PR – Benefiting Singapore or PR themselves?


Singapore Government had been granting Permanent  Residency to foreigner in return hoping that they would convert to Singaporean one day.

Permanent Residency is like a dual citizenship for the foreigner to keep the own citizenship in their home country while enjoying the benefit of a Singaporean. In work, they aren’t counted as foreign quota for the company. In housing, they are allowed to purchase HDB flat although can be bought through resale. For their Children, they can enrol into government school heavy subsidize by the government. The benefit can be listed on….

But do we really need Permanent Resident in Singapore?

In my own view, PR should only be granted to the person that are linked to a Singapore Citizen. Like the spouse of the Singapore Citizen, the children of the Singapore Citizen, Parent of the Singapore Citizen (this might be obsolete case now as we Singaporean are into 3rd or 4th generation).

No other person listed above should be granted PR at all. It’s either they stay as Permit holder or convert to Singapore Pink IC. Granting them a PR will not make feel prestige as a Singaporean. In return, they will compete against Singaporean for job, housing, education etc.

In the Strait Times today (27 May 2013), the title “Singapore PR hopes to run in next Indonesian election“. This article show a very good example foreigner are not going to keep their roots in Singapore.

Mr Yoga Dirga Cahya, 26, first came to Singapore to study in NTU school of Biological Sciences with tuition grant given by MOE. Here he quote in the article ” Many Singaporeans go oversea and get the best education, and the come home and work and contribute to their society. I wish to do the same for mine”.

It shows that he had never have the intention of staying in Singapore at all. So why granting him the PR status in the first place? He can be a permit holder while serving out his bond with NEA.

There are many examples that PR would not want to sink their roots here. Singapore are getting too crowded and we do not need this kind of PR in Singapore. Government should seriously consider granting PR Status to foreigner unless they are linked to a Singapore Citizen. Giving the choice to the foreigner, remain as permit holder or convert in Singapore Pink IC.

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Tips on getting a taxi during Peak hours and rainy days


singapore-taxi

Have you wonder why you always have difficulties in getting a taxi during peak hour especially Monday morning, Friday Evening and Rainy Days?

Before I touch on the tips on getting a taxi, let me highlight how Comfort and SMRT booking system work.

Comfort/City Taxi – 6552 1111

1) There are two system that the taxi driver have.

I. Scheme 1 – Those taxi driver are not allowed to reject call booking for more than 3 times otherwise they will be penalised and suspened for an hour. Once suspended, they will be directed to scheme 2. generally, taxi driver in scheme 1 will get priority in their booking.

II. Scheme 2 – Many taxi driver are in these scheme as they are allowed to take booking as and when they want. In this scheme, those booking that have no taker will be channel to this scheme for the taxi drivers.

2) The bookings are made to the taxi drivers by assignment only. This is means that the booking will be assigned to one taxi driver (no bidding for it). If the taxi driver rejects, then the system will jump to assign to the next taxi driver and so on.

3) Generally, the assignment of the booking are being made to taxi driver that have some distance away for the location (about 1Km away or more).

4) Advance booking can be accepted by the Iphone or through the system by the taxi drivers.

5) Currently they have about 16,000 Taxi available

SMRT – 6555 8888

1) Generally, booking to the driver are prompt to the nearest available taxis in the vicinity with the faster finger gets (bidding system).

2) Advance booking can only be accepted through the system.

3) Currently they have about 3,300 taxi available.

Getting those information aligned, I will proceed on with the Do’s and Don’t when booking a taxi.

Morning Peak Hours

Do’s

1) Try to state the location you are going especially you are going to residential areas.

2) Give mobile number. These will enable the taxi drivers to contact you when they arrives. Not to worry on this as only those taxi driver that confirm your booking able to know your contact number.

3) Inform the taxi company to ask the taxi driver to contact you when they arrived. Generally this show that you will be expecting to wait for the taxi.

