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9/30/2007

Celebrating Singaporeans - Dr Yam Kok Weng

A not very noticeable name perhaps. He is a dental surgeon with a clinic in Ghim Moh, Perfect Dental Clinic. What is so exceptional about him? Tell me how much it will cost you for a visit to a dental clinic? $50 or $100 for a filling, plus a $50 X-ray which most people don't need etc etc. I was recommended by an aunty that his charges are very reasonable. My last visit, with 4 fillings done, I was prepared to pay at least $120. The bill, I was a bit shock. $40! It is such unassuming people that can help to unmask the myth that all cost, especially medical cost, can only go up, one way. We need more of such professional people who practise their trades without chopping off an arm or a leg of their patients.

Myanmar junta split

A report supposedly from London, to give it that sign of authority, but no names mentioned, said that 'A split has emerged within Myanmar's ruling junta, according to exile groups which claim that second in command Gen Maung Aye was angered by the violent crackdown on monks and portesters ordered by Senior General Than Shwe. It was also reported that Gen Maung Aye was holding talks with imprisoned opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi....' Reading these two paragraphs, one will get the impression that Maung Aye is a moderate and decent guy. But next to this paragraph is a write up of Maung Aye. It reads, 'Deputy Senior General Maung Aye,...has a reputation for uncompromising ruthlessness even more notorious than that of Senior Gen Than Shwe...Indeed, Gen Maung Aye is believed by some to have been behind an attack on Ms Suu Kyi's convoy...in 2003 from which she barely escaped with her life.' What is the paper trying to say? Maung Aye a nice guy or a bad guy? Or it is the way the paper is casting doubt on the credibility of the report? Or it was just pushed out without reading? The stark contradiction cannot be missed by professional journalists that double and triple check their sources to validify their reports.

Should the people save?

Less than 30 years ago, the top prize for the Big Sweep ticket was $400k compares to today's $2 million. Hitting the top prize then was to become a rich man. The money could easily buy 10 semi Ds. But if this guy were to put the money in the bank to earn interest, to save, he is relatively a poor guy today. Even if the amount is doubled or tripled, he could not afford a decent semi D. For less than $20k, one could drive off a brand new Mercedes 200. Today, not even enough to pay for a cheap weekend car. Is saving a good thing? The Americans may be doing one of the smartest thing. Spend the future money now and pay the debt in the future with depreciated currency. In that way they get the full value of the money today. The qualification is that they must be able to pay later. Why the obsession to make the people save when the end result is that the saver gets less than what he gets at the end, the value drops significantly? Who benefits from such a scheme? Not that saving is bad. But it is bad and a poor way to manage your money if inflation and the cost of living is not controlled. This is the dreadful thing. For every 2 or 3 % interest gain, inflation may double or triple and the money, though growing in size, is actually losing its value. Saving is a big farce if other factors are not managed properly to protect the value of money. It is quite wicked actually.

Forever young

A good looking hunk walked out of a joint with a nubile young girl in his arm. His hair were dressed like Elvis Presley. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. But he sure looked good. They went back to the hotel nearby. They were hardly a minute in the room when the girl ran out screaming, 'Taupok Man, Taupok Man.' The hunk was lying on his bed, shirt off. He breathed a sigh of resignation. What to expect from a man of 85? It was not cheap to pull the skin for the whole body. Again another scream from next door and a duck ran out screaming, 'Taupok Aunty, Taupok Aunty.' The hunk shouted, 'Are you alright Mum?' 'He didn't like my body skin!'

9/29/2007

The brutal tooth

ST's editorial today highlighted the plight of the marginals, those whose wages are 'barely at subsistence level.' To these groups of workers, about 300,000 of them, the editorial has realistically put it, 'that more cash in hand for living expenses makes more sense than having a little money placed in the CPF.' Their problem is immediate. They don't even have enough to eat or pass the day. You want to force them to cut a piece of their flesh to keep for tomorrow? Savings is a privilege and a luxury that they don't have. And they are not so dull as not being able to think that saving is good for them. Helping them is not just words. It is hard cash that they need, now and also in the future. Disregarding the judgemental part, that some of them deserve to be in that pathetic state of life because they were lazy, reckless and irresponsible, these are the people at the bottom of the barrel, the scavengers of society. They do not have enough to put aside. Want to do anything for them?

A new amazing tooth

I woke up this morning to face a new tooth. It is splashed across the front page of the ST that $2.8 billion a year over the last 5 years 'to fund grants and top ups that benefitted all Singaporeans, especially the lower income.' And a typical lower income household received $136,000 worth of basic grants, which helped to build up their retirement savings! Now why am I feeling so poor. Maybe I don't qualify for the $136k of grant. That would make those who qualified richer than me, for I don't have $136k! Am I feeling shortchanged? And all those lower income households must be beaming a wide smile or they are secretly happy but not telling. And with so much money going to them, especially 'to build up their retirement savings' why is it that they did not have enough for retirement? Where is the money? Oh, sorry, this is a dangerous question to ask. Erase this question. Let me ask another question. If so much money have been spent for the benefit of the people, and the people could not feel it, could not appreciate it, then something is drastically wrong. It may be the method, the spread, or not publicising it enough in the media. The PR part is failing. I think a more simpler and effective way to make the people feel the generosity and the weight of the subsidies is to put the money directly into their pockets. Then they can feel the bulge, touch the money and smell the money. The people will kneel down and pray to the govt like god. Unfortunately so much money have been spent on them in a way that the people don't even know. It is a big wasted effort, and a big waste of money spent. You ungrateful people! But can't blame them. They are simple minded people that can't think and didn't know what is happening. They don't even know that they have received so much money.

9/28/2007

Fascist thinking comes under the spot light

Thomas Koshy wrote a letter to ST highlighting the risk of a well meaning govt deciding to take away more money from the CPF because it thinks it is good for the people. If we do not question this and address it now, we will lose our CPF money in no time. We must stop this brazen thinking of deciding how to use our CPF money against our will. It is our money. It is not just a CPF fund.

Singapore needs more reserves

This is the view of Goh Khee Kuan who wrote to ST forum. In his view he felt that the current reserves will not be enough especially when the Artic ice melts. We need billions to built dykes to keep out the water. And more, if no ships come a calling, we need more reserves to develop new infrastructure and new businesses. He forgets to add what if a meteor strikes the island. We need to built a defence shield against the meteor strike. In the same kind of thinking, the CPF savings by the members are not enough. What happen if they are struck by life threatening illnesses and need to be hospitalised? The bills will come in hundreds of thousands. And the artic ice will mean that their lower floor flats may not be liveable. And inflation risk! They probably need to set aside something like a million each for year 2050. We need to plan for the future and save even more.

26,000 age 85 and above

This is a good piece of information. Now what we want to know is the breakdown by age group to give some idea of the spread and the probability of reaching 90 and beyond. It will also be very useful to know how many are destitutes and needed public assistance. The official figure of people under the public assistance scheme is only about 3000. Now this is way too small. If this number is true, then there is no real need for a compulsory annuity scheme for the whole population. It is too insignificant an amount to warrant such a massive exercise.

Phenomenal growth in population

We are now 4.68 million! Another 1.8 million and we are there, 6.5 million. Not bad. Think we can be there in two years. And we don't even feel the squeeze. Maybe 10 million is a reasonable target.

9/27/2007

Singaporeans dying

Ya, I think Singaporeans are suffocating and dying from too much tender loving care. The govt has been so pro active and caring and has been working so hard to improve the lives of Singaporeans that Singaporeans have never got it better. This is a case of too many good things. It is like a dream. Maybe the govt should cool down a bit and don't do so much. Jer lat. Not jiat lat.

Myth 161 Compulsory annuity is good

Compulsory annuity is good It is a hotly debated proposal, well intented, well meaning, and well thought out. But hardly any believe in it except the people proposing it. Who needs $300 in 35 years time when it is as good as worthless. Even double that amount may be worthless. And who wants to hope to live to enjoy this pittance at 85 when the life expectancy age is 80 to 82 years? The compulsory annuity scheme is supposed to provide the money for the survivors to live by. But how, when the money is definitely not enough. This is a classic myth in the making.

Allow public protest

This is what Liew Kai Khiun recommended yesterday. I thought it was an exercise not worth mentioning. But today there were some responses to his remarks. One pro and one against, to provide a balance view by the Today paper. But how many actually wrote in to support or oppose, your guess is as good as mind. By the way, what is the purpose of protest? Sure there are many things that pissed us off every now and then. There are very serious issues and some not so serious. Most went by without any protest. So everyone believes that everything is ok. But no one will know when a Myanmar will visit us, and if it did, everyone will be caught unprepared for sure. For any issue can spark off a major protest when the pent up feelings have been suppressed for too long over the years. And before such a visit, Singaporeans must find a means to express their objections or unhappiness over issues or policies. A public protest or demonstration is the most popular form to show displeasure. But given the current political environment, many would not want to risk the pain. This does not mean that Singaporeans should shut up. KPKB is one means to show displeasure and opposition. Asking questions like school boys in a monologue sessions between school teachers and school childrens, or writing to the media hoping for a reply is exactly what they will get. A reply. And once the reply is given, it is taken for granted that it is explained and accepted, case closed and life goes on. Ya, let's move on. What Singaporeans need is a platform to simply say No. We do not buy your reasons or explanations, and we do not want to go along with it. No need any clever reply whatsoever. That is what a protest is all about. To say no to policies or issues and to tell the authorities not to go ahead with it. And if they do, they can go ahead without the blessing of the people. And sure, that is all the people can do now. And the govt can go on not listening and do what it wants or what it thinks best. But hopefully the democratic forces will play its rightful role one day and a new govt be formed. Protest is necessary and important. But protest for the sake of protest is meaningless if it does not achieve any results. Find a way to say no and for the govt to hear the NO loudly, be it peaceful or violent protest, or just kpkb in the net. The important thing is to get the message across.

9/26/2007

The Returns of the Sultans

Malaysia is going through a watershed in its political development. The mess that the politicians have created in the country has opened up a crack for the Royalties to make a comeback after so many years in the wilderness. The people are calling for more royal interventions to curb the abuses by the politicians. And now a royal inquiry into judicial integrity. There are more areas that the sultans could come in to ensure fair play. This is really ironical. In the past, the sultans were sidelined by the politicians for abuses. Now it is the other way. It is now the moderating force and with a higher moral authority to deal with crooked politicians. Welcome to the new Malaysia.

