I already know how to commission a totally new breed of robots that can function in SWARMS or DROVES, that can fly, move over land and sea, and co-ordinate any form of attack or defence, and there are different models for different weapons, but they are all controlled by a commander with everything preprogrammed to meet any threats. – Contributed by Oogle.
“Once you have learned a overall mass of knowledge and able to understand, apply to anything, you would have mastered many skills.” – Contributed by Oogle.
My son ask me, how do I master Chinese?
Here is my solution :
1) Start by learning and understanding all the 4 word idioms.
2) Then learn how to mix and match words and meanings.
3) I never study chinese, just by learning about 1000 idioms out of about 8000 idioms and learning how to construct sentences from words and meanings, I got B4 for Chinese in my GCE “O” level. What I learn is from understanding and applying, zero from memory, or trying to memorise anything. If you learn everything, I am sure you will get a distinction.
4) You want to master chinese, you must first master ‘han yi ping ying’.
PS : That is the reason why majority of mainland chinese who do not learn ‘han yi ping ying’ will not learn english, and many english educated who do not learn ‘han yi ping ying’ will not learn chinese. I can type a full chinese document using ‘han yi ping ying’, but I can never do it with a ‘chinese’ keyboard.
– Contributed by Oogle.
“In a statement, the AGC said it would respond to any words or actions that insult a particular religion or race, or seek to engender hatred among races or religious groups, or which suggest that the Government is using race or religion for its own purpose.” – Contributed by Oogle.
A-G CHAMBERS TO TAKE ‘A FIRM LINE’
The Attorney-General’s Chambers said yesterday that it would take “a firm line” in dealing with “heinous” words or deeds.
In a statement, the AGC said it would respond to any words or actions that insult a particular religion or race, or seek to engender hatred among races or religious groups, or which suggest that the Government is using race or religion for its own purpose.
It was replying to queries it has received on the general principles as to when investigations would be conducted and action taken against people.
The statement came after the April 19 arrest of cartoonist Leslie Chew, who is being investigated under the Sedition Act for “a series of racially insensitive cartoons which are circulating online”.
The AGC statement noted that “there are hundreds of commentaries…on socio-political matters both in the mainstream media and online”, many of which “do not contravene the law, and no legal action will be taken by the AGC on behalf of the State”.
But due to the importance of racial and religious harmony to society and peaceful living in Singapore, the AGC urged Singaporeans to “remain vigilant against any threats to racial and religious harmony” as “words or deeds touching on race or religion have the potential to create fault lines within our society”.
Any responses from the AGC would “depend on what is uncovered by investigations”.
The AGC said that “where comments are made in the heat of the moment, or by relatively immature persons who did not know better, a more nuanced response may follow”.
It added “any statement or action that seeks to impugn or undermine the independence of the Judiciary” will similarly be met with action from the AGC because “the rule of law is another fundamental tenet of our society”, and “unwarranted allegations of bias or partiality strike at the heart of the judicial process”.
Hoe Pei Shan
SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has said the government loses “hundreds of millions” of dollars when constructing public flats.
He made the point on Thursday night at a dialogue session on housing issues.
This comes amid calls from some quarters for land costs to be taken out from the pricing of public flats to make them more affordable.
Mr Khaw also hinted at several other changes to come, such as subsidies for executive condominiums.
During the national conversation session on housing issues, many were concerned about the affordability of home prices.
Evalyn Khoo, a mother of two, said: “I’m concerned about the home asset value. I’m also concerned about how the younger generation can actually afford a house for themselves in the future.”
Participant Philip Lee said: “I think in the past three years or so, there has been more anxiety in the market because even Singaporeans couldn’t get properties through the Build-To-Order (scheme) and they have to resort to the resale market and I think if there is sufficient supply channelled to BTO, we may see more happy Singaporeans and possibly less demand in the resale market and hopefully the prices will be within range.”
With regard to calls for price of new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to be de-linked from land costs, Mr Khaw said it may be politically easy to say land is free because it belongs to everybody, but that is not the case.
He said the price of land is tied to acquisition costs, reclamation and the building of infrastructure around it.
Mr Khaw said: “You need to acquire a piece of land; you need to reclaim a piece of land. All those costs money to taxpayers and we are just trustees of taxpayers and those costs are to be accounted for. And even when you have got that land prepared, land is only valuable when we invest in infrastructure, roads, MRT… And all those costs billions of dollars. So to say that land cost is a pittance and therefore should be excluded from total construction costs… I myself think it is not quite an appropriate argument.”
He also revealed that the Housing and Development Board, which is the developer for public housing, is losing money for every flat it sells.
He said: “Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars of losses were incurred by the HDB and that’s why MOF (Ministry of Finance) has to give the HDB an annual grant, otherwise the HDB will be in the red. It cannot be forever in the red, because there’s no way it can make money. Because every unit that we sell, we lose money, HDB loses money. The accounting for the HDB is deficit accounting. So if you incur a S$300-million loss, there is a grant of S$300 million that covers it. That is how we operate the HDB.
“Let us not perpetuate this talk about HDB is making money out of building houses because if it was so simple, life would be straightforward, but that’s not the case.”
The HDB pays market rate for its land and construction costs. When it prices flats below market rate, it incurs a housing deficit.
A recent report said the deficit is now in the region of about S$1 billion a year, including other costs such as upgrading.
The National Development Ministry told Channel NewsAsia: “The cost of building HDB flats includes the cost of land, design, construction, financing and other project-related costs. It varies from project to project and year to year. Averaging over the past three years, the Home Ownership Programme costs HDB S$874 million per year.”
Mr Khaw added that the government has to offer more subsidies with its ramped-up flat supply.
One area where subsidies are being reviewed is that for executive condominiums (ECs), which cater to Singaporeans who can afford more than an HDB flat, but find private property out of their reach.
The current household income ceiling for executive condominiums is S$12,000.
Mr Khaw said: “There is this sense of inequity here that the lower-income group is getting lower subsidies than somebody who is earning S$12,000, so something is wrong somewhere and therefore I think we cannot carry on the EC in this current mode.”
Mr Khaw also said he is confident that he can bring down the price of new flats in non-mature estates to four times the annual median salary of a buyer – down 30 per cent from the current 5.5 times. He is wary of some “transitional problems”.
He said there needs to be “distinct differentiation” between the cheaper new flats and those built earlier.
Mr Khaw said both the MND and HDB will need to sort out this issue over the next few months.
He said: “I am fairly confident of being able to do it but some groups already anticipate transitional problems, which is what I got to sort out. If yesterday you bought (a flat) at five and half years’ salary and tomorrow HDB announces a new pricing package, which is only (priced at) four years’ salary, you are going to cry ‘blue murder’ right?
“Therefore, I think we should not be prevented from offering a new pricing model but obviously there must be a distinct differentiation between the two products to explain why one is five and a half years and the one is four years.”
The national conversation session is the second in a series of about 10 dialogue sessions on housing issues. Participants were first broken up in small groups of six and then came together in a larger group where the conversation continued. The aim is to gather feedback from Singaporeans to shape future housing policies.
The topic of affordability will be further discussed at a future Our Singapore Conversation discussion.
Details can be found on http://www.mnd.gov.sg/HomeSweetHome
With the massive amounts of money I earn, I can built all the hospitals and staff them, provide free healthcare for everybody, and even provide 50% subsidy for all civil servants to buy new BTO flats, and still got money left to enjoy myself a trip round the whole world!
– Contributed by Oogle.