“Staying Together, Moving Ahead.”
- PAP Election Slogan 2006
Before I get to dissecting what the expert has to say, I'll start with a story. A few months ago, I met a relative who was in his mid-forties. He was lamenting that the 'good ol days' were gone. He was working as a senior technician in his company and just bidded fareware to one of his senior colleagues who retired after almost 40 years with the company. The colleague who was also a technician will retire with full pension and medical benefits - if he got sick, he will get to stay in the same type of hospital ward as the top guy in the company. That is because when he was hired 40 years ago, the company believed that where-ever the person was in the company hierachy once they got sick, they should all be treated as equals and deserved the same medical treatment. They believed that people should have sufficient to for a proper retirement so they had a pension scheme. Which company had such a good scheme and wonderful philosophy that inspired so much loyalty among its workers? The company is the Singapore Civil Service and these people's boss was none other than the government of Singapore! Of course none of these came from the PAP govt. They were left behind by our British colonial masters - the Hong Kong Civil Service still has these schemes[Link]. The PAP quickly eliminated these schemes and replaced it with the CPF in the 1970s. So how does the CPF compare? In 2006, 103 veteran civil servants sued the Singapore govt to return to the old pension scheme[Link]. They felt short changed after the switched to the CPF scheme especially the loss of the medical benefits. They lost the case and had to settle for CPF. But they are not the only ones who should feel short changed - we are all now dependent on the CPF for our retirement and medical care.
I'll come back later to get to the next instalment of this discussion. We will discuss the underlying principles behind the CPF and I'll tell you why the PAP election campaign slogan is put at the start of this posting...and yes, we will dissect the expert's defense of CPF.