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Lawyer Khush Chopra Wary About The Public Gallery Seats Given Out During Leong Sze Hian's Defamation Suit

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Prominent lawyer and Peoples Voice Party (PVP) chief Lim Tean will be at the Supreme Court today to defend blogger Leong Sze Hian against a defamation suit filed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The open Court hearing will be taking place from 6 Oct to 9 Oct 2020.

Lim Tean shared that he alone will be up against 5 lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers LLC. He will also be cross-examining Lee Hsien Loong today and Wednesday (7 Oct).

Due to the Covid19 safe distancing measures, the Court only released 20 seats in the public gallery for this 10AM open hearing. According to news reports, all tickets for this open Court hearing were snapped up by 7AM this morning.

This revelation caused lawyer Khush Chopra to comment "I wonder who knew the unusually early time that queue numbers would be issued and that only 20 seats in the public gallery would be available. I’m not sure you can say that this trial is being conducted in open court that anyone is allowed to attend in these circumstances."

Why were tickets for a 10AM hearing issued three hours ahead of time? Who were these 20 people who were so "enthusiastic" to arrive at the Court so early? Very peculiar indeed.

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SPH Censored Comments About Business Times Subscription Being A Bad Deal

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Hi All Singapore Stuff,

SPH has been strongly advertising their Business Times News Tablet bundle on Facebook. The deal offers subscribers access to the Business Times via their exlcusive SPHtab e-paper app which is pre-installed onto a Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite (tablet). Subscribers can sign up for this deal at S$39.90 per month for 30 months.

However if anyone tries to point out that the deal is really a bad deal, that person is quickly blocked, and his comment deleted. I tried adding such a comment to their post and was blocked within 5 minutes. 

My comment:

$39.90 for 30 months = $1200, but

Single digital subscription for 30 months = $300 (http:// btsub.sg/ btp99)

Retail price of tablet = $650 (prices vary according to your trusted online electronics dealer)

So this means subscribers will actually be paying $900 (based on $1200 - $300) to get a $650 tablet, and get locked in for 30 months? Does this look like a good deal?

 

Jason

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GrabMart Rider Makes Seven Trips For Large $500 Order, Discovers Maximum Compensation Is $8

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A GrabMart delivery rider recently received a $495 grocery order, and he estimated he will need more than a couple of trips to complete the delivery. As a precaution, he called in Grab support to inform them of this super large order which may take more than one delivery. He also asked the support team if he will be compensated based on the number of trips, if not he may consider cancelling the delivery.

However, the support team allegedly avoided his question about fair compensation and simply instructed him to proceed with the delivery as he will be compensated. When he tried to clarify the exact amount he will be compensated, Grab support reassured him with a non-answer.

As the GrabMart rider had been given a "go ahead", he decided to take this delivery as a challenge. It eventually took him a total of 7 trips to complete this one heavy order.

However this turned out to be a bad decision as he found out later that GrabMart only offers a maximum compensation capped at $8. When he reached out to support to appeal his case, the team could only apologise as their policy only allows this $8 maximum limit.

To make matters worse, the GrabMart rider used a good 1.5 hours during evening peak hours to make his 7 trips. He could have used this same time to receive and complete even more orders, potentially earning more than his $8 compensation.

The GrabMart delivery rider felt it was an unfair system as delivery charges are capped regardless of how much a customer has ordered. The ones who get the short end of the stick are the Grab riders. He hopes to share his story so that other riders do not get caught unaware.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/100000706032067/posts/3690602410973257/

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87 Just Thai Restaurant Customer Felt Humiliated After Giving Feedback

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A customer of 87 Just Thai restaurants shared his unpleasant experience with one of the staff member. This incident happened after the customer left a 1 star rating on their Google page.

The story begun when the customer and his wife ordered some takeaway from the restaurant last week. The order came up to be $35 and the customer initially paid the cashier three $10 notes and three $2 notes ($36).

While waiting for his food, the customer realised he had another $10 note. So the customer returned to the restaurant counter and asked if they can return his small change (three $2 notes) and pay with his fourth $10 note instead. His request to change notes happened less than a minute after he made the initial payment.

However the staff manning the cash register refused and explained the $2 notes cannot be returned as the restaurant was also running out of small change. The customer felt the cashier could have handled the situation better, and so he left a 1 star review on their Google page.

Another restaurant staff member apparently saw this Google review and privately messaged the customer for feedback. After this customer recounted the above incident over the small change, this staff member took offence with the cashier being likened to an "idiot".

The staff member proceeded to question the customer's upbringing and advised him to take some English lessons as well because of his bad grammar. Based on the customer's bad English and the once-off use of "idiot", the staff member also assumed the customer might have been rude and demanding to the cashier, leading to the cashier being reluctant to exchange the notes. The staff member ended their conversation with an apology.

The customer feels that this staff member was "literally humiliating me with polite words."

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Jobless Singaporean Questions Rise In Electricity Tariffs While Crude Oil Prices Are Rangebound

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Recently the state media reported that electricity tariffs for households are expected to rise by 9.3% in October to December 2020. A jobless Singaporean has spoken up on this issue.

He said that our electricity is largely generated by natural gas. An interesting point he observed was that the crude oil price has been rangebound in the past three months, and that there is a strong relationship between crude oil and natural gas. This should mean that crude oil prices should not be shooting upwards.

