Saturday, March 31, 2007
1. Competition. Ever since the PAP govt opened the floodgates to foreign cleaners from Bangladesh, China and India local cleaners have been downed by the competition. Since employers now have the option to hire foreign workers, it is only fair that our local cleaners are paid less. Ministers' on the other hand cannot be replaced by imported talents and thanks to 40 years of PAP rule, alternatives have all but disappeared.
2. Benchmarks. Our cleaners are benchmarked against cleaners from 3rd world countries. Our cleaners are overpaid. Our leaders are benchmark not against top 1st world leaders but top professionals so they are underpaid.
Once when I was in Los Angeles, I read the local papers, there were many pages discussing how to improve the work conditions of the janitors in the city and whether they were underpaid due to various practices of employers there. The PAP govt saw no problem and no need for a minimum wage for low income workers, but they feel strongly that the ministers' pay is too low. They see nothing wrong with workers working full time jobs not being able to pay for basic necessities...... but see plenty of injustice because our ministers have made a painful financial sacrifice against a benchmark they composed. They see nothing wrong with Public Assistance receipients not getting enough for 3 meals a day.....but there is an urgent need to hike our ministers' $1.2M paycheck. They see nothing wrong with telling the people that they have a budget filled with "compassion" when the proportion of the budget to help the poor is the lowest among 1st world countries. ......but something is seriously wrong if we continue paying our ministers this low salary of $1.2M.
The only thing wrong with our country is the ministers are underpaid. Lets pay them more to right this wrong and to remove this single injustice from our society.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Ordinary Singaporeans...these are the folks squeezed into public transport like sardines every morning. Our buses have big windows so that you can see who they are. ..as there are fewer seats than passengers most of them hold up one arm to expose their armpits to the person next to them. These people don't know how lucky they are to have employment until age 80, to have jobs to go to everyday, to have HDB flats to live in and a future brightened by various estate upgrading schemes. Don't they understand they owe all this to our ministers like Ng Eng Hen and Mah Bow Tan? It is through the efforts of Minister Ng that there are hundreds of thousand of jobs created every year to keep Singaporeans employed.....but they question the job quality, the low pay, ..are these jobs menial? Many continue to question the cost of healthcare despite Minister Khaw's repeated emphasis that it is affordable....they don't seem to understand that there are instalment schemes etc to help them pay should their hospital bills pile up. Until today there are ordinary Singaporeans who question how much it cost to build HDB flats - they are unable to understand the concept of "market subsidy"....HDB is affordable with 20 year housing loans available from the bank.
Many still don't appreciate the PAP's socialist heart. Ministers like Vivian who told us in parliament how much he wanted to preserve the work ethics of those on PA shows how much compassion the PAP has .....a compassion that deserves at least a pay hike of one peanut. What about of PM Lee? He stood up in parliament to say that the GST has to be increased to help the poor. ...see the great compassion in the hearts of our leaders. They are efficient too because if you add up the much hype about Comcare and Workfare etc we are spending only a small fraction of our budget compared with other 1st world places like Hong Kong. ..see how efficient the PAP is! That efficiency deserves at least one peanut of pay hike per minister.
I'm beginning to see how unworthy Singaporeans of PAP leadership. They are simply not smart enough to see how good the PAP leadership is. That is why our elections are conducted to show support for upgrading schemes ...the ordinary Singaporeans have to be given something within their intellectual capacity to shoot for during the elections, thank goodness 66.6% "get it".
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Global drugs company GlaxoSmithKline was fined 217,000 New Zealand dollars ($156,000) for misleading advertising Tuesday after two science students found its iconic blackcurrant drink Ribena contained no detectable vitamin C.
The multinational company admitted to 15 charges of misleading advertising between 2002 and 2006 in a suit filed by the Commerce Commission, a consumer watchdog, after a 2004 school science project exposed the false claims.
Ribena has long been sold as a healthy drink based on advertisements that blackcurrant juice has more vitamin C than orange juice. Its New Zealand advertisements claimed Ready to Drink Ribena had 7 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 milliliters (0.25 ounce per 3.4 fluid ounces).
But high school students Anna Devathasan and Jenny Suo, then 14, found the product on sale in their country contained almost no trace of vitamin C after testing the children's syrup-based drink as part of a science project in 2004.
Auckland District Court Judge Phil Gittos fined GlaxoSmithKline and ordered it to run corrective advertisements, in addition to a message on its Web site.
