Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Goodyear leaves Temasek

The topic has been practically talked-about to death on the blogosphere but something in this Straits Times article (Goodyear's exit questioned - By Gabriel Chen & Alvin Foo July 22, 2009) tickled me:

Mr Charles Kernot, a London-based mining analyst told Bloomberg: 'It may be that he went in with the understanding he would be able to develop a direct equity investment portfolio across the mining and oil and gas space. 'With all the market volatility and uncertainty among commodity producers, it may be the Singaporeans were not so sure of that strategy.'


I'm not sure if Mr. Kernot is referring to the leadership when he writes "the Singaporeans" ... because Singaporeans in general has no say ... absolutely zero, zilch, nadda ... in how Temasek is run or its strategy. We cannot even say "We're not really sure we like the direction Temasek is taking." because doing so gets us a "Mind your own business" response. In any case, if Mr. Kernot is indeed referring to the leadership, I'm offended too ... it's "our" money. How the Singapore leadership feels about things does not necessarily square up with how Singaporeans feel about things, so he should have made that distinction clear.

Meanwhile ... a thought just occurred to me ... even if Temasek does make ooodles and tons of money from its investments, how do Singaporeans know if the profits even go back into making our lives better? Where do the profits go? Back into making more money? Into our reserves? And if the money never makes it back into society, then what's the point of screaming about the losses in the first place? It is not as if we're gonna see any benefits from the profits!

3 comments:

skeptic said...

Our president is not doing his job in protecting our reserves. I am sure Singaporeans are regretting voting for him.. wait we didn't!!

The last time we had a president do his job, the govt shut him up and even refused to give him a state funeral. Poor President Ong. :(

I am sure Mr Nathan will get a state funeral when he dies but the future history books would write about how he stood by and watch while the city state burned.

Kaffein said...

Even if Temasek, and for that GIC profits substantially, the monies have not gone back to Singaporeans substantially. Check out your CPF returns vs the returns of GIC/Temasek.

Any 'excess' is kept as 'reserve' to save for a rainy day. Well this global meltdown is a rainy day, but the leaders didn't think so.

Kaffein

Chee Wai Lee said...

Skeptic - our very own Nero huh? I used to (and still somewhat do) consider Ong Teng Cheong a PAP crony, but I'm nonetheless impressed that he actually tried to do his job. I also remember that when he tried, I, as a teenager, had NO idea he did! And even if I did, I'm not sure how I would have reacted then ... indignant rage? or just nonchalance? I do recall losing respect for Goh Chok Tong when he publicly mauled Catherine Lim, however.

Kaffein - I know :(. I was thinking about writing an article about how HDB conservancy fees are really a disguised 2nd-tier taxation. They use the same tactics there ... collect TOO much money, keep it as "reserves" to grow for that "rainy day" that never shows up. What kind of "rainy day" do individual GRCs have to expect anyways? It is not as if we are self-governing entities like States or Provinces. If something bad happens to one GRC, then it is likely the country as a whole is affected ... shouldn't such a "rainy day" be handled by our vast national reserves? Why double-tax us for yet-another "reserve"?