“Things I Will Fight And Sacrifice For” by Joe

by Joe T

Things I Will Fight And Sacrifice For.

1) Brothers-in-Arms.

If you are not a soldier, you don’t know. You live in a world of paper work pilings and deadlines amassing. We live in a world where bullets fly, lives lost, decisions made, lives saved. We don’t talk about profits, wealth or nice houses/fast cars. We talk about keeping our loved one safe, building deterrence and walking the journey with the brothers who will always watch us from behind. So, never tell us to leave our brothers for you. For they keep me safe, so I can today, be alive to in turn keep you, and everyone of your/my family safe.

Yes, you can laugh because we live in a peaceful society today, …until that first shot goes out. But, don’t worry, we won’t allow it to happen. So, its okay, carry on laughing.

2) Love.

If you have loved, you’d know. Love is unrequited, love is sacrificial. You don’t love someone just because he/she gets the most ticks off your checklist of a “perfect lover”. You love someone because, like yourself, he/she tries to make it work. He/she loves you for who you are, not what you are willing to become for him/her. You love him/her because he/she brings you to the next level in life. You know you love him/her, not because of the small gestures he/she put forward, but for the bigger sacrifice he/she is willing to make. A good lover is not a puppy, who you can command and order as you wish, and sticks to you all the time. A good lover is a hound, who is fiercely loyal, and stands strong to protect you when you need to, yet at the same time loves to be independent in its own rights.

3) Future.

If you had live a life of turbulence, you know. Age does not exemplify maturity. Experiences do.

For i will hold steadfast on my beliefs, morals and integrity to build a future i want. And in that picture features my brothers-in-arms, and the love who shares the same vision as I do.

I don’t live to create a fairy tale of perfect endings. I live to create a future of a fruitful life for each and everyone in it.

That’s why I’m willing to sacrifice: to accept people who are different from me; to appreciate those who came into my life; and let go of those whom I can never have.

I will not dwell on selfish individuals, but instead choose to celebrate the selfless individuals who have walked the journey with me. Because, everything happens for a reason, and really life is too short for me not to celebrate every single moment of it.

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What Will You Fight And Sacrifice For Then?

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image from    cyberpioneer

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Mobile tissue peddlers do not need to pay license fees. Beware of liars

1) Mobile tissue peddlers do not need to pay license fees. NEA does not issue such license.

2) If the tissue peddlers are needy, NEA would help them get assistance from welfare agencies.

This clarification is timely. NEA has always taken a compassionate approach to the tissue paper peddlers.

Beware of liars 

Vivian Balakrishnan

repost from Fabrications About The PAP

Those who harassed the organisers of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations; they are a disgrace to Singapore.

   Lee Hsien Loong

I was appalled to read about those who harassed the organisers of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, and spammed their Facebook page. They are a disgrace to Singapore.

Fortunately this appears to be the work of few trolls. Heartened that many sensible Singaporeans condemn this thuggish behaviour, and support Tan Chuan-Jin’s stand on this issue <http://on.fb.me/1ml0Y4u>.

We must treat people in Singapore the way we ourselves expect to be treated overseas. Many Singaporeans live overseas, and are warmly welcomed in their adopted homes. I just attended our Singapore Day in London. How would we have felt if British netizens had spammed our website, and abused Singaporeans living in Britain?

