10/21/2014

Bambang Yudhoyono - The humble President and a great man


‘Please forgive me if in the 10 years of my leading this beloved country, I have said/done anything that hasn’t pleased you, the people of Indonesia. In truth, with all our flaws, we wanted to do the best for the people and the country. With love.’ SBY
 

This is the final Twitter message by Bambang Yudhoyono to his 5 million twitter followers. The message speaks for itself, a selfless man full of humility, and a perfect gentleman politician. He did not say a word about his achievements or what he has done for the people and his country. But what he has done is for the people to see and judge him. No amount of gloating could make any difference as the people are able to see for themselves.
 

And prior to his departure, he ensured that the incoming President would take over the baton with the full dignity and grace that a President should deserve. And he took the task upon himself to make all the final arrangement for Joko Widodo to assume his post as the 7th President of Indonesia in style.
 

Yudhoyono is a President that would be honoured by the Indonesian people, more so after he has left his office so magnanimously. He left his office in high notes and ensured that his successor will take over without a hitch despite all the challenges placed in the latter’s path.
 

A great man knows when to depart and be loved by his people forever

PS: When a country is on the rise, it will be blessed with great leaders. Yudhoyono is succeeded by another President in Jokowi with great potential to turn Indonesia into a great nation..

Kopi Level - Green

Animal lover joined PAP


ACRES founder Louis Ng, an activist for the protection of animals, has joined the PAP. There is a one page article in the Today paper devoted to him. This could be a sign that he is going to be a candidate for the next GE. It is good news for the animals that now they could have a real champion in Parliament, with voting rights, to look after their interests. Previously what we have were NMPs to represent such interest groups like arts or special needs groups. But they were appointed members and not elected members of Parliament.
It would be good that some dogs and cats lovers are picked to join the PAP. Then the dogs and cats would also have champions looking after them in Parliament.
 

We have many champions looking after the foreigners and foreign talents. Can there be some champions to look after Singaporean PMETs in Parliament? This pathetic group somehow is not represented and no one seems to want to bother with their plight. At the rate it is going, this group can only think of driving taxis and be security guards while their jobs are taken over by the highly rated foreigners.
 

I really hope there will be some activists who care for the Singaporean PMETs be invited to join the PAP to look after the interests of this group of citizens. Their well being cannot be worse off than animals, dogs and cats. And don’t forget, they can vote too. And they have their family and friends who would show sympathy for them and may vote the same way as them.
 

Any activist or champion of Singaporean PMETs out there standing up for them? Any political party wants to recruit them for a good cause?

Kopi Level - Green

Breaking Laws in Bid for Top World Universities Ranking


Did NTU break Laws to win Top Universities Ranking?

The Great Purge of Singaporean Professors and Lecturers was somehow deemed necessary in order to meet a Key Criteria – “International Staff Ratio” - of bogus World Universities Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence. The Great Purge took place from 2007-2010.

A little Background History will provide some Context for understanding. NTU Global Ranking had plunged 16 places from 61 in 2006 to 77 in 2008, or 29 places from 48 in 2003, to join the ranks of relative unknown and undistinguished Universities.  A study into the Ranking Criteria easily revealed the actions needed to climb to the “Top” (of what?).  Never mind that these Criteria are bogus and invalid factors having no bearing on teaching or research excellence and learning impact on the students.   

The great Purge was conducted under the pretext of Tenure Evaluation from 2007-2010, during which mostly Singaporean Professors and Lecturers, including many already qualified for Tenure previously, were dismissed.  And when the dusts settled in 2010 after the Purge, NTU proudly announced that Singapore citizens including new citizens formed ONLY 44% of the faculty; 56% of NTU faculty are foreigners from 56 countries worldwide including Singapore PRs. Never mind the fact that most Universities in the World actually have a majority of local Professors.

