Saturday, March 5, 2011

Survivor - The Singapore Episode

It has to be one-upmanship. Or a special production of "Survivor: The Mini-star Version", where the incumbents on a tiny island outwit, outplay and outlast each other for another 5 years of million dollar salaries. Not be upstaged by Mah Bow Tan's largess of a $20,000 Special Housing Grant, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan is raising the stakes with a $7 billion boost for healthcare.

It's definitely more amazing than his $8 bill for a heart bypass in a Singapore hospital where lots of Susan Lim wannabes roam the corridors, especially when you consider that the 2011 health budget was surgically shaved $24 million from the $4.1 billion allocated for 2010. These guys are playing so fast and furious with the numbers, they should be in the money pit of the casinos, instead of parliament house.

It was good to hear of a new polyclinic for Punggol and that 5 older ones will be upgraded. Doubling of the subsidy cap for heart implants - like the pacemakers octogenarians are using to stay in the electoral hustings - is timely, since our senior citizens with cardiovascular vulnerability will need all the help they can get when the tsunami of fee and tariff hikes roll right in after the election. Khaw made it plain that "Singaporeans must continue to face some "hard truths", such as the fact that there is no free health care as someone has to pay the bills. Make no mistake, that someone is YOU. A reader posted his records of the consultation charge at a Geylang Polyclinic:
  • 2005 - $20.00
  • 2008 - $28.40
  • 2009 - $32.71
  • 2010 - $42.06
Khaw claims that although the United States spent 18 per cent of its GDP on health care, "they know that much of that is unnecessary". He refers to the terminally ill, and his personal view that Americans strive to prolong life at all cost, never mind the quality of life nor "the futility of such endeavor". The last bit should explain his philosophy of shipping out the senior citizens to Batam, Bintang or Johore. On the other hand, Singapore spends 4 percent of GDP on health care and, according to Khaw, " has a good and relatively inexpensive health care system because we have sensible and wise doctors." Quite obviously, the good doctor hasn't been apprised of the Brunei patient episode.


  1. How does one reconcile the following statement in ST with the fact that the 2011 MOH budget is only $4 billion?

    "These are some of the improvements to health care that Singaporeans can look forward to with the nearly $7 billion the Government is injecting into the sector this year."

    I believe the $7 billion is within the 2011 budget and other future budgets......

  2. Did he convey the same to a senior statesman that extending life on tube to his first lady was a futile endeavor not to mention it was on taxpayers monies. So something that is fit for the king is unfit for the peasants? Thanks for making it so clear .

  3. "Every man has a price" or maybe it should be "every electorate has a price"

  4. Goodies , subsidies & "remedies" are coming fast & furious with the GE just months away. If the numbers do not add up, it is just another supplemenaty Budget-lah.
    In the first place, for the Health Ministry Budget 2011, there was a reduction as compared to Budget 2010. The other Ministry with reduced allocation was MCYS. ( No YOG ?).
    We can expect, very welcome announcements right up till the day day before Polling. After that....

  5. will we see this kind of one-upmanship amongst the PAP ministars...whereby each 'ministar' will remain inside the polling station on voting day itself ?

    ...a subtle and gentle reminder to voters before they enter the voting booth. no verbal contact, just wink, wink only...

    no worries for the PAP ministers because i recall Chan SK who was the AG in 1997 argued that he did not see any wrong doing when Goh CT, Tony Tan and LHL were already inside the polling station, even when the law specifically states that 'no person shall loiter within 200 metres of any polling station.'

    having said the above, i urge the PAP ministers not to break the law like what Goh, Tony and LHL did but they can get around it by putting life size dummies of themselves inside the polling station to continue with the one-upmanship.

  6. These are surely fast, furious & funny money. One suspects the stakes are so high now, they can't afford to lose this game. Underground and everywhere, the tribes have spoken. The generosity for this 4 months is akin to giving you carrots but surely we will pay back to the house in the next 4 years. Remember, there is "no free chips".

    Let's for a minute dissect his claim re government subsidies. According to Khaw, Govt subsidizes 51% , 3M 22% & Cash 27%. So if one is not working (or have no employer) then he is essentially paying 49% of the bill? After all 3M is largely the patients' cash & contributions too.

    Or is this the case like MBT who upped his selling price by 100% and give 20% subsidies to claim affordability. And Khaw now has a selling price of 200% and give 51% to claim sensibility? Put like that, it might seem obvious that our PAP leaders are very skilled in some kind of fantasy sports gaming with the people. Hard truth or hard habits to break from?
    Can we the people spot the bluff?

  7. Residents of kampong glam should ask their MP what happens if the Opp party wins? Will they still go ahead with the promised $5.6m facelift. I dare put my million dollars bet that they will say that is the only condition that the residents get it only IF PAP wins.

    So whether you get the kway teow from george yeo or not, is still too early days.

  8. hey does anyone knows if there is 'Survivor' in singapore??