Notable quotes ; Leslie Fong

"Bloggers, on the other hand, just sound off as they please. They are not bound by professional standards and ethics, and are responsible to no one but themselves. So you read them at your own risk, or peril. Newspaper editors who give bloggers space, or even prominence, in their pages, in the hope that this will attract younger readers, are doing damage to their calling.” Leslie Fong, SPH Editor Dum, da di dum, dum dum : )

Growing dichotomy

Lee U Wen wrote a piece in the Today paper today. What he said, from what he had observed, is the growing dichotomy between the govt and the people but without the govt knowing it. Both are talking but not listening, each going its own way. The govt just want to do this. It is good for the people. No way the govt is going to stop this annuity scheme. It is well thought out. Only how it is going to be cooked. The people are saying all kinds of things and all kinds of options and alternatives. The govt did not hear anything. Just appoint another committee of wise men to come out with another solution. This is an unique case of talking and communicating but not listening, not wanting to listen. I am going to do this. Say whatever you like. I am going to do it. I am the caring govt. It is my right to intervene. What your money? You want your money? You can't handle your money!

I am fully convinced

Thanks to the great debate in Parliament on the inadequacy of the CPF system as a retirement plan. I am now fully convinced that Singaporeans will have serious problems when they get old. And I have been having sleepless night thinking about this problem and how to help them. This morning I worked up with a solution. Singaporeans must save more. Singaporeans must save another 20% of their income to maintain the lifestyle that they are used to when they retire. We should have another compulsory saving scheme. All Singaporeans must open a savings account in the big four local banks and contribute 20% of their monthly income to this saving scheme. This contribution is by law. Now, so simple. All retirement problems solved. No need all the complicated formula and funding by the govt. Self funding, and this is congruent to our self reliance policy. I am going to be the saviour of the pathetic unthinking sheeples who cannot plan and look after themselves. They must thank me for the sleepless night and all the hard squeesing of my brain juice. I have been thinking real hard.

Singapore-Burma

A Burmese Aung Soe appeals to Singapore to remain invested, but keep the moral high ground not just short-term interests. Sept 25, 2007 Well, the sad fact is that Singapore nowadays is being seen by average Burmese as a country which only cares for short term benefits. Winning the hearts of 55m Burmese will pay off in long run than tarnishing its reputation being identified as a mere materialistic nation. Singapore can stay neutral, keeping high moral ground while making wise investments. It should refrain itself from being seen as accomplice of junta.... Friends in need are friends indeed. Posted by: Aung Soe I copied the above from littlespeck.com The Burmese are looking at us as a materialistic country devoid of feelings. Just money and profits, no morals. The Indonesians and the Malaysians are also saying the same. Coming from the Burmese means that much more pertinent. They have no quarrels with us and their views are more objectives. What about we Singaporeans looking at our country or govt? The similarities are ironic and shocking. Despite all the so called caring politicies that are claimed to be good for the people, they are but unfeeling, cold and calculative policies to achieve the interest of an entity called country or nation but compromising or sacrificing the interest of the warm and feeling people. Good for the people are not necessarily good for the people. More for the state. The phrase 'good for the people' and similar phrases have taken on a meaning that is anything but good for the people. Only the converts would publicly agree to them but may not in private. No one is going to say that there is an elephant in the classroom. We have lost that connection with the people, uncaring for the people without knowing it, intentionally or otherwise. But everyone in power still claims and thinks so, that they care for the people. Only the people affected knows the tooth.

Thank you Chok Tong

I will like to thank Chok Tong for his thought to help the self employed. Its the thought that counts. But just concentrate on helping the self employed in his constituencies. I know how to take care of myself. And I think many self employed too know how to take care of themselves. Please don't bother. We appreciate your concern. Thank you, thank you very much. May God bless you for your good thoughts and good deeds. Just leave us alone.

9/25/2007

Self employed - Be prepared

When the govt is showing concern for them, they better start to prepare themselves for all eventualities. Now what's up next? Chilling!

Josephine Teo's reply in ST forum

To her, as long as the intention is good, it is ok for the govt to intervene, in this case the CPF reforms. The govt has a duty and a right to introduce policies and changes that affect the people. True. But is the right to one's own money a sacred right to be protected? The govt has acquired land and properties, in the past and paying a fraction, for redevelopment of the infrastructure. Now it is paying market rate compensation. The withholding of people's money in the CPF and insisting that they buy annuities are different issues. Should the govt next insist that the people must buy their coffins and a place at the columbarium, deducted from their CPF, and put aside a sum for funeral expenses? If individual rights to their own properties and money can be so easily violated on the ground that the govt said it is good for the people and nation in the long run, what are the implications? And also the sanctity of a contractual agreement entered into at one time and can be changed later without the consent of the other party. Violations in such nature have very serious consequences in the long term. An agreement is an agreement. That is what we told the Indonesians and foreign investors. Are we setting a very bad example in the changing of CPF terms and conditions? Are these things important at all? Siew Kum Hong better push for a discussion on these matters in Parliament soon.

Living on Charity

I briefly watched Cheryl Fox on CNA last night interviewing a Mdm Heng(not her real name). Mdm Heng is around 60, sickly and lonely. Her three children and husband had passed away. She depends on a monthly withdrawal of $290 from her CPF to get by. Not enough definitely. And she needs handouts from some kind souls to pay for her medicine and a bit more. Her social life is as good as zero. Living on charity is a life of shame and despair. She wouldn't dare to strut herself around to share her woes with everyone. But that could change if she can appear on one of the charity show as a star recipient. She would become an instant celebrity. Everyone will know her instantly. But Mdm Heng need not have to depend on charity. She has another $20k in her Medisave. Unfortunately or fortunately, this sum cannot be touched unless she is admitted to a hospital where she would have to pay a ransom. And the $20k is just for that, if, IF, she ever get herself admitted. But If she does not have this good fortune, she would probably never have the chance to touch her $20k, her fortune. Our well designed system has protected our people from the expensive medicare system by making sure that everyone has the money to pay. But no one ask the fortunate recipients of this kind and caring system whether they are beneficiaries or victims of the system. Why can't the system allow Mdm Heng to draw out her little fortune to live her life with a little self respect, a little dignity, but have to depend on charity, kindness and mercy of others when she has her own money stuck in the Medisave? At least she could live 5 or 10 years as a respectable person, independent and not having to wait for handouts? She is at best a wretch. When her money is spent, and if she is so unfortunate or fortunate to be still alive, then the charity can come in. She may not need any charity if her life is not that long. Is our system kind or cruel? I think we are so kind that we don't even know the difference between good and mean.

9/24/2007

No need to bother the govt with our old age.

Singaporeans should tell the govt, thank you, please do not feel responsible for our old age. We will take care of ourselves, with our own money in the CPF now. Just return the money to us. Where can I find a T shirt that reads, 'Thank you' in front and 'Don't bother' behind?

Life at 85

The first thing I will do is to go for a complete overhaul. Change whatever parts that need to be changed. Get hair implants, crown a whole new set of teeth if the jaw bones can hold, go for lazik treatment, botok the whole face, pull all the skins or replace with nuskin, and start a swinging 85! Now, won't that be wonderful? A second life, without worries and the longetivity insurance will pay me ever after.
Rank Country/territory Life expectancy at birth (years) Overall Male Female World average 67.2 65.0 69.5 1 Japan 82.6 79.0 86.1 2 Hong Kong (PRC) 82.2 79.4 85.1 3 Iceland 81.8 80.2 83.3 4 Switzerland 81.7 79.0 84.2 5 Australia 81.2 78.9 83.6 6 Spain 80.9 77.7 84.2 7 Sweden 80.9 78.7 83.0 8 Israel 80.7 78.5 82.8 9 Macau (PRC) 80.7 78.5 82.8 10 France (metropolitan) 80.7 77.1 84.1 11 Canada 80.7 78.3 82.9 12 Italy 80.5 77.5 83.5 13 New Zealand 80.2 78.2 82.2 14 Norway 80.2 77.8 82.5 15 Singapore 80.0 78.0 81.9 16 Austria 79.8 76.9 82.6 17 Netherlands 79.8 77.5 81.9 18 Martinique 79.5 76.5 82.3 19 Greece 79.5 77.1 81.9 20 Belgium 79.4 76.5 82.3 The above figures show that life expectancy is at best about 85. But we must be proactive and prepare to live till 95 or 100. So we must prepare our people now, and keep their money before they squander them away. And with our world class health and medical care system, Singaporeans will outlive all the the people in the world soon. 50% of those who are 62 now will live to 85. That is a Singaporean fact. They are more or less guaranteed to benefit from the annuity scheme.

Stop the kidding

Anyone with a fully paid 3 rm HDB flat and prepared to rent out one room will have more than $300 income to get by. And this is inflation hedged as the rental will only go up with time. Not taking into account any other forms of income or savings. He DOES NOT need the $300 from any annuity scheme. All he needs is don't try to eat sharks fin, go to concert, drive a mercedes, admit himself into A class wards. Just live simply. He will have more than enough. What can a 85 year old do? Run around and feeding himself with viagra?

Actually ah...

Actually ah... Though there were some whinings and kpkb everywhere, the people believe that the govt is a good govt and all the things that are being done is for their own good. Even this annuity scheme and whatever the govt is going to scheme, the people simply love them. The kpkb is just for show, like a girl being ask for a date. Don't want lah, but actually want to accept it like hell. I beg you, the people will vote the PAP to power in the next GE with overwhelming majority. That is for sure.

Please stop nannying us

We do not want to be nannied. Please stop nannying us. And please stop uttering that the people are hopeless and mindless and always ask the govt to nanny them. It is the govt that insisted on nannying the people against their wishes, to be left alone.

