Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sir how high is your Ivory Tower...

"But we will make sure that nobody falls below the poverty line....." - MM Lee, Speech at the Duxton, 10 Nov 2008.
"Sir, you must have drawn that poverty line on the floor...that is why nobody can fall below it! There was already a lot poverty during the 'Golden Period'. This will only get worse..." - Lucky Tan
MM Lee gave his speech about the recession and poverty at the Duxton, the tallest most expensive HDB flats ever built. From the top of Duxton, he could have seen the little grass patch at Hong Lim since it is not too far away but any protests there would have attenuated to a whisper by the time it reached the top of Duxton. While the HDB built the Duxton, the queue for HDB rental flats has been increasing. Why waste the piece of land on rental flats when you can build luxury HDB flats like the Duxton that can fetch $600K a piece. Looking down from the Duxton at the people below, the PAP can believe it done such an extraordinary job and created such an extraordinary economy, people have to be poor by choice or their lack of ability. That is why rental flat dwellers are asked to submit documentation of their income regularly so that rental can be adjusted upwards if they made more money - they deserve no little luxuries, no movies for the children, no trips to the zoo, no eating out, no savings. This is a govt that scrutinises the poor, but lets the banks get away will gross mis-selling that caused more than 10,000 to lose their lifesavings.
Here we are in the beginning of the worse recession in the past 2 decades and MM Lee assures us that "nobody" will fall below the poverty line. Some cynics interpret this to mean that if you're a nobody, the govt won't give a damn if you fall below the poverty line. I really wonder what his mandarins have told him about the existence of poverty in Singapore. From his speech he seemed to be saying that the govt will be tackling poverty if it arises as the economy weakens. This is really strange given that poverty has risen year after year in the past 10 years as the economy was booming. The PAP govt did little to arrest the rising income gap and rising cost of living when the economy was doing well. Some would even say the PAP govt's policies such as regressive taxation and relentless import of foreign workers caused the income gap to worsen...and the non-stop hikes in electricity, transport and housing caused the cost of living to rise. The govt expressing a desire to 'help the poor' during recession rings hollow as it has been saying this for more than 10 years during which the problem worsened.
If 10,000 people losing their lifesavings can only evoke harsh words such as "that's life", "went in with their eyes open", "case closed", and so know the pain of Singaporeans attenuates to nothing by the time it reaches the top of the ivory tower. Up there our leaders only spend to appreciate their grand achievements every failure is blamed on Singaporeans not being good enough for their leadership. To our leaders, the people lost their money because they did not read the fine print that was not given to them - nothing to do with the PAP's pursuit of deregulation that allowed these products to enter Singapore. The poor who cannot afford electricity despite working full time jobs are at fault because of their lack of ability - the govt that increased our electricity bill to the 2nd highest in the world cannot be faulted. That is why the PAP sees the problem of unpaid electricity bills being caused by poor people using too much electricity - they now install pre-payment cash card machines to force the poor to use less electricity....there is no need to try to lower electricity tariffs because there is nothing wrong with Singapore Power or electricity generators a billion in profits. In the eyes of our leaders, Singaporeans are just too much trouble - they are not talented enough so thousands of foreign talents have to be imported, they can't make enough money to pay for the services of this govt so the govt can't raise prices as fast as it wants for HDB etc, they complain often because they fail to appreciate the greatness of their leaders. With this view, it is no surprise that our leaders see the victims of mis-selling as cheats wrongfully seeking compensation from the banks for their loss.


Anonymous said...

Our Sir does live in the Istana. And in this difficult time, his family does take their meals in the Ivory tower. Naturally, they do not need to spend even a dollar to keep happily alive. There anybody who has more than a dollar on him/her is above the poverty line.
I won't be surprised if our Sir would declare that there's no poverty in China and India.

Anonymous said...

what's his definition of poverty line?

below his wealth?

Daniel Ling said...

Sincerely, for myself, although i'm not in a pinch, i do feel i need to slightly tighten my belt. Thus if i look below myself, I guess they should be below the Poverty Line depending on Number of Family Members tat are Independent on him/her.

PS: My pay is only average around 3k with 1 x Dependent Mum.Thus i would feel anyone with 1k less than me with more dependency should belong to the group which requires assistance.

Satay said...

The situation is so bad now that Mr. Lucky Tan doesn't even bother to be satirical now.

Sgcynic said...

"There are no homeless, destitute or starving people [in Singapore]…Poverty has been eradicated."
Kishore Mahbubani

You go down New York, Broadway. You will see the beggars, people of the streets...Where are the beggars in Singapore? Show me."
Lee Kuan Yew

It's official. So shut up and vote with our eyes open.

Anonymous said...

"You go down New York, Broadway. You will see the beggars, people of the streets...Where are the beggars in Singapore? Show me."
Lee Kuan Yew"

You tell LKY where the begger, LKY will activate the police force to catch the begger and put them out of sight just to prove his point that Singapore has no begger !

If you found a fly in a soup and report to the manager and requested to change to another soup.Th manager remove the fly and tell you that there is no fly in the soup therefore he cannot honour the request !

Amazing kangaroo but that how our kangaroo works.

Anonymous said...

pap answer to the rising number of poor people/financially challenged is for them to train/retrain and upgrade their skills so they can remain employable.
hmm....with increasing retrenchment or unemployment( employers not hiring and firing etc), i am sure that is a very useful advice.

Anonymous said...

i simply love this governemnt. all this useless and non productive rambling is not going to get anybody anywhere. Singapore is a place where we are rewarded for capitalism. i wouldnt want my millions of tax dollars to be spent on some useless welfare program. i rather it be used to build better roads, fancier landscaping. As for the structured notes fiasco, these idiots deserved it every bit. they want the best of both worlds. zero risk and high returns. so we give it to them except that for the fine print which say otherwise. so cheers and make merry my nobles for it is their suffering that make us enjoy our blessings.

clear eyed said...

