Unfortunately, sometimes, it's not just about trying to stay healthy. Try as one might, a threatening illness could still come up seemingly from nowhere. It is this sort of situation that people are afraid of. Yes, there's insurance. But how much? It can be depleted depending on severity of illness. And frankly, it's always easy to say on hindsight that one should buy as much insurance as possible. But insurance also can be a liability if not planned carefully.
That's when I feel countries with an aging population but whose governments takes care of their citizens lead a more dignified life. I've been to several overseas medical institutions and have friends working there. You can see the difference what is meant by "first world" service and dignified living. Patients there are more relaxed, they can wait at their doctor's office patiently, have more time to consult with their doctors, and even when they are suffering from terminal illnesses, they don't feel as stressed or worried as Singaporean patients. That's because these overseas patients have their medical bills taken care of by their governments.
Contrast that to Singapore, unless one is financially rich, I've seen too many patients delay their treatment because of lack of cash. Government hospital doctors are usually underpaid and have to work long hours. Seeing patients is like working in a production line. Patients' families are sometimes frustrated when they have to take leave from work to accompany their parents to see a doctor but got to wait for more than an hour because their leave is wasted or that they have to rush back to work in the afternoon.
So although citizens in other countries have to pay a lot more taxes than us, when a health disaster strikes, they know they are taken care of and still lead a dignified life.
Some health care workers here are also stressed up that they need to serve so many patients. If you all think it is only a one off incident that the elderly patient in a nursing home was "thrown around" by their staff, think again. There are many such unreported incidents from my own working experience, even in a fairly well-known nursing home. No choice. Lack of staff to do this labour intensive job, so got to get foreigners. They are not terribly well paid and have to serve too many patients.
Then for the poorer patients, they worry about not being able to afford the expensive medical expenses. The government here may say they will subsidize this and that, especially for the pioneer generation. That's good. But they are not dealing head on with other issues.
Think about it. Why are HDB flats now so expensive? Why is there a lack of hospital beds to the extent that patients got to wait in queue for a bed and even if they have one, they lie in some makeshift tent. Is that a dignified way to be treated as a citizen who needs medical treatment?
Why are the MRT trains so crowded especially during peak periods that we have to miss 2 or 3 trains everyday cos we can't get into them?
All these point to the fact that the Singapore government has brought in too many foreigners too soon and make them Singaporeans. The infrastructure is not well-prepared for it. Have you ever seen one whole "jing-gang" of foreigners (who are likely PR or already Singaporean) walk around with their kids and parents? When these foreigners come, you sometimes have to x2 for their kids to be raised here, or even x3 or x4 if they bring in their parents (either on social pass visit or even made Singaporeans themselves!) I have waited for more than hour in clinics before and I observed that many patients are foreign-looking.
No, Singaporeans are generally not xenophobic. But if the government does not plan well to cope with the changing social landscape, it is not surprising why there are so many unhappy people here.
In case the government supporters here are going to say: "If you don't like Singapore, you can pack up and leave", I'd reply that by saying, Hold it! We are Singaporeans and we deserve to air our views. Like some said it b4 here, Singapore does not equal or belong to the ruling government.
Too many times, I have heard ministers and the PM say, Come! We are listening to you. Give suggestions on how we can make Singapore better. Yet, when so many Singaporeans air their views, have their voices been heard by the government? NO!
We sometimes have open forums and discussions which have pre-selected participants and audiences. Everything looks so wholesome. But the problems and suggestions Singaporeans are trying to raise for the longest time have never been dealt with directly by these politicians. How can you blame us when we say all these dialogue sessions by the government with the people are all "wayang"?
I know the government is constantly trying to make more money for the country. Boost our economy, that's what we always hear. But are the common citizens enjoying the rewards of all the hard work? I don't think so. It's the rich getting richer.
In the light of the CPF issue, the government says the minimum sum is for us to tide over for our retirement. Ok fine. I think many sensible people can accept that. But that's not the main issue. The government THINKS all of us want to abolish the CPF or the minimum sum. Not really. If the ministers and PM are saying the minimum sum has to increase every year to cope with inflation, then let me ask them point blank in the face: Are our salaries necessarily increasing to cope with inflation also?
There are people close to me, and they are Singaporeans. They take on jobs that pay them $x amount which was the same as some 10 years ago. So how are we to survive? And whoever said that Singaporeans don't take on jobs which are lowly paid for long working hours? Don't be misled by everything they say!!!
