Doing the right thing by Singapore pioneers

Doing the right thing by Singapore pioneers
The pioneer generation deserves to be singled out for special attention, having fought the ‘wars’ for the peace and prosperity we enjoy today. TODAY file photo

BY DEVADAS KRISHNADAS

The 50th anniversary of the independence of Singapore will be in 2015. It is by all measures a significant milestone. We were once a people with almost total dependency on the colonial power for our direction and sustenance. In the beginning, our economic prospects were doubtful; today, we are economically and militarily secure.

According to a report compiled by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, Singapore is the most affluent country in the world as of 2010, and we have among the top five highest concentrations of high net-worth individuals. Our standards of public infrastructure, healthcare and educational systems are universally envied.

So we have much to celebrate in 2015. But not all Singaporeans have benefited from the progress of the last half-century.

Since 2011, more attention has been given to helping the low income, the disabled and those from dysfunctional families, to give them a better shot at keeping up with the general population. There is also the awareness that we are an ageing population and need to look at policy measures to support our elderly.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE PIONEERS

There is a category of today’s elderly that deserve to be singled out for special attention. This is the pioneer generation that laid the foundation of today’s success.

Born before World War II, these Singaporeans are now in their late 70s and above. It is they who had to live through the privations of the Great Depression and the Japanese Occupation. It is they who experienced the added trauma of Konfrontasi and the militancy of the struggle with the Communists.

They rallied to undertake the difficult task of securing our sovereignty and had to make the psychological break, first with colonisation and then with Malaysia as we were ejected out onto an independent trajectory.

Thus, this generation fought the “wars” for the peace and prosperity we enjoy today. Yet, noting the historical events they endured is not an adequate measure of the greatness of these pioneers. To do so, it is necessary to acknowledge what they had to do without.

BENEFITED THE LEAST?

The pioneer generation did not have easy access to subsidised education and most of those who did, found it impossible to go beyond primary and secondary levels.

It was only a privileged few who could benefit from tertiary education. Thus, most became trapped in low or semi-skilled occupations.

The child mortality rates for that generation were many multiples of that today. It is not uncommon among that generation, if one were to inquire, to find that many had lost young siblings, which was symptomatic not only of poor general public hygiene, but also the weak and inaccessible public health system for the general population. This was on top of the physical privations of the depression and war years.

Significantly, this generation also benefited least from the compulsory savings approach that has underpinned retirement funding for the post-independent generations.

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) was introduced only in 1955. Those pioneers still with us today would have drawn their limited CPF monies over 20 years ago.

It begs the question, how are they getting by when faced with the high general costs of living today and even higher costs for age-related health needs?

It could be said that this generation endured the worst, did the most but in material ways benefited the least from the progress of the last 50 years.

THE VULNERABLE 5 PER CENT

Population data provided by the Department of Statistics show that the number of Singaporeans aged 75 and above, which corresponds to those born before 1939, is between 175,000 and 200,000. This represents just 5 per cent of the total population of residents, which hit 3.8 million in 2012.

A close inspection of the population pyramid also reveals that there are more female survivors than males from the pioneer generation. Given the poor employment and advancement opportunities for women of that generation, we intuitively expect their financial situation to be difficult.

As an operational police officer earlier in my career, there were several occasions where my officers and I had the distressing duty of breaking into HDB rental units to discover the decomposing bodies of the very elderly who lived alone. And from what we saw, their impoverished circumstances did not deter them from having the dignity to maintain their few possessions well.

Often, their pride and sense of self reliance prevented them from asking for help. Many of this generation are not fluent in English and are not “plugged-in” to our fast-paced technological world, which further alienates them from the mainstream.

S’pore PIONEERS OUTREACH AND RECOGNITION ENDOWMENT

As we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary, the time is ripe to reach out and recognise these pioneers, without whose sacrifices we would have little to celebrate. The recognition should be substantive rather than cursory.

One way is to establish a Singapore Pioneers Outreach and Recognition Endowment (SPORE). This endowment — it could also be structured as a fund — could be used to finance outreach measures to locate pioneers, identify their needs and organise for their health and social needs to be met.

Outreach should be a joint effort by grassroots organisations like the People’s Association and Community Development Councils. For those who are alone or have equally elderly spouses, arrangements could be made for home-care support or for placement in suitable nursing facilities.

For this exceptional generation, we should simplify matters by making an exception to the usual means testing and co-payment principles. The risk of exploitation would be minimal, given the small, and declining, numbers of this special generation.

The monies would serve a social purpose, which no Singaporean would have grounds to dispute, and we would know that we have provided peace of mind to this special group of Singaporeans to live out their final years with dignity.

For successive generations of aged, the existing Community Silver Trust and the Elder Fund may suffice with presently applying conditions.