There is NO poverty in Singapore! It's a CRIME to be poor in rich, first-world, Swiss standard, golden period Singapor! Being poor is punishable by our laws, just like it's a crime to be homeless, to beg, to sleep on public park benches, etc etc. The old, and increasingly not so old, CHOOSE to rummage through trash bins for tins and cardboard to sell. They eat leftover food they find in hawker centres and coffee shops because they LIKE it. And of course washing toilets, sweeping roads and other menial jobs are so satisfying and rewarding people CHOOSE to do them, working 10 hour days for $500 a month, even when their aged legs and backs can hardly support them. said...

lol, line drawn on floor

yamizi said...

I think MM didn't watch this show on Channel 8 (or U?) which is hosted by Christopher Lee and Quan Yifeng. About how they feature certain poor and problematic families (not sure they really did help or not).

sidetrack, my word verfication is comastse, at first glance, I thought it was comatose.

Anonymous said...

Are you morons all saying that MM is a liar?

You think you can beat the MM in a court case in Singapore, where our judges are of the highest integrity?

Forget this blog! Spend more time reading Straits Times!

And you will still vote for PAP when the elections come! Guaranteed!

Sgcynic said...

Dear anonymous,
you ready to lose your pants?

Anonymous said...

I think this goon is worst than Thasin, at least Thasin had help the poor in the northern part of Thailand. Hope the day will come that he will be like Thasin that no country want to accept him in exile.

black feline said...

3 mornings ago...630am to be exact..i was on the way to work from my elderly frailed lady with her son (early 40s)..were calling out to me desperately...on the road! begging me for 10 to 20 dollars because the mother needs to see a doctor..not enuff money. The son claimed he couldn't get a job. It's really really really sad.

Anonymous said...

We all know honour and integrity of the father,son and the boot-lickers only apply here. You can call them what ever you want elsewhere and nothing will be done. Because the rest of the courts in the world do not have the standards of our courts. The rest of the world has kangaroo courts

Desmond said...

Our Government may not be perfect, but at least I know that they care for the people. We do not have slums, or beggars, we have universal health insurance and housing, things that we all take for granted. All these things take careful planning, and I for one feel that MM has sacrificed alot for Singapore, and it angers me to see that ingrates who hide behind anonymous names insult him in public.

Maybe you should try living in Philippines for a year, or any other Asian country for that matter.

slev said...

Quoting Desmond

"Maybe you should try living in Philippines for a year, or any other Asian country for that matter."

Statements like these pisses the shit out of me. Any other Asian country? How about Korea? How about Japan? Why is there a need to compare to countries that are less well-off? If you want Singapore to continue to regress, continue making statements like this.

Onlooker said...

The more disconnected they (PAPer) are the more the tide will turn against them.
Example Republicans in US of A.
a lot of countries with govt change.

They still haven't found what they are looking for.That MAS(double meaning:- both the missing security lapse and the search for solution on this financial crisis)

Hint(for the idiot now in DBS CEO position): Please lah can learn from CANADA AND/OR Hong Kong banking industry or not.

Swee is pissed because union in HK is consulted but not here.I wonder.... NUT C??? lol.

Also For those Obama detractor. Obama done correctly not to attend the g20 conf because technically he is not the president yet.George Bush (unfortunately still) is.At least until Obama start working in the oval office.
That why there are a lot of bills and actions being passed (by bush king) right now just before Obama got in.
Bush is trying to make things systematically difficult for Obama to effect a useful change,While protecting bushy interest.
Obama did the right thing getting net neutrality veterans into his tech team.In fact it is the best move.
Obama cannot use his blackberry anymore..... due to secrecy regulations for the president.Since when?telco immunity tie up?
Oh that bushy trick will also be used by PAPer too but the effects they do will harm them in the long term if they do. first to go = GLC relatives :)

Sgcynic said...

Our Government certainly is far from perfect. And if they really do care for the people, then why do their words and deeds come acorss as incongruent?

Anonymous said...

Desmond said: "universal health insurance and housing"

You sure you know what you are talking?
You want to understand universal health care? Try coming to the states and learn about it, that is if you can. Don't give the bullshit sucking up to the dictator.

Anonymous said...

Comment 2:
I don't know if you meant to say what you said, or you just mis-read. If the poverty line is below the PM's wealth, then 99% of this country is below the poverty line.

If you are so proud of the "universal health insurance and housing", why don't you return to Singapore instead of hanging out where there is no "universal health insurance and housing"?
As many have pointed out, there are no slums nor beggars here because it is ILLEGAL. Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they don't exist.
Also, you definitely can use your name "Desmond", but don't belittle others who "hide" behind the anonymous names. How many Desmonds do you think there are? If I were in the US, I would put my full name too.
I think you should really come back and join the PAP. They need people like you... brainwashed and blinders on.

One more thing about "Universal insurance and housing". Are you aware that many civil servants are no longer on tenure but are on contracts? Their contracts come with minimal insurance coverage and on your first week at work as a civil servant, someone from an insurance company will call you to sell you health insurance. There is your UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE. And by "universal housing", I take it you mean HDB. Did you not read this blog? Or are your blinders to small and they are covering your eyes?

Anonymous said...

Desmond said "Maybe you should try living in Philippines for a year, or any other Asian country for that matter."

What's wrong with Philippines? I am neither Singaporean nor Filipino but i have lived in both countries for years. After i moved from Singapore to Philippines, i wouldn't trade for anything to move me back to Singapore. Singapore can be a much better place to live except that there are many moron like you around.