Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dependants under Non-Residents

It is reported that S'pore population growth has 'slowed'. We are currently at 5.4 million, out of which 1.55 million are non-residents. It is also reported that our aging population is a great concern and figures were cited how the ratio of working adult supporting non-working elderly is declining.

It is noted that in the statistic given regarding non-residents, the 2nd largest percentage is from 'dependents' group.  They are dependents of citizens, PRs, and work permit holders. Understandable the largest percentage goes to Work Permit holders which accounts for 46%.

Dependents would include children and parents, but I am not sure what other family relationship they allow in under long term visitor pass which could be easily renewed (sibling, in-law, grandparent ??). The statistic did not tell us what percentage is inactive retired seniors. But from daily observation, they are a common sight in parks for their morning exercise.

Dependents make up 15% which is higher than 13% of domestic workers. Is this not a concern ? Dependents are economically non active and they would contribute negatively to the working adult to elderly support ratio. Does it make sense to have 1 new citizen or PR....etc bringing in 2 retired elderly parents?  If they are allowed to apply for long term visitor pass for other relations, this is even worst. How does this aggressive intake of foreigners help in boosting our fertility rate, when there is a big question mark if they will  have children or if their children will remain in S'pore.

But what is done deal is that it will definitely increase our aging population.  It would seems like S'pore is supporting the elderly of other countries by taking them in.  Is this not an irony ?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Affordable + Promise

They have not work out the details and yet our govt has been running propaganda over the TV aggressively.  They are telling us Medishield Life would be 'affordable' and how 'good' the policy is. When they start giving promise without details - it is very worrying.

We have experienced promise which either never materialized or headed in the opposite direction. We have seen how when it is clearly not affordable (HDB flat), they would get their minister in charge to try to brain wash us with skewed statistics and numbers.

How can it be affordable when existing scheme under CPF Medishield is not once you cross over to the senior citizen group? Currently they don't even cover pre-existing illness and also not till you die. The new scheme covers everything under the sun, which private insurance scheme dare not even touch.  How then can the premium be affordable ?

Since it is for life - does it mean from birth ? If so, parents have to start footing the Mediashield Life premium till the child grows up and take over ? We know how stingy our govt is towards us, so if those elderly who have children though they are struggling to make ends meet, do they need to forgo food just to pay up the premium ?

Pity the person if he/she is the sole breadwinner for the family.  Besides footing his/her own premium, there are those of spouse, parents, children and even in-laws to pay up in the worst case scenario.  

The current deductible is high, so likely Medishield Life deductible will be even higher.  Since all our hospitals are privatized, it is likely they will take this opportunity to profit from the new policy. Medical cost can only go up.

Our govt is very good at paper exercise. When it comes to actual policy and implementation, things often turn out bad for us at the receiving end.  We can say bye to our Medisave saving that is for sure. It will be suck dry by Medishield Life.  For low wage earners, if they have no cash to meet immediate medical cost, they will not be able to tap on their Medisave account in future. It is surely a bright future for those in the money lending industry.


I have visited another soy sauce factory before, but it did not leave an impression on me.
I was pleasantly surprise how systematic and well run Kikkoman soy sauce factory is. Kikkoman has factories in many countries - in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, US and NZ.

Those of you who have bought sushi would have noticed that the little packet of soy sauce they used is normally from kikkoman.

Its history dated back to over 300 years ago in Noda, Japan. The factory in S'pore is established in 1984. It is able to churn out 13 thousand kilolitres of sauce per year. It produces other types of sauce such as teriyaki, those for sashimi and sushi....

Kikkoman uses top grade soy bean and wheat (other manufacturers may not include wheat in their process). Even the salt is sea salt. Their secret is their proprietary micro-organism used in the fermentation process. It takes at least 6 months to produce a bottle of soy sauce due to the fermentation process.

The manufacturing process :
- The wheat and soy beans are mixed and given heat treatment.
- Fermentation micro-organisms are then added to form the Koji culturing.
- Salt and water are added to Koji to form Moromi mash which is left to ferment for 6 months. 
- The matured mash is pressed to extract raw soy sauce which is then heated.
(the pressed cake is sold as animal feed to farms in S'pore and Malaysia)
- The refined soy sauce is send for laboratory testing.
- It is then pasteurized before bottling.

