. In Asia, political marketing will also become more important. Willynilly, government departments in many countries are being forced to do more marketing domestically and internationally. They will need considerably more resources than are now being allocated to them by their Finance Ministries. And for those of us who are at the receiving end of this onslaught of truths, half-truths and lies, the key is to make sure that we choose the right filters. Unfortunately, this also means that we tend to choose the media which share our likes, dislikes and prejudices.

(Post 1575 of 13293)   05/17/2001.21:48:09
Author :
Mccool
Since the subject of Vote = Right or Vote = Privilege is something that should be quite close to our hearts, please read the concluding episode of this debate in the following ST articles:

Kan Seng clears the air on votes

Debate shows that ideas do matter to Singaporeans

Remember to archive it if you want to read it again, cos the links will become outdated.

Let me go back to some old postings in this thread to refresh my mind what the honourable minister really said in Parliament. Did he try to get away with some sleight of language like a performing magician, or he really didn't say it at all? Next posting, my friends.

(Post 1576 of 13293)   05/17/2001.22:09:11
Author :
Mccool
The posting where I zipped all the files related to the voting issue is found here.

My conclusion: WKS clearly did not say it himself that voting is a privilege and not a right. It was the parliamentarians who used those terms.

Example:

Assoc. Prof. Chin Tet Yung said "While voting is not a constitutional right, it is nonetheless a strong symbol of citizenship, a mark of belonging – a privilege limited only to those who are citizens of a certain age."

In this context, the debate went on:

Iswaran: ... It is clear that the Bill seeks to strike a balance between, on the one hand, endowing a very basic privilege of voting on Singaporeans who reside overseas and, on the other hand, the need to assure ourselves that there is a certain stake in the country, emotionally, perhaps materially, so that they do not take this privilege frivolously. ...

Whereupon, Simon Tay made that well known clarification:

Sir, I think I will limit myself to comments on the Bill rather than to elections or, more generally, democracy.

Firstly, I would like to say, in my view, that voting is not a privilege for Singaporean citizens. It is clearly a right. Even if it is not in the Constitution itself, because we uphold the idea of a voting democracy, it is a right. Secondly, I would also say it is a duty, because in Singapore if you do not vote, you have to explain yourself or pay a fine. So it is a right and a duty, and not a privilege.

What WKS said on the following day was this:

Several Members have talked about the criteria other than citizenship to be eligible for overseas voting, and asked why not we include employees of local companies or multinational companies with offices here. Some have also made the point that voting is a right, not just a privilege, and Mr Simon Tay has mentioned Article 12 of the Constitution which ensures equality for all citizens. In fact, I have covered some of these points in my speech, but let me reiterate them here.

He clearly didn't say that it is a privilege and not a right.

(Post 1577 of 13293)   05/17/2001.22:11:08
Author :
Mccool
I still have not got this quiz answered:

By Mccool On Friday, 04 May 2001 12:29am
Posting #1572 (Viewing #1558 of 1579 Total) [ Bookmark ] [ Reply ] [ Edit ] [ Delete ] [ Move ]

One interesting thing from reading the Parliamentary reports: you get to know the Chinese names of members.

E.g. Who is Chiang See Ngoh? Yap Giau Cheng?

(Post 1578 of 13293)   05/18/2001.00:02:53
Author :
Mccool
Mr Wong explained that while the Constitution did not contain an expressed declaration, he had been advised by the Attorney- General that the right to vote in an election was implied in the Constitution.

He said: 'We have a parliamentary form of government. The Constitution provides for a regular General Election to make up a Parliament, and establishes representative democracy in Singapore.

'So the right to vote is fundamental to a representative democracy, which we are, and that is why we have the Parliamentary Elections Act to give effect to this right.'


He added that the right to vote was not absolute, but was usually subject to some conditions. For example, voters must be above 21 years old and ordinarily resident here.

(Post 1579 of 13293)   05/18/2001.00:45:56
Author :
Ebizman2000
Mccool,

Claire Chiang and... does that botak Yap has an angmo name?
Sorry lah... me read zaobao most of the time.

(Post 1580 of 13293)   05/18/2001.06:53:21
Author :
Mccool
Good morning, Ebizman2000

I'm impressed by your bilingual ability. Mayor Botak Yap's angmo name is Eugene.

(Post 1581 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:41:53
Author :
Mccool
An article worth highlighting, as it hits at the right spots.