The girls were in court to hear the verdict.
"We feel quite proud ... blown away," Devathasan told National Radio. "If we hadn't done that science test three years ago, Ribena could have been promoted as vitamin C full forever."
It was "remarkable nobody had even picked it up ... and we just stumbled on it by chance," she said, adding that she thought the fine should have been more because GlaxoSmithKline was a multibillion dollar company.
Friday, March 23, 2007
"A minister should be drawing $2.2 million a year or more....But their actual salaries have fallen to 55 per cent of the benchmark, that is $1.2 million, and we have to close this gap."
"While public officers must serve from a sense of idealism and duty and not be motivated mainly by financial reward, they should not be expected to make 'unreasonable financial sacrifices' to be in public service, he added." - PM Lee
"How come our ministers' pay is not benchmarked against other countries minister's pay?"
--Disquiet at the cofffee shop
Although our ministers are paid the highest pay to run one of the smallest nations in the world, there is a pay gap between them and the benchmarks. One of my coffeeshop friends said shouldn't the benchmark for our ministers pay be OTHER COUNTRIES' MINISTERS' pay? If you go by that our ministers' pay should be cut by more than half. What rubbish!!! ....The correct benchmarks for our ministers is not OTHER MINISTERS but that of the highest earning professionals. Why? Because Singapore is not a normal country operating on outdated principles like a "Western Style Democracy" where leaders are put through rigorous elections, we are Singapore Inc ...a place where leaders are hired and selected the same way accountants, lawyers and engineers are SELECTED. Our election is conducted to show support for estate upgrading. Hence, it is only logical for our ministers pay NOT to be peg to other countries' minister pay but to top professionals.
PM Lee also said, "Unless there is 1st class political leadership and judiciary, the Civil Service, however capable and dedicated will not be able to function properly". We are so lucky to live in a country where everything function "properly". I'm glad not to be living in other countries where everything is a mess. Although a number of people under PA cannot have enough money for 3 meals a day, we cannot affort to give the extra $110....they should be given a chance too to sacrifice $110 given our ministers are sacrificing $1M per year.
We as a country cannot continue to make our ministers sacrifice so much. They have done alot for us like motivate us to work harder and enhance our work ethics we should be more grateful to them. In a recent parliament sitting Dr. Vivian said that giving people under PA enough for 3 meals a day will undermine their work ethics. It seems that the work ethics of our ministers will be undermined if they continue to be paid only $1.2M a year. Poverty motivates the poor and money motivates our ministers. It is only right that everyone in Singapore should receive the appropriate motivation to help them to work harder.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
1. Money - people make more money elsewhere.
2. National Service - people don't like to do it.
3. Opportunities - better else where.
4. We speak English so we can blend into other countries.
5. We are now rich enough to 'run road'.
6. Many students now study overseas so they may decide not to come back.
Lets get it clear, SM Goh is concerned about top talents not ordinary citizens. The other day I met a cabby who spent 6 months in some small village in Thailand, he may be "top cabby" but he doesn't qualify as "top talent" so our govt doesn't mind this category of people leaking away. While trying to retain top talent, the govt is probably very concerned that non-talents are not leaking fast enough. Until today, the PAP govt still provide incentives for lower income families to practice birth control.
The other thing to note is SM Goh went to Iran to talk about this issue. There is a good chance he was trying to bring across another point - Iran is a notorious leaker of talent far worse than us. If you're a top mathematician, the best paying job is in the nuclear programme...if you're a top engineer or chemist, again the best paying job is in the nuclear programme....so those people who don't like to be in the nuclear programme all want to leave. They make their way to the US, UK and even Singapore. SM Goh may be hinting to some of the Iranians to come to Singapore and help replendish our talent pool.
I would like now to debunk each of the reasons other bloggers discuss:
1, Money. Oh come on, Singapore held the top position for producing the highest number of millionaires per capita in the world last year. If you can't make it to millionaire in Singapore, chances are you won't make it any where else in the world!!! We have a govt that tolerates the highest GINI index in the developed world, cuts income taxes to very low levels, implement regressive taxes such as GST to help the rich get richer. Money CANNOT be a motivation for leaving....it is the reason why people are coming and staying!!!!
