Monday, October 24, 2016

More depressing news for Singapore economy, heading towards total collapse.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just as a reminder, Singapore island is so small, sometimes you don't see it on the map. It is just 277 square miles. An island 26 miles East to West and 16 miles north to south. It has no natural resources and most of it is just a few feet above sea level. If there is no traffic, you could drive from north to south or east to west in just 30 minutes! In this tiny place about 5 million people are packed, one on top of the other in high rise government owned pigeon hole like apartments which it rents to the people on 99 year leases. I mentioned these facts to point out how precarious the dire economic situation is on the very existence of the island. If a mere 5 large companies were to close, the island government and economy will completely collapse, that's how small it is. And by the signs we see now, it appears that it is indeed going to happen very soon. For a tiny place like this, even a small downturn in the economy, will instantly result in total shutdown of the island.

In todays Reuter report " Outlook dims for Singapore Inc as economy moonwalks", a very dim picture is shown on the island's future survival. Please see report here

The reference to "Moonwalk" is a pun on local Chinese custom of eating cakes known as mooncakes during this time of year. A local Singapore employer John Kong a building material supplier was unable to send mooncakes to his workers because he was not making any money and couldn't give any pay rise to his workers because his business is hitting rock bottom and worries on whether he could stay in business. He says his business friends are wondering what will happen to them in 3 months. Businesses are cutting marketing expenses and laying off workers.

China's slowdown, a country upon which the one party state centralized planning rulers of Singapore  have decided to depend upon almost entirely, has given a body blow to Singapore's economic survival. Singapore's business for manufactures and shippers down, commodity markets business down, oil and gas sector down, companies bad debts rise, island's money laundering business down, financial services down.

"Earning forecasts for Singapore's listed companies are falling at among fastest in the world".

"Companies are also struggling with debt burdens that have ballooned since the financial crises, even as bottom lines have shrunk"

According to Thomson Reuters "Net incomes are down almost 40% since Jan 2008, net debt has more than doubled"!

Singapore banks DBS Group Holdings and Overseas Chinese Banking Corp are suffering from losses as a result of their loans to these troubled businesses.

Singapore's money laundering scandal the 1IMDB has resulted in banks having to spend more in compliance thereby losing money with no money coming in. Indonesia's tax amnesty has resulted in almost 11 billion dollars flowing out of the island, causing a dent in the offshore banking industry. Especially since the majority of the clients of these banks were Indonesian bank fraudsters, their departure may even put an end to the money laundering business, for which these off shore banks are primarily used.

Entire floors at central shopping malls are empty and tourists are cutting spending.

Singaporeans it appears are losing hope and worried. Key factors were quality of life, regular income and employment because there is no unemployment benefits or social security. If you lose your job, you and your family starve. A person with no money cannot live off the land because there isn't any. It is a small tiny island concrete jungle.

Although Singapore has one of the world's lowest birth rate's in the world, now with these bad tidings, women are not choosing to be pregnant and no babies are born in their maternity hospital. This creates even more pressure to import foreign workers, something the government is trying to slow down since foreigners, mainly from Communist China, already outnumber locals in that tiny island.

Jessica a 39 year old said she lost her job as an audit supervisor, has cut down on her spending, and told her kids she can no longer buy things as often as before.

I mentioned the small size of the island and its tiny population without any natural resources. A large country with an independent minded people living in a democracy may find ways to save themselves. Singapore however is doomed. The collapse in such a small place would be almost instant. Once the bad news takes hold, businesses would leave, people would leave, massive unemployment, there would a run on the banks and the Singapore dollar would become worthless.

If there is any hope of survival, perhaps they should stay. But there is none. And the fault is entirely the making of the former prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. And his son who has taken over is only capable of following his father. Lee carefully created over 50 years a citizenry that is totally reliant on the state. A model citizen is one who obeys the state and merely does what he is told. No need to think. The jobs that are created so far is the result of central planning in certain economic sectors. Jobs are not created by its people as is the case in democracies around the world. In Singapore anyone who has ideas of his own is punished and persecuted against. Only those who are mindless conformists can expect to survive. Unless the government can now think of new ideas to employ their citizens in the nanny state, I think the game is lost.