ALL Singaporeans have the SAME inherent and inalienable rights to Non-Discrimination during employment. The violated rights as enjoyed by Singaporean Professors and Lecturers were found in the following Laws, among others:
  1. The Constitution of Singapore
  2. The Retirement Age Act 2006 [Renamed in 2012]
  3. The NTU (Corporatisation) Act 2006
  4. International Labour Conventions – United Nations
The outcomes of the Tenure 2007-2010 Exercises discriminating and separating tenured academic staff into those retiring at 65 years old and 55 years old respectively was illegal, according to Section 4 and 5 [Invalidity of term of contract of service] of the Retirement Act.  

NTU action in setting differential mandatory retirement age of 55 and 65 years old without any job relevance or distinction for tenured academic staff had discriminated arbitrarily and therefore violated the “equal protection” provision of Article 12 of The Singapore Constitution.  It was again Unlawful, and illegal.

NTU also demanded that those staff desiring to continue working beyond 55 years old, if they had not already been selected for the 65 year old retirement age group, MUST accept a Mandatory 50% pay reduction.  This forced a Hobson’s choice especially for Singaporeans rooted here with families and children attending local schools.   

In doing so, NTU contravened the International Labour Conventions of the United Nations of which Singapore is also a signatory. The 50% Mandatory pay reduction was a clear violation of the Core ILO Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration. No staff, whether Singaporean Professors or foreigner, should have been forced to take a 50% paycut just to be able to report the day after “retirement at 55 years old” to teach the SAME subjects to the SAME Classes of students and perform the SAME duties.  That’s the employment abuse addressed by ILO Convention 100, which was ratified by Singapore, was designed to Prevent.

Kopi Level - Green

Read Full Analysis with References here:

Breakdown of family support system


Save, save and save for the golden years is the mantra that has been hammered constantly on the Sinkies. To more than half of the people of the world, maybe 70% of the people of the world, the amount we have saved or set aside for old age could be the equivalent to their income of a life time, or their equivalent of millionaires. The irony, no matter how much we have saved, it is NOT ENOUGH. Why?
 

There are three major factors contributing to this vain effort to provide for our golden years. The first is high inflation and cost of living. We are not saving but losing the value of the money we are saving for tomorrow. It sounds really silly, saving but losing our money at the same time. To have 200k Sing dollars in the savings is huge, big money, but more like a con game. And $200k is not the only asset that the Sinkies have. In fact it is over saving.
 

The big problem is the destruction of the family structure as a support unit for the oldies. In our haste for economic growth, our family unit is getting smaller and smaller and in some cases, there are no children to depend on, childless. People in this category would not be around after one generation.
 

On the other hand, those with one or two children, unless they are exceptionally endowed or blessed to earn big money, many are just making ends meet and looking after parents, providing for parents, will put a severe strain on their limited financial resources. It is a case of heart willing but unable to do so.
 

Why is living, buying a home, bringing up children, so bloody expensive that one is left with nothing to look after parents? Is it the policy of affordability that everyone would just have enough to buy a flat and to pay for the children’s education, not enough for their retirement? Forget about taking care of their parent’s well being, especially those who did not have enough in their savings.
 

And thirdly, the super rich govt with about the highest reserves per capita, did not see it as its responsibility to provide some support to the needy oldies. It is a case of to each his own unless one is so broke, so broken down, before the govt is willing to hand out a few dollars and sarcastically ask how much do you want, to eat in hawker stalls, foodcourts or restaurants.
 

How much is enough to save for the golden years? And there is this grave assumption that people have the money to save. In many cases, many could not even have enough for their daily needs. If we have not destroyed the family unit in our social fabric, there is no need to be so obsessed about savings. Many people around the world could get by living with their families with very little or no savings. It is a heavy price to pay for many for progress and economic growth when raising a family is so costly and time consuming that many choose not to have.
 

Yes, many will live their last lives of being, no new generations to continue in the family. Many families will simple disappear after they passed away. What is the point of saving?

Kopi Level - Green

10/20/2014

Gopalan Nair - Singapore a dictatorial and repressive state


‘Singapore's dictatorship today has reached a fork in the road. Do you take the road that continues the repression and persecution and continue to rule through fear, and thereby antagonize every single Singaporean? Or do you take the road of restoring democracy and the peoples freedoms. Either way the Singapore dictators don't stand a chance. By cracking the whip even more, you sow the seeds for an overthrow. And if you allow their freedoms, you do the same. It is a no win situation for these tyrants as it is everywhere. It is a hard rock or a hard place and nothing in between.
 

