7/29/2014

The history of mercenaries or foreigners in uniform

In modern history, the practice of using foreigners or employing foreigners in uniform was likely to originate from the colonial powers. The European powers, the Japanese, all recruited foreigners to be soldiers and policemen, to assist them in controlling their colonies. The British were notables for having army units in big numbers, regiment sizes, in India to govern the Indian subcontinent. And during the wars, these units were ordered to fight side by side with the British soldiers.

The Japanese recruited the Koreans and Taiwanese to rule their colonies in Southeast Asia, as defensive forces, guarding installations and some as fighting units. What was clear in the composition of these foreign uniform units was that they were used to control the colonies and foreigners. The Japanese would not, never, use the Koreans or the Taiwanese in Japanese soil to guard and check the Japanese citizens.

This was the same for the British and other European powers. The foreign soldiers would only be used to control the subjects of the Empire, never to control and to have authority over their own kinds. The Indian military and police units were used to control the Indians and rule India. The Gurkhas too were to control the colonies and to defend the Empire. And these units were always commanded by the British or the Europeans in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

No sensible country with some pride and dignity, and ‘thinking’, would recruit foreigners and give them authority over their own citizens. There is also the security risk of foreigners revolting against the masters as had happened in India and right in Singapore by the Sepoy Line units.

Today, would there be countries that would voluntarily go ahead to recruit foreigners into their military and police forces to have authority over their own citizens, to guard and rule over their own citizens? What would it look like if a country recruited foreigners to ‘protect and defend’ its territory, to guard its immigration points, key installations and depots and to ‘protect its people’ or to prevent its people from mischiefs or civil disobedience? What would it be like if the foreigners in uniform were to arrest the citizens for whatever reasons or to shoot at the citizens?

And the ultimate security fear, if the foreigners rebelled and take over the country? The British, Japanese and European powers were too smart for that. They only used the foreigners to guard and rule over foreigners, and with their own officers in charge. They were the masters and would rule the foreigners, never the other way. Never would they allow foreigners to rule over their people in the days of Empires.

Things have changed today with the blurring of nationalities and citizenship. The karmic retribution has resulted in the colonial masters having to absorb subject people from their former colonies to be their citizens, and to be in uniformed. And the dark Africans and Asians could be arresting English men and women in the streets of London or French in Paris. But it would not happen in Japan. It is unthinkable to the Japanese to have foreigners in uniform in their homeland and to have authority over the Japanese. Japan would still be Japan and belong to Japan. England and many European countries are gradually being colonised by the very people they colonised in the days of Empires. There is a process of reversed colonisation in Europe.


Kopi Level - Green

VEP – The most expensive ERPs

Singapore govt decided to raise vehicle entry permit fees for vehicles coming in from Malaysia. Easy revenue! What’s wrong with collecting more money? Malaysia also agrees and decides to raise fees for vehicles going through Malaysia, in and out. Both govts are now very happy as they will be the winners, collecting more money for the coffers. Some say it is a tit for tat reaction by Malaysia. And to be one up on Singapore, it is raising toll fees for vehicles entering and exiting Malaysia as well. Singapore govt responded by saying it will match whatever increases the Malaysians will imposed. Tit for tat?

Who would be unhappy, the commercial vehicles that have no choice but to go in and out of both countries. The cost will just go up. The visitors, the tourists from both sides would also have to pay more. The workers working in both sides of the causeway would also have to pay more. Then the people from Singapore who have bought homes and living across the causeway would have to pay more too. It will become very unattractive if they have to commute daily to Singapore. The new charges will be quite prohibitive for those who thought the homes were bigger and cheaper.

The bigger picture, Iskandar Economic Zone, all the property developers too, would be affected. The advantages of lower cost over Singapore would be eaten up in no time if fees and taxes keep going up. Those people eyeing properties in Iskandar, or those wanting to relocate their businesses would have to recompute their costs and the comparative advantages.