We must show that we are generous of spirit and welcome visitors into our midst, even as we manage the foreign population here. Otherwise we will lower our standing in the eyes of the world, and have every reason to be ashamed of ourselves.  ~ LHL

Comments to share :

  • I fully agree with you Mr Lee. I am sure that if we were being attacked by other countries while celebrating National Day in their countries, we will be equally sad and rejected. If we are not open to the idea of celebrating on Orchard Road, all we need to do is to discuss and settle it in an civilized and gentleman way. The trolls on the net are simply hooligans. Out to destroy the very foundations of civilisation.  ~ Li
  • Most singaporeans have not really seen the rest of the world with their eyes therefore became a frog in their well. Critisize and complaints about almost everything when there are changes here and there. Hope that will change one of these years. ~ Melvin
  • Hope authorities will catch up with these trolls and give them a good warning! I thought there was a anti harassment law? ~ Leonie 
  •  This is appalling behavior from a sad bunch of people living in a country that itself was populated with immigrants just a few generations ago. I am a born and bred Singaporean and I am ashamed that this is happening. ~ Eddie

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Comments to share :

  • I’m shocked that such a movement even exists here. I mean I’m all for keeping the population of Singapore under control, but that cause is being used as a guise for pure xenophobia and racism. As a Singaporean currently living overseas, it’s utterly embarrassing to see the hostility our people are showing towards foreign residents, especially when the majority of Singaporeans living overseas would themselves mix only with each other, join a local SG club to get to know even more Singaporeans while overseas, not bother to integrate, understand, or respect the host country’s culture at all, and also even take pains to fly interstate to participate in “Singapore day/SG national day” type events which normally exclude members of the host country from participation.For all the hospitality and tolerance afforded to Singaporeans overseas by their host countries, the way these Singaporeans in Singapore are responding to a Filipino national day event reeks of sheer hypocrisy and irony of the highest level!!!!!! ~ Ang
  • Well , not sure how someone can stop others to celebrate National day when just a few weeks back Singapore Day was celebrated in London  Sad .. Sad … During my stay in UK and US , there were celebration of India Day (on Indian Independence Day)… ~ Chandra

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repost from :    Tan Chuan-Jin

I recently met the Filipino Ambassador during her farewell call. We talked about the experiences of Filipinos who live and work here. Notwithstanding the occasional negative issues, she was thankful for the kindness and hospitality that Singaporeans extended to her compatriots. Singapore was a safe place because of how Singaporeans treated others. 

Which was why I was somewhat startled by the Straits Times article on Thursday, April 17, 2014 that reported about the Filipino organisers of their independence day celebration in Singapore being targeted. That there are xenophobes wasn’t the surprising part since there are these sad elements in any society.

It was the reported 26,000 ‘likes’ for the page that “is against the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day here” that raised my brows. As it turned out, the reporting was inaccurate.

It was actually the post against the activity itself that garnered several hundred ‘likes’. The page that hosted it was the one that had the twenty-over thousand likes. Encouragingly, there have been many decent Singaporeans who have come forward to condemn the actions of these netizens.

Many of us have celebrated Singapore’s national day in other countries and cannot imagine what it would be like if attacked in this way.

Is there a gentle way to put this across? Sometimes, I think we should just call a spade a spade.

These actions by those who peddle hate are not acceptable, repulsive even. We should make a stand to say no to such bigotry. They do not reflect who we are as a people and as a nation.

Photo: I recently met the Filipino Ambassador during her farewell call. We talked about the experiences of Filipinos who live and work here. Notwithstanding the occasional negative issues, she was thankful for the kindness and hospitality that  Singaporeans extended to her compatriots. Singapore was a safe place because of how Singaporeans treated others. </p>
<p>Which was why I was somewhat startled by the Straits Times article on Thursday, April 17, 2014 that reported about the Filipino organisers of their independence day celebration in Singapore being targeted. That there are xenophobes wasn't the surprising part since there are these sad elements in any society. It was the reported 26,000 'likes' for the page that "is against the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day here" that raised my brows. </p>
<p>As it turned out, the reporting was inaccurate. It was actually the post against the activity itself that garnered several hundred 'likes'. The page that hosted it was the one that had the twenty-over thousand likes. Encouragingly, there have been many decent Singaporeans who have come forward to condemn the actions of these netizens.</p>
<p>Many of us have celebrated Singapore's national day in other countries and cannot imagine what it would be like if attacked in this way. </p>
<p>Is there a gentle way to put this across? Sometimes, I think we should just call a spade a spade. These actions by those who peddle hate are not acceptable, repulsive even. We should make a stand to say no to such bigotry. They do not reflect who we are as a people and as a nation.

