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Old 2013-03-20, 10:45   Link #27081
SaintessHeart
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I wish article writers would think before writing "XXX can benefit from Singapore's lessons."

Come on, how easy is it to administrate a land size 100x times that of my country's?
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Old 2013-03-20, 10:46   Link #27082
willx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
I wish article writers would think before writing "XXX can benefit from Singapore's lessons."

Come on, how easy is it to administrate a land size 100x times that of my country's?
Easy! Just split the land into plots each the size of Singapore and administer them separately?
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Old 2013-03-20, 11:02   Link #27083
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
Easy! Just split the land into plots each the size of Singapore and administer them separately?
We are only 710 sq km.

- US is 9,827,000 sq km, 13,841x larger.
- China is 9,706,961 sq km, 13,672x larger.
- Europe is 10,180,000 sq km, 14,338x larger.

And how many people do you think you can hire to administrate each piece? The country can go bankrupt just by paying each regional administrator the same amount as our ministers to do their work for 1 day!

That is no different from letting the corporatists take over.
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Old 2013-03-20, 11:28   Link #27084
Dhomochevsky
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The keyword here is city-state.
Comparing a state whose whole territory is downtown-city with one that streches a whole continent including huge, almost unpopulated areas and trying to read advise out of this is so stupid, I didn't even read past the first paragraph.

The whole situation is so very different in every aspect, political, economic, social... it just makes no sense.
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Old 2013-03-20, 11:41   Link #27085
mangamuscle
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Old 2013-03-20, 12:06   Link #27086
Bri
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Stiglitz is one of the top minds in the field and what he says deserves a bit more attention than the usual quacks in editorials.

The size of the country is fairly irrelevant to the points he discuses. He states a number of points that have helped equality in two successful economic regions in the world. Promoting home-ownership and savings, implementation of progressive taxation, collective bargaining for wages, and investment in research and education.

He suggest this leads to an improved economic outcome compared to the more predatory form of capitalism now in place the US and in case of the Nordic countries ultimately leads to better political representation. I can't really fault his argumentation.
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Old 2013-03-20, 12:08   Link #27087
willx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
Stiglitz is one of the top minds in the field and what he says deserves a bit more attention than the usual quacks in editorials.

The size of the country is fairly irrelevant to the points he discuses. He states a number of points that have helped equality in two successful economic regions in the world. Promoting home-ownership and savings, implementation of progressive taxation, collective bargaining for wages, and investment in research and education.

He suggest this leads to an improved economic outcome compared to the more predatory form of capitalism now in place the US and in case of the Nordic countries ultimately leads to better political representation. I can't really fault his argumentation.
Singapore has relatively low levels of home ownership. Most of the housing for the non-uber wealthy is state owned. U.S. policies regarding encouraging home ownership helped cause the financial crisis. Carry on.
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Old 2013-03-20, 12:16   Link #27088
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Westboro Equality House: Aaron Jackson Paints Rainbow Home Across From Anti-Gay Church

In your face, Westboro!

However, when will people learn to stop feeding the trolls?

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Old 2013-03-20, 12:38   Link #27089
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
Singapore has relatively low levels of home ownership. Most of the housing for the non-uber wealthy is state owned. U.S. policies regarding encouraging home ownership helped cause the financial crisis. Carry on.
Depends on your definition of ownership, the statistics certainly don't agree with your statement of fact. I have little knowledge of Singapore, but from what I understand is people there can buy publicly developed social housing over time through their compulsory savings plans. In the end they fully own the house.

The US policies by Clinton and Bush encouraged taking on mortgage debt, not saving, which is a rather important part you left out. Without repayment of the mortgage loan, ownership becomes more of a risky form of renting.

Good try though.
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Old 2013-03-20, 12:47   Link #27090
willx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
Depends on your definition of ownership, the statistics certainly don't agree with your statement of fact. I have little knowledge of Singapore, but from what I understand is people there can buy publicly developed social housing over time through their compulsory savings plans. In the end they fully own the house.

The US policies by Clinton and Bush encouraged taking on mortgage debt, not saving, which is a rather important part you left out. Without repayment of the mortgage loan, ownership becomes more of a risky form of renting.

