The new Singapore success story

Ting Kah Ting is a very happy man. As a contractor his income is inconsistent. He had problems paying his mortgages for his 4 rm flat but HDB was understanding, agreed to stretch his payments in smaller amounts and at one time allowed him to postpone his payment for 6 months. Today he has no more outstanding loan. Peace of mind. He sold his 4 room flats for a tidy profit and downgraded to a 3 rm flat and live happily with his 4 children age 11 to 21. The morale of the story is that Singaporeans can live a happy life if they know how. The trick is downgrading. Singaporeans are downgrading from bigger flats to smaller flats. And the demand for smaller flats is exceeding supply. HDB is rushing out a programme to build more 2 and 3 rm flats. The other kind of downgrading for a happier life is downgrading jobs. Many Singaporeans are finding a new life, new contentment by going for training to acquire new skills that can fit them into lesser paying jobs. And of course the lifestyle needs to change a little. Take public transport or buy a smaller car. Eat more at foodcourts or hawker centres instead of restaurants. Life will not be the same again, but without worries. An anonymous blogger here posted that many young girls are earning more than $10k pm. These are real. And many more are earning 6 figure salaries per month, too big that they don't appear in the statistics, just like when you type in 10 zeros into a calculate, it cannot be shown. The calculator cannot capture too many zeros. Some are even more fortunate. On retirements they were given directorships that pay them double or triple or quadruple their incomes when they were fully employed. And all they need is to attend a board of director's meeting once a month. But the best goes to those who retire with a pension good enough to buy a private property every year. But the pension is only the appetiser. They will be moved from running a full organisation to one that practically does nothing and continue with full pay plus pension. Now that is the real success story. They can now live life to the fullest, enjoy what they missed as little children and buy the Porsche or Ferrari that they dreamed off in those fairy tales. Singaporeans have different success stories.


Anonymous said...

Happiness is a spiritual thing and does not equate to how big and posh your house is or how many ferraris you have. Christina Onassis and Leslie Cheung have more money than most human beings can ever hope for, yet they ended their lives out of misery. There are numerous others like them.

I came across this interesting article by Lee Wei Ling today and I agree much with her about material things in life. They bring only temperory satisfaction.

Human misery is all about wants. You get temperory satisfaction when you get what you want, misery when you cannot have it. Happiness in this context is not permanent, if it is attached to material things. When a person is satisfied with what he has, no matter how shabby or humble, he has found happinness. Believe me.

redbean said...

actually having a lot of wealth and money is a great thing. and added power to it, one can really play god, and be the most admired and loved person by making other people's lives better. i have seen many people in such positions but were unable to do it. they were lost in their greed to grab more money when they already have too much.

this world will be a much better place when the wealthy and able become wiser and kinder and make it part of their lives to make other people's lives better.

what is the point of going into politics, to be national leaders, when the only motivator is to enrich oneself and not the lives of others.

wei ling can do more, very much more. she has everything and the wherewithal to make happiness happen to other people. she has wealth and power and is untouchable in a way, spare from any office politics. for every ten people she make happier, there are ten happier people. if only people in her same situation can only do a little more.

Anonymous said...

"Some are even more fortunate. On retirements they were given directorships that pay them double or triple or quadruple their incomes when they were fully employed. And all they need is to attend a board of director's meeting once a month."

Your sentence just reminds me vividly about ex-PAP minister Lim Chee Onn who was found not to be suitable as a PAP minsiter but successfully tranformed into one of the greatest corporate chiefs in Spore history.He has just retired.

Mr Lim,whose known package was S$7 million + plus per year,as I am a shareholder of Keppel Corp,I do read the ananual reports.

I must report that his greatest achievement was to have found that there was an "E" in "Keppel" and concluded in one of his Vision statements that it was well suited to explore the greatest industry to come,E-COMMERCE.

That was about the greatest vison that I read of him,of course Keppel was making huge profit in ship building,repairing,etc under him as CEO,but this was so since our colonial master started the company.

Anonymous said...

It is true that we can conclude that Dr Lee is a very kind hearted person,and the whole clan lives a truly simply life.

But how about the wealth the clan has accumulated?It is very easy to calculate as the salary of all of them are public knowledge,plus we can estimate the profit of law practice.