2. NS. 2 yrs of free weigh loss program, followed by annual refreshers. Imagine if you're a top talent with heavy responsibilities, 200 phone calls a day and 100 emails to reply to, would you welcome a break from work to hang around some army camp canteen with long breaks to doze off. All the top talents in my company come back from the in camp recharged. These top talents have already served their 2.5 yr NS and by the time they become top talents they probably near the end of their reservist duties.
3. Opportunities. Better elsewhere? Hey our esteemed Minister Ng told us, hundreds of thousands of jobs were created last year. We probably have the highest created opportunities per capita in the world. Where else so you see the govt so pro-active in encouraging entreprenuership, funding SMEs, seed money for research. Many of our top talents are leaving for Perth, Montreal, Toronto.....I'll tell you why they go to these places and its not for opportunity.
4.We speak English so we can blend into other countries. This argument borders on the absurd. Singaporeans blend in best in Singapore and even our top talents speak Singlish - just look at Lim Swee Say & SM Goh himself. Cultural differences is probably more key and harder to overcome.
5.We are now rich enough to 'run road'. Having enough money is an enabler and not a root cause. Just like you need a car to enable you to drive to KL, you go there for some other reason - business, pleasure or to visit Dr. M. Being poor on the other hand, can actually be a cause for leaking people....our grandfathers leaked from China because they were so poor some of them didn't even have food. However, there is some validity is this point as it is probably true that more people are leaving now they can afford it, but all along they wanted to leave but can't.
6. Students go study and don't come back. While this is true, students hardly qualify as top talent. SM Goh was talking about top talents who established their credentials here, then leave for somewhere else. Getting a degree overseas even from well established universities in the US does not automatically make you a "top talent"....there are so many these days. Just the other I got a resume from a straight "A" student from Cornell apply for my company in Kallang, we turned him down because some other applicant from China had far better experience, 8 years in the area, train by Motorola (China) and can probably do the job better. This guy from China is just one of the hundreds of thousands, we are not talking "top talents" here if we are discussing students.
Now I would like to explain why I think top-talents leave:
1. Top Talents get Lazy. Somehow the ang mohs mastered this trick of not working people to death and paying more for the same volume of work. I say ang moh because most people leave for western countries. The stress level in Singapore is the highest in the world...that correlates to our having the lowest sex drive in the world. We have the most extraordinary level of work ethics we can even get 80 yr olds to work as cleaners in hawker centers. Some people work hard, then they get to age 35+, cannot take it anymore leverage on their resumes for cushy jobs in Western countries.
2. Children of top talents may not be top talents. A top talent probably knows how he got up there and given the income inequality, he probably understands what happens to below him and people way below him. He probably figure that his children who have been free-loading on his achievements cannot possibly be happy is they are just ordinary talents. So they leave for countries where their good life can be protected by safety nets etc. ...and where the education system is less competitive.
3. Top talents fail to appreciate the PAP. Probably because they don't have enough time compared with ordinary citizens to read the Straits Times thoroughly and appreciate the grand achievements of the PAP....and how going to a country without the benefit of PAP leadership will mean disaster for their families. They also fail to understand the wonderful plans to make Singapore top 1st world nation - something worth looking forward to. They probably don't have enough time to stand in front of a blue dolphin fountain to enjoy its soothing effects and understand the true value of their vote for upgrading schemes around the island.
4. They leave for the weather. We are not just hot and humid, if you combine that with the high density of our population it can be tough. ...compare smelling armpits in Singapore's MRT and smelling armpits in London. People who leave invariably leave for places with nice weather - some even go to New Zealand where the economy is "most unhappening".
5. There was bad influence involved. When I visited a friend in Canada, he showed me his brand new Lexus and told me, "You can probably only get a Hyundai in Singapore for the same price". I can see he was trying to lure me, knowing that I can't even afford a Hyundai in Singapore and have to smell armpits everyday. He continued, "If I had stayed in Singapore, I'll probably be staying in a 4 room flat instead of a landed property. Lucky, you can afford live a better life as a waiter here than an engineer back in Singapore - medical care is good, so is job benefits". Okay but does the govt spend as much on Defense to protect the citizens? Do you have workfare & CPF? Will I be able to work until age 80? How do you expect me to stay in a country without a govt as good as the PAP?...There are many things to lure people out of Singapore but these are tricks and traps. My friend probably has a hard time cleaning his house because it is so big and the weeds grow in the garden.