4) Indicated pick-up area. Eg Lobby, Carpark

Don’t

1) If you are going to Tuas, Loyang area, do not indicate it to the operators.

2) Do not indicate pick-up area at main road, bus stop. Generally taxi driver will not pick up the booking as it seem that you will hopped on the next available taxi approaching thus wasting their trip.

Evening Peak

Do’s

1)Indicate where you are going especially you are going to town or nearby residential areas like, Tiong Bahru, Outram, River Valley. If you are going within town, eg. Shenton Way to Marina Bay Sands, it’s  a die die must indicate.

2) Give mobile numbers. It’s especially important in the town area as there are thousands of people waiting for the taxi.

Don’t

1) Indicate that you are going to Yishun, Jurong as generally taxi driver would not want to take up the call if you are heading towards there.

2) Indicate only Office number. This will save you time and ensure that the taxi driver picks up the correct person.

3) Let the taxi driver to wait for you in the single lane driveway. For example, Great Eastern Building, 6 Battery Road, UOB Plaza, UOB Center etc. Due to heavy traffic during the time, taxi are not allowed to wait for so long as it will hog up the drive way. Thus taxi driver will cancel the booking if the person is not there as they are going to made a very big detour to comes back to the location.

When it rains or you are not able confirm a taxi, there is a little trick that you can used on the SMRT taxi (Cannot confirm if it’s works on Comfort/Citycabs as I’m not driving theirs).

The trick is, call SMRT by phone to 6555 8888 to connect to the operator. Indicate that you want an advance booking (If you don’t mind paying extra $4.70 – [$8 – $3.30]).  For example, if now is 8am, the earliest advance booking is 8.30am. Inform them to put the remarks that the taxi driver can come anytime and call you once they arrives.

This trick can work as the prompting of the advance booking is different from  the current booking and not many people are using the advance booking. Thus priority is being given to the advance booking. These will show up in the taxi driver system even they have passenger inside the taxi. The worst scenario is that you had to wait for half an hour for the taxi to arrives (better than no taxi right?)

I will only touch on these two taxi companies as generally people are calling these two companies for taxi. I hoped that the tips I have given will help you to lessen the waiting time calling for a taxi.

Why passenger are diffcult to get a Taxi during rainy days


There are a few reason why people can’t get taxi during rainy days. Here, as a taxi driver myself, I would like to offer some reasons for the difficulties of getting a taxis.

1) It’s true that some drivers rest during the rain. Why they don’t want to drive have 2 reasons.

I) higher accident rate – penalty of $2000 – $4000 depends on which types of taxi we are driving.

II) can’t see the road given the condition. Myself being the young driver sometime cannot see the road clearly when it’s rain. So how able those older taxi drivers? Wouldn’t it make it worst?

2) Much higher demand for taxi during rainy days. Thus Waiting longer is unavoidable.

3) Taking a passenger from point A to point B takes about 50% to 100% of the normal driving time.

4) If we add all the above together, being number of cabs and passenger equal with normal days, you would need to wait longer for the cabs.

5) Now most taxi companies have centralise signage system. When Hired or On call, there wouldn’t be any call booking coming in. Also, the signage is display by the centralise system not by driver itself. Thus I hoped that people stop saying that we purposely we put the signage on to  “Hired” or “On Call”. It’s doesn’t make sense to drive around with these two signage not to earn more.

6) A lot of people don’t take taxi often, thus only it’s rain then take taxi, they doesn’t know how the taxi system works and thus complain they couldn’t get a taxi. Ask a regular taxi taker, and they would tell you how the get the taxi and they know it’s normal during rainy day to slightly difficult to get a taxi and they sometime book in advance.

7) Why we don’t take the street passenger have two reasons:

I) Sometime we can’t see clearly on the side of the street as we need to concentrate on the road.

II) Taking passenger in the lobby or covered shelter will not wet interior of the taxi thus many taxi driver prefer to pick up passenger from the lobby.

