Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Progress for Singaporeans!!!

In the beginning of this year, your stingy boss might have finally relented as he ran out of excuses for not giving you a pay hike. Perhaps you finally got that 6% pay increase that you need so badly. You started to work on some financial planning, and discovered that finally you were able to save 3% of your salary.

Then the govt announced that GST hike of 2%. Oops there goes the pay hike. Then the price of necessities, taxi fare, bus fare rose quickly. Your pay hike turns into a pay cut eaten away by inflation. You start to feel sick of the whole situation. But you better NOT get sick because public hospitals and polyclinics have just announced fee hikes.

'I wasn't well, but I didn't go back as I would have to pay another $4.50'
-Singaporean quoted in Straits Times
You find that you can't even afford to feel sick about the whole situation...you're just so tired of progress...but then you cannot afford to be tired either because your bills are piling up from all the hikes so you have to work harder do more OT. You get fed up but can't do anything because you voted for upgrading instead of the feller who promised to make some noise for you in case your medical bills go up. You are now sort of stuck. You can only work harder under these circumstances.

Singaporeans we are on the march to top 1st world status. So you better work harder, longer and retire later so you can afford that status. At age 70, when you're cleaning those tables, remember that you're cleaning them in a top 1st world country, which means your status as a cleaner is higher than cleaners of lesser countries. All this is brought to you by your extraordinary leaders who works for your interest and the harder they work for your interest, the harder you have to work for your own interest.

May 29, 2007
New fee hikes at public hospitals and polyclinics
Consultation fees are up at most of them, as demand and costs rise
By Salma Khalik

A NEW round of fee hikes is underway at most public hospitals and some polyclinics. This time, it is consultation fees that are going up, as demand and operating costs continue to rise, say health-care providers.
Subsidised patients at four public hospitals will now pay $24 or $25 for every visit to a specialist clinic, up from about $21. Attendances at specialist clinics have gone up from 2.8 million in 2003 to 3.5 million in 2005.
Only Changi General Hospital and Alexandra Hospital are keeping their charges unchanged at $20.
Polyclinic patients are not spared either. All 18 polyclinics used to charge a standard consultation fee of $8 for adults. They now charge anything from $8 to $8.80.
Similarly, for the elderly and young children, the fee is now between $4 and $4.50, up from $4.
Three polyclinics - Bedok, Bukit Batok and Toa Payoh - started charging more this month. Eight had raised their rates starting more than a year ago. The remaining seven may do so soon.
The increases come just months after a similar round of fee hikes for private patients in March. At that time, the inpatient ward charges for subsidised patients also went up.
One bit of good news - hospitals will continue to absorb the Goods and Services Tax for subsidised patients, so there will no increase when the tax goes up to 7 per cent in July.
A Ministry of Health spokesman said the public hospitals are 'mindful of the impact of any fee revision to patients'.
But she added: 'Inflation, wage increases, drug pricing and others may bring about an increase in the overall cost of providing the services.'
Although the Government gives hospitals and polyclinics a subsidy of $1.7 billion a year, each hospital is left to decide what it wants to charge 'within broad parameters'.
Madam Halimah Yacob, head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health, said that although the fees are still affordable despite the increase, people should be told why they have to pay more, 'particularly since some hospitals have opted not to increase their fees'.
They should also alert patients if such increases are 'intended to be a regular feature so that they could better plan their finances.'
Turning to polyclinics, she said the different charges are 'confusing'. If patients start shopping for cheaper rates, it 'may not be good in terms of ensuring continuity and consistency of treatment'.
Most private general practitioners charge between $10 and $16. However, medicines - at $1.40 for a week's supply of each type - are still cheaper at polyclinics. GPs can charge from a few cents to a few dollars for each pill, depending on the medication.
SingHealth Polyclinics said the higher fees are 'due to increased operating costs such as manpower and supplies'.
The National Healthcare Group Polyclinics said it is seeing more patients each year. Polyclinic attendance went up from 3.3 million in 2003 to 3.9 million in 2005.
Patients like Mr Azman Abdullah, 66, a retiree with heart problems, are concerned about bills adding up with repeat visits.
He recounted how a doctor he saw at Jurong Polyclinic gave him three days' worth of medicine and told him to return if he still felt ill.
He said: 'I wasn't well, but I didn't go back as I would have to pay another $4.50.'
He needed an angiogram and was told it would cost $130. But when he got to the Heart Centre, he found out that the test now costs $140.
He eventually had to appeal to a medical social worker for financial aid.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Today is "Eat With Your Family Day"

