Sunday, September 26, 2010

PAP Govt tells others the "Singapore Way" of helping the poor...

Finance Minister Tharman gave a speech on the "Singapore Way" of helping the poor at NTU a few days ago. During the speech he again spoke about the big amounts the Singapore govt gives to the poor to show the rest of the world how 'generous' the PAP govt is to the poor:

"...substantial subsidies also make their way into the pockets. Taken over a lifetime, a typical low income family would receive from the state half their total earnings, he said. These subsides cover areas such as education, housing and Workfare..." - BT, 25 Sep 2010.

This is the 2nd time I hear Minister Tharman talking about 'substantial subsidies' given to the poor. I will tell you why this is an extremely unintelligent and flawed way to measure out how much real help the poor actually gets. Suppose the SMRT or Singapore Power or HDB decides to raise their prices tomorrow for whatever reasons (boost profits, increase margins, pay their CEO more, offset costs etc), the poor families whose wages are stagnant and have little buffer for such price hikes will get into trouble immediately. The govt will have to increase subsidies for these families e.g. give out utilities voucher and so on, but their quality of life won't improve one bit with the increased subsidy. The size of these subsidies (especially market subsidies) correlate with the gap between the rising cost of living and depressed wages. If this is the correct way to measure generosity and help for the poor, then those who employ maids in Singapore must be very generous. Maid who are paid about $270 to work full time in Singapore are given subsidies in the form of free housing and food worth more than 100% of their income so maid employers are even more generous than the govt is to the poor in Singapore! The truth is maids in Singapore get the lowest pay in the world[Link] and cannot afford to pay for their own necessities. If you think like the PAP and Minister Tharman, slave owners in ancient Egypt are also very generous because they subsidise the basic living of their slaves by an infinite multiple of their income given slaves are paid zero and get to eat 100% subsidized food and have free lodging.

The correct way to see if low income workers are receiving enough help is to look at their quality of life. Are they able to live a decent life - raise a family, retire at a proper age after a lifetime of work, are they able to get good medical care, eat healthy diets, live in decent size housing, receive reasonable work benefits such as medical leave, off days, decent work hours - and so on. A report by the ILO shows Singapore workers working the longest hours[Singapore Workers Clock Up Longest Hours: ILO] longer than those in S. Korea, Taiwan and Japan, yet we have the biggest income gap in the developed world. What does this tell us?

"We have a philosophy of viewing employment as the main social safety net in Singapore and this must be so. This is how you keep families together." - Minister Tharman

If employment is the main social safety net, it is greatly damaged by the PAP govt when it opened the floodgates to cheap foreign labor and causing the income of poor families to be depressed in the past decade. Apparently, the more important philosophy that people working full time jobs should earn a decent income does not exist in the PAP. Talking about employment without reference to wages is meaningless. When you don't have a minimum wage and employers can choose to pay very low wages because they have access to cheap labor from 3rd world countries, you put your people at risk...and that is what the PAP has done. I want to show you this video again [from an earlier posting]to show what the insistence that poor unfortunate families find work does to families:



"I've applied with the govt before. It always comes to nothing."

"They keep telling you to work. Its okay if I can find a job. But I may not find one that allows me to look after my children. We go to them only because we need help. They shouldn't say 'Look for a job. Don't always expect help' "

"I kept quiet. Just weep. What else?"


Here is a poor family with 2 disabled kids. As it is not challenging enough for her look after her disabled kids with special needs, the govt agencies insists that she finds work and denies her the help she needs - that is the PAP govt way of helping the poor.

