Archive for the 'Singapore' Category

Dec 18 2013

Not quite the Christmas present he wanted back at the begining of the year…….

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It was brought by a jolly fat man all right-but it turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving. Don't bend over to pick up the soap:

SAN DIEGO — The first conviction in a massive bribery scandal that has ensnared six U.S. Navy officials could lead to an expanded probe if a senior Navy criminal investigator who pleaded guilty cooperates with authorities as part of his plea agreement.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent John Beliveau II entered a guilty plea Tuesday in federal court in San Diego to bribery charges stemming from the multimillion-dollar fraud probe targeting a Malaysian defense contractor.

Beliveau, who faces a maximum sentence of 20 years when he’s sentenced March 7, said he is sorry for what he’s done.

“I’m here to do the right thing, and that’s what I did today,” Beliveau, 44, said after the hearing.

His attorney, Gretchen von Helms, declined to say whether her client would now assist the investigation, saying only he is “ready to prove he is honorable.”

That noise you hear is the sweating of yet to be indicted conspirators, me thinks.

So much for the Hoe, Hoe, Hoe this year! ;-)

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Sep 18 2013

Another good deal gone fleeting……

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For those that do not know, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., has long had a "lock" on the business of providing husbanding services to Navy ships in Asia. It's quite a lucrative business and is also known as a good deal for retiring supply officers who might want to stay in Asia. 

Or at least it was until yesterday:

SAN DIEGO — A Navy commander, a Naval criminal investigator and a defense contractor have been charged with conspiracy in a bribery scheme to gain millions in international port contracts, federal prosecutors said.

Leonard Francis was arrested this week in San Diego, Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz was arrested in Colorado, and NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau II was arrested in Virginia, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday night. Each faces up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery.

An email seeking comment from an NCIS spokesman wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday evening.

Francis, a Malaysian national who lives in Singapore, is the president and CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., which has had “husbanding” contracts for Navy ships at ports worldwide for 25 years. The contracts — one of which was worth up to $125 million — involve providing services for ships and submarines in port, such as providing tugboats, security and transportation, paying customs fees, supplying food, fuel and water, and removing trash.

Prosecutors contend that Francis conspired to bribe the other men with luxury travel, prostitutes and gifts in exchange for information that allowed him to overcharge on port contracts by millions of dollars.

Could this be a potential business or job opportunity for mois?cool

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Oct 11 2012

Just don’t throw the crumbs on the street.

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Otherwise you might end up getting caned.

SINGAPORE: Doughnut lovers in Singapore will soon no longer have to bring home boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts whenever they return from overseas.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corporation on Thursday announced that it has signed an agreement with Star360 Group to bring its doughnut shops to Singapore.

Under the agreement, 15 Krispy Kreme franchise locations will be set up in Singapore over the next five years.

 


One more reason to cry myself to sleep tonight, thinking about the walk up the non moving escalator. When they opened a Krispy Kreme in Shinjuku, the place had huge lines at all times of the day. I wonder if Singapore will have the same. In Hong Kong they used to have one in Soho-but it never really took off. ( It was just down the street from McSorley's-one of my lunchtime haunts in HK).

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Mar 30 2010

Rendering unto Caesar….

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The homage that he demands-in Singapore that it is. Lee Kwan Yew shows again why he and his family rank among the tyrants:

In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune’s op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained his position through nepotism practiced by his father Lee Kuan Yew. In a February 15, 2010, article, Mr. Bowring nonetheless included these two men in a list of Asian political dynasties, which may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended. We apologize to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong for any distress or embarrassment caused by any breach of the undertaking and the article.

The fact that it is true-neither man would have their positions save for the fact that they are related to the puppet master himself-would appear to have nothing to do with the issue.

No one should be suprised that the long arm of LKY reaches even into the United States. Nonetheless it is dissapointing-one might have hoped the NYT would have more of a backbone. Then again-the Lee family controls the courts in Singapore, and they are well known for suing the bejesus out of any one who dares to critcize their one party dictatorship state. 

Is there any question whatsoever that Singapore, despite having had elections for decades, is authoritarian by Western standards?  Or that nepotism and other forms of personal loyalty plays a stronger role in Singapore than in true representative democracies?  Or that Lee Kuan Yew played and continues to play an outsized role in Singapore and People’s Action Party politics?