So this Singaporean questions why electricity tariffs are still expected to increase by 9.3%? He feels there is a lack of public consultation on why prices in Singapore keep increasing.

As Singaporeans become more educated and financially savvy with the happenings on the international level, it will not be easy for us to be taken for a ride.

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Pritam Singh And Yee Jenn Jong Reassure That Our Vote Is Secret

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The Workers Party (WP) politicians Pritam Singh and Yee Jenn Jong have come forward to reassure Singaporeans that our vote is secret.

Pritam Singh mentioned a "very small section of voters" continue to believe that votes are not secret. A main reason for such fear is because their names are called out by election officials before receiving their ballot slips or serial numbers on ballot slips.

He quoted Low Thia Khiang who once addressed these concerns: 1. the individual voter is not so important that the Government will spend time and effort to know how you voted and 2. Singapore wants to maintain its international image as a trusted place to conduct businesses, and any scandal or sham involving its voting process will cause irreparable damage to our law-abiding status.

Pritam Singh adds that all political parties will oversee any exercise which involves ballot boxes. For example political candidates will be invited into the Supreme Court to inspect and ensure ballot boxes have not been tampered with before they are destroyed at the Tuas incineration plant.

Yee Jenn Jong also comforted Singaporeans by pointing out that around 30-40% of voters have been voting against the PAP every GE, and the government will be unable to go after such a large number of Singaporeans. Even though it is possible to know how voting went at the precinct level, nothing has happened to those precincts that voted for the opposition.

Yee Jenn Jong then shared how impractical it will be to secretly match 2 million votes by serial numbers for every GE. Former civil servants and election officials have also told Yee Jenn Jong that they voted for him or the opposition.

Both WP politicians are 100% certain our vote is secret. So it is important to always make our vote count!

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Lim Tean Punches Holes In Lee Hsien Loong's Defamation Suit

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Lawyer and Peoples Voice Party (PVP) founder Lim Tean is currently defending his client Leong Sze Hian against a defamation suit filed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Leong Sze Hian has been accused of defaming the PM by sharing an article, without commenting on it, over the 1MDB saga which The Coverage Malaysia had republished from The States Times Review. The legal team hired by the PM had called upon an expert witness Dr Phan Tuan Quang who estimated Leong Sze Hian's post would have appeared on the Facebook news feeds of 11,749 users.

Lim Tean has punched holes into the defence built by the PM's legal team: (1) why did Lee Hsien Loong not sue The States Review or The Coverage and (2) the expert witness Dr Phan could not be totally independent.

On his first point, Lim Tean produced evidence showing Lee Hsien Loong had sued a female Malaysian writer Rubaashini Shunmuganathan in the Singapore Courts for writing an allegedly defamatory 2019 article about him. As the writer is overseas, the PM's lawyers obtained the leave of the Singapore Court to serve the Writ of Summons out of jurisdiction on her. If the PM could have sued this foreigner based in Malaysia, Lim Tean questioned why he did not sue The Coverage Malaysia or The States Times Review as both sites are also based overseas. Lee Hsien Loong also did not instruct his lawyers to send these media outlets a letter of claim.

Secondly Lim Tean raised doubts about the independence of the expert witness Dr Phan Tuan Quang. When Lim Tean cross-examined Dr Phan, he challenged that the expert could not be totally independent. Lim Tean discovered that Dr Phan was part of a team that had obtained a $8.2 million research grant from the Ministry Of Education (MOE) which the doctor was teaching at NUS in 2018. Lim Tean also found that received a significant MOE research grant even as he is currently teaching at the University of Hong Kong. This complicates matters as Lee Hsien Loong is the head of the government which had offered grants to Dr Phan's projects.

Lim Tean has raised some interesting points and is putting up a strong defence even though he is facing five lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers LLC.

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Giant Sembawang Branch Mistakenly Restricts Some Payment By Budget2020 Grocery Vouchers

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Our contributor went to Giant at Sembawang Shopping Centre to buy some items like frozen stuff, baby stuffs mainly food and drinks. When he tried to make payment using the Budget2020 Grocery Vouchers which were issued by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the cashier said he could not use the vouchers for the full transaction. The cashier then proceeded to separate his purchases into groceries and non-groceries.

Curiously he was asked to pay for frozen goods and fresh food in cash while the rest of the items like wet tissue, cereal, pampers, milk containers, toothpaste, battery and others could be paid using the vouchers. According to the cashier, frozen food is not classified as groceries but "dry items" are considered as groceries. Amid this confusion, out contributor paid $80++ cash for the frozen stuff. To make matters more confusing, the cashier could only scan 5 items per transaction when keying in payment for his Grocery Vouchers.

Our contributor even went ahead to show proof of his purchase to stop people from doubting his story as these Grocery Vouchers could be used normally at other supermarkets like NTUC or Sheng Siong.

Fortunately Giant reached out to this contributor and admitted their staff had made a mistake. Apparently the cashier were not well informed and had mistakenly separated the goods. Giant clarified that the items he paid $80++ in cash could have been redeemed with the cash voucher. It seems the only exception to using these vouchers is for the purchase of items like alcohol or cigarettes.

The supermarket was sorry for this incident and apologized many times throughout their call. All their branches have been updated and informed on the use of these Budget 2020 vouchers.