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Dr Tan Lai Yong – ‘Wandering saint’ of Singapore

straitstimes.comUpdated Apr 3, 2014
Susan Long meets Dr Tan Lai Yong, medical missionary-turned-university don, who returned to Singapore from Yunnan 

WHEN Dr Tan Lai Yong and his wife tied the knot at Bethesda Frankel Estate Church in 1991, they asked for a wedding prayer that made their solemniser do a double-take.

It was a verse from the Book of Proverbs: “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.”

That, Dr Tan reckons, was the “craziest thing” he has ever done. It set the tone for life thereafter, and liberated him to “step out of the box”, again and again.

At 53, the Singaporean doctor has no home to his name. No car. One pair of jeans he lives in. And lots of hand-me-down checked shirts. Lunch is often a loaf of plain bread, wolfed down on the run.

His office at the National University of Singapore’s College of Alice & Peter Tan (CAPT) is like a storeroom, crammed with camping gear, bicycles and emergency rations, a habit from 15 years of living in China’s earthquake- prone Yunnan province.

Four years after returning here in 2010, he lives the same spartan, spontaneous life of service. Last month, he was hailed in Parliament as a “wandering saint in Singapore”, who “is rich in ideas, strong of heart and boundless in energy”. Member of Parliament Seah Kian Peng asked for $1 million for Dr Tan to carry out his “oddball” ideas to better society, vouching that he would spend the money well and carefully.

Dr Tan, who has no television set, didn’t watch the broadcast. When told his new monicker, his rejoinder is: “I wander about, but am no saint.”

While Mr Seah’s proposed ground-up initiative warms him, the money leaves him cold. He recounts how, as a medical missionary in south-west China training farmers in basic medical and dental care and running clinics for villagers, he was offered up to half a million dollars in 2007 to scale up his work.

Of course, the big bucks would have enabled him to ramp up much needed cataract and cleft palate operations in the impoverished countryside. But he politely declined, explaining that his village dental programme ran on a mere $20,000 a year. “This sum was beyond what we could handle… We do best when we learn best. With a big bank account behind us, we may not learn so well,” he reflects in his stream of consciousness way.

He also felt it would make him detract from his primary mission of “teaching, equipping, encouraging and nudging for changes through values”, rather than running his own mass programmes.

Hidden communities

THIS is the man who was presented with numerous awards for his work in China, including one by former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao – and then decided to return to Singapore in late 2010. Reason: He felt that he was being treated “like a VIP” there, which was “dangerous for my soul”.

Once back, he re-orientated himself by visiting voluntary welfare groups like the Tsao Foundation, sat in on classes at autism- focused Pathlight School and hung out with migrant worker communities to assess needs here.

Then he enrolled at the Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy to do a master’s degree in public administration to better equip himself. Upon graduation in 2012, he spurned “lucrative” offers from health-care players hoping to leverage his experience to grow their China portfolio. Instead he pounced on a “dream job”, joining CAPT, a residential college in University Town geared towards community engagement, as a senior lecturer.

He teaches a course called Hidden Communities, which delves into the plight of the elderly who live alone, the difficulties of ex-offenders finding jobs and the living conditions of migrant workers.

A third of the course time involves field trips, including a twilight walk through Bukit Brown to observe grave diggers, weaving through Geylang’s lorongs to explore the issue of women stuck in the vice trade, and ferreting about Jurong Fishery Port for the first catch of the day.

At CAPT, where he is director of outreach and community engagement, he regularly hosts meals and visits for disabled or disadvantaged kids on weekends. He and his students throw a frisbee around its lawns with the guests and share their own educational struggles, for example, of repeating O levels. The intended message: University is fun and you have a shot.