"FINANCE Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday gave policymakers and opinion-shapers from all over the world an insight into the 'Singapore way' of helping the poor"
- BT, 25 Sep 2010


Insight to helping the poor? It is more like insight to how 'boxed in' and ideological the PAP govt's approach to helping the poor is. Their approach lack logic, pragmatism and ultimately hurts the people they claim to help. If we continue on the same path, the income gap will keep growing, the number of poor and the ultra-underclass will keep growing. When Dr. Chee Soon Juan, warned about the rising income gap more than a decade ago, the PAP ministers and state controlled media accused him of engaging in the "politics of jealousy". Four years ago, during the 2006 elections, the Workers Party spoke about the "new poor". Today most Singaporeans understand what is going on and they also know that if nothing changes, it will definitely become worse. Change will not come from people sitting in ivory towers seeking to preserve the status quo because it benefits them most to keep things the same.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lot of my friends say they cloak in long working hours but there is actually not much to do but wayang and act busy half of the time. That is not productivity, that is wasting time. Substantial subsidy or not, we will decide in the election :p

Damien said...

great post, keep up the good work. The government is aboslutely clueless in helping the poor. I think they are not really interested in helping them, just having some half-baked measures which are not really solving the root of their problems. They are just viewed as irritating and uneducated bunch, so the government hopes to hoodwinked them. What I am glad about is many people who are not considered to be poor are starting to feel and speak up for the poor.

Anonymous said...

I used to have great respect for this Minister,but it is beyond my wildest dream that he now stood so low,or may be I should say,he just happen to have a different vision,different fr the middle/lower class of his fellow citizens.

To be fair,I used as my yardstick the laste Dr Goh who is probably the one in ten thousand yeasr sort of thing,according to PAP's voices.

Politicains are just ordinary human beings,absolute power corrupts absolutely,only a proper system of checks and balance can help us,the average/ordinary voters

Anonymous said...

Never forget that PAP has one absolute world Number one,that is,PAP has the top,the best propaganda machine in the world.

No other political can come close to it and communist China is paying great attention to this fact,folks running CCP are not exceptional but they are definitely not stupid.

SDP is doing great work in this area,and I believe that CSJ happens to be the best pupil of LKY,albeit fated to be in oppostite camps.

I hope that my first choice for alternative party,RP would look into this area as well.

It would be nice if Lucky can join as a backroom man,hehe,I wish that Lucky would grant me my sincere wish,although I do not trust politicians,not even one of them in the whole world,the exceptions are peobably Nelson Mandela,and Aung San Su Kyi,but Ms Su Kyi is obviously not a political animal by nature,in fact,I feel; that she fails as a politician!

Anonymous said...

maybe they still think sgs are still so stupid to believe what they said. everyone cant wait to get out if they have the chance. to a place where houses and cars are cheaper, less restrictive, bigger and better.

Anonymous said...

All democratic parties come about:
By the people.
For the people.

By the people
Look at the statistics of voter participation due to walkovers and you'd know. Then the question is why are there walkovers?

For the people
Looking at the profile of the 'elected representatives' tells you very much where their priorities lie.

The problem with highly-educated cadres is their ability to rationalise. Added to the propensity to recruit on the basis of like-mindedness results in group-think, which produces public statements which makes perfect sense to the inner circle, but otherwise sounds ridiculous to anyone else.

Singapore has an effective government. So long as the gap between perceptions of reality is calibrated, there is peace (be it by the Main Stream Media, etc). However, there is only so much that the editors at the Straits Times can do to portray a world that is different from what the majority see. A government can be effective only if it has a firm grasp on reality perceived by the majority. It's ability to sense the frustration and angst of the majority has been sadly muted by an ineffective mechanism that is no different from those used in fuedal systems.

The people of Singapore stand for a better future for the people of Singapore. For their children and grand-children. Not for the enrichment of feudal lords.

The Emperor's Cloths should be made a compulsory reading for these people.

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, in order not to be poor, you have to help yourself.

For instance, the Sunday Times today reported how private tutors can earn more than $10K per month.

I believe there are quite a number of other self employed people who are doing as good or even better.

There are also many more people who can earn enough for a decent quality of life in high cost Singapore.

As long as these people are the majority, it means not only the system works but also very stable.

Which is why all this while the govt is very stable too and the opposition also could not make much headway in terms of numbers and support.

This can happen because Singapore is a small urban country of only 700 sq km and only $5 million population.

Can can you expect to achieve this in countries like India, China or Indonesia? Even if it is communist run (no elections) like in China?

Anonymous said...