ST article - Expanding the circle of cosmopolitanism By Asad Latif

Inspired by George Yeo's 9th SGH lecture on "Big Singapore, Small Singapore". Not a propaganda piece, but a social commentary under the column "Heart to Heart".

Extracts:

Singapore is genuinely cosmopolitan.

Singapore cosmopolitanism extends upwards, not sideways

- Computing, banking, and academic professionals are among those whom we accept easily

What about foreign construction workers and maids?

The workers build the houses in which we live. The maids build the homes in which children grow up, while absentee parents pursue their careers. Foreign workers and maids help to secure Singapore within, so it can be secured in the world.

How cosmopolitan are we towards those foreigners in our midst?

Do we make them feel at home? Do we care for the push factors that brought them here, as we do for the pull factors that drew successful professionals to our shores?

Do we want to know about the economics of need that drove Tamils, Bangladeshis and Filipinas to seek temporary refuge in Singapore?

Or is it enough to welcome the globalisation of opportunity that brought American, European and Asian professionals to live among us?


- ... the professionals who arrive here. By and large, they have open minds. They like some things about Singapore, and they dislike others. That is fine.

However, there are people who behave as if they are doing Singapore a favour by being here.

No doubt, they are helping us to make a living in the world. But they are not doing so for free.

Singapore takes very good care of them, which is why they are here. They are highly skilled, which is why they are compensated very highly. But their skills do not give them the right to behave as if this country is an extension of theirs.

Their attitudes do not encourage Singaporeans to be cosmopolitan. Instead, they fuel the anger of those who think that foreigners have too good a time in Singapore.


A Big Singapore mentality is the only way forward. Singapore has faced the need to belong to the world since 1819. The ways in which it has done so have changed, of course. Cosmopolitanism today means understanding the logic, demands and rewards of globalisation.

However, there is one unchanging truth: No one owes us a living.

But, with a Big Singapore mentality, that fact is not a threat but a spur to the opportunities created by a globalising world.


Follow this for the link to the speech: Click here

(Post 1582 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:52:07
Author :
Mccool
A few topics to highlight and archive from the recent sitting of parliament.

1 Optus deal

2 Dao Heng deal

3 Sale of GLCs

4 Overseas investments of the government and GLCs

These will be split into separate postings to allow easy reading.

(Post 1583 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:53:07
Author :
Mccool
Optus & Dao Heng

SINGAPORE TELECOMMUNICATIONS LTD

(Acquisition of Optus)

1. Mr Leong Horn Kee asked the Minister for Finance what is the rationale of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd's proposed acquisition of Cable and Wireless's Optus at the announced purchase terms and what are the expected costs and benefits of this acquisition.

DBS BANK

(Proposed acquisition of Dao Heng Bank)

2. Mr Leong Horn Kee asked the Minister for Finance what is the rationale of DBS Bank's proposed acquisition of Dao Heng Bank at the announced purchase terms and what are the expected costs and benefits of this acquisition.

The Minister for Finance (Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau): Mr Speaker, Sir, with your permission I would like to take Question Nos. 1 and 2 together as they are related?

Mr Speaker: Yes.

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: The Singapore Government has for long encouraged local companies, both GLCs and non-GLCs, to grow beyond the confines of the Singapore economy. Singapore Telecom’s acquisition of Optus and DBS Bank’s acquisition of Dao Heng are such moves. They enable SingTel and DBS Bank to tap regional opportunities and become more than Singaporean companies.

Both SingTel and DBS Bank are listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and fully subject to the discipline of the market. Like all GLCs, they operate strictly on a commercial basis. The Government does not interfere in the commercial decisions of GLCs. Their managements are supervised by their own boards of directors. The boards in turn are accountable to all shareholders, and not just to the Government through Temasek Holdings, which holds the Government’s shares in the companies.

The purchases of Optus and Dao Heng are long term strategic business moves. Their soundness has to be judged over time by the performance of SingTel and DBS Bank, and not by the immediate reaction of the stock market as reflected in their share prices. It is up to the managements of SingTel and DBS Bank to satisfy themselves of the strategic and financial merits of the acquisitions, and convince their boards of directors and their shareholders that overall the deals will benefit the companies and their shareholders. As a shareholder, Temasek Holdings has full confidence in the competence and judgment of the managements and boards of SingTel and DBS Bank. SingTel and DBS Bank are able to undertake these transactions only because they have been successful in their operations, and hence have the financial resources to pursue such opportunities.