An “inclusive” trek to Endau Rompin in Johor that he helped put together for next month will involve 15 Assumption Pathway School students.

The end result he hopes for is not to convert his charges into social workers but that they will “go beyond complaining, see both sides of the picture and get off their soap box”. As well as that they will have empathy, as bosses of the future, when an employee says her mother has dementia or his son has autism.

A father’s No.1 job

AFTER four years studying the downtrodden and marginalised, Dr Tan concludes that the real scourge afflicting Singaporeans today is loneliness.

Sure, the many programmes targeting hypertension, diabetes and cataracts among the elderly are useful, but what about their creeping sense of loneliness? He’s been pondering the fix and concludes that the art of forging friendships must be learnt earlier.

“By the time somebody is 70, talking about making friends, especially for men, is very late,” he observes. During visits to Geylang, he notes that most of the elderly Singaporean men huddled in the red light district’s coffee shops are not looking for sex. “They are no different from those who hang out at senior day-care centres. They are just there to drink kopi and play games with their friends.”

But what troubles him is many teenagers, especially bright boys in top schools who spend their holidays preparing for Olympiads, are desperately lonely too.

“I hang out at swimming pools. Singaporean kids who swim are training for competition. They don’t play. Only the foreign kids come and play,” he observes. On weekends, he sees the fevered brows of kids in glass-walled tuition centres, while their fathers read newspapers outside.

And he yearns to tell them: “Your No.1 job as a father is to help your children build friendships. Your No.1 job is not to send them to tuition centres.”

To encourage more to play with their kids, he started several father-and-son football games islandwide. One programme, that began in 2011 at University Town on Saturday nights, is ongoing. Typically, 30 teens come looking for a game, accompanied by five fathers, which, he feels, is a start.

For six hours a week, he also volunteers at HealthServe, which runs subsidised clinics for needy Singaporeans and foreign workers. He takes the workers on weekly outings to public swimming pools, libraries and parks like Gardens by the Bay “to break down invisible barriers”. He helps them buy medicine and resolve employer disputes, as well as persuades them to sign casino self-exclusion forms to safeguard their earnings.

Last year, he even helped to organise a fully foreign worker- starred concert featuring a Bangladeshi band, a PRC (People’s Republic of China) choir, Nepalese singers and Bollywood dancers.

In fact, Dr Tan has so many pots on the boil that – anything to do with affirming individuals, building inclusiveness and countering negativity – you name it and he’s probably already looking into it and percolating an idea.

Exercise in gratitude

HE GREW up in the gangster-infested Old Kallang Airport area, the seventh child of a Teochew- speaking pirate taxi driver and a Cantonese-speaking seamstress. School was a struggle, especially languages.

His brothers went to Raffles Institution, he went to Siglap Secondary. Despondent, he signed up to be an infantry foot soldier in the army. Then he scored three As – a freak A-level result, he says – and qualified for medical school here on a Public Service Commission scholarship. The young Christian decided, in sheer gratitude, to become a medical missionary.

After getting married at 30, he and his accountant wife, Lay Chin, resisted the shackles of a home mortgage. He also quit his anaesthesia specialisation training midway to avoid a longer bond. And in 1996, they upped and left for mountainous Xishuangbanna, with their 16-month-old daughter Amber. There, he trained some 500 doctors in impoverished villages to carry out vaccinations, dress wounds, diagnose common ailments, balance their books. He also treated the orphaned, disabled and leprous.

Three years later, their son, Edward, was born. Dr Tan then taught at Kunming Medical College’s School of Public Health, set up a Kunming-based Christian medical NGO and brought in many other Singapore doctors to do free surgery in the villages.

In 2010, he decided to come home to raise his teens as Singaporeans, with Singaporean friends who would “see them through life”. His son is now in Secondary 4. His 20-year-old daughter, who believes that curing diarrhoea is noble but that the antidote to village illnesses is clean water, is studying engineering at Nanyang Technological University. They live together at the University Town staff quarters.

