In a couple of days another budget will be presented by the government. As usual there will be debates. As usual, any questions from the opposition will be deemed as an attack. As usual, I expected the budget will be not for the commoner. As usual the business people will ask for more. As usual man in the street will cry of given less. As usual what the budget presenter will claim it to be a good budget. As usual many of the governments MPs will yell their throat coarse to put up a good opposing show and say aye at the end of the show. As usual the Ministar of Finance will claim that the budget also serve to take care of the future, let say at least 10 years down the road benefits will be reaped, which as usual I did not see one yet for the past 45 years. As usual all the departmental ministars will come up to wayang and present it like a debate, and not a presentation. As usual the objective of each department will be smoky, beating around the bush. As usual the objective of all ministries will not have a single figure or numbers in their plan and measurement. As usual the budget will be passed. As usual nothing will need to be altered, adjusted and corrected.
However, you can continue to ask or beg, the yearly budget is already DONE. Forget about revising it. What the people should not go asking anything from the minister as you are not going to get anything. So what we should go on asking the budget itself. In the beginning I would look at the deficit or surplus. Of course there will be a surplus. For a country so small, the number of workers per kilometer squared so small, if you have a deficit, then dear minister, you got to go back to the kindergarden to learn your mathematic!
What we should nowadays look and ask. How did the surplus come from? Looking at the way you increase cost throughout the year, the surplus is not a surprise. Why does not each ministry present their income, and what cost had they raised to impact the people to gain a plus? Such gain like the MOH, increasing visiting fee to visit doctor at hospital yearly? How does each ministry over spend like YOG, something like that. How does the transport ministry in their wimps and fancy increase ERP entry cost when COE is under the same control system to smoothen traffic flow. How much land did the government sold in percent of the surplus?
When ever had any one saw an item of expenditure being changed in our parliament? Actually, we should have a pre budget sitting at least 3 months before a real budget is presented. If not, how do you expect to get some ridiculous budget items to be changed. Of course our minister will claim that for thousands of years, it had been done like this, but my though is why we cannot be different for the better. I am wondering when each ministry start to prepare for next budget?
I can see that this budget will be another usual budget. Do not ask for more, but ask for why we spend like this, who to reduce such spending. For the matter, I believe the obsess government it self need to look at their efficiency, as you are using up so much percentage of the local that we do not have sufficient local for other jobs. Sigh!!
Today I went is my visit to the doctor again, an average of three times per every two months. This time, I got wacked again. When I first got a serious relapse on October 2010, each visit cost me $25 to see a doctor. Now $30 per visit. Whatever so called subsidy are just bull shit. What each of us are interested in is what we really pay, but whatever subsidy the government claimed. The key is that the MOH can suka suka raise any price they wanted.
Each time, you heard the government said about our coming danger zone about aging population is also another bull. Why do they worry. If they return our CPF promptly, we ourselves can handle the cost ourselves. Now that they cannot pay out as they promised in the 80’s then by delaying these payout, it look like we are the pauper begging from them for subsidy. Just imagine for each transaction of CPF money, our money, they charge us $2.5/-. So they keep your money, and charges you for using it. Is this not funny?
Look at our transport. I feel that at least a third, and almost all the bus purchase subsidy is for foreigners. Do a population of 3.9 million overall need so many buses and such network of MRT? Do your maths and you will know. Turn around and look at our land. Every corner are now turned to building condo. Look like the biggest piece of open land is the highway. Every little corner is being build up. In the past, I use to bragged to my foreign friends about of land, now I am shit shy to even mention. I used to welcome foreign friend to visit us to take a look at our land, now I encourage them to go to Thailand or Malaysia. I am too sad to show who and what we are. The fact is a high percentage of those condos are not bought by locals.
I feel that our country is now obese. Obesity is consuming what the body bone structure can take. Bone structure I mean the land. In excess, will be overcrowded and other sickness, which very much needed some medicine or a cure. But since the White paper want a 6.9 million, we will be a very sick man. Yet the rational is that after 6.9 million then what? I like Fandi comment on FAS, incompetent. I would say not only FAS, the whole government is incompetent.
