Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sorry, Prof of Strategy, Linda Lim of University of Michigan, I dun agree with you.


Published October 25, 2008

Is Singapore trying to excel in too many areas?

WHY aspire to be a second Boston or second London and not a first-rate Singapore?

PROF LIM S'pore's growth model may not be sustainable as it tries to do too much and achieves too little in terms of delivering returns --
It's time - particularly during a global crisis - for Singapore to rethink its economic model and employ niche targeting right where it has unique strengths to become a world leader, rather than stay a follower in various sectors, an economist suggests.

While highly successful so far, Singapore's growth model - built on wooing multinationals to drive key sectors here - may not be sustainable in the changing environment, says Linda Lim, professor of strategy at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and director of its Center for South-east Asian Studies.

A Singaporean academic who has been in the US for some four decades, she was a speaker at the Singapore Economic Policy Conference yesterday.

In her view, the Singapore growth model has both tried to do too much - going against what theories such as comparative advantage and diminishing returns propose - and achieved too little in terms of delivering returns for Singaporeans relative to foreigners and foreign firms.

'Singapore cannot be internationally competitive and a world leader in semiconductors, life sciences, healthcare, education, financial services, creative industries and casino tourism, all at the same time,' she says in her paper for the conference.

Speaking to BT, Prof Lim said: 'Of course you can make an argument for doing 10 sectors instead of three; you say diversify. But if we do all, everyone becomes uncompetitive; all face rising costs as they compete with each other for scarce land and talent.'

Outlining her alternative strategic vision, she says that the starting point is to take stock of 'what you have, including your geographic location'.

Then look for a strategy of differentiation: 'What do you have, what can you do that nobody else can do? You want to develop a blockbuster drug? Any number of places in the world can do it. You have to look at what is specific about you.

' Perhaps it may be that if we want to have financial services, then we cannot have life sciences, integrated resorts. You have to make a choice, you cannot have everything. You choose the thing you can do better than anybody else.'

And one indicator of a 'market advantage', she says, is whether a country needs to provide 'inducements, or investment incentives, otherwise known as subsidies' to attract talent.

'If people are naturally coming here, that's fine.'

And not least, 'let the private sector do it', she says, suggesting that capital and talent be released to local entrepreneurs, to be allocated according to market forces. When and if private enterprise fails, it will take only small parts, rather than big chunks, of the economy down with it, she argues.

Singapore is particularly well-placed for a whole cluster of economic activities 'from finance to forestry and fisheries', Prof Lim says.

'Where are we? We're next to the biggest forests in the world. Why not be a carbon finance centre? People are doing this in San Francisco! They are doing Indonesian . . . avoiding deforestation . . . out of San Francisco! Why can't we do it from here?

'Why do we want to be a second Boston or second London? We want to be a first Singapore. There are already second, third and fourth Singapores all over the world - people are copying our strategy.'

Singapore could also be a centre of expertise in creative fields such as traditional and modern Asian arts and culture. Already, Singapore is the best place in the world to do South-east Asian studies, Prof Lim says.

Economic growth here has focussed on quantitative targets, but it may be time to look at the qualitative aspects such as its 'purpose' and nature.

'I'm saying, look at net value creation for citizens. 'People for growth' - growth as an end in itself - is not the same as 'growth for people', growth as a means toward greater welfare for people.',4574,302734,00.html?


I seriously dun agree with her. I think one a many of you guys might be "duped" by her simply "make-sense" analysis but here we examined why her words cant be taken at that.

First, despite her superb resume of being the ,professor of strategy at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and director of its Center for South-east Asian Studies, bombastic isn't it?; we must take into account that she is a "Singaporean" whom had been living and looking at Singapore half a globe away (physics will tell you she can only see stars), for 4 DECADES. 



So how is she to judge when she didnt even live through the struggles and miracles of this little red dot called Singapore?

Being Singaporean doesnt make one an expert in Singapore's affairs.