Oh God, have mercy on your people

The people must beg the govt for mercy. Please, please don't help us.( I thought that was what the govt said. There is no charity. The people must look after themselves, with their own money?) The more the govt is trying the help the people, scheming all kinds of solutions, the more the people will get it. To help the poorer section of the people, we have the 2% GST. Now what, everything is shooting up beyond control. More than the 2% for sure. The govt is going to provide world class transport system. Be prepare to pay world class fares. No free lunch. World class hospitals, pay. No such thing as opting for C class wards. You will be subject to means testing to make sure you pay. The GST was the magic formula to help the poorer people. Now we have another magic formula to help the aged, whether you need it or not, you must have it, in one form or another, flexibility. This is another cure all formula. And whatever objections there will be another counter argument for it. One thing for sure, it is a well thought out plan. A must have plan. Without which the people and the nation will face disaster in the future. The govt is going to help the people to help themselves. And the people pay, with their own money. There is no other better solution to this. No other solution except this one. The supertalents have done their jobs. They could not find any. All the suggestions by the people are hogwash, flimsy options that cannot work. Whine as much as you can now. But as sure as the sun will rise, the annuity plan will be there and you have to pay with your CPF money. Even if you have been planning for your own retirement plans with all your savings and insurance and assets, and children to support you. Oh God, please don't do so much for us, please. Your children just want to be children.

9/23/2007

This is the Truth, not the Tooth

CPF changes An uncle's woes He writes from the heart how his elusive savings promised for 55 had eluded him even when he was laid up. Sept 22, 2007 This anonymous bloger posted this letter when commenting on "CPF Lies - The very blackest kind." by Kenneth Tiong http://freedom-for-man.blogspot.com/2007/09/cpf-lies.html Anonymous said, Hi Kenneth, Quote from ST, 20 Sept 2007: "To a question by opposition MP Low Thia Khiang (Hougang) on whether the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) uses funds from the CPF funds to invest, Dr Ng said: "The answer is no." "Later he rose to add: "The relationship is not so simple". I could not believe my ears and eyes! Far as I’m concerned, it’s a STUPID EVIL (moderated)! I watched a video of parliament and I saw Hen (Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen) denigrating a nation by mocking his own and other MP's, violating and belittling the intelligence of Singaporeans, insulting uncles like me for being too dumb to handle our finances, saying, "having a fling here, having a fling there". I cannot believe that an overpaid manpower servant that we pay with our taxes thinks so lowly of his fellow citizens! A case of “kurang ajar” or, in the hokien dialect which is pretty popular in Parliament now, “kiam kah”! If I remember well, when I started work as a teenager in 1968, I was told by my boss that 25% of my pay will go to CPF. He will contribute 25%. My boss said, “That’s law, don’t worry. Government guarantees you’ll get it all back when you retire at 55”. On reaching my retirement goal/age of 55, I was shocked that they have moved the goalposts many times since I started work at 1968. My money wasn’t my money anymore. Yes, there's Special, Medisave & Retirement Account - SMRA - "You can't touch these!" A hip hop/rap song? To be fair, I received my yearly CPF statements of the changes, but who reads? I did not. Eight years ago I had a heart attack and ventricular fibrillation. I was jobless for seven years. Lately, I was suspected of having other health challenges and in the past months, I had my share of visiting polyclinics and hospital. Poor rich! I'm rich enough to have more than $28,000 sitting in my Medisave Account BUT I cannot use it for tests, treatments and medicines in hospitals and polyclinics. Yes, my bills from Changi General Hospital and Polyclinics had to be paid in cash from my pocket. Oh, they tell me I can only use it if I spend more by visiting the hospital again for an artery ballooning/stent or a by-pass procedure. Or maybe another heart attack and ventricular fibrillation caused by the agony and heartache of “My Money Sits in CPF but Cannot Use For Staying Alive!”; “They Use my $$$, Make A Profit, Don’t Pay Back, Then Say I Stupid” & “Not Enough, Want Some More, Force Annuity On My Children!” Since nobody wants to employ a sick geezer with a heart condition and other challenges, I am fortunate that a kind soul, having faith, love and trust in me, offered me a sum of money to start a little business last year. I registered a sole proprietorship in ACRA to start the little business. Another heartache - I was informed that I could not register because I owed CPF Medisave which I did not pay when I was self-employed previously. Unless I pay up, I could not register my little business. Imagine, I was broke and I still had to top up my Medisave (already loaded with >$28,000) if I wanted a licence to make myself productive again. Simple: No Top Up, No Licence. This is what I know as Uniquely Singapore First World Standard of Whatever! Another irony: After seven years of joblessness (due to my health challenges) without paying tax, I made good enough to pay tax again for year ending 2006. I've done my part as a citizen, I even did NS in the army from 1969 to 1971. "Fend for myself"? I have. I pledge myself as part of “a united people regardless of race language or religion to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity & progress for our nation”. As a simple heartlander, I’ve done my tiny part. No worries, I may just jump in front of moving MRT before I bother my busy hardworking government with any problem. Question: What has the Government done for me? Zilch. . . and please don’t do anything. Whenever you do something for the good of the people, you cause me more pain than gain! Eg: PUB increase, 7% GST, Bus fares increase, etc. Just don’t hurt my family further by forcing my children to pay for annuity which is another scam to leech from innocent citizens! On second thought, you may want to upgrade my HDB flat with a “Go-And-Die-Chute” so that sick and old people like me who have outlived our usefulness to the regime can self-destruct by jumping into it. Health Minister may like this idea as he wants me to die at home so that I will not be a bother or a burden to his money-making hospitals. Based on the video, Mintsters just give us plenty of sarcasm and zero empathy. Just Mr. Hen talking cock! Another wayang, another day’s work to justify obscene million dollar pay! The more they "strengthen the CPF", the worse our lives become. ... Please, denigrate us no more and stop treating Singaporeans like idiots! Let us live with dignity. Just because we are peace loving citizens does not mean that you can walk all over us. Trying your luck too far may just change a push to a shove. Yes, even peaceful monks can turn into citizen activists. They are at it in Myanmar! Do what’s honourable - Simply explain the difference in returns of GIC, Temasek and my hard earned CPF. Come clean with transparency! My problems may have been less if the returns in my CPF had been on par or better than Malaysia’s EPF. Maybe part of the interest that could have been mine has ended up in the purchase of Manchester City Football Club. Am I co-owner now? Thanks Kenneth for igniting the fire of a sick and tired Singaporean to write something on this disgraceful state of affairs Sincerely, Feed me to the Fish http://freedom-for-man.blogspot.com/2007/09/cpf-lies.html I copied the above article from littlespeck.com This is a polite letter from a disgusted oldie who could not take it any more. And this is only one of many written, by one who can write. And there are many who cannot write or have no means of expressing themselves and be heard, but have more angry things to say. My posts in my blog and forum are only skimming through the tooth by being polite. I could post more angry stuff. But despite what this anonymous uncle said, he is still a sheeple. He only demands an explanation on the difference in interest earned. Remember my story on the Sheeple and the Robber? We should be demanding that the 55 withdrawal age stays and including the Medisave and Retirement Account portion. That was the first position. And if people want to put some in Medisave and Retirement Account for higher interest, let that be voluntary. The owner decides what he wants to do with his money. And why should self employed people continue to pay into their Medisave when it has reached the legal maximum? Is the contribution to the Medisave a bottomless pit? If $28k is max, those who have reached the max need not have to put in any more. What other stupid reasons? Whose fucking idea is that?

I want, I want!

Civilisation progresses because of dreams, dreams of better things. Singapore will progress because of such dreams, and Singaporeans are all screaming, I want, I want! And we are getting there, very fast. On record, we have a clean and green modern city admired by the lesser developed beans of the world. We have world class medical facilities, education, homes, transport systems etc. These are not enough, we will have all the havens of pleasure at our doorsteps. Marinas and yachts, private planes, fast cars, modern homes, fully automated and landscaped, the best restaurants and world class concerts in world class theatres. Wining and dining will be a daily affair. Singaporeans can all look forward to a future they can only dream of and turn into reality. How many Singaporeans will live the dreams and fullfil their 'I want, I want' desire? But even if they could not be there, it is still good to have dreams. But first, make sure that they earn the first million before the dreams materialised. I also want.

2051 - A bright future

By 2051, Singapore will be renowned the world over for another great success story. Longevity and healthcare. The high quality of healthcare, the annuity schemes, and the drinking of Newater, have extended the lives of Singaporeans well pass the 100 year mark. And many Singaporeans are living beyond and still healthy and mobile. Singapore is a totally new city and a change landscape. The infrastructure and transportation mode also changed. Wheelchair is the primary mode of transport for many of the senior citizens to move around. They are all healthy and able, radiant, dark hair, full set of teeth, good eyesight and full of life, even over 100 years old. The little difference is that medical science could not replace everything and many have to rely on wheelchairs to move around. And some will have drip bags hanging over their heads, urine bags hanging below the seats, batteries hanging on their chests. But otherwise, everything is normal. They lead very healthy lifestyle, playing basketball, dancing, marathon races etc, on wheelchairs of course. And with the half a million dollars in their CPF and an annuity payout to boot, life is a breeze. Retirement is great fun. The flourishing industry in the island is health and medical care. The senior citizens need routine serviceing weekly to keep the system going strong. Wheelchair industry has overtaken the automobile industry. And viagra is doing roaring sales. With money and excellent medical care, life can go on forever. And the head of govt is a young 90 something.

9/22/2007

One good thing from the CPF debate

We must thank Eng Hen for this annuity proposal thing and debated it rigorously in parliament. And despite the scheme being poked with holes all over, there is a little silver lining in the smoke screen. The issue of CPF interest rate, how the money is being deployed, how little it gets in return and how little it pays to CPF members and how it could actually return more to the people, is the only good thing that came out from this debate. We can only hope that MPs will dig their scalpels deeper to reveal more morsels for the CPF members to chew. Now we are having 1% more from the CPF, from the returns it gets from buying govt bonds without sweating. And if properly managed and invested, CPF members can look forward to higher returns. No need 10% or 18%. That the risk will be too high. Maybe 4% guaranteed and a couple of percentage points more will do.

