Monday, February 21, 2011

How our govt skewed the statistic

This is just one example how our govt skewed statistic - change the reference parameters.

Mr Leong Sze Hian has pointed out that our govt has recently change the data definition and thereby resulting in better numbers. A paragraph taken from his article :

In this connection, last year’s resident full-time and part-time workers’ real income increased by 1.3 and 10 per cent respectively. But these figures may look better because of the change in definition in 2009 to classify part-time workers as those working less than 35 hours a week, instead of 30 hours previously. This may make the part-timers’ income higher because those previously working more than 30 hours may boost up their overall earnings, and full-timers income may also look higher because those working less than 35 hours would no longer be in their category. In other words, the presumably bottom rung of full-timers were moved to become presumably the top rung of part-timers

Budget 2011 – Effective ?

Our govt is still taking the same old path and patching up pot holes as and when they appeared. In other words, the budget is not addressing the problems facing S’pore adequately. It failed to address the one of the key issues, which is the large influx of foreign workers which has impacted HDB / property prices, wages, availability of hospital beds, public transport... Thus, their patch work will not work but will just temporary ‘relieve’ the problem.

Work Levy
The increase in foreign workers levy will not curtail the demand for foreign workers. It will only fatten the govt revenue and this is the reason they continue to open the flood gate to foreign workers.

What will happen is employers will reduce benefit, cut wages or pass on the cost. S'pore workers will suffer too even if they are able to get the job as their wages will be further suppressed due to competition from foreign workers. Without minimum wage to protect local low income workers, all these patch work schemes will not work.

HDB Grant
The 40K grant looks good on paper only. It is unlikely to benefit the target recipient of lower income earning $1.5k. This is because their earning is too low to enable them to buy a flat in the first place. The price of flat has increase do much that it is basically out of reach for them. With a family to support, they will be heavily burden servicing their housing loan. Even if they are able to keep their job for the next 30 years, they will end up with no retirement fund. The govt is not addressing the problem which they know existed. Most S'porean do NOT have enough fund for their retirement. Are their policies sound ? Why are they still continuing with this 'explosive littered' path ?

We know older workers have reduced CPF rate. Thus the 'rebate' to employers, which is meant to encourage them to retain / employ older workers is negligible.

As there is no CPF contribution to foreign workers, there will be more saving for employers to use them instead of locals.

The CPF top up scheme for self employed as it so ridiculous. Those who are eligible in the low income group has to top up their CPF in order to receive the govt top-up which is mainly paid into their medisave a/c.

Folks are struggling to make ends meet and have to come up with money. Then the Since most of the govt top up is into the medisave a/c, how can this help them in coping with daily expenses ? Most may rather forego the govt top-up since they may not have the extra cash to top up their CPF a/c in the 1st place !

A total of S$90 million, BUT read on - only $300 per year. This work out to $25 a month ! With inflation, how much can $25 help ? Besides, if my understanding is correct, seems like the family has to top up their child Children Development Account in order to receive the govt 'grant'. All our govt schemes ask citizens to come up with cash out front before giving them 'peanuts'. If folks are struggling to make end meet, they are better off without the 'grant' which basically suck their money first. Is our govt sincere in giving help to the lower income with so much conditions attached ?

These temporary measures they have been implementing over the years do NOT solve the root problem. If they do not WAKE up soon, the problem will balloon till it burst and the social cost will be very high.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Deterioration of Bus Service

First we have bus drivers who speak only Mandarin and nothing else. Then they took the wrong route. These are as a result of them being 'foreign' to our local scene. Now lately, looks like inconsiderate driving is becoming the norm rather than exception.

On 15/2/11, I boarded bus service number 12 (SBS8295P) and soon find I am in for ‘rough ride’. Every time the bus stopped, commuters are jerked forward and back. As the bus was crowded, those standing had to brace themselves to prevent falling.

The driver also committed a traffic offense during the journey. He let a passenger alight near the traffic junction between East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road when he realised he missed stopping at the bus stop. By doing so, he was putting the passenger at risk, as she could be knocked down by oncoming motorcycle which normally travels on the inner lane.

They do not seem to be concerned that their inconsiderate driving habit is posing a safety risk to commuters. It would do well for bus service providers to constantly remind their drivers that they are serving the public. Public safety and comfort could be compromised by their inconsiderate driving habit. Besides, they should at least take in drivers who can understand and converse in English at the basic level.

Gone are the good old days of local drivers who can understand and converse in more than 1 language and even speak dialects.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Town Council & HDB - 'Grand Master of Taiji'

This is an extract from Todayonline - Voices : A friend who volunteers to assist her town council in resolving complaints about cats was recently asked to ''remove'' a cat..

What happen is Town Council and HBD have for years been the Grand Master of Taiji - they have washed their hands clean from issues relating to cat in HDB. They rely on animal welfare groups to mediate and resolve the issue with resident who has issue with cat in HDB. They just want to be the 'good guy'.

The problem with abandon cats in HDB and irresponsible pet ownership lies with HDB outdated policy of not allowing residents to keep cat. So there is no guidelines on it and cats do not need to be microchip as 'officially' they are not allow in HDB.

Lost cats cannot be traced and owners who abandon their cats, also cannot be traced. SPCA has a low adoption rate for abandon cats since majority of the population live in HDB. Besides, most animals taken in by SPCA are put down and only about 10% are adopted. So folks who do not want to live with the guilt of their pet being put down, start dumping them at HDB void decks. Another reason could be it is more convenient than making a trip to SPCA.

More prominent group like SPCA is sticking to their old routine of accepting abandon animals but not addressing the root cause of the problem. They should spend more time petitioning to HDB and gathering ground support to push for change.

What we can do as individual, besides voicing our displeasure with HDB - is to be proactive. There are always some inconsiderate animal care givers. If I see them in the act, I will talk to them politely. Normally they response positively. If I see food remains at void deck - I clear them up. Our little act can help minimise complaints.

S'pore is becoming so sterile with our obsession with cleanliness. Compassion and tolerant can help us adopt the attitude of 'Live and let live'.

Deadly Mistake

Recently there is an article in Todayonline - Voices, about cats in HDB. Under the feedback section, a reader responded and said authority should do something as cats carried deadly virus and spread SARS. many years have gone by since SARS and still folks are carrying the misconception with them. Cats do NOT carry the virus nor spread SARS. This 'folklore' is the result of AVA culling strays irresponsibly during that period. Though AVA is supposed to be the expert in animals, they did not have the guts to rebuke the govt (in particular the ignorant Minister who gave the order). They just went around exterminating all the strays inhumanly. Now you know why we called them civil 'servants',- they obey orders 'blindly'.

Our govt is ignorant and they do make DEADLY mistake. The worst is that they never admit their wrong doing and just let this 'myth' continues.

I think one of the reasons folks remember the incident is because our govt scared the shit out of everyone by implying cats which are commonly found in HDB carry the SARS virus. This is inspite of animal welfare groups like SPCA, Cat Welfare Society meeting them to clarify the issue. Is this an act of a responsible govt ?

So let us remember that our govt do made mistakes - often costly and at time deadly too. Their high handed way of dealing with issues is frightening. The incident clearly shows they lack compassion. So is it surprising we have laws that can detain folks without trail and lock them up for decades ?