 

No surprise whatsoever. Look at J.B. Jeyaretnam and what he went through. I suspect that just like with JB, this issue with the Times was personal to LKY-everything is to him. And the Times knew that if they wanted to operate in Singapore-they were going to have to grovel. It is the devil’s bargain that LKY made with the sheep people of Singapore a long time ago. Nice place to live-no freedom of speech or the press. The only real surprise is the kid glove treatment they get from the rest of the world. Money talks.

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May 02 2009

Why I watch Bloomberg TV…..

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Because its the only glimpse of Singapore I’m going to get any time soon. Its the same reason I watch CNBC when it covers Asian Markets.

It’s also a chance to see this fine little slice of tuna:

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Feb 19 2009

The last person Obama needs advice from…….

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The March Forbes Magazine ( my Dad gave me a subscription this year) has an article giving advice to the new president from Lee Kwan Yew. For those who do not know he was the Prime Minister of Singapore and is now the Minister Mentor-which is Singaporean for, ” the man behind the curtain pulling the strings”.

I found it interesting that LKY would have anything to say to Obama at all. After all, he is the father of a dictatorship one party state, that persecutes and drives opposition into the dirt. I mean what advice can he give that is relevant to America’s problems?

Maybe things like:

1) Pay your serving class nothing. After all it worked in Singapore, as E @ L noted, “Such a practice has kept Singapore the clean, well-lighted golf-course that is is. Pay the maids and the building laborers and accountants and clerical staff and radiographers absolute SHIT money!”

2) Resist open discussion. Write your laws such that newspapers, bloggers, and other malcontents can be prosecuted and bankrupted at the whim of the party in power.

3) Make sure the Chinese are allowed to make lots of  money.

Actually, that last bullet is what the good MM’s point really is. ( He did not say the first two-except by his actions both in and out of office).  After eight paragraphs of fluff about not leaving Iraq ( Like Singapore ever made a great contribution there), Israel and Palestine-he comes to his real point:

After a short period, though, both China and India will resume their spectacular growth. With their huge populations spread over two subcontinents, these two giants can prime their economies and grow through their domestic markets. They will become heavyweight actors on the world stage. Though they will not displace the U.S. as the preeminent world power, the U.S. will no longer be able to take their views and interests for granted, as it has in the past.

My dear Mr. Yew, this good for America how?

But that is not LKY’s real point now is it? It is good for the Chinese and so by extension it must be good for those who launder their money do their banking.

I love the city state of Singapore dearly, and this little diatribe is probably not helping my chances for a work visa. However unless Obama is ready to adopt a policy of trying to marginalize 40% of his population-LKY is the last man anyone should seek advice from.

Maybe the US should start a Gweilo stimulus plan for Singapore………………. and thus give guys like me work.

Till that happens-mind your own business Mister Mentor.

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Jan 19 2008

Lion City

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After a long ordeal with airports and airlines-arrived here in one piece. Spending a few days here then off to Korea for the next to the last time.

I suspect this is something of a farewell tour to a city that I dearly love. And more importantly-farewell to a dream. Try as I might to find interest in the part of employers here-so far nothing rears its head. That and a combination of other factors are making me realize that, as is the case so often in the world-life is not always fair. And dreams fail to come true for a lot of people.

Hope persists-but it is clear that I will have to-at some point-accept defeat and go where I can manage better financially. Choices have a way of rising up and engulfing you it seems. Maybe with some changes in circumstances I can manage a life here-but right now its not looking in the cards. Which makes me rather sad to say the least.

However for today-I’ll just enjoy the day. See the sights and stroll down memory lane.

And, like Scarlett, I’ll worry about other things another day. 

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Oct 10 2007

Minister Mentor Putin?

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I’m sure E @ L would agree:

Putin positions himself as Russia’s Lee Kuan Yew-One hears much about the “death of democracy” in Russia these days, especially as current President Vladimir Putin muses openly about slipping into the office of prime minister to sidestep constitutional term limits. As a former Sovietologist with a degree in Russian literature, I find this story line all too familiar. But rest assured, I likewise see America’s Cold War victory remaining secure.Russia enjoyed no real democracy in the 1990s, instead suffering an economic chaos that left society prey to all manner of gangsters. Not surprisingly, average Russians craved a return to order, which finally arrived in the political ascendancy of Putin’s “siloviki,” or “power guys,” who spent their formative years working for the KGB.