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Lionsbot International Allegedly Granted 3 Minute Interview Just For Show

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Our contributor alerted us to a post about a job interview with Lionsbot International Pte Ltd which appeared to be "just for show." Lionsbot International is a robotics company that focuses on automated cleaning. Even before being invited to an online interview, the interviewee saw that the employer had keyed in an entry which said "not suitable" into the JobStreet portal. When he was invited into an online video call, there was only one Human Resource executive present, and she only asked him three general questions in a three-minute interview.

Could this company be simply going through the motions to say they tried to hire Singaporeans?

The post in full:

"Last week Friday, I received a phone call inviting me for a zoom interview for a CFO post scheduled to be held today 420pm.

But when I logged in jobstreet portal yesterday, the employer logged an entry "not suitable" and I was puzzled so I went back to ask for a reason for the sudden change.

The human resource lady, Wang Yurong, executive of Lionsbot International Pte Ltd which is part of SuperSteam Asia Pacific Pte Ltd replied via email that the interview will proceed.

Today 420pm, i promptly attended the Zoom interview. Noone else except Wang was there. Only 3 questions asked but frankly they are all related to only funding. Interview ended in 3 min. I was wondering why these 3 questions cod be be posted on jobstreet, saving time. It seems to me that the interview is just for show.

I am writing this post to share because I believe some of us will see such things happen to them. I have been searching for near two years. There are good people around and I also believe that there are good employers out there too willing to give us chance. A lot speak about the organisation and its values from the way they conduct themselves. I have stopped getting angry with them. I am glad i seen their true colors today than after i join them."

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Supersteam Asia Pacific CEO Apologises For A Mistaken Sham Interview

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The LinkedIn post by an interviewee who allegedly experienced a three-minute online interview with Lionbots International Pte Ltd has gone viral. The manner in which the interview was conducted apparently felt insincere as the interviewee was only given three minutes to answer three questions by one HR executive.

The viral post caught the attention of Supersteam Asia Pacific's CEO Dylan Terntzer. He posted a personal apology and explained what had happened. The HR executive was a part-timer who had not graduated yet, and she mistakenly clicked on the "not suitable" link on JobStreet before the interviewee even had the chance to be interviewed.

He also claims the job position title was changed from what was initially advertised because the title "may not reflect the jobscope well." The CEO asked for understanding as they are a start-up and still learning their way around. This particular interview was not supposed to come across as a sham interview.

The interviewee has also shared his side of the story. His intention was not to shame the company but to just share his personal struggle. While he agrees job seekers cannot force employers to hire them, he feels that they should not have been treated in such a manner. Job seekers like him are professionals with qualified degrees and years of experience behind them and do not deserve such treatment.

The interviewee also questions if the government is doing enough about fair employment practices although much has been preached about it. Fortunately he has not been demoralised by this incident and has learned much about it instead.

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Tan Kin Lian: High Level Of Corruption In Many Democratic Countries

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Tan Kin Lian recently posted his views on high levels of corruption in many democratic countries, where it happens at the top levels involving people with power and influence. Such countries are even worse off when their leaders remain in power for decades and abuse state resources. Such leaders mask their acts behind words like "free market" and "democratic electoral system."

He also observes that the system creates greater inequality when the appointed regulators of these free markets eventually take on top positions in the private sector after leaving the government service. It seems only the rich and elite get to benefit from such a system.

Does this type of democracy sound familiar?

Tan Kin Lian's post:

"There is a high level of corruption in many democratic countries.

I am not referring to low level corruption where a lowly paid government servant need to collect small brides to make a living. I refer to corruption at the highest level where people in power favor families and friends and put them in top positions to earn very high income.

The corruption is worse in countries where the leaders remain in power for many decades. These leaders even fix the electoral system and abuse state funds and facilities to remain in power.

They claim to believe in the free market and appoint regulators to ensure that big businesses do not abuse their market power to take advantage of consumers. Sadly, these regulators are also corrupt. They do not control the businesses adequately. In fact many hope to take top position in the same private sector (that they are supposed to regulate) after they leave government service. This is called "the revolving door".

Do not think that a democratic electoral system and the free market is good for the people. In most cases they lead to a corrupt government, high inequality and a hard life for the people.

The ordinary people in most countries are probably better off with a socialist or even a communist government which has the social goal of uplifting the likelihood of the people and alleviate poverty. It is better to live in a relatively poorer country with more equality than to live in the relatively prosperous country with high inequality.

Do not believe in the propaganda of democracy and free markets. They are deceiving. They serve mainly the rich and elite. They leave the ordinary people with a harsh life and an uncertain future.

Agree or not?"

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Lim Tean Representing Terry Xu In Libel Proceedings By Lee Hsien Loong

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Lawyer and political veteran Lim Tean shared on his Facebook that he will be representing The Online Citizen Asia (TOC) editor Terry Xu in his trial against a defamation suit filed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The PM had initiated court proceedings against Terry Xu over an Aug 2019 TOC article “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members”. LHL claims the article contained repeated false allegations regarding the PM and the family dispute surrounding 38 Oxley Road.

Lim Tean praised Terry Xu for his amazing work at TOC to being free and independent news. He adds that TOC and other alternative media are the true Fourth Estate in Singapore's democracy, as opposed to the State Media which has been ranked 158th position in the World Press Freedom Index.