The Singapore government has designated 25 May 2007 "Eat With Your Family Day". Given that this week is also Kindness Week, today is a really special day. I wanted to take my mom out for some good satay but couldn't find a kind satay man who would serve me 25 sticks of satay if I asked for 40 sticks so I had to settle for mee siam - it turned out the mee siam man was kind enough not to add any 'hum' into my mee siam.
Singaporeans are so busy making money, we need a day designated by the govt to "eat with our families". We used to have more time for family but given wages are rising slower than the price of condos and cars, the only way to make the Singapore Dream come true is to work longer hours. I used to think that the whole idea behind getting to 1st world status is so that we have more time for family, friends ..and better retirement. BUT I WAS WRONG!!!. Our extraordinary leaders probably figured out the whole scheme of things. Resources like cars (quota) & condos are considered scarce in Singapore. The harder we work, the harder we have to work to own them. Get the idea? ...If we get to top 1st world status, condos will probably be selling for $4000 per sq foot in land scarce Singapore and I'll probably have to work 2 jobs just to own one. You get the logic? The whole idea of progress in Singapore be it getting to top 1st world status or Swiss standard of living, is to get Singaporeans to work harder...and harder ...work longer and retire later. In Singapore, the result of progress is more hard work for ordinary Singaporeans.
I leave you with a story so that you can appreciate the great plan the PAP govt has for all of us. The profound logic is embedded in this story below:

Story from here

An investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, "Only a little while."

The banker then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The fisherman said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The banker then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, go for walks with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends. As you can see, I have a full and busy life."

The banker scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat! With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the capital city. After that, who knows, maybe you could take on the world!”

The fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the banker replied, "I’d say about 15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the fisherman.

The Banker laughed and said, “That's the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?" the fisherman continued prodding.

The banker said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, go for romantic walks with your wife, and in the evenings you could sip wine, play guitar and sing songs with your friends!”

To which the fisherman mused, “Now isn’t that strange… Isn’t that what I’m doing now?”

Price of Profits....

Yesterday I was at a coffeeshop in Bukit Merah. The coffeeshop helpers used to be aged Singaporeans who have been there for many years but yesterday I was greeted by a strong Shanghai accent. The new coffeeshop helpers were young, relatively pretty and were quite energetic at their jobs.
Actually, even in my job, I prefer to hire younger technicians from China because I'm responsible for saving cost and making money for my company. Many of these technicians have become good friends and they are actually good & hardworking people. I've nothing against them. They are here primarily due to policies of our extraordinary govt who brought them in great numbers to help businesses become more profitable. But ever wonder where that leaves old folks who are told to work longer and retire later? .....In the past whenever the economy booms, the job market tightens up and older workers get a bit of a chance for a decent non-menial job. Very often they are able to prove themselves. However, these days with an unlimited supply of youthful workers, most employers wouldn't give someone older a chance even when the economy is good.

The reason why you see so many old cleaners who are Singaporeans is because they have to take up jobs that even the foreigners do not want! I'm sure those Shanghainese girls at the coffeeshop rather stay back in China than to come to Singapore and work as cleaners and laborers. Now that they are here, it would be unfair to ask them to go back to China.

The foreigner talent policy was sold to Singaporeans as means to attract the best talents. It ended up as a open floodgates that depressed the wages of the lower income and old. Many are willing to take up lower pay because they are here for the short term and whatever they earn buys alot back home where the cost of living is much lower. Singaporeans who can't leave end up worse off as their wages go down and cost of living rises.

Company profits as a % of GDP is at a historic high, income gap is at a historic high. As we head for top 1st world status our cost of living is at historic highs. ....but the wages of the bottom 30% may be heading for historic lows if you adjust for inflation. Many can't even pay for necessities and end up with arrears for their utilities and rental.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have an extraordinary govt one that works for the interest of its citizens and know what motivates them to work harder. Nothing motivates better than poverty and income gap. ...and there is plenty of motivation to go around these past few years.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fast Food, Hard Money!

So you're getting old. Your skills are outdated or your brain has slowed to a point that does not allow you to practice your profession efficiently. Your boss decides to use one of the recessions to retrench you. Don't worry, our esteemed minister of manpower Dr. Ng tells you that he has created thousands of jobs which are just waiting for you.

I went to the notice board at the bus interchange and saw numerous notices offering jobs to Singaporeans. Minister Ng Eng Hen is right -there are plenty of jobs for Singaporeans and they are just fussy not to take up these jobs.

If you wonder how much the workers at fastfood joints makes these days, its about $4.50 an hour. Working 9am to 5pm working from Monday to Friday standing for hours behind a counter, they get $720 a month. That is what esteemed President get in half an hour and less than one third the minimum wage in UK or Australia. The ad is asking for people 14-40 years of age, I suspect the older folks might be paid less than $4.50 an hour. At $4.50 an hour, the person standing behind the counter has to call you "Sir" or "Madam" with a smile.