Mr Leong Horn Kee (Bishan-Toa Payoh): Sir, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that in the case of Cable and Wireless Optus, it is operating at a much lower profitability than SingTel and, as a result, SingTel’s earnings could be dragged down after the acquisition? Can the Minister tell this House why the board and the management of SingTel considered Optus to be a fair price even though it was at a price tag of about $15 billion? How would SingTel fund this acquisition?

The next question relating to DBS Bank, along the same vein, is whether the Minister is aware that some newspaper analysts have commented that DBS Bank is perceived to be overpaying for Dao Heng Bank. Can the Minister also explain why the board and management of DBS Bank considered Dao Heng Bank to be a good buy?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: I thought I had answered those questions. SingTel put in a bid for Optus because they obviously believed that a long-term investment in a major telecommunications corporation in Australia is in their strategic interest. It would give them a large footprint in Australia to be linked up with SingTel’s own operations both in Singapore and elsewhere in the region. They are taking a strategic interest and not so much concerned about the immediate impact on their share prices or short-term profitability based on Optus’ historical results.

Similarly, DBS Bank has again taken a strategic look at where they want to go offshore and Hong Kong is clearly one market which, for obvious reasons, is a must for DBS Bank if they are going to be a regional player because of the potential of entering China sooner or later. Hence, the observations of analysts, as I have explained earlier, to take a relatively short-term view on what the impact of the acquisition, whether it is three-times the book value or otherwise, may have on the immediate profitability of DBS Bank. When you buy a controlling share in a large operation, generally, you have to pay a substantial premium. The size of the premium is a judgment which the management has to take and it is not in Government’s interest to try and challenge that decision.

Mr Chng Hee Kok (East Coast): Sir, the Minister is aware that in the case of SingTel it is quite different because it is part of our asset enhancement exercise and a fairly large number of Singaporeans own shares in SingTel. Since the announcement of the Optus deal, share prices have dropped by some 30%. The question I would like to ask the Minister is whether there has been any change in the terms of the deal and, if there is any change to the terms of the original offer, is SingTel prepared to walk away from the deal?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: I am not aware of any significant changes. I think SingTel has said that negotiations are proceeding smoothly, including the issue of strategic use of the satellites. So I am not aware of any change that would make it necessary to review the deal. So far, this is based on their public announcement.

Mr Chiam See Tong (Potong Pasir): Sir, may I ask the Minister to clarify the terms of purchase? I hear that Singapore wants to exchange shares and also in cash, and is it true that the cash component is in US dollars? If that is so, is that the cause of the rise in value of US dollar against the Singapore dollar?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: SingTel has already announced the package alternative which is a mix of shares and cash, and I do not think I need to go into it because the Member can always find it from the publications.

On the question of the price of purchase being in US dollars – indeed I believe it is in US dollars – and whether it will have an impact on the Singapore dollar, I do not think the amounts are sufficiently large to move the Singapore dollar in a significant way although there may be short-term perturbations which MAS will surely take into account.

Mr Simon S. C. Tay (Nominated Member): Sir, given that these are Government-linked companies and Government holds controlling shares, may I ask the Minister for Finance whether Government will reassure their counterparts that this is a private sector deal and not versus their own national interest, given that these are relatively sensitive sectors, ie, telecommunications and banking?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: I do not think that is the issue. As far as I am aware, the Australian Government has not raised any reservation about this deal. The only question is whether the use of the US satellites might impinge on problems of security. But SingTel has said that these discussions are proceeding smoothly and they do not expect any particular problem. In the case of Hong Kong authorities, I believe the Hong Kong monetary authority supports the deal.

__________________

(Post 1584 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:53:57
Author :
Mccool
Sale of GLCs

Dr S. Vasoo (Tanjong Pagar): Sir, may I ask the Minister whether there are any change in Government policies in relation to the sale of Government-linked companies?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: I think we have announced that it is our policy to try and divest as much as possible of Government’s holdings in established companies which are ready to be sold to the public. Generally, the preferred way of doing this is through public listing of the shares. I do not think we have deviated from this policy for many years. The problem is that some of these companies are so large that placing of the shares in large amounts would destabilise the market. So we have to do it gradually. I do not think there is any change from our traditional policy.