So long as those PRs worked in Sg and commute daily back to stayed in Malaysia, the policy maker are ok cause there is not much implication to the public housings.But they are wrong, these PRs bought HDBs and rent out and stayed put in their big houses from the rental generated from SG on top of their salary earned in Sg.

Anonymous said...

Look at the British PR who wanted the best of both world.Welfare from UK and at the same time enjoyed his stay here not only for himself but also well-planned for his son.Son can be a PR and served NS for the sake of remaining in Sg as PR and not citizen just to enjoyed welfare like him as British citizenship.2nd generation still do the same thing.Many PRs do the same here;PRC,India,Burmese etc.Children go back to their country of origin during birth and then again apply for PR here to squeeze the juice here.

Anonymous said...

One old uncle told me that when hia Papa was hospitalised in SGH about 30years ago. All of his brothers and sisters were so fillial. Most of them paid visits very regularly. But recently her Mama was hospitalised, only a handful visited. After analysing this trends, he came to a conclusion. during his papa's times, the medical bill is next to zero, however, currently, her mama, the bill is about 30k.

As he himself and his siblings are also old now and some have lost their jobs. Really, even they wanted to practise filial piety, they are not able to do it now. So with this policy of charging the optimum for medical service, all pratice of filial piety would go underground or obolished. Just imagine although the Gov gave few hundred dollars periodically to feed the poor. However, these poor will be slaughtered utilmately in our world class hospital. Many of our middle class will also can't survived a episode with our hospital. Most of the elighten one has uprooted and go oversea, this is really a major concern.

Anonymous said...

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato

It's time to stand up and make a difference!

smoos said...

I totally agree this is not the correct way to measure generosity.

Anonymous said...

No win situation for all except, each his/ her own to do what it's best for survival.Now a days, because the political stakes and rewards are so high, even those who claimed to champion the cause of poorer citizens have been looked upon with skepticism.

Giving in to the simplistic ideas of the opposition may, in fact will, ultimately compromise the economic and social standing of the middle class and above.

The way to taking over the present government is to attack the standard and quality of lives of two third majority who are basically please with life here.

Helping the plight of the poorer citizens without giving due consideration of those have worked hard( the majority) to secure a comfortable life for themselves - eg bringing down asset values so it becomes cheaper for the younger generation - will worsen the state of the nation for everyone or worse off for more.

Question is: do we want to be fooled into improving the lives of a minority group, with simplistic ideas, and compromise the standard of living for the majority?

Some people tend to think so.

Anonymous said...

above correction...to those who have worked hard...

Anonymous said...

Right-wing Neo-Conservative economics call for the permanent maintenance of an economic under class that has no way of bettering its economic well being and will have to rely on state assistance. The real target are the middle class who is then "milked" or economically "assaulted" by the right wing state in the name of assisting the poor. This is clearly the case in Singapore under the PAP regime, e.g. "GST hike is to help the poor". Under such economic ideology the poorest will be managed and deliberately made to stay poor. It is then very clear who are the real benefactors, i.e. the richest and the few at the top. Welcome to the New World Order.

http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ said...

Base on Tharman standard, even north korea is more a welfare paradise than Singapore.

Stalin, Mao, Kim, Castro are even more generous than PAP on the items Tharman mentioned.

Public goods is an entitlement, not a "gift".

FXXking PAP seems unable to rule without telling lies.

DareToAct said...

Most people want to feel good about themselves. Very few will want to beg for a living or depend on government handouts. Studies have shown that even mice want to do some work to "earn their meals" rather than to be fed (see The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely).
The government policies have resulted in extreme depressed wages (compared to living expenses) for the bottom 20% and also many job losses among the lower income earners (and some higher income earners as well). Apart from financial stresses, the people are also having tons of emotional stresses.

Anonymous said...

Lucky,I breifly went thro' a speech that this minister Tharman made during the Global Dialogue(some thing like that)erecently and he has declared that the current Western system and perhaps even the red hot market socilaism presently being practised by PRC would not solve the huge problems being generated mainly by globalisation,some how I have picked up a subtle hint that perhaps PAP is the only party that has found the way forward,a bold claim indeed but coming fr the world's top most self-assured leadership,I am not surprised.

