Friday, August 23, 2013

Our CPF savings being robbed

There are many CPF members who are unable to meet the minimum sum required when they reached 55. This means that the whole purpose of CPF scheme, which is force saving so that we can retire in peace has failed.  This is because over the years after CPF implementation, our govt has been coming out with all sort of schemes which dry up our CPF.

For example, a large chunk of CPF saving is used to pay for our govt build overprice HDB flats. The price has gone ups so much that they come up with more and more 'subsidy' schemes to 'ensure affordability'. As a lay person, we can see how ridiculous it is. When greed blinds the eyes, those implementing the schemes failed to see that they are the source of the problem. All they are interested in is in racking in more money.

Our healthcare cost  has also been rocketing. Though the govt provides 'subsidy', we the patients still bear the bulk of the cost. Their so call subsidy can never catch up the rocketing medical bill. Thus, the minimum sum required for CPF Medisave has been increasing yearly. Medisave is another force saving scheme to lock up our retirement money to meet healthcare needs.  But the rules are so strict, most of our medical cost are settle by cash instead.  Meantime, our Medisave account is being depleted by Medishield insurance premium.

Medishield is another white elephant scheme. Its deductible is so high that most of the time, we are using our own money (either cash or Medisave) to foot our bill. The worrying part is that its premium is elastic. Every once a while, our govt will use the excuse of 'enhancing' the scheme to increase the premium. The deductible will be increased at the same time. This ensures we are kept out of whatever 'enhancement' there is, since we never get to claim in the first place.

Both Medisave and Medishield are so flawed that the elderly medical needs are not meet. So CPF came up with more schemes to  con 'help' our seniors. Thus, we have the Eldershield. After sucking more money from our Medisave a/c, they annoucement it is insufficient coverage. So we have to 'top up' the premium to upgrade our Eldershield coverage. But they realised again the scheme needs more enhancement - next came Eldershield Care. After all the upgrade and enhancement, they recently acknowledged that the coverage is still insufficient. In order to qualify to claim for Eldershield - one has to be unable to do 3 normal daily activities. Being so severely handicap it is a wonder how the $300 to $800 per month under the various Eldershield schemes can help. There are so many white elephants which deplete our CPF without meeting our healthcare needs.

Now as the various CPF con schemes are getting so numerous and confusing, they decided revamp Medishield into Medishield Life.  This is a master stroke by the govt to lock up forever whatever money we have in CPF. They can con + rob us of more money at the same time by increasing the minimum sum in Medisave plus the premium in Medishield Life at the same time.

In Summary - these are the various ways the govt rob us till we have no money for retirement inspite of saving throughout our working life of around 4 decades:

1) CPF Ordinary Account almost suck dry by overprice HDB flat
2) Medisave depleted by high medical bill and continuous inflating Medishield premium. A sizable portion also eaten up by Eldershield and Eldershield Care. With Medishield Life - the final stoke to eat up our remaining savings in Medisave.
3) Normal medical expenses is by cash as we are unable to use Medisave most of the time
4) High hospitalisation bill is settle by cash or Medisave as unable to claim Medishield due to high deductible.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Medishield Life = Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

It is bad news when PM announced that Medishield will be turned into Medishield Life. The scheme has to break even and it is compulsory for all. Those who do not have Medishield coverage and those who could not afford Medishield will all be opted in.  Premium will go up, but details not work out yet!  It will cover pre-existing illness and for life - which means we pay till we die!

Such a scheme is equivalent to robbing Peter to pay Paul. The worst part is Peter (us) is robbed not once, but for a life time with increasing amount.  Paul has unfavorable conditions which is costly to insure.

 For those of us self-employed with no CPF contribution from employers, this is terrible. As it is, the existing premium is unpredictable and increases whenever the govt fancy. The deductible is getting higher and higher with passing years.  Many of us have to pay for our elderly parents Medishield too. The premiums for the elderly is a Nuclear Bomb because it exploded with violent with age.

