Last month we learnt via word of mouth an ex-colleague's father had passed on. The simple wake and the cheap coffin in the void deck said it all, our old friend was trying to make ends meet. Since he did even post the obituary notice in the morning paper, we called up those we know. Many declined to attend, citing various excuses - the customary donation of money to help offset funeral expenses (Chinese call it “pak kum”, literally “white gold”) was obviously too much of a tax in these hard times. The cheapest niche in a government columbaria costs $500 for standard, $900 for a family. The website clearly states that there will be an extra $250 selection fee should one wish to choose a different location from that allocated by the state. Even in death, freedom of choice comes with a price.
What is also hard to fathom is why Khaw Boon Wan is still maintaining that $2,200 is justifiable for a foldable bike: "That’s why just now I was trying to lift these cheaper bikes which are not foldable, it’s not easy." He was probably trying out one of the 47 bicycles sponsored by French consumer-product company Bic to aid the National Community Emergency Response Team (Cert) work in Sembawang GRC. Bic will also provide another 53 of the Aleomakino Italy bicycles - which cost about $200 each - to West Coast GRC.
Lim Chong Yah was spot on when he said the Gini coefficient is approaching dangerous levels.