Especially in a small island such as this, Lee Kuan Yew's main concentration of his efforts should be to develop a democracy, where the people have their human rights, where there is rule of law and where everyone is given an opportunity to think independently and come up with new ideas. This is not so in Singapore. What he has done is to create a citizenry that lives in fear of the government and where the best way to survive is to kow tow and blindly obey their rulers. Such a citizenry is incapable of saving themselves in this situation.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Singapore's economy collapsing, unemployment and layoffs hitting the roof, currency losing value. Singaporeans should leave the island before it is too late.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The truth has finally come to roost. Singapore's economy is steadily heading to a total collapse. Unemployment and layoffs are increasing daily. The Singapore dollar is steadily losing value, to a 7 month low and still dropping. Very soon it will be worthless like the Venezuelan Bolivar. The vast majority of Singaporeans can leave the island if they want. They can sell their government apartments now and make some money before it's value hits rock bottom. My advice to Singaporeans is to leave Singapore now. Try to reach Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA or any other European country which will take you. Don't wait until it is too late when you will have nothing left. There are no prospects anymore in Singapore. This is my advice to you.

First the economy is on it's final descent to a crash landing.
According to this Singapore government state controlled newspaper Singapore Straits Times Business, it reads "Poor GDP figures point to long slow down for Singapore". The third quarter GDP growth has just been 0.6 percent, the lowest in 4 years, and dropping.

The office crowd in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore.
It is OK if it is just one off decline due to volatilities of business. But this is certainly not a one-off thing. This is like the barometer of a vessel at sea which has been dropping at a steady rate over the last 4 years. If this was the Titanic, the captain would have told you that they are heading into the eye of the storm. This is exactly true in the case of Singapore, with it's economic barometer. It's economy is indeed heading into the eye of an economic storm.

If Singapore has economic potential to recover, there could be hope. Unfortunately the Singapore which Lee Kuan Yew created has serious structural issues. He created a system which is simply doomed to failure. Although it had worked short term, on a long term trajectory, it is simply hopeless. It really has nothing to offer and simply is no longer competitive with the rest of the world.

Let's look at what Singapore has. It has an airport and Singapore Airlines. Gone are the days when Singapore Airlines did any better or cheaper than anyone else. Every other country in the region including Australia have excellent airlines. And with several Singapore crashes including the one in Taipei which killed hundreds in a 747 due to the pilot taking off on disused runway, its reputation is rather suspect. Any passenger would rather fly Qantas, which has a perfect safety record. Singapore airlines no longer has the edge which it once had. It is simply just another airline, no better no worse.

And then you have Singapore Airport. Today the hub and spoke concept which favored airports such as Singapore is non existent. Previously wide bodied aircraft needed to use airport such as Singapore because of longer runways and better facilities. Today this is no longer the case. An A380 can land in Kuala Lumpur Jakarta or Ho Chi Minh City . Every other neighboring country have been busy extending runways and improving airports. So the days of Singapore's advantage are simply over.

And then you have the oil and gas industry as well as the oil rig manufacture. These are not something that is special to Singapore. Any country from Albania to AndalucĂ­a can make oil rigs if they want. No need for Singapore rigs. As for the oil refining and storage business other countries have already begun overtaking Singapore. Qatar has already stated publicly that they are building facilities specifically to overtake Singapore and they have the advantage of being next to the source. So you really don't have any advantage here either.

Then there is tourism and shopping, both in steady decline for obvious reasons. In the past Singapore had an advantage in duty free cheap goods. Today the prices in Singapore are 3 times that in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta thanks to the steadily rising office and store rental costs, which is why Singapore is the most expensive country in the world. As most shoppers and tourists come from nearby third world countries and do not have deep pockets, they are not going to shop in Singapore because it is simply too expensive. And there goes your tourism and shopping trade.

And then you have some biotech and manufacturing industry which both suffer from the same problems of high costs and no special advantage. Today at the costs prevailing in the island, you can manufacture the product in Dusseldorf at not much difference in price. So what is the need to place your plant in Singapore when it costs nothing more to have it in your own country.

