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Many expats are sacked and going home to a miserable X'mas..

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 1:56 pm

ScoobyDoes: Couldn't agree more, although I was in Hong Kong in December, I found the food in the food court at shopping malls, double of what Singapore charge.

But I do agree, that tourism will be difficult unless it becomes Cheaper, like Denmark, it's difficulty to attract tourism is a long haul, although Singapore is specialising more in bio chemistry, and agricultural industries it will be almost impossible to become independent from it's main source of income.

Many ignorant people in Singapore are just not aware of the dependency Singapore has on the expat, and how it would effect the whole country, if expats pulled out.

The knock on effect of expats losing their positions is not a good sign, for what is to come, local unemployment is very real too.

I wouldn't expect any significant change in tourism for at least 10 to 20 years, like QRM stated.

The planning of the future is well on the way for Singapore and one major person, who took a taxi, wanted to go to the terminal 4 site, the actual recovery of land from the sea, is on going, terminal 5 will also come no doubt.

Recession does effect all, although even without a recession, Singapore must handle the cyclic ups and downs of the electronics industry, i guess all they are doing is to diversify there portfolio of offerings, to minimise risk.

Which makes sense not to rely to heavy on the electronics and other established sectors for export markets. Creating jobs in other sectors must be a plus, keeping the locals employed is just another task to solve in the long term.

There is no doubt, the government is not at all stupid, compared to the likes of many Countries, that squabble over politics and get nothing done at all, but line their own pockets.

It appears that Singapore is still a targeted Country for money laundering, according to the CIA fact book, does this mean the financial industry is still not clean in Singapore?

Resm, you are quite right, terminal 3 and the others are all suffering, with tourism down, but it's all part and parcel of the recession, like you say, the task will be difficult, but the government is quite firm, on its planning and to be honest, I am quite impressed with Singapore government results since i was first here in 1970.

I wish the UK could perform just as well, although that is a dream of 60 million other people too.

But what to expect when political parties lie and cheat their way into the hearts of blind people, and it happens in many many Countries.

Singapore quality of life, proves that it has done well in comparison, although some people are never satisfied, it would be wise for all locals to understand the importance of the expatriate in Singapore and the relevance on the Country as a whole, when expats start losing their jobs. There is a knock on effect, that will hit locals.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 2:33 pm

resm wrote:Having been working at terminal 3 for 8 month since the day of opening,
I can only wonder why or if they really go ahead with additional terminals.

QRM is right, there is a time lag when it comes to infrastructure. To wait till traffic booms to say "hey we need another terminal" is far too late. It takes years to build something like a terminal, and only weeks or months for people to make travel plans. That perfect balance will probably never be achieved so you have to decide which is worse - excess capacity some of the time, or over-capacity now and then. In terms of air travel, the latter is far more dangerous and costly, I would think.

Terminal 3 is a cold, unfriendly place. I don't like it at all, but it wasn't built to please me. It was built to handle large passenger numbers because of the sheer size of the new A380s. So I suspect it was designed so people have no reason to linger but to shuffle along and get up and down those planes fast. What I've heard anyway.

As for tourism and the economy in general, Singapore has never aimed to be lowest cost. Not that we want to be most expensive, but certainly to do well by undercutting everyone else is not the only, nor best, modus operandi. I don't like the politics here, but in terms of economics I think somebody got it right. So far.

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 3:04 pm

Well we've been away but we've just enjoyed this well written thread by all. WIMH, KSL, Scoobs, QRM as the usual suspects write very well and we congratulate you.

Aside from WIMH's comment about the A380, which IMHO is just an opportunity to crash more people into a mountain (sorry, ex-Boeing pilot!), can I (Mr.P) just take up on the airport comments.

SIN is uniquely positioned for both sea and air freight. However, there is a massive downturn in air freight within SE Asia (including AUS and NZ) as indicated in last weekend's issue of the Wall Street Journal. DHL are fourloghing tech crew, SQ Cargo are already furloughing tech crew, and a good friend of mine at FedEx is getting worried about his job as command. At Changi, there is a good sized freight facility backed up by some very good infrastructure to transit certain types of freight to shipping or road routes. Is another runway really necessary?

IMPO, no. Aircraft movements at Changi are some of the most productive in the world, and there is room for improvement (check the Changi corporate site for the details, and the US DoT site).

I had a conversation about Singapore's viability with someone on this forum a few months ago, and they wisely advised Ms. C and I on a few things. Backed up by Scooby's comments, when our neighbours are "cheaper" for tourists, medical tourism included, then we have our work cut out for us here in the LRD.

That being said, we love Singapore and all who call themselves Singaporean residents!

Not sure if I have added much value, but I hope I have.