As we claim to be among the riches people in the world, another bull. We are dead poor. Our old man use to say each of us had property value in hundreds of thousands dollars, but the fact is commoner like us are cash poor. The high property price we had cannot be pawned, unless we are quitters going to leave this place we are born in and once proud of. The high property price is just for the government to collect more property taxes for the coffer.
Coming soon, I think by around May, we may see transport fare going up one more. Our government is the easiest to run, as they can almost increase any price whenever they like. Then to the outside world may praise them for a budget surpluses. How to have a budget surplus? Just increase prices anyhow they wanted will work wonder to the surpluses.
Last week my son told me he is chiak lat, his two children need $1100 per month in the nursery when I was about to tell him why only two. So with all the above tit and bits, you can imaging where the hell are we heading. Sigh!! The Budget is coming, is will again will be another happy budget for the businesses where more is not enough. For us local commoners, we see more price raises. This is because the government is obese. Sigh again!!
Ha ha, at last I have time to write something. The White paper. So after the election, the promise paper came, and if I am the teacher who is going to mark it, it failed. First there is no subject of any reader interest, secondly it was poorly written in good English. Lastly, you should not wtire any taboo. Moreover, it was a repeated subject. I recalled around 12 or 15 years back, one wise guy call KS Wong and CT Goh did talked about 7 million population, it was rumble down badly. Even their semi god does not agree with the amount.
If you had read my previous write out on My country in 15 years’ time, or the other one, My Country, my land without land you sure will know what I mean. Actually, Singapore is a very rich country, I mean the government. I believe they spent a lot of money, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to do ‘chi Chwee”, test water, hoping these daft will buy the idea of the new figure of 6.9 million. 0.1 million lesser than it was originally mentioned ten over years ago. Like it or not, it is still taboo.
The top guy last came out after watching the dog fight. Tune the tone a little and began to switch the white paper from human to infrastacture. He tried to put everything into lighter mode. Does it help? The biggest problem he now faces is the trust that this government face is different from let say 20 years ago. I believe if this was presented 20 years ago, it will be sure to pass with flying colours. Not because people are agreeable then, but then there are more mountain tortoises and daft.
He also mentioned that we had to peak around 6 million, another test water statement. But if this is so, then Iswaran statement does not hold. He said WP LTK freezing the FT will put the economy into a tail spin. But if Iswaran is true, then the PM letting the population stopping at 6 million, will put the economy into nose drive then.
As for the Straits Times, it mentioned Sylvia Lim talking as “ attacking” . The use of word was heavy, I like it, but the weight was unevenly loaded. If ST really use fair words, like WP “ speaking = attack “, then 13 vote against the white paper should be = “WP knock out the government” . I hope my equation of weight in English should be generally correct.
My understanding of this white paper being badly written, because it basically talked about transport and HDB. I believe they tried to appease the current frustration, shifting the general focus to some target far far away when non of the key personal running the office is around. I even saw the comparision of Singapore population with NY. London or HK. But these place are different. When N Yorker are pissed, they can dirve to Texas and fire their gun. For Londoner , they can go to Wales Caldiff to cool off. Hongkong people have ShenZhen or DongGuan and Panyi to rest. They all have a backyard. What do you have. Costly Sentosa? Or Pulau Ubin, but I know which the white paper does not mention, by then Pulau Ubin will be gone. Look around where do we have space?. By then maybe the widest open place will be only all the expressways.
Do you think anyone dare to put this white paper into a referendum? I am sure not, the water testing already shown the Singaporean strongly does not want too crowded a place, since 25 years ago. Moreover the white paper hold no water. It does not please the soul, but only the pocket. Nice to know Singaporean do have a soul.
The White paper is getting hotter than white pepper.
The population kept dropping to a point of non-replacement, but no one bother? We need to import foreign people to replace us? This is not a joke to a country that economy seems to be the most important thing. Politicians panic but not the people. What we should do is to find out why. We also knew that the government kept pointing finger at every other things, except the way the issue is managed.
First of all, look at Japan, HK, Korea and Taiwan, all of them with us face the declining birth rate issue. Let’s see all of this group at their perspective. All of us are economy driven monster. Each just looked to money, money other than money. All are Asian. They prefer to keep money other than resources. Then look at China, in the urban area, they faces the same problem too. So too much money in the mind is killing the procreative mind. Money cannot buy happiness or peace.