The factory hygiene, safety and quality control process are faultless. What a contrast to the 1st soy sauce factory I visited. Think I will switch to using kikkoman sauces after this.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi

Ms Aung is here only for a few days and she can see what S'pore really is, which PM and his daddy could not.  Ms Aung has said that : her country should not seek to recreate S'pore's policies and institutions. 

Here we have an honest truth from a great political figure.  S'pore policies and institutions have always been praised sky high by PAP (nothing new as they loved to praise themselves) and other country leaders who wanted to be polite and 'politically correct' when visiting S'pore.

We can see a visionary leader in Ms Aung when she said, "That make me think..what is the purpose of a workforce...of work..of material wealth ? Is that the ultimate aim of human beings, is that what we all want ? In a sense, I want to probe more into successes of S'pore and to find out what we can achieve beyond that."

Ms Aung acknowledged that material achievement is necessary to a certain extent to enable us to be free from want.  However, there are many intangible things which material achievement could not provide -  love, loyalty and many things that helped us survive that had little to do with material achievement.  She summed up that S'pore could learn from Myanmar a more relaxed way of life, warmer and closer family relationships.

Ms Aung has shown what confident leadership is.  Our PM is sorely lacking in this aspect. He refrained from taking live questions from reporters when visiting overseas. Even in his home ground, he avoids live forum but prefers recorded questions of 'ask the PM'. He needs to filter the questions and have prepared answers before he appeared in the TV forum last night.

If foreign talent can be bought with money, which PM and his gang think so, then we should get Ms Aung to replace our PM.  But we know Ms Aung could never be bought with all the diamonds and gold in the world.  PM and his cabinet of ministers should have a lesson of integrity from Ms Aung, as they need to be paid handsomely to serve their country without corruption in mind.

LKY is nothing compare to other great leaders

He recently published another book about himself again. Sigh!

When it comes to writing autobiography and books about himself and his 'achievement', no other political leader can come a close 2nd to LKY.  He has churned out so many books about himself that it is an embarrassment to S'poreans that our 1st PM cannot see beyond his nose how insignificant he is in the world stage of great leaders.

LKY is nothing compare to great and selfless leaders like M.K. Gandhi (India) and Sun Yet Sen (China). Gandhi is a father figure to Indians. Dr Sun is the founding father of modern China.  Then we have closer to home and current political figure like Aung San Suu Kyi, who is addressed lovingly by Burma citizens as 'Mother'.  None of them have spent their life time writing book after book to glorify themselves as these humble and wise leaders were too busy serving their country and people.

Do we have any S'poreans calling LKY 'father" ? NO.  Do S'poreans think he is our founding father? NO again. But LKY will make sure his created history has it that he is father of S'pore.  We know the air in his head has infinite volume.

Here we have LKY, churning out 'tons' of books about himself.  Self praise is international disgrace indeed.  He is still clinging  on to power though physically weak and mentally slow.  Public fund is till used to pay for his handsome salary though he is hardly doing anything to serve the public. He is just busy getting his assistant to record down his personal history in another autobiography.

LKY can only be compared to the likes of political power crazy and self serving figures like Mao Zedong (China) and Kim Jong-il (North Korea). How he wishes he can brain wash all S'poreans like what Mao and Kim did to their citizens. LKY must have dreamed of having his big portrait hang all over the country and after his death to have his body preserved forever to glorify himself even after death.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

This book is a must read for those who love dogs.  It is a true story about Trixie, the author's family pet. Trixie was trained as a companion dog for disable, but due to an injury, she was retired early at 3 years of age.

Normally assistance dog which retired is handed over back to its puppy raiser, who is a volunteer who took over the pup from 8th week and teaches it basic commands for the next 16 months.  However, if the puppy raiser for some reason could not home the retired dog, the training center will have to find it an adoptive home.

Author Dean Koontz and his wife have been patrons of the training center for assistance dogs, thus they were offered Trixie for adoption.  It is a journey of discovery and joy for the couple when Trixie entered their lives. Trixie was an angle in the form of a golden retriever.