His valuation of property operates on an entirely different calculus from most Singaporeans. Above all, he values community, rather than exclusivity. He’s now looking to buy an HDB flat in a low-income area, where neighbours still leave their doors open and borrow soya sauce from each other, rather than “transient communities where people are just waiting to upgrade”.

Whenever he passes a palatial mansion, he asks himself: “Is this house worth six years of my life?” And he concludes No. He thinks the aspiration of living in a landed property with two maids to look after one in retirement is just “unsustainable”.

“You don’t live in HDB, you die a very lonely man. You live in HDB, you can go down to lim kopi (drink coffee) with your peers,” he says in his colloquial way.

The man who believes that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” enjoys life’s simplest pleasures most. His indulgences are sleeping early (by 10pm), the serenity of a sunrise run, devouring a book a week, camping twice a year on some nearby isle and a meaty durian.

He muses: “We just need our daily bread and to learn the value of humility.”

With that, he is replete.

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Dr Tan Lai Yong on…

The change he wants to see

“I always carry this hourglass as a teaching aid. For almost 50 years, the Government has poured many ideas into the community. Through education and economic progress, the goodies have been pushed into the community. But now, the community looks up and says to the Government: ‘Now you got no more ideas, now you foul it up.’

I think the idea is to turn around the hourglass so that the community can now enrich and build the country. That is the crucial change that I wish to see in Singapore, that we remove ourselves from the old position of looking at the Government and asking: ‘OK, what’s next? What policies do you have that will empower me?’ Instead, now the community must build the country. And if the community is one that can build the country, the country will be very strong. And the hourglass must tip back and forth.”

His ideal Singapore Civil Service

“I wish to see a Singapore where top polytechnic graduates will be inducted into the Government’s Administrative Service if they’re up to it. When I interact with the Chinese civil service, I realise it’s the same problem as here. Because the testing to get in is so stringent, after you guo guan (pass the official exams), the first thing is, don’t make mistakes. That’s the mindset that will entrap us in future. We recruit the best, which is important, but if the best are not allowed to make any mistakes along the way, we will not get the best out of them.

So we box ourselves in, we want the best but we cannot get the best out of them.”

How best to restructure Singapore

“I dream of a day when a medical graduate, after doing housemanship for a couple of years, will say: ‘I want to be a kindergarten teacher for two years to contribute to the mental health of young children, then do psychiatry.’

I want to see a law graduate say: ‘I will teach in kindergarten, then work in the family court.’

Right now, money is an issue. If we begin to pay our kindergarten teachers better, we will begin to restructure our country in a way which nobody has tried before.”

How he keeps score

“At the end of the year, if I don’t write a few thank-you letters, I feel I lived the year badly. These could be to a good government agency, a clerk at the airport or a teacher, anyone.”

suelong@sph.com.sg

The Long Interview takes a break and will resume later in the year.

 

This article was published on April 4 in The Straits Times.

Should Workers Party and Opposition, position themselves as law abiding instead of picking quarrels with the government ?

6 April 2014, by AK

The opposition had in fact wasted precious time since the last general election to make themselves relevant to all Singaporeans, particularly the Workers Party having nine members in parliament.

60% did not vote for the opposition in the last GE, but the PAP wasted no time in pushing back lost grounds. The threshold should never be anything less than 60%. As a government, they have slaughtered many sacred cows if by doing so can get voters to see and understand that the PAP is truly making profound changes to the way it looks after Singapore.

There are no shortage of political commentaries as to why the PAP had embarked on so many fundamental changes. One thing that stands out among the many theories is that it wants Singaporeans to know that PAP exists for Singapore and Singaporeans and not just for power and politics. The changes taken, some very fundamental shifts will result in Singaporeans seeing the PAP publicly admitting to past errors. This is swallowing of humble pie in public. Is it worth the risk?

