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Messages - MariaSharpie

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PM Lee Hsien Loong's suggestion of the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) and Home Improvement Programme (HIP) II is clearly a panicked response than a well-thought out policy.

It is plain that Mr Lee is reacting to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong's bombshell admission that HDB flats will become worthless after their 99-year leases expire.

Mr Lee said that under the HIP II, older flats reaching 60-70 years old will get a second round of upgrading. Singaporeans should remember that under the first round of HIP, the government made residents pay upwards of $10,000 for the upgrading.

These flats will have zero value in another 30-40 years when their leases expire. Why do HDB owners have to fork out more money just to see the value of their flats diminish?

The PM also introduced the idea of VERS. Under the scheme, residents will be polled to see if they want to sell their blocks back to the government. Major questions arise:

How logical is it to have your flats upgraded through HIP II and then 10 years later sell the flat through VERS? Isn't this a monumnental mishandling of public resources and funds?

How much will the government compensate owners who decide to sell their flats en-bloc? Where is the money going to come from?

How will it affect elderly residents who will find relocating away from familiar surroundings and family and friends too stressful? As it is, the elderly are finding life lonely and desperate to the point that a record number are committing suicide.

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"China understands our problem and agreed," Dr Mahathir said.

The Prime Minister said that the current priority for Malaysia is to reduce its debts and loans, according to New Straits Times.

"If we have to pay compensation, we have to pay. This is the stupidity of the negotiations before. We must find a way to exit these projects...this is our own people’s stupidity," said Dr Mahathir, according to the South China Morning Post.

It seems to me now the PAP has  gone a different route in  dealing with the issue of aging HDB flats.   I had hypothesize previously that what the HDB will do is to activate  the clause in their 99 year lease and get people out of their aging  flats into new ones at a subsidized price and with a new 99 year lease.  Hence, enslaving them for another 99 years. This is the pattern chosen  for prior flat take backs as in the case of the original Queenstown  estate. New estates planned at Tengah and the old Bidadari sites would  be where occupants of older flats be moved while their old blocks are  demolished to make way for higher buildings with increased density.

After going over LHL's speech , I see now that a new strategy is surfacing. What the PAP  will now do is to "upgrade" flats twice, targeted at their 30 and 60  years lifespan. This is what I can see from his speech.

1) The items mentioned by LHL "An  essential upgrade, HIP fixes maintenance problems, including spalling  concrete, ceiling leaks and damaged pipes", are not upgrades at all.  Rather, they are maintenance and repair issues and in some case,  essential maintenance. I can add at least 2 high ticket items not on his  list, and this would be lifts and the roof. An upgrade would be say,  adding a second lift to the building, or installing water sprinklers in  the whole building, etc.  These items are maintenance and repair items  essential to the continued occupancy of the building, and hence  essential to the HDB to honour their 99 year lease. Without these  maintenance, the block would simply be condemned. From what I can see of  this list, there are NO upgrades, only maintenance and repairs. Nice  lie, LHL.

2) It was mentioned by LHL, that  flat dwellers will pay as little as 5% of the costs for these fake  upgrades. Remember when they said they will give you back your CPF at  55? I don't trust that number and I don't believe it. The repairs are  all handled by HDB contractors, and unless they make the winning bid  completely transparent, we would not know how much 5% really is. Repairs  costing $1 million to a block might be inflated to $5 million by the  HDB, and hence 5% of $5 million would be $250,000 borned by the flat  dweller or 25% of the HDB's cost. LHL mentioned too that some people  will pay as little as a few hundred dollars. Right. I will believe that  when I see that.

3) On the topic of flat dwellers  paying 5%. What's up with that? A tenant should not be paying anything  at all for maintenance and repairs, especially when they do not own the  unit. The landlord has the responsibility to upkeep and maintain his  unit. 100% of the cost should be borne by the HDB.