We get a information of how assistance dogs are trained to help different groups of folks :

- guide dogs for the visually handicap

- service dogs to help the paraplegics and quadriplegics

- skilled companions for autistic and cir du chat children

- hearing dogs for those who have hearing impairment

- facility dogs who visit rehabilitation centers, hospitals, nursing homes, classrooms for kids with developmental disorders

Selection of such dogs are very strict and those selected must have the talent, temperament and physical qualifications before they finally graduate as assistance dogs after 2 years of training. If the dog fails to make it, it is offered to the puppy raiser to home it.

Dean Koontz donates generously to the assistance dogs training center, CCI, for years before Trixie became part of his family. Royalty from those books based on Trixie goes to CCI to foot vet bills for assistance dogs whose disable owners could not afford the high expenses.

Dean Koontz is a prolific writer and a number of his books are made into movies. He writes many fictions, some in series such as Frankenstein (his interpretation of the man made monster) and Odd Thomas (who can see and help the dead).

Thus, buying is books for enjoyment is also doing a good deed in supporting the assistance dogs program.

It is a pity in Singapore, our disable friends have difficulty assessing the help of these dogs. To-date we only have 3 guide dogs. It is an expensive affair as the dog comes from Australia - the nearest training center. The disable person has to fly over to train with the dog. Then the dog and its center trainer have to be flown over to S'pore to assist the disable person to adjust for a period of time.

Why can't we set up such training center in S'pore ? After all we are the mother of all hubs. It will be good if we become the hub for assistance dogs provision in South East Asia

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Local Current Issue Programs

There are a number of TV programs focusing on current issues like :

-Talking Point - The Vote
-On The Red Dot
-It Figures

Just tonight we have Talking Point over CNA at 8pm discussing if enough has been done for the disable in our society. Then at 9pm over at Channel 5, On The Red Dot also covered disable issue. It is noted that a single topic will be cover by 2 or more programs over a short period of time.

This week we also have It Figures talking about how much it takes to bring up a child. Next week another program will discuss low fertility rate which is along similar line.

Sometimes it gets confusing as we thought we have watched the program before, but it is actually another program covering the same topic. Can't different programs cover different issues for the month?  After all, most of the issues discuss are not something new and neither will they be resolve any time soon.  Issues such as transport and housing woes, lack of infrastructure and social support for the disable, low fertility rate, high healthcare cost...etc.

Such programs will come in very handy as PAP propaganda tool when they wishes to brain wash us to accept their flaw policies. All they need to do is to invite 'politically correct' guests in their panel of discussion (such as Prof Eugene Tan).  So they can drum into us nightly or even twice a night, on how affordable or how good a certain policy is in helping us. It is so good that they make it compulsory to ensure all of us cannot escape. We have no choice but to pay for it dearly.   

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

96% are considerate bus commuters ?

Being a regular bus commuter, one of the unpleasantness is inconsiderate fellow bus commuters. The most irritating is unable to squeeze up the bus though there are plenty of standing room at the rear of the bus. The 2nd is having difficulty alighting from the bus due to folks blocking the exit.

Recently a new poster is put up in the buses which states that -  96% said they will move in to let others board the bus, and ask  'are you one of them ?'  Before this was a poster that encouraged commuters to give up seat to those who need them.  I have no issue with the 'older' poster, though it reveals the failure of decades of courtesy campaign.

The recent poster message is a blatant lie if they did not conduct any survey, which likely they did not. If they did, it only confirms how unreliable survey is as people say what is socially acceptable, but act in an entirely different manner in real life.

What happens on ground level is more of the reverse.  96% don't care what happen around them once they boarded the bus. They are absorbed in their handphones and other electronic gadgets, chatting with their friends if they are in a group.  They are unaware that other commuters are trying to board the bus or alight from it, while others are struggling to get pass them.

All these posters to teach and encourage folks to do the right thing such as giving up seat to the elderly, not behaving as if you are the only one in the bus - are so basic.  Why has folks become so self- center?

Business Central

The 9 o'clock evening news, Business Central at CNA used to have the newscaster, Mr Teymoor Nabili giving his take on the current issue during the last segment of the program.  His analytical comment is refreshing. However, this has been discontinued. Wonder why ? Was his comment too direct and therefore 'politically' sensitive ?

It is the last few minutes whereby Mr Nabili gave his views which made the news program stands out from the rest  of the news reporting.  What a pity, by curbing his analytical talent, the program has lost its shine.