P.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 4:41 pm

Welcome back Sierra. You write good English and therefore by the standards of this forum, add value. :)

sierra2469alpha wrote:SIN is uniquely positioned for both sea and air freight. However, there is a massive downturn in air freight within SE Asia (including AUS and NZ) as indicated in last weekend's issue of the Wall Street Journal. DHL are fourloghing tech crew, SQ Cargo are already furloughing tech crew, and a good friend of mine at FedEx is getting worried about his job as command. At Changi, there is a good sized freight facility backed up by some very good infrastructure to transit certain types of freight to shipping or road routes. Is another runway really necessary?

No, but neither is another beer. Why let that stop us? :P

Infrastructure projects are one way the government pump primes the economy in a recession. That certainly makes it necessary from the once again fashionable Keynesian viewpoint.

From a business viewpoint, costs (manpower, materials etc) are lower in a recession so it's actually a good time to invest in big-ticket items. Much better to build now than later when the global economy recovers and everybody becomes keen to build again and costs go up.

Terminal 1 (and even 2) are getting old and knowing us, we like new things so at some point the new terminals have to bear the load while the older ones are renovated or demolished to make way for some other spanking new project.

So... Necessary? No. Sensible? Yes.

sierra2469alpha wrote:I had a conversation about Singapore's viability with someone on this forum a few months ago, and they wisely advised Ms. C and I on a few things.

Like, don't give up your citizenship? :wink:

Singapore's viability has always been in question - when the nation was born, ever since, right up till today. And nobody knows that better than the powers-that-be, which explains their paranoia. Forever building, forever upgrading, forever pushing ahead, forever afraid to go into decline and become no more...

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 5:09 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:No, but neither is another beer. Why let that stop us? :P


Ms. C and I give up a beer? Not in our lifetime!

Wind In My Hair wrote:Infrastructure projects are one way the government pump primes the economy in a recession. That certainly makes it necessary from the once again fashionable Keynesian viewpoint...snipped because other people can read your great posts here :) ......

So... Necessary? No. Sensible? Yes.


sierra2469alpha wrote:I had a conversation about Singapore's viability with someone on this forum a few months ago, and they wisely advised Ms. C and I on a few things.


Wind In My Hair wrote:Like, don't give up your citizenship? :wink:

Singapore's viability has always been in question - when the nation was born, ever since, right up till today. And nobody knows that better than the powers-that-be, which explains their paranoia. Forever building, forever upgrading, forever pushing ahead, forever afraid to go into decline and become no more...


Fair points, WIMH - very salient points IMHO. Well done as usual.

Some more ideas for us all - as an expat who travels pretty widely throughout the world (although not as much as others here!) and someone who loves their new home here in SIN, I do wonder sometimes if the notion of building infrastructure without due consideration to the necessity of such infrastructure is given as much thought as perhaps it should? Your points, as always are very valid.

Going back to my example about airports - have a quick look at Hanoi, Vietnam's main international airport. Almost 1.5 hours out of the city, no infrastructure to get you to/from the airport apart from local bus/taxi. Half the airport is empty, and it has only two main runways (admittedly, very large runways). Built for the Chairbus A380 - nope.

So compare and contrast - at Changi we have an awesome airport (ok, T3 is a little cold etc., and T1 annoys me because they moved the smoking room because of the renovations!!!) 16 minutes home in a taxi or 34 minutes on the MRT - close for transit shipments (as I mentioned before re: freight).

Yes governments around the world, including the one from my citizenship, Australia, are trying desperately to ramp-up infrastructure projects because, as you rightly say, it creates jobs, and jobs create pay packets, which means people will buy their new TV's etc. and hence the economic flow-on. What, IMHO, is missing here is that many countries around the world have lacked even basic upgrades to their infrastructures - even the USA President Elect has said that rail and roads will be an economic priority; Rudd, the PM of Australia, says (albeit blandly) that infrastructure needs to be improved.

My point, however, is that during times of "healthy economies", these infrastructure works should have been carried out. Why? Well, where is the money going to come from? Seen the bond rates today?

So, we have the most efficeint seaport in the world, and a fairly efficient airport. given our strateguc (geographically) position, then is global trade declines (derr - it is already) then we should be able to shielf ourselves, as long as we remain COMPETITIVE. That means more flights per hour, more ship movements, better container clearing rates. We're up there - big time, but we need to compete with our neighbours.

Gosh, I rambled!

Mr. P

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 5:19 pm

ksl wrote:ScoobyDoes: Couldn't agree more, although I was in Hong Kong in December, I found the food in the food court at shopping malls, double of what Singapore charge.