Lim Tean also believes courageous individuals from alternative media are important in demanding accountability from the powerful and elite in society.

This is the second defamation suit Lim Tean will be defending against LHL's lawyers. Lim Tean previously cross-examined the PM in another defamation suit filed against Leong Sze Hian.

The upcoming liberal trial against Terry Xu will be held from 30 Nov to 4 Dec 2020.

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84-Year-Old Grandmother Allegedly Scammed Of Life Savings By God Daughter

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A reader shared how his 84-year-old grandmother was scammed of her hard-earned life savings. The alleged scammer is an auntie named He Kim Chun in her late 60s / early 70s, and has known the grandmother over 10 years as they both worshipping at the same temple at Jalan Limbok. The auntie apparently developed a close relationship with the grandmother during this time, to the point where she even called the elder lady as "mom" to gain her trust.

The grandmother previously worked as a part-time cleaner UOL Group Limited. Back then, the auntie started asking money from the grandmother to "invest" in her son's company and promised a handsome monthly return.

However the grandmother is illiterate and chose to trust her god daughter's words. Slowly but surely her life's savings was drained away into this "investment." After receiving a few months of the promised returns, the alleged scammer suddenly stopped handing back the cash and started to give a ton of excuses to the grandmother.

The god daughter eventually disappeared and become uncontactable.

Even after making a police report in 2018, the police only came back to the family after 2 years to advise them to take civil action. However the family is stuck as they do not know where she stays or her personal details. The family is reaching out to the public for any relevant information about her whereabouts so they can take legal action and seek justice for their grandmother who has since been suffering from insomnia.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/100001487848544/posts/3491634920896068/

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Inconsiderate Uncle Disrupting The Peace At Tampines N2 Shopping Street

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Dear All Singapore Stuff,

I would like to bring to your attention and escalate a very active noise pollution case caused by a healthy looking elderly man.

The ordeal and noise pollution take place at the road-facing sheltered/seating area between 201D and 201E Tampines Street 21/23 near guardian pharmacy. Separate random sessions would start as early from 8am, at lunch, midday, dinner, and after dinner with extremely loud oldies music blasting from his speaker for a couple of hours. He is often seen smoking in the prohibited zone too.

Zero consideration and thoughts are given to the residents living and business owners working nearby. Such display of selfish behavior has been causing my family and myself distress lately as most of us are working from home and couldn’t function properly even with doors and windows closed. It feels like a roadshow taking place daily on irregular hours. There are so many ways to enjoy music but definitely not at the expense of others, especially not within the residents’ compounds.

We have approached him on the 8 Oct to inform him nicely that his music is too loud but it seems that he is very stubborn and resistant against the idea as the music went back to extreme loudness early morning next day at 8am on 9 Oct. We observe that the neighbours have been frustrated and slamming the door too due to the noise pollution.

This “concert” started happening after phase 2 commenced in late June and we have been putting up with it. We really hope that some action can be taken as we are all looking forward to regaining our peace and harmony in our 20 years of living here.

We have reported this pressing matter to the Police, NEA, HDB, town council and MP but no further actions have been taken yet.

Best regards,
Dontbeselfish

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Raeesah Khan Supports Minimum Wage After Her Experiences With Low-Wage Workers

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This week The Workers' Party (WP) MPs like Pritam Singh and Jamus Lim put up a strong proposal to implement a $1,300 monthly minimum wage to support low-income workers. Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan has also spoken up on this issue. She offers a perspective as someone who has worked with those who earn below livable wage.

Raeesah Khan has experience working with some of the 100,000 people who earn less than $1,300 monthly. She has seen for herself their living conditions in cramped houses or in bench tents or at temporary shelters. The feedback she received from interacting with this segment of Singaporeans was a trapped feeling of an never-ending cycle they cannot break free off without aid.

During her Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS), many low wage workers have also approached Raeesah Khan and the WP volunteers for help.

In a time when Singapore is facing a pandemic, people focused on calling for solidarity with Singaporeans from all segments of the population while saying that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable. Citizens should therefore ensure that people earn a liveable wage even after the majority of Singapore recovers from these tough times.

Will those who oppose a minimum wage be able to look these low wage workers in the eye and tell them in the face that a $1,300 monthly wage is justifiable?

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Amos Yee Charged With Child Porn And Risks Losing Asylum Status

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Amos Yee is back in the news after being arrested by the US police for child porn related charges. According to the US media, Amos Yee had allegedly exchanged nude photographs and a few thousand WhatsApp messages with a 14-year-old girl from Texas. Amos Yee had been living in Chicago during this time. US prosecutors claimed Amos Yee had exchanged messages in April and July 2019 which consisted of nude photos he asked and obtained from the Texan girl, and also his naked photos which were sent to the same girl.

The US Homeland Security officials came to know of this incident after the relationship between Amos Yee and the girl turned sour, and she informed a group dedicated to exposing pedophiles.

When Amos Yee appeared at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for his bond hearing, was not given a chance to speak up. The assistant public defender repeatedly silenced Amos Yee even though he said he had information about the case which could aid in his defense.

Amos Yee's attorney added that Amos Yee is an "internet troll" who is well-known for saying fantastic things online. Therefore his online comments should be taken with skepticism.