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The hounds of Xenophobia have pounced, just like how angry Singaporeans reacted to the public celebration of the Philippines Independence Day.  Tact  certainly isn’t Patnaik’s strong suit, considering that we just  celebrated National Day not too long ago. Not sure if he also used the  flag as a tablecloth for the festivities like some Israeli diplomat. It doesn’t help that the same angry people know who the CEO of DBS is.

While we can’t fault our foreigners for  having a soft spot for their country of birth, the shirt looked like it  was designed by someone with a destructive streak and a pathological  Clark Kent complex. The use of the emotive word ‘motherland’ in his  defence would naturally have irate locals telling the offender to GTFO  and suckle on his country’s teats instead.

Meanwhile, there are Singaporeans and  soon to be ex-Singaporeans out there who love the country but can’t  return from exile because they stirred poot with LKY’s government. They  live their lives in their tiny foreign enclaves while in Singapore we  endorse ethnically divisive online ones like a FB group for expats where  enforcement of anti-SG sentiment let alone nationalistic subversion and  extremism is almost non-existent.

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“Why always must be the people change? Why never heard him say the  Ministers change? We change, we save, we eat rice eat porridge, and the  Ministers continue to splash and waste the people’s money like nothing.  Where is the logic???”
 ~ Terry Lee

“Flogging the dead ass again... Cut your cost, to pay minister more..not a new concept. Kong hee also  ask his followers to sell their expensive homes, move into studio apt,  so that they can give more to their god..same scam different asshole.”
 ~ Cory Tan

“Developed country,use less electricity, drink cheapest milk powder and  eat Hawker center using massive Palm oil to cook and that is his  Solution. 2 THUMBSUP with a middle finger.”
 ~ Soh Kent

“You also change la....Take a pay cut and open up Temasek books...”
 ~ Muhammad Shameer

“Savings from 4G mobile data, different milk, and eating at hawker  centres...they are all small amount of saving compared to big savings if  housing cost is lower,  education  and medical much much lower. Why the  govt didnt tackle the big expensive items first...instead of suggesting  the citizens on saving small small sum which cannot help the present  situation in high cost of living in Singapore.”
 ~ Yeow H Tan

A lot more at


War crimes: A human 'subject', seemingly a young Chinese civilian, is subjected to an unknown form of bacteriological test at Unit 731,  built to conduct research into germ warfare, weapons capabilities and the limits of the human body

Human guinea-pigs: Frostbitten hands of a Chinese prisoner at Unit 731, where scientists would test the effects of hypothermia and gangrene on human subjects

The harrowing tale of how Japan carried out a series of horrific human experiments under the guise of 'warfare research' during World War II is told in a new book.

More than 3,000 people - mostly Chinese civilians, but also Russian, British and American POWs - were dissected alive, infected with bubonic plague and used as human guinea-pigs for frost-bite treatments.

Unit 731 was built in 1936 in modern-day Harbin, northeastern China, for the Japanese Imperial Army to conduct research into germ warfare, weapons capabilities and the limits of the human body...........

Exams are an almost unavoidable part of young people’s lives – and, inevitably, some people perform better than others. But what is more important than taking exams is how students manage the results of their exams – especially if they aren’t what was expected.

When the results are negative, it can be easy to come up with automatic thoughts such as “I will never succeed in my life”, “I’ve disappointed my parents”, or “everyone is better than me”. And although it might feel like these thoughts are valid and very real at the time, most of these statements are contaminated with thinking errors.

One example of a thinking error is what’s known as “dichotomous thinking”. This happens when people perceive things in black or white terms – it’s either a success or a failure. There’s also “fortune telling”, this is expressed when people believe they know what is going to happen: “I will fail again.” Another type of thinking error is “catastrophising”, which is where you think the worst possible outcome will occur – so it might be something like: “If I fail the exams, I will be unemployed for the rest of my life.”

In these situations, it’s also easy to start “overgeneralising”, where you extend any conclusions you reach about one thing to cover everything. People do this by using absolute terms – “always” or “never” – such as: “Since I failed this exam, I will always fail in everything.” It’s common, too, for people to “discount the positives” and underestimate their strengths – thinking along the lines of: “The last time I did a good job was only because I was lucky.”

