Robbery on the Road

Since the GE2015, I have not read Singapore news. I guess I've seen it all. A masochist population getting fucked in the arse, complains audibly but loving it all deep down. It is a never-ending cycle. Or worse, a vicious cycle. There is nothing more I will like to write and I believe no one wants to read either.

However since this one just came naturally, it would probably be one of the exceptions now and then. As I was filling my tank yesterday morning, I received texts from the overseas EDMW group about their cheapest petrol prices at their respective locations. The lowest was $1.05, after discount or something. I think it was from Melbourne. Definitely not Darwin, I remembered seeing Satki Yoda riling afterwards. It wouldn't be an update from Adelaide either, as IS does not drive and probably wouldn't bother monitoring fuel prices.

I filled mine at $1.01/L. Even at no discount 91 was still going for $1.05/L which wasn't too shabby for a pissed poor peasant like me. Since crude oil prices is currently at one of its lower points in years, it does not feel good to pay exceptionally high prices for fuel. When that used to happen to me, the Singaporean in me may feel "what to do", "it's like that loh" or "bo bian" but the human in me screamed, "KNNBCCB!" at whoever responsible for our constant bullying at every possible corner. Since the majority of Singaporeans around me were more Singaporean than anything, their apathy meant things were going to carry on for ... ever. I blame my hair loss on Singaporeans. Fuck all of you.

When Satki Yoda posted me some NT (No-man Territory) News, I was surprised to read what was done and published. It was a short but powerful statement you wouldn't read anything like in Shitty Times for 1000 years. It said,

CHIEF  Minister Adam Giles has asked for a “please explain” from fuel companies regarding the price of diesel.
He has given them 10 days to respond.
In a letter to major fuel companies sent late last week, Mr Giles said: “I am concerned about returns to historic ­behaviours by fuel retailers. I would like you to provide an explanation as to why fuel prices, and especially diesel prices, are not declining to the same extent as in other jurisdictions.”
Mr Giles told the NT News hewas prepared to enact government measures, including legislation, depending on the companies’ explanation.
“If as Chief Minister I have to write to fuel companies ­asking why prices haven’t dropped every time then maybe we need to enact legislation,” he said.
“Their explanation will ­inform what action the Territory Government may need to take to ensure Territorians have confidence that they are paying a fair price for fuel.”

I am a simple man with little education thus I am naive and easily satisfied. Just imagine. Just imagine, folks. Imagine our Transport Minister, whoever fuck he is this time round, on behalf and for the best interests of the citizens who voted for him, demanded Shitty Times to post an ultimatum to explain their cheating ways or face the threat of being legislated. 

I think I will rename my son after him. 

But no, they wouldn't even bother to do a wayang like that. We are "pro-business" and every Singaporean is expected to understand and accept that. However, here we are not trying to be "anti-business." We just want to be treated fairly.

Coincidentally, Shitty Times did publish their own opinion of this matter at the right timing. I might as dissect the crap for you the way I always do whenever I read their ... "news".

Article was written by a "Senior Transport Correspondent", whatever that means. Another way to tell people you are old I guess. The article is available online [here] if you care to smear your eyes with shit. The post started with this paragraph 

THERE is one main reason why pump prices in Singapore do not seem to fall as much or as fast as crude oil prices - taxes.

Senior Transport Correspondent might as well end the article. That was enough to explain things without going into the details. Singaporeans always laugh at us for paying high income tax in Australia. "Bodoh!" they said. "We get to keep our money!" they said. Well, if you want to compare things in absolute terms, one of these days when I have nothing to do after dinner I'll list down the taxes that we actually pay on both shores and see who is the real sucker. The only reason that I have yet to do that is because to Singaporeans, only income tax matters. The other taxes that they pay does not count. Thus, why bother.

Alright, if tax is the main reason why petrol is being sold at $2.10/L today, how many percent did the Government actually imposed on it? Bear in mind under a free market there is no way kiosks in Australia can sell fuel cheaper than kiosks in Singapore, simply because Singapore export a large bulk of refined fuel to Australia. It was explained a long time ago [here] However, with a little stroke of care from the SG Government, fuel on the Singapore streets is selling around 2x the price of those on Perth streets. Singaporeans pay low tax huh? If you are paying $200 a month for fuel, you are probably paying $1,200 a year on fuel tax. Small change to most Singaporeans I guess. Remember though, that is not the only tax you pay if you care to look around carefully.

Senior Transport Correspondent then wrote this,

Also, there is usually a lag between price movements of crude and refined products. Retailers have to sell off the "high cost" petrols in their inventory before they can start repricing their fuels.

But having said all that, oil companies are profit-motivated businesses; and it would not be a surprise if they delayed downward adjustments for as long as possible. If prices moved the other way (up), the adjustment tend to be faster.

Usually huh? What we really expect from a Senior Transport Correspondent is a strong opinion whether these "usual practices" are fair to the consumers and not reporting things as it is. While other businesses often have to offer promotional prices while "clearing stock", only fuel companies in Singapore are kawan kawan selling their expensive old stock at the SAME prices everyday. Where is the competition here? If businesses (fuel or otherwise) delays their downward adjustments, that is when we need the Ministers do grab some throats and wake up their ideas. That doesn't happen but we are happy to vote for those capable men. 

Oh by the way, do take the advice of the Senior Transport Correspondent to ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure at all times and also, save fuel usage as much as you can. Just don't habour the silly hope that fuel prices will come down because of your collective efforts to reduce demand. In case you don't know, reducing supply will simply counter your reduced demand to keep the price constant. Who will check on them on your behalf anyway?