Why not start a foundation with so much money they do not intent to spend,Spore people do not need help?Not true!I just read a case of a poor boy who died after begging for food for his retarded mother.and I dont really believe it,this came fr our PM's own constituency.

God bless his soul.Amen

Autistic 14-year-old begs at coffee shops to feed jobless mum
After he falls to death, AMK stallowners and residents rally to raise money for funeral
By Chong Shin Yen
December 30, 2008

THIS is a tale from the street, with a difference. It's about how an autistic boy brought a community together.
When news that Sebestian Yeo Wei Xiong, 14, had died, scores of neighbours and coffee shop stallholders rallied to raise money for his funeral.
Residents of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 were moved by the teen who loved his mother unconditionally.
When she was jobless, he roamed the coffee shops in his neighbourhood for two years, begging customers for money to buy food.
At that time, not many people gave him a second glance, and even fewer knew his name.
But his gestures ultimately left a lasting impression.
When people learnt of his death from a fall in July, they huddled around coffee shop tables. They traded stories of what they knew about him, and how he was the kind of son they wished they had.
Like how he was a filial boy, never failing to set aside a portion of the food he had bought, so he could take it home later to give his unemployed mother.
She suffered from depression, and would sometimes lock the door on him.
[SIZE=-2]MUM FAINTS: (Above, with sunglasses) Sebestian's mother leaving her flat for the mortuary, accompanied by social workers. (Below) Distraught, she faints after identifying his body. --PICTURES: LIANHE WANBAO, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS [/SIZE]
When that happened, he would hang the packet of food outside the door before going off to spend the night at a void deck, or at a nearby bus stop.
He would never complain, neighbours said, or raise his voice. He was always soft-spoken and polite, with a shy smile.
The stallholders called him Ah Boy. Others referred to him as Beggar Boy.
He died in a fall off the 12th floor of a block on Ang Mo Kio Street 61. The state coroner on 18 Dec recorded a verdict of misadventure. (See report on facing page.)
The details of Ah Boy's family background are murky.
He had two younger siblings, according to court documents.
But neighbours said that he and his mother were the only ones living in the rented two-room flat at Block 626, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.
His mother, who is in her 30s, had told neighbours that she was divorced.
Stopped attending school
Ah Boy used to attend a special school but stopped more than a year before his death.
The burden of caring for his mother and providing for their needs fell on his frail shoulders.
Madam Tam Gek Thoe, 60, a housewife who lives two doors away, said she used to keep an eye out for the boy.
'Every day after 8pm, I would see him walking past my flat, carrying packed food home for his mother,' said Madam Tam.
'Occasionally, he would buy toilet paper and other necessities from the nearby provision shop.'
Ah Boy spoke simple English to neighbours. But he became withdrawn after he stopped schooling.
His mother had told Madam Tam that she could not afford to pay for his school fees and bus fares.
Madam Tam remembered his big eyes, and how he was a lovable child with a mischievous side.
She said: 'Whenever my 5-year-old granddaughter refused to call him 'gor gor' (big brother in Cantonese), he would jokingly say to me, 'mei mei (little sister in Mandarin) not good'.'
And when she asked him where his mother was, Ah Boy's answer would always be the same - at home.
The only time his mother left the flat was when she wanted to seek the use of a telephone from neighbours.
Nobody knew where mother and son lived before they moved to Ang Mo Kio about two years ago. But Ah Boy soon became a familiar face in the neighbourhood.
Although he was in his teens, he was small for his age and looked like a primary school boy.
'He was always in the same few sets of clothes. It was like he never grew in the past few years,' said Madam Tam.
A dim sum stall owner in her 60s, who wished to be known only as Madam Lim, said that Ah Boy often hung out at the coffee shop where she works.
'He wouldn't ask us (stallholders) for food. Instead, I would see him begging money from the customers to buy food,' said Madam Lim.
'Sometimes, they would buy him food instead of giving him the money. He would break into a smile as he left the coffee shop, clutching the packed food tightly.'
Neighbour Madam Shen, 35, said that at times, Ah Boy returned home to find that his mother had locked him out.
He would knock and knock but she would not open the door.
'He was very obedient and would not create a ruckus outside. Instead, he would go to the void deck to sleep,' said Madam Shen.
She and other neighbours would ask Ah Boy if he wanted to wait in their flat, but he would always decline.
'He was so pitiful. His mother couldn't look after herself and he was left to fend for himself,' added Madam Shen.
When the police went to Ah Boy's flat to inform his mother of his death, she refused to open the door.
And so, Ah Boy's body remained at the mortuary, waiting to be identified.
When she went to a neighbour's flat three days later to use the phone, Madam Tam called the police, who took her to the mortuary. They were accompanied by two social workers.
The sight of his body was too much for her to bear. She fainted and had to be taken to hospital.
By then, news of Ah Boy's death had spread.
His neighbours and those working at the market and nearby coffee shops banded together to raise money for his funeral.
More than 100 people donated sums ranging from $10 to $600. Within a day, $3,300 was collected.
Noodle stall owner Madam Lai, 46, initiated the drive and helped with the funeral arrangements.
'I just felt so much for this young boy and wanted to do something for him,' she said.
Madam Tam helped to engage a monk to conduct prayers and rites for Ah Boy. His ashes were later placed in a temple in Ang Mo Kio.
Madam Tam said that the funeral expenses came up to about $2,000. The remaining money was later given to Ah Boy's mother.
'I hope,' said Madam Tam, 'he has gone to a better place.'
On the day of the coroner's inquiry into his death, Madam Tam asked his mother if she had visited Ah Boy's niche. The woman replied in Hokkien: 'I don't know how to go there (to the temple).'
It would be easy to conclude that Ah Boy would be alone in death, as he was in life.
But talk to the residents of this neighbourhood and you're likely to get a different picture.
Ah Boy might be gone but he's not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Redbean stand up. Set up political party. Unite the people with same thinking. Form a formiable challenge to the ruling party. Change what is wrong to right. Change with one big bold step.