HEAD AND HEART

An endowment is structured to generate income to be used for its purpose, with the principal kept intact. Thus the only cost to the Government would be opportunity costs. The principal can be recovered when the endowment has served its purpose.

As an example, a S$1 billion endowment would conservatively yield S$20 million per year of expenditure generated from the interest on the principal sum.

A billion dollars may seem a hefty sum to set aside for the needs of such a small section of society. However, establishing SPORE or something similar should not be done because it makes financial sense, but because it makes moral sense. We should do it because it is the right thing to do.

Even though we are used to planning our futures with our heads, we should do this because we remember our past with our hearts.

Devadas Krishnadas is the Founder and Director of Future-Moves. He is also the Editor of IPS Commons, where this article first appeared.

Today online link : Doing the right thing by Singapore pioneers

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Late SGH nurse donated $320,000 from sale of flat

Photo: Late SGH nurse donated $320,000 from sale of flat - Funds will go to Duke-NUS medical school for neuroscience research - Straits Times 31 May 2013 - By Pearl LeeIN LIFE, nurse Tan Sew Kee was meticulous, well-organised and dedicated to caring for others.So as the end drew near, she went about planning her legacy with the same exacting standards.Diagnosed with motor neuron disease, she sold her flat and arranged for the proceeds to go towards research into the cruel and debilitating condition.Yesterday, a $321,000 cheque was presented on her behalf during a gala dinner at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.Earn a world-class Master Business Degree in Singapore now! 	The senior staff nurse - who died in July 2011 at the age of 53 - spent most of her career at Singapore General Hospital, where she worked closely with surgeons in the operating theatre.After being given only two years to live, she found out first-hand what little knowledge caregivers and medical personnel have of the incurable disease, which slowly robs the nerves in the spine and brain of their functions.Ms Tan decided to sell her Housing Board flat in Ang Mo Kio and donate the proceeds to the school, to pay for neuroscience research.Her long-time friend, Madam Lam Sek Onn, said the late nurse was spurred to make the gesture by her passion for caring for patients. The two women graduated together from nursing school in 1975.Madam Lam, who is in her 60s, told The Straits Times: "She was very positive and she knew how to be a good patient. She made it very easy for people to take care of her."Even though she was sick and slowly losing her ability to walk, talk and eat, she was never depressed."Professor Tan Ser Kiat, who worked alongside her at the hospital for more than 20 years, described Ms Tan as a most competent nurse."She was excellent...and she could read exactly what the surgeon wanted," said the orthopaedic surgeon."She knew the right tools to pass to me at the right time, without me having to tell her."Ms Tan's nephew, 26-year-old Kelvin Yue, also shared fond memories of his aunt.The business developer recalled the poignant moment when he stumbled upon her diary after her death.The nurse had used it to jot down her thoughts and communicate with her maid when she started to lose the ability to talk."She wrote that she felt fortunate to have lived a good 50 years, and even had the chance to visit 13 countries, except the United States, Canada and India. She was that detailed," Mr Yew said, with a laugh.Ms Tan's cheque was presented to President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the guest of honour at yesterday's fund-raising gala dinner.A total of $16 million was generated at the event, which was attended by 900 guests, including this year's batch of new graduates.The school said donations still play a critical role in providing financial aid for students and funding research and education programmes.leepearl@sph.com.sg

– Straits Times 31 May 2013 – By Pearl Lee
Late SGH nurse donated $320,000 from sale of flat – Funds will go to Duke-NUS medical school for neuroscience research

IN LIFE, nurse Tan Sew Kee was meticulous, well-organised and dedicated to caring for others.So as the end drew near, she went about planning her legacy with the same exacting standards.Diagnosed with motor neuron disease, she sold her flat and arranged for the proceeds to go towards research into the cruel and debilitating condition.

Yesterday, a $321,000 cheque was presented on her behalf during a gala dinner at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.
Earn a world-class Master Business Degree in Singapore now!

The senior staff nurse – who died in July 2011 at the age of 53 – spent most of her career at Singapore General Hospital, where she worked closely with surgeons in the operating theatre.

After being given only two years to live, she found out first-hand what little knowledge caregivers and medical personnel have of the incurable disease, which slowly robs the nerves in the spine and brain of their functions.

Ms Tan decided to sell her Housing Board flat in Ang Mo Kio and donate the proceeds to the school, to pay for neuroscience research.

Her long-time friend, Madam Lam Sek Onn, said the late nurse was spurred to make the gesture by her passion for caring for patients. The two women graduated together from nursing school in 1975.

Madam Lam, who is in her 60s, told The Straits Times: “She was very positive and she knew how to be a good patient. She made it very easy for people to take care of her.

