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So much falseness in Singapore 8 Aug 05....

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So much falseness in Singapore 8 Aug 05....

Postby 60 minutes » Wed, 10 Aug 2005 8:19 pm

So much falseness in Singapore 8 Aug 05

Like most local media propaganda, NDP website depicts Singaporeans as vibrant, jovial, cheerful and very proud of celebrating their national day.

http://www.ndp.org.sg

NDP is supposed to be made for the citizens to make them feel proud, happy and patriotic for living in their homeland.

But it is very strange, because every year whenever I watch NDP on television, I can never feel the spirit nor the happiness among the spectator's behaviour or faces.

Especially last year's NDP when the camera does a continuous sweep of thousands of spectators in close-up views, one can only see sad, sour, stressed, sarcastic, nonchalant faces all around. Some even have a look as if they had just lost a huge amount betting lotteries.

Smiling faces comes mainly from the celebrities. Even most performers showed a stressed, zombie look.

Most eerie and shameful part is during one of the video sweeping segment, I can only see ONE genuinely cheerful person - A Caucasian women frantically waving her flag so enthusiastically as if Singapore is her homeland. Goodness gracious.

I am sure many of you who watched the show have noticed this as well. For those who have recorded the show and don’t believe what I say can watch it again. Open your eyes, do not be blind.

I felt so sick and ashamed that we need a foreigner, to demonstrate to us what is true pride and joy for the country.

Why is everything so sad, stressed and fakey in Singapore?

Fakey infrastructures with lack of social grace and zombie souls inside, fakey faces on NKF shows, fakey edited smiles on posters and media propagandas to mask the truth of sadness among citizens in Singapore.

One can only think of the main reason is that we can lose our rice bowls anytime, as we have no true social security system and unemployment benefits.

It became more overwhelming since the 1990s when globalisation injected western organisation's culture and thinking into our country that emphasizes on performance and higher degree of multi-tasking. But it is a double-edged sword.

While all these are supposedly bringing more creativity, technology, innovation and entrepreneurial spirits into Singapore, a major problem was overlooked.

The westerners, besides having a dynamic society with cultures that centers on humans rights, freedom and social grace, one main reason they can afford all these antics is because they have unemployment insurance which one can qualify after working for a few years (not applicable to beggars of course, lol). They can afford to word hard in dynamic fashion, protest, argue and push through their ideas while not having to worry that they will starve for the coming months, whereas MAS vehemently banned any such form of insurance. From what I know, the closest insurance scheme that MAS has allowed till now is the pathetic Disability Income, whereby you must satisfy the strict criteria of disability as stipulated in the contract in other to qualify to the income benefits.

Hence, if you are unemployed in Singapore, you must chop off both legs to get some income for instance.

When I was in France for instance, people are so genuinely cheerful and happy, I remembered walking into any pubs in shy and wary manner, but only to see relaxed, friendly faces and anyone can just chat up with you and become your friend with genuine sincerity.

Citizens there lean towards not comparing material achievements, or wanting to compete or win your fellow citizens in a hostile manner, unlike Singapore, whereby a staring incident end up in fights.

On the other hand, even in big stressful cities like New York, yes they are very competitive, but they do not have that over-worrying mentality like pitiful S'poreans because they always have a cushion to fall on, at least they do not starve immediately.

In Singapore, once you are unemployed, you get into overdraft debts immediately. Is this a new democratic theory that our government has formulated to resolve unemployment?

Why is our government always so vague and evasive when answering this issue?

Why must we only get the same old answer that ‘Singapore has no natural resources’ or reply like those from our deputy PM Dr. Tony Tan who says that if such schemes are implemented, he will ‘resign tomorrow’ to get the benefits and end the arguments once and for all.

Is this the way how a senior government minister should reply to a crucial issue? Is there no way that he could have been more sensitive and sincere in his reply?

With such a Pro-state and hostile environment, breadwinners and workers must constantly worry about office politics and wary of anyone who might snatch their rice bowls in the working place.

In theory, this works very well. There is no free lunch, no man is an island, as mentioned by LKY. I do agree to a certain extent of not pampering the citizens so that they can work hard to fend off for themselves, to teach someone to learn how to fish is better than spoon-feeding and all that.

But in reality, we can look around among the commoners, among ourselves, friends and relatives, we can clearly see the huge numbers of citizens who are out of jobs for months of years despite trying very hard to find one but to no avail.