I guess that is why the govt had the 4 Million Smiles Campaign and Kindness Week to prepare all of us to smile alot and say Thank You in case we need to work at fast food outlets when we get retrenched or become senior citizens. Singaporeans' ability to smile as not been diminished by rising prices & increased GST, thanks to all the smiling campaigns we had over the years.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Evil Opposition trying to Destroy the SYSTEM!!

"I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy", MM Lee on JBJ.
I wonder if PM Lee ever told his father about Kindness Week and that beautiful story about the considerate satay man from Malacca. I went to the hawker center today with my mom and ordered 40 sticks of satay. When the satay came I asked the satay man why he didn't show me any kindness by giving me only 25 sticks of satay. The satay man replied, " You are crazy, how am I suppose to know how hungry you are!!". Now I know, you can only find kind hearted considerate satay men in Malacca. In Singapore, they are all inconsiderate that is why you always get the number of satay you ordered!
Our satay men are inconsiderate but our opposition politicians are downright evil. This is why our kind govt does so much to neutralise them and stop them from causing harm. Although I've never seen an opposition politician destroy any nation in modern history, the ones in Singapore are uniquely vicious. Take JBJ as an example, just look at the evil things he is planning to do to our great Singapore system, no wonder our esteemed MM Lee had to bankrupt him and reduce him to hawking books at street corners. Still our MM Lee was kind to him because he received a discount compared with Chia Thye Poh who was detained without trial for more than 3 decades. At 81 years of age, JBJ plans to form a party to undermine our fantastic system by making the following changes (my comments in red) :
The president’s salary: Criticising the president’s salary, Mr Jeyaretnam called it “an abuse of public funds” and asked why the president needed to be paid such a high salary. He also criticized the election of the president. “He was no more elected than Lee Kuan Yew was elected minister mentor”, he said. Hey come on JBJ. We haven't seen much of President Nathan this few months because he is busy counting our reserves. How else to safeguard our reserves? President Nathan rightfully deserves his million$ salary because it is so tough shaking hands at his age.
Election process: “We got to do away completely with the election process. We got to take the election process and give it to an independent body – an independent election commission.” Does our election commission civil servants look like that are capable of being independent? The poor guy at the counter felt so intimidated when Gomez wagged his finger he looked like he was going to die of a heart attack.
The courts: Mr Jeyaretnam called for a judicial commission which will have the power to appoint judges, and taking this power away from the prime minister. “In a country with a constitution, the courts are the most important, even more important than parliament. The courts are the guardians of the constitution.” Don't worry our esteemed prime minister will only appoint judges who are totally objective. Just because the opposition lost every single case in court doesn't mean there is a conflict of interest here. The opposition lost every single case because they are completely unscupulous and evil without any redeeming qualities, any decent judge should be able to see that.
The police and law enforcement agencies: “The police should be moved out of ministerial control….We should have the police turned into a corporation, like in Britain, answerable to parliament. How can the police get rid of protestors quickly if they are not under the guidance of one of our elite extraordinary ministers. There are many important laws that the police have to enforce such as laws against illegal gathering, speaking in public without license etc.
The trade unions: Calling for the trade unions to be independent, Mr Jeyaretnam asked, “What other country in the world has a cabinet minister as head of a trade union?” Does JBJ not understand our tripartite system? Our union's main role is to tell workers to work harder, accept less benefits & pay cuts and tell them work longer and retire later. This is an excellent union that has help Singapore corporations achieve the highest level of profitability as a % of GDP. NTUC also plays a key role in helping workers to understand why govt policies are there for their own good - for example, foreign worker policy, minimum retrenchment benefits, elimination of pension scheme for public service workers, elimination of medical benefits etc. Without a minister at the helm, our unions will be clamoring for better wages, health benefits etc, that will be terrible, the profits of Singapore Inc will be undermined.

The press: Apologising to members of the media who were present, he described the press as a ‘scandal’. “The press in Singapore is the voice of the government. It’s time we had an independent press worthy of our society.” How dare you say our media is not objective?! Just because they help us to understand that every govt policy is for our own good and help us to appreciate our beloved govt, it does not mean they are not independent. Take great reporters such as Chui Mui Hoong, she is able to independently conclude the PAP is the best govt in the world and that our govt has a "capitalist brain and socialist heart". Our media is one of our society's greatest assets. It harmonises our thoughts with our esteemed govt and sweeten painful policies to make us happier citizens. I dare say there is no media in the 1st world that has manufactured so much happiness for the citizens.
I conclude that JBJ is a real danger to our beloved system. But don't worry too much about it, we have many great institutions such as the ISD in place to protect our system from men like JBJ. From time to time, there will be men like JBJ who take our pledge too seriously and try to "build a democratic society based on justice and equality" but Singapore has already advanced to a level that our pledge is totally irrelevant and should be changed to "build a thriving economy, based on growth and profitability".