Even though she was sick and slowly losing her ability to walk, talk and eat, she was never depressed.”

Professor Tan Ser Kiat, who worked alongside her at the hospital for more than 20 years, described Ms Tan as a most competent nurse.

“She was excellent…and she could read exactly what the surgeon wanted,” said the orthopaedic surgeon.

“She knew the right tools to pass to me at the right time, without me having to tell her.”

Ms Tan’s nephew, 26-year-old Kelvin Yue, also shared fond memories of his aunt.

The business developer recalled the poignant moment when he stumbled upon her diary after her death.

The nurse had used it to jot down her thoughts and communicate with her maid when she started to lose the ability to talk.

“She wrote that she felt fortunate to have lived a good 50 years, and even had the chance to visit 13 countries, except the United States, Canada and India. She was that detailed,” Mr Yew said, with a laugh.

Ms Tan’s cheque was presented to President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the guest of honour at yesterday’s fund-raising gala dinner.

A total of $16 million was generated at the event, which was attended by 900 guests, including this year’s batch of new graduates.

The school said donations still play a critical role in providing financial aid for students and funding research and education programmes.

leepearl@sph.com.sg

MDA’s content guidelines are focused on core content concerns that would threaten the social fabric and national interests of our country. (MDA’s licensing framework )

by Media Development Authority, Singapore ·

Much has been discussed about recent changes to the licensing framework for news sites and we thank you for your comments. We thought it would be useful to clear the air by highlighting some key facts of our current media regulations.

1. The licensing framework only applies to sites that focus on reporting Singapore news and are notified by MDA that they meet the licensing criteria. An individual publishing views on current affairs and trends on his/her personal website or blog does not amount to news reporting.

2. There is no change to the content standards for these news sites. Today, these sites already have to observe content guidelines under the Class Licence which require the sites to make best efforts to keep their sites free of harmful content which are against public interest, public morality, public order, public security and national harmony. These same class licensing guidelines will continue to apply under the individual licence.

3. MDA’s content guidelines are focused on core content concerns that would threaten the social fabric and national interests of our country. Examples include content that incites racial or religious hatred; misleads and causes mass panic; or advocates or promotes violence. 

4. The framework is not an attempt to influence the editorial slant of news sites.

5. MDA will only step in when complaints are raised to our attention, and we assess that the content is in breach of the content guidelines and merits action by the website owner.

6. Takedown requests are not common. In the past two years, MDA has only issued one take-down notice for the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

7. The performance bond of $50,000 is pegged to that put up by niche broadcasters today, and need not necessarily entail cash up front. Licensees can consider options such as banker’s guarantee or insurance. MDA will be happy to engage in further discussions with any licensee who may have concerns about meeting the licence obligations.

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1. It’s about consistency in treatment, not clamping down the Internet: Singaporeans are increasingly accessing news and current affairs over the Internet. The adjustment recognizes the trend and provides greater regulatory consistency between online news sites and traditional media platforms such as newspapers and TV broadcasters, which are currently already individually-licensed.

2. MDA has already listed the 10 sites they intend to regulate, and they are:
– asiaone.com;
– businesstimes.com.sg;
– channelnewsasia.com;
– omy.sg; sg.news.yahoo.com;
– stomp.com.sg;
– straitstimes.com;
– tnp.sg;
– todayonline.com
– zaobao.com.

Other sites that are not amongst the 10 sites will not be regulated under the new licensing framework come 1 June 2013.

3. There’s nothing new or particularly unusual in the requirements for the 10 sites:

a) These online news sites, which are currently class-licensed, already have to comply with the content standards outlined in the Class Licence and Internet Code of Practice, for example, not putting up anything that offends against good taste or decency, or incites racial and religious hatred. The tweaking to the licensing framework does not change these content standards, but is intended to provide greater clarity on these standards.

b) The licensed websites are also required to put up a performance bond ($50,000). This is similar to what niche TV broadcasters already have to comply with (such as Razor TV or xinmsn).

c) The websites will now need to comply within 24 hours to MDA’s directions to remove content that is found to be in breach of content standards, whereas previously the time-frame was not specified. The time-frame is in view of the fact that news spreads very fast on the internet and 24 hours would be a reasonable timeframe for the site-owner to act, having been instructed by MDA

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image from the net 

I don’t know who is spreading rumours, …” – Anthony Chen ( IIO IIO)

“I don’t go around asking for help from Ministers or MPs, a lot this were posted by people I don’t know myself.

The film came about quite easily, becasue MDA was on board. The film has very very simple and very pure intentions.

I don’t know who is spreading rumours, …” – Anthony Chen, Director of Ilo Ilo, first Singaporean winner of Camera D’or award at Cannes film festival.