So what we are asking now is: Can the Singapore government at least study to see if they can give us better interest rates on our CPF money to cope with the rising costs? Can they also introduce more flexibility on how our money can be withdrawn? Can they also be more transparent with how our money is being invested?
For many many years, we have been suppressed and not obtained answers to these important questions. And I doubt we will have them anytime soon.
From my own experience, the amount of money I owed the CPF from using it to pay for my apartment had ballooned to more than twice the cost of the apartment by the time I finished paying the 25 yrs loan. I can't imagine what would be the amount I had to pay back into my CPF account if the CPF OA interest rate had been increased from 2.5% to say 6.0%.
At today's property prices, it may be difficult for many people not to resort to financing their housing loans through their own CPF accounts but they should go into it with their eye opened. Ideally, they should:
(a) Hold the property until they are 55 yrs of age or older before selling it off if they want to keep all the sales proceeds
(b) Be aware that a substantial chunk of the sales proceeds of their property may have to go back to their CPF accounts if they sell off their property before 55 yrs of age, so the property has better appreciated enough to cover this and more.
Property and financial consultants feel free to chip and correct me if I'm wrong.
We don't want a bunch of actors to participate and wayang in a National debate, we need only one true-blue Singaporean and that's You!
Nikomi Canpen Zenten :eek:
Not exactly 100% Natural but definitely the closest you can get to it
Clearly there are needs for not just frank dialogue and actions to tweak the various public programmes but so long as all the long outstanding questions are not answered/reveal in it's entirely, nothing will ever be done as one can not do one part without revealing the other and the citizens are not willing to just take it at face value AGAIN and just carry on.
Last edited by sammy888; 25th June 2014 at 01:06 PM.
But then sometime we can say so much or put suggestions across, will the garmen really listen and act on it?
There you have it. You heard it here first. We have undeniable proof declared here (at face value) that all it well and we should go back to work and stop all this tomfoolery. It's all in our head. Win lor. heheh
Last edited by sammy888; 25th June 2014 at 10:58 PM.
Since we are on garmen service, let me share with you all one funny story.
Long long time ago i was working as a maintenance crew in one of the garmen buildings. There was this schorer, just graduated, wide-eyed and eager to prove his worth. Since he was schorer, he got to have lunch with some of the big shots quite often. Before any of those lunches, he would come around and ask if there is anything we want to feedback, he can take the opportunity to feedback to his big shots.
Frankly i suspect he just wanted to gather content so he wouldn't appear stupid in front of the big shot.
But anyway one day i told him, the garmen FT policy is wrong. I asked him to show, through economic theory or published studies, or through any mechanism he could think of, how large number of FTs will bring about better lives for us all.
He couldn't. All he could do was keep insisting FTs will bring us a bright future, for the future generation, for his kids, etc etc, basically the useless drivel that is now the population white paper.
After that, he became an even more vehement proponent of FT policy. Everyday he went around telling the bosses how MNCs will only set up here if they can have enough manpower here, so we need vast number of FTs.
He then went away for awhile to do his masters.
Then he came back to a different world. The garmen woke up and realized they screwed up big time. The smes are addicted to cheap FTs and clamouring for more. Smes are technologically weak. Productivity is negative. For the past decade GDP growth is mostly due to a bloated workforce. Housing prices are sky-high and in a bubble. The infrastructure couldn't handle it.
So the garmen decided to start a big movement on productivity. Some of the different garment agencies were told to come up with ideas to boost productivity. Some of the agencies set up small task forces because in garmen sector task force is the universal solution to everything.
This schorer was put in charge of one of the task force. That was about the time i left the co., so that was the last i heard of him. But former colleagues say he is now a vehement proponent of very careful FT policy.
So the guy who was at least party responsible for the mess is now rewarded with the job of fixing it. Great for his portfolio. Next big step to promotion.
Interesting true CSB right? Behold, the irony of life.
<insert boo-hoo-there-is-no-groupthink gif here>
Great points raised
Last edited by ed9119; 27th June 2014 at 09:22 AM.
shaddap and just shoot .... up close
Last edited by Zenten; 11th July 2014 at 01:12 PM.
Nikomi Canpen Zenten :eek:
Not exactly 100% Natural but definitely the closest you can get to it
Last edited by sammy888; 12th July 2014 at 09:23 AM.