Don't eat now, have more to eat in 30 years

What I would want to add on to the CPF debate is this. When you want to help the people to live better in the future, you either teach them to fish or you plant more seeds to reap more fruits later. You can also offer them a few loaves of bread. The last thing you want to do is to take whatever little the poor buggers have now and keep them in the storehouse and say they can come and collect in 30 years time. In the meantime they can tighten the belt. And if they die halfway before the 30 years is up, just too bad. The delay in withdrawal age and taking money from the CPF members to buy annuities come from the same principles.
CPF - Interference, violation, encroachment? Say it in whatever ways, the CPF savings is fair game. The rules governing the use and return of the money to the members have been changing over the years from the day it was created. The older members who joined the scheme earlier went in with a different set of terms and conditions. Now they have to accept a totally different set of terms and conditions which they have no say about them. The govt changes them for the good of the CPF members. And for this reason alone, it is justified and claimed the high moral ground. All those in favour of the changes, in the govt, agrees and support the changes and the principles behind it. Legally and legislatively, they have all the power to do so. But how right are they to do it and what about the rights of the members to say no and to protect their own money? Do the members have any rights at all to their own money, to insist that the CPF sticks to the agreement when they first start contributing to the scheme? Lim Wee Kiat did not considered all the changes as 'interference on personal freedom.' This view is echoed by SMU law lecturer Eurgene Tan who said that the changes was not 'encroaching' on one's rights. And Josephine Teo has this to say, 'Singaporeans will have to judge whether the intervention has created better results.' What she simply means is that the ends justify the means. The rights of the members is not an issue. Such facist ideas have been creeping into our mentality over the years without any challenge, and people have gradually grown accustom with them and accepting them as normal. If such values are not arrested, the future is unimaginable. NMP Siew Kum Hong has warned, 'Beware the slippery slope of "encroachment" into CPF members' rights.' Where will it end? There is another aspect which is indirect but equally dangerous. We do not pass laws to be effective retrospectively to affect people adversely. Our neighbours have done that and have undermined their own credibility, reliability and predictability as a govt. The constant changing of the rules governing the use of CPF money, the shifting of the goal posts to affect members who joined the scheme under different terms and conditions are as good as passing restrospective laws in a way. It is important that such encroachments and violations to the rights of CPF members be aired in Parliament. Would there be a motion on this? Unless we all accept that the rights of the people is secondary or non existence and the ends justify the means, that it is a non issue. What is the future Singapore?

9/21/2007

What it could be

I am not going to make any proposal to this annuity drama. It was an unnecessary drama, wasting too much time and effort of everyone, kicking up emotions and touching on raw nerves for nothing. The present CPF system actually is more than adequate to serve the needs of the ageing population, with a little modification. Yeah, no need to sweat the small thing. At 55, the people should be allowed to withdraw whatever there is as provided under the present system. This should give them a pep high for the next few years till 62. After all they have been waiting for this day for their whole life. From 62-72, they should start to draw down on their minimum sum. A monthly sum of $500-$600 should be adequate as this is not going to be their only means of income except for some who are unemployable or in dire straits. With the new employment law, family support, their own savings and assets, a $500-$600 kopi money would be a welcome luxury. Therefore, the minimum sum need not be so huge, $50k should be more than adequate to do the job. From 72-82, people should be dying and should be preparing to die instead of building on more dreams of living to 100 and painting the town red. For those who are affected by serious sicknesses, many would have died by now. Those alive and relatively healthy should be allowed to draw down their $30k in the Medisave in the same way as an annuity. By the time they die, they should not leave very much behind. At least they live to spend their own money. From 82 onwards, there will still be survivors. Not many, and not many of these survivors would need charity. Some will. Maybe 10,000 or 20,000. At $300 pm, it will cost the govt $3 to $6 million or $36 -$72 million annually. Be generous, round it up to $100 million a year. Or put the survivor numbers of the needy and desperate to 100k, it needs only $1 billion. There is no need for the govt to cough out $1.2 bil or $2.4 bil to support this group annually. What is the problem? Must be my numbers. This is a very broadbrush look at the numbers that can be used to look at the problem. It is free. No need to pay a million so don't expect any details. Oh, in between, at 55 or 62, the govt may offer annuity or whatever schemes to encourage the people to keep more money with the CPF with incentives like $1 for $1 or higher interest rates. Those who are happy can opt to join the schemes.

A gingerly step forward towards more openess

Parliament has never been like this before. Blades were sharpened, sparkes flew. The debate on the compulsory annuity proposal was given a full grilling it deserved. The MPs came prepared, and were allowed to speak their minds. The end result, all stones were not left unturned, actually this little bit is not true, but most of the stones were turned to show how difficult it is to push through the proposal. The issues highlighted were genuine and disarming. Only a strong headed leader would dare to say 'It's water under the bridge. Let's move on.' Eng Hen was gracious enough to read the emotions and whole jigzaw puzzle being put together. It was not the same picture that was before, the picture he saw was unreal. Kudos to all the MPs who spoke passionately and argued sensibly on the issue. It would by hypocrisy at its supreme best if they dare to go back to their constituents to speak favourably of the proposal with sugar laced words and poetry. This is a small step towards more open discussion, at least in the confines of Parliament.

9/20/2007

Singaporeans should say, 'No, Thank you very much.'

Published September 20, 2007 YESTERDAY IN PARLIAMENT We need CPF changes to stay viable: Eng Hen Govt not leaving citizens to fend for themselves, he says... Dr Ng emphasised that the government is not leaving Singaporeans to fend for themselves. 'We will spend at least $1.1 billion each year to build up their CPF savings through Workfare and higher CPF. We will provide up to $1.2 billion in deferment bonuses. These changes are real. They will see their CPF accounts grow faster after these changes.' Singaporean should say no to the billions that the govt is going to put into their CPF. The govt should use the billions for the annuity schemes and not to change the withdrawal age of the CPF. Thank you. Please don't meddle with the CPF scheme. We are very happy with the way it is.

Story of Sheeple and robber

The robber told the sheeple to hand over his wallet, watch and handphone. The sheeple pleaded with the robber. 'Please, leave $2 for me to take bus home.' The robber said, 'Sure, here is your $2.' Sheeple so happy, 'Thank you, thank you. You are most kind.'

My apologies to all bloggers and visitors

I am sure all of you have seen the postings of a few retards here. My apologies on their behalf for they know not what they are doing. Just ignore them and their posts. I truly empathise with them for having to post such deranged messages here just to earn a living. I forgive them. We all have to earn a living. Some do it with pride, some in shame. Some with dignity, some with ignominy. In this little red dot of an island, there are the red princes, and there are the red lords, and there are the redbeans and there are the red dogs.

My position, no change

After hearing the full debate in the internet and Parliament, I am more convinced that there is no need for any drastic change to the present CPF system. The proposed changes are so flawed that the word flaw has taken the status of taboo. No one dares to say that the whole concept is flawed. It is flawed in principle and violated many rights of the people to their money. It starts on the premise that the govt has all the rights to legislate away the peoples money in whatever way it so decides on the ground that it is good for the people. It touches on a very sensitive part of the people's interest. $20k, $30k or $120k, that number may be small to many people, but it is the life long savings, the fortunes of the poor redbeans. There are many redbeans in this little red dot that never see such money in their lives. And they will be furious to think that anyone can just keep distancing them from their little fortunes. The pain, anger and frustration cannot be underestimated, no matter what reasons are being put forth. There are many other reasons and reservations and flawed premises that have been pointed out and became obvious over the last few days and no need to elaborate further here. Here are the few reasons why there is no need to change the current system. Grunt has rightly explained how several billion dollars could be set aside for the old and needy. Mind you, the number that is above 80 is small. And the number of old and needy will be even smaller. If the govt can cough out so many billions to support a flawed scheme, why not use the same money to set up a fund for the needy oldies, a simpler and no farce system? And with the push to extend retirement age to as old as possible, the need for a hefty retirement savings is much lesser. If a person is to work to 70 and die at 70, he does not need any savings. Not a cent! And lets not brush aside and refuse to see the elephant in the classroom. Most Singaporeans are not desperately poor. Many are asset rich and with the HDB lease back scheme, or even without, they can rent out their 3 rm flats to earn an income. And many have alternative support for their old age. The current problem faced by the aged is of a lost generation. It will come to past. The number of helpless cases will not be as bad as today. An old couple, even jobless, cannot die of poverty or live below the poverty line if they have an asset in the form of a 3 rm flat. And many Singaporeans will have more. Unless our flat ownership scheme has failed. Unless our education system has failed. Unless our CPF scheme has failed. I say it loudly here, there is an elephant in the classroom. Please look at the elephant and don't turn your head the other way.

Notable Qoutes - Ng Eng Hen

'I need you to spout poetic lines to convince your constituents that these measures re meant to help them. Spew forth with passion your Hokkien lyrics and poetic metaphors.' Ng Eng Hen Reading these lines really made me worried. When one is selling diamonds, does one need to go to the extend of spouting poeting lines?

9/19/2007

Govt cares for the elderly - here's the proof

Govt cares for the elderly - here's the proof This is a sub heading in the Straits Times. And the proof is 1% extra interest for the CPF savings up to $60k. Govt does not care for the elderly - here's the proof If you want to live longer, you must have the money to do so, or else... Your own money! If not, the govt will want you to buy a compulsory annuity insurance to make sure you can afford to live with your own money. How much is this compares to the 1% extra interest? This is on top of the delay withdrawal of your CPF minimum sum to start at 67 and to last how many years? 20 years till 87? or 20 years from 65 to 85? The gist is that you must have your own money to live. Which of the two hypotheses above is right?

Only the healthy live past 85

Would this statement be true? I think generally this should be the case. Those that have a lot of medical problems will highly likely to knock off earlier, in their 60s or 70s. And these people will use up their Medisave faster. There will be a few exceptions of course. For those healthy oldies, could they live on the huge sum of $30 left in their Medisave at 85? By this age, I don't think they would want to waste on expensive medical operations to prolong their lives further. Even those in their 70s may not want to do so. If they have live past 70 healthily, they should be allowed to used their Medisave as a replacement for annuity. What the fuck is the $30k for if they cannot use it while living? To be buried with them? Would any MP bring this suggestion up in Parliament, that the oldies, once past 75, be allowed to dip into their Medisave and not let their hardearned money go to waste? In fact, with a little modifications, the Medisave is a ready alternative waiting to be used as a substitute for annuity. Why the need to build another huge sum of money to be set aside? Putting so much money aside is a luxury that the poor cannot afford. Only people who have millions of dollars can do that and think that the poor also must be coerced to do the same.