(Post 1585 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:54:49
Author :
Mccool
Overseas investments of government and GLCs

3. Mr Thomas Thomas asked the Minister for Finance if he will give an evaluation of the performance of overseas investments made by Government and Government-linked organisations, particularly its performance since the 1997 Asian currency crisis.

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: Mr Speaker, Sir, the Government’s overseas investments are managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation or GIC. As Mr J B Jeyaretnam has raised a query on GIC in Question No. 11, I suggest Mr Thomas Thomas await Government's response later in Question Time.

As to the GLCs overseen by Temasek Holdings, most of the larger companies would have made investments overseas in order to seek growth outside the constraints of the small Singapore market. Several are publicly listed companies and their overseas investments have been well publicised.

As I have explained in my response to the questions on SingTel’s and DBS Bank’s acquisitions, the GLCs operate strictly on a commercial basis. The Government does not interfere in their business decisions, which are the responsibility of their boards of directors. Not all overseas investments will yield immediate benefits but it is a direction which all the larger GLCs will have to take if they are to participate in an increasingly globalised economy.

Mr Thomas Thomas (Nominated Member): Could the Minister also try and explain what is the impact on the performance of our foreign reserves, including Government-linked companies versus Central Provident Fund balances and holdings?

Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau: The CPF balances are managed by the Government through a mechanism in which the net surpluses of the CPF are acquired by Government through the issue of long-term Government bonds to the CPF Board. These long-term Government bonds guarantee an interest yield to CPF which is then passed on through their internal mechanism to CPF members.

The Government investments, which will be clarified later on, have been profitable over the years and I think this is clearly reflected in the substantial increase in the total size of our reserves over the last 10-20 years. So there is no risk whatsoever that any individual and relatively small investment setback encountered by a particular GLC would have any impact whatsoever on the viability of CPF funds. This is quite assured.

(Post 1586 of 13293)   05/19/2001.07:56:38
Author :
Mccool
If you have the patience, here is the link to the entire report on the parliamentary sitting on 16 May 2001. For this particular sitting, there are enough interesting stuff in there, I assure you. (Q&A, Speakers' Corner, Voting, etc. If you like, use the Find function and key in Jeyaretnam.)

Click here

(Post 1587 of 13293)   05/19/2001.08:18:53
Author :
Mccool
This is JB's long question. You'll find it entertaining, but if you don't read the reply, then you have only sought entertainment without seeking the truth.


IS VOTING A PRIVILEGE OR A RIGHT?

3.37 pm

Mr Jeyaretnam: Mr Speaker, Sir, I decided to claim the right to speak on this motion after one or two members of the public had asked me what is all this flurry about whether voting is a right or a privilege. But not being a regular reader of the Straits Times, I missed out a lot of what had been going on. So I decided I would raise this in the House. I decided to look at this article that appeared in the Straits Times on 25th April where there was a great piece about whether the vote is a right or privilege. Without being disrespectful to the writer, may I say I thought it was much of a flip-flop.

The flurry arose, as I understand it, from the Minister's statement in this House when debating the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill that the vote is not a right, but a privilege. Having seen that, again, I said, "Well, that is just symptomatic of the PAP Government's thinking that the citizens of Singapore have no rights and they have only such rights as the Government deems at its pleasure to grant them." I do not know whether the Minister consulted or sought any legal opinion before he made this, may I say, very surprising statement in this House. And the article in the Straits Times did not make it any better. The writer talks about digging deep into the Constitution to see whether there was any such right. May I suggest to the writer that perhaps she was digging deep into the underground looking for it somewhere down far below when it was there right on the top. She missed that, and kept looking down below.

The Minister's statement, with all due respect to the Minister, suffers from one basic flaw. And the flaw is this - a failure to recognise that the marking of a ballot paper is just as much an expression as a writing or an oral utterance. What is more is that it is an expression of a political choice on a matter that is of supreme importance to the country, just as a drawing or a picture is an expression of the artist's view of things. So if you accept, and I do not see how you cannot accept, that the marking of a ballot paper is an expression of the voter, the electorate, then it becomes obvious that it is a right and it is not a privilege that is granted by the Government. And what is more is that it is right there in the Constitution. The writer of the article says, "Oh, there are plenty of other rights. But I couldn't find any right to vote." But she misses it. As I said, right at the beginning of Article 14, one finds that every Singapore citizen has the right to freedom of expression. And if, as I said, the marking of the vote is an expression of the citizen's choice of a candidate, then the citizen, the electorate, has a right to express his choice. It is no longer a privilege.