Good try though.
Of course I'm a troll and I know nothing of which I speak. Here's some cursory information about the Singapore housing market:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_...g_in_Singapore

85% of the population lives in government owned housing. The houses can and are sold on 99 year leases at subsidized cost for a majority of the population. Our Singaporean forum-goers can comment further but my colleague and junior whom are both from Singapore have largely commented on the fact that it is tightly and strictly controlled market and housing is on a per application basis (I have heard anecdotally but cannot confirm that there is some selective bias based on policy decisions, ie. families, education, etc). I have also been told that the wait-list can be several years. So if you want to completely alter the U.S. real estate market and basically make it no longer a free market and appoint a board to manage every single parcel of residential home development in the U.S. go ahead.

But of course I don't know anything and I'm just "trying" .. to .. do something?
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Old 2013-03-20, 14:31   Link #27091
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
So if you want to completely alter the U.S. real estate market and basically make it no longer a free market and appoint a board to manage every single parcel of residential home development in the U.S. go ahead.

But of course I don't know anything and I'm just "trying" .. to .. do something?
The article doesn't suggests to change the fundamentals of the US housing market, nor copying the Singapore situation. However it suggests something can be learned from policies stimulating both house ownership and savings as opposed to highly leveraged ownership.

If you make a statement that contradicts common perceptions, you may just want to add some argumentation instead of moping. There is no need for the bruised ego act.
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Old 2013-03-20, 14:55   Link #27092
willx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
The article doesn't suggests to change the fundamentals of the US housing market, nor copying the Singapore situation. However it suggests something can be learned from policies stimulating both house ownership and savings as opposed to highly leveraged ownership.

If you make a statement that contradicts common perceptions, you may just want to add some argumentation instead of moping. There is no need for the bruised ego act.
How are my statements contradicting common perceptions? We have Singaporean residents on this forum, the rest is all available at your fingertips with just a little cursory research. You stepped out and stated that we should not dismiss this because of who Stiglitz is and dismissed the people that said Singapore wasn't a good analog.

By the way, there was a reason I cited U.S. home ownership encouragement policies as problematic which you dismissed as irrelevant as they encouraged debt. Look at the writer of the article that you laud, Stiglitz, he was on Clinton's economic advisory council during his first term, has written about being pro-CRA (which is one of the policies that worked to ensure debt was being provided to less-affluent neighbourhoods) and pro-Fannie and Freddie as well as grossly underestimating their capital reserve requirements.

So, I will set aside the "bruised ego act" if you set aside whatever your intentions were dismissing the others reservations on this topic as well as whatever was behind your "nice try" below.
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Old 2013-03-20, 15:13   Link #27093
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
How are my statements contradicting common perceptions? We have Singaporean residents on this forum, the rest is all available at your fingertips with just a little cursory research.
A little cursory research suggests Singapore has high ownership rates which you simply dismissed as state owned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
So, I will set aside the "bruised ego act" if you set aside whatever your intentions were dismissing the others reservations on this topic as well as whatever was behind your "nice try" below.
The Singapore analogy was used to take a shot at the article without discussion of the basic idea. Simply because economic experiences learned in a city state can't be translated to a larger scale apparently. The second was just a simple retort to your 'carry on', which I interpreted as a sneer. Didn't expect it to hit a nerve.
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Old 2013-03-20, 17:48   Link #27094
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuroishinigami View Post
Nothing funny when you're on the opposite end of the riot, as in someone who get rich from hard work yet has to suffer the repercussion from the riot's collateral damage. Easy to say someone has to pay, but are you willing to be the one to pay when the situation arise even when you have nothing to do with the said matter at hand? Sure, Iceland might seems all nice right now, but that's because the riot is fairly tame and they don't mention the innocent victim who might be scarred for life.
A lot of people who "had nothing to do with the matter" are going to pay regardless.

(Though I don't think anyone here advocated bloody revolution.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhomochevsky View Post
You can not really compare the banking situation in Cyprus with that in Spain, Italy and so on.

As you said, Cyprus is a tax haven and they were paying really high interest rates.
Something like 4% to 5%.

For comparison, the interest rate in Germany is about 0.4%, while the inflation rate is somewhere around 2%. This is about the same in other european nations. We non-Cyprus europeans are losing our banked money continuously all the time, due to sub inflation interest rates. And for some reason we are not yet lynching the bankers (shouldn't we start soonish?).

But now for some reason, the people in Cyprus are on the barricades, when even if they all lose 10% of their money, they would still come out ahead of any other european, if they had their money banked in Cyprus for 3+ years. This seems a bit hypocrite to me.