She quoted saying that Singapore's current policies  are "going against what theories such as comparative advantage and diminishing returns propose" is inaccurate and simply a wild shot hoping that it could hit something.

If one were to predict Singapore will become a first class port, handling a huge percentage of cargo, boasting the World's Best and Most Valuable Airline, being the only country that have 0 slums, a financial center in the middle of turmoil-easy neighbours in the laid-back waters of South East Asia; any sane guy will tell you, you must be crazy.

Same for the current pursuit of the country. We are no longer the cheap and highly trained labours who manufacture goods and electronics efficiently; that role is now China's area of expertised. Singapore had transformed from a manufacturing nation to one which must depend heavily on service-centric businesses and acting as the safe-water for MNC to park their regional HQ as well as their funds; all together with what we already had been doing. 

To further our livelihood and survivability, we need explore into the tourist dollar, which had already shown to be a important contributor to our GDP; we must get a head start into new sectors like Life Science, Health Science R&D, Nano-Tech, as well as the ever bigger Electronic Gaming & Animation industry. All the just mentioned are new frontiers, and for a country as nimble and flexible, coupled with strong financial backing, we must not wait for these technologies to flourish THEN we get into it.

We cannot beat India and their army of IT experts and really smart ppl, nor the economic power of China with their limitless resource making them almost near god-like in their potential to become a powerhouse in nearly every industry you can imagine (think Baidu vs Google). So for Singapore to have an edge in the global stage, WE MUST engage into all these various sectors.

We cant make every Singaporean financial ppl nor, just concentrate on just 3 sectors like the writer mentioned; what about ppl like me who majored in Design? What I eat then? There are always ppl for every industry; foreign investment remains as important as ever, Singapore must not slow down an compromise. 

Like most PAP's decision, most of the time, they are going to be right.

I glad this Mdm Linda Lim still cares for "her country", but be realistic, we no need to be a 2nd Hong Kong. (HK is mainly a financial center, with service sector being the biggest GDP contributor, other than that, nothing.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama already heralded as President by press?

The amazing thing that I notice in the papers these few days (in Singapore) about the U.S Presidential Election, is that many of the editors/columnist had already started to herald Barack Obama as the next U.S President.

Its amazing how they fluidly and easely state Obama taking over George W Bush as the next US President, without even suggesting a single bit about Obama's adversary, and the fact that "their fact" has not even turned "fact" at all, as the U.S Election had just gone underway with the Early votings.

Not like how most opinion votes, snap polls, as well as the "iftheworldcouldvote" results shows; that Obama is leading by a hell lot, the voting so far still suggest that McCain still have the chance to fight back. (omg... i mentioned his name~ LOL!)

But not surprisingly, that the press are already ignoring McCain, when you look at how the world look at this election:

Barack Obama87.1% (378,136 votes)
John McCain12.9% (56,029 votes)
Total number of votes:434,166
Countries voted from:200
As of time of post.

Such is the margin that Obama is proved that is charisma had not just penetrated in the American ppl, but as well as all the people around the world.

Even the police forces in U.S had been on alert for this election in fear of riots outbreak on the event of a shock McCain win:  You need to note this, even the police acknowledge that Obama is really way ahead in the popular opinion.

Lets hope nothing goes awry...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Republicans? OMG...

I am seriously doubtful about who would vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin into the top job in United States, possibly the most important job in the entire world...

And just when I was comtemplating for like 2 weeks on how am i going to "condemn" them on Majulah! , i saw this today:

John McCain 'endorsed by al-Qaeda supporters'

Supporters of al-Qaeda have said they would prefer Republican candidate John McCain to win the US election because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John McCain supported by his wife Cindy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania: Supporters of al-Qaeda have said they would prefer the Republican candidate to win the US election because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senator McCain supported by his wife Cindy in Bensalem, Pennsylvania Photo: AP

In a message broadcast on the password-protected al-Hesbah site, the group said they would also welcome a pre-election terror attack on the US because that would make a McCain win more likely.