Yes, food and the price of accomodation are the only things cheaper here, with only food being relative to tourism. Hong Kong has the benefit of still being Tax Free with the exception of tobacco and alcohol. Beer in the pub is still pretty cheap even at that.

I work, loosly, in the port industry here in Singapore and around the region and whilst Mr.P has mentioned declining trade impact on air freight, i see it impact sea freight. SQ just announced their cargo pilots will be given upto 30-months unpaid leave. Personally i think the airline should just give each pilot half the work and half the pay rather than just put them on leave but that's another issue.

Sea freight container cargo has so far collapsed 20-30% with more to come. PSA has invested huge amounts of money over the last 5-yrs to expand, expand, expand and now at a time of falling trade there are a lot of drivers going for "re-training" just to give them something to do while equipment sits idle or at a much lower useage.


WIMH: With regards Terminals 1 and 2, their age is the reason for current upgrading works facilitated partly by the shuffling of airlines. I still wonder if T3 is large enough to be able to handle SQ without the need to split between it and T2....... and to be honest if T3 is NOT large enough to handle SQ wholy then somebody screwed up in a big way! Some people tell me it is not large enough yet we have some SQ flights plus now a lot of other airlines.

In the same way Terminal 5 in Heathrow is finally showing the reason for its existance, consolodating all BA flights in a single building allowing for easier connections and transfers, so the same should have been envisaged here.

My parents, who have lived a lifetime avoiding Heathrow for flights to Hong Kong, KL and Singapore to visit us are now flying BA through T5 simply because it is now so much easier.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 6:22 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:My point, however, is that during times of "healthy economies", these infrastructure works should have been carried out. Why? Well, where is the money going to come from? Seen the bond rates today?

Theoretically governments should build up reserves in good times through taxes and investment, with enough of a budget surplus to use when times turn bad. Sadly, most governments have failed in this and operate with perpetual budget deficits that only get bigger in bad times. This is one reason I am grateful for our government here - for all their other faults, they have practised sound fiscal policies.

I honestly don't know how the US is going to fare in the long term, given its deficit is in the trillions (and I think Americans count more zeroes in their billions and trillions than we do, so that is an astronomical figure). At some point the financial system has to collapse, it has to declare bankruptcy, and start all over. Wall Street's already paid the price for over-leveraging. The government can bail out Wall Street. Who will bail out the government? Good luck to those counting on government payouts for their retirement.

If you looked only at balance sheets and cashflow statements, I'll wager Singapore is more viable than the US. I don't know about Australia, but I suspect you are in deficit most of the time also? Hence your question, which I would not think to ask because I know in our case there is money. Ask any Singaporean where the money's going to come from and you'll likely get the same answer: "From the Gahmen, of course." Ask an American or maybe Australian? More likely along the lines of "we'll just have to borrow some more, I suppose."

And just in case anyone thinks I'm bashing the US, of course not. Just using it as a stark contrast to Singapore in financial terms, to answer Sierra's question.

sierra2469alpha wrote:So, we have the most efficeint seaport in the world, and a fairly efficient airport. given our strateguc (geographically) position, then is global trade declines (derr - it is already) then we should be able to shielf ourselves, as long as we remain COMPETITIVE. That means more flights per hour, more ship movements, better container clearing rates. We're up there - big time, but we need to compete with our neighbours.

True. I'm sure the port authorities and private shipping companies are watching Klang closely:
http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ ... ports.html

Hong Kong and China are catching up, though those serve a huge domestic hinterland and may not be in direct competition with us, who deal mainly with transhipment:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_busiest_port

As for remaining competitive, here's another of our beloved firsts, in the area of port techonology. First to go wireless offshore:
http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communica ... 605,00.htm

In terms of airports, we are nowhere near the biggest or busiest. In fact we fell from 19th busiest in 2007 to 23rd in 2008. That should get a few people flapping! We do love to be at the top of the rankings tables for everything. Maybe that explains why more terminals:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_ ... er_traffic

We are, however, 11th in cargo traffic (23rd is for passenger traffic) so freight-wise we seem to be doing better:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_ ... go_traffic

Recently Hong Kong pipped us to be voted best airport in the world, which should have gotten another few people flapping:
http://www.worldairportawards.com/

Still, we can always whip out Business Travellers magazine which has been saying we are the best for 20 consecutive years:
http://www.getformesingapore.com/previo ... 0years.htm

Hope that information is useful to anyone interested. See, I'm a typical Singaporean - talk to me about competitiveness and I immediately want to know where I stand. Gosh, all this research is making me woozy. I'm off for a glass of wine to steady myself now. Cheers! :D

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 7:11 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:True. I'm sure the port authorities and private shipping companies are watching Klang closely:
http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ ... ports.html

Hong Kong and China are catching up, though those serve a huge domestic hinterland and may not be in direct competition with us, who deal mainly with transhipment:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_busiest_port


Just a couple of points.

