Monday, August 15, 2016

On Gold and Schooling

First off, a belated 51st birthday to the nation and may we strive on to see to the 101st eventhough it is unlikely that I will live to see it.

Another belated gift to the nation comes in the form of the first olympic Gold Medal Won by Joseph Schooling in the Rio Olympic Men's 100m butterfly and from here, congratulation to Joseph Schooling on his monumentous win and also a pat on the back for his parents for seeing their hard work coming to  fruition.

While I partake in the joy and celebration, I will have to confess that I did not in any way contributed to his success. His glory is his and his family alone, let us remember this and not to take it away or diminish it.

There had always been questions if Joseph, his parents and even his grandparents are Singaporean, unfortunately for him, he and his parent are as Singaporean as Singaporean gets, which is what I believe, resulting in him and his family having to go through a decade and more of trial and tribulation in order to see all these comes to 50.38 sec of glory and a moment in history on the Podium of the Olympics.

Putting it perspective, if he was indeed some youngling that was talent scouted oversea to be the Golden boy of Singapore Swimming, He will probably be given a stipend on top of all his training and coaching paid for. His parent probably would not have to sell their house just so that he can train and study overseas and compete at a level that pushes him to greatness.

There are some that said that it takes a community that raised a champion, but in this case, I will say that the parents are probably the most important pillar of his success. With his drive and determination, he could probably ace in any other far more lucrative pursuits. Which is why when young Schooling go and tell his dad that he wants to be a world class swimmer, I am glad that Old Schooling did not knock him hard on the head and make him go be a world class mathematician, lawyers or Doctor and deprive us of our Gold Medal.

It was his Dad's dedication and his Mum's gumption that they went to MINDEF to get Schooling his deferment and put up a case so tight that MINDEF eventually relent. Which is a lesson to us parent that when our children have dreams that is big and potential to be greater, our own comfort and dreams might have to take a back seat.

There are some business out thaer that is taking advantage on Schooling's success. Despicable as it may seems, they are not wrong to take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity to ride on Nationalistic euphoria to promote their biz. So long as they do not falsify any endorsement or sponsorship, or take credit that Schooling's success, I will just take it that this is business being business, and that it came only once in the last 51 years.

As for politicians that suddenly became best pals, good uncle/auntie to our newly minted Golden boys, well, I do certainly hope that they take it to heart that the only reason that they partake in this glorious win has nothing to do with what they had done. IT is just sheer luck that Joseph was born in Singapore and that somehow our star shone through that the schoolings did not decide to up and leave for greener pastures when there was so many that stacked against them in achieving this win.

And that it was almost a shrug to explain away why we almost have to watch his win on delayed telecast and that while they flew first class on tax payers' money half way around the world to RIO to shake hand and bask in his glory, there are far too many athletes that are struggling to fund to fly to their next competition and that before crowd-sourcing, they will have to sell the roof over their head to realise a dream so big.

So, I am glad that Schooling stayed Singaporean and win 1 for Singapore. While the Nation owes you a debt. (By the way, the prize money still have to be deducted for Tax and contribution to the National Swimming association or something like that because they did what for him???)
I will just wih all the best in your next competition in the pools or in life.

Monday, May 02, 2016

You sure you can win


I have no idea why, but it seems like one almost candidate got his day of fame making to the news.
Yes, I am talking about Mr Shirwin Eu (#SureWinYou)
Let's just say that there is little not to like about the young man. He is a family man, started a family, have a supportive wife, and entrepreneurial as well, after all,  he is an Uber driver shows that he is hardworking and holds down an honest self-employing job, unlike some other contestant.
But most of all, I think he has guts, enough guts to go up and get the form to stand for election and more so for showing up on nomination day. That takes a lot of courage because by simply showing up, he might have been seen as an anti-establishment troll or someone to upset the status quo, and to stand against the power that be and the chief anti-establishment just doesn't goes down well in any case.
He is honest as well, as he can candidly say
“I like to be elected. I like to, eh, enjoy the fame and wealth of this job prospect."

And that he does have detractors and mostly from the opposition supporters, thinking that he is either a lunatic or a troll. If he was successfully nominated, he would have made it a 3 corner fight, spoiling the chance for Dr. Chee
But what he did, in his failed bid for the nomination, highlight the following due process not mentioned in any National Education Material.

 Nomination papers
27.
(2) 
(b)be signed by a proposer and a seconder, and 4 or more persons as assentors, each of whom must be a person whose name appears in the register of electors for the electoral division in which the person seeks election;
 
Which means that for someone to be nominated, Sherwin needs to find 6 person within the constituency to nominate him.
While some might decry this as being unfair, but just think about this, if  it is somebody that might not have even heard of, suddenly comes to town and run your town for the next 5 yrs, how would you feel?
The only unfairness here is that, if it is someone that  comes from a party that have established grassroots everywhere, party members in every neighbourhood if not every block, the question might not be the rules, but how such an entity has been allowed to exist in the past decades using tax payers money.
Then, there is a need to put down a deposit. Which may sound mercenary, but probably necessary as the campaign, the posters and the rally all cost money. the only point that is hardly fair is to have the deposit forfeited should the candidate fails to garner a certain level of votes.
What is laughable is the point that people takes issue with an independent candidate. Having someone to stand for an election is the democratic process, the only laughable situation is when the election is a walk-over and the saddest part is that having common folk deriding the democratic process and people actively embarking on this process in the hopes to serve them.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

interview and performance review

Besides having a little red dot stickers that reminds us that it has been 50 years since we celebrated our independence, let us not forget that this also happens to be the election year. And that, politicians incumbent and aspiring is really in our face to remind us every step of the way  that they are the best choice and that they are the right person for the job.