In an endorsement that will not be welcomed by Mr McCain's flagging campaign, the group said that if al-Qaeda wants to exhaust the USmilitarily and economically, the "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate is the better choice.

"This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said.

"Then, al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."

"If al-Qaeda carries out a big operation against American interests," it said, "this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it."

Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, had no immediate comment.

The message is credited to a frequent and apparently respected contributor named Muhammad Haafid. However, Haafid is not believed to have a direct affiliation with al-Qaeda plans or knowledge of its operations.

So its kindda... wtf...

What those this show? Even Al Qaeda believes that John McCain is more less the same type of "Enemy" as George W Bush.

John McCain for the past week had been reduced to simply using negative tactics to smear Obama's name, rather than putting up a head to head fight to see who can come up with a grand plan to save America and save the World from further degradation...

Reminiscenes of our own Opposition party of the past which went firebranding into battle against the PAP. Which of course, any "smearing" is dealt with in the most "appropriate" manner. But of course, United States do not have such stuff.... Imagine Obama sueing McCain for compensation for damages of reputation...  = \

The funny thing is that, Sarah Palin, herself, condemned the smear tactic deployed by John McCain; what an Ally he got there.

The best part about Sarah Palin also appeared in the papers today:

Republicans spent more than $150,000 on Sarah Palin's clothes

The Republicans have spent more than $150,000 (£92,000) on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family since she was chosen as the vice-presidential candidate in August.

1 of 3 Images
Sarah Palin - Republicans spent more than $150,000 on Sarah Palin's clothes
Sarah Palin's bills for campaign accessories include a $75,000 shopping trip Photo: AP

Questions over the legality of Mrs Palin's wardrobe bill – paid for out of campaign donations – prompted her spokesman yesterday to say that the clothes would not be kept but donated to charity.

According to financial records obtained by, a US politics website, the fashion spending spree started in early September.

The spending on so-called "campaign accessories" included bills from the fashion chain Saks Fifth Avenue in St Louis and New York that came to a total of $49,425.

There were also a couple of hefty splurges at another expensive fashion store, Neiman Marcus, in Minneapolis, including one worth more than $75,000.

The Republican National Committee also spent $44,716 on Mrs Palin's hair and make-up in September after reporting no such costs in August.

The rest of the Palin family made do on rather less. Around $295 was spent at Pacifier, an upmarket baby store, and just under $5,000 at Atelier, an expensive men's clothes shop.

The legality of such expenditure was questioned by campaign finance experts who cited the Federal Election Commission's opposition to campaign money being used to buy items for personal use.

Federal campaign finance law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use, which it defines as any expense "that would exist irrespective of the candidate's campaign or duties as a federal officeholder".

After initially refusing to discuss the spending, the McCain campaign issued a new statement as criticism mounted.

"With all the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said a McCain spokesman.

"It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

Tax experts said Mrs Palin will be liable to tax on the clothes, even if she eventually gives them away.

Excessive primping and preening by presidential candidates is fraught with risk. John Edwards was lambasted over his $400 hair cuts in 2007 as was John McCain over his $520 Ferragamo shoes.

In 2006, Hillary Clinton was teased after she spent $3,000 for two sessions at the hairdressers.

I am speechless about the extend of how messed up the Republicans made of themselves and the Presidential Campaign.

God bless America. = P

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Response towards the Open Letter


30 September 2008

Dear Prime Minister & Cabinet Members

By all accounts, we have lost a figure of uncommon strength and conviction in Mr JB Jeyaretnam.

No matter which side of the political fence we stand, it is undeniable that Mr JBJ, as he will be fondly remembered, has fought long and hard for what he believed was good for Singapore and, good for Singaporeans.

Mr JBJ did all he could with all he could. In staying the course, he has undoubtedly performed a public duty as a citizen of Singapore and, amply demonstrated the public spirit, the commitment to country and, the "nation before self" maxim that the government has sought to propagate.