The payout from Medishield is less than premium collected (no surprise since the deducted is sky high). We also know that the miserable amount budgeted for Medifund (for those who cannot pay the high medical cost) is never used up and the remainder returned to the govt reserve. These show how insincere the govt is in helping the poor and reducing healthcare cost for the masses.

As with so many govt schemes, Medishield Life looks good on paper only - being touted as affordable healthcare and giving everyone a piece of mind. In fact, I have nightmare the very night PM made the announcement.

The truth be told, this new scheme is another heavy stone tie to our feet drowning us with ever increasing healthcare cost.

Being healthy does not help as our savings in CPF medisave is continuously depleted by Medishield premium for ourselves and our parents.

The govt should control healthcare cost and stop brain washing us with the word 'affordability' and come up with more and more CPF con schemes. We have seen what they meant by affordability with HDB flats costing 0.5 to 1 million.

Since the current Medishield scheme is making a tidy sum for the govt and there is used Medifund - they should use these to support Paul and stop robbing Peter.  Besides, the GST and casino levy are suppose to help the disadvantage. It is time they tap into these instead of dipping their hands into our CPF savings again.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cruel Tradition Should Be Discontinued

The Andean Condor is a majestic bird of prey with a 2 meter wing span. Its population is on the declined like all other threatened species due to human urbanisation.

It is disheartening and sad to learn that they are captured annually for summer celebration in Peru.  The name of the festival is Yawar Fiesta which means Blood Festival. These birds with sharp beaks and claws are tied to the back of bulls and released into the arena packed with thousands of spectators. The bulls will be charging away in fright with the condor lashing out at them and pecking at their eyes.

This is a very cruel practice. We have 2 species of animals suffering for human entertainment. To add to the 'fun', drunken bullfighters are also in the arena to torture the bulls.

Such cruelty cannot be justify with the label 'tradition'. It is inhuman to inflict pain and agony on animals.

I don't give a damn to the historical meaning behind it. Those who 'invented' the practice are dead and gone but generations of condors and bulls are suffering since 1824!  It is said that the condor represents the indigenous people while the bull their Spanish conquerors.  So we have the condor riding the bull and having the 'upper hand'.  The condor though terrified out of its wits, is considered 'sacred' and will be released at the end of the festival (if they survival the ordeal!)

Those bulls will be dead meat by then.  This inhuman tradition and also that of the Spanish Bullfighting should be discontinued.  When there are TV coverage of bullfighting, my heart goes out to the poor bull. It is pierced again and again until its back is like a porcupine, with lances and spears sticking out all over it. Those spears have barbs. It has to suffered a prolong painful death. 

I recalled reading there is another cruel tradition where a live lamb/sheep is brought up to a tower and throw down in the name of  'tradition'.  It is horrifying to read about all these senseless practices. The frightening thing is there are so many blind followers of traditional who continue with them. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On Productivity and Car Wash

We do not need those govt survey to tell us what we know and can see with our own eyes. Productivity in S'pore has been going down the drain in the past 2 decades.

Take car wash for example. During the 1980s-1990s, most of the petrol stations automated their car wash process.  Some even boost of having the longest car wash lane. It was operated by 2 staff - to ensure the operation ran smoothly and to dry the car (the washed car was air dry, but another round of drying was done manually).

Since the influx of cheap labour, car wash is done manually at petrol stations. It is operated by 5 to 6 workers.  So the work force has gone up around 200% !  The excuse the govt gives for the large influx foreign workers is always we need workers to do the work S'poreans do not want.  But there are many work processes that can be automated  Even those like car wash which has been automated was not maintained because of cheap labour. Cheap labour is an additive drug that is ruining S'pore, beside causing social issues due over crowding of the small city state.

