Wake Up Your Idea
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
  Excuse Me, Isn't This Littering?

Straits Times 1st October 2007
(Home Section - Pg H20)

Apparently, OCBC has embarked on a marketing campaign to re-image themselves as new and trendy. The cost of this re-branding is a cool S$5 million. And what are some of the 'smart-money' things they have done? As the picture accompanying the report shows - they have been busy littering. Some other stunts include taking up a whole 2-page spread in the ST and only having text covering a mere fraction to say 'Stay Curious'.

All I feel is irritation at such irresponsible use of funds. Luckily, I am not a shareholder, so it doesn't directly affect me. I really don't understand why so much money needs to be invested for a branding exercise when it is not suffering from any major setback. I seriously doubt any major improvements in performance that would justify such an obscene expenditure.

I believe they could have simply used the money to fund 10 start-ups ($500K each) and that would have created much more positive vibe as compared to this silly exercise. And coming back to the issue of littering, I don't think our poor aged cleaners would have been none too impressed the next day - more like 'Stay Furious' for them - who would have been tasked to clean up the balls left behind.

I wonder what would have happened if a local opposition politician (who is fond of doing stupid stunts himself) had embarked on something similar? I bet the authorities would have swooped in and swept away all indications of this stunt before anyone can say 'New Paper'. Not to mention, the architect of the hare-brained scheme would have been slapped and hammered with anything resembling an offence in the Penal Code et. al.

I suppose it is all a matter of perspective - the government's being the correct one, of course...
  Factoring Loans - Simply Brilliant
Straits Times 1st October 2007
(Home Section - Pg H19)
"Demand will come mainly from firms dealing in construction, say industry players."

"DBS, say industry watchers, is the largest in terms of market share, with more than a quarter of the factoring pie."

This is simply ingenious - something that can only be mastered by Singapore Inc. The premise is so simple yet incredibly implicative. The biggest 'users' of this type of loan are from the construction segment of the economy (which I hardly believe are 'small and medium enterprises' to begin with). And where do the large proportion of construction firms source for projects and contracts? Yes, my friends, our good old government.

Next, DBS is the biggest lender for these users. And who is DBS' biggest stakeholder? Bingo, it's the government at 27% - albeit through Temasek Holdings with a direct 12.28% interest and an indirect 15.15% through Maju Holdings which is itself is 100% Temasek-owned (source: DBS Annual Report).

So, basically, companies get to tender and secure a contract from the government worth $XXX and then go to DBS where they will get only 80% of $XXX immediately - with the rest being interest due to DBS. Nowhere does it state how much the interest rate is actually but based on the example of a $10,000 invoice being worth a $8,000 loan as stated in the report, that will be 20% - 'loanshark' rates, by the way, for a duration that should be about a year or less.

Once again, Singapore Inc comes up with an amazing strategy to (ab)use the concept of 'what thy giveth with the right hand, shall taketh with the left'...
In the pursuit of independent thinking, I offer you an alternative perspective...


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