Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Hidden Figures Behind The Wealthy Face Of Singapore

Are your fellow Singaporeans doing well? Are you perhaps living in comfort and blind to the hidden faces of your fellow countrymen? Perhaps you're working hard and struggling, but think you're just unfortunate / not working hard enough and part of only a few Singaporeans who have not made it?

I'm not going to bother talking about foreign workers or so-called talents allegedly taking up jobs Singaporeans can do or not, or if they are depressing our wages here. Or how our government happens to pay themselves astronomical salaries, along with their bedfellows at GICs, Temasek Holdings, statutory boards or paper officers in the SAF etc. Go make your own conclusions.

Now look at the numbers below.


Source: http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/NR/rdonlyres/0BEA7777-3527-40B2-BBEA-05E9A73AF38E/0/Annexes.pdf

Over 458,000 Singaporeans (about a quarter of Singaporean workers and 14% of actual local citizens? ) earn less than SGD1,500 a month. And nearly 295,000 of us earn less than SGD1,000 a month. That comes to about 1 out of 7 citizens of Singapore.

Source: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2012/1/18%20global%20metro%20monitor/0118_global_metro_monitor.pdf

Singapore's change income growth rate is the worst out of 200 largest metropolitan economies at a negative 8.9%, while the change in our employment growth rate is also among the lowest, shrinking by -2.3%.

Then consider the following;

"In 1956, the then-Minister of Finance, Goh Keng Swee, estimated absolute poverty to be at the level of $25 per head, which meant that 0.3% of households were living below the poverty line. In 1974, the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) identified a poor household as one with less than $60 per head and over the years this has shifted as the basket of goods used to make the calculation was re-defined. Today, there still is no official poverty line but it is identified to be in the range of gross income of $1,500-$1,700 per household per month. The number is derived based on the Minimum Household Expenditure, or actual expenditure for a subsistence budget, multiplied by 1.25."

"Another group for consideration is households that are managed single-handedly by single women, single men or divorcees and are residing in smaller HDB flats or earning a per capita income that is below the subsistence level. Based on statistics from the General Household Survey 2005, their numbers can range between 21,000 and 88,000."

"There are Singaporeans who live by the country’s cardinal rule of self-reliance but who may still not earn enough for their upkeep. For instance, 400,100 workers (including part-timers) earn up to $1,200 - an amount lower than the recommended $1,500 needed for subsistence for a family of four. Accordingto the General Household Survey 2005, resident households living in HDB housing and earning a per capita monthly income of below $500... can number an estimated 122,000."

Source: http://www.lcsi.smu.edu.sg/downloads/Unmet_Social_Needs_in_Singapore.pdf

And before I forget, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Star Trek LCARS On My Android

Star Trek LCARS theme for Android mobile smart phones
Having been using an Android mobile phone for some time now, I've actually scoured the web for a Star Trek theme for a really long time. Results were always the same. Similar to a search for cash in my wallet, nothing of note if anything at all.

I began to wonder if my sense of desperation to fulfill that geeky need to have some kind of trekker (or trekkie) looking phone device in my hands, the way one would feel when stuck in the middle of an empty plain with bursting bowels, would ever find relief.

Then it dawned on my wilting mind that I could dig a hole myself, instead of waiting for a kind passerby. Starfleet didn't prepare me for this.

Now I have my own little Star Trek inspired theme on my Android, and I feel a little closer to the future. And my mind is back in space. Or probably just pretty much spaced out as usual. I still pretend to be a handicapped Vulcan who goes through pon farr every seven hours. Ok, maybe I'm not pretending.

Feel free to get it too, if you are using an Android smartphone and have a little urge to have a similar look installed. Just take a look at the LCARS Star Trek theme for Go Launcher on Google Play (link) and make it so. Oh yes, you'll have to use Go Launcher Ex to use this theme, which comes with a host of very cool features too. If you really like it, and you do use it, my deepest thanks to you for buying me a drink. If you should pop into Ten Forward, I'll bring some Orion slaves along to entertain you.