Let it be reminded that Amos Yee first gained internet fame when he was first slapped with a jail term at the tender age of 16 for making a "controversial" and "obscene" social media posts cheering the death of Lee Kuan Yew back in 2015. An 18-year-old Amos Yee was persecuted again in 2016 when the Singapore government jailed him for "wounding religious feelings" of Christians and Muslims with online commentaries about these religions. Fearing further political persecution, Amos Yee was forced to flee Singapore and eventually granted US Asylum.

However the US Judge was unmoved by this "online troll" argument and put him on a US$1 million bail along with an internet ban while awaiting trial. His next court hearing will be on 5 Nov 2020. If Amos Yee is convicted with these child porn charges, his asylum status could potentially be terminated.

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SDP Bryan Lim: Rats Brazenly Roam Woodlands In The Daytime

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Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) politician Bryan Lim Boon Heng received photos of rats roaming around the area of a Woodlands HDB. The photos were taken by a resident at Blk 366 Woodlands Ave 5 in the evening.

Bryan Lim highlights this as a point of concern as there is still daylight but the rats have already come out in search of food. The rats appear desensitised to the high volume of human traffic during the evening rush hour. The resident also said that the largest rat spotted during this time was bigger than the palm size of an adult man. He had previously spotted bigger ones.

A few weeks ago, Bryan Lim also received residents' feedback about a worsening rat infestation around a triangular area of Woodlands Ave 5, Woodlands Drive 14 and Woodlands Civic Centre. The residents believe that the construction works for the upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT station is to blame for this infestation.

This particular area is under the Marsiling - Yew Tee GRC currently held by the PAP Lawrence Wong, Alex Yam, Zaqy Mohamad and Hany Soh. Bryan Lim notified the relevant authorities but has yet to receive a reply from the Town Council. He also urged the National Environment Agency (NEA) to look into this growing rat problem once more.

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GrabFood Rider Seeks Public Understanding On Challenges Faced By Delivery Riders

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A GrabFood delivery rider shared her feelings of frustration about making a perfect delivery. Her post was sparked by an unfortunate incident where one of the drinks she delivered was spilled and even made her delivery bag drip.

She explained that delivery riders do not want to spill their food or drinks on purpose. Unluckily for her the restaurant handed over a drink which did not have its lid closed properly. As she was also in a rush to send her stacked orders, she did not check if the lids were tight. She hopes that restaurants and merchants will consider using special cups for delivery to prevent such unwanted spillage.

The delivery rider then wrote about other challenges delivery riders face on a daily basis as they send orders in a timely and professional manner. Even when the cups have their lids tightened, delivery riders sometimes ride on bumpy roads. They will either spill the drinks without knowing or will have to ride slowly to prevent spilling.

At times when they ride too slowly on the roads, impatient cars will honk at riders or give a "what the heck" look. She says that delivery riders do not want to inconvenience other road users, and sometimes they cannot ride faster due to LTA speed regulations.

Overall she hopes the public will be more understanding as delivery riders are trying to work for a living and doing all they can to send the food as perfectly as how the the restaurant had given to them.

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Grabfood Customer Tried to Cancel Wrong Order But Told Food Would Be Disposed Instead

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I placed order with GrabFood for Mcdonald's delivery on 19 Oct at 5.29pm. While placing the order, I realised the delivery address wrong at the wrong place.

Subsequently, I tried to cancel the order via the app but was not able to. When a rider accepted my order, I texted him if he can deliver to my actual location. However, he mentioned that he only deliver to the app's chosen location.

So I told the rider I try to call up GrabFood and ask for cancellation. In the call, the CSO told me that they cannot cancel the order as it is my fault as the customer to choose the wrong address.

I told the CSO "but there is no one there to collect these food". She replied me this "the standard internal SOP is that if no one collect the food at the location, they are to dispose the food".

My opinion, I do not mind paying a bit more to the rider for him to make the effort to send to me at the actual location. But is GrabFood actually a good platform to use when it is against the customers?

Why did Grabfood ask the riders to throw away the food when there is no one to pick up at the wrong location?

Is it because GrabFood only cares for their incentive earn from the merchant and ignore the fact that they are encouraging their rider to throw away food?

In the end, the rider personally agree to deliver to me, and I top up cash to him.. so as not to waste food.

<Reader's Contribution>

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Koh Poh Koon Justifies Increasing MediShield Life Premium Despite $4.3 Billion Surplus Over 4 Years

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The PAP Senior Minister of State and colorectal surgeon Koh Poh Koon tried to justify the increase in MediShield Life premiums in 2021 by saying that delaying such an increase will only result in "steeper hikes down the road to catch up with rising claims." MediShield Life premiums are expected to increase by up to a third despite the current economic impact due to Covid19, yet Koh Poh Koon tries to reassure that premiums will be kept sustainable. The government is also trying to sweeten the deal by dangling a $360 million Covid19 subsidy for the first two years.

It is interesting to note that between 2016 and 2019, about $7.6 billion in premiums were collected from MediShield Life premiums but only $3.5 billion was paid out as claims. This means that there is an excess of $4.3 billion in the reserves.

Despite such an huge surplus, Koh Poh Koon claims that the increased premiums are determined based on both current claims and future commitments. He says that between 2016 and 2019, Singapore has seen an increase in of claimants by 30% while the average payout has risen by about 7%. Therefore the MediShield Life Council foresees premiums collected were "slightly less" than total monies required for current and future claims.