During its final years, the dysfunctional Soviet system muddled along thanks primarily to those who operated “on the left” (na levo), or in the black markets, and those who operated “on the right” (na pravo), or in the security services. The former kept the decrepit economy from collapsing; the latter kept the decrepit regime from collapsing.

Democracy is not on Singapore’s menu-stability and the advancement of Chinese Singaporeans is. At least now we know where the good Vladimir learned it. (Or did MM Lee really spend time in the KGB?).

Read more here and here.

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Sep 30 2007

Quotable

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From E @ L :

Condemn Myanmar Junta – Sooner or later Myanmar will become a democracy. Sooner or later its military leaders will have to give way to an elected government.

Substitute ‘Singapore’ for ‘Myanmar’, ‘business’ for ‘military’ and you have the situation here[Singapore].

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Nov 06 2006

It is all a blur……..

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Or at least it seems that way sometimes.

The last 48 hours have been rather interesting to say the least. Let’s see, where to begin?

Saddam got the death penalty. There is a big surprise. What is probably the bigger issue is how long it took to get to that foregone conclusion. That in a way is a good analogy for the whole American adventure in Iraq. Something that takes way too long to get accomplished. Now the case goes to appeal which could last equally as long. People will crow about how it is justice served. That may be true, but it hardly represents a watershed for the Iraqi government. Normal nations don’t have death squads walking around Sadr city working for some bonehead cleric. From an Iraqi standpoint however it will probably be a catharsis. From an American stanpoint, our objective was accomplished back in 2003.

Meanwhile back here on the small island I learned a few things. Lesson 1)-don’t drink a lot of beer while watching rugby. That’s right, Singapore had its sevens this weekend. Silly me, I thought it would be a big thing like I had always imagined the Hong Kong sevens. So I was very surpised when I went to the matches on Saturday and discovered it was not national teams playing it was clubs. One of the games I watched was between Papua New Guinea and a Japanese club. The Japanese guys got crushed. But the beer was cold.

Back to the hotel after dinner, where I promptly fell asleep for a good 3 hours. Finally got myself up, cleaned up and out the door again to Chijmes. Opened the door to Father Flanigans only to find the place full of folks in costumes. Funny I did not see a sign saying there was a private party. I went back out the door to check. No sign. Back in, buy a beer and settle down to watch the festivities. Turns out it was the party of the Gaelic association of Singapore. They were having a charity auction and had a projector showing slides of the Gaelic games in Shanghai. I was more interested in the really cute girl in the Red Dress talking to her Australian friend dressed up as Wonder Woman. No luck though and finally had to move on.

Up to Insomnia and a few more beers. Place was packed. Finally at about 1 am I realized I needed to go home. Which I did. Did not even jump in the gene pool for a swim

Sunday was a struggle to get up. However I did finally get moving a headed on up to Kranji and went to the War Memorial there. Its really something to see. Very sobering to say the least.

On to work tomorrow!

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Nov 04 2006

Out and about………

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Went around the city yesterday. Suprisingly for me, I covered a lot of ground. Out to Bugis and had some lunch checking my hawker center chicken rice x in the block. Walked back past Raffles after having been over to Arab Street. It was mid-day and the call to prayer was sounding out from the mosque. Sounded to me like a cat having its tail pulled. Looked at rugs and scarves-I’ll need to go back so I get one for the S.O.

The papers here are talking about the opening of Parliment here. Interesting make up if read it right. 82 of 84 seats are held by the Peoples Action Party. For what appears to be a robust population that is suprising to me. It shouldn’t though. Especially when you consider that Lee Kuan Yew is still showing up in the government-despite the fact he has not been the Prime Minister for 16 years.

It made me wonder. This is not really a democracy and the people here are smart. Why don’t they complain about it more? The simple answer is that the population is living well and really is more concerned about day to day life. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think what you find is that the government here ensures that there is conformity. They have sued and jailed some of their opponents. Did you know that? Its true.

What I think is really the case is that as long as Lee Kwaun Yew is around, Singapore will do what he says. I read in the paper today his ideas about governing. It sounds good till you get to the meat of it, namely doing what is right for the majority. Which is Chinese like he is.