Live long and prosper. Even if your planet has been destroyed by a reboot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SBS and SMRT: Thank You Very Much

In a busy hawker center in the eastern heartlands of Singapore, an enterprising hawker has been inspired by the latest news on how public transport companies SBS and SMRT are seeking an increase in fare prices.

As Mr Kong Chiao Wei sat near his busy Chai Tao Kuay (white carrot cake) stall, watching his talented foreign staff cooking and serving his customers, he began to elaborate on his latest business expansion plans.

“My carrot cake is very famous one you know, people come all the way from Woodlands to eat my food. See how they line up just to order from my staff at Chateau Quay (pronounced Chai Tao Kuay)? I tell you ah, they have to wait very long and even though, they have to self-service, they will still eat here lor.

“But I want to improve my service by making my stall look nicer, and also open one more stall in Woodlands to serve my faithful customers there. So I will be increasing my prices; to help my customers. It is justifiable lah, even though I make more money, my costs will increase lor, with additional stall, means I got more costs leh. I need to hire more staff, pay rental for the new stall and also got so many other extra costs like renovating my new stall.”

Mr Kong feels that the increase will help him serve his customers better, who have enjoyed his food for years. “Last time in 2008, I increase price only by 50cts, but I give back to my customers you know? Cos I put out a bigger pot of chilli for them to put on my Chai Tao Kuay.”

The question remained as to how customers in this area will benefit from the higher prices. But Mr Kong was certain it is for their own good. “You see ah, SMRT build more lines to serve Singaporeans right? Those people who only take the old line from East to West will still need to pay more, even though they don’t need those new lines. But this is actually because SMRT is so service and public minded, and they give them the chance to go other places that they don’t need to, and so paying a bit more for their usual same trip is worth it lah.

“They buy new buses or what train, is the same as me buying new and nicer cooking utensils to cook my Chai Tao Kuay, that’s why I believe raising my prices is right and good for everyone. My new BMW also faster than my 2-year-old Mercedes, so I can come here earlier to open my stall for my customers, you know.

"By the way, I’m also upgrading from my condominium to a landed property. I feel good about this expansion and I know my food surely taste better when I am feeling happier. My customers will love it.”

As Mr Kong excused himself to join his friends for a beer, I asked a customer how happy he was with Mr Kong’s latest proposals to increase his stall’s prices.

Mr Chin Too Lan replied, “KNNBCCB understand? Lim peh (referring to himself) can don’t eat this silang chai tao kuay and start eating chap chai png (economical rice with dishes) liao. KNN simi increase price here because he got new stalls in other place. Singapore only got one train and bus company, I got no choice, if they give some CB reason to increase their own pocket money. Pay and pay and probably still wait and wait just to squeeze like sardine marinated in people's sweat. #%&@ lah, forget it, now I got no more appetite.”

As Mr Chin walked away, he asked to convey to Mr Kong a suggestion that he should go develop sexual relations with a dog.

Public Service

Thank you SMRT and SBS Transit, for your "inspiring" and continued "public-spirited" service to Singaporeans. By the way, Mr Chin’s suggestion for Mr Kong seems very appropriate for you too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What I Have Learnt From Life

There is an eerie compulsion to be nice even though according to certain reliable sources, I am obviously not (I might also say I think that Geylang is just as a reliable source, for virtuous potential foreign brides). An odd Neanderthal need to be appreciated by the ones I love or care about. Much as the darkness that thrives in my words and its incessant whine on the pointless deeds for nothing, people and life, I still end up trying.

Tasting sweet nectar occasionally, I push on only to realize the foul phlegm spat upon my back. I can still feel it encrusted on the blades wedged between my shoulder blades by hands of a proclaimed epitome of empathetic kindness. I guess some people might take the loving stealth, demonstrated in placing the forementioned sputum from a discreetly malicious mouth and knife, without my knowledge, as love. I certainly hope they experience the joy that they so lovingly offer to others, as well. Many times over.

Well, I did talk about the darkness within my words, haven’t I? Nah, I don't wish anything on them. Life has a beautiful road of parity on it's own. Duplicity is amazingly mirrored and ultimately projected to and from the associates in their lives.