It is only in the light of all these can one then fully understand the reasons behind the sadness, sarcastic and scowling, self-righteous faces you can see everywhere on the streets.

I know that once the authorities read this, they might consider editing the media once again.

It is so strange that what one can only see from the media is either those elite’s success stories, or those extremely rare and tragic instances of poor or sick folks.

Letting people aware of the poorest citizen’s plight is certainly admirable so that we will not take things for granted.

But what happened to the rest of the working commoners, whose real-life problems seemed to have been cleverly swept under the carpet?

It’s such an irony when these people are the majority that voted earnestly for the ruling party, hoping that they will one day solve their problems.

Of course I am aware that Pap has done much to improve Singaporean’s standard of living and the economy and so forth.

But for so many years, what have they done so far to solve this problem? In fact the situation is getting worse.

As our salaries get more stagnant with rising costs, more couples give birth to lesser children or none at all.

To solve the problem on the push for towards achieving critical mass in population to support globalisation, more foreign talents are imported which , while being effective in solving immediate needs, suppressed the wages further too.

With lower salaries, it gives rise to more citizens who either delay marriage or have even lesser children. Then here comes more foreign talents again to solve the problem - creating a vicious cycle.

Probably in the year 2100, the only surviving humans in Singapore are either the elites, foreign workers, PRs and those who have converted their citizenships while the rest of the original groups of Singaporeans have either migrated or passed away.

But is this the right thing to do? So please do not tell me that our government is so entrapped in their policies that they must make citizens unhappy in order to be ‘happy’? For God’s sake, it even bothers on sinfulness. I seriously have no idea why is the government doing this to us.

I know that if the government were to read my statements, they will feel offended and throw it aside as a nuisance.

But for once, I hope they can just shove their pride in high pedestals aside, and learn from Malaysia’s PM Abdullah who mentioned last year that government leaders should take citizen’s curse as a form of blessing and should not always think they are right. Although a bit extreme, there is certainly an underlying truth in his statements.

But if our government wants to be blind to such issues, then I have nothing to say except to be resigned to my fate and more citizens will suffer.

I just hope that our government will seriously consider this reality and put forth sincere efforts to resolve this crucial problem.

Hence, may I borrow a sentence from our ruling party MP who denies any climate of fear here: ‘Get real, this is Singapore’, precisely, lets get real and face the real truth behind all the glittery lights

Is this a tragedy that must continue forever till the day we die?

NON-SCHOLAR ORDINARY FOLK

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 10 Aug 2005 9:22 pm

60 minutes,

I've already posted my thoughts on you identical post on the Angry Board.

sms

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Postby dot dot dot » Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:02 pm

Although I am not a patriot, not in Singapore (I am 'just' a PR here), not back in The Netherlands (why would I...?), I somehow feel that 60 minutes is the sour one here at NDP. I saw only happy faces.... Maybe it is time for me to think about specs, 'cause I couldnot find the imgaes being described by 60 minutes. Sorry...

The heaven of unemployment described by 60 minutes is a fake image, it is not real. My homecounrty The Netherlands is a country with one of the worlds best welfare systems, if not the best.
In general it means if you have worked for 6 months or longer, you build up rights to enjoy social insurances as they are called. When getting fired or being let go (not if you are to be blamed for losing your job), you will enjoy unemployment benefit , roughly being 70% of your latest salary (not in all cases, there's limits to it, if your income exceeds a certain amount of money).

What is the result nowadays? With a declining economy, more and more people claim the unemployment benefits, less people (working) have to cough up the premiums for more people (unemployed), the mentality is very strong towards "I just hold up my hand for a while, I am being taken care of", it attracts 'refugees' from poor countries around the world, or in short said: It is no longer affordable and it gives the wrong message.

I am not saying it is heaven here, but if you are willing to work hard, if you are an entrepeneur, this country Singapore is much much better organised.

Be aware, the unemployment benefit comes from tax money, in Holland it means you pay up to 65% (between 38%-65%) of your gross income on income tax..... Someone has to pay your unemployment at the end of the day...

I far more prefer a private system, that provides you with an private insurance for unemployment, one that you can customize to your own preferences and situation.

Seems to me that 60 minutes needs some reality check on Singapore and on living abroad, as his views on countries like France or others are best to be described as "the grass is always greener on the other side".