In recognition of that, if you look at section 5 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, what does that say? For the benefit of the Minister, in case he has not read it before coming into Parliament, it says in no uncertain terms that all citizens of Singapore over 21 years of age, resident in Singapore, on the 1st of July in any year, shall be entitled to have their names on the register of electors. What could be clearer - "shall be entitled to have their names on the register". And if they have their names on the register, then they are entitled to vote. No two ways about it.

I did say when I spoke on the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill that I considered leaving out some of our Singapore citizens overseas is a violation of the Constitution, and I repeat that. Every citizen of Singapore, whether he is in Singapore or not, if he had been resident in Singapore on the 1st of July before he went overseas, and, again, if his name is still on the register, whether he is here or not, because there is a presumption, is entitled to vote, and there can be no discrimination between them. And I do question even section 6 in the Parliamentary Elections Act which takes away from prisoners serving sentences the right to vote. That clearly conflicts with section 5, that every citizen of Singapore over 21, resident, shall be entitled to have his name on the register.

Equally, I question the validity of section 43(5) and (8) removing, from the register, non-voters. That, again, seems to me to be a violation of the Constitution. If they are over 21 and they are citizens of Singapore, whether they voted or not, their names have to remain on the register. They cannot be taken out. And this suggestion offered to them, that they can have their names on the register again if they pay $5, is equally another violation of their constitutional right.

So, I hope, without sounding too professorial, that I have cleared the cobwebs in the mind of the Minister and others who seem to think that the vote is not a right but a privilege. As I have said, it is symptomatic of the PAP's thinking, workers in Singapore have no rights. And we were only told this afternoon that a Singapore citizen, if he wants to fly the Singapore flag, has no right to do that without getting the permission of the Government. He has to make an application for it. Everything, it would appear, in Singapore is a privilege granted at the pleasure of the PAP Government. I said this when I spoke on 28th April 2001 at Yio Chu Kang Stadium and I also said this in Manila, when I attended the conference of all Asian parties, that the society in Singapore is a castrated one. Nobody seems to have any right. All the rights are vested with the Government.

So I hope that the Minister will now tell us, if he can, why he says that the vote is a privilege and not a right. Where does he get that authority from? In any democratic country, it is the citizens who decide who the legislature shall consist of. And so it is provided now in our own Constitution. It is the electorate who elects the Members to this legislature. So they are given a right to choose their representatives to this House. But, in Singapore, apparently according to the Minister and the PAP Government, they can take away from the citizens this right to vote to elect their own Members into Parliament. No wonder we have had all these amendments about introducing Nominated Members of Parliament when Parliament should only consist of elected Members, elected by the electorate.

(Post 1588 of 13293)   05/19/2001.08:32:03
Author :
Mccool
Dear Forumers

I wasn't trying to get a top billing by the many postings here. It's just that I woke up early and was catching up on the reading of my favourite subjects.

Have a nice day. (Will try to log in later.)

Cheers.

(Post 1589 of 13293)   05/20/2001.09:20:21
Author :
Mccool
Interesting article. Do you see this scenario as possible? The opposition concede election to the PAP, and contest among themselves for the right to represent the opposition?

"What if the people give the PAP the mandate to govern, without having to go through the rigmarole of a GE, whose outcome everyone knows is a forgone conclusion?

In return, the PAP agrees to, say, five opposition seats in Parliament, the candidates to be chosen in a direct contest as described above.

This way, the people should have the best of both worlds: A PAP government which the majority wants, and an opposition slate from among the best the country can throw up.

Fair deal?
"

Han Fook Kwang's Thinking Aloud: How to get the best out of the opposition

HFK is the political editor at the ST.

(Post 1590 of 13293)   05/23/2001.23:12:20
Author :
Mccool
What we have learnt about GIC from the disclosures of SM and other GIC staff

1 Asset Allocation – “… we tend to put 40, 50 per cent equity; 30, 40 per cent bonds, 10 per cent real estate, 9, 10 per cent private investments, special investment, venture capital and also some cash instruments”.

2 Value of the investments – approximately US$100 billion.

3 Non-Singaporeans in the GIC team of investment professionals – “about 40 per cent of GIC's investment professionals are non-Singaporean.