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A thorough, documented, criminal indictment of George Herbert Walker Bush, establishing beyond a reasonable doubt his guilt as a supervisor in the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. You must see it to believe that former president George Herbert Walker Bush was connected to the assassination of JFK. Once you see this documentary though there should be no doubt in your mind that it's true. The evidence is overwhelming and as the author of this documentary, John Hankey says, "If we could present this evidence to a jury in Texas, he would pay with his life". Did you know that Daddy Prescott Bush was Hitler's chief banker in the U.S. before 1942? Did you know that George H.W. Bush was in the CIA and in Dallas when Kennedy was killed? This video explores the many connections between George Bush and the Kennedy Assassination and makes a very convincing argument that he was the operational leader of the most important coup in American history.

News, Current Affairs Discussions / Is this what Mediocrity looks like?
« on: August 19, 2018, 04:31:59 pm »
Dear friends,

The recent debate about Minister’s pay and mediocrity
 has made me realise that our present social political system, if not  tweaked, could have drastic consequences.

1. About National Day songs

 We have not had any new songs for our National Day celebrations for the  longest time. The songs of old like Dick Lee’s “Home” or Hugh Harrison's   “Stand up for Singapore" were memorable and iconic but why are new  songs from new songwriters deemed not deserving of an airing on the  national stage on our National Days? Is there a defeatist attitude by  the organising committee who is  afraid that any new songs will not  stand up to public scrutiny. When will this change?

2. About Microsoft and competition

 Does anyone remember when Microsoft was a near monopoly and regulators  were trying to make the playing field fairer? I was amongst many who  were saying that  “Microsoft Office Suite” was already so good and  affordable, why should we not it monopoly power? But after the  regulators had done their jobs we were pleasantly surprised with a  plethora of applications and software  eg Linux Open Office / Google  etc, which were more innovative providing better communications for all. 

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Three phrases or words have been making the rounds in social media  currently – elitism, snobbery and entitlement. They have been used to  describe the whole PAP establishment especially the top echelons meaning  the Cabinet and MPs and all the SAF generals and key civil servants.  The sense of disgust on the ground will not go away until, I think, a  satisfactory reaction or defence is put up by the PAP government.

These are serious allegations.

Let’s take the first one – elitism. This has always been a facet of  the PAP DNA. Way back in the mid-1960s, students at the then University  of Singapore (now NUS) were already slamming the PAP for practising or  worshipping elitism which is basically that there are those who are just  more capable than others and these people will be the natural top part  of any society. At that time, Socialism, a milder form of Communism  which advocated social equality, was a governing philosophy in a number  of countries eg Britain and France. Educated young Singaporeans caught  the wind. Hence, the protests in the campus against any form of policy  which smacked of favouring the “elite”.

But the late PM Lee Kuan Yew would not bend. He had made at least one  no-holds-barred speech referring to anthropological differences among  countries in South-East Asia which I do not want to rehash lest the  subject offends people in other parts of Asia, especially our  neighbours, and make life difficult for Foreign Minister Vivian  Balakrishnan. LKY spoke about intense and less societies, among other  things. Suffice to say that LKY was abashedly – or, in his eyes, being  pragmatically – elitist, even in his views of other countries!

LKY imported the Mandarinate system from the Middle Kingdom into  Singapore. In China, scholars had to pass rigorous examinations to make  it to Beijing to serve the Emperor. Hence, the education system here has  been unabashedly elitist. Apart from allowing elite schools to  flourish, young Singaporeans were sieved out through examinations and  so-called scholars were picked through several  categories  –  President’s Scholars, SAF Scholars and so on – who later went on to  serve the armed forces, civil service, GLCs and statutory boards (the  latter two also created their own scholars). The best went to the SAF  because the imperative was that, without a strong army, we would be  vulnerable and that was top priority. Hence, you can see why so many  generals and rear admirals have been chosen for the Cabinet, as a second  career. PM Lee Hsien Loong was in the first batch of SAF Scholars. He  did his national service. I was in the same company in the SAF cadet  officer school.

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