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This week is KINDNESS WEEK in Singapore!

I want to remind everyone that this week is Kindness Week in Singapore. We have to smile as much as possible although there is no fine associated with not smiling and remember to say our thank you's and hello's.

When it comes to KINDNESS our esteemed govt leads by example:

1. They give the poor who are on PA $290 per month so they can afford 2 out of 3 meals a day. The PAP is 66.6% (2/3) kind to these poor and disabled folks. They expect 33.3% of the kindness to come from our charities. Although some of those on wheelchair might have problem travelling to the temples and charities collect their 3rd meal, the PAP probably figured out that these people don't burn much calories and only need 2 meals a day.

2. 66.6% of the voters seems to be able to appreciated the PAP govt's kindness during election time. The other 33.3% are just ungrateful and refuse acknowledge the PAP's kindness of offering estate upgrading to those who vote for them.

3. When it comes to showing kindness to those with alternative ideas, nobody can beat the PAP. These people are quickly silenced so that they don't waste anymore of their time on these ideas that are considered inferior to that of our elite leaders. That will free up their time for shopping if they stop pursuing these alternatives provided they don't get bankrupted.....

4. Of course, besides showing kindness to the ordinary people, the PAP is so considerate they remember not to leave anyone behind especially themselves. PAP ministers show kindness to thmeselves by having their pay hiked to compensate for their painful sacrifice.

5. The PAP govt is very kind to start all these GLCs that provided us with housing, water, electricity, telephones, transport, taxis, groceries (NTUC), insurance, medical care, air travel etc etc. Although many are monopolies, they are efficiently run and have made so much money they can spread their kindness by expanding overseas.

6. The PAP shows kindness to the elderly in Singapore by motivating them to work harder, work longer and retire later. The PAP is so kind to ensure that Singaporeans remain useful and productive to Singapore Inc instead of idling in parks, looking after grandchildren or wasting their time on ballroom dancing.

Singaporeans are so lucky to have such a kind govt that leads by example. I really feel sorry for those people living in countries without the benefit of such a kind govt.

"Mr Lee shared how he and his wife were touched by the thoughtfulness of a satay man in Malacca. They had ordered 40 sticks of satay but the experienced hawker only served them 25 sticks, as he knew that would be enough." - Channel News Asia

If you read PM Lee speech carefully, I'm sure you can see the wisdom and the true meaning of his speech. PM Lee felt kindness when he was given less satay than what he asked for. See how the PAP govt expresses kindness by giving less than what the needy ask for. This is because the PAP is an experienced govt and know what is enough for the needy people of Singapore. ...if they get less it is because the PAP is thoughtful and kind towards them.

PM Lee launches Singapore Kindness Week
Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 19 May 2007 2012 hrs

Related Videos
PM Lee launches Singapore Kindness Week

SINGAPORE : All the efforts put in to transform Singapore into a vibrant global city will be in vain if there is no social development, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Launching the 10th Singapore Kindness Week on Saturday, Mr Lee also shared findings from a survey on what constitute kind and courteous behaviour.

The courtesy jingle and the Singa mascot would be familiar to many people. And this year, the Singapore Kindness Movement is putting a new spin to an old message by jazzing up the song. It has also conducted a survey of 1,000 Singaporeans and expatriates to find out what being kind and courteous mean. Speaking at the event, PM Lee said one of three key findings is the simple act of greeting one another. And minding your please and thank you's. Another is to be considerate, like giving way to others or giving up seats to those who need them more. Acts like clearing the table and returning food trays after a meal are also appreciated.
Mr Lee said: "As we grow and globalise, the values of care, compassion and neighbourliness will become even more important. No society can survive, let alone prosper, if its people are only concerned with pursuing material wealth. Kindness is the thread that runs through our social fabric, making it stronger and more cohesive." And although the Kindness Movement has made good progress over the last 10 years, everyone must continue to do their part to work towards a more gracious society. PM Lee said: "We can't legislate courtesy and kindness by law. You must smile, otherwise $5 fine. You must laugh, otherwise $10 fine. The government can encourage and promote but the people have to respond and to practise, and so set the right general tenor of behaviour in society."
More than 100 examples of such kind behaviour were published in the second edition of a book of kindness stories. The Prime Minister himself contributed a story as well. Mr Lee shared how he and his wife were touched by the thoughtfulness of a satay man in Malacca. They had ordered 40 sticks of satay but the experienced hawker only served them 25 sticks, as he knew that would be enough. Over 400 kindness-related activities and programmes will be held across the island throughout the week to encourage people to make kindness a habit and put a smile on someone's face. - CNA/ch

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Anecdotal Evidence of Inflation in Singapore