Cull the CEOs

Gan Kim Yong is cracking his brains to find out more ways to make organisations employ more older workers. One area to look at is the CEOs. There are still many CEOs that are anti oldies. They will get rid of oldies at the earliest opportunities. You could hear some making remarks that the old farts should not be around or giving instructions to HR to retire them at the first opportunity. Definitely no more hiring of old farts. What the ministry and trade union can do is to open a channel for people to send in their complaints of such violation. Let the whistle blowers blow their whistles. I think that is another way to contain the problem. Cull the CEOs that are the source of this employment problem.

Best suggestion from Lily Neo

The govt is going to fund the extra 1% given to CPF account holders from the interest CPF is earning. How long have CPF been earning this extra interest that it can now pay the people 1% more? And how much interest has CPF been getting all these years relative to how much it is paying to the CPF account holders? Does anyone know? With the good performance of Temasek and GIC, Lily Neo's suggestion of pegging CPF interest to them at -2% is one of the best suggestion so far. And given the track records of these two agencies, did I hear 18% return?, -2% still gives a return of 16%. Swell! But let' not be too ambitious, make it -4% to give the agencies some incentives to make the money work harder but with a guaranteed return of 4%. Now that will be cool.

9/18/2007

A chicken and egg story

The kpkb in the internet was not in vain. Ok, maybe the govt did not listen to cyberspace whiners. But the govt is listening and will take note of the unhappiness raised by the public through all the channels available. We will see more in dept study of the annuity plan before it is being push out to the people. But changes there will be to revamp the CPF withdrawal plans. The new scheme plus the bonus for deferred withdrawal will cost the govt $1.2 billion each, or $2.4 billion in total if I heard it correctly. The govt appears to be very generous in this area. But someone has to foot the cost, all $2.4 billion. There is no free lunch. We would have to wait for Eng Hen to explain how he is going to pay for this proposal. Before the chicken are out we need to know who is going to lay the eggs. I think we all know the answer.

Role of Internet in the Odex Saga

Can the internet claim some credit for the change of tune in the Odex saga? I think in this case, the internet played a great role in putting a lot of adverse publicity on how Odex went about demanding compensation from the children. Definitely much more than what the main stream media had done. We are now seeing the table being turned and the parents and children breathing a little easier. But of course the court decision was a big help. Otherwise the service providers will be happily providing Odex the names of the downloaders. And for that they need to thank PacNet for standing up to Odex and saying NO. It is a lesson that Sheeples must learn. They must know their rights and what is theirs, eg the CPF money, and say NO when needed. Or else they will be trampled by every organisation with threats of legal actions.

9/17/2007

1 in 6 mentally ill

This is what is happening. Does that answer your concern? Think very carefully...1 in every 6 Singaporeans is mentally sick. This is what is reported in the msm, that 'if Singapore follows the trend in other developed countries, the numbers are set to go up....Citing previous studies, Assoc Prof Chong Siow Ann of the Institute of Mental Health said that between 16 and 18 per cent of people here have some form of mental health problem.' And I was having lunch, sitting in a table of 6, and I can believe one of them is sick. I suddenly got worried when I think of Parliament. For the ordinary people, just make sure that you are not diagnosed as mentally ill and be sent to IMH. We need to build not only hospices, but more IMH.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin speaks

It's been a long time since we last hear about Muhyiddin. His promotion or kicked upstair to become Agriculture Minister has put him safely in a corner despite his heavyweight status as an UMNO Vice President and a potential PM. And his Mentri Besar position was filled by Abdul Ghani, a favourite of Mahathir. After so many years in the shadow, he is speaking out. He feels that the Malaysians are mature enough to discuss privately, not under the glare of TV coverage, and not kris kissing, on the issue of the social contract between the three key racial groups in the country. Even for saying this, he is risking his position as some quarters in UMNO will see it as an undermining of the special position of Malays in Malaysia. And he also commented on the IDR and that Singaporeans should work around the sticky problems of Malaysian politics. There are ways. And this sounds rather interesting. If only that he is the Mentri Besar of Johore. But getting around is only temporary and investors are not going to risk millions and billions just to get around a corner without any long term protection under the law should some hot brands start to wield their krises and beat the kombangs. It is a difficult and winding road to negotiate for all parties, the Malaysian govt and the foreign investors.

3.3% better than 4%?

CPF pegged to bond maybe unfavourable to the oldies Citi economist Chua Hak Bin has come out with a different calculation on the peg and suggested that the pegging to bond rate would benefit the young rather than the oldies. His numbers showed that in the longer term, the young could get 3.7% while the oldies will only get 3.3%. Now is that good or bad? So far the official explanation is that pegging will give more in returns to the CPF holders. And is 3.7% or 3.3% better than 4%. I know the answer. Yes, with a lot of faith. Chua Hak Bin better make doubly sure that his numbers are correct or he will have to retract them soon.

More leeways for Singaporeans

Aren't Singaporeans glad that they are having more leeways, according to Dr Gillian Koh, 'a view echoed by former Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts director and Member of Parliament Baey Yam Kheng. In Dr Koh's view, civic society groups are now allowed to express more and at times more than political groups. She cited the little protest by children at the Youth Park to protest against anime distributor Odex as a big leap forward. What the handful of children did was to display some of their toy characters. And they were so lucky that the law gave them a lighter touch by just taking down their names. Nobody was arrested. Great progress! Singapore society is maturing. Hmmm, I thought in mature societies, they would not even be bothered with children playing with their toys. I may be wrong. But it is always good to start a day with such positive news like having more leeways.

9/16/2007

Another boom town charlie story

The rental business is so good that all the property owners are rushing to raise their rentals by 2 or more times within a year. It is a situation where the lessee must grab a property and quickly sign on it for as long a term as possible at a fixed rate. If not, someone will sneak by and offer to pay more or the landlord will keep raising rentals every few months. How many properties that I own? One 3 rm flat. But still good if it can fetch $2000 a month rental for my retirement. With private property prices and rentals shooting to the sky, some must filter down to the heartland. This is the best thing that can happen to Singaporeans as practically everyone own a little flat, maybe not in prime district and cannot fetch $5k or $10k, but $2k is more than good enough if the annuity is going to pay $300. Thank god that things are working out this way. All singaporeans can retire happily and with a nice little income. With $2000 pm, they can keep their annuity programme.

Privatise Annuity Scheme

The idea of a compulsory annuity scheme for all CPF holders at 55 is a juicy dream. One can get even wet by simply thinking of the amount of money to be had. At $10k each and an average of 30,000 contributors, that is $300 mil annually. And this amount is for safekeeping for the next 30 years when the first payout is due. Multiply this number by 30, without talking about interest and investment returns, that is a whopping $9 billion in cash to play with. The management of this scheme should be privatised and open to the highest bidder. That will ensure that the investors will get the best returns. As we all know, only privatisation can ensure efficient management and good returns for the shareholders. I will bid to pay any surviving investor at age 85 a sum equivalent to 5 times his initial contribution at 55, or $50k for $10k invested. Alternatively, the investor can be paid $500 monthly for the rest of his life. And I am prepared to bid higher, maybe $60k or $600 pm. What is the catch? I think 70 or 80% will not live that long. And for those who don't survive, all his contributions will be forfeited to benefit the survivors. Secondly, it is a pyramid scheme where they will be new contributors paying every year. And yes, as mentioned above, the number of those dying before 85 will be so comfortable and their unclaimed investments will definitely be enough to be shared around to the survivors, generously. 30 years of collection without payout is too good and sexy a proposition.

9/15/2007

Boom town charlie in paradise

'Wages rising faster than at any time since 2000. By Goh Chin Lian in the front page of The Straits Times Labour short bosses are raising wages fater than at any time since 2000, but the good times for workers could dent Singapore's competitiveness. Workers' earnings have recorded a year on year increase of 8.5%, the largest rise since the economic boom seven years ago. Labour experts are worried that the higher labour costs could put a dampener on the economy....' The good times are here. With 8.5% rise in wages, whew, if one is earning $100k a month, that is $8,500 increase a month. Not bad huh! And if one is earning $1000 pm, it still works out to $85! Now take away 2% of GST and another maybe 10% for unofficial GST due to profiteering, is it still ok? And don't forget all the increases in fees and charges and prices. How many percent would that come to?

People in favour of compulsory annuity!

This is what I read a few days earlier. I think it was reported somewhere that Singaporeans welcomed compulsory annuity as they see a need for it. And there were many views expressed in the msm and cyberspace supporting it and arguing that Singaporeans have to look after themselves and it is not the responsibility of the govt to look after them. Today I read in the msm that several MPs commented that many people were negative about the compulsory annuity. Many do not believe that they will live till 85 and beyond. I hope there will be statistics produced in Parliament to convincingly prove that many people will live pass 85. 'Many' should be quantified and not just 'many'. Some numbers will be useful to prove that it is truly the case. And also some numbers to prove that those who live till this age still need to depend on charity. And a distinction shall be drawn between the current oldies who are mostly from the lost generation of illiterates, ingnorant, penniless and single and the new oldies coming on stream that are well educated, rich and even have families. Not forgetting a fat CPF account and owning properties, even a cheapskate 3 rm HDB flat may worth more than a hundred thousand in the right area. We can make do with a bit less of bullshiting.

Jonathan Lock is saved

Tan Suee Chieh, the CEO of NTUC Income has intervened to waive $45k of legal fees NTUC is claiming against him. According to Tan, it was effort misplaced and unnecessary. So much effort and money all for a $1,200 compensation. What a big relief to the poor teacher, Jonathan Lock. But he still owed his former lawyer another bill of $80k and more legal fees to fight the claim. Tan Suee Chieh is showing what a socially responsible and sensible CEO can do instead of being blinded by money and legal form. He did not say a mistake is a mistake and Lock should just pay up. He took a human decision instead of behaving like a computer, sending Lock the $45k bill and said this is generated by a computer and no signature is required. We need thinking and sensible people to run the corporations and country. But then again, another school of thought may look at this negatively. This Tan Suee Chieh is spoiling the system. He is setting a very bad precedent. He should not have interfered in this way. Many people's ricebowls are affected and many big bonuses will slip away. We have a very good system that feeds a lot of people along the way. All the lawsuits are good as they generate a lot of income for the professionals to buy big houses and cars and holidays. I like the soft and human touch of Tan Suee Chieh. I think he is not a Singaporean. A Singaporean would probably have said, you have my sympathy, but please pay up.

