For advertisement

Sample

8/26/2007

A story Of love and poverty

An aged husband pushing his wheel-chaired wife 3km to meet an MP. By aidil. Aug 25, 2007 A Meet-the-people's session (MPS) on Aug 1 was perhaps the saddest one I have attended thus far. Sure, I have come across people who are stateless and seeking citizenship, HIV-positive persons, persons in really bad financial state and so on, but the special case that came before me today broke my heart. This is a story of an elderly Malay couple alone in this world. My heart raced as I had to interview the elderly Malay couple who looked like beggars, scruffy and tired. The wife, 69 years old, was plump and wheelchair-bound. The husband, 75 years old, was pudgy, walked with a limp due to arthritis and wore loosely fitted shoes. They live in a fully paid 3-room flat, which they bought many years ago. They only had one child. "Had" being the operative word. She/he died 2 years ago. They live about 3km away from the MPS that I am stationed. The husband, with his bad knees, undertook, as a gesture of love, to always push his wife around in her wheelchair. They don't take public transport because they cannot afford to and even if they did, they don't know how. Not knowing the whereabouts of an MPS, they set off at 6pm today in search for the first one they could find. They walked from location to location, asking people where an MPS is located. They finally ended up at my table - 3km from their house - at 8+pm. Not having any money to take a taxi or a bus, the husband pushed the sick wife all the way with his bad knees. The husband, being ill and old, is unable to find work. The wife, makes the best of her wheelchair bound state to sell packets of tissue paper. She brings in S$10 max a day. With S$10/day, they have to pay for meals, basic necessities and electrical/water bills. But this has over time become unbearable. They needed help and thus they walked 3km to my interview table. My heart broke when they retold their story of hardship. Copied from www.littlespeck.com. I am glad that the story is told. And I am glad that those who read are responding positively and rushing to do what they can for the couple. Go to littlespeck.com for more details.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

How many such sad cases are there in the rich country of Singapore? Not too many I guess.

The Singapore Govt has put in place a system that virtually eliminate this sort of things from occuring. These two must be a special case - fallen through the cracks.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure abt the facts but I would think they could each be getting $290 under public assistance and could be assisted by community hearts to hearts programmes, mendaki, etc.

With the upcoming HDB lease buyback monetisation program, they may get annuities estimated between $400 to $500 per month on the assumption their 3rm unit is worth more than $160,000.

My calculation assumes a 70 years remaining leasehold hdb worth $160,000 is converted to 30 years, and the payout for the difference cud work out to $160,000 divide by 70 years multiply by 40 years = $90,000 payout. But in practice, the payout can be less. I also assume the $90,000 payout is converted fully into annuities instead of partially as announced, the monthy payout should be $400 to $500 with today's annuity rate.

But I wonder whether the public assistance payout of $290 (multiply by 2 in the couple's case) will be discontiued when their flat is monetised. I think the payout should not be affected, ie total monthly $580 in addition to the monthly annuity of $400, otherwise there is no point to monetise the flat and be in deficit cashflow.

Hence at the end of the day,each will get a total of allowance of $500 per month. For healthy adults, that sum may be subsistencely adequate, but it may be totally different with chronic medical costs to consider as with the elderly couple in the story.

Anonymous said...

Just to add, being alone in their conditions, they may need nursing care or at least a maid to assist their day to day functions. Hence a modern day nursing home may be one solution. Therefore I hope the govt would address the issues of providing proper medical subsidies and quality nursing care for needy sick and aged who lacks financial means or insurance.

redbean said...

aidil is helping them to apply for assistance. the $290 will come in handy. but i think the clever officer handling the case will withdraw this amount once he comes to know that the lease of the flat is sold back to HDB and generating a few hundred dollars.

cannot creat a crutch mentality on these people. so they said.

redbean said...

are there many like this? frankly i don't know. i move around with people who said, 'what is $10 mil?'

Anonymous said...

I move around with people who are nuts, er, I mean, beans. ;-P

Anonymous said...

You mean the $600,000 type of nuts?

Anonymous said...

sorry my mistake, i think the $290 public assistance is given for the folks earning below a certain poverty threshold and the monthly annuity of $400 from leaseback payout may not have impaired their entitlement. anybody knows the conditions/prerequistes to qualify for public assistance?

redbean said...

in all societies, there will be the unfortunate minorities who for some reasons may ended up this way.

and if a rich country like ours cannot afford to take care of such folks, then what else is there to talk about.

of course the couple will be taken care off. and with some help and advice, they can monetised their flat. they live on very tight budget, like walking 3 km to see an mp. $100k is a windfall to them.

responsible people should advise them on how to translate their flat to money. the lease buy back scheme is a handy proposal. then someone need to advise them on how to manage the money to last.

Anonymous said...

responsible people should advise them on how to translate their flat to money. the lease buy back scheme is a handy proposal. then someone need to advise them on how to manage the money to last.


The lease buy back program, according to the announcement so far, may involve a partial cash payout plus a delayed payment scheme.

However for those that are not financially savvy, the money could vaporise in a very short time. Hence, I believe it is better to allow these people the alternative of converting the entire payout sum to a monthly annuity scheme in order to preserve the asssets.

redbean said...

for people in such condition, many ah pek and ah soh included, annuity is a reasonable option.

but why because of a few ignorant ah pek and ah soh and the whole population have to be treated in the same way, insisting that they buy annuity as well?

the people can be unthinking. the govt cannot be unthinking. and definitely not for one that is paid in gold.

Anonymous said...

They shud give the options to the people to decide. Good suggestion.

But if you shud spent ALL the money and then be a free loader, what shud the govt do to you? Any good suggestions?

redbean said...

you should pose that question to the free loaders. i have a pile in my bank account and would not need to become one.

but this is not a sensible retort. how many idiots are there in this world? if there is one idiot, why should the rest be presumed to be idiots?

the same thing, we can also tell those parents not to give birth simply by telling them what if their baby turns out to be a retard?

singaporeans are unthinking and have got use to this kind of argument as a justification to treat everyone as irresponsible and morons.