11 November 2006

Mr Wang Is Skeptical

Business Times - 11 Nov 2006
YESTERDAY IN PARLIAMENT
'Many helping hands' the way to go: Vivian

He says the reason for this model is to get the right people to do the job

By WEE LI-EN

THE 'many helping hands' approach to taking care of people in need is a good model despite its flaws, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament yesterday.

Although there are problems with the model, detractors should be very careful about 'slaying that sacred cow of many helping hands', he said. 'You might actually slay the cow which is producing the milk of human kindness.'

On Wednesday, Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua said the 'many helping hands' approach can result in 'wrong helping hands syndrome'. She questioned the reliance on volunteers to provide key services in voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), saying the roles of state, VWOs and people need to be defined correctly.

But Dr Balakrishnan, who is the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said yesterday the reason Singapore has such a model is to get the right people to do the job.

'You want commitment, you want passion, you want dedication, you want people whose hearts and minds are truly resonating in sync with the people they are trying to help. Hearts and minds like that cannot be bought, cannot be employed,' he said. 'What we need then is to get the right model and to get the relationships right.'

Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry will confine itself to the 'big picture' to identify needs and find out what VWOs need, while maintaining a co-funding and a co-helping model. This model does not require a big bureaucracy to check on VWOs because, if they raise half of every dollar they spend, it can be assumed that most of the time the money will be spent honestly and prudently, he said.

Dr Balakrishnan also said the community development councils (CDCs) will develop 'comcare local networks' through which all stakeholders in an area can share information, collaborate on joint projects and help look after people in their fold. 'Basically, what we want to ensure is that there will be no wrong door, no wrong hands and nobody slips between hands,' he said.
Okay, let's see what's happening. Essentially the divide between rich and poor is growing wider and wider in Singapore. And some Singaporeans are getting left far, far behind.

What's the government's proposed solution? Basically their idea is to encourage the people to help the people (God forbid that the government actually be expected to help the people). In other words, the government has decided to rely on charitable organisations, NGOs, voluntary welfare organisations and the like.

And from recent government pronouncements, it seems that the government is expecting these organisations to do something quick, in a very big way.

I am very skeptical of this model. I don't think it can work in Singapore. In fact I think that failure would be likely in most other countries as well, but particularly likely in Singapore.

We simply don't have the culture and the mindset for this. Just look at our PAP leaders. They stand up in Parliament and without any shame, they loudly say that if we don't pay them the world's highest ministerial salaries, they will quit for the private sector. Either that, or they will feel compelled to become corrupt and start robbing the nation's coffers.

Like it or not, the PAP has been in overwhelming power for decades. Their mindset necessarily reflects something about the mindset of the people. Face it, folks - we're a selfish people. Just like our leaders, we're competitive, pragmatic, kiasu and greedy. The vast majority of us are not going to waste our time on charity work.

Years ago, we even scrapped subjects like Bible Knowledge and Buddhist Studies from our school syllabus, because they were economically useless subjects. Now suddenly we expect Singaporeans to brim with love, kindness and charitable instincts?

We're so hard-headed that many of our schools even scrapped Literature from the syllabus because statistics show that it is harder to score an A in Literature. Now Dr Vivian poetically refers to "the milk of human kindness" in his speech, but I bet most young Singaporeans don't even know that the line came from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The other thing is that Dr Vivian is basically calling on the VWOs to be much more active, and pro-active, than they've ever been before. He's asking VWOs to step up their efforts in a massive way. But Singapore is not a place where civil society organisations thrive. This nation does not like people with a sense of mission. It's often suspicious of people who even have an opinion (remember that proposal to license all bloggers?). If you wanted to hold a public charity event for the blind and homeless, you'd have to get police approval.

That's how this nation has been, for a long time. Consequently most Singaporeans have been conditioned to think and behave in a certain manner. That manner is just not consistent with mass voluntarism. No, we do not brim with the milk of human kindness. Unless it can help us to score an A, but then we already scrapped Literature.

Besides, there won't be that many old, poor Singaporeans to care for. The government already has plans to export them.

+++++++++
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70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Somehow, the latest round of pronouncements from the government has come out hollow, insensitive and unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I will do full-time charity work for free, if Dr Vivian will be a PAP minister for free. Or even if he accepts a paycut and gets just $500,000 a year.

Anonymous said...

In the first place, we are a competitive, capitalistic society that worships meritocracy and elitism. That has been our characteristic since independence, which the PAP itself has promoted?

The government has to be realistic. On one hand, they want us to work harder to compete against the FT and other rising economies like China and India, and on the other hand, they want us to be compassionate, gracious people that reach out to others? These two opposites simply do not tally. We have to face this.

So instead of just throwing all the blame at ordinary S'poreans who are forced to conform to governmental measures for decades, MPs should do some soul searching, go down on all fours and examine on past policies that shaped the S'porean mindset and society under a microscope, so as to study them and reshape them. That is their job to study and lead our society, not blame the people who voted them in.

Layman said...

What? It is up to us again. Yes, the charity organisations are to help the needy. Have they forgot about the NKF saga? Now, charities are having problems in getting people to donate. Help the poor with what money? Ask VWOs to help the poor with what? Spirtual comfort, is it? And the message is: please go help yourself, don't touch my money and get out of my face...

Anonymous said...

I guess that means the harassment of strangers by X,Y and Z charities along Orchard Road is going to get ever worse.

Doner fatigue has already reached its limit with the ever increasing profusion of VWO's, flagdays, megaTV charity shows and the like.

Dammit, if the government is not going to take care of its people, then what are they for?

Anonymous said...

It's just another way of telling Singaporeans to solve the problems the country's leaders are paid to tackle. So that when it does not work out, we can't say they are incompetent. Instead, we are to be blamed.

It's also called tai-chi.

Why are we paying exorbitant salaries to these people? What's the government for? Aren't they supposed to solve our problems?

In fact, with two casinos in the pipeline, don't be surprised that we will have to solve the social ills they have created too.

This is a vampire state - they are sucking the life blood out of us. We pay them so that we can solve their problems and be responsible and accountable for their mistakes.

We are morons.

Stephan H. Wissel said...

Fits very well with our experience in charity work: My Rotary club was running a monthly feeding of migrant workers in Little India wich was quite popular ( > 100 people queuing up). We were hinted, that we need to apply/renew the permit for it wich was promptly denied (Probably with good reasons I suppose???)
:-( stw

Anonymous said...

It'd be great if we had mid-term elections. At least we will receive double the pre-election "goodies" and get to flex our muscles more often :D

Five years is too long.

Anonymous said...

Lead by example.

As Michael Jackson sang,

"Take a look a in a mirror and make a change..." (Man in the Mirror)

With their million dollar $alarie$, they can afford to lead by donating our tax dollars paid to them as salaries back to our own needy Singaporeans.

Liberation Front

Anonymous said...

tey killed off civic society. remeber oso S21 .. active citizenry, it never work out.

40+ Singaporean said...

The government do not want Singaporeans to develop a crutch mentality. So, no help from the government.

But there are people who really need help! Ok, let's see....

Yes, why don't we get the people to help the people so they don't develop the crutch mentality, and grows to expect assistance from the government.

It's ok for VWO to help them. That way, there will be no crutch mentality?!

What's the message? I am confused!

Anonymous said...

I come from a country which practises a "negative" tax system. What is a negative tax, you may ask?

Well, the concept is simple. Besides collecting taxes, which is what all governments usually do, governments could also do the opposite and disburse income payments to a person if his taxable income falls below a certain minimum level, hence the term negative tax.

What is the cost of funding such a system, you may ask? Well, let's work out some ballpark figures. Let's say the subsistence level income for a family of 4 in Singapore is $12,000 per annum. In Singapore's current context, let's assume there are 100,000 families below this minimum income.

If we have a negative tax system, the government would need to fork out $1.2 billion in negative taxes a year (which if I'm not wrong is less than the Progress Package). Now the government's operating revenue (from taxes,fees and charges)for FY 2004 was about $28 billion.

The question then is whether the government is prepared to reduce this $28 billion by $1.2 billion as an outgoing negative tax to assist families below the minimum income level. This really boils down to the more fundamental question of what is the role of government in Singapore.

Another way of looking at the sums is that $1.2 billion is the annual interest in perpetuity from an endowment principal of $24 billion, assuming a rather achievable rate of return of 5% pa.

Anonymous said...

What happens to these ppl?

http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages/?msg=123502.1

Anonymous said...

From sammyboy's.com

Immigration rate is increasing!!

Nov 11, 2006
FROM THE GALLERY
Want change? Young must help make it happen
By Peh Shing Huei


WHILE most young Singaporeans know the lyrics of Count On Me Singapore by heart, there seems concern in Parliament these days that, actually, they cannot be counted on.


The issue kept popping up in the House in the three days of debate thus far, as MP after MP stood up to opine on the apparent lack of rootedness among the young here.

Listening to their worries, it would appear that, at the first available chance, these post-independence rugrats will make a dash across the seas to other lands.

How valid is this perception?

Judging by a survey by Singapore Press Holdings in July this year, the MPs may not be far off the mark.

The survey found that 53 per cent of youth here would consider migration, more than Indians (39 per cent) and Malaysians (28 per cent).

As Dr Amy Khor (Hong Kah GRC) said on Wednesday, it is a 'very telling and worrisome statistic'.

The Government certainly believes so. In President S R Nathan's Address last week, he spoke about the need for a 'new social and political compact' for this new generation and to deepen its sense of mission.

MPs were not short of ideas on just how to do this.

On Thursday, Dr Khor said that, even as the Government entices foreigners here, it must make special effort to retain Singaporeans.

Yesterday, Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Hong Kah GRC) offered something more specific. He asked the Government to do more to remove the climate of fear and dispel perceptions that dealing with it is akin to being on a 'one-way street'.

He said there are these other perceptions, 'that the Government does not listen, that your feedback goes into a black hole, that the Government has already made up its mind when it consults the public or that government policies are drafted by locking three scholars in a room - without any sense of how the issues are viewed from the eyes of ordinary, humble citizens'.

In her maiden speech yesterday, Non-Constituency MP Sylvia Lim said Singaporeans need to feel they can make a difference before they will feel rooted to the country.

'That they can be agents of change in the society, and on their own terms,' she said of their longing.

The Workers' Party chairman added that 'restrictive laws and policies' like the ban on political films and restrictions on political expression should be repealed.

Will doing what she says keep the young rooted here?

To be honest, I can't be certain.

But I suspect that a lofty, arrogant and even authoritarian government is not the only monster causing the young to yearn for permanent flight.

=> Oh, really?

Another factor could lie with the lack of a romantic ideology that defines what it means to be Singaporean, one that would make this island inhabitants deeply proud of who they are. Pragmatic values are good for making a good living but hardly the stuff that makes you love a place.

As Dr Terence Chong, a fellow with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, was quoted saying in The Straits Times recently: 'Our nation is built on pragmatism and... it doesn't inspire people to stay. They are actually exercising the inculcated pragmatism by leaving for better opportunities.'

To be sure, these are issues the Government is familiar with. As the President's Address hinted, the Government seems aware of the desire among the young for greater freedom of expression.

Said Mr Nathan: 'The P65 generation is better educated and more globally exposed than their parents, and completely at home in the Internet age. They need avenues to try out their ideas and fulfil their ambitions.'

If the Government indeed recognises the restlessness the young feel, then I would argue that it needs to act faster.

Its pledge to open up has often been captured in the metaphor of a group trying to cross a potentially treacherous river, guided by the Government of course, by feeling its way forward, stone by stone.

It may be time to take a bit more risk and do a little skip or two.

Yet, even as the Government attempts to speed up the crossing of the river, the young should not fall back on the pace of change as a convenient excuse for their own inaction and indifference.

In his Address, Mr Nathan also spoke of the need for the more successful among them to feel a sense of mission to help those in need and take responsibility for the country.

Young Singaporeans can choose two routes: Be passive and wait till the Government moves, or take the initiative and start moving.

As Mr Zaqy, 32, said: 'I think my generation will also need to learn to meet the Government halfway.'

Count on me, Singapore? It's your call too, young Singaporeans.

shpeh@sph.com.sg






Options Reply




From: anom1010 02:49
To: makapa 2 of 8

123512.2 in reply to 123512.1

>>as MP after MP stood up to opine on the apparent lack of rootedness >>among the young here.

hahaha god damn, not another freaking term to push shit away again! Its 'root/rootedness/rooting' this time is it hahaha wonder what would be the next retarded term these good for nothing comes up with.

What root are shittypore people suppose to have? What would create rooting in the first place, NOTHING except for the non-desire or inability to adapt a new environment. This may hold true for people from the past era where language, knowledge and education limits their ability to thrive overseas or even make any thoughts of leaving this shithole non-existent, but not in this present date and time. These barriers does not exist for most well educated present generation who have thoughts of their own not only what the controllers tell them to think.

Its a two way traffic and basic human behaviour, if the people are treated well, they will inturn appreciate the land that gives them opportunities. Why did these useless bums not examine what caused the 'rooting' of other nationalities in foreign land, the answer is very obvious to anyone with half a brain.

Anonymous said...

The regime is liken to a farmer who works his cows in the field from dawn to dusk with hardly any proper rest and nourishment. After years of profitably "milking" the cow's usefulness, his cow's health deteriorated gravely due to overworked, underfed and underappreciated conditions.

So one fine day, the farmer assembled his laborers. With crocodile tears rolling down the farmer's cheek,he gave an impassioned speech about inclusiveness, love, compassion and kindness to animals. He then attempt to obligate by reminding them about how lucky to have jobs. And for that, they ought to show their gratitude and support by contributing to the care of his sickly poor cows.

But of course his laborers didn't buy the soft sell in reptile tears. Instead, they accuse the rich farmer of shirking responsibility. They even accuse him of trying to pass the bucket full of "cowdung".

The last i heard, the laborers worried of unlawful assembly, SMSed the farmer with this message:

If you can't even take care of your own sickly cows, we doubt you will be able to take care of cow workers too when they fall ill.

Please accept our tender to resign from your social programs as we have no wish to be "recycled cows" for your amusement, sIRs!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, Saturday, November 11, 2006 10:05:45 PM

You are living in a wonderland I can only dream of.

Our "progress" package is a dummy package because soon after, we will have to give it back in the form of price/health insurance hikes, minister pay rise, government investment loses, all kinds of taxes, less seats in MRT trains (less value for money), less water to flush my toilet (so I flush twice), etc.

So, does your country welcome foreign talents and citizen wannabes?

Anonymous said...

Dear 40+ singaporean,

You see, our first class government does not know how to differentiate between those who really need help and those who are just whining. They also fail to realize there are already many who are helping others voluntarily.

Why didn’t they see that there are altruistic Singaporeans? Because they were too busy spending tax payers' money on frivolous vanities like naming some island after somebody and losing money overseas.

Instead of finding out exactly which groups of cows are not working their udders, and the reason for the incessant mooing, they'd rather condemn the whole herd and hopefully convince some morons to take care of the problem.

It is much easier to accuse the whole herd of whining, because for all you know, the whining might have come from some elite upper class uncaring face, and that isn't very nice for all to know.

As for those who really need help, well, they have taken their own lives and conveniently gone away. This also doesn't reflect very well on the government.

In short, blaming and getting others to help themselves, is an excellent way of camouflaging one's incompetence on the job.

Fox said...


Years ago, we even scrapped subjects like Bible Knowledge and Buddhist Studies from our school syllabus, because they were economically useless subjects. Now suddenly we expect Singaporeans to brim with love, kindness and charitable instincts?


Correction:

Religious knowledge classes were introduced because LKY wanted to innoculate schoolchildren against western values. They were scrapped because most teachers did not feel comfortable teaching it and many parents were against the idea of teaching religion in national schools, NOT because it was thought to be economically useless.

jonathan said...

anyway, why can't people be filled with love and kindness even without bible studies etc? then are all the atheists, by extension, cold-hearted people? i personally feel that it's more of one's environment and maturity that determines one's level of compassion.

and oh, i did know it was from macbeth . i would have taken lit for O levels and A levels, but yea, i was one of those who didn't because it's unpredictable and harder to score. -ashamed-

Anonymous said...

I'll just pick random quotes from previous posts and reply... this will be fun.

{{{Somehow, the latest round of pronouncements from the government has come out hollow, insensitive and unbelievable.}}}

That is their true face, unmasked. Think they are angels, whiter than the white of their uniforms? At least they are honest about themselves for once.

Stop weaning on the brain poisoning 'nation-building' 146th, so that your eyes will be open and you may see.

{{{Dammit, if the government is not going to take care of its people, then what are they for?}}}

Um... to collect their fat paychecks (excluding directorship fees)? To get a luxurious upgraded Parliament House to facilitate sessions of talking cock? Some even sleep in front of camera.

Remember how eager they were to put their slimy paws on Widow Tan's bereavement money, to 'manage it' for her. Oh how noble, how gracious of them indeed... but Widow Tan knew better, smart woman.

{{{We pay them so that we can solve their problems and be responsible and accountable for their mistakes.}}}

Ho Ching is still head of Temasek despite all the boo-boos throughout the years, at ultimately Singaporeans' expense. All the money lost by this bitch (apologies to famale canines out there) could have fed many poor Singaporeans. With the ongoing Shin Corp fiasco, not a single word from her.

Not even a simple 'I'm sorry' - instead she lets her senile, half-dead octogenerian father-in-law do the media handling and damage control for her. Where was the proactive Ho Ching, who not too long ago, wrote a public letter in support of NKF's TT Durai? (yes before the scandal.)

{{{as MP after MP stood up to opine on the apparent lack of rootedness among the young here.}}}

Singapore is boring, small, hot, has conscription, foreigners treated better than the pink IC folks, where your raison d'etre is the amount of money you earn(a.k.a 'pragmatism' ... need I go on?)

{{{You see, our first class government does not know how to differentiate between those who really need help and those who are just whining.}}}

Wrong. The govt has devised a fool-proof way to discern... if the person who seeks help is prepared to go through red tape, jump through the hoops, beg on all fours etc... he/she is a genuine case. Never mind if that person 'stopped coming for help' along the way - just one less problem to take care of.

They boasted of this policy at NUS, Department of Social Work. I am not making this up.

{{{anyway, why can't people be filled with love and kindness even without bible studies etc? then are all the atheists, by extension, cold-hearted people?}}}

I've yet to find a truly faithful atheist - most so-called non-religious 'free-thinking' people are just agnostics. There is a difference.

Non religious people can be kind and nice - just that they have to base that on ethical humanism and circumstancial ethics. Nevertheless, I feel sorry for people who believe life exists as it is; death turns humans into worm food and nothing more. but I digress.

Anonymous said...

In UK during the 80s the Tory govt did the same thing shirking their duty by outsourcing their responsibilities to the private sector i.e. charities and private welfare org. The Ministry of Health/NKF relationship is an excellent example of how this model is being replicated in Singapore to disastrous results for the patients and corruption. Looks like the PAP refuses to learn anything from the saga, insisting that further legislatures will fix the charity model.

curious said...

Hmmm, interesting. Before the NKF corruption scandal exploded, I don't remember anyone calling for many helping hands, just donations.

Now, that it has been exposed and charities will be subject to tighter rules, everyone is expected to give a helping hand in addition to donations?

Or is it because, having witnessed the "windfall" received by the family of a recent suicide victim, the government realized that the peasants are actually a hidden source of funds that can be tapped from by pulling the right heartstrings?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
http://singaporealternatives.blogspot.com/2006/11/my-resignation-from-workers-party.html

CORRUPTION, SINGAPORE-STYLE
Part III

See also All in the LEE Family

Lee Kuan Yew claims that he is incorruptible and has - successfully - sold this notion to many throughout the world. On the other hand Singaporeans who know better dispute this claim. Let us take a closer look at the facts behind Lee's boast.

Lee Kuan Yew & Sons
If this heading sounds more like the name of a company, that's because it is. Singapore is still run by Lee Senior. Yes, he has given up the post of Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party. But there is still one post that he has not relinquished - Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GSIC) which manages the country's financial reserves of more than $60 billion. Lee knows that in the island republic, money is power and Goh Chok Tong can have all the titles he wants. Lee still calls the shots. He once told reporters that if he senses that things are not right, he would send a note "down" to the Prime Minister.

With his power, Lee knows that he can manipulate the system and push his sons up to positions of power. Hsien Loong, Lee's older son, miraculously (but meritocratically, insists the senior minister) became a Brigadier-General in the army by the age of 38. Fellow cadets who had attended officer training with him reported that Hsien Loong couldn't even pass his marksmanship test. Then there is the second son, Hsien Yang, who is also this incredibly competent soldier to attain the rank of Brigadier-General while in his thirties. Both have no combat experience.

Hsien Loong, according to the PAP, was so brilliant that he left the army to become Deputy Prime Minister and will soon be Prime Minister. Hsien Yang was also so bright that he also left military service to become the head of the biggest and most lucrative Government-run company, Singapore Telecoms.

Lee genes
Of course, all this intelligence had to come from somewhere. Mother Kwa Geok Choo was apparently responsible for all this. She was so clever that she built up Lee & Lee into one of the biggest law firms in Singapore - never mind the fact that all conveyancing work of the government-owned Housing and Development Board flats were channelled to her firm. Today, she reportedly holds major shares in companies such as Wing Tai, a property development conglomerate, and TIBS, a bus company. Information about how extensive the business arm of the Lee family reaches remains a highly guarded government secret.

Even daughter-in-law Ho Ching is so smart that she now holds the top positions in Singapore Technologies (ST), a major industrial holding company, and the all-powerful Economic Development Board. A few years back she suddenly resigned from ST. One month later, she waltzed back in. No one, least of all the subservient local media dared ask why. It was rumoured that she had differences with a former government minister who was also involved in the company. Even when Micropolis, a computer company run by ST failed, costing Singaporeans S$600 million Ho Ching was never made to account.

How about Lee's siblings? Lee Suan Yew was recently caught with his pants down over the HPL saga (see other story). He was not investigated over the matter even though that was clearly a breach of regulations under the law. Unbelievably, he was subsequently appointed Justice of the Peace! Another brother, Freddy, quit the police force under clouds of suspicion that he was involved in an illegal chap-ji-kee (gambling) racket. He is now the chairman of Vickers Ballas, one of Singapore's biggest brokerage firms. The firm suffered enormous losses in 1998 due to the stock market crash. It was quietly rescued by another brokerage firm belonging to the Government-owned Singapore Technologies. Another Lee brother was given a banking licence to start Tat Lee Bank when other more qualified institutions were denied the opportunity. Recently when Tat Lee went bust due to heavy loan exposure in the Indonesia market, the state-owned Keppel Bank came to the rescue to bail the Lee-owned bank. It was a very astute merger, the Government claimed. Corruption by any other name reeks just as foul.

Meritocracy through nepotism
Do Singaporeans know about all this? If they do, why aren't they speaking up? As in all dictatorships, to speak up and challenge the powers that be would attract so much scorn from the dictator that people prefer to keep quiet - at least for now. If one were to so much whisper "Corruption!" by the Lee family, defamation suits come raining down. With a judiciary that has Lee's intimidating face firmly etched in its mind whenever it delivers judgments, verdicts are predictable.

But as with all dictatorships, the time will come when the dirt will surface and the truth is revealed. Perhaps then, Singaporeans will be able to see for themselves how much the Lee family's achievement is due to competence and how much to corruption and nepotism.

By S Chua (pseudonym)

Anonymous said...

Just shut the heck up people.

66.6% of Sinkies voted for this Govt so you just have to get on with life and take it up the ass.

Anonymous said...

From Sammyboy's.com
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/11/09/headlines/headlines_30018480.php

TEMASEK'S FOLLY
Alarm over AIS 'bonus' of Bt80 bn

Questions raised as to why TOT cut revenue repayment of Shin's cash-cow

7-8 said...

I'll have to agree with the government on this one: the best way to create help and charity for the needy would be through civic society. There is no substitute for building a civic society. Without it, you can go on and on and bitch about how the government controls everything when there is nobody else to carry the load anyway.

And to talk about not participating in charity unless the ministers give up their $$$ salaries, I mean it should be they can be as greedy as they like, it wouldn't affect your attitude towards charity. Otherwise, what are we advocating here, a race to the bottom? No contribution or volunteer work unless certain people stop getting overpaid?

That's what I don't like about Singaporeans. When other people talk about revolution or overthrowing their governments, they're usually also thinking about how they'd run things better. Singaporeans just complain and do nothing more.

Want Singapore to be less totalitarian? Allow more civic groups. What more could you ask for?

Rick said...

"When other people talk about revolution or overthrowing their governments". This one is giving me ideas. Wanna join me at the barricades?

7-8 said...

Well show me your blueprint for a new government. Otherwise no talk.

luther blissett said...

we're a selfish people. Just like our leaders, we're competitive, pragmatic, kiasu and greedy. The vast majority of us are not going to waste our time on charity work.

sry mr wang.. u are merely looking thru ur narrowed middle class angle to make such a comment..

i have know enuff singaporean who are doing charity work.. and know enuff singaporean who will donate their limited income to the needy..

the recent 500k donation can backed my claim...

sadly.. most of them are poor peasants themselves...

its not uncommon that those in the "side line" always donate big amount to charities or needy..

side line = OKT, Bookie etc

its a catch-22 situation here..

1) in order to force pap to take action.. everyone must stop donating and not voluteer any social work... and thus .. poor will suffer greatly initially..

2) in order not for the poor to suffer.. we must donate and voluteer.. and thus.. pap will take this advantage and stay out of the mud..

Anonymous said...

I thought that the reason I pay income tax is so that the government can use it for public purposes, like helping the underprivileged Singaporeans.

Logically, if the government intends to wash its hands off from this responsibility and just rely on Singaporeans to help Singaporeans, then the government should reduce income tax.

Anonymous said...

"Well show me your blueprint for a new government. Otherwise no talk."

An invitation to action and you quickly to scamper to the sidelines. Look who's NO TALK here. LOL

Mr Wang Says So said...

I recommend this post to everyone.

Mr Wang Says So said...

The gist of the post is this:

LKY thinks that Singapore needs political leaders (read PAP members) with "commitment", "passion", "dedication". However, to get them to come forward and serve, you must pay them world-class ministerial salaries. There is no other way.

Dr Vivian that Singapore needs citizens with "commitment", "passion", "dedication" to come forward to do charity work and help poorer Singaporeans. However, Dr Vivian expects these citizens to serve for free, out of the goodness of their hearts. There is no other way.

biased obersver said...

Saw that post, almost bust a gut laughing at the unfortunate juxtaposition of their remarks.

7-8 said...

Mustn't think of it that way. They are outsourcing some government functions to the citizens, so that they can lay off their ministers. This is a good sign.

Anonymous:

Should you be laughing at me for not going up against the government or should I be laughing at you for trying to overthrow it without knowing what you're going to do after that?

Anonymous said...

-SINGAPORE: The Goods and Services Tax will be increased to 7 percent, from the current 5 percent. This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament on Monday.-

I just love it when Sinkies get more and more stuff up their ass.

Thanks for that, 66.6% Sinkies!

7-8 said...

Hi, I just read about the raising of GST to 7% and I've changed my opinion of the matter. The cabinet should burn in hell for oppressing the poor.

Anonymous said...

just 2 months after election and... they skip number 6.

str8 up to 7%.

2 months notice before next year.

good one..

Robert HO said...

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Anonymous said...

Always ask people who are poorer to donate, Vivian should lead by example and donate his 5 digit salary to the poor first, that will be far more convincing.

Anonymous said...

7-8 you are really a flip flop, won't be surprised if you voted for the ruling party during the GE.

Anonymous said...

7-8 you are really a flip flop, won't be surprised if you voted for the ruling party during the GE.

7-8 said...

Oh? What makes you think I was in a contested GRC?

Anonymous said...

i believe our PM has the solution, which he mentioned in parlayment today. Easy and simple, increase GST. Let's see if the VWOs and NGOs can raise the monies now.

En & Hou said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
En & Hou said...

Looks like they didn't ask the people to shut up and stop whining in advance w/o good reason - because GST is up to 7%!

Before the next GE comes, it is pretty likely to see GST reaching 10% first (and 15% by end of 1015)

Cheers,
Hou

Anonymous said...

Well, GST is also known as the poor man tax as increasing income tax is bad because it make the rich poorer. And no doubt all the MIW who are high earner in their normal 'day job' would be affected badly if income tax is increased instead of GST.

However, I actually don't mind having a higher GST if it allow the govt to form a much better safety net for the needy or less fortunate. After all, who know if one day I may be out of job too and have to rely on one to survive?

But I seriously doubt the increase of the tax is to help the poor and neither was I surprised that there is a GST coming. In fact there had been talk that GST would definitely be up to at least 7% before the last GE if those blood suckers won with 'strong' mandate.

Anonymous said...

By the way, people, Vivian may not have a "5-digit" monthly salary. More likely he has a 6-digit monthly salary.

Ministers are comfortably drawing well above a million dollars (that's 7 digits) a year.

Anonymous said...

Package is the magical word here...hahaha. Ever since to got a package of MPs (GRCs) it has never been abused more.

Anonymous said...

GST UP To 7%

Let's have an anti GST rally to show the PAP what we are make of!

40+ Singaporean said...

The government has just put up the biggest 'helping hand'. GST is going to be increased to 7% to help the needy!

Check out this link at Dr Huang http://www.blogger.com/publish-comment.do?blogID=29051014&postID=116343687495649886&r=ok

Anonymous said...

Ingenuous. This is the first time I'm aware of this new method of taxing the poor more in order to 'help' the poor.

We all know that GST is a regressive tax i.e. the burden is higher on low income families. Let's consider two Singapore families: the Tans and the Wees.

The Tans' take home income is $1000 a month, of which $950 is spent on living necessities like food and rent and $50 is saved (low income families typically save a lower proportion of their income). With a 2% increase in GST, the Tans' consumption will rise to $969. The increase in living expenses of $19 is about 2% of their monthly income. They also save even less as a result.

In contrast, the Wees' take home income is $10,000, of which they spend $8000 and save $2000 each month. With the GST increase, they spend an additional $160, which works out to 1.6% of their income.

As a form of tax to help the poor, I don't think GST is efficient, since whatever benefits they receive from the government (if at all) is partly taken out by the higher GST. Better to use income taxes as a distributional tool.

But then, I doubt the government would be prepared to increase income taxes since Singapore is pitched as a low income tax country to attract talented foreigners and overseas private wealth.

Another thing to consider is that the new sources of private wealth (e.g. Russian oligarchs and Burmese warlords) don't really consume in Singapore (although they may be Singapore PRs). They may buy high-end properties in Singapore to park their money but they'd rather do their high-end spending in London, New York or Paris.

Perhaps that's why we're now building casinos, so that our GST can get them at least.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the new and improved Robbing Hood, he robs from the poor to helpeth the poor!

Long live the MIW, who profiteth the rich and connected!

Majulah Singapura

Frente

vesance said...

Give PAP benefit of the doubt for this one. Wait for details to be announced and implemented. If it is genuinely going to kick start a welfare system to benefit those in Singapore, then it is a good thing. Very good thing. We are like paying 10% over here already LOL.

quitter-in-waiting said...

I grew up in a Singapore ran by 1st generation PAP politicians, some of whom really understood the meaning of "serving the people" and it shows in their actions. E.g. Ong Teng Cheong.

The subsequent generation of PAP politicians are a disappointing lot. Says a lot about Singapore's system of selecting scholars to "serve"... good academic brains do not equate good public servants (yes, even MPs are public servants).

Heck, these days these self-serving "servants" are so assured of their continued hold on power that they do not even bother to window-dress their regressive policies. E.g. GST is a regressive tax, this is an economic fact.

Just glad that I'm exiting eventually.

Kaffein said...

I'm telling the government now -

Get out of my quitter uncaring face.

Kaffein
aka Going-to-be quitter in Mar'07.

Anonymous said...

When it rains, it pours in Singapore. First they tell us to stop whinging about the cost of living in Singapore, then they tell us VWOs have to do more to help the poor, and now, as if to push our faces deeper in the shit, they say they MUST increase the GST from 5% to 7% in 2007!

simplesandra said...

quitter-in-waiting wrote: "I grew up in a Singapore ran by 1st generation PAP politicians, some of whom really understood the meaning of "serving the people" and it shows in their actions.

That's because everyone started with nothing. And those who made it felt obliged to help out those whom they felt weren't as lucky as themselves.

That's why some older folks are still so stauchly behind the PAP, not knowing that besides logo, everything else about the party has changed.

It might seem weird, but we were socialist in the past; LKY's "meritocray" (and esp eugenics) policies went against the beliefs of many of our first-gen politicians.

Anonymous said...

I cannot but totally agree with our PM that "welfare" is a dirty word.After listening to him, I promtly cancelled by monthy contribution to NCSS and several charities. Let all the helping hands come from the people who proclaimed that "welfare" is a dirty word. EOM

simplesandra said...

vesance wrote: "If it is genuinely going to kick start a welfare system to benefit those in Singapore, then it is a good thing. Very good thing. We are like paying 10% over here already LOL."

A welfare system that's "uniquely singaporean", no doubt.

Anonymous said...

"Many helping hands"-another ploy to wash their hands from the issue if and when things don't measure up to the public's expectations on helping the poor. (MIW knows this is a very sticky issue!) They can then point their fingers at others. Fault ALWAYS lies on the others. MIW NEVER at fault or to be blame.

GST increase to 7%!! For those who fear that things may turn for the worse if the MIW were not elected in the last election. Is the situation getting comfy for you now? Cost of living getting less stressful? Do you think jobs will still be around for you when you hit 40?

Anonymous said...

Their latest helping hand seem to be increase GST by 2% to fund their 'help' for the needy.

Oh! And I must be hearing wrongly when someone on TV claim that the rich would run away if we increase income tax instead of GST.

vesance said...

simplesandra wrote: A welfare system that's "uniquely singaporean", no doubt.

"world class" ...ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

Well we will have to wait till Feb 07 to hear about the package which I believe will reach maturity around 2011 to buy votes. Swear to God I would have preferred to listen to Homer Simpson then the idiot who was on the telly last night.

Anonymous said...

GST up to 7%. To the 66.6% who voted for the MIW to avoid getting into potential shitty situation. Don't hold your breath 'cos THE SHIT HAS LANDED right in your face!! And you deserve every ounce of it.

Anonymous said...

Is this what they call the Many Helping Hands welfare method?

simplesandra said...

vesance wrote: ""world class" ...ROFLMAO "

Typo there. Should've been "world crass".

Anonymous said...

Actually the impending hike of 7% GST is to prepare for more tidal wave of bad investments by the PAP - currently Temasek/Ho Ching. You have to realise that the PAP scholars/so-called elites have a steep learning curve when itcomes to investments or doing biz abroad from Suzhou Ind Park to Shin Corp.(does it go back even further?) Hundreds of millions or billions are needed to fund these screw ups. Help for the poor... naahhh!

vesance said...

simplesandra said: Typo there. Should've been "world crass".

ok. world crass hub. welfarepolis.

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