8/18/2015

Medical care when we were Third World

We are in the First World with an equally advanced medical care industry to match. We have the best medical professionals and the best medical facilities to take care of the sick. We could even extend lives by the quality of our medical professionals.

How far we have come from the days when we were in the Third World, when our medical services and facilities were a far cry from what we have today. But are we better off today than when we were in the past? I will just relate some personal experience to highlight the great differences between then and now for comparison.

In the 50s and 60s, medical care for the citizens was as good as free. Though they were not of the same quality as what we have today, there were good relative to the countries in the region and around the world. I was fortunate to be the recipient of generous dental care provided by the Institute of Health and without having to pay a cent for it, for fillings, extractions and dentures. Every week without failed, a gleaming coach would arrive at the primary school to fetch all the little children who needed dental treatment. A nurse would go from class to class to round up the children and bring them safely to the Institute of Health, not even have to pay for transportation. And the dental surgeons would be there waiting for us, to serve us.

The dental surgeons would plan our next appointments according to our dental needs, at their own initiative, happily without the children paying a cent. If they did not bother, none of the children would bother with the condition of their teeth and would not step near a dental clinic. The govt were the caring parents to the children, meticulously pandering to their dental needs with no concern about cost, about whether the children could afford to pay for them. The govt paid for everything. They did not plan for a long series of treatments for a syndicate to prowl on the poor patients like vultures on a wounded and hapless prey.

The people took care of their small illnesses and cough and colds. The public hospitals provided free medical services as well. Unbelieveable! For those who could afford to pay $15 or $20, a medical doctor would be on call and would drive himself to the homes of the sick, making house calls. If no injection is needed, the medical fee could be lesser, with medicine included.

The people were not underpaying the medical doctors then. With the $15 or $20 collected per patient, to cover medicine, consultation and transportation, the doctors still could live very well. Practically every one of them could afford to live in landed properties and making home visits in their Mercedes Benzes.

When my missus was conceiving our first child, I was then a young officer in the Air Force, I was entitled to A Class Ward in govt hospitals. And for pre natal consultations we had the services of the top gynaecologist in Senior Consultant Christopher Chen, plus delivery. And you would not believe this, everything was free then. I did not have to pay a cent for the regular monthly consultations and delivery of the baby, including meals in the hospitals.

And there was no need to make appointments months or years in advance. There were enough doctors and specialists for everyone. That was the kind of medical services we had then, when we were Third World. No need to buy medical insurance, no need to have medisave account, no need to have Medishield Life, no need to go bankrupt because of medical bills.

I am grateful to the kind of medical benefits that citizens enjoyed then, even as a junior officer in a ministry. Could not have asked for more, could not expect a more caring govt. There was no worry about medical care and affordability and no fear of falling sick. There was no mean testing. There was no one year or two year appointments in govt hospitals. The hospitals were there to serve the people, to make sure the people were healthy, the children were delivered at no cost or little cost for private patients to their happy parents. Come to think of it, those were the good old days, now gone forever.

Are we better off today?

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are we better today? For the aristocrats, yes. For the peasants?...well,er,er,er.

Anonymous said...

Are we better today?, Of course we are better off today. We have the PAP's Medishield Life !!!!

We have the best medical facilities and the best FT doctors to look after all our aches and pain. What more do you want?

You have a caring government in the PAP with the best million dollar MPs who are looking and caring for all your needs.

Cannot ask for more, right?

Anonymous said...

What a nice world that was.
That was until some terrible person in the government wise up that human beans are our only resource. From then on, human beans get squeezed and re-squeezed until blood and money filled the coffers.
If we human beans don't wise up now, what hope is there for future beans?

By the way, when human beans heard that human beans are the only resource, they thought they would be carefully nurtured to their best potential. How shocking the hard truth is. They find out that they are squeezed as hard as possible, discarded, and replaced with cheaper beans.

Anonymous said...

Human beans our only resource for taxes and more taxes.
Oops they don't call it tax anymore. It is GST, COE, CPF, Medishield Life, minimum sums and what else?

Anonymous said...


This Is Life Here!

You had just painted the good old days.

Yes! Now gone forever! Forever! Forever!

Everything in this tiny city state is not cheap.

Expensive! Expensive! Expensive!

Not just healthcare, everything!

To survive, you must have money.

Difficult to depend on handouts.

No choice if you want to live here.

This is life here.

Anonymous said...

Are we better off today?
RB

That depends on whether you got lots of money or not.

If you do not have lots of money, or worse have little money, then life for you today will of course be terrible under the PAP. So for sure you will hate PAP and will not vote PAP during election, tio bo?

But then why, and without fail, and as far back as 1968 (our first post independence election), at least 60% voted PAP every election? Why, u tell me lah? And why should the coming election be any different, u also tell me lah?

Anonymous said...

RB, sinkies love to pay taxes. They are so happy that their CPF savings is used to pay for Medishield Life Insurance. They are so grateful that they would be voting for the PAP to rule them for another 5 years.

agongkia said...

As a young officer in the Air Force you are entitled to A class wards and you enjoy the benefits....Song hor?Cheng Hoo bery good hor?
Wonder whether you will make noise if they extended those benefit to you for life.
You entitled for Class A benefits.Health care talent oso want entitle to Class A salary.Even my chia leow bee classmate oso want Class A salary... This result in a selfish society with no feeling but only entitlement of Class A benefits and salary ,causing poor like me to slave for life and cannot see sunlight .
I suggest kick out those so call talents with entitlement mentality of Class A benefits n salary and replace them with cheaper 3rd world talent if you still want to enjoy affordable medicare.
Or cheongkong all existing Cpf to provide free medical for all, poor or rich.
Do away with those class A ,b or c wards.
Oredy hospitalise still so choosy about ward.



agongkia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

@ RB:

>> Are we better off today? <<

Singapore has one of the HIGHEST life expectancy figures in the world.

I would say Singapore is definitely better off now than it was. Singapore public health care system is being discussed in many other 1st world cuntrees.

Check out William Haseltine's book "Affordable Excellence".

Stop being a panic merchant lah redbean.

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...


Singapores health system saves money and lives


Please lah, don't knock the system which is about the best it gets in today's world.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Our citizens are able to live to 80, 90 or more today not because the healthcare services are good now or yesterday. It means 20 or 30 years ago, our healthcare services and quality of life were already good to keep these people in good health and to live till now.

And the cost of healthcare then was a far cry from what we have to pay today.

Our first class medical professionals and facilities would be able to extend life and heal many illnesses today. But the bill will kill the patient after being healed.

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

@ unbelievable fucking idiot, redbean:

>> Our citizens are able to live to 80, 90 or more today not because the healthcare services are good now or yesterday. <<

Oh please lah you dumb cunt. You won't look at the DATA (hard evidence) and just use your suka suka opinion plus ANECDOTAL yammerings to make your weak case.

>> our healthcare services and quality of life were already good to keep these people in good health and to live till now. <<

Fuck lah, Bloody cognitive bias/ Logical fallacy again. (What's new? This is common trait with redbean's EXTREMELY WEAK "reasoning")

You're suffering Survivorship Bias What about those fuckers around the same age of you or older who DID NOT LIVE LONG ENOUGH?

Perhaps if they might be alive today with Singapore's WORLD CLASS health system serving them--- the system which didn't exist when they needed it most 30+++ years ago

>> But the bill will kill the patient after being healed. <<

Ever heard of this "invention" called INSURANCE? 😂

agongkia said...

But how do you explain that someone went for bypass that cost 8 dollar nia nia.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah, so you very clever cunt?

In the 50s many people would have kicked the bucket by 55 or 60. Sorry, you were too young to understand.

Ok you are right, you are a clever cunt. No point trying to educate a cunt.

Anonymous said...

In the 50s many people would have kicked the bucket by 55 or 60.
RB 1:27 p.m.

Tiok. I heard about that too. And I also heard that in the 1800s people's lifespan was only 50+ at most. For instance our founder Sir Stamford Raffles died of disease in 1826 at the age of only 45!

patriot said...

It is quite erroneous to claim that in the 50s lifespan was short
At Koh Sek Lim( where the Newater Plant is located now) where I grew up for 20 years till we were resettled, few died before 70. Infant mortality was almost nil.
Talking about Maternity and Infant Care in the 50s to before the End of the 60s, it was the Golden Era for Mothers to and Mothers and their Youngs.
Maternity Clinic were all over the Island to take care of them. Once a woman was confirmed pregnant, they can visit those Maternity Clinics each time they felt the Need to do so. If I remember correctly, Maternity Nurses trained in Midwifery would visit the Expectant Mothers at their residences no mattef how far into the villages and also any offshore islands, at the Last 2 months before birth was due.
It was kind of mandatory service and a token 1 dollar was all it cost. Expectant Mothers were taught infant care such feeding and bathing the newborn. Nutrition and hygiene care of the Mothers themselves and infant milk formula were given for the newborn at no cost.

My mother offered the nurses our own farm produces when my eldest sister became mother 55 years back, but they always declined except for papaya or other local fruits. Even then, they accepted only tiny amount. In the Case of my old home in the Village, it was about 3 kilometres away from the nearest bus stop.

I had met the Maternity Nurses visiting expectant mothers at Pulau Tekong, Ubin and Belakang Mati(now Sentosa).

Me was hospitalized at SGH for about 2 weeks for blood transfusion due to Anaemia when I was 8 year old. My family did not have to pay any cent. Like to say that the Meals I got at SGH were very fresh and tasty. Everyday, there were 3 main meals and 2 snack meals without fail.

As for dental care for students then, Redbean had related. For others, which included children, the Public Clinics during those times did have dental department though not in everyone of them. Charges for dental treatments were also token amount.

I had said earlier at this Blogsite that I missed the Good Old Days under the British and that was not a joke.

Even the near 2 Acres of land where I was born in was also an allocation to my Parents at no cost, only an Annual Property Tax of $5(five).

I recall to let readers here understand how some of us feel are badly affected by resettlements.
Nearby to my Old Village were conjoined Villages at Siak Kuan aka Mata Ikan, Air Gemuroh, Somapah and Gulega etc.
One elderly man used to return to his Village at Mata Ikan because he cannot bear to miss it. One day he hanged himself there.
As for me, I wish I will be able to find a replacement of the Village Environment to rest permanently.
Meanwhile in Sin, I shall find Fellow Old Sinkies to share our reminiscence of the Good Old Days with the Young
Generations.

Admittedly, I bear a resentment that will only expires when I stop breathing.

patriot

Anonymous said...

Is it true?
PAP's Aristocrat MPs only know how to provide 1st world help to Millionaires and Aliens?

Can this be true?
If you are not a millionaire living in private property, you will be very stupid to vote for PAP because PAP will not help you?

"How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?" - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

agongkia said...

Aiyo Uncle Patriot.
You make me sad nia.
I am your Somapah neighbour .
Nothing unusual to see sua teng people enjoying a longer lifespan.80 plus is a norm .No pollution, fresh air , simple sua teng folk, swee ah muay and cute chear chear....
My mum pass away within 3 years after being resettled into pigeon hole. No scientific proof but her death is due to those
Chia leow bee who resettle my ah kong's former house to breed mosquitoes .From simple attap house to pigeon hole. Life sure shorten la..My mum said life will be shorten if one does not regularly get in contact with bare foot on the ground.
They started building school only lately after 30 years .If only they can delay resettlement till they need the land, my mum can sure live till today and can dance agogo.
But Uncle. Dun worry.I heard and read about you and know about your dialect.Your hometown in China is well known for producing famous painters and long life span.Many live above 100.
Best wishes.

patriot said...

Agongkia;

You are right, no need Science.

The Longer Living Folks around the World are mostly from Rural Areas.

Condolences to Your Family for Your Late Mother.

Many elderly folks that were resettled were very pitiful, they really missed the Village Living.
When they get cooped up in the pigeon holes, all they could do was to watch television, read newspaper or went to RC or Old Folks Corner, but more often than not; they did not stay long s familiarity breeded contempt and most RC and Old Folks Corner are unused.

As a ex-Somapah Resident, You might have known the Suicide Case Mentioned.

THE MOST ABNOXIOUS DEED BY THE LOCAL RULERS IS THE RESETTLEMENT OF
ALL VILLAGES IN SIN
WHETHER THEY NEED TO USE THE LANDS OR NOT.
ONCE THE VILLAGERS ARE CLEARED FROM THE LANDS, THE AUTHORITY PUTS STATE OR PROTECTED LAND NOTICES AND BAN ALL ENTRY.
ALL VILLAGES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CLEARED OF RESIDENTS AS FAR AS I CAN SEE.

I MUST STATE HERE THAT I DO NOT KNOW
WHY THEY NEED TO CLEAR THE VILLAGERS.
ALL THOSE VILLAGERS WHO DEPENDED ON PRIMARY PRODUCTION; FARMING AND MARINE PRODUCES WERE ALL DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIVELIHOODS.
SINKIES ARE ALSO DEPRIVED OF FRESH LOCAL PRODUCES.

IT IS VERY SAD AND HURTING.

patriot

Anonymous said...

Please lah all major developed cities in Asia, people are living till about 80 yrs old. Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, etc. Singapore not unique in this. Everybody has progressed. Little to attribute to PAP. Its more about global medical progress, awareness, accessibility, education in Asia.

Anonymous said...

So human bean became red bean. Filled with blood.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patriot

Didn't know hospital food during your time were good. Most people said they were lousy. I was admitted in SGH in June. For today's standard, I must say the food sucks. Tea time was just coffee, tea or Milo. No snacks given.

I've never lived in kampong/village before but I'd heard from others who had. As a child, the adults told me how wonderful it was to stay in kampongs. The most recent from someone from another country (http://sggirlnextdoor.blogspot.sg/2015/08/simple-life.html?m=0). Isn't it wonderful to be able to grow your own vegetables, to rear poultry and not depend on supermarkets or wet market sellers who keep on increasing the price of these?

SG Girl

patriot said...

SG Girl;

Indeed living cant be any better when one has a large piece of land to use and move about.
The Natural plants, animals, terrain, river and fresh air are in today's term; highly precious stuff. The Air that we breathed in the morning at the village was simply invigorating. Most mornings were misty with dews on the leaves of plants. It was like fairy land.
Most wonderful, I must say.

Now, let me recall the Camaraderie aka Kampong Spirit. We hardly ever closed our doors and there was hardly any gate to talk about as we did not fence up. Fellow villagers can cut and crossed through each others lands for access.

There was no need to have neighbourhood watch campaign, it was a natural thing for villagers and most families had dogs, geese and turkey for security.

As for foods; in my village and the Surrounding Ones, we had surplasses that we either sold, exchanged or fed them to the fouls and animals we reared for consumption or as means of incomes.

We, the Villagers were broadly of three categories, namely vegetable/fruit, poultry, pig/goat/cattle farmers, fishermen and minorites of artisans and clerical workers which in local Hokkien we called them 'cai hu' and for few who were in civil service, they were known as 'Cheng Hoo Lang' or 'Qua'(Government Official) for the Senior Ranking Ones.

Village Settlements are presently very common in most countries and IT SHOULD DEFINITELY BE EXISTING IN LARGE PARTS OF OUR HOMELAND HAD THE VILLAGERS NOT BEEN CLEARED BY THE AUTHORITY TO BREED MOSQUITOES AND OTHER PESTS.

AS YOU MOVE AROUND IN SIN, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE LARGE PORTION OF FORESTED LANDS WITH SIGN BOARDS OF STATE LAND, PROTECTED LAND AND NO TRESPASS or TRESPASSER WILL BE PROSECUTED ETC.
ALL THESE EMPTIED OF HUMAN SETTLERS WERE ALMOST ALL OCCUPIED BEFORE THE VILLAGERS WERE RESETTLED TO STAY IN HIGHRISE PIGEON HOLES.

ALL WE HAVE NOW ARE THE FORM MEMORIES OF THE OLD DAYS.
MISS IT SO MUCH.

patriot

patriot said...

Correction for tge Word 'foul'.

It should be 'fowl'.

My apology

patriot

patriot said...

'FORM'

to be corrected to 'FOND' .

My bad..
.
patriot

agongkia said...

Having said that, my ah kong told us that we must be good citizen and it is necessary to give way as population increase and its good to allow everyone to have a roof.

His piece of land can built at least 10 blocks of flats but because its close to airport it is only ideal for warehouses.
That piece of land is still left idle though they are building a school nearby recently. I use to cruise the place in the night but no carpark to let me sleep peacefully.
Only hope that they dun chase us away just to built a golf courses to please the rich else he sure hop out from his grave.

Glad to see SG girl here and even has a blog.I really suakoo.Permission to visit? :-)
Wish you a speedy recovery and stay healthy.

Anonymous said...

Patriot

That's exactly what I was told! Doors were not locked till sleeping time. Neighbours were nice to one another unlike HDB neighbours nowadays, all closed their doors.

Agongkia

I read Red Bean's posts regularly though I hardly make any comments. Of course you're welcome to visit my blog but as you can see, I hardly write.

SG Girl

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi SG Girl, welcome to the blog. Must visit your blog too.