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Lee Discusses Babies, Freer Debate in Speech - Liquidity crunch. Hold on to your money

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    http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000080&sid=aNsM8spZiUgw&refer=asia Singapore s Lee May Discuss Babies, Freer Debate in Key Speech Aug. 20
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2004
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      Singapore's Lee May Discuss Babies, Freer Debate in Key Speech
      Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is expected to encourage more debate -- and procreation --in his first major speech since becoming premier last week, analysts and business executives said.

      Lee, 52, is expected to use his maiden National Day rally speech on Sunday to issue a call to overcome a declining birth rate and address a shift in jobs to countries such as China and India, where costs are lower.

      ``There will be quite a bit on procreation -- what are the incentives for having more babies,'' said Jennie Chua, chief executive of Singapore's Raffles Holdings Ltd., which operates 37 hotels worldwide. ``He will talk about the importance of the younger population to his government and Singapore's future.''

      The elder son of Singapore's first premier, Lee Kuan Yew, the new prime minister has said his appointment signals a ``generational change'' in a city where more than half the four million population were born after independence in 1965. In a speech after his installation ceremony, he pledged the government would be in tune to the ``needs and aspirations'' of Singaporeans and give them more say in issues affecting their lives.

      ``He's going to open a few more doors for Singaporeans to vent their happiness or disaffection,'' said Antonio Rappa, associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore.

      Baby Bust

      The younger Lee, who has been finance minister for the past three years, has overseen a revival in the city's economic fortunes from the effects of Sars last year. The $91 billion economy is projected to grow as much as 9 percent in 2004, as quickly as China, the world's fastest-growing major market.

      Now, the problems are social. Birth rates have fallen to a record low, divorce has reached a two-decade high and the jobless rate, at 4.5 percent, is about three times higher then before the Asian financial crisis of 1997, according to government data.

      In his speech Sunday, Lee will unveil a slew of measures --such as longer maternity leave and better financial incentives --to encourage couples to have more children, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said this week, the Straits Times reported.

      Incentives offered since 1987, including tax rebates and cash grants for having two or more children, have failed to create a baby boom. Singapore's fertility rate, the ratio of births to the number of women of childbearing age, fell to a record low of 1.3 in 2003 from 1.4 in 2002, and compares with a population replacement rate of 2.1.

      `` A falling birthrate can affect the country's long-term growth potential,'' Sim Moh Siong, an economist at Citigroup in Singapore, said.

      Migrant Workers

      Fewer babies means the supply of younger and more productive Singaporeans will dwindle, hurting growth. The United Nations estimates Singapore will have just 8 percent of its population in the 15-to-24 year age group in 2030. That will compare with youth ratios of 13 percent in the U.S., 15 percent in India, and 20 percent in Pakistan.

      Migrants from China, Southeast Asia and India are making up the shortfall, for the moment.

      ``If the present situation continues and reliance is on migration, then it will change the dynamics of the society in one generation,'' said Mukul Asher, professor of public policy at the National University of Singapore. That ``will have political implications.''

      The People's Action Party, which the elder Lee helped found, has been in power for half a century and has all but two of the elected lawmakers in the 94-seat parliament.

      Sex & the City

      To engage with a population that increasingly gets unfettered access to news and information on the Internet, analysts say the new prime minister should further ease the rules that have built Singapore's reputation as ``a fine city'' -- so-called because of the instant penalties doled out for littering and other offences.

      Until a year ago, the government had bans on Cosmopolitan magazine, the ``Sex & the City'' television series, chewing gum, bungee jumping and bar-top dancing.

      ``Our people should feel free to express diverse views, pursue unconventional ideas, or simply be different,'' Lee said last week. ``We should have the confidence to engage in robust debate, so as to understand our problems, conceive fresh solutions and open up new spaces.''

      Lee, who replaced Goh Chok Tong, 63, said Singapore had changed since Goh took charge 14 years earlier from the elder Lee, who continues in his son's Cabinet as minister mentor. Goh, whose new Cabinet title is senior minister, ruled with what the younger Lee described as a ``softer touch.''

      Continuity, Not Change

      Still, Lee said in January the government would set so-called out-of-bound markers on topics. The government, which must hold new elections by 2007, has also pledged to maintain its ban on pornography and on debate that threatens religious or racial harmony.

      ``I don't think he is going to radicalize the system,'' National University's Rappa said. ``We will see more continuity than change.''

      To contact the reporter on this story: Amit Prakash in Singapore
      at aprakash1@...