It seems to me that LKY’s attitude does the citizens if Singapore a huge disservice. He presumes to tell them what they want. Could you imagine if his son the Prime Minister was facing a revolt in Parliment? Except thanks to the way they have arranged that, it cannot happen. Geroge Bush would love this place…………

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Nov 03 2006

Greetings from the Lion City!

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Got into Singapore about 11:45 last night. Unlike Japan I was in the hotel by 12:30………..Why can’t Narita get immigration and luggage right like they do at Changi.

Just got done eating breakfast and reading the Straits Times. Can’t be all bad when you can start the day doing that!

Now its off to walk off last nights beer down in the Bugis area.

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Feb 27 2006

Quick post from heaven……..

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Just a short note to say how nice it is to be back here in Singapore again. I think I am finally warm for the first time in about 9 weeks. Did work this morning, bought the S.O. the camera I should have bought in December, (she’s still pissed I arranged this side trip on my way out to hell Bahrain) . However it is good for me. I still can’t shake this sense of foreboding I have had for about 2 weeks. Here it translates into “Wonder if I will be able to make back here again? “. Only time will tell on that score and at this point there is really nothing I can do about it either way.

Went to Dubliners and to Brix, pretty good crowd for a Sunday. Good Salsa band playing too. Lots of women in the bar. With Top Ten being closed I wonder if Brix has become “the upscale hangout”. Only problem with Brix is that the beer is too expensive. Had a night cap at the little bar I like on Orchard and found my home in good time (and alone……).

Air con feels good, but I need to leave this little internet cafe ( Chills Cafe at Stamford place) and head back out into the heat. Which actually feels good…….

More later…ja ne.

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Dec 11 2005

Things that make you go HMMMM!

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I am being a lazy slug today. I should be out and about, but for some reason I just don’t feel like it. So I sat in Starbucks and read the Straits Times from back to front. If they printed as much news as they did advertisements it would be a good newspaper. I used to get it via e-mail then they had the effrontry to start charging for it…….GRRR!

Anyway……..

They have a two page series of articles about Australia’s drug problem. This came the day after a large arrest of foreigners involved in drugs. After the row between the two countries over the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van this month , it makes wonder if there is more than journalist curiosity at work here.

Its not the series, its the way it is presented. ” Haven for Druggies and taxpayers pay for it. They can shoot heroin here, needles provided” You are then directed into the paper to read about it. It also takes you to a letter from an Austrailian telling the Prime Minister of Singapore that Singapores drug penalties are right on the mark.

I know papers have to attract readers, but this smacks of a campaign to show something else. Obviously one is supposed to draw the conclusion that Singapore is better off than Australia…….

Makes you go hmm…….who is driving the bus on these stories, the paper or someone else?

You can see the article at the Straits Times web site, but you have to have a password.

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Dec 10 2005

Interesting day

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Good day yesterday, but I really did not do a lot. Started out shopping on Orchard road. Was on track and doing well, but then I came to the Borders books at Wheelock place. That was it, the shopping train went off the tracks at that point. Spent just about an hour and came out S$100 dollars poorer. Ah but oh the things they have to see!

Bought some presents for the S.O.

Looked at DVD’s.

Stumbled upon this month’s edition of the Atlantic Monthly. Read this issue if you get the chance. They have a pretty good article by James Fallows about why Iraq still does not have an Army and how long it will be to get one. Bottom line up front: we will be stuck there for years, if we mean what we say. A great quote from the article:

“US trainers have made a heroic effort”, Ahmed Hashim, an expert at the Naval War Colleg, explains. ” But the Iraqi Security Forces are almost like a black hole. You put a lot in and little comes back out”.

Great, that’s a positive outlook. However the article is pretty good in my opinion. The magazine also has some articles about religion including one called, ” Is God an accident?” by Paul Bloom.

As you can probably guess I soon ended up at The Scotsman, a little bar I like here, drinking Tiger Beer and reading.

Oh well, at least it is time away………..

I also read Rumsfeld’s speech about how the war is being misreported. Lets just say , I think he missed the point. I for one think the media is actually doing a good job of staying on point. Namely what does this conflict do to benefit the United States. Not Iraq, but the US. Those are two different things.

Some other observations:

Am I the only person who appreciates the irony of the fact that the Thai embassy is next to Orchard Towers?

And Chijmes still rocks!

Got to run and pick up some more stuff.

Oh yes, I also had a first last night. I snored so loud I woke myself up. Hmmm…….

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