There are a number of reasons why top talents leave Singapore BUT there is NO GOOD REASON for them to leave. They will leave, regret and miss Singapore. Once they suffer under the hands of an inferior govt, they will begin to appreciate the PAP. When they get old and have nothing useful to do, they will long for Singapore a place where even 80 year olds get to work.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I've done alot of research on this and found there is nothing in this world as unjust and unfair as those MLM schemes operated by big companies like Quixtar and Amway. Dateline did a documentary on how these companies were making money by selling motivation material and not the products. The thousands of people struggling at the bottom make no more than $2000 a year and are encouraged to buy all these motivational tapes, seminars, videos and books. Of course, people leak out of they system and the people on top simply recruit more people with advertisements and bigger promises. Dateline found that there were people becoming destitute believing the 'dream'. Here is the Dateline documentary you must watch how the MLM leaders appeal to greed of the people for money to lure them into a system:
Please go out and warn your friends about how MLM works.
Monday, March 19, 2007
"I think we should raise it up to S$400 because we did a survey on 32 cases, and they need at least S$400 for basic living. the basic roof over their heads, the three meals a day, I feel that MCYS should be able to provide adequately." -Dr Lily Neo
Oh Lily Neo, Lily Neo, what are you thinking Lily Neo?! Our govt absolutely cannot afford to undermine the work ethics of these people receiving PA. Although you argue that they cannot work, there's always a chance....we are trying to get the disabled to work, I don't see why the people under PA shouldn't be motivated. The lack of fulfilment of basic needs is the greatest motivation the PAP govt can give them - nothing motivates like hunger.
Besides work ethics, there are other more important areas to spend on such as defense. Today, we are spending $10.6 billion, if we give these people enough to eat we might have to trim our defense spending to $10.50 billion, now that would be a disaster. Can we afford to be lax on defense? ....I'm sure if you listen to the 23 generals, they will tell you that we should be spending more not less. Lily Neo gets nowhere by surveying 32 poor people, their non-elite voices is worth no more that than a mere whisper of an elite person. Should the ambitions of becoming top 1st world nation, be slowed by concerns for the poor and unfortunate? Most certainly not! With top 1st world status, these poor people should learn to pay top 1st world prices, they should slowly be trained to live on 1 meal a day from the current 2 meals a day. They will be elevated to top 1st world status once they learn to survive the top 1st world prices - we should not take away their chance.
What about billions inR&D spending? ....Although there is a lack of results, our esteemed leaders have explained that "we are on the right track". Intangibles such as the innovative spirit has been cultivated by the billions spent on R&D. We should continue on the same track and learn how to measure success using different means. We cannot possibly fail because we are always measuring success. It is a matter of time before we get there - whereever 'there' is. Cutting this spending would be disastrous because we have attracted many famous researchers that consider us Santa Claus, we simply can't let them down just so that our citizens can have 3 meals a day.
Even if we have money, lets spend it on a rebranding campaign to put us on the fast-track to top first world status. We can form an international advisory board to tell us how to get there faster. We get nothing by giving these poor people on PA, 3 meals a day. ...we can use the money on scholarship for foreign students who get to use Singapore as a stepping stone to the USA....better be a stepping stone than a nobody.
It is clear why we as an affluent nation cannot give these people who are Singaporeans 3 meals a day. The govt has more important things to do with their money. All this wealth accumulated from the labor of Singaporeans, is meant for defense, R&D, and rebranding. These things are more important than something mundane like food. When our elites dig in their 10 course dinners, the only have the interest of ordinary Singaporeans in their hearts.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Indonesia has 17,508 islands many of which are bigger than Singapore. On this island of Sumatra is a place Medan, within Medan is a is a crater called Lake Toba. In the crater a tiny little island called Samosir. That little island is BIGGER than Singapore!!!!Any amount of sand Singapore can import is negligible. The physical size of Singapore is negligible.
Singapore has always like strongman leadership in our neighboring countries. We just need to maintain good relations with one strongman and thats it!!!....Everything else falls into place.
Now Indonesia has this messy outdated system called Democracy. It is a problem. Many different voices and views in government. Definitely some of their politicians don't like us. Why?....Many reasons - many because some Singaporeans keep abusing the maids they send here.....and these maids keep falling out from HDB flats when cleaning windows. Maybe like our esteemed MP Irene Ang said in parliament Singapore is just too rich - politics of jealousy. Maybe they just don't like us because everyone else don't like us these days, the Thais, Malaysians - its fashionable!!! I'm sure its just a small handful in Indonesia who don't like us, can't help it.