However netizens appear unconvinced by the impending fee hike. Some argued that the government should look into the root of the problem: why medical costs are rising so rapidly and if there is an over-consumption of medical services by certain segments of the population. There are others who pointed out that the increased premiums come around 5 years since MediShield Life was launched, and wonder if the actuaries who estimate the premiums are working on accurate numbers. Other netizens also appear confused how private Integrated Shield plans seem useful even though they are supposed to cushion healthcare costs.

Based on how things are going, certain netizens are skeptical if this round of premium adjustments will be the last.

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Government Forces Singaporeans To Use TraceTogether After Low Take-Up Rate

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The Covid19 multi-ministry taskforce announced that by end-Dec 2020, the public can no longer gain entry into popular venues by scanning SafeEntry QR codes or their NRIC barcodes. The government will be making it compulsory for members of the public to check in using the TraceTogether app or token instead.

While the taskforce Minister Lawrence Wong tried to justify this mandatory move as a criteria before Singapore can enter phrase three, he ironically says that having 70% of Singapore's population using TraceTogether is sufficient. What is the purpose or effectiveness of TraceTogether if not 100% of the population adopt this contact tracing technology?

Some netizens wonder if the government is making TraceTogether compulsory due to its low take-up rate. Indeed Lawrence Wong revealed only 45% of the population are currently using the TraceTogether app or token.

Despite initial skepticism on developing such contact tracing technology when Google and Apple have created their in-house contact tracing functions like Exposure Notification, the government bulldozed its way into awarding tenders to built the TraceTogether dongle. The end product was an unimpressive bulky dongle which requires the use of Bluetooth to exchange short-distance "encrypted" signals. However Singaporeans remain unconvinced about their privacy concerns and data safety.

TraceTogether looks to be another wasteful government project as the resources ($6 million tender) put to building this bulky dongle could have been used to aid Singaporeans facing tough times during Covid19.

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PHV Driver Makes Startling Discovery Under Seat

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Many Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) drivers work long hours and they can meet a variety of passengers while doing their rounds. Unfortunately for PHV driver Fyzal Anwerbag, one of his passengers would cause him to end up at the police station.

Fyzal recounted how he had just finished his shift, and probably out of habit he checked the interior of his PHV car. It was then he discovered someone had discreetly left a police ankle tag under the driver's seat. Based on his photos, the black tracker appeared to be a cleanly cut with some tool. These trackers are usually attached to the ankles of offenders, so this particular passenger might have been trying to make an escape.

Fyzal eventually decided to hand over this evidence to the police station. He spent over three hours at the station as the police officers had to check with various departments and many offices were not working as it was after hours.

He reminds other PHV drivers to do similar checks every time they end a shift.

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Dr Ho Ting Fei: Give Dignity And Respect To Workers Earning Less Than $1300

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Clinical physician and ex-NUS professor Dr Ho Ting Fei recently wrote in to The Straits Times over the whole minimum wage saga. The PAP stubbornly remains opposed to the idea of implementing a minimum wage of $1,300 as proposed by The Workers' Party (WP) MPs. The PAP argues that only 32,000 full-time workers work less than $1,300 monthly and they have already implemented measures like the Progressive Wage Model (PWM).

However as a slap to remind how detached the PAP are from reality, renowned Dr Ho Ting Fei has spoken up for these low-wage workers. She says the PAP should not prioritise their efforts into defending against a minimum wage using statistics and policies. She tells the PAP to consider how any person or family hope to survive on anything less than $1,300 a month due to Singapore's high cost of living.

She correctly points out that these low-wage workers urgently need help and not be treated as mere numbers in the PAP's statistics. These workers need to have their daily needs solved to some extent, before they can even think about upgrading their skills or increasing productivity.

Dr Ho Ting Fei pleads that these workers are our fellow citizens and the PAP should not let them fall between the cracks. A minimum wage should not be denied to these people as they struggle need to put food on their tables. Dr Ho believes they need to have their dignity and respect restored.

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Don't Steal Vouchers From People

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Fellow Singaporeans. As we march through the pandemic, it seems that the social fabric of nations are crumbling.

The West has an identity crisis from an extreme ideology they thought was defeated 30 years ago. The Chinese Dragon now marching angrily, secretly thinks why he was instigated into fighting an uphill battle in the first place.

And while I will admit that the shortcomings we have to face are incredibly mild as compared to the decay of superpowers or the implosion of anarchy in failed states, this horrid act a few days ago entails that the cracks within our society are opening faster.

A woman in Toa Payoh went through a HDB block and decided to steal $10 vouchers given out to people via Budget 2020 to buy groceries. Groceries... that are getting stretched thinner and thinner as a result of international trade crippling the means for a farmer an ocean away to sell off his crops to end up on your bowl.

What the hell is wrong with us ?! I know we have several underlying issues like the lack of civil rights or undervalued standards of living... but how can a person even consider stealing something important to someone who may have less than you?

Especially in these times of struggle behind the usually clean-cut architecture of our nation ? Where is this "Kampung Spirit" my Ah Kong used to reminisce about so long ago ? Neighbours helping neighbours, enough collective trust to not lock doors and the feeling of community ? Are we all forced to shield ourselves in our homes as our hearts get darker and our brains corrupted by wanton greed ?

I am not even sure if it is something to rant on, I mean it was a small handful at most. But the fact that one person got caught means that there could be dozens more who have done something similar and got away with it.

