Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Depositors have no say in banks' business activities

Aug 10 2016

I am surprised by Mr Christopher Tang Wai Leng's view that DBS Bank owes depositors an explanation for its loan losses ("DBS must explain Swiber debacle"; last Saturday).

Yes, in classic banking theory, banks lend out their customers' deposits, so if there is a big loan loss, a bank could fold and it is possible that customers won't be able to get their deposits back. However, this theory is long out of date.

A bank is a corporate entity separate from its customers (both depositors and borrowers).

As long as customers can get their deposits back with the agreed interest, which is still the case with DBS, depositors have no say in the business activities of the bank.

Banks have capital, profits and reserves, their own borrowing ability, and even a possible government bailout, with which to first fund losses (well before getting to deposits).

If anyone, it is the bank's shareholders who deserve, or have a right to ask for, an explanation, certainly not its depositors or other customers.

Gerard de Vaz

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Create fun TV programmes to educate public on how to recycle


JUNE 9, 2016

It is a bad idea to make residents “pay as you throw” in order to reduce waste (“Pay as you throw among ideas to cut down waste in Singapore”; June 4).

First, it would raise the high cost of living and send stress levels here even higher. That surely cannot be a good thing.

Second, littering is already a problem in Singapore. If we have to pay as we throw, unclaimed and anonymous rubbish would probably be more prevalent.

A more effective and meaningful way to encourage recycling and to cut waste here is to educate the public and create awareness of this subject through interesting programmes on Channels 5 and 8 during prime time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Singlish must not be allowed to displace Standard English

MAY 25, 2016

I agree that the Government cannot afford to ease up on its strict stance on Singlish ("PM's press secretary rebuts NYT op-ed on Singlish"; yesterday).

Singlish has indeed taken on a life of its own, and has flourished as a vernacular with a distinctly Singaporean heritage. We use and flaunt it like a badge of national pride.

While poet and literary critic Gwee Li Sui, in his opinion piece on Singlish published in the International New York Times, said that even politicians and officials use Singlish, I believe most do so with an awareness of the specific context and register that Singlish should be used in.

It is often used to establish an instant rapport with the audience, as it transcends barriers of race and social class.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Does ethical consumption have to cost so much?

[This was not a forum page letter. But it is silly enough to get my dander up. So here it is and here I go.]



MAY 13, 2016

Eat organic food. Drive an electric car, not a gas-guzzler. Buy clothes made by fairly paid workers: Such calls have grown louder and more frequent in recent years.

While responsible consumption advocates mean well, they often overlook the fact that not everyone can afford these sustainable goods, which are usually more expensive than mass-market products.

The poor are being priced out of sustainable and ethical consumer options, and this is wrong for many reasons.
[But not as wrong as your inability to see that arguing for the right of the poor to drive electric cars instead of gas guzzlers, presumably to reduce carbon emission, in order to save the planet, is the WRONG solution to saving the planet. We should move towards aggregated transport, i.e. public transport. But a great start to a blinkered, ill-informed, unthinking essay.]

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Recast the S’porean identity based on inclusivity, fairness — not materialism

[I clip and pasted this article to this blog because I thought it was a reader's letter. Only at the end, did I realise that it was supposed to be a commentary or opinion piece. But seriously, I found the quality of thought to be no better than some forum letters. And the verbosity hinted at some insecurities or immaturity.

Maybe I am being too harsh... NAAAAHHHH! 

Or, rather, why don't you decide. I found his writing rather pompous.]

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Want more babies? Help families afford cars

[This was not a forum letter. But it might as well have been. It is not an original blackmail point. Many car-loving would-be parents have written in before threatening to withhold their sperm or eggs unless they get a car. 

The tactic is so transparent. Let's see how this one does.]

Ezra Ho

April 27 2016

Last month, officials from the National Population and Talent Division, led by Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo, went on study trips to Denmark and South Korea to understand how these countries dealt with their falling fertility rates.

The consensus is that we need a holistic approach that cultivates a more family-friendly society. Raising the fertility rate would require an equalising of the demands of childcare by enhancing paternity leave, promoting a more supportive work culture, providing adequate infantcare and fostering a shift in societal attitudes.

So here is a crazy idea to add to the mix: help families afford cars.

[If this is a crazy idea, there are lots of crazy people in Singapore. If there are enough of them, they are no longer crazy. Just a vocal minority.]

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good to sound alarm on terror attacks, but guard against self-fulfilling prophecies

Haj Mohamed

March 30, 2016

I acknowledge why the Home Affairs Minister sounded a note of caution in the report “Attack on Singapore a matter of when, not if, says Shanmugam” (March 24). However, Singapore is not Britain, France or Brussels.

Britain’s Muslim population comprises immigrants from Asia and Middle East, whose cultures contradict its own. Singapore has an indigenous Muslim population who have deep roots here and have been practising their culture with ease. France, the most secular of countries, allows the mocking of religions. Singapore’s Government, though secular, has thoughtful legislators who are against this.