Actually the commercial vehicles coming into Singapore would not bear the cost. They would simply pass the buck. And many businesses would also do likewise. The main casualties would be the developers and the Iskandar project. Would investors get cold feet, would potential property buyers get cold feet knowing that out of the blue some rules will change against their favour?

On Singapore’s side, the masses would be the one paying for the VEP hike and toll fees. The food, vegetables, fruits and goods coming from Malaysia would just be priced higher. And those who holiday in Malaysia often, or those who went in for their daily shopping, would no longer find it cheap to travel there. Some retail businesses in Johore would be affected for sure.

While everyone would have their pockets affected in one way or another, both the Malaysian and Singapore govts would be the beneficiaries and their coffers fattened. Or is it a conscious decision to reduce the flow of people and goods from both sides? Oh, one positive point, the roads on both sides of the causeway could be freer with less vehicles. And the jams at the Causeway would be relieved.

Looking at it from another angle, it appears that one made the decisions consciously with clear objectives in mind, a decision made using the head. The other made all the decisions with the heart, and not sure what would be achieved and the negative consequences.


Kopi Level - Green

7/28/2014

CPF not the only way in retirement plans




For those who have been following the public discussion on the CPF schemes and how it should be tweaked into a better system must be very assured of how good the improved version 1.01 would be, or must be. The experts have them all worked out. The new system would be carefully structured and calibrated to apportion the CPF savings for retirement, for medical, for emergencies, for sudden short of funds, and for the savers to retire comfortably with no worries.

I would not hazard to guess how much one would need to put into the CPF to have peace of mind and no financial worries in the golden years. And it would likely have to prepare the people to save enough to live till 100 years.

All this sounds so good. The main assumption is that the people can afford to save all the money they need to save. Question, what about those who cannot afford to save? What about those who don’t even have enough to meet their daily needs?

There is also this tussle between saving enough to retire and live comfortably or a scheme that treat the CPF as one of many other provisions for old age, and that a compulsory scheme should only dictate one to provide for the minimum or basic needs. Even the Medishield Life which I thought was on the right track in providing for the basic coverage, there are people, rich people, who wanted the Medishield Life to provide for B1. If this is an upgrade for those who are able to pay for more, it is fair. If this is used by the rich for their rich nees, and used as the premise for computing the premiums for all, then the not so rich would end up sharing the cost of the rich.

I still think that such compulsory schemes should be designed to cater for the lowest denominator, the basics while the extras should be an options for those who demands for them and able to pay for them.  Do not make the poor pay for the fancies of the rich in a public compulsory scheme. And the CPF must not be thinking of becoming the only means of savings and thus must be loaded up for a comfy retirement for the rich. People have many other ways to provide for their retirement and CPF is not the only way. Do not impose a savings schemes on the people that cannot afford to have one. And do not make the CPF the mother of all savings schemes to provide for everything under the sky. Not many can afford such a comprehensive and rich scheme, or need such a scheme. Many would rely on family support for their golden years and even regard the CPF as superfluous.

There are many roads leading to Rome.

Kopi Level - Green

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri




While the Muslims here and the rest of the world are celebrating the end of Ramadan, the killings of the Palestinians continue in Gaza. More than 1,000 Palestinians have died in this new violence after three Israeli boys were killed in West Bank. Where were the Western human right provocateurs and govt when they are needed to put a stop to this slaughtering of the civilians? Killing Palestinians is ok

The Israelis are in total control of the West Bank and Gaza and with overwhelming superiority in fire power, they would use them happily and readily with no hesitation. There is no inhibition on the part of the Israelis as no Arab country could do anything, and no Western country will lift a finger to stop the killings. And any Arab country that dares to intervene would only incur the fury of the Israelis and the West. It is a one sided sideshow that is allowed to go on unrestrained. The Western powers would simply look the other way, and the only power that could restrain the Israelis has little reason to do so.