As Singaporeans we are proud that such a man as Mr JBJ walked among us. We appreciate the sacrifices Mr JBJ has made for his beliefs in serving the people of Singapore . We are equally proud that the government, in spite of its political differences, has acknowledged the same resilience and service to nation in Mr JBJ.

Mr JBJ is an icon - an individual who stood up to serve the country and who stood tall for his beliefs and principles. As citizens of Singapore , we hope that Mr JBJ's public spiritedness and love of the law can be preserved in the following manner:

1) a professorial chair in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam be created in the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore and,

2) A scholarship fund in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam for graduate studies in political science and/or constitutional law and/or civil society studies.

We also humbly ask the government to further demonstrate its commitment to public spiritedness and active citizenry by taking the lead to provide the seed fund for the above honours for others to follow.

We look forward to your encouragement as we mourn the loss of one of Singapore's better sons.
The above is the open letter sent by some JBJ supporters.

Point to note is their request for a professorial chair in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam be created in the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore and, a scholarship fund in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam for graduate studies in political science and/or constitutional law and/or civil society studies.

In a way, i feel that its quite appropriate for such request to be fulfilled, as JBJ will remain in history as the legendary man who broke that Opposition's duck as well as being infamously passionate towards his course. Not to forget his big heart towards the ppl who needed help. His strive in the political circle (one though fiery but constructive) marks that he deserve to serve as a role model for the younger generation of Singaporeans, especially the political science students, as to what is Patriotism and Loyalty to Country is all about.

I applause what the open letter sought to achieve. But I am kindda skeptical if PAP or the Lee family would cede to such a request. It seems that this could be especially difficult given the personal rivalry between JBJ and MM Lee... 

But if PAP do cede to this 2 request, I think Singaporeans will truely respect the magnanimousness that the government would display. 

I think a person like JBJ's calibre and legacy in the non-PAP world do deserve that is proposed. I applause the person who seed this idea as well. =}

This request is actually beyond my expectation. It probably marks a more civilised approach from the non-PAP side of Singapore. A memorial in which is, in my opinion, acceptable, not too flamboyant, and totally within "reach" and nearly doesnt cost anything. Totally "un-opposition-like", given how oppositions tendency to ask for the impossible, this is a markly different approach.

Hopefully in the future, the Oppositions can be more constructive as the above request; one in which ppl can respect and not find it wanting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

End of an Era: Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam

YESTERDAY, 30 Sep 2008 marks the end of an era, as Singapore lost one of the most legendary opposition leader in Singapore history: Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam.

Despite I cannot agree on many of his manifesto and political beliefs, but no doubt, have my utmost respect for his fiery determination to fight for the rights of fellow Singaporeans. 

His legacy of his Anson by-election victory, the first man to break PAP's monopoly; his Chengsan GRC that gripped the nation at the edge of their seats where they were so close to winning Opposition's first ever GRC. Not to forget his countless barring from elections, how he is sued for defamation till bankruptcy, his amazing victory in court thru the Privy Council that stunned both PAP and the nation, his struggle of selling his books at various places in Singapore, his presence/influence in the most recent election, his forming of the Reform Party, as well as the challenging the Prime Minister to held a by-election this year, which the court session will be one that he will never be able to stand for. 

With his passing, it probably marks the end of the era of fire-brand opposition politicians, that had made my childhood's political scene so interesting. With the Mr Chee totally crippled as a politician (almost everyone I spoke to, many of them taxi drivers, condemned him), the days where Opposition leaders launches into frenzy screaming and shouting is probably over.

I hereby pay my respect to this man, whose dedication to the People of Singapore is unequal among the men of so few against so many.

Rest in Peace.

related links:
His personal blog :
Mr Impossible of S'pore Politics -
What PM and SM told JBJ's sons -
JBJ's death caught many by surprise -
Remembering Mr J B Jeyaretnam -

additional links added at 012230h Oct 08: