Monday, October 1, 2012

Your Entitlement

The English version of the 4-language advertorial goes like this:
"We have a lively community in Northwest District where there is plenty for residents to do to keep fit or have fun and make new friends. Whether you are young or old, there is a whole host of activities you can join.
The most popular activity in the district is brisk walking.  Although we have been promoting brisk walking for around 10 years, interest remains strong was we constantly plan novel activities. We have 135 Brisk Walking Clubs in the District with 56,000 members.  Recently, we held our first Brisk Walking Festival where we organized 110 thematic walks taking members all over Singapore, including to the newly-opened Gardens by the Bay."

Naturally most of the participants could ill afford the $2,000+ digital SLR Mayor Teo Ho Pin was having fun with in the illustration for the Sept-Nov 2012 issue of North West Cohesion magazine article. Brisk walking is all they can do, since BATA (Buy And Throw Away) still makes cheap knock-offs of branded foot wear. They may offer you free porridge, but definitely not an ergonomically correct pair of shoes from Nike. That will call for a hike in GST. The Member of Parliament (MP) may get extra for the mayoral boon dongle, on top of his S$192,500 per year tax free MP allowance, but that's for his personal entitlement.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the "The Australian" that Singaporeans think their government is "not poor" and as such, expect the government to do more for them. Specifically, he said Singaporeans will get help, but the help is not something they are absolutely entitled to.

You think the 100+ new facilities to be built for the elderly are actually constructed because "we will be a society that embraces ageing and our seniors with a big and loving heart", as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong hopefully expressed at the Man Fu Tong Nursing Home mid-Autumn Festival celebration?  Think again.  A bed in those nursing homes will set you back $1,600 to $2,000 each month. If you looking for a government subsidy, grandma will have to be in category 4 or worse - can't walk, feed or wash herself.  Like those grandiose education hub, medical hub, IT hub schemes, the whole senior care master plan is just another money making, GDP growth boosting, profit driven venture. Nothing is sacred, the silver haired generation is just another piggy bank to help themselves to.


  1. Pigs will be pigs.
    Pigs have to do what pigs naturally do.
    You can't have a national conversation with pigs.
    Just keep voting Opposition.

    And get one of the 60% of your friends & relatives who voted Pigs,
    to become an Opposition voter too.

  2. Oh, in case no one here stays in HDB, the NTUC has been ramping up construction of Myfirstskool facilities all over the HDB estates. No doubt another GDP boosting exercise. The usually lethargic bangla and PRC workers were rushing day and night knocking down walls, putting them back again, laying wires here there and everywhere, painting this wall orange, that wall green, feverish I must say. I also spied Bishan TP putting up strange offices at various void decks, come with aircon, roomy partitioned offices but no (herman Millers brought in yet) and beautiful parquet and mirrors and a steel bar at waist level across the wall, someone said it was rehab facility). It also comes with an expensive looking AED defibrillator installed OUTSIDE the office (as if inviting people to steal the AED so they can spend some of their sinking fund and replace it to boost retail sales???). All these for the bonus of a few, open corruption knows no boundary.

    1. In the last few years before 1997.
      Before UK gave Hong Kong back to China.
      They was also a lot of construction projects awarded to British companies.
      It was a last chance to make money from Hong Kongers before the handover.

      Are we witnessing the same in Singapore?

    2. Notice how their modus operandi works. Use all avail money from town council and state coffers to deplete in record time, and then tell you no money, and ask you for more. And prompt deeply how the money is spent, they will bullshit their way with nonsense and non-disclosure.

      Just like a company department using all avail money so that they can ask for bigger pie in next fiscal year.

      Don't we know better ?

  3. Of course this government is not poor - they have sucked the blood of it's people dry. What type of help are we entitled to - are we beggars? You profess to want to support the caregivers of the elderly and disabled. What help is it when the maids that we need to look after them are taxed (levy).We still pay $170 after the Levy Concession of $95. And the costs of FDWs are going up all the time.

    Now you come out with a Foreign Domestic Workers Grant (FDWG) of $120 per month from the MCYS. It is exactly like taking from one hand (levy) and giving back with the other (grant). Moreover to get this grant we need to jump through multiple hoops - means testing, doctor check, maid training, even if we satisfy all the requirements. This grant has been approved for only 50 care-givers so far, and a lot of song and dance has been made on this.

    Get rid of the FDW Levy altogether, for looking after the frail, elderly and disabled, if you are really sincere in wanting to "help". The government is profiteering from this, which makes it a hypocrite.

    1. I think the writing on the wall is very clear. Looking after the old and the sick is not in their interest.

    2. 60%. Please pay attention.
      You pay a maid's levy to hire a maid to look after your elderly parents.
      It's a tax on your filial piety.

    3. It is greed and nothing else!

    4. Those without economic value to them are called "crutches". But don't forget that these economic millstones can vote!

      @ Anonymous10/01/2012 9:44 PM
      "It's a tax on your filial piety."

      To "ensure" filial piety, they passed the Maintenance of Parents Act in 1995.

      At a Parliamentary debate in 2010:
      NMP Prof Pauline Tay Straughan: "Rather than depend solely on the family as social support for the elderly, we must prepare an infrastructure that can support the vulnerable aged who may not have children they can turn to."
      Vivian Balakrishnan: "This legislation is not some back route for the government to abdicate its responsibility to look after the needy and vulnerable in society."

      What do you think?

  4. Strange, my first thoughts were similar. How much will they charge and how many can afford such facilities? Shouldn't they build more affordable homes that are suitable for elderly to live on their own?

  5. A full-frame DSLR cost anywhere from $3000 to a cool 5-figure sum. A premium telephoto lens is about $3000. Mayor Teo's camera system may be worth a cleaner's one year pay or more, but there is nothing wrong spending lavishly on one's hobby. Let's not begrudge him for his deep pocket as that's his good fortune.

    However, we should not overlook the more important issue which is the growing social inequality. Hard work no longer pays, as any gain is quickly eroded by high rental, high property price, high inflation rate, high taxes (direct and indirect) and depressed salary. If that is not nauseatic enough, how about making gold trading GST free but imposed tax on all basic necessities?

    "Entitlement" is just another red herring used by the PAP government to divert attention away from their gross underspending in social security benefits. Haven't we have enough of them exploiting "xenophobic" to label and demonise angry citizens who are against the immigrant policy which led to the mass influx of foreigners. Also, any honest effort to pressure them for explanation is considered "politicising" and divisive. I say let them win the battle of words for they have lost their trustworthiness.

    1. "Mayor Teo's camera system may be worth a cleaner's one year pay or more, but there is nothing wrong spending lavishly on one's hobby."

      Of course, there is nothing wrong if he spend his money lavishly but what if you are forced to pay him millions by taxmoney when he don't even deserve it, and he still flaunting off his expensive ware ? At least generalize with context. Context is what the ground sentiment is all about.

  6. This government has absolutely no shame and pray PAP get vote out in next election. Just look at ridiculously expensive parking gantry put into many carpark likeaday from tax-payer money. PAP's motto => Build more money-sucking facilities and machine using your money to suck more money from you. Uniquely Singapore. Then tell you face budget deficient and more money !

  7. The Australian, as most might know, is Rupert Murdoch's first child. It ranks quite far below the most popular OZ papers like Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun etc

    As per all Murdoch's MSM assets, The Australian is "conservative:, aka far right towards neocons, and in recent years, know for their roles in making and breaking politicians in UK (The Sun's support made Cameron), US (Fox supported jnr Bush's wars), Aust (Rudd was broken). And of course, recently News of the World's and The Sun's role in phone tapping in UK. Not surprisingly, Murdoch has been kept out from non Anglo Saxon countries eg Germany, France and China (who famously kicked out Murdoch's Sky Channel).

    So the inquisitive minds should wonder why, despite being a relatively low-circulation newspaper, our politicians is using Murdoch's mouthpieces. We know by now that MIW believe in the same neocon right of right philosophy (no "welfare", pro business bankers etc). But iy=t could well be that finally MIW are officially telling the world it is finally full-speed ahead as a right wing party. It gives them an instant political philosophy which they never had and which is at least not ambiguous, and Murdoch's control of Anglo Saxon world's MSM would be welcome support as MIW faces new challenges from more liberal press. I also wonder what it means when it comes to relationship with China.

  8. Well, think about it.

    If you go by the demographics data, in 10-20 years time, the aging population will double-tripled. If you build them now, they will come later. Classically, it means money-minting opportunity. If the current rate is any indication, by 20-30 years, inflation will push it beyond reach....unless of course, they have your CPF in captive. This is major ka-ching time.

    So tell me, why should they let you feel that it is an "entitlement"? There is no free lunch, and you can now add "there is no free diaper". And hence the most important question - Why then do Singaporeans give this government or Party a full entitlement to import enmasse of foreigners and migrants in the name of supporting the elderlies with 6:1 ratio now if they are not prepared to give a more generous support to our aging population? Where is the trade-off exactly? And why is the reason to toil for this supposedly more" compassionate" party?

  9. I came across this blog a month ago.............i am a 47 year old Singaporean, i agree and share the same of the many things you blog about, i have even shared your blog with my children who are 18 and 14.

    i get worried when HDB public houses sell for a million $, how are our children going to afford public houses is all lost in this country

    1. Good deed you are doing for the kids, who shud be encouraged to think about issues, question objectively the official directions, and be the judge of what we have and are handing over to them. Too many of our generation started opening our eyes too late, to our detriment. Share widely, even to those who have vested interest to protect the official status quo.

  10. Lee is wrong on that one. He himself says Singapore belongs to us. We, the citizens of Singapore, are owners of Singapore. As owners, we have the rights to share in the wealth of the country. You can look up Alaska Permanent Fund. Alaska shares its wealth with all its residents, even babies. They get about US$1000 every year, not like us just a few hundred dollars only before elections.
    Singaporeans need to expand their horizon. Don't be happy with a pack of veggie rice, when you rightfully should get a few $1000 every year. Ask for more, because you are the rightful owners of Singapore.

    1. You think only Alaska?! But they will tell you they have plenty of natural resources!! oil, fishing etc..

      A more convincing parallel is Macau. They are even handling out money to ex-citizens of portugese origins, just register yourself and you get some too, in an attempt to lure them back. Why? of course all that gambling profits they have made by selling their people souls!! Oh yes, they have the highest migration rate in the whole wide world...go figure lah.

    2. Thanks for the Macau example. Alaska has plenty of natural resources. Singapore is very resource rich also. Print a piece of COE, $100,000.

      As basic economics show, the price of a resource depends on supply and demand. Singapore is very resource-rich because it has very limited supply and very high demand. And resource can be things other than oil, gas, mineral or timber.

      Take, for example, road space. This is a resource that is very limited in Singapore and that is in very high demand. The COE is $2 billion a year. The wealth from this limited road space resource is enough to provide every citizen with $500 in 2010 and $625 in 2011.

  11. Hahaha.....

    Sinkies shud not expect any
    generosity from greedy leaders.
    Instead be prepared to be exploited.
    No one feel it yet?