What earthquakes?

Earthquakes in Indonesia? 8.4 in the Richter scale? Does it bother us? It has nothing to do with us and there is no need to sweat the little thing. Then last night I heard over the news that Mercy Relief and the Red Cross were sending aids to Bengkulu. Is this a prelude to the whole army rushing over there as well? My immediate thought was on the ships that they had seized during the sand saga. About 20 of our ships were seized and facing drum up charges. Even one of our companies mining sand in Karimun was bombed and its executives arrested. Not sure what happened to them. And have our ships been returned and compensated? I just hope Singaporeans do not behave like little poodles, or worst, like stray dogs eagerly wagging their tails to anyone on the street hoping for a little crumb. We have been kicked, slapped and spitted at and are we going to crawl back to beg for more? Let's have some self respect and do not debase whatever little dignity that we have in calling ourselves a nation.

Black September 14?

It was supposed to be September 8, the day Cyberspace designated as Black September. It did not get much airing in the media of what actually happened or did not happen. Then last night, I thought it was September 8 again, on CNA. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Or was it a small prank, or a subtle message that CNA was trying to send out? The wearers of black put on a cheeky smile in all their faces, you could tell quite easily. First in full black suit was Melvin Yong on 9pm news. Hardly have I seen Melvin in full black. And beside him, the attractive Glenda Chong, not in black but in a tan dress. Look carefully again, there was a huge black rose on her right chest, as big as an outstretched palm to make sure you notice. It would be a bit too much to have Glenda in full black as well. Not enough of blackness? Then came a live feed from a reporter overseas, missed the country, probably China or somewhere in east Asia. And she was in a black dress as well. Her name was something like Wong Lee Yong. Enough of blackness? Ok, back home, yes Valerie Tan was in full black reporting her story. All these within a few minutes apart in that 30 minute news. Was CNA trying to be a little cheeky? Or was CNA trying to say that black is the fashion? The cheekiest moment, I think, went to Lim Boon Heng when he appeared to comment about the annuity proposal, and in full black. I am paranoid.

9/14/2007

A hospice in every estate

As our population ages, and as more are expected to live to 85 and beyond, many will end up in hospices. This is an urgent and essential facility for the good of our people. Very likely all those 75 and above will need to be housed in such well equipped and modern facilities. Either they are physically disabled or their children will not have the time and abilities to keep them at home. The cost, probably $1500 pm with subsidies. This will mean $18k a year, excluding medicine or hospitalisation. and at 75, they will probably have another 20 years to go. So each will need $360k without adjusting for inflation and other rising costs. It is important that the people be made aware of this need and start to incease their savings in the CPF. I would like to propose that the minimum sum be increased to $200k, and with interest should be sufficient, I think. Now let the people go and talk and whine about it. And the unthinking masses' reaction will be quite predictable. Yes we need this. Good idea. Maybe change a bit here and there. None or very few will ask the question, 'Do we really need it.' They will blindly believe that it is for their own good and it is very well thought out. I just thought it out in 2 minutes. Wanna bet?

Why cause hardship in the name of paternalism?

There are many poor buggers out there who can make their lives so much better, or breathe a sigh of relief when they can lay hands to their hard earned life savings. Even $20k is a lot of money to these humble people who have been living from hands to mouth all their lives. The question is why deprive these poor buggers from having a few days easier? And many of them will have to set aside $30k in Medisave and another $120k in the minimum sum which they may not touch before they kick the bucket. For sure, many will have to leave behind at least $30k in the Medisave. Is this good for the people? Is this what paternalism is all about? Or should the meaning and definition of paternalism be changed? Many terms in the dictionary should also be changed to accommodate such a new definition of paternalism when one cannot distinguish between good and evil, mean and kindness, helping and oppressing. Like the famous phrase, with such good friends, you don't need enemies.

9/13/2007

The road to self destruction

It must be the most efficient, effective and certain road to take to self destruction. The formula is simple, over pricing and over paying and let them run to their natural ends. Let the cost of living run free, be delirious with all the high property prices and cost of doing business. Let all prices go one way, up, to give the impression of quality and well being. And as all things get more costly, pay the employees more so that they can afford them, or if not, still appears to be catching up with the runaway prices. Feel good to pay $100k for a car when others only need to pay $20k. Feel good to pay $100 per visit to a doctor when people can pay $10. Feel good to pay $10,000 for a stay in the hospital when others pay $300. And there will be this illusion of richness. A million dollar used to be able to buy several landed bungalows. Now you will need several millions just to buy a sem D. The old property owners might owned several properties, but could only called themselves millionaires. Does not sound great when every private apartment owner could possibly be holding to a million dollar property. Now the rich will flash around with their self worth in the billions. One day when paper value disappears, owning 10 houses is still 10 houses. One apartment is still on apartment. A car is still a car, be it $100k or $20k. In the mean time, keep paying and keep chasing the runaway prices. See how many more years can this go on before it collapses under a moutain of banana notes. And people are encouraged to buy annuities that will pay $300 of banana notes in the future.

Gang fights on the rise?

There seems to more reports on fightings by groups of people, probably gangs, on our streets. There were people being knifed and beaten to death. We have been enjoying the reputation for being a safe and good place to bring up children. Are we going to let all these to happen and ruin our reputation and safety of ordinary people? Are we going to be like another JB before we do something? I will strongly recommend strong police actions on such gangs, and cane them furiously when caught. Make sure it tears their buttons to pieces. We cannot have these gangs on our streets. We cannot have gangs who think they can go around beating and killing people and get away with it. Whack them hard.

FT as soldiers?

I think it will be a cheaper solution if we offer to the foreign workers and foreign talents a citizenship if they join the SAF. It will cost probably 1/3 what we need to pay to our locals. And the Tamil Tiger brand has been proven to be tough fighters. Don't bet on this as a wild thought. Some day it may happen. The trick is how to prevent them from taking over the country. Insert into everyone of them a self destruct mini bomb with a 3 year time bomb, and the option to blow up at the press of a button. The French have their French Legion of Africans. The British have their Sikh Army, the Sepoys and other Indian Contigents. We have our Gurkhas. A Tamil Tiger Legion?

Letters to the press

Three letters in the Today paper. One claimed that the PTC are not using statistics properly in approving the next bus fare hike. Another claimed that the PTC are not thinking about the elderly and needy who have no income. And a third said HDB was not compassionate enough. If all these claims are true, then it is not funny. Using statistics or using statistics to serve one's ends, that I have just touched a couple of days ago. Use the statistics to serve one's interest. Read the part that fit into your own scheme of things. It has always been like that. It is called the ingenious way of using statistics to benefit oneself. Only the user knows what he is doing. He answers to his conscience. As for the elderly and the needy, they need not worry. There is a $3 million cash fund to help them. At $30 per head, 100,000 of them will stand to benefit. So all these people will be better off than before the fare hike. Now what more can they ask for. Some of them may not even take public transport and may get $30 extra pocket money, that is, if the money gets to them. As for the HDB case, it is a very complicated matter. That one got to leave it to the paid experts to handle.

9/12/2007

Trial Episode 2

It was the year 2015. A new party won the general election by fluke. The former ruling party is now in the opposition. The new PM, a gungho never say die joker, more like a loanshark boss, has been sworned in at the Sentosa Casino Resort. They have sold Parliament House and the Istana, and Parliament seating will now be in Sentosa IR. On his maiden speech in Singasong Parliament he gave a 3 hour long speech interjected with humour and wits and the whole parliament was roaring with laughter. In one of his anecdotes he recalled being invited for breakfast during a walkabout. He said, "I ordered mee siam mai hiam.' At this, the whole parliament was in stitches. Then it was silence. He stopped and stared at everyone. 'Why are all of you laughing? I have not come to the punchline yet.' The MPs then realised that there was nothing funny in what he said. This rougish PM may have tattoes all over his body, but he does not like chilli. His mee siam mia hiam is nothing unusual. 'There are only two reasons why you are all laughing. Either you are trying to apple polish me or you are not listening. Don't do that again. Laugh only when there is something funny.' On that note he slammed his files onto the table and stormed out of Parliament. Waiting for someone to polish it up.

Trial Episode 1

Let this parliament be that of a fictional country, call it whatever you like, like Singasong Parliament. Ok, any uncanny resemblance to any events or individuals is only an unintended coincidence. Everything is pure fiction. How's that for a start. Day one Parliament sitting and the Opposition Leader MP, Mr Kow Teck Kho, was the first to speak. He demanded to know why the police rejected his application to visit his constituencies on bicycles was turned down. The Minister of Home Affairs Mr Boh Ho stood up slowly, cleaned his spectacles, and took his time to reply. He said, 'Mr Kow, listen very carefully to what I am going to say. I shall not repeat myself. You are a very well known and charismatic politician. You know what will happen if you cycle around your estate with 30 of your grassroot leaders? People will rush out to hug you and want to shake your hand. And soon there will be a crowd. Traffic jams, accidents can happen. You will create a commotion and public disorder. How can we allow that? Now think carefully about how well meaning was our decision. Thank you.' 'Why are you doing this to me and approve all the other applications? You victimise me or what?' 'Mr Kow, you are different. You are very popular. Like I said, people will rush out to shake your hands. Why am I repeating this? The rest of the MPs are not as popular as you. No one will run out to greet them. So they will not cause traffic jam.' While Mr Kow was trying to jump out from his seat, the Speaker told him to sit down. He said the Minister has explained his case clearly and no need to waste Parliament time on it further. After reading it over and over again, I find this episode not so funny leh. Must need the expert touch of a comedy director to make it sound funny, I think.
Yes Minister! Jack Neo ah, Jack Neo. Where have you been? I have this great idea of a series which can make you very rich. The British have produced a very popular Yes Minister series. And Taiwanese have their movies on how their secret societies schemed to stand for the general election so that they could discuss their business plans openly under the protection of Parliament. Yes, to discuss them openly in Parliament on how to rob the people, their drug business, gambling business etc etc. Why can’t this little red dot have our own version of our Parliament ticking? I am thinking of a series on the witty discussions in our Parliament. All the hilarious jokes that were cracked in Parliament that gave every parliamentarian a good laugh. And these precious gems should be shared with all the common men on the street through a witty Parliament series. I can do the research and be his politikal advisor. I don’t work for free one. Copyright this first. Jack Neo, I chop this series huh. But can discuss the joint venture. You name the place, I choose the time.