Add to this, that the non-tax haven europeans had to use a huge amount of their tax money, to bail out banks and uphold the banking system. A banking system that Cyprus greatly profits from. This too is money lost for us, even though it did not directly disappear from our bank accounts (it never got there in the first place).
Not so much lost for the people who used Cyprus as a tax haven, because well... that's the point of tax havens right? To not pay much taxes.

So with this in mind, I think it's understandable that I am not feeling a lot of sympathy to the people who have their money in Cyprus banks and are screaming 'EVIL EU' right now...
I don't have a lot of sympathy for those big account holders getting taxed 10% either. I'm not so hot about the smaller getting 6.75%, though. (Not that I'd put the line between big and small at 100k)
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Old 2013-03-20, 19:12   Link #27095
Mentar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Cyprus doesn't have much of a choice. Either it takes the EU loan and burden itself with a huge debt for its size to save the oversized banking industry (which is hilariously irresponsible -- even now, the US is well on its way to another financial speculative bubble). In other words, letting ordinary Cypriots take the burden for a generation. Or it chooses not to, destroying local savings and foreign investment, causing short term havoc, but acquiring a clean sheet to start anew, which hopefully will be used wisely this time.
Are you aware how much Cyprus is dependent on the banking industry? If you take it away (and by letting the banks go boom that's what it means - noone would ever move money there for the next half eternity), there's nothing left. That's not "short term havoc".

Quote:
And in any case, regardless of the intentions of the EU authorities, which I actually think is pretty benign, or the culpability of the Cypriot government, which I think is actually pretty damning (the common people have little to do with it, as usual, but make no mistake people got rich off being the tax haven scheme and the ridiculously high deposit interest), their plan for the bailout deal is positively insane. The single most important element that holds together the great wispy cloud of lies and hopes that is the modern financial system is Trust. People *trust*. Without trust, all things fall apart.
Nice lofty thinking, but what you're overlooking is that the banks themselves are essentially bankrupt already. If the EU (or another lender) isn't willing to jump in and save the Cypriot banks, their customers won't lose 10%, they will lose much more (estimates go over 50%). We've had comparable cases in Latin America.

And now explain to me how to convince a German taxpayer to bail out dirty money from Russian oligarchs, especially while agent provocateurs are whipping the braindead masses into a violent frenzy by telling them that the Nazis are coming back. The 10% were also a suggestion by the _Cypriot_ government, by the way, but they at least gave the EU member states the impression that the pain was being shared. Now that they slapped _their own suggestion_ off the table as insulting, I can only say that my personal opinion is: Let them crash and burn.

Quote:
So the brightest minds of Europe (those not quite smart enough for CERN, at least) decide among themselves in Brussels and Frankfurt that the best thing to do is to violate one of the very key pillars of that Trust, and propose to levy a tax on the guaranteed savings of people.
0% for people with savings below 10k Euro. 6.75% up to 100k Euro, 10% beyond.

Am I supposed to feel pity for those people?

Quote:
Losing it all to a large scale bank failure and invoking the existing deposit guarantee system in the European Union (or even admitting that Cyprus cannot fulfill its obligations and therefore oops sorry about your life savings) is actually far better for the maintenance of trust than the act, or even the perception of a financial authority's intention to act, against that trust.
I can assure you that most of the EU would actually prefer this resolution. But it would totally screw Cyprus over, since it destroys its banking sector. Instead, the Cypriot government is threatening with suicide shouldn't the EU be willing to pay the money just like this. All the while their politicians insult the EU (particularly Germany) while demanding money from them. It's completely absurd.

Quote:
That trust is what Iceland sacrificed on the bloody altar to free itself (though it was small enough to weather the worst, the pain was distributed internationally, and its people had the political will to rebuild); that is what the EU which closed ranks during the start of the great crisis tried so hard to maintain, and now they're promptly shooting themselves in the foot over some ten billion bailout deal. Seriously wtf. Big money, but certainly not worth risking the Euro's very integrity over in a potential snowball effect.
Iceland was a very different case though, since it's not dependent on the banking sector at all. And the creditors were primarily Great Britain and the Netherlands - who could take the pain.

