Archive | February, 2012

Boost to improve efficiency of public bus service: Who should foot the bill?

22 Feb

Dear Esteemed Members of the Parliament Committee for Transport,

I wrote earlier in Dec 11 that generous dividends were being paid to shareholders of public transport operators. For Budget2012, Min Tharman announced that $1.1bil will be injected to boost bus services. Govt will fund the majority of the buses to be added to the system while the transport companies will also contribute a portion.

If these companies needed help with their capital reinvestments, then why did they pay out such generous dividends to shareholders in the past years (many who do not take public transport)?

Why should the govt and taxpayers bear the majority burden of boosting bus services when these are listed companies? If these are listed companies, shouldn’t they look to the capital markets for money, such as share placements or rights issue? Would there be an effort to replenish the $1.1bil to state coffers from the transport companies?

Singapore is rather unique in running its public transport companies via a stock exchange listing. Should there be efforts to review this dichotomy?

“Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said Friday that the government will channel $1.1 billion towards increasing Singapore’s bus capacity by 20 per cent over the next five years.

Delivering Singapore’s budget for 2012 in parliament today, Mr Tharman said the ‘Bus Services Enhancement Fund’ will include the purchase of buses and running costs for 10 years.” Asiaone dated 17 Feb

Thank you for reading my queries amidst your busy schedules. I hope you would be able to shed some light on the issue or perhaps bring it up during the Budget debate.

Sincerely.

My earlier post on the privatization and dividend policy of SMRT:

https://unbrandedbreadnbutter.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/smrt-on-the-wrong-track/

The slow revelations: Of First World Parliament, Transparency and Accountability

9 Feb

49 years after JFK’s assassination, the much speculated story of one of the many mistresses of the sex-addicted ex-president is finally out. Even in a great and free country like America, it took 49 long years. The mistress, Mimi Alford, was not only a 19 year-old virgin, an intern, young and impressionable, but was also pushed into performing a sexual act on JFK’s friend, (which she did) and brother. All this while JFK’s wife was recovering from the premature birth of their son who later died.

Mimi Alford

A woman who says she was the teenage mistress of John F. Kennedy has written a memoir describing how he both abused and confided in her during an 18-month affair which ended only with his death.

Mimi Alford says she was a 19-year-old virgin just a few days into an internship at the White House when Kennedy seduced her in his wife’s bedroom after a pool party with two close aides and other young women.

“I was in shock,” she wrote. “He, on the other hand, was matter-of-fact, and acted as if what had just occurred was the most natural thing in the world.” They kept up the affair after she left Washington to go to university, and she last slept with him three days before his fatal trip to Dallas, when he told her: “I wish you could come with me to Texas. I’ll call you when I get back.”

The now 69-year-old retired church administrator, who lives in New York City, uses the memoir, called Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath, to detail how she spent days and nights with the notoriously sex-addicted president. She tells how he refused to kiss her on the lips, and once told her to perform a sex act on his friend, which she did. Once he asked her to “look after” younger brother Teddy, but she refused.

Mrs Alford claimed that despite this, theirs was a close relationship, and that Kennedy confided in her and asked her to console him following the death of his baby son, Patrick, according to the memoir obtained by the New York Post. TELEGRAPH

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/memoir-i-was-jfks-teenage-mistress-20120206-1r1zm.html

Many still remember him as a great president and accepted him for what he was and what he could achieve despite his sex addictions. Even Mimi Alford remembers him fondly. “I’m not going to say he loved me,” she tells Meredith Vieira in an American TV interview, “but I think he liked me. I think he cared about me.” If only Mimi knew what men would do to show their ‘love’ and ‘care’ so that they could push women around like goods for their pals to enjoy. JFK is definitely not so great after this revelation 49 years later.

YSL Quits WP CEC

Here in Singapore, Yaw Shin Leong quits from the Workers’ Party CEC after rumours began to spread about his alleged affair with a fellow party member by the name of Angela. Angela was supposedly even pregnant with Yaw’s flesh and blood. Yaw repeatedly ignored questions from the press about the allegations and even cancelled a Meet the People session which was to be held on the third day of the Chinese New Year. His (lame) reason was that they only started work on the sixth day of CNY, never mind other MPs, both PAP and WP continued with their work after the two days of public holidays like what public servants should do – serve the public.

YSL’s definition of responsibility is most revealing in his own blog entry dated 15th Jan and titled most aptly “With Influence comes Responsibility.” I hope within closed doors, YSL would make it up to those who matter to him.

Since we are imperfect beings, we must have the courage to admit mistakes. For the courage to admit mistakes, to apologize and to take corrective actions are the hallmarks of personal leadership.

Likewise, if you think you have made mistakes, talk to your friends and loved ones, even if those are serious mistakes, acknowledge them. Do not attempt to cover one mistake with another. Two wrongs do not make one right. Acknowledge them, take corrective actions and reconcile yourself with those around you.

http://yawshinleong.blogspot.com/2012/01/with-influence-comes-responsibility.html

WP Response

Even as YSL quits the CEC to concentrate on his work as Hougang MP (does that make sense?), WP is refusing to reveal the details of YSL’s resignation. Even as WP pushes for a first world parliament, accountability and transparency, I think they have come to see that everything should be in moderation. Or we have come to see that words such as ‘first world parliament’, ‘accountability and transparency’ are merely words used by political one-up-manship? Maybe people in power would never be totally honest with those that they rule over.

Source: TheSketchTimes

WP response reminds me of PM Lee’s recent speech in parliament where he mentioned that ministers who are incompetent and not up to mark would be “phased out discreetly” and that such exercises cannot be too public as it would degrade the level of Singapore politics and discourage people to join. It seems like YSL was phased out discreetly and that even WP agrees with this strategy. Nothing much these days seems to be separate the two parties elected into parliament.

I have written a post earlier to say that I was not so much disturbed by YSL’s dangerous pokings, but more that he was poking within the party. It’s unprofessional. Don’t shit where you eat. But since YSL has taken responsibility by quitting the CEC, let’s give him the space he needs to sort out his personal matters. And let’s hope maybe what went on inside WP CEC would come to light before another 49 years passes on.