Port Klang is doing quite well but generally the vessels calling in there are the same ones calling in at Singapore. If Klang is getting busier it just means shipping companies are doing more trans-shipments there than here, most likely as a cost control.

This is why PTP just over the border expanded so quickly, until PSA fought back so strongly in the last few years.



Hong Kong port is not catching up with Singapore, but is instead dropping off. HK was the busiest port for many years before it started swapping years with Singapore, before then falling behind.

This is because more traffic now goes through Souther China in the way a lot more traffic now goes through PTP and Johor. The difference in Southern China is that it is HK port owners that also run the ports and and around Shezhen so over all they don't loose out. The direct comparison here would be for PSA to own let's say Pasir Gudang.

The new port in Shanghai was due to overtake Singapore in 09 as the world's busiest but the slump in exports is putting that into question, though it's only a matter of time till they do.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 10:01 pm

ScoobyDoes wrote:Port Klang is doing quite well but generally the vessels calling in there are the same ones calling in at Singapore. If Klang is getting busier it just means shipping companies are doing more trans-shipments there than here, most likely as a cost control.

Ergo competition, no? Transhipment makes up 80% of our port business. Not sure what the point is.

ScoobyDoes wrote:Hong Kong port is not catching up with Singapore, but is instead dropping off. HK was the busiest port for many years before it started swapping years with Singapore, before then falling behind.

You measure in time, I measure in quantity. :)

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 11:01 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
ScoobyDoes wrote:Hong Kong port is not catching up with Singapore, but is instead dropping off. HK was the busiest port for many years before it started swapping years with Singapore, before then falling behind.

You measure in time, I measure in quantity. :)



Statistics only tell a story at the precise moment the numbers are counted, the truth can be something quite different......though I was measuring quantity in relation to time and not time by itself.

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Postby BodyBlitz » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 10:49 pm

I believe the negative sentiments is really something hung over from the way singaporeans are being cultivated by our own government.

National service and reservists though a needed entity for the island's defense and security often translate to many short comings for locals.

Companies sometimes prefer to hire foreigners because its gives better productivity and as you do not have an obligation to fill in the gaps in the work week as oppose to Singaporeans.

The term - NS for Singaporeans Jobs for Foreign talents most aptly refers to foreigners who undercuts the pay structure and work for less while living cost and investment in education bore by Singaporeans goes unjustified while still having the commitment to the national defense - an unwarranted burden that some don't enjoy.

The union here sucks and some people get screwed over, thats not to say that everyone anywhere is getting a good deal.

And not sounding too institutional, Chinese culture is a very closed one - like any asian countries - japan/korean too..

Foreigners are usually scrutinize as they see them more of a stranger, and when the government is welcoming them with open arms without any discrimination, with jobs at steak - any citizen would start to be xenophobic.

There will always be Xenophobes in any country, you can't help it like stupidity.

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Postby bluenose » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 7:07 am

Overpaid trash....serious jealousy and resentment it sounds like to me.
UK is in trouble as I noticed when home for xmas (it was hard not to notice), but they are getting on with it. I would like to see what happens when the recession hits here and for sure it will....when all the expats leave or many of them anyway, taking their money and their skills and ideas.
Maybe a few people will be wishing the expats were back with their ideas, money, buisness skills etc? At least they will have something to be resentful about :wink:

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Postby Addadude » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 12:59 pm

bluenose wrote:Maybe a few people will be wishing the expats were back with their ideas, money, buisness skills etc? At least they will have something to be resentful about :wink:


I don't know about our "ideas" or "business skills", but SG landlords will certainly miss our money!

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Postby ksl » Sun, 18 Jan 2009 1:56 am

There is certainly more underpaid expats, than there is overpaid expats! In fact it must be very close to slave labour!

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Postby carteki » Sun, 18 Jan 2009 9:48 am

ScoobyDoes wrote: WIMH: With regards Terminals 1 and 2, their age is the reason for current upgrading works facilitated partly by the shuffling of airlines. I still wonder if T3 is large enough to be able to handle SQ without the need to split between it and T2....... and to be honest if T3 is NOT large enough to handle SQ wholy then somebody screwed up in a big way! Some people tell me it is not large enough yet we have some SQ flights plus now a lot of other airlines.


My understanding of what is going on at Changi is that SQ is split over the T2 & T3 because if they moved completely to T3 then there would be no passengers in T2 and the businesses there would suffer. Also, I think that T1 is due to be closed sometime this year for refurbishment, which will move those airlines to T2 and SQ will then move completely to T3. This info is of the opening of T3 last year, so may have changed.


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