Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ba Chor Mee podcast part 2

From Aaron:

Go and download it to listen. Find out why the ba chor mee uncle raises his ba chor mee from $3 to $6 and listen to him justifying to his customers why he had to increase e.g. never increase since 1994, want good ba chor mee must pay more, and that the uncle could have sold chicken rice in another neighbourhood but sacrifice to sell ba chor mee instead. A hilarious parody of the whole furore over the ministerial pay hike issue.

If you think the original Ba Chor Mee podcast was good, this one is even better. DO NOT MISS IT. I vote for it to be the best podcast of the year. :)

Go download it from here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CSJ: "The Singapore Success Story: A Fairytale by the PAP"

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Friday, April 13, 2007

More4 News item on banned film "Zahari's 17 Years" in Singapore.

People who is interested in the documentary should check out google video. Do a search there and you will be surprised with what you can find ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Singapore PM in damage control on salary: analysts

Thursday April 12, 3:56 PM
Singapore PM in damage control on salary: analysts

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's offer to freeze his salary for five years is an attempt to appease rare public fury over plans to boost the salaries of ministers and civil servants, analysts said Thursday.

The Singapore leader told parliament on Wednesday he would forego the salary hike which would give him an annual income of more than two million US dollars a year, up from the 1.62 million dollars he made last year.

He would donate the difference to "suitable good causes", he said.

"It looks like an indicator that he is trying to calm the public," said Sinapan Samydorai, president of the Think Centre human rights group.

"After all this noise, then you announce it, people will still be sceptical even though his intention may be good," he told AFP.

The prime minister's press secretary said Lee's decision to freeze his salary was not a response to opposition to the salary hike.

"The fact is it was a decision taken up front even before the announcements of pay revision," Chen Hwai Lian told AFP.

Lee's salary hike was part of a pay increase for cabinet ministers and civil servants announced on Monday.

His revised salary would be five times more than the 400,000 dollars paid to US President George W. Bush and more than eight times that of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who receives 240,000 dollars a year.

The pay increases provoked a rare outcry from normally reserved Singaporeans.

In a country where political rallies are banned without a permit and the media are closely linked with the government, many of the comments against the pay rise were posted on the Internet, where people can use pseudonyms.

"What a hypocrite our PM Lee is," said Annie, who was among a growing list of people to sign an online petition against the increments. More than 1,800 had signed by Thursday.

"One moment he wants to level up his and his ministers' pay, next moment he tries to be a good and caring person by donating his increment to charity for the next five years," Annie said.

Ministers' salaries are to be raised incrementally from 1.2 million dollars to 1.9 million dollars by the end of 2008.

"Him freezing his pay should be seen more as a gesture to control the damage," said Terence Chong, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

"He is trying to seize the moral high ground and also to deflect criticism that ministers lack the desire" to perform public service, he told AFP.

The move to increase ministerial pay comes amid a widening income gap and ahead of a hike in the goods and services tax by two percentage points to seven percent beginning in July.

"The reason why there is such dissatisfaction is because the hike has come at a strange time when the salaries of the average Singaporean seem to be stagnating and in some parts taking a dip," said Chong.

"Also, it comes at a time when there are reports of a wage gap between the rich and poor widening," he said.

Lee and senior ruling party leaders said high salaries, pegged to the pay of senior private sector employees, were necessary to attract the best people to government and prevent corruption.

Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, of the Singapore Democratic Party, disagreed.

"It must never be forgotten that parliaments are institutions of service, not avarice," Chee said on his party's website.

"The pay hike was a colossal misstep on the part of the government ... The PM is obviously now trying to undo, or at least limit, the damage."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Singapore PM's salary stuns White House official


Tue Apr 10, 6:50 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A senior White House official on Tuesday admitted he was floored by the news that Singapore's prime minister earned five times more than US President George W. Bush.

"I'm going to emigrate and run for office in Singapore," the official said on condition he be identified only as "a senior administration official who sits in disbelief after reading that story."

On Monday, the Singapore government had announced a fresh 25.5 percent pay hike for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, boosting his salary to 2.05 million dollars per year.

Bush gets paid 400,000 dollars per year for doing his job, according to the White House.

Combined with personal investment income, he and his wife Laura reported 618,694 dollars in taxable income in the 2005 fiscal year. They had to pay 187,768 dollars in federal taxes.

But maybe Bush shouldn't feel so bad. The Singaporean's paycheck is eight times fatter than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007






Thursday, April 05, 2007


From ST:

April 5, 2007
Max. pension: $176,500; Service tenure: 18 years

I REFER to the letters, 'Do ministers enjoy big pension after two terms?' (ST, March 31) by Miss Jolene Ong and 'Pay at 2/3 benchmark but remove pension' (ST, April 4) by Mr Chang Wei Meng.

Miss Ong asked if it was true that a minister was entitled to a lifetime pension of two thirds of his last-drawn salary and suggested that if this were so, ministers would be paid a 'handsome $792,000 per annum till the day they die'.

Mr Chang suggested the pension 'would work out to be about $10 million' and felt that the pension scheme 'seems to be an anachronism' when pay is measured against that in the private sector.

The Government has moved away from the pension scheme for the majority of civil servants since 1986. However, the pension scheme has been retained for the Administrative Service and the Intelligence Service where there is a strong reliance on the depth of expertise and length of experience for continuity of national policies.

For the same reason, the pension scheme has been retained for office holders, namely, Speaker, ministers, ministers of state, mayors, parliamentary secretaries and political secretaries, given their role in and impact on national policies, provided they serve long enough to qualify for a pension.

Both writers have grossly exaggerated the amounts. Ministers qualify for a pension if they serve a minimum of eight years, but the amount of pension varies with the length of service.

The maximum pension for a minister drawing a total annual salary of $1.2 million is $176,500 per annum (not $792,000), and to get that maximum pension the minister has to serve for 18 years. Pensions have been frozen since 1994, so that all salary revisions since then (and this one) will have no effect on pensions.

Ong Toon Hui (Ms)
Leadership Development
Public Service Division
Prime Minister's Office

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