Eric

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 10 Aug 2005 11:04 pm

Thanks Eric for that run-down. I couldn't agree more. The economics just doesn't add up in welfare states. The US government has recently admitted that there is no way they are going to be able to honour their huge debt as a result of their welfare policies, amongst others. The tax burden on the next generation is going to be no laughing matter. I'm glad that here in Singapore I don't have to pay taxes that go to undeserving bums.

And SMS, what Angry Board? I looked but couldn't find it. Could you re-post your comments here if you don't mind?

60 Minutes,

As a Singaporean myself, I wish that we would stop expecting the government to nanny everybody. They don't owe us a living. Nobody does. Their job is to provide the safest, fairest, free-est environment for us to go out there and get what we want for ourselves. To paraphrase the US constitution: to protect life and liberty so that we are free to pursue happiness. That I believe they have achieved, all things considered.

I cannot tell you what to think. But I will tell you what I think. I think that if you cannot survive and be happy in this sheltered environment that is Singapore, you will not survive and be happy anywhere else. And until Singaporeans as a whole can have a little backbone and learn to fend for ourselves instead of looking towards the government for everything, we will never be respected. Not by our own government, not by our foreign friends, and not by ourselves.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 9:53 am

WIMH,

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to sympathise with the OP (not necessarily totally agreeing with him however). I also give him credit for pouring out his feelings (if he is in fact a Singaporean, he is one of few that are saying what the 'actually' feel rather than spouting the party line). On the other hand it may be a cut & paste job or a sendup by an agitator.

My feelings are somewhat in the middle as I just finished doing 15 months of unemployment because I am 58 and was retrenched when I was 56 (while I am an American, I am a PR and gave up expat contracts about 15 years ago. I was working for a small family owned local company where I was the only non-singaporean in the entire group of companies (3 companies). I've just gone back to work for less than 1/2 my former salary just to slow down the bleeding as it were. (and you though I didn't like Singapore? Still here after being unemployed that long! :mrgreen: )

The problem I see is that Singapore is caught in the middle and it's the local heartland population that is suffering, mostly in silence. Most asians were brought up to believe and strive for the iron ricebowl. Now, this little backwater of 40 years ago got a new leader who was educated in the West and brought back visions of grandeur of what could be accomplished. He tried to bring back only those ideals that would create an influx of wealth into his country. He brought in outside help from the UK, US, and Israel to build his country and his military. He adopted western management techniques and stratagies. One of these stratagies was to run lean companies to maximise the ability to shift directions in a hurry. Unfortunately, this has now relegated the heartlander to being a piece of equipment and no longer a human being (the catchphrase now that I hate as a recruiter 'Human Capital'. Now when a piece of equipment gets old and it cannot produce without a little extra maintenance, it is tossed aside. The fact that those machines have little machines to nurture is no longer material to the big machines owner(employer).

Agreed, the welfare state is not the answer either, as Eric has so aptly shown. There, however, has to be some kind of safety net as you go about making people redundant without hope. The so-called retraining is fine, but guess what, until you change the employers mindset, all the retraining in the world is not going to make the employer hire a 56 year old person. Now, I could take that even farther if I wanted when it comes to the minorities, but I believe Lim Boon Heng(?) said it last week already regarding the minority job seekers and the employers current hiring practices.

So, yes, I feel that the OP has some valid points.

sms

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Postby Global Citizen » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 10:39 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:


Agreed, the welfare state is not the answer either, as Eric has so aptly shown. There, however, has to be some kind of safety net as you go about making people redundant without hope. The so-called retraining is fine, but guess what, until you change the employers mindset, all the retraining in the world is not going to make the employer hire a 56 year old person. Now, I could take that even farther if I wanted when it comes to the minorities, but I believe Lim Boon Heng(?) said it last week already regarding the minority job seekers and the employers current hiring practices.

So, yes, I feel that the OP has some valid points.

sms



Am in total agreement with the points here. Some of the so called brilliant "experiments" are in hindsight not so brilliant after all.

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Postby dot dot dot » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 12:39 pm

I remember my professor in university back in Holland told us one day: The level of civilisation of a country is to be measured by the level of caretaking of the weakest in society (or alike, he said it in Dutch...).

Of course this guy was socialist, but it does make sense in a way. I agree with sms that there should be a net, for those who can for whatever reason not actively take part in labour / working.

That is why I mentioned the private insurance policy. This would provide those who choose to protect themselves for rainy days a decent unemployment benefit.