On the other hand, the oppositions as a whole were overwhelmed by the unprecedented swing of public sentiments against the PAP and continue to fan and sow hatred towards the PAP. Maybe that might be a correct strategy, or maybe not.

What is important for the opposition is to win over from the PAP and further dent that 60%, just as in the case of PAP to claw back from the 40% or so. But the hatred strategy may have already been fully worked in Punggol East and is very unlikely to work again.

For those who hated the PAP had already voted against it, and nothing changes that. There really needs no further adding of fuel to their anger. What remains is for them to demonstrate that they are capable, if not better in managing state affairs than the PAP.

Particularly for the Workers Party, they should have position themselves as law abiding instead of picking quarrels with the government till matters go to the courts. They have absolutely forgotten that should the opposition becomes government of the day, they too expect others to be law abiding. Why wasting so much time bickering over trivial matters, making a public scene of political quarrels. Yes the PAP haters will cheer you on, but that remains within your 40%. But the 60% are watching and analyzing what the hell is going on.

Petty and internal disagreements within individual opposition political parties spilled into the public. Leaders from different opposition political parties snub at each other. and of course the latest is found in the attachment showing certain public figure sowing discord.

Yes the ground seems sweet, but please show yourself to be Singaporeans first rather than politics first. If all you cared for is who gets the hold of power, surely the PAP will be returned as government for many terms to come. What the PAP is doing and you are not. You have wasted precious time that voters had given to you and you did not treasure it by reciprocating in good faith.

 

Chris Ho has good reason to lose his head

4 Apr 2014,  by AK

Why did I say Chris Ho’s comment on his FB about killing Singaporeans as informative?

At about the same time, TRS posted an article entitled PAP SUPPORTER : MY REBUTTAL TO ROY NGERNG MISLEADING ARTICLE.

Roy, a self confessed gay and once worked with Health Promotion Board and was noted for his graphic presentation at a conference on the topic of AIDS. His graphic presentation skills had found at least one admirer, Leong Tze Hian a financial advisor (insurance).

Both Chris Ho & Roy are considered outspoken critics of the government in and out of social media.

There is another personality I would like to mention, Jason Chua Chin Seng. Jason has always been the personification of “arc rival” of anti-government collectives for his role in fronting Fabrications About The PAP (FAB).

FAB is a casual collective of pro-government individuals bent on dispelling untruths made against the PAP or the government.

By comparison, FAB adopts a moderate position, taking on only issues instead of personalities where the anti-government collectives have no restraints on how they go about attacking the government. What appears as a result is that the pro-government is always on the defensive, while the anti-government continue to double up their barbs & spikes.

A common comment that is repeated over and over again is “PAP dogs are always so defensive”, or “they are always on denial mode”.

Typically in conventional warfare, prolonged defensive is danger in sight. But that’s what the naked eye can only see and this is no conventional warfare. So Chris Ho’s comment opens up a lead to political CSI as to what may have took place in enemy territory.

What had prompted the LUSH DJ’s burst of rage against Singaporeans? In real person, Chris is very personable, and rather accommodating most of the time. To most people, most things are tolerable except when it comes to something you deeply believed in, and that is the weakest point in each of our emotional life. When no one buys your belief, or simply ignores you…..you get panic, you get angry, you get depressed.

And panic did creep into the Roy Ngerng partnership. They had strategised to erode and bring down key government institutions in a smooth and gradual manner. The tactic to cast doubt on GIC, the government’s sovereign fund that spiders its way into GLCs like all the telcos, DBS bank and stat boards like JTC, HDB, CPF. They have also mounted attacks on healthcare and housing in their outings. There are still quite a number of key institutions that they have yet to accomplished namely MAS, PUB, EMA and GLCs like SIA, Sembawang, Keppel where they can attack on a number of weaknesses. They will probably spare NAC for good reasons.