The govt keeps reinforcing the wrong value which discourages our youth to take up blue collar jobs. If the job is demanding and 'undesirable' - it should command better paid. Unfortunately it is not so and these workers are paid dirt. Both locals and foreigners workers are at the losing end of these flawed govt policies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Work Schedule for PM

Some tongue in the cheek suggestions for our PM to get to know the REAL S'pore and learn the HARD truth on the ground by our bloggers.

Suggestion 1 - Work Schedule

Day 1. Drive a taxi to experience life as a taxi driver.
Day 2. Join the old folks to pick cardboard and clean tables in Chinatown.
Day 3. Try taking buses and MRT to work and home, to know our public transport system.
Day 4. Go to a polyclinic because of muscle aches from days 1 to 3 activities. That will take up the entire day.
Day 5. Go to Sengkang Square Kopitiam for breakfast. No need for body guards because there is nobody there.
Day 6. Sweep HDB flat corridoors and chit-chat with residents. Clear rubbish bins and sweep leaves. Salary : $20/day.
Day 7. Go to TTSH and get himself warded. Try applying for financial assistance. (Must have your extended family’s incomes on hand). It can be very boring in hospital. Do some past years’ PSLE papers

Suggestion 2 - Improvement to Work Schedule

Since PM has an occupied week and has no time to fix the opposition, he should learn more while at it.

Day 1. While driving a taxi, try to earn $280/day ($7000/month).
Day 3. Wake up early and tap out before 7:45am for a free ride in MRT.
Day 4. In the polyclinic, check how many foreign medical staff are there. Also test the doctor to see if he/she can speak dialect. (communication problem of our elderly when seeking medical attention)
Day 5. At Sengkang hawker center, check if there is mee siam mai hum.
Day 7. Find out how KBW is able to have a heart operation for $8 and let us know. At the same time see if nursing is low skill job as stated in the Population White Paper.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Conjuring

This movie is hair rising scary.  I don't really like 'ghost movies' as most of them are silly and unbelievable. The current movie - The Conjuring which is based on a true story with good review and does not disappoint.

There are only 2 other supernatural movies that scare the hell out of me -  The Poitergeist and The Ring (original Japanese version) as they are more realist and involve things which we can identify with.

The Conjuring is about the Perron family of 7 moving into their new home in 1971. It was an old country house. The couple with their 5 daughters have it bad from the 1st day. Things spiral down and got worst after that. Their dog refused to enter the house and was left in the lawn. It was found dead the next day. Birds started to bang into window panels and dropped dead.

Mrs Perron found she had big patch of bruise on her and new bruises appeared everyday. Things got eerie at night. One of her daughters felt her legs being pulled while in bed. Another began to sleep walk. The youngest child started to communicate with a 'new' friend which only she could see.

Strange noise which started of as light tapping became loud pounding sound. These are the milder creepy incidents from film beginning. It got very frightening after that.  The mother was possess and wanted to kill her own children.

The tormented family sought the help of supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed approached every case from a scientific point of view. He depends on his wife who has a special gift - ability to sense the supernatural, to let him know if the case involves evil spirit.

Try to catch it to get your heart pumping.

Friday, August 9, 2013

On leadership

It is said that sage like Lao Zi And Zhuang Zi endorsed 'invisible' leadership - that is leadership through facilitation.

Unfortunately, we the citizens in Singapore have never enjoyed such leadership under PAP governance for close to 5 decades. It is always force top down with plenty of interference and control into private lives of citizens (such as how many children we should have). We do not even have control over our finances as the govt locks up our saving in CPF and dictates when, what and how we use our money.

A quotation from "A Victor's Reflections" by Michael C Tang :

The worst is the one despised by the people
The third best is the one feared by the people
The second best is the one praised by the people
The best government does not make its presence felt.

The leadership we have today belongs to the 1st category - despised by citizens. Our ministers need to be paid handsomely for doing not much, in order not to be corrupt.  It used to be the 2nd category - feared by the people under our first PM.

Looks like they are getting from bad to worst in recent years.