Quote:
Next thing you know, Spain faces a bank run, Italy faces a bank run, and the Euro collapses not because Cyprus needs a bailout or withdraw from the Euro, but because that insane proposal spooked everybody and ruined the all-important illusion of someone, somewhere being actually at the end of the great rainbow road with all the pots of gold.
Won't happen. Most of this is a tempest in a teapot anyway - the demise of the Euro has been predicted a few dozen times. When push comes to shove, the ECB will provide the liquidity, end of story. However, what Germany does (causing it to be universally hated in the PIIGS ranks) is to force that the budgets which spun out of control are being brought back closer to what they actually earn.

No, I don't see the Euro collapsing. Neither do the markets. The hysteria is mostly big media pushing for excitement combined with low-information citizens in personal dire straits reacting to nationalist screeds. It will blow over eventually.

Quote:
Hence the silly tinfoil hat act, "Maybe they figured they really do want to burn it all down lol "
I've got to admit that even I - who is as Europhile as you can get - sometimes wish to kick several countries in the south out of the Eurozone. Let them please be free and upright and truly democratic and whatnot... and leave them to clean up their messes all on their own. Let them borrow and print money till they drop. And then we talk again in 10 years and compare between them and those who stayed in the Eurozone and went through the necessary adjustments (e.g. Ireland, who did absolutely admirably).
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Old 2013-03-20, 19:37   Link #27096
ArchmageXin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri View Post
A little cursory research suggests Singapore has high ownership rates which you simply dismissed as state owned.

The Singapore analogy was used to take a shot at the article without discussion of the basic idea. Simply because economic experiences learned in a city state can't be translated to a larger scale apparently. The second was just a simple retort to your 'carry on', which I interpreted as a sneer. Didn't expect it to hit a nerve.
Bri, would you care to bring forth any kind of data to contrast with Willx? Not to question your argument, but would you care to bring forth some "cursory research" forth? Even if it is Wiki.
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Old 2013-03-20, 20:22   Link #27097
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentar View Post
Are you aware how much Cyprus is dependent on the banking industry? If you take it away (and by letting the banks go boom that's what it means - noone would ever move money there for the next half eternity), there's nothing left. That's not "short term havoc".
It's not like EU bailing Cyprus now would *not* encourage more dirty Russian money to flood in for more free EU bailout next crisis rolls around. The bailout will not save Cyprus. It would only push it along in such a way that you Europeans better get your act together in a hurry or it will fall again and then you Germans will get angry at another potential bailout.

You know too that financiers the world over have demonstrated shocking "pragmatism" with massive government bailouts that saved their asses. They saw it as an opportunity to loot some more, a total feeding frenzy.

Do you think that will stop?

Moreover, if they had taken the deal, the average Cypriot will be stuck paying back the EU, not Russian oligarchs with the big accounts who'd only get a one time hit. You should know with your criticisms of the USA that "trickle down" is bullshit and doesn't easily trickle down at all. You also said down in your post that you think they should live "within their means," well here's a chance. They *want* to now, even if they're saying it to spite Merkel.

So as far as I'm concerned, the people of Cyprus made the right decision, even if they made it from the "wrong" reasons...

Quote:
Nice lofty thinking, but what you're overlooking is that the banks themselves are essentially bankrupt already. If the EU (or another lender) isn't willing to jump in and save the Cypriot banks, their customers won't lose 10%, they will lose much more (estimates go over 50%). We've had comparable cases in Latin America.
I know that.

Quote:
And now explain to me how to convince a German taxpayer to bail out dirty money from Russian oligarchs, especially while agent provocateurs are whipping the braindead masses into a violent frenzy by telling them that the Nazis are coming back. The 10% were also a suggestion by the _Cypriot_ government, by the way, but they at least gave the EU member states the impression that the pain was being shared. Now that they slapped _their own suggestion_ off the table as insulting, I can only say that my personal opinion is: Let them crash and burn.
That's exactly what I said should be done -- my entire point was focusing on a different front, the threat of levying a special savings tax. And I've noted that I was aware -- if not entirely certain -- that the lowering of the savings tax ceiling is possibly an act of the Cypriot government.

No, what the EU should do is let the banks burn, then intervene and guarantee the EUR 100,000 deposit. I'm not 100% certain on whose responsibility it has been aligned in the deposit guarantee treaties (whether the recommended EU-wide standard is the responsibility of individual governments, or if the European Union as a whole guarantees everyone's), but it would instill confidence, in fact, of the "evil" EU having just saved the common people while not supporting the rot and not, well at least not more than 100,000 per each account, paying to save dirty money.