The most important 'protection' from unemployment though is a government that enables economic growth, creates tools for job growth, takes care of a healthy economical climate, ensures political and economical stability and thus provides the best one can have: a job to earn a living. Not in the socialist way of creating jobs in state owned companies, bureaucracy or alike, but in the way this government in Singapore does it: To me Singapore is ruled like a MNC, PM Lee being the CEO and the government being the board of directors.

Singapore is the best example of a lean and mean competitive 'company country', always on the edge, always ready to adjust strategy or tactics.

This is my opinion is the best strategy for prosperity and for sustainable growth.

On a lower level it is important indeed that employers and recruiters play the game alike and give each an opportunity to show its creativity and ability to take part and support the growth. A ministry of Manpower can lead this, but in a balanced way, as it is a free market and recruiters and employers should know best what they need.

I think most of the pain being felt by those who get unemployed nowadays is on this level of recruitment, as sms described as well: employers are not that keen to hire a 56 year old with most likely a higher paycheck. On the other hand, a 56 year old with a good record brings in a huge amount of experience; a good employer would always look at what it can bring, not concentrate so much on what it costs. And there I find "the Singaporean entrepeneur / employer" lacking in a lot of cases: merely focussed on costs, not so much on potential revenue or earnings.

Costefficiency is important, but only to a certain extent.

Being lean and mean in my opinion means you can adjust strategy and resources, be flexible. But with the right people on board, who bring in more than they cost, however much that is.

Eric

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 1:22 pm

SMS, I think anyone has a right to their feelings and to express or vent them on this board. I also think that there are some feelings that won't get us anywhere. The guest has a perfect right to feel the way he does, I just happen to think that thinking like that is not the way to get what he wants.

Eric, I agree there has to be a safety net. This exists in Singapore, in the form of the various charities and government subsidies. No one in Singapore dies of hunger or sleeps in the park, unlike in many other countries. I have a friend who cannot hold down a job for mental reasons, and she gets a decent income from charities, plus was granted really cheap rental of a HDB flat upon special request.

I'm not saying the government is perfect. Far from it. I used to work in the civil service and saw what goes on from the inside. I do however, agree with the general approach that it is far more constructive to suggest workable alternatives than to simply gripe about what's wrong.

Not to be unsympathetic or anything, but I would never expect anyone to pay me more than what I was worth to the company's bottomline, no matter how old I was or how much experience I have. And if I really thought I was not valued enough, I would strike out on my own and prove myself in the marketplace, which I have done.

I guess it's a matter of personal values. I'm one of those who do not expect or want charity from anyone, who believes that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. I have little patience for a dependency attitude, but then that's just me :D

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Postby dot dot dot » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 2:17 pm

Wind in my hair,

I feel the same wind blowing through both our hair... :wink:

Eric

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Postby seraphim » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 6:26 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:I cannot tell you what to think. But I will tell you what I think. I think that if you cannot survive and be happy in this sheltered environment that is Singapore, you will not survive and be happy anywhere else. And until Singaporeans as a whole can have a little backbone and learn to fend for ourselves instead of looking towards the government for everything, we will never be respected. Not by our own government, not by our foreign friends, and not by ourselves.


You hit the nail right on the head there, Wind.

Too many people look to the government for direction and support in almost every aspect of their lives here. 'Self-sustenance' to many merely means earning wages to pay for personal expenses. Not quite the definition that I'm aware of......
And the sultans - yeah the sultans
they play creole...Creole, baby

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 9:00 pm

WIMH,

I guess it all depends on your age and what your have been through during your lifetime. Yes, agreed there should not be any free rides. But, try paying taxes to your country for 35 years and then because of the employer attitudes currently in the market place you rapidly watch what you took a lifetime to build disappear overnight. It's nice to be able to stand on the side and quote platitudes about starting your own company, etc. but that doesn't help the average middleaged man on the street does it? If life was that simple then why is the Government giving classes trying to teach something that is not teachable (Entrepreneurship) or striking out on your own as you put it. Nobody is looking for a handout but using your guidelines, a man has to get all the way down to destitute before he can expect any support from the government? He's not even allowed to access his own money in CPF because the government thinks the people here are too stupid to handle there own money (I'll have too agree somewhat however). But to tell a man to wait until your destitute or earning less than 1000 per month, because you can't have your retirement money is a bit silly. They would rather see him jump off the 14th story of his HDB block instead.