I truly appreciate perhpa you could pick up this subject one day.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

let the bottom20% turn to the pilfering rich churches for assistance.

perheps god can bless them with so much grace and prosperity, even the top 20% will be envious.

why not right after all , it is perfectly legal to say, nothing is impossible with god.

Anonymous said...

yes, since our wise garbagemen allows thse churches to ply their trade in churches, maybe the solution lies with these religious institution that promises MIRACLES for the hopeless and helpless.

yes,JESUS SAVES.JESUS IS THE ANSWER FOR THE POOR.

AMEN.

problems solved and pap can continue to enrich themselves!!!!lol

Anonymous said...

Bravo Lucky. Good way of explaining the flaw with the example on maids. Realy good one.

Anonymous said...

I hear you.

Our most esteemed government has always known to uphold truth, accountability and integrity in social affairs.

And who better exemplified such lofty ideals if not our holy churches?

So when the church boldly proclaim a God that will reward those who trust them, there is no reason why the people should not believe in their message of hope and deliverance since our highly esteemed government has given them their stamp approval right?

With that in mind, those who struggle daily and financially can now TRUST the church with 10% of their earnings so God can take their seed faith and multiply it 100 times if not, bless them in many other ways so they can live worried free lives.

For instance: Our underclass earning $600 a month can now tithe $60 of their income to these rich churches.

And according to the church that whoever trust them or God, and who else trust them more than our government who have awarded them the privileged license to operate,God will responds in kind and abundantly so the poor or rich, will have NO LACK!!

Amen and amen.

Now Lucky, and all our concern oppositions and fellow singaporeans, can sleep better knowing that, 10% of our low incomers can potentially earn them 100 fold returns if not, a WORRIED FREE life by the grace,love and generosity of father God.

Amen

Anonymous said...

**Really, even they wanted to practise filial piety, they are not able to do it now. Anon 26/9/10 13:24**

Things are getting real hot and it is going to get hotter.

They have Maintenance Act to manage filial piety, etc, etc when it comes to the crunch.

Anonymous said...

We have miracles. Guarantee.

You can now sleep better :)

Anonymous said...

yeah, if miracles don't happened immediately,wait. even if turned out not the way you want it, it is still gods will.

and in gods will, all is good. very good for ALL.

amen. no more complains.

Anonymous said...

The PAP makes a mockery of the word help. The more they help you, they worse off you are.

Anonymous said...

No worries, the rich church will save us.

You can now sleep better :)

Anonymous said...

imagine, pastor open mouth, millions of dollars drop from heavens IN A SINGLE DAY.

wow.

our poors all helped.hallelujah!

everyone can rest now. no need write so many red and black ink now.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans should donate more to charities and poor will be poor no more. If religions are true, the world would have been a perfect one for thousands of years, this is a statement of perfect truth.

Anonymous said...

LOL. one day can raise 19 million $$$$.

365 days can raise how much?

that is only one man effort. we need to promote such "talents" to rake even more money.

10 more of these pastors, our poor can live comfortably cleaning tables. a 100 more of these pastors? who knows, our poor no need to clean tables or toilets anymore. lol.

Dirty tricks - Using a smokescreen said...

Hi Lucky,
Looks like some people are trying to obfuscate the issue again. Quite a few comments since Anon 17:04 have shifted the focus onto God/Church.
1. Since when is this about God or the church? Duh!
2. Why talk about the PAP in the same breath as God? Do people honestly believe that the PAP can save you by being 'God'? Again, duh!

It appears that you have hit a sore spot in the establishment again - Ouch! And without real answers or solid grounds to stand on, all they can do is to use God/church as a smokescreen.

Anonymous said...

how many poor in sg? 50 000? how many rich christians out there? 300 000 or more?

lucky should target the church or such organization and leave our gahmen to serve the rich and able hahahaaaa.

maybe the christian bosses or well to do can practice "minimum wage" and welfarism for the bottom 20%...hahaaaaaa

that way, all are happy...hahaaaa

Anonymous said...

