Guilt-edged investments: Singapore’s latest ponzi scheme explosion

I like to think that all of JRE’s readers would be smart enough to run a mile if they saw an investment advertising returns of “20-25% per year guaranteed!”. Unfortunately, a phenomenally large number of Singaporeans and Malaysians weren’t:  KUALA LUMPUR - A gold-trading business shut down [in October] by Malaysian authorities for suspected illegalities may have raised as much as US$3 billion (S$3.66 billion) from its clients, a government official said Wednesday.

Signed: Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

Singapore made a significant change to its laws recently, after years of lobbying from human rights groups: from next year, live-in maids (most of whom are migrant workers from Indonesia or the Philippines) will be given one day off a week by law. (You might be a bit surprised to find that under current Singaporean law, “foreign domestic workers” can legally be made to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for a wage that would be sub-minimum-wage if Singapore had a minimum wage.

China’s exchange problem

From yesterday’s FT: China has an exchange problem - specifically, it has too many of them: The Chinese government has launched a crackdown on hundreds of unregulated electronic equity and futures exchanges that have sprung up in recent years to trade everything from fine art and commodities to insurance products. The country’s State Council, or cabinet, published a notice on Thursday announcing a campaign to “clean up and consolidate” the many exchanges that have been approved by local governments hoping to foster financial markets in their jurisdictions.

It’s like ten thousand spoons, lah, when all you need is a knife

I was having dinner tonight with a Berkeley-based friend, and he had one particular question about Singapore: “Look, I saw this video on Youtube, the Fun Pack song.” “The _Bad Romance _parody?” Side note: a bellringer at UC Berkeley went rogue last year and played Bad Romance on the Campanile, which is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. “Yeah. Was that a joke, or was it for real? And if it’s real, has the entire country had an irony bypass?

Charles Ponzi sues China for copyright infringement

This FT opinion piece, by China Confidential’s James Kynge, paints a worrying picture of the current state of Chinese business lending: Beijing, which has wielded financial control as a key tool of Communist party power, now finds itself largely at the mercy of an unregulated collection of trust companies, private banks, kerb lenders and loan sharks. _ _ While the trust companies, the largest and most established segment of the shadow system, are mostly registered businesses with established offices, the multitude of “underground” operators exist in a netherworld of suitcase accounts and unsecured loans.