Secondly, look at the cost of living. In the late sixty and early seventies, a sole bread earner can afford to feed a family of seven or eight, even ten. When my father was the sole bread earner, our whole family of eight siblings, my parents and my grandmother lived together. Each day my granny gave me ONE dollar for marketing. On a normal day I had five cents of towgay, five cents of bean curd, ten cents of Chai Sim vegetable, thirty cent of fish, and another forty cents of pork, another ten cents of cabbage. Our small farm have our own eggs. On Sunday, it will be two dollars!. Try buying ten dollars of food for a family of four today, and see what you get, even at the fair price NTUC, which made millions from us monthly. We have not touch on the cost of educating the young ones.
Thirdly, look at the way this group live in. Some lived in pigeon holes, some in shoe boxes, and soon, many in match boxes houses. Let look at ourselves first. HDB claim that the new flats do not shrink in size. But opportunist Mr. Mah, lacking foresight, had ‘foresee’ the family size will reduce and do reduce the overall area per household. This means the HDB in fact was happy the family size reduced thus the area, at the expense of the future breeders coming into the picture. Or it also means that HDB does not welcome a bigger family. Once the government decided to make smaller flats, then there is a huge problem to increase back the size. Put a small aquarium with a lot of guppies and you can see either they eat each other or the full tank will be infested with disease.
Fourthly, overcrowding is not a small matter. We irritate each other. Human is another animal. Put all in a small space, claiming that we can live together peacefully is bluffing ourselves. Why everyone seems to be wanting some necessary institutions like welfare homes or school in others back yard, is because we lack space. Look at the way our MND selling land, we really have no space left. Like mention earlier, our tradition like getai will be dead very soon, there will be no space for election rallies, Malay wedding or Chinese funerals will have lesser space in new housing estates.
Independent and privacy are other factors. Maybe one of the causes is our CPF. People of my age group do not need or lesser need on our children to take care of us in the old age. We have the CPF. So all our children lived by themselves, hopefully we do not disturb each other. We cannot even take care of their children, as we need to work too. They will see us once a while, we are even proud that they live by themselves. Due to the overcrowding, we are happy they live alone.
On the sixth items, is everyone has to work for the economy. Take my children for example. My son has to work, his wife have to work, both work to help paying for the pigeon hole house. Their children are sent to the nursery, and pre-school. So look like everyone is working or busy. They cannot afford a maid. My wife is working, I am sickly, and who is going to looking after who? So do you expect my son to have a third child, you must be crazy!.
Overall, let say we have a GINI of 0.001, so what. If I can simply live a life or happiness in a more relax mode when I am at the lowest rank of the GINI table, I do not care how rich you are. But the fact is that I cannot survive peacefully. The cost is too high, the space is lacking yet we are going to have seven or eight million is this small land mass of ours. Every one kept working to pay their merge survival or medical bill. The supermarket is making billions from the people and our authourities are spending like nobody business, example in defense. Talk about total defense. The system does not allow us to procreate.
Then came the catch. In the late seventies and early eighties, the ‘stop at two’ rule is now being blame for the stopping of procreation. I was affected. But I do not think it is the main cause of the current situation, it is just an excuse people like to smash at the government. But why there is no one coming up to explain that during the time the scenario is different. The problem is ‘face’. If the government really want to solve the problem, is ‘face’ of an old man so important? Do you think the country is less important than your face. Why not you just come up and tell our people that, you are sorry for the rule you implemented then. Singaporeans are really forgiving, I bet. Just tell them that during that time, jobs were scares, housing could catch up, your government was not that smart yet, and the people will understand you. This will take the burden off the government and let the current government solve the future problem, instead of keeping the old stigma hanging with us. But if you have to, save your face, and kill the country. Sigh!