On Fri, i gave some money to a elder selling tissue outside Waterloo St. temple...initially i wanted to brush him off..UNTIL i heard him say" i'm Singaporean...support Singaporean"...sigh

Anonymous said...

you should hv planted the seed money with the church and get a bigger return for it so you can give 5 times more to the tissue seller and keep the rests to sow more and repeat the cycles of prosperity.

duh.

Anonymous said...

The reason why we have PAP is because god has determined that it was the best arrangement for us. The reason why PAP is behaving strangely in recent years is because god has determined that it is time for change.

Amen...

Anonymous said...

In spore, the cost of living is so high.
It is just not acceptable ifthere is no job to do.
It is very bad to break people's "rice bowl". Especially when u are over 40, once yr "rice bowl" is broken, it is almost impossible to find one again that pay u a decent wage to survive.

Anonymous said...

Praise Jesus and God the father for saving Singapore's poor.

Help our pastors to help you!!!!

Bless our rich pastors and God will bless us.

Amen!

Anonymous said...

hallelujah. jesus saves!

you cant pay your medical bills? jesus will help you
you cant pay for high property prices? jesus will help you
you are angry that foreigners have been taking your jobs? jesus will help you
you are also angry that foreigners are suppressing your salary? jesus willl help you
finally,you want to kick pap backside?jesus can also help you.

believe in jesus, go to church and tithe, god will take care of the rest, amen?

amen.

Anonymous said...

Please, we all jolly well know how our gahmen likes to look good on the outside.

Bunch of 90.5 Gold listeners.

Anonymous said...

"These economic times are not simply tough times that will turn around. It will not get better. It will only get worse...unless you are saved by grace of Jesus and will disappear in the blink of an eye, in the rapture! If you want to know more, or how to have a relationship with Jesus, please click here" - From the End Time blog

Mr Garmen, that's how the Jesus people think. They think you are hopeless and had resigned to being raptured.
Which explains why millions of dollars, which could have been put to better use, are wasted on telling people to "throw in the towel" or prepare for Armageddon.

Anonymous said...

The PRs should not stay in HDB for too long.
If they do not intend to be a citiz, they should sell off their HDB flat (bought from open market) after some time. They should only be allowed to buy pte housing after that.
Itis such a simple solution but was never "considered" by the "scholrs"?

Anonymous said...

"You do not believe, but My word is true. They hour is at hand. All is ready. The plans are in place. Men cannot stop these plans. I am God. I will fulfill My destiny to retrieve My beautiful bride. She is the one who waits on Me. She is the one who longs for Me. She desires to be with Me. She puts no other gods before Me. She is the one I died for. I died for all, but My bride receives Me without hesitation. She waits and watches. I know her and My bride knows and loves Me. She obeys Me. She adores Me and I adore her. My bride is surrendered and follows Me. She knows that I have answers. All others will be left.

Be part of My wedding party and come to live with Me. Soon I am leaving with My bride. You can be among these I take with Me. Why choose death and destruction? Come to your senses and live or be blinded and die. I am holding out My hand for just a little bit longer. But don’t think it will be forever.

Soon all will be dark and I must pull away My hand and depart with My bride. Choose now, the hour is waning. You have precious little time left. This is your Lord and Master Jesus speaking."

don't play play. our number is huge.

read the rest from... http://end-times-prophecy.com/blog/?p=413

An urgent message from the Lord Jesus: I am coming.

Anonymous said...

We have a lot of crazy people around. Lucky should devote his time wisely to hit where it counts.

Anonymous said...

"As far as i am concerned,my relationship with God is far more important than anything else in this world,i am definitely not perfect but i can make an impact in other people’s lives,i don’t a need a life partner to make me feel complete,i am complete in Christ Jesus,i am here to do His work,His will,His story,that’s what matters,be a blessing to others,be a beacon of hope in times of desperate needs & situations,live life to the fullest,fulfill my destiny,finish the race before i expire so i can inspire & aspire the next generation….."