At this moment, the small amount of monies that the government has tossed to try and help and suddenly your neighbour could try and snatch it to spend the $10 he has in physical money for his own leisure purposes.

To bring the point home: DON'T STEAL ANYTHING. As if I actually had to lecture people on this. And if this actually convinced you NOT to steal from your nearest stack of postboxes... God(s) help us all

Until the next incident or injustice, I am your loyal reader Justin

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Woman Gets Hit By Golf Ball From Nearby Tanah Merah Country Club While Visiting Changi Jurassic Mile

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<Reader's Contribution>

Yesterday 22 October 2020 at 6pm, I took the family and my helper to the newly opened Changi Jurassic Mile near to T4.

All was well until when we were walking past the 2 Parasaurolophus exhibit (Zone J). A loud thud was heard before I turn around and see my helper dropping on her knees onto the floor. She held her head and started crying. That was when we realised she was hit by a golf ball from Tanah Merah Country Club. The golf course was literally right beside the exhibit, along the entire Changi Jurassic Mile.

Thankfully there was a Certis Cisco security staff nearby and she immediately informed her supervisor. He arrived shortly and an airport ambulance was activated. We walked to the Tanah Merah end of the walk way and the ambulance arrived shortly. The doctor did all the necessary checks and confirmed it is a head injury with bruising but advised that we monitor at home since we might need to stay for hours in the hospital if admitted. Thankfully my helper is fine so far.

A Changi Airport Group’s Arrival Experience manager was also there and mentioned to us that they had brought up the possibility of golf balls hitting the public when building this pathway. However upper management from Tanah Merah Country Club Garden Course assured that the golf balls will not hit the public due to wind direction, hence there is no need for nettings to be built to protect the public.

We were also told that this is the first case that has happened. They have already put this up but will be up for discussion if they need to put anything in place. I am sharing this so that people are aware, I can’t imagine how it will turn out if the golf ball were to hit my kids or any other children or elderly who will be there every single day.

At the mean time, I would suggest those cycling to keep their helmets on. And those walking with kids to have umbrellas opened. That is until some sort of protection is put in placed.

Special thanks to Changi Airport ‘s team for doing all they can to help. Please help to share this and keep your loved ones aware as many more are going to visit this new attraction over the next few weeks.

Derek Yap

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Financial Transparency Needed For MediShield Life And MOH Holdings

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Singapore has become "Pte Ltd" gov.

Public hospitals are divided into geographical clusters and operated by private companies. The private companies are Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd (SingHealth), National Healthcare Group Pte Ltd (NHG) and National University Health System (NUHS).

Shares in SingHealth and NHG are held by the Ministry of Health Holdings Pte Ltd (MOH Holdings). NUHS is a joint venture between NUS and MOH Holdings. In turn, MOH Holdings is privately owned, wholly or partially, by the government.

As these are private companies, they are therefore funded privately, either by private owners, the government or profits from running the hospitals, or all three. They do not issue shares to the public. As such, they do not need to submit financial statements to the stock exchange for public scrutiny. Needless to say, they are profit seeking entities.

The good thing is that since they are subject to market forces, at least partially, standards of health care is good. Also, even though they charge market prices, Singaporeans and PRs are subsidized.
I am writing this because I am rather vexed that the Government is running profit seeking private companies, because, one way or another, state resources will be used, but it is not accountable to the public. Also, besides the Government, there may be other corporate or individual shareholders, who would be benefiting from state resources. If there are, who are these shareholders?

What’s worse, they operate public hospitals providing essential medical services which every citizen should have access. Yet, they are profit seeking entities purporting to provide a public good. In time to come, the people may have to pay an arm and a leg, for essential medical services. Certainly, something is not right and there is a conflict of interest.

This brings me to Medishield Life. It is a non-profit, mandatory hospitalization insurance for Singaporeans and PRs administered by CPF, a government statutory board. As the entity representing the people, Medishield Life has a duty to ensure that the people get their money’s worth for every cent that they pay in insurance premium.

Yet, Medishield Life and MOH Holdings both report to the Government. What is to prevent the Government from getting Medishield Life to increase premiums so that MOH Holdings can have a better bottom line?

Therefore, decisions to increase premiums cannot be made unilaterally, but has to be debated in parliament. Medishield Life has to be transparent with its accounts and MPs have to scrutinize all financial assumptions, including basis for so-called medical inflation.

Unfortunately, we now live in a business-run society. Public good that were once provided by the state for a minimal sum, is now privatized to seek maximum profit, benefiting a small segment of society enormously. The people have to be ever vigilant.

Andrew

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Inconsiderate Ladies Hog Starbucks Tables Despite Covid19 Measures

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According to reader Kayo, two studious ladies occupied a corner table at the ION Orchard Starbucks branch despite not ordering any drinks. Our reader was at Starbucks on the morning of 25 Oct when these two ladies walked in, sat at a table and simply started to use their laptops.

When the ladies did not order anything from the cafe, our reader thought they were just waiting for the breakfast to be over. Instead they conveniently placed a Starbucks cup of water on their table.

It was until an hour later when one of the Starbucks staff went up to these ladies to ask if they have ordered anything. One of the ladies gave a hushed reply. After 5 to 10 minutes later, both ladies packed their stuff and left the premises.