The Palestinians, their lives and their right to live as ordinary people, were abandoned by the West the day they moved the Jews into their land. They could only cry and cry but helpless and powerless. So were the Muslim countries as the world’s Number One superpower would not allow anyone to come to the aid of the Palestinians. Obama might shed a few crocodile tears as if he bothers, to make a show of it. Most of the time the Americans would act so civilise, please talk, no military intervention like they did in Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, to do anything but forcing the Israelis to stop. They have been ‘wayanging’ for the last 70 years. And the daft Arabs and the Muslim world are still placing hope on the Americans and the Western powers to save the Palestinians. They never learn, they did not know who is the real devil behind the killings.

This must be the biggest joke of the century. Would the West spare a thought for the poor Palestinians? Oh, why should they? The Palestinians are the bad guys, the Israelis are the good guys. Didn’t they kill 3 Israelis boys? The revenge killings of more than a thousand Palestinians did not make the Israelis the bad guys. And good guys will only support the good guys.

If only the balance of military power is not one sided, the Israelis would not be so trigger happy to strike. They knew that they are in control and it is up to them to dictate, to attack or not to attack the Palestinians, to kill or nor to kill the Palestinians.

Would anyone wish to send best wishes to the Palestinians in the equivalent of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri? Power is right, might is right. If the Palestinians want to live a decent life, they have to be as strong as the Israelis, but that is not going to happen with the Americans and the Western powers on the side of the Israelis. They would not allow the Palestinians to be military strong to take on the Israelis.

More protests at Hong Lim on Gaza killings? Would there be justice for the Palestinians? Who decides? Who is behind it?

Kopi Level - Green. Thank you everyone.

7/27/2014

CPF - If they spend all their savings then how?



Heard Chuan Jin using this same argument again at the CPF forum. So? Is this an acceptable reason for the govt to hold back the people’s life savings? Many people would not have enough savings in their CPF anyway. This is a normal scenario in all countries. But very few would be so desperate to need govt handouts. So?

Whether people spent away their life savings prematurely, many would not have anything left or enough to feed themselves past 70 anyway, is a different problem and a different matter. Many would have other means and sources of income to keep them going. And for those who don’t have any money left, not necessary squandering their CPF savings away, as they just did not have the means to save enough, not clever enough to earn millions, what is the govt going to do about them?

Just because some people have some savings in their CPF, does it mean that the govt can grab hold of this money on the excuse or pretext that they would spend them and would have nothing in old age? How many have the good fortune to have enough savings to last through their lives?

What is the govt going to do with people that have no savings and still need to live on? These are stupid people, irresponsible people, they deserve to starve to death? Smart people and responsible people may also end up in such a situation through a stroke of bad luck or misfortune.

It is not a reason or a good reason for the govt to hold on to the people’s money in the CPF on the ground that they people would spend them and left with nothing. Many would spend them, for the right or wrong reasons. So? Is this a justifiable reason, morally and ethical reason to hijack the people’s savings, all the people’s savings, because a few may need help? Even God would not have the audacity or arrogance to make such a decision, to take the people’s money away from them.

Life is not so simple as one would expect it. Save, save a lot, be thrifty, be responsible and you will be alright. Some of the super talents and millionaire ministers may end up bankrupt and needing govt assistance one day.

What is the problem with the govt’s justification to withhold the people’s life savings, to manage it at its own discretion, without needing the consent of the people, the owners of the money?

What is the govt going to tell those who would not live past 65 or 70 and did not have the chance to spend their life savings to live a few good days or a few good years. There will be more who would not benefit from their life savings due to premature death than the few who would need govt assistance.

Please tell the people it is your right as a democratically elected govt to do such a thing.

Kopi Level - Red. Where is everyone?

7/26/2014

World of Internet Brigade revealed




‘Much has been mentioned within the internet about the existence of the PAP Internet Brigade (a.k.a “PAP IB”), but few know how this secretive group operates, and who their puppet-masters are. The Singapore Hall of Shame (SHS) was given exclusive access to their inner workings thanks to one of their former members; Agent Kelly.