This partnership had all along been extremely careful not to allow their allegations to go too unbelievable, and to avoid nerve centres of the population. But what had prompted them to jump from plan A+2 all the way to Plan C bypassing Plan B and its spider webs?

Possible reasons are, the government has been extremely hard at work since losing the Punggol East by-elections. Many of the programmes that were meant to be lauched in later years were brought forward, and suspended spending had been green lighted. Slews of new programmes were introduced.

Could this be a sounding alert that the next general elections will be held in 2015? Why not as this very year is the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. Tremendous amount of goodwill has been gradually built up and going into a state & mood of national celebration. It is also auspicious to call for a referendum as to who Singaporeans would want to lead us in the next half century.

So time is definitely not on the side of the anti-government collectives for sure. Under such pressure, panic creeps into the nerves and upsets its composure. Ordinary people who pointed out their mistakes are targeted as PAP supporters forcing such middle ground people to take side. On the other hand, the pro-government continues to take a moderate position that appeals more to the middle ground than the combative manners adopted by the anti-government.

Chris Ho has good reason to lose his head, and Roy Ngerng too has good reason to foul up his partnerships’s long term strategy.

by AK
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image from Fabrications About The PAP


image taken from StraitsTimes

“just simple logic and common sense” ( CPF is our money- rebuttal to Roy Ngerng)

The Rise of the Pseudo-Intellectual by Temasek Today

APRIL 4, 2014

One of the most heartening developments in Singapore civil society is the willingness and ability of people to give details, professional and sometimes expert analysis into issues of the day. This is especially true in difficult and specialized topics such as health and personal finance.

I have no financial training and I am not good with numbers, so my rule for money is: trust the expert.

So when I was sent an email by a friend, written by a financial expert with the name Roy Ngerng, I thought, hey, this guy is making a strong point! Maybe there is something wrong with our CPF!

But then, reading the article closely, I realized this guy is only shamming. Instead of someone who analyzes and shares ideas, he has a fixed idea and is massaging facts and figures around this

I don’t know much the facts that he points to – I don’t know whether it is true that Singapore’s pensions returns are lower than Pakistan and Philippines. Or how we rank in terms of contribution. But I do know simple logic – and I have my own experience.

So, leaving alone whether the facts he uses are accurate, let’s look at his arguments on their logical merits.

1. Red Herrings

Many of us who take out loans know that we have to pay interest. I live in a private property (condo) and I know two things – my home will cost me a lot more than the listed price because I took out a loan on it, and it will be worth nothing in 99 years.

But the way Rog Ngerng writes it’s like something the government invented to cheat us out of money, and that it is some big surprise that HDB flat is worth nothing at the end of 99 years.

“Can someone please explain to me why we have to pay $600,000 (after 30 years) on a $300,000 for a flat that has absolutely no value at the end of its lease? Then what the hell are we even paying for? So, your flat is supposed to increase in value but after the end of the lease, this value suddenly disappears?”

Hello! This is what “99 years lease” means! In China it is 70 years only! In London, most of its flats are leasehold, sometimes to 125 years.

This is the fact of property life, all over the world.

In Singapore, even Sentosa Cove is worth nothing after 99 years.

Are the private developers also cheating us?He did the same thing with the interests on mortgage – people know that they will have to pay far more than the price of their property if they count in the interest.

This is unpleasant but not surely hidden. Why is this guy making it out to be some dark conspiracy here?

This made me suspicious about his real motives. Then I did the maths he did – and came up with very different conclusions.

2.    Semantic Sleight of Hand: 2.5 per cent interest for the highest social pension contributions.

He says that at 37%, our contribution to social pensions is the highest in the world. Of course it is, if it were true.

But I know that I only pay 20% and my employer pays 16%. So on his chart, we are much lower than other countries such as Italy, China, Malaysia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and so on.

So he is telling us a lot of numbers, but mixing them up – and using them wrongly.