But there is a reason for my words, I suppose. Caring and sharing has certainly improved my life. It has lightened my load, especially where assets and cash are concerned. And it has also dramatically provided my complexion with a certain glow, much like a radioactive scrotum.

Do the right thing I say, in light or darkness. Silly me. I’ve been roasting a brick, while dreaming of marshmallows.

I’ve always wondered, if there is really something this world has to offer. After all that I’ve gone through, I can honestly say, yes. Being the deluded clever thing that I am (one might say I resemble those round things found on the tentacles of an octopus), I dove right in to experience every sensation I could from what I would assume to be the beauty of life, within the confines of what I would desperately attempt to hope is the morally correct thing to do. I discovered how life offered me a chance to bleed. I didn’t believe it.

I believed truly in the possibilities of truth and integrity. It gave me a new fork deep in my perineum.

I still believe in life. I truly still do.

I believe it will end eventually. Soon. Please.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will We See A New Hope?

Once upon a time, there was only Singtel. Remember when we had no choice but to accept every price and plan they deemed good for us? Then came M1 and Starhub. We now have a choice and things are much better.

Once upon a time, there was only PAP...



Vote wisely my fellow countrymen.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Void

Void, empty, hollow inside
My dreams have fled, my hopes have died
Existence has no reason
Life's just passing with each season

She was my life, my hope, my love
All is gone, passed by thereof
The hurt is such no one should bear
What's to life, why should I care?

I weep all night for my love gone
My heart is sick, for death I long
Mine eyes well tears for love that's lost
I'll mourn always for the great cost

But in each day Lord give me hope
Strengthen me so I may cope
Grant me wisdom to help me see
Thy great way and not just me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Multi-Millionaire Minister vs Jesus

With the impending elections, came various rhetorics from PAP, the governing party of Singapore. A comment from one of the exorbitantly paid ministers stood out.

Lim Boon Heng talked about how his public life came with "stresses and strains".

"It is in the nature of human beings that people would say all kinds of things. It can hurt you but you have to take it in your stride." says the cabinet minister who sits in the Prime Minister's office (whatever that means). So I'm guessing earning those millions along the way didn't help him much, when placed in a position where he should be serving the nation and not his bank account.

Then drawing attention to the thankless nature of the MP's (Member of Parliament) job, he gave the example from the New Testament (Bible), of what happened when Jesus Christ healed 10 lepers. Only one came back to thank him.

Apparently, Lim (who is apparently a staunch Catholic) is now comparing himself and his fellow PAP office bearers to Jesus. And I'm guessing the lepers are, well, the Singaporean voters. I'm still wondering which bible he is reading, where Jesus was paid a fortune to do what He did.

I'm pretty much speechless.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Torn

I'm good, I'm bad.
I'm strong, I'm weak.
I'm happy, I'm depressed.
I'm patient, I'm angry.
I'm decent, I'm filthy.
I'm virile, I'm impotent.
I'm funny, I'm lame.
I'm kind, I'm harsh.
I'm carefree, I'm emotional.
I'm apathetic, I'm nosy.
I'm flexible, I'm a control freak.
I'm stoic, I'm senstitive.
I'm loving, I'm lustful.
I'm submissive, I'm dominatng.
I'm playful, I'm flirtatious.
I'm giving, I'm selfish.
I'm sexy, I'm depraved.
I'm right, I'm wrong.
I'm passionate, I'm fixated.
I'm exciting, I'm boring.
I'm persevering, I'm tired.
I'm sensual, I'm disgusting.
I'm alive, I'm dying.

I'm witty, I'm a fool.
I'm quiet, I talk too much.

I'm a blessing, I'm a torment.
I'm cloaked in righteousness,
I'm a sinner.

I'm never the first,
I'm never the last.
I'm loved, I'm an alternative.
I'm at peace, I'm in pain.

I laugh, I cry,
I love, I despise.
I want to live, I want to die.

My face, my mask.
I am me, I am somebody else.
I am a joke, I am not funny.

I want more, I have had enough.