In the past due to lower tax benefits, advanced countries still found it beneficial to locate their industry in third countries. Today this loophole is literally gone for American companies. The US government is bringing out all sorts of disincentives, very soon you would hardly find US firms in Singapore since you can produce them back home at same costs and tax. Perhaps other Western countries may continue but for how long is pretty uncertain.

Another Singapore state controlled newspaper "Business Review" has this report "Unemployment and Redundancies in services sector loom amid weak economy" See

This is an alarming report because 72% of Singapore's workforce is employed in the services industry. This includes retail stores, bank clerks, office workers, government employees and so on. If there is unemployment in the services sector this means thousands of Singaporeans, the vast majority, being unemployed with no work and no money. As Singapore provides no social welfare or unemployment benefits, what this means is starvation on a mass scale.

The obvious reason for the downturn in the services sector is because every sector of the economy is connected to each other. If the manufacturing and export industry is impacted, so will the services sector.

And then the Singapore dollar is steadily losing value. According to the state owned Channel News Asia report of October 14, 2016, "Singapore Dollar hits 7 month low on lackluster growth outlook" The report states that the  Singapore currency has hit a 7 month low and continuing to steadily depreciate. It is simply  losing all it's  value .

If it was any other country with these figures, one would not have worried too much. Most countries have an in built ability to right itself and rebound when things go wrong. This is because they are democratic countries where the citizens have the ability to think of new ideas and new enterprises and create wealth. Not in Singapore. You have there a docile timid obedient society which lives in fear of their  rulers and therefore are incapable of thinking or doing anything by themselves. They are waiting for the government to create jobs for them. But since the government itself have simply run out of ideas, waiting for the  government to do things for them is simply not going to happen. For Singapore to succeed it constantly has to have something others do not have. It needs to have an edge. Today this island has nothing to offer that anyone else does not have. This decline is going to continue until final collapse.

And finally Singapore is an obnoxious place to live. There are no freedoms and the political leaders are corrupt and pay themselves millions while as much as half the population live at or below the poverty line. You couldn't even call this island a banana republic because there are no bananas.

My advice for Singaporeans is not to wait until it is too late. The writing is already on the wall. Pack up, liquidate your properties and leave for the west. It is good for you and for your children. There is no hope in Singapore island. There is hope overseas.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in exile
Fremont (San Francisco)  USA
Tel: 510 491 8525
Email: nair.gopalan

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Singapore Parliament by Minister Lim Hng Khiang says "Government stands ready to act in the event of economic downturn" Really? How?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore one party state's newspaper agency propaganda sheet Straits Times of October 10, 2016 has the report "Government stands ready to act in the event of an economic downturn: Lim Hng Khiang". See report here

How very gallant of him. Like a knight in shining armor, this man Lim Hng Khiang, Minister for Trade an Industry has offered to come to the rescue of all Singaporeans in distress and save them from certain economic calamity. How very reassuring. Thanks again. But isn't it rather silly to say this, not to mention condescending.

As you already know, this statement by him is made under the present dire circumstances where Singapore is facing an total economic collapse. Trade down, business down, unemployment up, shipping down. In fact everything is down and the island's economy is now in a freefall.

But his statement is so silly if you thought about it. If in fact he can do anything about it, why isn't he doing it right now, when things are already bad, instead of telling us that he will act only if there is an economic downturn? In other words he is determined to let the island go to the dogs but will intervene only if matters get even worse than that! Does he not realize that matters are already bad enough? That it has hit rock bottom and it can't get any worse!

And if he has any tricks in his hat, why doesn't he say what they are now. And what is more important, why doesn't do anything now. In his statement, he does not mention anything about how he is going to save us.

You don't have to be a crack economist to know that neither he nor anyone in his totalitarian government has any answers. You have an island principally  run through centralized state planning and where its poor citizens are told not to think but just obey so that the rulers can continue to be corrupt to the tune of millions. They have chosen sectors like shipping, oil refining, oil storage, tourism, money laundering, biotech industry and so on. Unfortunately  in every single sector the rest of the world have outpaced the island. The Chinese communists are no longer coming to the island to squander their ill gotten gains stolen through Peoples Liberation Army connections, the oil industry is dead, tourism is dead and the hotels are empty. In these circumstances, it is not enough for this man to wave a magic wand to make things right.