Some of them accuse us of 'haboring' corrupted Indonesians and call for an extradition treaty. I can't think of anything more absurd given our govt is so clean and rich who needs their money? The Singapore govt will never put money above the relationships with other countries and its own citizens, they are not so "money-faced". Singaporeans don't need that money anyway.... even our needy citizens on public assistance have learnt to live on 2 meals a day.
Well its their sand, they can choose not to sell us any. Phillip Yeo doesn't sell them our precious Biotech secrets either. The sand is a small matter anyway. If they really want to hurt us, they will bar all their maids from coming and send them to Hong Kong to earn twice as much as what they are paid here - ouch...now that will really hurt!!!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The main problem with people leaving is some people are not very competent at leaving. Take the example of this feller who tried to kill himself jumping off the 3rd storey of a building....he didn't even bother to make sure the area below is clear and landed on a 3 year old girl. The poor girl broke her thigh and had to spend a week in hospital.
It turned out the 36 yr old guy who tried to leave, was made destitute because he couldn't pay his rent. He couldn't get any workfare either because despite the hundreds of thousands of jobs created by the govt, he couldn't find a job. Desperate, he decided to get himself admitted at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). Unfortunately, his problem wasn't serious enough for them to admit him, so he was given some medicine and asked to go home. This man has been sentenced to 9 months probation for 'causing hurt by doing a rash act'.
Singapore is a lucky country which is progressing at the fastest pace imagineable. Although a handful of people are left behind, they will eventually find ways to cope with their 'situation'. We as a nation cannot afford to be held back by a handful of people, we have many people from other countries eager to come here and contribute. These people who cannot cope should find ways to leave Singapore. We can easily replace them with more competent and skilful immigrants who will help us get to top 1st world status faster. We should not slow down otherwise we will lose out to Hong Kong.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
"The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable and weakest members."-Mahatma Gandhi
Sometime back I was 'arrowed' by my boss to show a Swedish associate around Singapore. He was so impressed after walking along Orchard and around the Esplanade, he remarked, "Singapore is very rich". "Of coure!", I replied, "with a brilliant government like the PAP how can we NOT be rich!".
He was also very impressed with Changi Airport which he believed is better than any airport in Europe. I corrected him by telling him "it the best airport in the world". Singapore has indeed come a long way, there is no way a visitor can come to any other conclusion other than Singapore is helluva rich nation. We are so rich we give out generous scholarships to foreign students and to fund glamorous collaboration projects like the one with John Hopkins for $70M. We have so much money, taxpayers money is used for investments around the world - most recently we pumped billions into Thailand
Our govt is so rich that they can promise hundreds of millions in upgrading programmes during general elections if we just make the right choice when we elect our representatives. Since most people made the right choice in the 2006 elections, I expect to see millions spent on landscaping, fountains and sculptures around HDB estates. This will surely propel us to top 1st World status very soon - we will have more fountains than Rome and more gardens than London. Singaporeans know what is important and that is why they (66.6%) support the govt in the last elections. I myself can testify to the invaluable soothing experience one gets when standing in front of a blue dolphin fountain. Money spent on landscaping, fountains and sculptures, I really can't think of a better way to spend our wealth.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a government that cares so much about them and spend its money wisely where it is most needed. I look forward to the new sculpture and the new garden they are constructing near my house. The Swedish visitor whom I showed around can clearly see the success that Singapore has become a rich nation free from poverty marching ahead to be the top 1st world nation. I felt a bit sorry for him that he was borned in a country with the benefit high quality leadership like the PAP. ...one that acts primarily in the interest of the ordinary citizens of the country.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
It has been a wonderful year for Singapore with the GDP growth hitting 7.7% and corporate profits at a record level relative to the GDP. Many people wonder how Singapore can get here from 10 years ago and the secret is importing thousands of foreigners into the island. Wong Kan Seng said this is the key to our future economic growth. Although its a no brainer that importing another 2.5M will result in economic growth, PAP is the only govt bold enough to do it and to promise its people that they will get to top 1st world status if they allow this to happen. With such a grand plan in the works and last year's marvelous 7.7% growth, it is time to increase ministers' pay.....