As far as the OP getting what he wants, the government will never change unless people get the backbone to say exactly what they feel. To many, in fact most, spout the party line only because they wonder if big brother is really watching. Do all those cameras on the highway, buildings, mrts, and soon your friendly neighborhood void decks and elevators only look for speeders, pee'ers, etc. or are they all connected to a big control panel in an underground bunker underneath Kent Ridge? The OP has simply stated how he feels. If enough people start telling it like it is the maybe those who actually do the thinking will come up with some viable alternatives, such as Eric did in his earlier post. Who know, maybe singapore has screwed it's own future in it's haste to attract MNC's to it's shores with low tax rates. Now the country doesn't have any room to manoeuvre.

But, one thing I do know is I don't have the answer. Oh, and an ad lib....'Not to be unsympathetic or anything, but I would never expect anyone to pay me more than what I was worth to the company's bottomline, no matter how old I was or how much experience I have" agreed, but you have to get an interview first! Having worked in HR/Recruitment for 10 years the first thing the Hiring Manager looks at is age, then race, then education, and only if those match do they get down to experience. Been there, done that, here!

anyway, cool runnings.....:mrgreen:

sms

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 11 Aug 2005 10:05 pm

Eric and seraphim, thanks.

SMS, you are right that we are looking at this issue from different vantage points - age, perhaps, is a key difference. In the last decade or two, while many people weren't looking, this world became a different place. The carpet was pulled from under a lot of people's feet. I can understand why you feel the way you do. I guess my current world view has been shaped to a large degree by what I've seen your generation go through. Anyway, count your blessings too. Not many people have a 100 acre waterfront property to retire to!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 12 Aug 2005 12:20 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:Not many people have a 100 acre waterfront property to retire to!


If I didn't already have my retirement in place I'd have probably jumped long ago. It's that one fact that makes me able to sustain. The problem is I can't retire until two things happen..My son finishes NS and my MiL passes on.

sms
actually it's 100 hectare not acre! :?

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Postby Guest » Fri, 12 Aug 2005 12:23 pm

Thursday August 11, 4:50 PM

Riot police break up demonstration of four people in Singapopre

Riot police broke up a rare demonstration by four people demanding greater transparency and accountability in Singapore's state-managed pension fund and other government-linked agencies.

A dozen anti-riot police wearing helmets and knee-high protective gear and carrying shields and batons formed a phalanx outside the offices of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) as a commanding officer approached the demonstrators.

"You are committing an offence of public nuisance. If you don't disperse you will be arrested," the officer told the protesters as business people and employees watched in the central business district.

The four protesters, among them an office administrator and the sister of an opposition leader, Chee Soon Juan, voluntarily dispersed. They denied being part of any political group.

Police later asked them to hand over their protest materials -- T-shirts and placards -- as part of an investigation to determine whether they had violated any laws.

The two men and two women assembled at lunchtime outside the CPF building in the business district. They said they did not need a permit and staged their protest for about an hour.

Under the law, any public protest of at least five people without a police permit is deemed illegal. The protest took place as Singapore was in the midst of official celebrations of its 40th anniversary of independence.

The protesters hoisted placards calling for greater openness in how the government handles public funds used for retirement pensions, overseas investments and the building of subsidized high-rise apartments.

A police officer said they had received a telephone call from a "member of the public" about the protest, prompting them to send in the riot police.

Monica Kumar, 45, one of the protesters, said they had been insipired by public outrage that followed revelations last month that the chief executive of Singapore's biggest charity, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), was being paid 350,000 US dollars annually.

The scandal sparked an online petition signed by more than 40,000 people and forced the NKF chief executive, T.T. Durai, and the entire board to resign.

"In reality, the NKF is reflective of the entire system in Singapore where public matters are run in a non-transparent and non-accountable manner," the protesters said in a statement.

The statement called on the Housing Development Board and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) to open their books for public scrutiny.

GIC manages more than 100 billion US dollars in funds and invests globally.

"We call on the government to make Singapore more transparent and accountable, starting with the state organisations mentioned above," the protesters said.


WIMH, this is why the man in the street is scared. They sent out Riot Police for four people (2 men & 2 women). And the government wants the people to speak up? 4 people consitute a Riot? :mrgreen:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 12 Aug 2005 12:26 pm

Dat was me.


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