Quote:
And the creditors were primarily Great Britain and the Netherlands - who could take the pain.
I don't think they were very happy, given that they too were in a pretty bad spot, no?

And some have argued that at least a third of Cyprus' current crisis, in financial weight, comes from the Greek collapse.

Quote:
No, I don't see the Euro collapsing. Neither do the markets. The hysteria is mostly big media pushing for excitement combined with low-information citizens in personal dire straits reacting to nationalist screeds. It will blow over eventually.
I think you misunderstand. I like the EU -- Europhile here -- I think the Euro is a great idea. I think it would have totally worked sweetly if not for the fact that nations and banks and financial institutions utterly took advantage of it and forgot that the usual "lender of last resort" card is gone. I still think defending the continued existence of the Euro is worth the cost.

Which is exactly why I think the nutjobs in Brussels proposing this deal are on Dutch weed (there's actually a Dutch banker in there somewhere, no? ). They threaten to spook Spain and Italy and other markets just to get back at Cyprus' blackmail attempt.

Quote:
I've got to admit that even I - who is as Europhile as you can get - sometimes wish to kick several countries in the south out of the Eurozone. Let them please be free and upright and truly democratic and whatnot... and leave them to clean up their messes all on their own. Let them borrow and print money till they drop. And then we talk again in 10 years and compare between them and those who stayed in the Eurozone and went through the necessary adjustments (e.g. Ireland, who did absolutely admirably).
And here again you and many other Northern Europeans fall into a great, great trap:

They are turning you all against each other.

Throw off the propaganda. Most people, being people, like you and others, they work, they live, they shit, they do things in everyday life that they see others do. And if there's a widespread sense of largesse and they're not expert economists, they take a little something for themselves (or they don't even do that) -- try living in India without ever making bribes -- but it's not like we demand everybody to be expert economists in school these days, or ever. That's your average Spanish, your average Greek, your average Italian and yes, German and British and French and Dutch. You are all the same, hardworking people getting by however you can. Greeks want to work. They're all over the EU doing just that. You just said the media is low information, you know exactly the problem why they didn't "fix it at home."

Yet now you hate each other so much. Cypriots chant of Nazism, Germans spit on the "lazy" South.

Stop that. Please. It's sad to see, as a Europhile. Hate someone -- hate their governments, hate the irresponsible economists and high financiers (lower level workers in the financial industries are hardly to blame) and others with power and data and, despite everything, the public's trust to have foresight. Or don't hate and get on fixing things or letting them fail, whatever you feel like. But don't buy into that divisive stuff.

I also don't think the Irish are very happy about their own banks getting away, but you've got to ask Don about that I suppose.
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Old 2013-03-20, 20:30   Link #27098
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Bri, would you care to bring forth any kind of data to contrast with Willx? Not to question your argument, but would you care to bring forth some "cursory research" forth? Even if it is Wiki.
Sure,

government data:
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistic...ouseholds.html

Quickly scanned trough two articles from work intranet:
Chua, B.H. (2003) “Maintaining housing values under the condition of universal
home ownership”, Housing Studies, 18, (5): 765-780

Ronald, R. and Doling, J. (2010). Shifting East Asian approaches to home ownership and the housing welfare pillar. International Journal of Housing Policy, 10, (3): 233-254

and from a general wiki page on housing in Singapore
"More than 80% of Singapore's population live in HDB flats, with 95% of them owning their HDB flat."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_...g_in_Singapore
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Old 2013-03-20, 21:26   Link #27099
ArchmageXin
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It is interesting wiki mention HSB flats, as they seem to be government subsidized housing with very specific requirement for purchase, rent, or re-sell. I am not certain they can be considered real home ownership.


http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10321p....obuynewHDBflat

Perhaps both of you mis-understood each other? In a sense, you do "own" the home per see, however, with so many laws and government requirements, you are really still just a renter compared to western rights (For example if I own a home in America, I can sell, rent whatever unless I am in a subsided housing program), therefore, Willx is also right saying not many people in Singapore "own" homes in a traditional western sense.
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Old 2013-03-20, 22:19   Link #27100
ganbaru
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Obama skeptical of Assad claim on chemical weapons
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...03-20-22-17-14
Quote:
JERUSALEM (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States is investigating whether chemical weapons have been deployed in Syria, but he's "deeply skeptical" of claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime that rebel forces were behind such an attack
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