To me, PAP's greatest achievement is their ability to motivate Singaporeans to work harder with each passing year. They are perpetually worried that Singaporeans might lose the work ethics and that they will be retire early and waste away their time. To ensure that they continue working the cost of living + GST is pushed up every year, to soak up any excess funds they might have so that Singaporeans remain motivated to work harder. Take workfare as an example. In the past, anyone in Singapore holding a full time job will be able to raise a family and retire when the time comes. The cost of living is now so high, there are 490,000 people who will qualify for workfare, because the wages they earn on their full time jobs is not sufficient to cover the expenses - they either chalk up arreasrs with HDB, SingPower, borrow from loansharks, or hope they strike it rich in Toto. These people will NEVER have enough to retire, they make enough just to get by. 40 years of PAP and one of the great achievement is the sight 80 year old cleaners at the hawker centers. I have a friend from Australia so amazed by this he said he was 'stunned', I told him it is little wonder Singapore will surpass Australia soon as a top 1st world nation with our extraordinary work ethics.
I'm particularly impressed with the Workfare implemention in Singapore this year. You see our economy doesn't create enough jobs that pay sufficient wages for people to live on anymore so Workfare was created so that they are motivated to take up menial jobs that they wouldn't take up before because wages are not sufficient to cover expenses. Now the govt is relieved of the burden of creating higher quality better paying jobs (the type that pay enough) and these people give up hope of ever getting one. Now they get to work harder and longer thanks to Workfare.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt who cares so much about their work ethics. Other govt would undermined their citizens work ethics with subsidized healthcare, welfare etc if ever there is so much prosperity in the society. The PAP ensures that with rising prosperity the work ethics is strengthened by making sure that cost of living and the income gap rises even faster to motivate ordinary Singaporeans. The harder you work, the more economic progress we have in Singapore, the harder you have to work to sustain it. Very soon we will reach top 1st world status, when we get there, I'll be close to 65 years old. I've been practicing cleaning tables to prepare for the day we get there.....I'm sure when the population swells to 6.5M there will be plenty of tables to clean.
Pushing a cleaner's brush instead of a grandchild's pram
Seah Chiang Nee
DESPITE economic prosperity, more and more elderly Singaporeans past retirement age are working as cleaners or toilet attendants, instead of playing with grandchildren.
That they are opting to work past 62 years of age is not surprising and, in fact, could be a plus point. After all, Singapore's life expectancy is 81.7 years, the world's third highest, even ahead of Japan (81.25 years).
But what is not savvy about it is they are doing the sort of menial work once done by unskilled foreigners workers. Some 35.7 per cent are cleaners or doing related work, where incomes are low.
It's not that the elderly don't want to retire, many simply cannot afford to, said Rick Lim in a letter.
He was responding to a government backbencher who had asked why the senior citizens could not just retire early and enjoy life, and he wondered if their expectations of life were too high.
Lim wrote: Are the senior citizens working as cleaners because they are saving to purchase a condominium or a luxury car, or is it because they need to feed themselves and their families?
This is the other face of prospering Singapore, which has one of the world's fastest ageing populations.
Recently, a student from China who was interviewed said that he found it strange to see so many cleaners were elderly, compared to poorer China where they would be enjoying their retirement.
Blame it on globalisation, insufficient safety net or poor education when they were young (probably all together) but it has made old age synonymous, rightly or wrongly, with poverty and hardship.
This is why some Singaporeans who are 45 or older are not looking forward to the prospect of living in one of the world's richest nations in 20 years' time.
The reason? By then they will be joining the unappealing ranks of the city's greying population (aged 65 or more) even as the city moves upwards.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew painted the exciting scenario recently of a fast-developing Singapore moving into the upper half of the First World. We can do this in the next 10-20 years.
Even today growing old is not a good thing. Many employers consider 45-year-olds as over the hill, preferring to replace them with younger, cheaper workers.
(Making things worse is the large influx of foreign workers who are ready to accept lower salaries.)
The majority of aged workers are lowly skilled and make up the bulk of Singapore's struggling class. In recent years, their income has either stagnated or declined, while the rich got richer.
This affects their ability to save for retirement, despite their mandatory Central Provident Funds.
Only 27 per cent of Singaporeans between 25 and 75 said that they have sufficient funds to retire, compared with 61 per cent of Thais and 47 per cent of Malaysians, according to an insurance company survey.
Today one in 12 Singaporeans are 65 or older; by 2030, this will become one in five.