Just came back from Giant. When I queuing up, 2 ladies were discussing price of condense milk. It seems that the Teapot brand of condense milk has gone up from $0.75 to $1.10. A few people in the sammyboy forum reported that the Milkmaid brand of condense milk has gone up from $1.10 to $1.60. The lady at Giant also told me that the pack of sugar she was buying has gone up from $0.75 to $1.40. Some ladies in the Moms4Moms forum are also reporting price increases in Milo and various necessities.
One of my colleagues, a Chinese chap, told me he is forced out by this landlord who is asking for a whopping 40% increase in rent. He sort of expected it because it has been reported in the papers that rentals have escalated. He has decided to move to some place less convenient rather than give in to the landlord...however, it turned out the landlord is more than happy to let him go because he found a couple willing to pay 50% higher than what he is currently paying.
Private property prices have escalated 25% last year and 5% more in the 1st quarter of 2007. Citibank expect prices to jump by another 30% by 2008.
Looks like our esteemed leaders are on track to reach their goal of top 1st world status...at least part of that goal . Our cost of living is escalating towards top 1st world levels fast, ...well too bad at the slow rate it is rising, our wages will probably take a long long time to get there.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Work for the Elderly....Part 2.

************* Posting Withdrawn ***********

I would like to thank the anon who pointed out the inaccuracies in the study I cited.
Sorry I was too eager to post it - I should have double-checked the research. The table and graph are not worth much as retirement age and longevity are not independent variables. It is a fundamental and simple flaw which I should have detected.

Why I can't sleep yesterday night....

A few months ago, my company hire an 'older' worker and made me the supervisor. Although the older worker had many years of experience, he had to learn the new technology at my company. I soon realise he was taking much longer than the younger guys. Shortly after this older worker was hired, a friendly young Chinese feller came. This Chinese chap was a fast learner and also had very good attitude. My game plan was to let the older worker have more time to learn because this Chinese guy can do the work of 2 people easily in the interim and should be able to cover for the older guy as a team. Unfortunately the older work resigned and I had to do the exit interview yesterday.
During the exit interview, I was moved because the older worker apologised to me for "taking too long to learn" and for "not being productive". I can see the redness in his eyes when he spoke to me. I tapped him on his back and told him, "Its alright, you tried your best". Being older he felt bad he couldn't keep up with the pace and so decided to leave for more routine menial job elsewhere. I felt really bad about the whole situation and spent the whole night thinking about it.
A few years ago, my aunt who was a nurse called to ask me to teach her about computers because the hospital was computerising and she needs to "key in" alot of things. When I was a boy, my auntie thought me many things - how to make kites, how to fold cranes etc. I thought it was time for me to return the favor since I was the "de facto computer expert" in the family. When I started teaching her, I realised her age was really showing, she had to wear magnifying glass as specs (long sighted) just to see the small fonts. The first thing I had to teach her was to "double click" on icons. To you that might seem like trivial skill but to a 60+ yr old person clicking the mouse 2 times within 80 milliseconds is a challenge. I took about 1 hour of practice just to get past that and still my aunt will occasionally be a little slow and Windows (yucks) will treat it as 2 single clicks. I thought of adjusting the double click setting to her timing but that wouldn't work because she had to use the computers at the hospital which had the default setting. The whole computerisation was an extremely stressful experience for my aunty and the training course conducted at the hospital was fast like a "bullet train" for her. She did cope with the computerisation with the help of her kind fellow nurses but my uncle persuaded her to retire shortly after because he had a good pension (my aunt had chosen the CPF scheme and regretted later) and the children are all grown up. My aunt is now happily traveling most of the time instead of working.
Singapore is lucky to have a far sighted govt - one that plans for the long term and ensure that the work ethics of the old is preserved. Thanks to many ingenious schemes such as the liberalisation of CPF to buy property, much of the money that was meant to help Singaporeans retire earlier have been sunk into property. Of course being an extraordinary govt that deserves its million$ salaries and high pensions, they figured out the solution to all this is to have Singaporeans work longer and retire later. For a significant segment of the population who don't even make enough for basic necessities, they will have to work until they die. They only have themselves to blame for their predicament because they were not able to elevate themselves to earn more as the govt continously retool the economy to maximise GDP growth. When you get older, you will lose your physical and mental agility. Some people say Singaporeans age faster because of the high stress level in our society (2nd highest in the world?). A 60 yr old in Singapore is like a 70 yr old somewhere else. It will be very tough for our older folks to keep working however they should see it as a challenge ....they are so lucky to have a govt that keeps throwing challenges at them even as their minds and bodies age.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hooray! F1 Money is Coming!!!