Anonymous said...

Redbean is all talk and no action. He is in his comfort zone and will not barge from there. There are people around like him who will point out all the faults and discrepancies but will not lift a finger to make things right. He has too much t lose and nothing to gain, so why would he do anything?

Anonymous said...

Dear Readers;

Redbean is a sincere man.

He met me despite me was a total stranger and of humble background.

We talked and I found him respectable and a knowledgeable person.


redbean said...

i read about the boy and felt very sorry that he could fall out of the net when there are organisations set up just to help people like him. i wanted to write something on it but still couldn't think of an angle to put it across.

anyway, thanks for posting all the relevant articles here. the high cost of living is driving those at the bottom to suicide.

though i may not have done much, this is the least that i can do, to keep talking about issues and provoke people to think about them. i am fertilising the fields.

do you people really think that it does not take any effort to think of issues to write everyday?

Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe that all of us should put in our efforts to help to improve this pace,namly our people,our own citizens.

Most of those who can afford to sit down to surf the net and write some comments are classified as those in "Comfort Zone)or armed chair critics,Most of the time,the establishment would say:why dont you do some things?

But is is easily said than done,and how do they know that the guy is not helping in the charity organisations/They know not.

I believe that we should just ignore these group of uselss people,so long as we have tried our best,it is OK.

Rememebr in Bible,the poor lady with the smallest contribution was praised by Jesus,it is not how much you give that counts,but whether you have given yr best effort.

Not all of us can be Sm ,PM or ministers in Spore,that is why one group of good people,citizens are selected to do the difficult job.

Speedwing said...

Hi Redbean, I think you are beginning to have a fan club. I have been reading your blog since the early days. Being a foreigner in your country I have followed your writing and I must say I agree with you on most issues. Of course there are some instances when I disagree. Anyway, keep up the good work. Stir the minds of your readership and hope that through that things might improve. Btw, we never did get round to meeting up for that kopi-O. Must rectify that someday, yes?

redbean said...

hi speed, i am just rumbling out loud and sometimes i must say that i might sound ridiculous. that is why i do not expect people to agree with me. in fact if they don't the better if they can counter argue with clever points. then we will have a good discussion going on.

let me buy you a cuppa the next time you are here. just shoot me an email. anyone else is also free to join us.


Speedwing said...

You are on Redbean, regarding the cuppa. I will email you when I return from London.