Like elsewhere, this age group has more than a higher rate of homeless and poor, the depressed, and the desperately sick.
Many are becoming victims of cheating or crime. Suicide rates are high.
In a post-mortem of the 2006 election, leaders of the ruling Peoples Action Party attributed its large nine per cent drop in popularity to older votes.
If it is true, it doesn't augur well for its future because this base of senior citizens is growing very quickly.The decision to increase its five per cent Goods and Services tax (GST) to seven per cent will be an added blow to Singaporeans, especially the elderly low-income or retirees group.
To mitigate the impact, the government is offering GST credits of up to S$1,000 to all over 21 years old, that will be apportioned according to income and home value.
In addition, the 2007 Budget also gave Singaporeans a bonus of up to S$1,000 to all Singaporeans who make S$100,000 or less, with those over 55 getting the lion's share.
Two-thirds will be in cash and the rest in Medisave for healthcare.
But it is jobs that remain the bugbear for the seniors because many employers are reluctant to employ or keep people over 50.
Lee Seck Kay says that government efforts to keep elderly people gainfully employed are failing, citing a friend who was retrenched from a foreign oil company.
These Singaporeans have spent a lifetime working hard to build Singapore up, whether as coolies or managers, and should be looked after during their sunset years, many believe.
A retiree suggested the government dip into its reserves to pay each Singaporean over 65 a monthly S$200-S$300 for the rest of his life so that he can enjoy his sunset years. The Star
I went home and started to count the amount of sugar I was taking. I found that it was above recommended levels and decided to cut down. Of course, staying away from Coke & 3-in-1 coffee will be a real problem because these were unfortunately an integral part of my diet. I decided to replace the sugar in my coffee with Nutrasweet and switch to Coke Lite
A few days into the diet, I started to feel a strange sensation in my head. It was somewhere between a headache and dizziness. I thought I caught the flu or something so I went to see the doctor who gave me panadol and sent me home to rest. While I wasn't feeling well, I stayed off coffee & diet coke. I recovered and resumed my intake of diet coke & coffee. The strange sensation came back. I thought it might have something to do with the stuff in diet coke.
I did a check and found out that the Donald Rumsfeld was instrumental in getting the artificial sweetener Aspartame approved:
Rumsfeld was the CEO of G.D. Searle which made Aspartame. Aspartame was rejected several times by the FDA as studies showed it had adverse neurological effects and causes brain tumor. Rumsfeld got Aspartame approved using the same strategy he used to start the Iraq War - selective intelligence. He played down the large number of studies showing side effects of Aspartame while using the handful of favorable studies to get the substance approved. If the Iraq War is anything to go by, truth is the first casualty when Rumsfeld get involves in something.
Many believe Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet) is a real WMD served up in 9000 products around the world including diet Coke & diet Pepsi. Many former FDA officials now retired are will to speak up about the truth about its approval. There is a large body of scientific work that has been done and shows there is a clear correlation between Aspartame and a number of diseases ...the escalation of brain tumor cases in various countries coincided with the time Aspartame was approved. Wikipedia links to a large number of scientific papers and findings:
I've thrown all my Nutrasweet products away. Please spread the word, warn your friends.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
---------- Newspaper article -----------
SMRT TRAIN DISRUPTION
March 3, 2007
AROUND 2,900 commuters were stranded yesterday afternoon as train services between the Admiralty and Kranji MRT stations were disrupted for about 45 minutes.
Bridging bus services were deployed to ferry the passengers to Kranji.
Passengers who were unable to complete their journey can claim a full fare refund at the passenger service centre at any SMRT station.
I think this is great! After many iterations, they have found the right way to report this type of tragic news.
First version : Man committed Suicide at MRT crushed by train.
2nd Version : Man jumps onto MRT track and is hit by oncoming train.
3rd version : Man falls onto the MRT track and is hit by train.
4th version: Man hit by train at MRT station.
5th Version : Trains services disrupted at MRT.
6th Version: Trains services delayed at MRT.
7th Version: Slight delay, sorry for the inconvenience caused.
8th Version: Free bus and refund available during minor MRT disruption.
We should apply the same style of writing when we talk about poor and sick Singaporeans. For all you know, the reporters will be able to solve the poverty problem .....Singaporeans are so lucky to have such great media that always strive towards making them happier and making the problems of our society disappear....I think we are going to reach top 1st world standard very soon.