As a Singaporean, I really can't understand the letter by a foreigner to one of our newspapers (see below) . If not for the revenues F1 can generate, why bother to bring it to Singapore? Apparently, this foreigner, John Graham Muse, must have just landed in Singapore and doesn't understand what makes Singapore tick. He appears shock that the F1 race is viewed as entirely as business case - its all about money how much our hotels will make, how much Ong Beng Seng will make, how much tax the govt will collect.

The fact that F1 is a sport is secondary. If casinos can make money, lets bring them here. This is Singapore Inc, all that matters is how much our govt can make out of this deal. I think this John Graham Muse should be forgiven for his views as he comes from a country without the benefit of extraordinary PAP leadership. ...probably a country where the govt waste money on non revenue generating expenditure such as welfare for the needy.

F1 race here: Why is S'pore so money-minded?
15 May 2007.

THE news of F1 coming to Singapore should have been good.
Unfortunately all the expectations are about money and government revenue.
The 'sport' appears to come second.

Singapore had the chance to do the decent thing here and enjoy the occasion and let the F1 followers do the same. Instead pure unashamed greed is the first thing on everyone's mind.
Increased hotels rates, government taxes - it's all about money, money and more money.

John Graham Muse

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Mother's Day Story.....

One thing I haven't told you guys about myself is I'm a contest junkie. Every week I send out at least 2 contest forms. However, after reading the very touching story below, I think I better go easy on these contests because some Singaporeans are counting on winning these contests to make ends meet.

I highlighted various interesting parts of the story that you should pay more attention to. There were a few occasions when my neighbors knocked on my door in the middle of the night for help when their loved ones got sick. I helped to send them to the A&E via taxi. I noticed that before the doctor sees them, the hospital collected a fixed sum of $65 (KK & Changi Hospital). I think it is big deterrent for poor folks who can't afford it. ...are they suppose to tell the cashier they "are poor and have no money" and beg the cashier-stranger to allow them to get treatment? Is the govt afraid that the poor people will pretend to be sick, take a cab in the middle of the night to get to the hospital just to exploit subsidised medical care?

We have an extraordinary govt - one that will demand that Madam Tian Poh Choo's two sons serve their National Service but gave her no assistance to when her sons were sick. ...extraordinary indeed.

Mum pawned jewellery... so I could see doctor
Thanks to CATS Mother's Day contest, son gets to repay mum
By Shree Ann Mathava
May 13, 2007

THIS mother's tears flowed freely as she stood watch over her two sick sons.
Three years ago, Madam Tian Poh Choo's two sons, Chen Jian Wen, then 14, and Chen Jian Song, then 8, were running high fevers. Her elder son, who was more ill, had a fever of 39.6deg C.

And despite taking medication, his fever persisted. But Madam Tian, then 35 and a housewife, didn't have any money to take them to a doctor. All she had in her wallet was $30.
The family had problems making ends meet after her husband died in a road accident in 2003 and she had problems looking for a job. She had gotten by on some money given by relatives. In desperation, she pawned her precious gold anklet and necklace, which she wore daily, for $300 at a pawnshop in Toa Payoh Lor 2.

With that money, she took both her sons to see a doctor at a clinic.
That incident may have happened some years ago, but the memory of his mother's love is etched deep into Jian Wen, her elder child, now a Sec 5 student in St Gabriel's Secondary School.
He relived his memories in his entry for the Cats Classified 'The Day I Made Mum Cry' Mother's Day contest in The Straits Times and Lianhe Wanbao.

His was one of the five winning entries out of 1,500 submissions. And contestants got to state what they wanted for their mothers up to a value of $1,000. All Jian Wen (above, right) wanted was $400, which he used to redeem his mother's jewellery on Thursday.

However, the family, who lives in a two-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh, will also receive $600 NTUC supermarket vouchers from organisers.

Jian Wen said of the incident: 'I remembered how she kept crying and used cold towels to try to bring down the fever throughout the night.

'I felt sad that she had to pawn her jewellery, but at the same time, I felt very proud of her.'
Madam Tian, now a retail assistant, felt she did what any other mother would have done.
She said: 'I don't think what I did was great. I just did what I could.'

The other winners' mothers were presented with their gifts, which included a haircut by celebrity hairstylist David Gan, a massage chair, and a trip to Genting Highlands.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Singapore : Housewives Renamed on Mother's Day !!!

I'm so glad Ms Nancy Griffiths (Straits Times Forum 12 May 2007) has decided to take part in the Singapore:Rename the Job campaign. We have cleaners who are Hygiene Executives ....now we have a housewife who want to be called Domestic Manager...I suggest she calls herself a Domestic Executive to be consistent with the other names we have invented. Gardeners are called Landscape Executive, construction worker - Building Executive. ...and our esteemed Prime Minister considers himself CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Singapore Inc!!!! How appropriate as he ups his pay to be consistent with other top chief executives.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What is it like to be a low income worker.......