Source Link : Film about S’pore boy and maid tugged at French heartstrings 

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image source : Fabrications About The PAP

“and for whom the TRUTH Does Not matter” said Mr K Shanmugam Sc ( Ilo Ilo )

    K Shanmugam Sc
I am proud that Anthony Chen has become the first Singaporean to win the Camera d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Some of the reactions to his victory have been disappointing.

First some netizens alleged that Anthony had approached the government for funding and was rejected.

Later when it was revealed that the Media Development Authority (MDA) did help Anthony with funding, some netizens called for the boycott of the film, as MDA had funded it.

What Anthony has achieved is remarkable and worth celebrating. As fellow Singaporeans, we should share in each other’s achievements and be proud. I am glad many have spoken up against the calling for the boycott.

It is a pity and a reflection on some people that they can be so nasty, and for whom the truth does not matter.”

My heartiest congratulations to Anthony again.

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by BL

There is a reason why I am spending time exposing lies fabricated by impersonators and spread by anti-estab sites, which don’t bother to retract and apologise even if the lies are exposed.

Some friends laugh at me, calling me various names, for my pro-estab stance. Well, I have many young friends out there and they have to decide what sort of country they want in future, and that should be made based on correct information, not falsehood. What they decide will affect my children.

So I will continue to do my part to expose lies that are fabricated with the only intention of tearing this beautiful and successful country apart.

Praise – not politicise – Cannes prize

Repost from Breakfast Network, by Kwan Jin Yao :

When it was announced that Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen had won the Camera d’Or prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and as policy-makers rushed to offer their congratulations, questions were asked.

Did the G offer financial support for the endeavour?

Were other forms of assistance provided to Mr. Chen?

How should aspiring filmmakers go about planning for future productions?

Suffice to say, no one quite expected the allegations that began to spread in cyberspace.

Some claimed that Mr. Chen had been denied funding from the authorities. Many readers then lambasted the ministers for being hypocrites, for their purported refusal to help the filmmaker in the beginning. Then the allegers posited that they had fabricated the rumours, because they were trying to expose the implications of the official backing given. In their opinion, the entire film project is but an attempt at propaganda. 

Many were left confused and bewildered.

More worryingly, several online news networks published and propagated these allegations hastily. Hoping on such bandwagons seems to be a common phenomenon nowadays. Sure, corrections and retractions were made, but one has to wonder whether the websites should be held to a higher standard. Take for instance the false information about an injured soldier from a military grenade exercise and the recent child-grab incident. They were unwarranted, for these falsehoods deeply unsettled parents.

And it is becoming increasingly evident that there is simply no veracity in the accusations. Funding for Mr. Chen’s film was approved by the Singapore Film Commission, a grant scheme that is part of the Media Development Authority. ST also reported that Ngee Ann Polytechnic had also pumped in $200,000 to support the $500,000 film feature, a significant sum. Singaporeans too, are pointing out the absurdity of the conspiracy claims.

It is a shame that some have chosen to dabble unnecessarily in these incredulous assertions, attempting to uncover supposed conspiracy theories.

At the end of the day, this triumph is a straightforward one: a Singaporean who has achieved something wonderful; a filmmaker who has done all of us immensely proud on the global stage.

Source Link :  Praise – not politicise – Cannes prize *********************************************************************************

by   Fabrications Led by Opposition Parties (FLOP)

…and as a warning: don’t trust fake online gossip. This won’t be the lastPhoto: ...and as a warning: don't trust fake online gossip. This won't be the last :)

 

Thank you Mr Anthony Chen for sharing your win, your honor, with Singapore. ( ILO ILO)

“We were touched by four characters, and the story of a family in Singapore. The director’s intelligence and sensitivity bring forth very important issues – childhood, immigration, class struggles, the economic crisis. We were unanimous in our first round, and have chosen to award the Camera d’Or to Anthony Chen for ILO ILO.”

Camera d’Or jury president Agnes Varda in her address before pronouncing ILO ILO as the winner of the Camera d’Or.

Such wonderful words from an extremely gifted filmmaker, one whom we deeply respect and admire. We are still so thrilled that it’s all a little bit hard to believe…

The Video Link : ILO ILO 爸妈不在家

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By WH : 

Dear Anthony Chen,

I am not touched by the accolades the jury served on you. I am more touched when the first word from your mouth are grateful-ness and gratitude to the country. 

We, share your glory as much as its yours alone!
I thank you Mr Anthony Chen for sharing your win, your honor, with, Singapore.

I wish you every success though, the very words you spoke already shown you had succeeded, as an artist, a director and most importantly a proud son of Singapore. 

I thank you Mr Anthony Chen for sharing your win, your honor, with, Singapore.

Thank you