      To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher
      Wellisz at at cwellisz@...
      Last Updated: August 19, 2004 20:51 EDT


      This message from Sammyboy's Alfresco Coffee Shop� on DelphiForums.com was forwarded to you

      Forum: the Sammyboy's Alfresco Coffee Shop� Forum
      Subject: Liquidity crunch. Hold on to your money
      From: (HENDRIXTAS)
      To: (ALL)
      DateTime: 20/08/2004 21:13:57

      "Another sucker, Another bankrupt!"

      The snide comments from passers by who see the shutters
      down in a shop/business that opened barely 6 months ago.
      The limited savings he had collected from his CPF got
      washed out from his POSB savings account and into the
      pocket of the fat cat shop landlord, as rental payments.
      The sucker is obliged to complete his rental contract whether
      he is broke while doing that.

      The caustic passer by comments are not wrong in their content.
      The fellow who started the business came with high hopes,
      sincerity and willingness to slog hard. But he missed out
      one thing. There is not enough liquidity in the market
      to support so many retail outlets in HDB estates as well as
      in various shopping malls. The money flow is thin and there
      are just too many retailers chasing too little dough.

      This is the unfortunate story that is being repeated day in day
      out all over Singapore. Hawker stalls folding up, shops downing
      their shutters and people being bankrupted and worse, their
      entire pathetic life savings eroded into thin air.

      Who is to blame for this rot ?
      The Sing inc media, the TV, the Crooked Times, who all play
      a big part hyping up "feel good" stories of success and
      good profits. Making simple people fall for the bait and lose
      their all.

      You may say , what is wrong in the news media hyping up ?
      After all the individual has a choice to believe or ignore.
      You are right. The choice is with the individual, just as in
      many other countries.

      But then you see...in other countries you have an open media.
      When one newspaper hype something, the other puts forward the
      opposing view point, in this case, the liquidity crunch and
      why venturing into business can be risky at the moment etc etc.

      The 'sucker ' is now better informed, better alerted and cautious.
      In other words, he has the privilige to make an informed decision
      whether to jum in or not. If he does, then it is his fate.

      But over here, we have a very controlled media and over the years
      a lot of the reporters of this controlled media have learnt to
      play the game to their benefit - prostitute themselves to vested interests. So many private property and condo buyers are having sleepless nights thanks to this irresponsible an unethical controlled media hype.

      They do it well for their MIW masters. But they screw up so many lives
      too. Not that they have any choice to warn and caution people about the risks. If they do that, they get screwed.

      The bottom line is this. There is just not enough liquidity in the market to support so many retail shops and businesses.

      Tell your old folks to keep their money safe and in the bank.
      At the moment cash is king. For old age and sickness.

      To hell with these feel good stories. Just take them around some
      coffee shops and HDB shop blocks and show them the empty stalls and thge regular change of old sucker sign boards with new sucker sign boards.

      How do you know when the liquidity cruch will be over ?
      When the stock market start to really pick up. Not the 30 odd
      index linked counters that is prime pumped and manipulated by gahmen GLCs.

      But the braordbased picture in the equity market will tell the difference between cash crunch and easy liquidity.

      Now, you may ask why should this be allowed to happen, cause these bankrupts could end up as burden to the gahmen when they fall sick and have no money to pay medical bills etc.

      "No money ?. Sorry. Go home please";
      That is what the girl at the hospital admisison counter will
      now tell you after she key in your IC number into the computer
      to check your medisave balance.


      Minister Mentor Lee forecasts S'pore can grow 4-6% a year for next decade
      -By Hwee Goh, Channel NewsAsia

      SINGAPORE: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says the Singapore economy should be able to grow by 4 to 6 percent each year for the next 10 to 15 years.

      That's because growth conditions across the region are very strong.

      Speaking at a National Day dinner at his Tanjong Pagar constituency, Mr Lee explained why Singaporeans have every reason to be confident and not to over-react when crises strike.

      What the people need, said Mr Lee, is ambition and the dare to climb to greater heights.

      Mr Lee said: "We are a young country and from time to time, our people tend to over-react. So, when times go bad, everybody gets depressed and they think the world is coming to an end because we're not making the same progress like before and we're facing retrenchments. The difference between the present generation and my generation is not that the present generation is weaker but that they have not gone through the same hardship."

      Mr Lee added: "The future is ours to make and I tell the younger generation 'you have been tested in the last 6, 7 years - Asian financial crisis, SARs, Indonesia pressure, Malaysia pressure - you have not collapsed, you can make it provided you have the determination, you have the ambition, and you have the courage, the dare to seek new heights and take Singapore and your children up to a higher level of civilization.'" - CNA

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