HE unionist answered with a smile when the Prime Minister asked if this year's bonus had been a good one.

"Six months?" Mr Lee Hsien Loong hazarded. The happy worker replied: "Seven."

More than one happy Singaporean unionist had recounted similar stories of an unexpected windfall come bonus time when they met Mr Lee at last week's May Day Rally.

"So, when people say the economy is moving but a lot have been left behind, I think it's not a full picture," said Mr Lee yesterday, talking to the media as he wrapped up his six-day official visit to the United States.


Isn't it great a PM who forms his opinion meeting happy unionists belonging to a govt controlled union who received 7 months of bonus. From that, he concluded that not many are left behind.

In the past when the economy booms the labor market would tighten up and wages of all workers would go up. These days with the floodgates open to foreign imported labor, I guess employers have alot more options. Given that corporate profits are at an all time high as a % of GDP and cost of living has risen....what happens to our low income earners...what is like for them in this current boom.

I bring to you this story from http://willythecop.blogspot.com/ about her mom who received a set of brand new terms for her employment. What do elderly cleaners who work 5.5 days a week and not allowed medical leave ...get these days? $500 a month! This is what President SR Nathan gets in 20 minutes! Of course President Nathan is doing this important job of safeguarding our reserves, he must be busy counting our reserves, I haven't seen much of him lately.

What would a worker do if something like that happens? Complain to the MOM and get risk getting fired? Many simply swallow such terms. There is no choice, the employer can get Bangla workers to replace them if they express unhappiness.

Singapore is so lucky to have a big group of elderly low income workers without independent unions and easily replaced by foreign workers. This makes our business super-competitive and we have been ranked No. 2 according to today's Straits Times. USA is ranked number 1 and Hong Kong Number 3. Our lack of creativity + innovation and high cost of rental+utilities can be overcome by highly competitive wages. It is so competitive some workers probably live on 2 meals a day to make ends meet....thanks to them we are No. 2 this year....and if they can live on 1.5 meals a day, I think we can make No. 1 next year.

----------The Story--------------------------------------------------

My mom is working at the Tuas South Incineration Plant as a cleaner under the contract of a private cleaning company. The company pays her S$700 a month for a 5-days work week. The pay is not high, but at least reasonable. Now, the cleaning contract has ended for this cleaning company and the contract has been given to another new cleaning company. And so my mom's new boss had a meet-the-people session to tell the cleaners his rules:
1. The pay is reduced to S$500
2. Now it has to be a 5.5 days working week
3. There will be a cut in manpower as there should not be more than 3 people working at an area, regardless how large the area space
4. No annual leave and sick leave for the first year
And there was where my mom and all other old uncles and aunties got a shock... NO ANNUAL LEAVE AND SICK LEAVE FOR THE FIRST YEAR?!? Hello? These are not hyperactive teenagers we're talking about! This new boss is expecting all his 50-60 years old cleaners not to fall sick for one year? How realistic is this?!? And so what if they DO fall sick? Pay cut! Not a difficult guess right?

I'm wondering, how did the National Environment Agency (NEA) chooses their cleaning company to contract out to? Why is there such an obvious cost reduction effort from this new cleaning company? Is it because NEA is not paying them enough?And is the boss allowed to take away annual and sick leaves for his workers? Is the Ministery of Manpower (MOM) allowing this? If that is true, who is there to protect these old cleaning workers?So much for a good retirement in Singapore... WTF

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Giving help Singapore Style!

I'm sure many of you are very worried that our govt's social spending will undermine its fiscal position although it is just a small fraction of what Hong Kong spends on its poor, aged and sick. Don't worry....while our beloved govt has announced that millions will be spent on Comcare & Workfare, only a small fraction has been given out. This is not due to the lack of needy people in our society.

Many of the poor people are illiterate so they can't read the Straits Times to figure out all the goodies given out by our esteemed govt. There is no army of social workers going around to look for these people...it is done by volunteers who are able to cover just a fraction of those in need. Others are hindered by the numerous 'kiasu' fine prints e.g. you have to put money into your CPF first before you can get any Workfare.
Well suppose the low income needy Singaporeans manage to figure out they qualify for some aid overcoming the numerous qualification rules....the next step is to go to the CDC. Here's what actually happens:

Extracts from Straits Times article 7 May 2007 - Help for the poor So close yet so far.

