Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The China Factor

Whether Singaporeans like it or not, China - her people, business and culture, is entering more and more into their lives. The PRC Chinese first came as ft and compete with locals for jobs. Then the "nightingales" threaten to disrupt their marital peace.

Not so long ago, there was that little PRC girl who captivated the hearts of Singapreans so much that they forgot about their distrust for the PRC Chinese and willingly parted considerable sum of money to her parents during her funeral.

PRC companies and stocks have also made much inroad into Singapore. About 10% of SGX total listings are PRC firms, some of which are darlings of the local investors. The Singapore govt loves the Chinese companies even more. It is actively wooing them to list in SGX and is prepared to be relatively lax in its monitoring of these companies. The current China Aviation Oil fiasco was believed to be partly due to the lax control by SGX.

The China phenomenon is here to stay, Singaporeans have to brace themselves for it and not be swept away.

Fairness for All?

Monday December 6, 2:17 AM

PM Lee outlines vision for Singapore and PAP
SINGAPORE : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said his vision for Singapore is a small but great nation, and a land of opportunity for all. He called on all Singaporeans to embark on this new national project together.
Mr Lee was speaking to party members in a rally to celebrate the People's Action Party (PAP) 50th anniversary.
Speaking for the first time as PAP's Secretary General, Mr Lee outlined his vision for the party and the nation.
Mr Lee said: "It should be a land of opportunity, a place everyone has full and equal opportunities to be educated to the limits of his ability.
"It would be a country where everyone is treated fairly regardless of race, language or economy where rewards depend on your ability and your effort...and for those people with drive, imagination, the ability, who can create something new - with some talent, the sky is the limit."
Mr Lee also referred to the recent Singapore Idol contest to stress his point.
"Taufik and Sylvester - a year ago no one knew them but they had talent and grit. They won Singaporeans' hearts and won contest, they were finalists.
"Taufik's mother is a cleaner and was not able to attend many performances as she worked long hours, but from that background and his ability and talent, Singaporeans recognised it and you can organise your friends to vote for your favourites. But in the end, the right man Singapore must be a land of opportunity for all of us."

Everyone treated fairly? I doubt so. Ft and those who are rich and have connections are treated preferentially. I can give one classic example. A few years ago, a female ft lawyer was acquitted of causing the deaths of a family of 3, a mother and her two young children, in a car accident. Her defence? Something to the effect that the victims were in her blind spot. A very farfetched defence considering under Singapore traffic law, a motorist is deemed to have committed an offence if he knocks, injures or kills anyone regardless of the condition or situation in which the accident takes place. That means to say if a kid dashes out of nowhere to pick his toy and a motorist knocks onto him, the motorist is considered to be at fault. So, why was the ft lawyer acquitted?