9/11/2007

Bumiputra means real Malays

Leaders ”Who are not pure Malays” Malaysian son-of-the-soil don’t want leaders who are not pure Malays. Malaysiakini. Sept 10, 2007 By Jamiliah Kassim As an 'anak Melayu jati', I would like to voice out a grievance on behalf of our whole Malay community. In recent years, we can see a lot of 'non-Malays' appearing in Umno as leaders. By ancestry, these people are not pure Malays. They managed to change their identity by using Islam. Clearly, there are loopholes in our laws that allow a person to change his race. This issue must be addressed properly as it affects us, the 'anak Melayu jati'. We know well that these people are not sincere in that they can even disregard and disrespect their ancestors and join the Malay race. Their motive is to enjoy privileges of the Malays. And Umno doesn't bother to do much on this. We are desperate regarding this policy of simply allowing people to change their race through conversion to Islam and even offering citizenship to Indonesians who are later made bumiputeras as well. Where is the standing of the 'anak Melayu jati' or 'bumiputera'? Tell us where on this earth can a person change his or her race through religion except in Malaysia? It is ridiculous. We call upon the Malay rulers to rectify this situation. The word 'bumiputera' is a combination of 'bumi' and 'putera' which should be construed as the 'anak cucu' to this land. The Malay community as a whole is looking forward to a clear definition so as to protect bumiputera special rights in the long run. malaysiakini I copied the above article from littlespeck.com Is this Jamiliah for real? Does he know what he is talking about? Mahathir, Abdullah both are not bumiputras and should not be PMs? What about the royalties? Many have Arab and European blood. So what shall they be? Is the Orang Asli the real bumiputras or the Malay more bumiputra than them? What is this fellow trying to say?

'Hei se hui' - A bad idea

On second thought, this wearing black thing is not a good idea after all. Imaging when there are so many young men and women wearing black and some may be mistaken for being members of a new secret society. Then all it needs is a staring incident and fighting can start. Hei se hui is literary Black Society or meaning secret society in the Chinese lingo. This black shirt thing can become a serious threat to peace. No good, no good. It is worst than mass cycling. Better change to a better colour.

Notable quote 2 by Ho Peng Kee

'You may be well-behaving, but there may be other people whom you come across when you cycle who may stop you, may want to debate with you and that may attract a crowd, and therefore will result in problems the police want to avoid.' Ho Peng Kee replying to Low Thia Khiang I just have to quote this. It was one of the reasons why WP was not given permission to hold a mass cycling event in East Coast Park.

Black September - I was there

Just curious, just want to see how the people will react to a simple call, an anonymous call in the Net, to wear black to protect their life savings. The call was simply to go there, shopping or walk around, and wear black. No compulsion, no free bus service, no free drinks and vouchers. At your own time, at your own expense. And some went. Were there a lot of them there? There was a noticeable presence of black, maybe 1 in 10. Some were obviously there in their usual black without knowing that there was purpose to be in black. But you could notice some who came in black and walked around with a purpose, knowing why they were there. There were a few families with kids in tow, in black as well, supporting the call, but very tentatively. And the SDP was there too. They attracted all the attention naturally. They had some placards with the words, 'Set Chee Free.' They were recognisable and organised, at least they stuck together as a group. And the media was there to capture the event if there was anything interesting to report on. The rest of the black shirts were just floating around, blending with the crowd as if part of the crowd. There was no focus, no concentration or a meeting point. And no one to take the lead. But that was the intention. Do nothing, do not disturb the peace. Just be there to register a point... Don't touch my money. And of course the good brothers were there as well. You can see them watching attentively. It was their job. A patrol car drove by once a while, unobtrusively as if a routine. I am truly surprised that a simple call on the Net could elicit such a response. If the call were more persistent, more widespread, and the floating black shirts were to assemble in a smaller area, be it inside Robinson or just in the concourse, the presence will be much obvious. A journey starts with a single step. Maybe.

Singapore a museum!

I think it is more a kiddies wonderland. Clean and green and spotless. And all the colourful leggo flats painted in bright yellow, green and red square or rectangular blocks. Walking through one of the estate is like Alice walking through a children's wonderland. Then there is the life size Disneyland in Orchard Road. Singapore is anything but a museum. The only resemblance of a museum is in Chinatown and some of the ageing estates when the oldies start to stagger around or dose off on the benches. Living specimens of a forgotten time. Walking through Orchard Road or Raffles Place and you can't find anything that is called aged. Everything is new and young, especially the living beans.

Notable quote by Ho Peng Kee

'No one in Singapore should be bereft of someone to turn to if they should need legal advice or help, including those who cannot afford to pay for it. Assoc Professor Ho Peng Kee Wah say. Help is available and on the way, to those who cannot afford to pay for it. I have several people owing me between $5k to $15k and I cannot collect from them short of bringing them to court or send a few debt collectors to paint O$P$ on their doors. Going to court would mean that I will have to cough out $3k-$5k for each case without even sure of getting my money back. Can I get help? Definitely no. Cause I can pay for it. But should I pay for it when the cost of recovery may be more than what my debtors are owing me?

All the hoo hah for nothing

The only thing good about the annuity proposal is to get people thinking and talking, creating a kind of buzz, a distraction, but all for nothing, actually. It will only affect a very small group of people. Maybe 1 in 10 will live to that age. May 2 in 10 of this group may need some charity. It is a scheme where many do not need. And those who need cannot afford it. It is like pushing insurance policies to the beggars in the street. What these people, who surely can do with annuity insurance, most probably have no money to pay for it. And they will try very hard to get their hands to the $3000 or $300 in their CPF or will cry for it. To them this is all they got and these few hundred bucks can do a lot of wonders to push back their appalling misery for a few days later. To those who have millions in their savings, they can pooh pooh or scoff at these pathetic beans. Ok, they have a good life. But do not do more to hurt the downtrodden. Forcing them to cough out their few dollars is more like squeezing blood out of them. It is painful. With such goodness being shafted down the throat of these desperate people, it is no difference from stuffing food down the throat of Peking ducks. No regard for their pain and suffering in the name of doing them good. Let those who think it is good for them, and they must have it, pay for it voluntarily. Then we will really see how many believe they will live pass 85 and will be desperate enough to want to depend on the pathetic $300 pm.

9/10/2007

Finding a new way to engage the govt

Black September or Brown September, it was over without raising any eyebrow. There was no protest in the form that is recognisable. Nonetheless, it is talking back on something that the people, or some of the people, are disgruntled about. It is not about toppling the govt or anti establishment. But did it have any impact, or was it a non event, meaningless, not noticeable and forgettable? Then there is the online petition. Also a rather non event as it caters only to a small group of netizens. What else can the Singaporeans do other than writing to the media, in the net or writing to Reach, only to get an explanation that this is all done for his own good? Maybe this Black September thing, and the online petition, are the best way to say no, to say they disagree, not so much as a protest, and not threatening anyone or peace on the street. And maybe the govt too think this is a good way for the people to register their views without having to lay on them with the full weight of the law. It is a civilised way by a civilised people to make their point, in a polite way, as the issues are not life threatening or deserving of a violent protest. If these two ways are enough to make the govt listen and tweak whatever they are doing, we may see more in the future, of Singaporeans in black, heads down, mourning over a policy or decision that they don't agree. It is good for the people and good for the govt. The people saying it quietly, respectfully, not upsetting anyone and the govt listening quietly and nodding its head. And no opportunity for press sensationalisation.

The parents are responsible

I read in some quarters advocating that the parents of children who did the illegal downloading be held responsible for their behaviour. So would parents also be punished if their children steal, vandalised, take drugs, even murder? The parents cannot run away from sharing some of the blame. But to punish them for the misdeeds of their children? Shall we blame our education system or society too? Or shall we blame God and punish him for creating all the flawed humans? Where does the buck stop? It is so easy to pass the buck to the parents. Is this the way it should be?

Annuity, A rethink?

Not all needs to contribute to the annuity scheme. Those that could not live long enough. And those who already bought annuity insurance. What about those with pension schemes? I will proposed that all the ministers and mps and civil servants under the pension scheme be exempted from the annuity scheme. What for if they are already provided for in their old age? The same principle shall apply to all Singaporeans. Singaporeans who have provided for their old age, who have enough savings and assets, must be exempted. Otherwise it is another wasteful and foolish thing to add on the annuity thing. I will support a Means Testing to exempt people from the scheme. People who can prove that they have income or assets that are worth more than what the annuity scheme can provide for shall be exempted from it. And this Means Testing shall be extended to the minimum sum and Medisave. People who have more than $120k in assets that can be pledged to the CPF shall be exempted from the minimum sum. People who have medical insurance shall be exempted from Medisave. And no need to declare all the assets. Just enough to cover the minimum. A billionaire needs only to prove that he has more than the $120k and Medisave and annuity equivalent will do. No need to strip clean. And people who have children who have pledged to look after them shall be exempted. This will encourage the young to commit to look after their parents. There is no need to pah tau, pau buay and pau kah liow.

9/09/2007

How to play with statistics?