We should tell Mr. Lim Hng Khing that we are not 10 year old babies and thanks but no thanks.

Only in Singapore where you have a totally helpless society will anyone such as this man Lim Hng Khiang have the nerve to utter such nonsense.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Monday, October 10, 2016

Singapore government's offer to help the island's failing economy is like sticking band aids on a dying man

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the news very bad on all economic sectors for that embattled island under Lee Kuan Yew's son's one party rule, Singapore, is it time perhaps for him to make that great speech that Churchill gave in 1939 at the British Parliament to the brave English people; but in Singapore's case, to Lee Kuan Yew's son's helpless clueless Singaporean public ?

"I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat".

At least in the case of Britain, there was still hope left. In Lee Kuan Yew's one part authoritarian Singapore island with the timid cowed docile people, none at all!

More will follow

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) USA

Singapore Island gives up on failing economy, declining GDP, zero birth rate, zero productivity and mounting brain drain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The bad news for Singapore now doesn't stop coming. And they are all the result of an authoritarian government who thinks they know everything and the job of the citizens are to just obey. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams of creating the most docile submissive society in the world. Which society in the world would simply accept a life where there is no right to free speech, no free press, no independent judiciary and no right of peaceful protest?

As far as the locals are concerned, this is a very centrally planned economy not much different from those in Communist countries. The orders are that people should not complain, if they do they will be thrown in jail by their Kangaroo judges. The thinking is only done by a handful of people; by Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister and his carefully selected minions.

And the thinking was that Communist China will have millions of millionaires who will come to gamble in the island's Casinos, will park their ill gotten millions in the island's offshore banks, will stay at the island's hotels and will shop at the luxury stores along Orchard Road. In this way, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his minions can reap millions in taxes and other charges, while employment will be provided for the poor locals to work in the hotels housing the rich Chinese, will work in the Casinos where the Chinese squander their money and will work in the banks where the Chinese park their stolen wealth.

Good plan but like all good things it cannot last. Today the Chinese are no longer their guardian angels or saviors. The Chinese economy is failing and they no longer want to come to Singapore, live in the hotels or gamble in their Casinos. Simply bad luck for the poor Singaporeans who are looking to Lee Kuan Yew's son, as to what to do next. Remember they are incapable of thinking themselves and like the dog waiting for the next trick, they have no idea what to do.

I suppose it was the present Prime Minster's father (who by the way gave him the job) who decided on these policies while the son is incapable of doing anything on his own except following his late father.

If you look at Singapore island today, there are a few sectors which the state decided should provide jobs. One was shipping, mainly container transshipment. Well that is gone too. World shipping has dropped and ships are hardly calling at Singapore. Thousands of jobs laid off there.

And then there was the oil refining and storage business. Only yesterday I read a report that Qatar is building the largest port that can take even the largest tanker in the world. They are also building huge storage and refining facilities and have openly declared that they want to take the business away from Singapore. They have the added advantage of being located next to the source. They have deep pockets and they can do it. There goes the shipping and oil refining and storage business. Thousands of jobs gone there.

And then you have the tourist industry with hotels and retail. Sorry that's gone too. With the deepening recession in China, they are no longer coming. As for others, the shopping is non existent since prices for products in Singapore are 3 times the price anywhere else. Why would anyone want to shop in Singapore when they can get the same item at a fraction of its price in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. And as for tourism, there is nothing to see in the concrete jungle. Unless you want to see glass multi storey buildings, there is no reason to come to Singapore.

And then you had manufacturing but that too is dead, due entirely to the fault of this government who think they know everything. When they increased apartment rent which the islanders pay to the government to a point where the poor citizen can hardly afford, wages have to shoot up sky high. At these rates no foreign investor would want to set up in Singapore and use Singaporean labor. It is simply too high. So what do they do, they employ wetback foreign cheap labor as a result of which locals are unemployed but yet have to pay the astronomical apartment rents.

Which is no wonder that the locals have taken to killing themselves in large numbers. When you have no job, no money and a family to support with no state welfare support whatsoever, what else can you do? The suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.