4 Who’s who – Chairman: Lee Kuan Yew, Managing Director: Ng Kok Song

5 Amount placed by GIC with foreign fund managers - $30 billion (S$?)

6 Number of external fund managers – more than 60

7 These eight FMs are given 80% of the $30 billion - Capital Group, Wellington, JP Morgan Investment Management, Alliance Capital, Pimco, Dresdner RCM, Fischer Francis and Bridgewater.

8 GIC & CPF – No links. CPF investments are in “Singapore Government Bonds and other absolutely safe fixed-income securities”.

9 GIC’s investment performance – “'As a whole and over time, our managers have modestly outperformed the markets. … GIC has outperformed most peers in global bonds and is on a par with the world's best for global equities.”

(Post 1591 of 13293)   05/23/2001.23:51:12
Author :
Willylim
Hi all,

On point 9:-

"In an exclusive interview with The Straits Times, GIC managing director for public markets Ng Kok Song spoke about the company's operations.
'As a whole and over time, our managers have modestly outperformed the markets,' he said.
'If you take the US equity market where the S&P 500 index were to return say 10 per cent per year, then a modest outperformance could be in the order of 1 to 1.5 per cent."
'Anything more than that would be considered quite outstanding.


With so many professionals, GIC can only produce a 1% to 1.5% outperformance, we begin to see the value of being plain stupid and just buying index funds.

And of course, Warren Buffett's 23.9% after-tax out-performance continues to be a 6-sigma statistical fluke.

(Post 1592 of 13293)   05/24/2001.22:43:23
Author :
Mccool
Why didn't they just hand the money over to Warren to manage?

(Post 1593 of 13293)   05/24/2001.23:23:05
Author :
Believer
Should I apply to serve our GIC, at any pay as they think fit, to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week, 51 weeks a year, would I be given a chance?

No, without proper training in the field, even with an earnest heart; I think so.

(Post 1594 of 13293)   05/24/2001.23:48:32
Author :
Willylim
Believer,
I try apply leh. Told them I'll take half the pay and they still reject me leh

(Post 1595 of 13293)   05/25/2001.00:04:28
Author :
Believer

(Post 1596 of 13293)   05/25/2001.02:05:01
Author :
Zinc
willy, i would agree with ng kok song. the fact is clear - only a mere handful in the world is able to consistently outperform S&P in any duration-period. most money managers in the world could not outperform S&P. i do not have the exact figures. it is definitely less than 1 in 10. this is being very conservative. hence, for GIC to outperform by 1-1.5%, it is great performance. ng kok song has not mentioned over what duration period so it isn't clear what he is referring to. it could be 1-yr, 3-yr, 5-yr or 10-yr etc. gic is not a truly outstanding company compared to the worldclass players but in this context, if one can match S&P, u are actually good if not excellent. WB is truly a longterm player. if u take his performance during the tech run of the last 2 yrs, he clearly underperform. nowadays, due to enormous expectations for quick returns, funds are assessed on shorter-term durations like 3-mth basis, 6-mth etc. this is the norm of the industry. the majority's human need for quick returns has disregarded the likes of WB. anyways, investment sentiment shifts all the time. just to cite 1 simple eg like a value manager can do well in some years but may not do so in others. look at Julian Robertson, Tiger funds who was forced to close shop not too long ago. the same can be used to explain for the growth manager. a guy like Jeff Vinik, ex-Fidelity who flunked out during 95 but came back strongly in the last couple of years. likewise, the funds who make a lot of money on techies in the great run are now underperforming.

plainly speaking, it is better for the average fund manager to just track the index instead of trying to outperform. the average man is just kidding himself if he thinks he can outperform the S&P index consistently. so i think GIC ng kok song speaks realistically n truthfully in terms of its performance. it is a good one.

regards.

(Post 1597 of 13293)   05/25/2001.02:22:19
Author :
Zinc
MC,

if GIC recruits warren, i m wondering if they will find out ever to their horrors?, this is the guy who is an expert in tracking the Invisible Hand. kkekeke .... i supposed that qualifies as a great investment talent.

like LKY said about REIT, i supposed IH could just be another acronym to him

wondering if there is any GIC investment officer who comes to SI n trades on the basis of the average SI talent. would he make $$$?

hehe.... *cheoong ah* *tommorow sure reach target of $0.30* *wow, something brewing* *someone is accumulating big-time* *i kanna con by my source* *this counter no hope one*

.... the daily investment wisdom of SI forumer

(Post 1598 of 13293)   05/25/2001.06:23:51
Author :
Mccool
Zinc

Thanks for the sharing.

