Hougang by election 2012

May 25, 2012

My prediction is that WP will win by a big margin tomorrow. The people have seen some of the changes forced onto PAP after the GE last year. But, they know PAP is still complacent e.g., taking no action and giving lousy excuses for the high inflation. The residents of Hougang is bearing the brunt of suffering. By voting WP, they will signal to PAP and the civil services that they have to pull up their socks and stop cruising.


Got Logic or not?

July 21, 2009

I admit I am Stupid. I cannot understand the logic behind the following change in the CPF scheme.

“With the introduction of CPF Life, the Combined Minimum Sum Scheme (CMSS) has now become irrelevant and will be terminated in 2013.

That scheme allowed couples aged 55 and above to jointly set aside 1.5 times their minimum sum, and to withdraw the rest of their CPF savings.

‘The rationale was that a couple living together would need less income than two single persons living alone,’ said Mr Gan.

‘However, unlike CMSS, CPF Life is an individualised scheme where a member’s monthly income ceases upon death, and the surviving spouse can only rely on his or her own CPF Life income.’

CPF used to force married couples to keep 1.5 times minimum sum. This logic is sound. But, with the change to CPF Life, they will not only force the CPF members to keep more money (S$20,000 per married couple) as minimum sum, the money no longer belongs to you. Sigh….

Good advise. But, is anyone listening?… Don’t paper over cracks with paper losses

February 16, 2009

The following was published on BT. Hopefully, it gets some attention from the government and heed his advise. BTW, a loss is a loss no matter what you call it.

It’s time to review what caused them and ascertain what needs fixing



APER losses are not real losses – but it can be argued that the two are really just different sides of the same coin.

And there could be danger in taking too sanguine a view of paper losses, and seeing them as something of less concern than real losses.

Let’s put it this way: the one meaningful difference between a paper loss and a real or realised loss is holding power, or the ability of an investor to sit out the loss against another’s need to sell and thereby realise the loss.

All the factors leading to the loss, whether paper or real, are similar, such as wrong calls, misplaced assumptions, unfortunate timing or bad advice.

Tuesday’s revelation of the performance of Temasek Holdings provides a study on paper losses.

The global financial meltdown cost the Singapore investment company a $58 billion loss in eight months, the government said. Temasek’s net portfolio value fell 31 per cent from $185 billion on March 31, 2008 to $127 billion on Nov 30, 2008.

The loss is on paper, it was stressed, and the government said it had full confidence in Temasek as well as the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) to ride out the market downturn as long-term investors and produce solid returns over time.

What can be said about this? For one thing, it is a paper loss because Temasek has a holding power that is the envy of most fund managers. Second, given its very longterm horizon, it is improbable that any of these losses will be realised (indeed, they could turn to gains). But all that should not prevent a review of what led to the losses.

To be fair, the drop in Temasek’s net portfolio value was less than the fall in some regional equity indices (the MSCI Singapore index lost 44 per cent and MSCI Asia ex-Japan shed 45 per cent over the same period).

Still, there’s nothing to stop Temasek from outperforming the rest of the market by a bigger margin or to book a much smaller loss (or even gain) – which is what Singapore Airlines did, by booking a hedging gain amid steep losses within the industry.

Too often, paper losses are used to soften the blow of investments that have not gone according to plan. But in the real world, paper losses do have consequences.

Take listed companies. A lot of the losses or weaker earnings being announced by companies are down to fair-value adjustments, with accounting rules requiring firms to mark down the value of their investments or assets even if they have not realised the losses – in other words, paper losses. But the market still treats these as bottomline results, and the fact that these are paper losses does not save the companies from being punished by investors.

It’s the same for individuals. An investor who had borrowed to buy shares would be asked to top up the balance if he suffers paper losses of a certain extent, even if he does not realise the loss. A homeowner will also be asked to top up, if the value of his property drops by a certain extent from the original valuation, even if it’s all on paper. The concept of negative equity and accounting for it, in fact, hinges on the treatment of paper losses as potential actual losses.

So there are realities to paper losses.

Back to Temasek: It’s highly likely, given the nature of its mandate and its long-term view, that the damage to its portfolio will remain “just” paper losses. Yet, the extent of the paper loss – a shock to many Singaporeans – should still lead to a closer examination or a rethink of the way Temasek operates and invests. If all’s fine, and only the markets are to be blamed, so much the better. If some adjustments are needed, now is as good a time as any to begin that process.

Before enacting this law, it was legal to seize control of airports in Thailand???

January 29, 2009

Thailand approves law against seizing airports

Any individual caught after attempting to seize control of an international airport will face a fine from Bt500 (S$21) up to Bt10,000 (S$429) under a draft law approved by the Cabinet yesterday to protect airports from intruders…

One broad-stroke measure allowed but not two

January 28, 2009

When asked the government to consider a temporary reduction of the 7% GST in Singapore to stimulate demands in Singapore, Mdm Halimah Bt Yacob reply is that a reduction in GST is a broad-stroke measure and not as effective as a targeted measure. On the other hand, the job credit given to all companies is deemed to be a good measure despite it being a broad-strokeĀ  measure given to ALL non-Government companies. Another example of head you lose, tail I win…

Li actions… egalitarianism in Singapore?

July 13, 2007

I am pleasantly surprise by the actions of Li junior. One thing that he clearly did not tolerate is ‘double standards’.