phew!
A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves

The poor, CPF and The Conundrum

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,

How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,

Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you

From seasons such as these?

Lest we forget, Singapore is much believed by most, the best country in terms of management and economic sense in the south-eastern region of Asia. Without a shadow of doubt, much of these attributed to the hard-work and diligence of its inhabitants. It has much of everything; economics, a vibrant workforce, a thriving arts scene and an infrastructure that rival international cities. Singapore Dissident wrote:

Now a stage has finally reached, where he considers you, the people totally irrelevant in running the country. No politician in any democracy will dare to pay themselves millions of dollars when the bottom poor do not even have $300.00 per month to live on. With suicides up. Unemployment up. Emigration up. Birth rate down. Yet in these difficult circumstances for the people, he is not only going to continue taking millions of dollars in pay, but actually going to increase his and his Ministers salaries to even more millions.

You must now realize this. He doesn’t care what you think. He will do whatever he wants. That is why I say that you must protest, since not doing anything in these circumstances is to submissively accept anything that he may wish to throw at you.

I am one of those who would not simply and blindly submit. And I am scratching the red welts, thanks to those pesky mosquitoes which have risen in numbers these days. Yes, dengue cases are up. Imagine the torment on homeless people living in the streets, and imagine the capabilities of this self-proclaimed extraordinariness which reeks of nothing but extravagance and self-indulgence.

Allow me to report that there are a myriad of homeless people, who would think similarly each night on the comment I have just made, as they sleep in the open or under the void decks of your public housing flats, their numbers more than you can imagine. These vagrants could no longer afford HDB apartments and would go lay their heads wherever they feel safe to lie, with their ragged belongings and even family in tow (see video below- you will see a Malay family with their children sleeping)Why must the apartments be priced at exorbitant prices in the first place where the common citizen is unable to complete his instalments before his retirement? These HDB flats/pigeonholes are not even yours to begin with! It is essentially a 99-year lease and the value of the property depreciates over time. There are many cases where people could no longer afford to pay their HDB loans from banks when they are retrenched from their jobs and couldn’t secure one in time. As a result they were evicted and became a member of the destitute.

How ironic that the CPF could not be borrowed against in times of emergencies! It is during your adulthood and during your labors arise the need to support your new family and the CPF bank is unanimously and undoubtedly the one to turn to. Not when you are trembling trying to walk with your walking stick and one foot stuck in the grave. I implore that we reassess the policies that are becoming fast inanimate and contrary to your needs. Your children’s costs of education alone add deficits to your household budget, notwithstanding your utilities, expenses and bills and other hosts. Now you brace for the significant impact of the Goods and Services Tax raise. Can the offset packages be really enough? You are banking on false hope if you think it is. You would not be laughing your way to the bank but every expenditure you make bears the full brunt of the GST raise. You cannot hope to achieve adequate sustenance when you are drawing US$500 a month. Dr. Edward de Bono, originator of lateral thinking suggests:

…that a worker could agree to put a portion of his or her wage into a savings account paying higher than normal interest, and could call on this for emergencies or capital payments. Once this idea has been formulated it becomes not unlike the Singapore Central Provident Fund, where employer and worker are required to pay part of the wage into a fund for retirement. This idea suggested here is both optional and more flexible.*

It is clear that reassessment on existing policies is much needed. But at times we must come to the realization that the fault is ours in hindsight. We have failed in many aspects to analyze and question our stability especially when the average citizen is not earning much. There is a mathematical necessity to provoke local stability in order to achieve a higher equilibrium. What stability is needed and be maintained when the dormancy wreaks havoc on your lives? In our gradual and accumulated apathy over the years, we leave unabashedly our future to the ruling administration nary a worry or scant regard. Where is the consensus? Where on earth is the consultation? What good can two or three opposition MPs or NMPs do to check on policies in Parliament? Just think on this for hardly a second: Homeless people and kids out there with nowhere to go.

What if you were them?

Truly our lives have ended the day we came silent about things that matter.

*Taken from New Thinking For The New Millennium (1999)

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One Response to “The poor, CPF and The Conundrum”

  1. Homelessness in Sinkapore? Impossible because MM Lee said there is none in Sinkapore. There are lots in NY and London but not Sinkapore, the Paradise Island. Sinkaporean will believe anything if spoken by Pay & Pay regime. And if you have no Money then No Talk. Similarly if you are poor and homeless, then you don’t count. This is national policy. Don’t like it then go away to somewhere esle. This is national policy as well. There is nothing Sinkaporean could do except to take more of the same. You dare to speak up , you could be sued and make a bankcurrupt. Paradise Island is truly unique.


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