Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Half Baked Solution

The wife was already in 18 hours of labour, the doctor suggested a Caesarian to relieve her suffering. After the delivery, she was groggy and feeling nauseous from the effects of the epidural. C-section patients typically stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days before going home. He was carrying the newborn to his bed ridden wife, too weak to reach out to the bassinet, when the office called. "Your wife gave birth already? How come you not back in the office?" That was when he swore never to work for another Japanese firm again.

The "Entitlement under Child Development Co-Savings Act" stipulates that an eligible employee is entitled to absent herself from work 4 weeks immediately before and 12 weeks immediately after delivery, totalling 16 weeks. The prime minister is now pondering whether to convert part of the 16 weeks for paternity leave. Currently most of the private sector companies allow 2 days' off to distribute the traditional cakes to announce the newbirth.

The UK offers additional paternity leave (APL) of up to 26 weeks' leave to care for the child, on top of 2 weeks of ordinary paternity leave. The US offers 12 weeks unpaid parental leave but individual states provide more and some are paid. Most US companies include it in their contracts. Australia now offers paternity leave if you have given birth or adopted a child since 1 January 2011, subject to compliance with their "Work Test" as set out by legislation.

Get real. Most employees in Singapore, male or female, regularly forgo their annual leave entitlement because of work commitments. Some are allowed to rollover their due for one year, some are compensated monetary equivalent in lieu of holidays missed. The HR professional with 20 years' experience in multinational firms states the case when he said it had been a challenge to get Singaporean men to take childcare leave. The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) highlighted that men are already spending time from the workplace for reservist training, do we need another excuse for a foreigner to take away a Singaporean's job?

With pre-school requirements in the cards, the cost of raising a child had just been hiked. New tuition center scams will no doubt sprout to cater to this new market of pre-schoolers. Mom definitely needs her rest from the physical labours of bringing life to this earth, but dad has to make sure he has a job to pay for the additional expenses. Not everybody works for NTUC where they can afford to park non-productive staff who fail to be elected at by-elections. You don't have to be a negativistic one-eye dragon to see that more problems are being created by the cockaminny "solutions" to address the total fertility rate. The elephant in the room is this 8 million population target the planners have yet to justify. The difference between a country and a city is that you can breathe fresh air more freely in the country, instead of suffocating in the city's toxic fumes. Death by asphyxiation is a painful way to fold up.


  1. Right, what nonsense is he talking about. It only applies to the Civil Service only.

    Another benefits for the Civil Service.

  2. The problem with the Rally speech is that it is only a feel good thing. Nice to hear but all knows reality is another issue. The person who talks is detached and assume things are so simple. Hello, if you are multi millionare, no problem. If you work for a company, its a different ball game altogather.

  3. I'm growing more and more sympathetic towards the idea of a regime change.

    Piece meal solutions just aren't going to cut it anymore.

  4. How come NTUC can afford to pay these non-productive staff? I read in some news reports that government pumps money into NTUC for all sorts of schemes and grants. So who is the one actually paying for these staff? And why NTUC does not pay taxes when it is behaving like an INC instead of a cooperative? Why CHEERS under NTUC can sell a bottle of 250ml mineral water at $1.90? So who are they helping? The poor seems to be definitely out of the question.

    1. Lets put it this way - if the Govt wants you to succeed, you will. There's no need to resort to direct pumping of funds, although this has recently been done. Granting a monopoly is a good start - take taxis for example, NTUC is the biggest operator. You think the Govt is unaware that this is a highly profitable enterprise with the odds stacked in favor of the operator? Rent out for $100+ a day, day or night, rain or shine! If it were a truly level playing field, many more would have entered as operators. But the Govt blocks them, except for some small flies. Result : NTUC becomes the de facto monopoly. Insurance is another example. They just need to swing govt depts to insure with NTUC and straightaway you have a solid base from which to build your biz. And remember several years ago, the huge outcry when the public learnt that a prime piece of land in AMK had been given to NTUC, as a reward for its contributions all these years? So there are really many ways the cat has been skinned, all of which are legal and above board. Problem is that the details are not well publicised, or even made known to the public. On the other hand, if the Govt wants to put you on its war-path, it can and will. Look at how it scrutinises CSJ's expense claims and discovered an overclaim for taxi fare, and therefore brought the full brunt of the law against CSJ? Just that at that time, the notion of "one eyed dragon" hasn't been pushed yet.

    2. One lot of NTUC Fairprice shares is still worth the same original value even though its profits & assets has been increasing all these years. Go figure out where they channelled all their surplus profits ?

      PAP support is cultivated through all these networks of cronies providing all kinds of financial assistance not accessible by other political parties? Is that why LKY's PM son will never be challenged by any brave soul within the party ?

    3. And lets not forget, NTUC Fairprice earns over $280m in FY 2011/12, its net profit margin over 10%, return on assets over 20% - a cooperative with margins better than Walmart but which retains over $1b of capital instead of distributing it back to members? At least I hope the money is still there. Which makes we wonder, shouldn't Sheng Siong also be as profitable now that its family.

  5. I am single by choice, and for the last 15 years been fed up with this govt and its HDB discriminating policy against us. For as long as I remember, all the tax benefits, social subsidies etc have been rolled out one after another, all geared towards the couples to procreate and build family. The results have been abysmal as we can see. You can argue is because of half-baked solutions (and I agree too) but let's face it, as a hard working productive single professional who make contributions to my country, we have every right as a citizen to enjoy cheap housing too. Yet, we have been punished for the last decades. Now that PM Lee is alluding to housing solution for Singles, the married ones are quick to say that they shouldn't be given the same priority as them or it will send a wrong message. Let me tell this group. The next time you demand fairness, you should think about those who were behind to do your job when you enjoy all the perks/benefits of maternity/paternity leave that we never deprive you of, and insist it has to be fair. I only ask you to spare a thought to Singles. If you as a couple can complain about housing cost, what about us?!

  6. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/world/asia/27iht-educside27.html?_r=2

    Parents complain their children have too much homework and stress.
    But the moment our pre-school ranking is not up on top 5, they want it all revamped so they can make it to the top again.
    Sigh...they better make up their mind what kind of kiasu/kiasi parents they want and see what kind of inconsistency their words and actions are.

    Govt should ban or cap tuition to x hrs per week/child. Is the only way to stop all these spiralling nonsense.

  7. Married couples want incentives, but what about singles who will bear the brunt of pushing up the GDP figures while they are on maternity, paternity or child-sick leave? There will not be a happy solution for everyone. It's a zero sum game, some part of the society will have to be sacrificed. However, the truth is, everyone will lose ultimately because the relentless pursuit of GDP growth is never meant to improve the quality of our life.

    To all the anonymous contributors out there, there is a saying: In the world of the blinds, the one-eyed dragon is king. Take heart, you guys are the king.

  8. WTF is a one-eyed dragon? Just like Singlish is a literal translation of Hokkien, I cringe everytime someone imposes a literal translation of some goddamned obscure mandar in phrase on all of us. The PM of Singapore no less. Keep the Mandarin in the Mandarin speech. No need to burden us "illiterates".