I've no problems with GIC's reasons for not diclosing details about the accounts and performance.

'Publishing this information would make it easier for would-be speculators to assess their chances and plan their attacks, and this is not in the public's interest. ... Market players do not doubt that the government has substantial resources to defend the Singapore dollar, but they do not know the exact amount that we have invested abroad and in what assets.'

DPM in Parliament on 16 May 2001

======================================================================

On GIC’s disclosure of financial information

We are managing over US$100 billion. The assets have steadily increased in value over the years. The returns are adequate. We are a special investment fund. The ultimate shareholders are the electorate. It is not in the people’s interests, in the nation’s interests, to detail our assets and their yearly returns.

The accounts of GIC are checked by the Accountant General, Auditor-General and examined by the Council of Presidential Advisors. There is total accountability.


On 'National Service' investments performed by GIC and the Astra deal

'National Service' is better done by Temasek (Temasek Holdings Ltd). GIC does portfolio (investment) and real estate, based on commercial not political considerations. (The Astra deal) At the time Cycle & Carriage closed the deal it looked commercially sound and GIC participated in it.

On investment mistakes

We have made mistakes and have had successes; this is part of risk-taking. One mistake was our purchase of GITIC bonds. The lady in charge of the bond section believed that the Chinese government would not want to see GITIC default. That was back in 1993. It defaulted in 1999. It was an error of judgement, but her performance over a nine-year period showed that she’s competent. We’ve not lost confidence in her. We assess our officers on their overall performance over time.

AWSJ INTERVIEW WITH
SENIOR MINISTER LEE KUAN YEW, 23 APRIL 2001

(Post 1599 of 13293)   05/25/2001.07:26:19
Author :
Willylim
Zinc,

I would think that Kok Song was referring to GIC's performance over the past 20 years in context of the article. Warren Buffett's track record is amazing. He averaged 23.9% per annum over 40 years.

We compare long-term performance and not short-term 1-yr, 3-yr, 5-yr performance comparison so frequently used in the fund management industry.

With this understanding in mind, GIC's performance is really nothing to blow whistle about.

The comparison between Buffett and GIC is fair based on:-
1) Both Buffett and GIC are NOT subjected to short-term underperformance pressures so common in the industry because both of them they are not accountable to anyone else about their performance except their long-term shareholders.

2) They are both worth about US$100 billion currently (same size)

3) Both Berkshire Hathaway and GIC owns subsidiaries with diverse businesses. They are not a single segment company like Microsoft.

4) Both has reasonably long track record for fair comparison.

Then why does GIC underperforms?
I don't know but we do know why did Buffett performed.

Buffett followed his teacher Ben Graham's wisdom strictly:-
"Investing is most intelligent when it is most business-like"

That means invest as if you are doing business, in simple terms.

Besides, Buffett's outperformance, each of his fellow disciples also had outstanding performances, though they are relatively unknown. Walter Schloss, Tom Knapp, Stan Perlmeter, Charlie Munger, Rick Guerin are the few names which comes to my mind, each of them averaged 20% p.a. over about 20 years over the period from 1950 to 1970's.

How do we account for such statistical fluke, if it is to begin with?

It must be due to the underlying intellectual origin which they all drew their investment wisdom on. GIC has lot to learn in this aspect.

(Post 1600 of 13293)   05/25/2001.09:25:41
Author :
Adamsmith
Willylim,

Like u, I also think that GIC's performance can be better. The reason why GIC does not perform as well as Warren Buffet are simple:

1. Warren Buffet is not a portfolio investor and he tends to buy entire company. As his avid follower, I don't think I need to tell you this, right?
2. GIC is a fund management company, staffed by employees. Berkshire Hathaway is very much an entrepreneur driven company.
3. Performance measurement and reward system is different, with GIC being measured against a predetermined benchmark, i.e., as an employee (i.e., fund manager), you beat benchmark can already. As an entrepreneur, Warren Buffet's motivation is totally different.
4. GIC manages the portfolio over a wide range of asset classes, across the entire currency spectrum. Warren Buffet's focus is predominantly US-centred, equity based.
5. GIC is required to perform national service. Warren Buffet - he's miserly ways are as legendary as his investment skills.


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