Just not long ago, our PM came up with a great idea. He appointed a lucky guy call Mr. Heng to have a conversation with the population on what they like Singapore to be in the future. Ha, here again we are going to talk about. But then what are we doing to talk about when we do not even know what is happening, or about what they are doing. We do not know what will be our targeted population, about our defense spending, about our land use, about our future rulers of our country. So I think it would be better for me to talk to myself. The other funny thing is when the MSM interviewed seven people and all of them give ideas that are to me not going to improve the country at all. In teenagers words, all the seven wanted are pretty simple things, they would classified ‘so lame’. To me, the MSM had already tried to map out what you all guys and gals should direct your conversation towards.
Now let us started with the basic first. For a family to grow and prosper, the head of the family has to realize that he or she does not change, the rest of the family will not be with them. Simple right, so let me juggle with my own conversation. First, old age, does anyone know when you will be classified as old? If you go to the cinema, at 55 you are a senior citizen, going to the bus services, you are senior when you hit 60 plus one day, if you want your CPF, you are still young at 64 years. So we have no system at all, and our old age. It is a moving target to hit. In years to come, with the help of CPF, when we grow older, we become younger.
This is minor problem, Here I would like to tell myself that we need to publicly announce the limit population to have. Soon we may end up to have 8 million. We are now around 5-6 million living on this red dot, it is already packed. How I hate it. It have been proven in the 60’s and 70’s that even rats living in congested places will turn crazy, irritating, unfriendly, and does not bear little mouse. Yet with the people in the higher echelon that are highly educated does not understand. We cannot keep adding people in this place to drive the economy, while the population goes kuku. There is already no more land for getai or even election rallies.
The other thing I told myself is when are we going to have a fixed election date? This will created an environment where in future, I really mean future, that is after I mati (die), no political parties can monkey with the country growth figure. You cannot make the country grow, out you go. This was the old United Kingdom way of cheating the system, so is to have a fixed by-election timing. I am telling myself that this is towards a fair future. Yes, you may like to hold to power, but how about when you are gone, what I am talking is for, when we are all gone. I read a Mr. Toh said that the PM calling a by-election is a moral one, what happened if we in future have an immoral PM? If you like or love the country, you have to do the right thing for our children future, so start now.
I heard CNA interviewed Mr. Prowobo of Indonesia, the lady asked him why the Indonesia have so many Generals in the government. Alamak, this Singapore lady really quite blurr, I believe when she asked she forgot about her own backward, as she will never dare ask that to BG. Lee, BG. Chan, BG. Lim…Beegeees etc. I told myself, we in Singapore are carrying a military baggage. Spend billions in defense, then have to promote so many high ranking people to run it and end up having to find jobs for them when they ROD. After they went in to the big cooperation, some of them mess it up. What a joke, so when can we stop this stupidity. Let those guy find their own job, I remember in 1976, the government already stop finding jobs of ROD enlisted guys, so what so special with those generals?
I also told myself that we should start firing poor performers in the government. You over spend by few hundred millions like YOG, you should be fired. You did not build enough flats for the people or the cost is too high, you must be fired. You clogged up the roads, off you go. Do not keep CEO of basic facilities that let the trains continuously down goes scotch free. But we did not, we just move on. So with such an organization, you are encouraging poor performers into the system, which will help to rot the core. I am not picking old sore, but I am mentioning facts.
So after telling myself with just these few things, I found I have enough. I will continue to converse with myself in front of my toilet mirror. I sure mean that if we want to be a country with a future, we have to start with more realistic aspiration. It have to start with the leaders. If I talked about focus on Sport, a home for my son( which we already had), taking more risk lah, wow, these are to me guided thoughts. I like Ms. Ang saying real and genuine engagement. Not just conversation when Mr. Heng will just compile and said, there hor, these are what you want, so donch blame us. Some more they talk about the long future, where I believe these set of leaders will be gone by then. We need to take a hard look for the future, not this simple question and answer, fill in the blanks type of conversation. Don’t just talk, get the real root problems solve, sigh!
Once in China in the year 2000 July, I took over an entity that had been losing orders and money for the past umpteen years. This was my first meeting after taking over this department. Actually, this entity was in a mess, and to revamp it, I need to do many drastic actions. During the meeting, I slipped my tongue, and I apologized to the managers at the meeting. I said “ I am sorry for ….” , and later “ Thanks you” after I closed the meeting. There were several managers at the meeting. All were stunned. They were all seasoned managers, most of them are Hongkies and a couple of Chinese staffs too. It was around 6.30 pm, and when the meeting ended, I went back to the office. I did not feel anything amiss. A while later, to managers came to my office. They wanted to ask me something they believe serious.