These stories were collected by a group of poly students doing a project by surveying just 30 low income families. ...only 30 families and you can find so many interesting stories that illustrate what it is like to be poor in Singapore. Of course the CDC cannot be too nice to those who needs help because it will undermine the work ethics of the poor.
The result is while the govt sets aside a relatively small amount compared with other countries for the needy in Singapore, it only gives out a small fraction of that amount. To understand their philosophy one just have to read this quote from one of our elite MPs:
"We shouldn't be waving a red flag for this, telling
everyone that there's this help available. It's quite a
process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with
dignity won't do it unless he's in genuine trouble."
- PAP MP Dr Chong Weng Chiew (Tanjong Pagar GRC) on
why SingPower utilities vouchers for the poor were not given out and wasted.
Of course we have to be extremely careful giving out money to the needy for utilities, food and medical care because it does not bring any returns to Singapore Inc and might cause its profit margins to fall. See the wisdom of our esteemed leaders ...we will certainly get to top 1st world statuse fast!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Singapore Media gets HIGH MARKS !!



Just heard that the Singapore media now scores 154 an improvement over last year's 146.

The improved score is due to our govt's prompt action against corrupt influences such as FEER, the New Democrat and a certain Mr. Lee Kin Mun. According to the report, the Singapore media has improved due to journalists having a better understanding our improved laws on defamation and permissible speech. With this high score Singapore is now well ahead of all 1st World nations.

Our ranking owes alot to our favorite reading material the Straits Times (+ its Malay and Chinese equivalents). This well written newspaper is read by the majority of Singaporeans everyday and is their primary source of information. After 4 decades of reading the Straits Times, you can say that Singaporeans' minds have been molded by this great paper. It has made us resistant to bad foreign influences, explained all govt policies so that we can understand them easily, and created this pervasive happy feeling among Singaporeans for their beloved govt. It has removed conflicts in our thoughts by harmonising our away individual concerns with the ideas from our govt and helped us to appreciate the grand achievements of our esteemed govt.

Straits Times has made Singapore a better and safer place. After 40 years of molding, it has remove the urge for us to stand up for what we believe, ...therefore there is no risk that any Singaporean will protest or block traffic over the minister pay hike. Even as the income gap balloons, cost of living rises while they wages of the lower income groups get depressed, you cannot find more than 10 people turning up Hong Lim Park for the May Day event. You don't see any outrage when some Singaporeans are told to live on 2 meals a day, no widespread anger as the number of homeless living at the void decks and bus interchange increases. Singapore is now officially cured of the kind of insanity that once in a while infect other nations:


With such high scores for our media, we can go pursue our favorite pasttime, shopping, with a clear conscience. There were no crowds on the streets of Singapore on May Day but Harvey Norman was packed beyond belief. There was no strong burning desire for Singaporeans to stand up for the old folks driven by poverty to dig for aluminium cans in our trash and the cleaners who work full time but does not earn enough for their family.

Singapore is Singapore Inc and the media is its PR department. Singaporeans are so lucky to received such well harmonised information. Information that allow us to sleep well at night so that we can get up fresh for a full day of shopping.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Singaporeans Please Work Longer Retire Later

"The key goal, said the Prime Minister, is to enable workers to work longer and retire later"
- CNA Report on PM Lee's 2007 May Day Speech.
I guess our govt really wants us to lead a meaningful life. Instead of engaging in unproductive activities such as looking after grand children and taking long walks in the park, most Singaporeans will be working well into their golden years. Unlike our esteemed MM Lee who still possesses his unconventional wisdom and hence deserves his million$ salary, most older Singaporean will turn a little senile and have to take up menial jobs such as cleaners, security guards or tissue paper sellers.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt with a clear vision and goal of working its citizens beyond their retirement age. Only lazy Singaporeans will resent this opportunity to outwork citizens of other countries. They are asking what happened to our CPF scheme that was suppose to enable us to retire? Why is your CPF not quite sufficient? You see many years ago, our property prices were quite anaemic causing our HDB to sell cheap housing to Singaporeans. The CPF liberalisation which allowed Singaporeans to use their CPF to purchase property helped to fuel a multi-year property boom which ended 1996 when the bubble popped. Thanks to this move, billions of CPF money shifted into property mostly HDB flats causing HDB to have a humongous surplus (not profits as HDB flats are technically market subsidised). If not for this move, HDB prices would have remained low (to keep them affordable) and CPF money would intact for retirement. The choice now for most people is you either consume your flat (reverse mortgage) or work. Most people would choose to work because they can't bear the thought of paying so much for their flat then giving it all back to HDB or some govt GIC.
Most mediocre underpaid governments such as those in Australis, Sweden, Hong Kong and Finland actually developed systems in which its citizens actually stop working at retirement age. I feel so sorry for the citizens of those countries who don't have the benefit of extraordinary leadership of the PAP. They have to lead unproductive lives after their retirement age idling in parks and playing checkers at community centers.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt with a long term vision. This May Day is a joyous occasion to celebrate our good fortune of having such extraordinary leadership. Telling Singaporeans they have to work longer and harder after giving themselves million$ pay hikes is something only the PAP govt can do. They are indeed extraordinary in the things they say and the profound logic they apply to justify their actions.