After writing so much about difficulties to get a taxi during rainy days, I hoped those complainer/s would put themselves in our shoes and understand the situations.

Why the need of Managing Agent in Town Council?


Today, everyone were talking about the Managing Agent (MA) Fee which had blown out of proportion. Now let looks into different perspective view that I’m going to touch on.

What is a MA? Answer taken from the web.

  • In the case of residential developments, e.g. a blocks of flats, an individual investor or a property company may hold the freehold, or the owners of the individual flats may own it collectively.
  • In the case of leasehold properties the lease is a contract between the lessee, and the freeholder (often referred to as the lessor), under the terms of the lease the freeholder may be required to manage the property e.g. maintain the exterior and common areas, provide insurance etc.
  • A managing agent is a person or company appointed by the freeholder of a property, or a management company, to manage that property.
  • The managing agent contracts with the freeholder, or management company, to manage the property in accordance with the terms of the lease and statutory requirements.
  • The managing agent is only an agent of the freeholder therefore legal responsibility for the full and proper management of the property remains with the freeholder, or the management company.

In the case of the town council, town council are the owner while MA is just a middleman managing the properties. So as to say, the management of the town council had actually being “OUTSOURCE” to the MA.

My main question here is: do the management of the town council necessary need to be outsource to MA? The answer from me is a firm NO!

Let me list out the reasons why management of the town council is not necessary to be out source.

1) Take for example, who is the person in charge of Hougang TC is non other than the director of FMSS. Why do WP need to engage FMSS to be MA when the director of FMSS is a PAID salary in the town council? He had the expertise in managing the town council.

2) Out-sourcing your own core duties/business are just heading doom. For Example, Like being a service provider, you outsource your service to the third parties, effectively you are giving away your core business.

3) Outsourcing might not be necessary cheap! Take this example, the MA must make a profit in order for them to survive. Thus, if this is all done by the town council themselves, it can save a huge amount of dollars for other development and  sinking fund.

4) Outsourcing will not improve the life of the cleaner, road sweeper etc. If the town council manage themselves, the saving can translate into more into for the employees.

5) Outsourcing will only benefit a small group of people rather than as a whole.

In short, I don’t favour outsourcing of town council management to the MA, as outsourcing in my own view is a “dirty word”. Just take a look around us. Outsourcing had taken place everywhere, in IT, in cleaning industries, telemarketer, telephone operators etc.

In the town council, I hoped that be it PAP or WP to come clean why they need a MA in their town council which now have the conflict of interest.

AIM Saga


I had been quiet for the past few days. This is due to me falling sick and also refrain from commenting on the AIM Saga happening in the parliament.

The AIM Saga is happening over the debate in parliament between Minister Khaw and WP’s Sylvia Lim. While both parties had their valid points, that doesn’t really concern to me as an ordinary Singaporean.

 While Minister Khaw had said, Town Council are being handle by the respective member of parliament, the town council will be definitely handled with the respective parties agenda. Thus awarding the contract of Managing Agent it deem fit. The point I’m forwarding is: What is the Managing Agent got to do with the parties directive since their duties is to manage the town cleanliness and maintainance? Can’t the MA be non-partisan and serve whichever parties took over the town council?

Next comes in my mind, Why do the town council award contracts to only companies that have managing town council before as a requirement?  This question which I would only agreed part of it. As a MA, the experience is essential to get the job down as smoothly as possible. But on the other hand, if SDP or NSP won a GRC, they did not manage any town council before, how on earth they are getting the job done? So is it to say that they can only goes back the MA that are under PAP or WP to help them? This to me, is a barrier to entry and stopping other political parties to win the GRC.

Third, Sinking Fund. Do we really need to ever increase the sinking fund? Yes, we need to increase the sinking fund as the maintenance cost is ever-increasing. But at what rate the sinking fund should increase? This answer must be answer by all the town council but to me layman, a yearly increase of 4%-5% will be ideal. This can be covered by the prudent investment using the Sinking Fund.  Those the cost of increasing might not necessary pass on to the resident.