They asked me why in their twenty plus years in this company, they had never heard of the word ‘sorry’ from any of their Hongkies bosses. They felt it is wrong for the boss to apologise, as this would weaken the boss status. Then to say thank you is also a strange words at that time. I told them that is pretty normal for us ( most common Singaporean to do that). They just continued to be puzzled and when out of the office. Well, I do not practice autocratic management.
Thinking of this in Singapore leadership contact, why our ‘leaders’ do not understand this. Yes, to say a real sorry is very difficult. But do you think it is very necessary to show that we can change for the better? Let us take the goofed up YOG over spending. With a fast raising minister in charge to blow $300M in planning is ridiculous. In his life time, I do believe he will never made such money back for the people. When the problem came, he spent all his time trying to tell us it is all right. Blowing $300 M is all right? If I am him, I would say ‘sorry’, fired his subordinates and let the people understand how it was goofed up, where is it and why.
As for the Orchard flood, there was no apologetic word. The then minister even had the grand old man telling the flood was once in 50 years. If this is the case, then why we need to spend another few hundred millions of dollars to rework the whole Orchard area. Why he cannot say ‘ sorry ‘ and tell us his guys under him does not know how to operate the Marina Barrage in anticipation of the huge flow of water in times of heavy rain. If he did not because he cannot face the fact that his organsation is screwed up.
When Mas Selamat limped out of the detention camp, the authourities was not at all apologetic too. They blamed it on the toilet paper, and the guards. Then they send hundreds of police and army guys across the island. Instead of saying’ sorry’ I goofed up, they spend all the effort to find excuses and scrape goat. Same goes to the influx of Tom, Dick and Harry FT. We all knew we need certain types of FT, but not all types of FT. When all sorts were left in, it created a social mess. Instead of saying ‘sorry’ all the minister kept telling us we need them. Who does not know we need certain types. It is just that they let in too many, too many types, too fast. We knew you made a mistake, which can be forgiven, but just to tell us daft how important they were, we cannot buy they idea of ‘anything, any one also can formula.
The last but not least I can think of is the long awaited ‘Stop at Two’. In the early 80’s this created a huge problem up till today. Until today, the creator of this ‘Stop at Two’, still bite his tongue and refuse to say “Sorry” for the mistake he created. That time, it could be right, but today it is wrong. Instead of telling people, who are all waiting for the golden word ‘sorry’, he is still so ignorant or arrogant and proud to say that word. I believe if he really wanted to solve the problem, he should say ‘sorry’ to us. These words will create a backlash for as short while, people will spend a couple of weeks to curse him, so what, it may solve the whole problem. Singaporeans are forgiving people. Yes, we all are.
Even the lack of enough HDB for rental does not seems bad enough for people to apologise. When the new Khaw too over he suddenly found we need ten of thousands flat immmediately for sale or for rent. That short guy already took millions of salalry away just waithing for the Garden by the bay opening ceremony to claim credit! For almost a decade or decay of the HDB so to say.
I am not digging up the lousy past, but I am telling that it always take a stronger person than a weakling to apologise. Coming back to the first paragraph, the whole lot people began to work with me and we turn the worst of the 28 entities of our cooperation into the best in the next nine months. Would not it be great when we can work together with the authourities here? I understand our authourities are egoistic, which always override realism. The refusal to admit mistake and say sorry means few things. Firstly, they do not know what is right or wrong, next they are not willing to admit mistake, third they refuse to learn and change, fourth they think they knew best which is not and fifth, they are almighty. EQ is not in their vocabulary.
Bear in mind, you all in power are arrogant, ignorant and egoistic, so are we the 3 million others. Our country needs people or leaders to work and run the place together, but if you are too high up, we, but first of all you will be doomed in today people mentality. You will run the place by yourselves, eventually by others.
Until the day when dictionary put the words ‘ let move on = sorry,’ our leadership may still need to say ‘sorry, or ‘soli lah’ for their mistake. For those we do not like what I wrote, I am sorry, sigh!