Supporters cheered when Mr Mah woke from a long slumber

Mah Bow Tan: I retired after wife urged me to sleep at home instead

Former minister for national development Mah Bow Tan has revealed in an interview that he had retired from politics after his wife had urged him to sleep at home instead, and not because he was caught doing so on the job as widely believed. Two years after stepping down from his post, the MP for Tampinese GRC said he had left office with no complaints or regrets. When he retired after the 2011 General Election, there was widespread surprise that he had actually been around for the preceding decade. Many were under the impression he had retired in 1999, when…

Irrelevant picture but that's what papers put when they talk about jobs

Fair Consideration Framework: Good for now

The Fair Consideration Framework is a good new development, even if it’s another example of the government playing catch-up on a problem Singaporeans have been facing for years. While it is true that errant companies can still get around the rules quite easily, it is still better than nothing. We will see how it goes. Anyway, more stringent checks can always be added later if necessary. In case you haven’t realised, this government doesn’t do major revamps. It prefers timid little steps because everything is about not upsetting investor confidence. Just look at how many rounds of property cooling measures…

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Rise of shadow industries in Singapore

One of the main worries over a slowing Chinese economy is the proliferation of its shadow banking industry, where non-bank lenders such as hedge funds and special investment vehicles grant loans to companies without regulatory oversight. It is feared that hidden debt levels and unrestrained risk taking may trigger a far-reaching crisis in a severe slowdown. In Singapore, two forms of unregulated shadow industries are thriving as well, one also related to alternative lending and the other of a very different kind. And we saw these past two weeks how both government action and inaction could fuel their growth further….

Sumiko has a crush

Embrace your candy crush, Sumiko

Dear Sumiko, I feel you. I really do. I read with interest your latest column on your addiction with the game Candy Crush Saga. Having started on the game myself, just a month before you (this April), I thought I might share some views here. Because like you, I have been spending many hours on this game; and I am still going strong. Like any self-respecting addict, however, I do not think I am addicted to the game at all. No, seriously. In fact, if I could offer you a piece of advice, it will be: Don’t fight it. Embrace…

This is not cool

How multiple-car ownership COE surcharge could work

Over 70% of people polled by the Land Transport Authority are in favour of imposing a surcharge on multiple-car ownership. The LTA itself was open to the idea, and specifically invited suggestions for this in the public consultation. It was only the difficulty of implementation that deterred it from doing so. As The Straits Times reported, experts agreed that there is no easy way. Personally, I belong to the 30% who are not keen on the idea. Not because I own multiple cars or intend to, but because it means imposing more rules to fix a COE system that is…

Hold or fold?

Relying on rental income for retirement

A perennial question some Singaporeans have is why HDB owners are allowed to hold on to their HDB flats after upgrading to private properties, but private property owners are not allowed to hold on to their private properties should they buy a HDB flat. Not fair, cries the latter group, while others say the first group shouldn’t even be allowed to do so to begin with. In an interesting reply to The Straits Times Forum a few weeks back, HDB clarified that the rules are actually very consistent. This was their explanation, which I had to reread a few times to…

Our in-house ghost writer

One year on

Oh wow, what do you know, this blog turned one this week. So I guess it’s time to reflect and review, no? I do wonder all this time how long I can sustain my interest in keeping this up. So far so good. Maintaining a blog like this takes a higher level of commitment than one would imagine, especially while holding down a very full time day job like I do. I haven’t done too badly, thank you very much, with about 120 posts over the year and never longer than two weeks between posts. Taking out the comic posts…

All quiet on the Changi eastern front

All quiet on the Changi eastern front

When plans for the Cross Island Line were announced earlier this year, environmentalists — being environmentalists — went up in arms over a track alignment that looks like it will cut through under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The Nature Society was quick to register its concerns, and a few months later put out a paper to propose an alternative route that cuts around the reserve, not through it. There was also a protest at Hong Lim Park where an “eco-artist” and her supporters warned of the environmental impact. And all this before the Land Transport Authority has even decided…