Singapore's state controlled newspapers can go on as if nothing is amiss. But we know that there is a great deal amiss in that tiny island with a tiny population. ‘
 

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont California USA
Facebook: www.facebook.com/singapore.dissident
 

The above statement made by Gopalan Nair is self explanatory. What he said is very strong and would obviously raise a lot of eyebrows and ruffled feathers the wrong way. The question is how much truth is there in what he wrote. Was it an exaggeration of things on the ground? How could a universally acclaimed democratic state be seen as a dictatorial and repressive state in the eyes of a dissident?
 

Gopalan Nair also quoted the recent harassment of two critics of the govt in Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui. Roy is now facing a libel suit for defamation against the Prime Minister. Both have been accused of heckling Special Needs Children in a Park designated for free speech and demonstration. Hui Hui had been called up in the middle of the night, gestapo style, by the Police and had undergone a police investigation for7 hours for a possible charge of illegal assembly in a Park where it is not illegal to have such an assembly.
 

Would these two minor incidents be sufficient to support Gopalan’s case that Singapore is a dictatorial and repressive state? Did Roy and Hui Hui feel oppressed? Did the people of Singapore think likewise that they indeed are living in a dictatorial and repressive state?
 

Different people will have different views and perceptions of things. Some will think and believe that Roy and Hui Hui did heckle the children or even held an illegal assembly in Hong Lim Park. At least the police thought so or else there would not be such a serious investigation going on. At least the main media and some politicians believed that there was heckling of Special Needs Children at the way it was reported and the strong accusations. Others would not believe a wee bit that these were so.
 

Strange that the truth is so difficult and so different even in broad daylight. How is that so? Or is it a matter of whose truth is the truth and should rule the day?
 

What do you think of Gopalan Nair’s assertion? Is there any grain of truth?

Kopi Level - Yellow

Lawrence Wong – The citizens must play their part by offering alternative solutions

Leong Sze Hian was so pissed off by the comments of Lawrence Wong that opposition parties were opposing for the sake of opposition and not offering solutions to help the govt that he wrote an article addressing the remarks directly. This is what Leong Sze Hian wrote:
 

I refer to the article “Citizens should be active in seeking solutions to improve Singapore: Lawrence Wong” (Straits Times, Oct 17). “This goes beyond partisan politics. It’s about the kind of democracy we want to be, and that I hope we can be – a democracy of integrity, and a democracy of deeds, made up of an active citizenry who get involved in developing solutions for a better society.” Lawrence Wong
 

Quoting Lawrence Wong, Leong Sze Hian said, ‘In the last 15 years or so – I have written a few thousand articles, a few hundred letters published in the newspaper forum pages, about 50 videos on youtube, more than a hundred radio talkshows, made scores of suggestions, etc.
 

In particular, I do not think I have hardly had any response to my suggestions.’
Leong went on to list 12 of his suggestions on healthcare. And it is not only Leong Sze Hian that had been making suggestions to the govt, here is a list of the suggestions or alternate policies put up by SDP.
 

- on Healthcare (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/5_sdp-national-he.pdf, http://yoursdp.org/publ/sdp_39_s_alternatives/healthcare/31)
- on Housing (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/7_Housing_a_Natio.pdf, http://yoursdp.org/publ/sdp_39_s_alternatives/housing/32)
- on Population (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/8_Building_a_Peop.pdf, http://yoursdp.org/news/sdp_unveils_six_point_plan_to_control_population/2013-02-14-5548)
- on Ministers' salaries (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/2_ethical-salarie.pdf)
- on Economy (an update coming soon, http://yoursdp.org/publ/sdp_39_s_alternatives/economy/25)
- on Education (http://yoursdp.org/news/scrap_psle_delay_streaming_and_foster_creativity/2014-05-18-5827, http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/12_SDP_Education_P.pdf)
- on Malay issues (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/10_A_Singapore_for.pdf, http://yoursdp.org/news/sdp_holds_historic_malay_discussion_in_dignified_manner/2012-09-08-5341)
- on the Budget (http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/9_Transforming_Ou.pdf, http://yoursdp.org/_ld/0/4_sdp-shadow-budg.pdf)

I can see the glaring problems in Lawrence Wong’s complaint about opposition and citizens not offering solutions to the govt. He or the govt did not receive the above suggestions and solutions put up by Leong Sze Hian and the SDP. The two parties are thus also at fault. They must send their solutions to the govt for considerations, by SingPost courier service to make sure that they are received. They must know that suggestions or solutions put up in opposition party websites and social media may not reach the govt as they are very busy and unlikely to have time browsing the net or going to read opposition party websites. Maybe if they put them up in Reach then the chances of the govt reading them would be good. At least Amy Khor will read them and maybe make a summary of the number of suggestions put up. Then Lawrence would not make those complaints and acted ignorant of all the suggestions and solutions available.

It is thus unfair to blame Lawrence Wong for not knowing that Leong and the SDP have put up a lot of suggestions and solutions. I have a win win suggestion. Leong Sze Hian and the SDP should quickly submit all their 10 years of solutions and suggestions to the govt so that Lawrence Wong and his colleagues can read them and use them to make improvements on govt policies.

What do you think? Good suggestion or not?

PS. I have a confession to make. I am one of those that never offer solutions or suggestions. But I have my reasons. I need to work for a living, so have no time to help the govt solve national problems. I am just being pragmatic. I also don’t believe in working for nothing or being paid handsomely for not working.


Kopi Level - Yellow

World Universities Rankings trivialise Research Excellence



Bogus World Universities Rankings promote Mediocrity and Worthless Value as Excellence

True research excellence is the product of passion and genuine scientific investigative efforts directed at purposeful outcomes in the form of “discoveries that will benefit Singaporeans and humankind globally” (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Jul 2006).   The desired goal of NTU research is “the harnessing and capturing of value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007). This is our Definition of “Research Excellence”.

Singapore Universities NUS and NTU were recently ranked among the Top by THE (Times Higher Education) World University Rankings. The London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranked NTU as the World’s Youngest Best University.

For QS Rankers, Research “Excellence” is measured by a questionable proxy measure called “Citations per faculty (20%)”.

Their “Citations” indicator aims to assess Universities’ Research Output. A ‘citation’ means a piece of research being cited (referred to) within another piece of research. Generally, the more often a piece of research is cited by others, the more influential it is. A rather simple but nonetheless naïve and invalid construct of “Research Excellence”, revealing QS’ ignorance and lack of understanding regarding Universities Research Excellence.  

Popular facts mentioned that Albert Einstein only published 3 papers.   Many NTU and NUS professors however, like many of their counterparts elsewhere, actually publish more journal papers than Nobel Prize potentials and winners!  

For QS Rankers, the winning Soccer Team is determined by counting the number of passes and ball possessions instead of the overall goals score impact!  Seriously, how VALID or Significant would this be?

There should be clear, ample proof that “new” knowledge contained and “cited” in these journal and conference papers is in fact of some degree of significance public value.

QS Rankers failed to evaluate the extent to which NTU had attained its Goal directive to harness and capture value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007).

Such glaringly blatant and obvious defects should NOT have escaped the penetrative professional scrutiny of NTU Senior Management and Administrators, many of whom eminent Professors and Researchers themselves, who had pronounced and unashamedly embraced the spurious and bogus QS Rankings to position our University in spite of its lack of validity and reliability of their Criterion measures.

In doing so, irreparable damage was done to the great authentic reputation of Singapore. Singapore universities should no longer participate in any Global Universities Ranking scams, no matter what other “famous” Universities had been included.  All Marketing collaterals making references to the bogus University Rankings should also be cleansed of the lie and return our Institution to Authentic levels of transparency and integrity. 

Kopi Level- Yellow 

Read Full Article: