Thursday, September 27, 2007

CPF Changes

Read this article from a man who once contributed to the economy of Singapore. How valid it is, no one knows, being that it is Anonymous. But search our hearts and you'll know its validity.
(taken from LittleSpeck)

You can also read my response in NMP Siew Kum Hongs blog on the CPF Annuity.

I hope everyone who reads this will think carefully again on any policies to be implemented. It's not a simple thing this CPF Annuity. Just as GIC using CPF funds to invest.

CPF changes - An uncle's woes
He writes from the heart how his elusive savings promised for 55 had eluded him even when he was laid up.
Sept 22, 2007
This anonymous blogger posted this letter when commenting on "CPF Lies - The very blackest kind." by Kenneth Tiong (read here)

Anonymous said,
Hi Kenneth,
Quote from ST, 20 Sept 2007:

"To a question by opposition MP Low Thia Khiang (Hougang) on whether the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) uses funds from the CPF funds to invest, Dr Ng said: "The answer is no."

"Later he rose to add: "The relationship is not so simple".

I could not believe my ears and eyes! Far as I’m concerned, it’s a STUPID EVIL (moderated)!

I watched a video of parliament and I saw Hen (Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen) denigrating a nation by mocking his own and other MP's, violating and belittling the intelligence of Singaporeans, insulting uncles like me for being too dumb to handle our finances, saying, "having a fling here, having a fling there".

I cannot believe that an overpaid manpower servant that we pay with our taxes thinks so lowly of his fellow citizens! A case of “kurang ajar” or, in the hokien dialect which is pretty popular in Parliament now, “kiam kah”!

If I remember well, when I started work as a teenager in 1968, I was told by my boss that 25% of my pay will go to CPF. He will contribute 25%. My boss said, “That’s law, don’t worry. Government guarantees you’ll get it all back when you retire at 55”.

On reaching my retirement goal/age of 55, I was shocked that they have moved the goalposts many times since I started work at 1968. My money wasn’t my money anymore.

Yes, there's Special, Medisave & Retirement Account - SMRA - "You can't touch these!" A hip hop/rap song?

To be fair, I received my yearly CPF statements of the changes, but who reads? I did not.

Eight years ago I had a heart attack and ventricular fibrillation. I was jobless for seven years. Lately, I was suspected of having other health challenges and in the past months, I had my share of visiting polyclinics and hospital.

Poor rich! I'm rich enough to have more than $28,000 sitting in my Medisave Account BUT I cannot use it for tests, treatments and medicines in hospitals and polyclinics.

Yes, my bills from Changi General Hospital and Polyclinics had to be paid in cash from my pocket.

Oh, they tell me I can only use it if I spend more by visiting the hospital again for an artery ballooning/stent or a by-pass procedure.

Or maybe another heart attack and ventricular fibrillation caused by the agony and heartache of “My Money Sits in CPF but Cannot Use For Staying Alive!”; “They Use my $$$, Make A Profit, Don’t Pay Back, Then Say I Stupid” & “Not Enough, Want Some More, Force Annuity On My Children!”

Since nobody wants to employ a sick geezer with a heart condition and other challenges, I am fortunate that a kind soul, having faith, love and trust in me, offered me a sum of money to start a little business last year.

I registered a sole proprietorship in ACRA to start the little business. Another heartache - I was informed that I could not register because I owed CPF Medisave which I did not pay when I was self-employed previously.

Unless I pay up, I could not register my little business.

Imagine, I was broke and I still had to top up my Medisave (already loaded with >$28,000) if I wanted a licence to make myself productive again. Simple: No Top Up, No Licence. This is what I know as Uniquely Singapore First World Standard of Whatever!

Another irony: After seven years of joblessness (due to my health challenges) without paying tax, I made good enough to pay tax again for year ending 2006. I've done my part as a citizen, I even did NS in the army from 1969 to 1971.

"Fend for myself"? I have. I pledge myself as part of “a united people regardless of race language or religion to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity & progress for our nation”.

As a simple heartlander, I’ve done my tiny part. No worries, I may just jump in front of moving MRT before I bother my busy hardworking government with any problem.

Question: What has the Government done for me? Zilch. . . and please don’t do anything. Whenever you do something for the good of the people, you cause me more pain than gain! Eg: PUB increase, 7% GST, Bus fares increase, etc. Just don’t hurt my family further by forcing my children to pay for annuity which is another scam to leech from innocent citizens!

On second thought, you may want to upgrade my HDB flat with a “Go-And-Die-Chute” so that sick and old people like me who have outlived our usefulness to the regime can self-destruct by jumping into it.

Health Minister may like this idea as he wants me to die at home so that I will not be a bother or a burden to his money-making hospitals.

Based on the video, Mintsters just give us plenty of sarcasm and zero empathy. Just Mr. Hen talking cock!

Another wayang, another day’s work to justify obscene million dollar pay! The more they "strengthen the CPF", the worse our lives become.

... Please, denigrate us no more and stop treating Singaporeans like idiots! Let us live with dignity. Just because we are peace loving citizens does not mean that you can walk all over us.

Trying your luck too far may just change a push to a shove. Yes, even peaceful monks can turn into citizen activists. They are at it in Myanmar!

Do what’s honourable - Simply explain the difference in returns of GIC, Temasek and my hard earned CPF. Come clean with transparency!

My problems may have been less if the returns in my CPF had been on par or better than Malaysia’s EPF. Maybe part of the interest that could have been mine has ended up in the purchase of Manchester City Football Club. Am I co-owner now?

Thanks Kenneth for igniting the fire of a sick and tired Singaporean to write something on this disgraceful state of affairs.

Feed me to the Fish

Monday, September 24, 2007

How God planned our 8th wedding anniversary

I know I haven't been updating my blog.

I have been busy with personal life - house hunting in Australia, meeting many new friends who have just migrated, playing a new online game (which I have not touched for the past few days), work and erm, basically having writer's block.

To kick-off, this new entry is about my 'honeymoon' in Australia. Or rather our first wedding anniversary overseas.

So there we were driving towards Melbourne city in the morning. We had just sent Rachel to the kindergarten and would not be picking her up until 3pm that same afternoon.

That left us with about 5 hours of enjoyment. Or so we thought...

I had planned for us to watch the Bourne Ultimatum. However, she wanted to visit the Victorian Market and then take walk around the city. I accommodated to her as she had mentioned numerous times that she seldom come to the city.

Anyway, it was dizzling. We were about 5km away from the city. Yet we were inching our way forward because of the massive highway jam.

After 45 mins of crawling, I had had enough. I blew my top. We were nowhere near the city and still stuck at St Kilda along Princess Highway. I berated her for wanting to visit the city. I shouldn't but I did it anyway. I was frustrated.

C'mon, I work in the city. I do not want to spend my anniversary in the city! I thought I could play the perfect gentleman by accommodating to her needs by visiting the city (by the way a lot of non-city workers seldom come to the city itself).

Well, it backfired. I raised my voice, she retorted. I shouted, she pouted. She started speaking in tongues, I rolled my eyes, calling 'Jesus'.

Right... what a wonderful start to our anniversary - rain, jam, flaring tempers. Romance died - kaput!

So I decided to take a minor detour from Princess Highway. The bad start was enough for us to go back home. The side road took us along the southern bay. No jam, skies were clearing and soon our quarrel was forgotten.

Wow... what a sight! The expense of the skies and seas meeting at the far horizon drew our focus away from each other. No ships dotted the waters. Just pure nature and the cool sea breeze blowing through our windows!

You must be there to enjoy it. Really. Coming from Singapore, a land of crowd and hurried pace, a place of tall skyscrappers, this is totally exhilarating! There must be a God when the sight greeted our eyes, it was just too beautiful. We marvelled at His fingerprints in His creation.

We drove by Brighton (among the most expensive area in Melbourne) and stopped by Sandringham for breakfast. It was a small cafe but the food was fantastic! Both of us felt like tourists in a faraway land.

This place is so quaint! Nice quiet Victorian town with lovely, smiling people. Somewhat like Albany, south of Perth. We could smell the salty breeze, the fresh air and the damp after showers. Everything felt right. We held hands, soaking, basking in the cool seaside atmosphere (chilly when the wind blows though).

As usual, we started looking at the houses for sale. Having spotted a house we liked, we drove to the area which was further south of Sandringham to Beaumaris (see photos here).

Now this place is so captivating! It's a really quiet seaside suburb. We even toyed with the idea of living in that place. It would have cost us at least 0.6mil to buy a small house there! A high price but worth to the last cent, we thought. If you had checked out the photos above, you would have agreed with us too.

And to top it off, we had lunch at a teahouse called Rickett's Point Beachside Cafe.

Imagine the only cafe along the beach overlooking the ocean under the breathtaking clear blue skies.

Simply. Priceless. What more can we ask for? Such a romantic place to have our lunch. Perfect icing to top off our wedding anniversary celebration!

By the time we left the place to pick Rachel, we were fully recharged and in love again. We had to acknowledge that God planned this for us. If it hadn't been for the jam, we wouldn't have discovered this place that we both enjoyed so much.

We had also experienced God's masterhand when He created the earth. Even more so, we were touched by His faithfulness to us all these 8 years of marriage.

Indeed, there had been those times when I wondered how we ended marrying each other. We are so different. Yet the strong, supa-glue that binds us together is not our love for each other.

It is the love from God through His Son - Jesus.

When Jesus is in the centre of our marriage, we can look beyond our faults and we can love each other as He had loved us. Because He heals our broken hearts when expectations of each other fail and soothe our wounds when we hurt each other with our words.

Most of all, He fills us till overflowing with His love. Thus we have the strength and capacity to continue to love each other.

So you see, what initially started as a bad start, God turned it into such a memorable experience for us.

He is indeed the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He always has the final answer to whatever situation or challenge we have.

To think that my anniversary was on 9/11. Both Missus and I nearly had World War III on our plate.

And what did we give each other for our anniversary? Let's say the night is still young... *grin*