I don't need a life partner to make me complete,said a local blogger.
Well, we certainly don't need babies too.

Anonymous said...

What these papists are doing is nothing more than creative ways to cheat Singaporeans.
In so doing, they enlarge the already huge gulf between the rulers and the peasants. The rulers moving in one direction while the citizens moving in the opposite direction. With these two opposing forces, Change must come to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Let those who "believe" in God...seek its help...when a hostile universe out there which is totally imicable to "intelligent" life "erased" 'humanity, from the face of nature...erase their loved ones and children/grand children too...

Pity...it was a 1 in a zillion chance humanity came into being in this hostile universe...with the too many self serving idiots and religious unthinking fanatical not independent/critical thinking idiots out there...the hostile universe only needs to sit back...get a drink and some pop corn...and enjoy slowly the show at our expense as we slowly and surely "make" ourselves extinct.

Perhaps a future better custodian of earth or "intelligent" race will come into being on earth...and will go beyond the earth to fullfilled its potential [unlike humanity] and spread its wings in the galaxy...

Man-kind has the same potential here but too many self serving idiots and mindless religious nutjobs of the fanatical kind out there are destroying or has already destroyed that innate potential of man itself.

Sad.

Anonymous said...

Not too different from Marie Antoinette "feed the people cakes to eat" when told that they don't have bread!

We need a revolution. One begin to understand why the aristocrats were purged by the rabble with such violence in the old days. The only way to relieve yourself of such poison and pain is to give the same. (以毒攻毒 -to cure ills with poison).

Kojakbt said...

Letter to George Yeo

from BT Kojak
to george_yeo@mfa.gov.sg
date Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 8:44 PM
subject India exerts pressure on Singapore to accept more of its “Foreign Talents"
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details 8:44 PM (0 minutes ago)

Dear George,

I read with dismay this news article from The Economic Times of India:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/India-presses-Singapore-to-open-up-services-sector/articleshow/6623486.cms

It stated that India has asked Singapore to open up more services to allow a greater number of Indian professionals to work in Singapore's accountancy and hospitality sectors. This is currently being negotiated under a bilateral FTA between India and Singapore.

Besides requesting Singapore to take deeper commitments in medical, health-related and education services, it is reported that they also wanted to ask for expanding the existing list of 127 occupations by which professionals are allowed entry into Singapore. They wanted the additional list to include chefs, physiotherapists, nurses, school teachers, nutritionists, professionals in entertainment and hospitality sectors!

I would urge the Govt to think twice about opening up the Singapore's market further in the way India is asking for. If this is implemented, it will have severe consequences to our already beleaguered PMETs. Many over 40s PMETs are slowly being pushed out by the cheaper and younger foreigners. Even the younger Singaporean professionals have a harder time getting a job these days. If you really care for Singaporeans, don't let this happen.

By the way, even though this news wasn't reported by our mainstream media, it has already been picked up by online sites such as Temasek Review. It's making rounds in Singapore blogs and sites and most Singaporeans are not happy about it:

http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/09/27/india-exerts-pressure-on-singapore-to-accept-more-of-its-fts/


Yours sincerely,

Kojakbt

Anonymous said...

Hi Kojak.

I have dropped a line directly to the brotherhood abt you.

They want to talk to you. I don't mean just talk over the internet. I believe they really want a face to face conversation with you.

Anonymous said...

What Minister Tharman is basically trying to relate is...the Singapore way of helping the poor is to look after the slavemasters first ie. PAP elites, business sector, GLC. Whatever scraps leftover on the table can be distributed before GE.

Anonymous said...

Helping employers to recruit FTs using people's money to compete & replace locals.
A smart idea.

Kojakbt said...

George Yeo has replied to my letter on his facebook:

George Yeo wrote:

"Recognising foreign qualifications is a different matter from the control of overall numbers allowed into Singapore. Provided the standards are high, it is good to widen our sourcing; it gives us more choice. Govt does not intend to let in foreigners without control. However, we can only protect PMETs from international competition to a certain degree. Beyond that, companies will oursource or investments will flow elsewhere."