Our reader recalled seeing these same ladies while passing by a nearby The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf branch. They were using the power outlets and just as busy doing their studies or work.

Our reader feels these ladies should be mindful not to occupy tables for hours as eateries like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, McDonald's are not the place to study and occupy the place for a small cup coffee. Things are worse now that eateries have lesser tables for genuine customers due to Covid19 safe distancing measures. These places will lose business if such inconsiderate people continue to hog tables for hours.

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Architect Tay Kheng Soon: Singapore Must Think Beyond The Defunct LKY Vision

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NUS professor and veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon believes Singapore needs to have a new vision beyond the defunct Lee Kuan Yew vision of a "Global City." Noticing how the Covid19 pandemic has wrecked the global economy, Tay Kheng Soon says it shows the vulnerabilities and outdatedness of LKY's vision. The world has changed since Singapore achieved its status as a Global City.

Singapore needs to move beyond being a little red dot that services the world. Even though Singapore is a small country, the new vision has to focus on using our resources, infrastructure, banks, logistics, education, connections and most of all our Asia-ness to start an ASEAN rebirth.

Tay Kheng Soon believes this new vision can be achieved in the following ways:

1. Start by renewing our own democratic spirit and grow opportunities with our neighbours within the next 5 to 10 years instead of being a victim of global stagnation.

2. Turn all our Universities, Polys, ITEs into work-study and social learning places. Once our youth are not only book smart but also life smart, divide the island into four self administrative regions N.S.E.W to employ our people both young and old in managing our own municipal affairs. This way people learn to govern themselves by creating many earn and learn community projects. This way we grow a new mindset.

3. Turn Singapore into Education City, where friendships formed with Asean Students who have lived and learned with us and their families can develop into strong regional bonds for our Regional economic future.

4. Establish a Green Regional Bank based on huge idle funds drawn from Offshore Accounts at 0.5% interest to finance the Greening of our Regional economy in a win-win arrangement. Once this establishes a robust Johore, Malaca, Sumatra, Batam and Singapore economy, this model will expand outwards to the whole of Asean and onwards to India, Europe, China and East Asia even as USA sinks into decay.

5. There will be a tremendous growth of opportunity for creative and innovative jobs for everyone.

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Minimum Wage: Even CPF Millionaire Guru Feels $1,522 Monthly Barely Enough For Retiree Couple

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Senior Minister of State (Health) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Koh Poh Koon came under fire over his comments about minimum wage. He disagreed with The Workers' Party (WP) proposal for a $1,300 monthly minimum wage and chose to defend his PAP's Progressive Wage Model (PWM) as a better alternative. He quoted statistics that around 56,000 workers (of whom 32,000 are full-time workers) earn less than $1,300 monthly after Workfare disbursements and CPF contributions by employers.

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh gave a fiery response asking why the PAP cannot consider covering these low-wage workers immediately because 32,000 is a significant number and they are also Singaporeans who need help. Koh Poh Koon claimed that retraining and upskilling these low-wage workers will benefit them more than implementing a minimum wage. Perhaps he thinks earning anything below $1,300 monthly at this moment is acceptable? 

As a sign of how disconnected from reality Koh Poh Koon is, even CPF millionaire guru Loo Cheng Chuan has spoken out against bringing home anything less than $1,300. In a recent blog post, Loo Cheng Chuan was surprised to learn that retiree HDB households get an average of $1,522 monthly for their retirement needs. He views that a $1,522 monthly retirement income is barely enough even for a retiree couple due to Singapore's high cost of living.

If millionaires like Loo Cheng Chuan feel $1,522 monthly is barely enough for a retiree couple, it is questionable how elite minister Koh Poh Koon feels low-wage Singaporean employees can survive with less than $1,300 monthly.

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TraceTogether: Singaporeans Acting Based On Privacy Concerns Face Potential Jail Time

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In a backpedaling move, PAP Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced the mandatory use of TraceTogether app or token before residents can enter popular venues. He said having a 70% population take up rate of TraceTogether is one of the requirements before Singapore can move into Phase 3. This sudden announcement about TraceTogether sparked a rush of people heading down to collection points to take their TraceTogether tokens.

Forcing the use of TraceTogether on the population sparked another round of suspicion and fears of privacy concerns through government surveillance. Some netizens concerned about protecting their privacy from the prying eyes of the government have allegedly taken steps to modify their TraceTogether tokens. Based on their online discussions, some have tried methods like removing the battery or swapping the token's QR code with another device.

However the government is not amused by these acts of tampering. The state media recently interviewed a lawyer who said people caught tampering with their devices are liable for jail under Singapore's wide array of laws. A lawyer Joshua Tong from Kalco Law explained those caught for causing physical damage or alterations to TraceTogether tokens may be committing an offence of mischief simpliciter. This particular offence carries a fine and/or a jail term of up to two years.

There is another offence which can lead to a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine if a person is found to have committed a mischievous act which disrupts a public health service. Further laws like the Computer Misuse Act state that those who gain unauthorised access to computer material face a fine up to $5,000 and/or a jail term of up to two years. Then those caught for making unauthorised modifications to computer material can be fined up to $10,000 and/or a jail term up to three years.

Unfortunately with the threat of fines and jail terms, it seems the authorities can be capable of coming down hard on Singaporeans who are acting based on concerns about state surveillance.

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