My Compass

The SHS plans to publish a series of articles, shedding light on their structure, their identities, and their methods. As a start, we explore the secretive Facebook Group, “My Compass”.

There are 4 “My Compass” administrators whom co-ordinate communication strategies for 260 members. Access to this by invitation-only group, is via recommendations of existing trusted members.
  
Upon receiving instructions by the administrators, unquestioning members spring into action to counter unfavourable chatter forming against PAP members or its linked entities. They operate in large numbers with the primary objective of drowning out negative comments and derailing the discussions on the internet.

In addition, they also monitor Facebook activities of opposition parties, and call for reinforcements to help counter statements that are critical of the ruling party. On mundane days, typical actions including like-ing the FB pages of the PAP MPs to boast the popularity of MPs. Some of their communications and actions are captured below:’ This is part of an article posted and reposted in several sites in the social media.

A people’s initiative, spontaneous, not financed by any body. What does this mean? On one side there is a group that is financed by a powerful organization, not sure if they are paid, to attack other bloggers and stirred shit in the social media. This is a very unethical thing that no respectable people will do, and no respectable organization will support and finance.

On the other side, there is a group of vigilantes formed by the people to defend those people being attacked. There is righteousness and high moral ground on the side of this group of people to defend justice against rogues and mercenaries out to harass and unnerve innocent people.

With these two groups of people engaging in battle in the social media, who would likely to be respected by the masses? Who would look like the evil doers, the despicable and the shameless?

The Singapore Hall of Shame group is like the freedom fighters taking on the gangsters. It would really be nice if they could expose the rogues and shame them in public. They would bring disgrace to their families if they are made known to be engaged in such hideous activities against their fellow men. And if they can be linked to whatever organizations, it will look ugly and embarrassing no matter how they denied their associations with such unethical practices.

Would the presence of the SHS bring about the end of such dubious activities in the social media or at least restrain their masters from going all out to embarrass themselves thinking that they could get away with it? The internet is very transparent despite the veneer of anonymity. All activities can be traced, by both sides.

Kopi Level - Green

SIA was just so lucky




According to all the information floating around, an SIA plane, ‘SQ 351 was 25km or just 1min 40sec behind MH 17 at 777′s cruise speed of 905km/h’. Whew! I doubt the rebels were monitoring the IFF or transponders codes the aircraft was sending out. Why did they shoot at MH17 and not other aircraft? One theory, they were aiming at Putin’s aircraft that was expected to be there about the same time. If that was the case, it could not be the works of the rebels as they are pro Russians. Here’s the Freudian Slip.

If it was the work of the rebels, and if they have IFF equipment, it is unlikely for them to want to shoot down a Malaysian aircraft. Malaysia is on friendly terms with the Russians. Any agency with IFF capability would know what they were shooting at and could decide otherwise. For any agency knowing that it was MH17, and to shoot it down, it must be done on purpose.

The other scenario that they just shoot at anything that was moving without knowing what it was could be a possibility. But would the culprits, whichever party, be so reckless to shoot at anything that moved and risked shooting down a friendly aircraft? It all points to the possibility that the culprit knew who they were shooting at.

If it was pure chance, trigger happy reckless rebels that did not care what they were shooting, what the hell was going on, then SIA was just sooooo lucky and MAS was just soooo unlucky. This is not a mindless and purposeless war, anarchy, with everyone was just shooting for the sake of shooting. No, do not think the people involved are stupid, did not know what they were doing. Give them some respect and credit for knowing what they were doing.

Could such a decision to shoot down an aircraft, possibly a civilian aircraft on a know flight corridor be made without thinking, without knowing what aircraft it was? The people with an agenda would want the world to believe what they want to make out of it.

Like the sinking of the Choenan, who would be blame for the downing and who would gain from it? These may give some idea as who could be behind it.

Kopi Level - Green