Singapore residents by Age Group: 0-4 yr 196 K 5-9 yr 239.3 K 10-14 yr 263.6 K 15-19 yr 238.1 K 20-24 yr 222.4 K 25-29 yr 253.7 K 30-34 yr 303.6 K 35-39 yr 310.1 K 40-44 yr 331.2 K 45-49 yr 314.5 K 50-54 yr 260.5 K 55-59 yr 202.8 K 60-64 yr 120.8 K 65-69 yr 104.3 K 70-74 yr 79.7 K 75-79 yr 56.2 K 80-84 yr 30.9 K 85 & abv 25.8 K What do these figures tell us? There are many ways to read statistics. One can read it funnily, creatively, seriously, or to read it just to serve one's own perspective and declare, 'Eureka! the statistics support my case.' Look at the above statistics once again. Look at the age group from 30-49 and you will find the numbers are fairly constant. This means that most of them are well and kicking. Not dying. When they hit 50-54, there is an immediate drop of 54K. Looks like they started to die from 50 onwards. 55-59, another drop of 58K. And 60-64 another big drop of 78K. The bulk of the people dying are within the age group of 50-64. A decrease of 190K. Then comes a lull. The 65-69 groups seems to die lesser, only 16K. This is the safest group. The next big drop is the 70-74 group. Though the number is only 25K, it is actually 25% or 1 in 4 will die in this group. By then the survivors have dropped to only 79.7K. And the dying gets smaller but percentage wise gets bigger. Once hitting 75-79, 1 in 2 will die. The above 85 figure is a distortion as it includes everyone above that age. Oh, the babyboomers should be in the 55-64 groups. But their numbers indicate that many have already died. Isn't this a nice way of looking at numbers?

The people support the annuity proposal!

I woke up this morning and started to scan the msm. I was looking for a black page or some reports on the Black September event yesterday. The only thing black are the black words on white paper. I couldn't believe my eyes and went through the paper one more time. Confirmed. No Black September Incident reported. But wait a minute, as I look closer, more blacks started to appear. The featured policemen of the Star team were all in black. The lawyer was in black, CPF staff were in black. And the leaders attending the APEC meeting were in black. Duh, they wore black for a different reason. So there was no Black September to protest against the annuity scheme. And the online petition only received a pathetic 700 signatures, including mine. This should be enough evidence to prove that the people are all in support of the annuity scheme. I am just a minority. The govt shall now feel more comfortable to go ahead with the scheme and all the parliamentarians can vote with their conscience that the people are all for it. I still do not want anyone to mess with my life saving, even if it is $2. It's my money. Back off!

9/08/2007

The cost of justice

In our first world justice system, the cost of justice does not come cheap. But that is the price that we have to pay for a first world system. Good quality cannot be cheap. The Straits Times reported about a school teacher who had a relatively minor road accident and was awarded $188 for damages to his motorbike. The other party appealed and through a series of court appearances, this poor school teacher is now landed with a $45k liability which he could not pay and a legal fee of $80k which he owed his lawyer. And justice is still eluding him as he has to engage another lawyer to defend him from paying the $45k compensation. He must be consoling himself for living in a system where justice will be delivered to him eventually. But if he cannot pay, his two lawyers will stand to lose all their fees when he declares himself bankrupt. Now I understand why there is a call to pay lawyers higher salaries. They are faced with professional risk of clients not being able to pay for their professional fees.

Talking back is here to stay

Janadas Devan wrote about talking back in the Net and how this development is here to stay. The genie is out and you can't put it back. Actually it is not about Net. This talking back phenomenon is growing by the days and will be equally robust and responsive in the main stream media if allowed to. We all know why there seems to be so little feedback in the msm. No fault of the citizens for sure. We have educated a whole new generation to think. And think they must. Having gone through the grinds in tertiary institutions, local and overseas, it will be very sad if the population still cannot think. We have taught them to read and write. And read and write they must and they will. Education is not simply to produce unthinking and mute workers. Those are machines. The voices in the Net may come in different hue and colours and vary in quality. Janadas said, 'At one end there are some exceptionally intelligent ones; at the other end, some exceedingly dumb ones; and in between, a vast grab bag of sense and nonsense.' And there are those that live and thrive in vile languages and seek pleasure in attacking everyone instead of discussing with their brains. And some of the superficial journalists scorned upon the netizens as a bunch of unschooled that are below their class. For these bunch of nose in the air journalists, Janadas has this to say. They ' should at least have the honesty to admit that the mainstream media too can be described in similar terms - some good, some dumb, and in between, a vast grab bag of middling sense and sometimes outrageous nonsenses.' The main stream media pride itself of bleached honesty. The Net surpasses it with its flying colours of honesty and dishonesty, unbleached and unedited truths and views, and styles of expression. The beauty of the Net is the freedom of expression and choice of lingo. Nothing is forbidden. This is where the msm will always be a far distance from the Net, dull and predictable while the Net is full of surprises. And one is dying while the other is blooming and spreading like wild fire. The fields of weeds swarming around the little landscaped gardens.

9/07/2007

Quality journalists

By Ong Sor Fern I HAVE never, nor will I ever, read blogs. Yes, I am an information snob. I prefer my writing to come in published formats: newspapers, magazines and books. As someone who grew up on a hearty diet of old media, I trust these established systems of delivering information simply because there is quality control. When I read a newspaper, I can be assured that the journalist is subject to a code of ethics, his work has been audited by editors and his sources verified. Ditto a magazine and a book. Blogs, however, are a Wild West frontier, a welter of undifferentiated information that blends fact with opinion with merry disregard for consequences. No doubt there are intelligent bloggers out there. But trying to find them is akin to looking for a single brainy needle in an exceedingly large and, mostly dumb, haystack.... ________________ I must say that she is very logical and objective. And all her articles are not opinions but well researched, well edited and well verified.

Myth 160 - Explaining away a myth

Explaining away a myth Temasek is in London to explain away the myth. What myth? That it is a 100% govt owned fund or that it is going to buy up other countries' national assets? There is this New Zealander by the name of Simon Israel, probably an employee of Temasek, probably a New Zealander, wondering how the Israel part comes in, saying that 'The idea that Temasek is an instrument of the Singaporean Govt could not be further from the truth.' 'All investment decisions have been made by Temasek's board, Mr Israel maintained. The Govt receives a 7 percent dividend, and gets an annual update on performance - and that is it, he said.' So Temasek is a separate entity, nothing to do with the Govt. Period. Or we can borrow the style of our northern neighbour by saying, 'Temasek is neither a Govt owned or non Govt owned organisation.'

Black September - A day of reckoning

Sep 8 can be just like any other day. But it can also be a day where the people grow up and say we are no more third world coolies and farmers. It is a day for the people to say that they are ready to say no to policies that affect them negatively without resorting to violent protest. The wear black call is not a challenge to the govt by another political party. It is simply a statement by the people that they do not want the govt to tell them what to do with their money. It is a statement that no one shall mess around with their life savings. Now the issue is whether the people have finally shed their sheeple image and willing to stand up and be heard. It could be another day of disappointment when the sheepdogs appear to herd them into a corner. Or worst, no one appear in black. On the other hand, will the govt still take the stance that they are the self righteous priests speaking the words of wisdom and must be obeyed? Or will the govt matures as well and say they are willing to listen to the people and would not unleash the sheepdogs at the sheep, allowing more space for the sheep to express themselves? If that be the case, then we are really moving ourselves towards the direction of a developed nation with sensible people talking and govt listening. Or it will prove that we are still like Myanmar as far as political expression is concerned. Where will we stand on Black September Day? Or is it another dream?

9/06/2007

Pau tau, pau buay, pau kah tsng

This is what Singaporeans are becoming. We cover our head, our tail(figuratively) and our backside. In no time we will be mummified. Pau ka liow. How many times must Singaporeans cover themselves and plan for their retirement? These are some of the things that Singaporeans, the sensible ones, are doing. Forget about the reckless ones. Nothing can help them. Even you make everything compulsory, they have nothing to be held as ransom. Their CPF will likely be empty. Ok, first they would have a little savings. Then they will have a little flat. And a little family just in case. And some will have a little insurance policy. And many will continue to work till they die. And they will have some compulsory money in Medisave. Ok this one cannot touch unless they are sick. No food, hungry, just too bad. Then there is the minimum sum. Now, all these not enough? Really not enough? How much more must Singaporeans do to plan for their retirement? Now compulsory annuity is being proposed. Sudah lah. Might as well give up all their money and live on plain water and fresh air, then wait for 85 years to collect annuity to live forever. Is this ridiculous? I think it is insanity! Shit, they forget to set aside a sum for their coffin and funeral expenses!

We need laws to protect our CPF savings

As our CPF saving is becoming an everlasting dream, getting stretching further and further into the uncertain future, the people better stand up and ask for some kind of protection that this will not become an impossible dream. It is our money and we must have a say in it and have it back as promise. Not rubber time. If we do not agree with all the recent proposal, we must say it now. Many have spoken in the media and in cyberspace. Some are going to say it this Sat, Black September Day. It will be interesting to see how many will stand up to speak for their own pockets. The govt knows that when it hits the people in the pocket they will wake up. Will they wake up this time round? The choice of black is an ingenious decision as it is a fashionable colour of the ladies. Ladies in black are every where. Many will be caught and probably didn't know what hits them when their innocent walk in Orchard Road is rudely disrupted. And this will apply to the young and the tai tais whose only interest is in fashion black and nothing else. Will be humorous this Saturday.

In the long run, we will all be dead

The new proposal to peg the CPF interest rate to bonds assumes that in the long run bond rates will perform better and CPF interest will be higher than the current guaranteed 4%. Who is the wise guy who claims that this made in heaven assumption must be true? Obviously must be some wet behind the ears talents who are still living in their dreams. Haven't we learnt that in the long run we will all be dead? Haven't we learnt that the same logic and assumption had been flouted to the people many years back and many times over, and all proven disastrously wrong? Remember COWEC scheme, a company employee welfare scheme that guaranteed a return higher than the CPF by investing this fund in stocks. The assumption was that in the long run the stocks would outperform all kinds of investments and the returns would be much higher. The fact that the scheme was buried and forgotten spoke loudly of this assumption. At one time, some analysts put up many charts and papers saying that over a 30 year period, investments in stocks would give a return of 30%. That let to the opening of the floodgate and CPF savings were poured into the stock market. There was an euphoria. But not for long. Many lost their life savings in the stock market before the long term return could run its proper course. It was a terribly big mistake and many CPF account holders were bled dry. Then this mad rush and faith in the stock market were quickly shelved and restrictions were placed to curb using CPF money in stock investment. The rest is history. Do not believe in the long run. The only certainty is uncertainty and death.