The problem is unique in the island because of the sort of people they are, carefully programmed into a docile and submissive people who live in fear of their government. A people who have been told that they do not have to think, but leave the thinking to the state and the rulers.

The difference between the Australian or New Zealand population and that of Singapore is this. In Australia and New Zealand, you have and entire population of the country thinking and creating new ideas. Whereas in Singapore, the thinking is done only by a handful of people who rule. The rest are told not to think but await instructions from the handful who do. This is why an island like Singapore is hardly getting anywhere. Because you have a dearth of thinkers and too many followers. You have far too few people thinking. Whereas in a country like Australia, despite economic problems the people pull through with their imagination and innovation and the human spirit always manages to ride any storm.

Of course a people who are free tend to respect their government. That is why Australians and New Zealand are proud of their countries and stay behind to make it work. In Singapore on the other hand most people have total disrespect for their government and their judiciary whom they consider corrupt (the ministers pay themselves several million dollars ) and the judges Kangaroos. In a recent poll taken in Singapore, two thirds said if given a choice they would emigrate to the West.

But unfortunately  for the island, it is too late now to tell them to think. Independent thinking is impossible in the island anymore as things stand. What if you thought that a better system of government should be introduced? You would be immediately arrested and jailed by their Kangaroo judges. As you can see the only ones who succeed are those who simply go along with the government, never mind what they thought privately. If you have to be a hypocrite to succeed, what sort of ideas do you expect from such people?

The birth rate is now almost zero, thanks to the Zika virus. In the past the Prime Minister used to tell his subjects in their state controlled media to procreate. Now since he knows it is futile, he has  stopped doing it. As for the mounting brain drain, in the past he had gone to the capitals of the world to plead with Singaporeans and the majority who have given up their Singapore nationality to return home. Since no one wants to return, he has given up that too. He used to have news articles with pictures in his paper, of cities like San Francisco meeting former Singaporeans. Since these news articles tend to encourage more Singaporeans to leave like those abroad rather than persuading anyone to return, he has stopped reporting on overseas Singaporeans.

Lets face it, Singapore has simply nothing to offer the foreign investor anymore. There is no cheap labor, there is no shopping since prices are too high, the casinos are empty since the Chinese have no money, and there is nothing to see in the island for tourists.

Lastly the money laundering business in Singapore is slowly coming to an end. The Americans came down like a ton of bricks against Swiss banks demanding the name of American citizen account holders and threatened to ruin the Swiss economy unless they complied. To make sure they mean business, the US government commenced action in Miami federal court against UBS. As expected the Swiss complied. And what is more they began discouraging American account holders from investing in Swiss banks because it was too much trouble.

Many of them fled to Singapore. Now the US government is coming down hard on Singapore to stop money laundering. American investors no longer find Singapore a safe haven either. Today I read the news that India is demanding a revision of their double taxation treaty with Singapore. Mauritius had already agreed to tax the income at the source which will come into effect early next year. India has demanded the same of Singapore which has requested more time. Knowing India I am sure they would not tolerate any hanky- panky from this little pipsqueak of an island. Take my word, Singapore will submit to India and if they don't, you can expect fireworks. If Lee Kuan Yew's son thinks he can get away with it, he simply does not understand India. Remember India does not need tiny Singapore. It is Singapore that needs India.

Following the US and India I expect other countries whose citizens launder their money in Singapore to demand their share of it. Once that happens, you can see the end of one more sector of the island economy collapsing, the money laundering business.

And then you have sea level rise from which there is no escape. The entire island is a mere few inches above sea level and down town Singapore where all the businesses are is no different. Today the island suffers from flash floods almost every other day. Progressively as the island gets hotter, the flooding can only be higher and more frequent. The government has no answer to the problem for obvious reasons, because there are none.

If Australia or New Zealand faces these problems that Singapore does, no one would be unduly worried. Why, because the Australians are a thinking people, an independent people who can think of new ideas. Singaporeans under 50 years of dictatorship have become so docile, so timid, so afraid that they simply cannot think anymore. Unless the state can come up with some ideas the island will collapse. And from what we can see, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his dictatorship have run out of ideas.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525