Next, Why is there the need to engage a MA when the town council can do the job themselves? To me MA is just a centre-man that help to manage the town council. Why can’t the town council employ the cleaner/technician directly? If they are going to employ directly, they can actually give better pay to the cleaner/technician since the profit for the MA is channel directly to them.

Next and lastly, Minister Khaw had said, the software are readily in the open market, so why there is a need for PAP town council to open a tender to customise the software, isn’t it wasting the resident’s money? This I hoped that Minister Khaw can enlighten us citizen on this issue.

In Summary, What I see on the debate is mainly political issue which is not a concern to us ordinary Singaporean. What is concerned to us is these:

1) Keep the charges to each household to the minimum.

2) To keep the estate clean and well maintain.

Does new citizens grateful with the current government? Part III


Last week, the Malaysian in Singapore had staged two illegal  protest at the Merlion Park with 21 protestors arrested during the second protest. While I do not agree with the illegal protest, but something we Singaporean can learnt.

These two illegal protest actually re-affirmed my stand, although they are not the new citizen yet. There are just a few out of the hundreds of thousand of new citizen, PR, Work permit holder where one day who becomes Singaporean. So why there are just a few of them attending? Reason could be these:

1) Not informed

2) Knowing that the protest was illegal and they do not want to run afoul of the law here.

3) Working at that time

Without these reasons above, I believe that the turnout would even be much higher. Even the protest at the Hong Lim Park last night organizes by Jolovan Wham which only Singaporean and PR can attend(legally).

Here we ae talking about Malaysian only, how about other countries nationality? Almost all other countries have their basic right to protest and bring down the government. Their  way of thinking is different from Singaporean.

Are new citizen grateful with the current government? You will know yourself if you have new citizen,PR, work permit holder as your friends. Check with them and you know the answer!

So the most interesting part is: Why do Singapore Government want to tighten the labour rules? Is it because the government heard us? Is it they had found out that the new citizen are actually not the stronghold to voting anymore?The answers for the answer can only found out in the next election due in 2016. Only time will tell!

Is Singapore Youth less patriotic than the Malaysia Youth?


Yesterday a group of youth (about 100 of them according to the strait times) assemble at the Merlion park to stage a peaceful protest against the Malaysia General Election although it is deem illegal in Singapore. 

Here I’m not talking about the illegal assembly by the Malaysian but I’m writing about their patriotic toward their nation. They dare to voice out their unhappiness and together they want change in Malaysia. Respect is the only I can describe towards them.

But are Singapore Youth less patriotic?

Singapore Youth are no less patriotic than our neighboring country. The only different is that one talk about it while the other action it.

I happened to ferry a couple of youth yesterday evening and we had a casual chat over Singapore politics. One is a PMET while the other is a young chap working in the service sector.

They are all concern about Singapore politics. One stopped writing the facebook due to peer pressure as she would not want to jeopardize their friendship while the other talk to his parent occasionally.

Both are equally concerned about the 6.9M white paper, but they resigned to their faith as talking about it can’t do much.

One was asked if she had attended the Hong Lim Park Protest on the 16 Feb and 1st May organize by Gilbert Goh? She said that she heard about it and love to attend but thing crops up in the last minute that she couldn’t make it.

A short trip with a short conversion actually makes me feel relieved that the youth in Singapore are generally still concern about politics/policies in Singapore. They are just as patriotic as the Malaysian Youth just that they show it in different ways.

While the government are busying engaging the youth these days, we too must engage these youth. Telling them criticizing policy will not make them less patriotic if the policy are against the Singaporean.

Here I would like readers, especially the youth to write in the comments column. or msg me in the facebook, your concern and how can we better engage the youth. Your input is important as I hoped that your valuable input will help us to have more youth attending the Hong Lim Park protest in the future.

The youth are our Singapore future!!!