The same for the 2.5%.

The interest that CPF gives us is 2.5% – he says this is low compared to what Temasek earns. (I don’t know the exact link between Temasek and CPF.)But with 2.5%, our money will double in 29 years. This is the normal rule of thumb with compound interest! I think double in 29 years is good returns.

True, this is not as high as in other countries – in New Zealand – at 14 % the money will double in 5 years! How do people there do it? Well, in a high-interest regime, interest is generally higher.

If you take out a mortgage at 14% your payment will double in 5 years!

But 2.5% is the interest we pay on our mortage too.

RN goes on quite a bit about how at 2.5%, you have to pay so much more on your flat. Well, you either have a low interest rate regime or a high one, you cannot talk out of both side of your mouth!

I know that the mortage rates and the interest paid to us are not the same thing. But interests are returns on the use of money – it makes sense to think of them as being in the same regime. So, the 2.5% number has to be seen from both sides.

In the end, his numbers lead us to the wrong place. This is the same thing I saw when he talks about us paying interest twice – on the money that belongs to us.

3. Apples, Pears and Durians altogther.

The problem he wrote about was the CPF accrued interest.

This is the policy as he wrote it: “If you sell your HDB flat, you need to refund the principal amount you had earlier withdrawn for the purchase of the flat, including the accrued interest, to your CPF account.

This interest is the amount you would have earned, had the savings not been taken out.”

His explanation: You are paying interest for money that is no there anymore. And the PAP is asking you to do this. If they want the money, they should pay for it!

He says it like this “So, see if you get this – if you had left your money inside the CPF, the government will pay the interest.

But when you take the money out, the government wants you to pay the interest back. In the first place, since you have taken the money out, the interest can no longer be earned and even if the government wants you to earn the interest, they should be the one paying the interest, right?”

My initial reaction was “Right!”

Once I take the money out, the interest can no longer be earned.

But the money is earning something else – it is “feeding” my flat. I stay in the flat – if I didn’t use the money, I would have to rent a house. So the money was used to provide me with shelter.

The alternative was to leave the money in – and get the 2.5% interest. I would then have to use the 2.5% to pay my rent. But I would prefer to buy a house – because there is a chance that the housing prices would go up!

So after I sell my house, I would have to make good the opportunity cost – that is I would have to pay into my CPF (which still remains my money) the interest it would have earned because I used the money for something else – shelter.

The value I got is the “rental” I would have otherwise paid. Also the capital appreciation of the flat.To say that “you are paying an interest of 2.5% on money that is no longer in the CPF.

You are paying an interest into the CPF on nothing”, is, as he would say, “nothing but trickery.”

He is mixing up CPF downpayments, with mortgages with interest foregone, and wild allegations about CPF accounts with “nothing” that we are still paying interests on.

Getting scared? You should be. There are lots of psuedo intellectuals like RN around.

You don’t have to be an expert or a maths genius, just simple logic and common sense.


image credited to  AK
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Comments from the net :

  • Keep Calm and Check the Facts: received some enquires from residents about CPF, driven I’m sure by a half-baked and ill-informed commentary that is going round.THE FACTS: “The full amount refunded, including the accrued interest, can be used by members to finance subsequent property purchases or withdrawn when they reach 55, after setting aside the CPF Minimum Sum in their Retirement Account and the Medisave Minimum Sum in the Medisave Account.The savings in the Retirement Account and Medisave Account are for the members’ retirement and medical needs respectively. There is no distribution or other costs.” ~ Janil Puthucheary

 

  • Read this share this. An even better rebuttal to The Heart Truths nonsense.Pseudo intellectual is too kind. With logic like that, how does one even pass school?

    In a previous article that tried to argue that Singaporeans paid the highest taxes, the author conflated taxes with investment returns with savings.

    Please tell your friends not to share The Heart Truths. Do not participate in the retardation of humanity. ~ Calvin Cheng

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