Which is interesting, that at the crux of us having 50yrs behind, and looking forward to the next uncertain 50, we have to set our mind and think straight.

Now, to deconstruct elections and all its campaigning, it is a nothing more than, " An interview and performance review for the politicians to take on the job of becoming our boss, or if you may, the lords and masters."

Why are they the lords and masters? because they will be solely responsible for the next 5 yrs to decide what we are suppose to do for the next 5 years. If they decided that it is illegal to use the phone while walking or use the camera, you can be arrested for playing candy crash while going to the MRT station....... So, it is a serious matter.

As with all interviews and appraisal, every trick in the book is being pulled out, such as making sure that the playing field is levelled or tilted in the form of election boundary redrawing and such.

Staking claims and introducing new faces and changing a few appointments, there are also people retiring for good measures, or as a transition to a higher position of eminence.

As with all interviews and appraisals, the whole idea is to connect with the other sides, in this case, the voters, to show them the great work that has been so far, through connections by using effigies of eminent statesmen pass and also if all else fails, doles out goodies.

But that, if we talk about great work being done thus far, some of them had to be that bold audacious move to put even more people on this land. And that, as less and less couples are inclined to put more babies as their duties of nation building this increment has to be done through import. While I am not a big fan of that, lets just say that my opposition to that is simply that, in order to pull that off and to convince me that it should be done, show me that our island can support that many people. And this time, my simple exhort is this, show me that our infrastructure is able to cope and that we have facilities that is so under used before you even talk about bringing more in. And while you are at it, fix the bloody train or at least make sure that there is a direct bus to connect me.

In short, this is no longer about what we have achieved for the last 50 years but where we want to go for the next 50. I have my reservation about trusting nation to people that pilfer tooth picks and regales about it on national media and that I am probably had had enough about butterfly lovers as an explanation to oversights.

We the people are grateful for the last 50 but, in order to need the confidence for the next 50 and not a distant memories of the greatness that was coming 2065, please:

Show something concrete
Show that you listen
Show that you care
Show that you can really deliver
Show that you have the solution and not asking me for a solution to my problems
Show that you are worth the money.






Friday, May 01, 2015

Videos and Slap

I do not condone violence and that I believe to express oneself in an act of violence is silly and pointless. Nor do I believe in slapping people and run away, slap is an insult, and that if you can't stand there and gloat over the slap, it is probably not done in righteousness. To slap and run is an act of cowardice and that to slap a young boy because his post offend you, that is probably as heroic as a school yard bully.

Now, I did watch the video, if some of you is wondering, I stopped half way as I was disgusted by it. But I do feel that the boy who made that video is not the problem. He has problem obviously. whether he was prodded to do the video by some misguided people with nefarious design or he was just simply troubled, he needs alot of counseling and maybe even psychiatric help. I am not so sure if a jail term or fine is going to be of any help.

Now, back to the slap. Slapping someone is what they call " Voluntary causing hurt", whatever reason it may be, it is a crime. Now, doing it in front of a court, to someone that you think deserves jail time, that takes it far beyond just causing hurt. It is now sending a message that the slapper thinks that the boy needs to be punished beyond what the court can mete out.The slapper also pronounced the boy guilty, isn't that like telling the judge that he thinks the boy is guilty and deserves punishment, or he is just being the judge and executor all in 1? And doing that in front of the court, is that not slapping the court and the judiciary as well?

It wasn't a random accident, the slapper knows who he was intending to slap and he went there and did just that. Now, imagine, if it wasn't a slap but a stab? The boy is terrible, but did he deserves to be knife and gutted? Or was it someone that once suggested to cut off his.....
 




Monday, March 09, 2015

Mine, yours or theirs

There was this fantastic speech being made in the parliament concerning CPF which was lauded by our esteemed Prime minister, and can be found here
And that I was reading a post by a friend and I would just want to embellish some points.

There was some uproar caused by the following quote


In relation to the use of CPF money, we have heard proponents who say that the CPF monies is theirs. “It’s our money, it’s in our account, it’s our retirement money. I want it out, I will spend it anyway we want.” Fine. Is it our money? Our CPF savings are enhanced and forced CPF savings which are accumulated through our own deferred consumption, through co-payment by our employers and through top-ups from public funds. Is it really my private money? Do I have the right to spend it the way I would spend my own salary? I’m not entirely sure.

I know at the end of the day, that because I’m not the only person contributing to the fund, I cannot be the only person to call the shots as to how I am going to spend it. At the very least, I have a moral obligation to spend it wisely. Why do I say that? Because if I’m not judicious in my spending at the end of the day, who’s going to maintain me in my twilight years – the state? Who? Ultimately it means someone else is bearing it right, another taxpayer. So if I’m not judicious and I’m arguing this is my money, I’m not going to be responsible in my use and if I argue this is your money, you use it anyway you want – I’m not responsible as a citizen. – Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Chia Yong Yong


The first question here is about the ownership. I am wondering if Ms Chia was wondering if she was wondering about the fact that CPF was her own private money? If she has the rights to spend it the she want? if she can spend it like her own salary?

The first question here is about ownership. Is CPF really our own money?
using Singlish, I will say, it is "by right", your own money.
because, it is in name, your money. because like some labour chief once said, he saw his CPF contribution every month and he felt very rich. So, if it is not his, why will he felt rich?

But yet, it is as much my money like the Ang Bao money that my parent kept for me when I was young. It was kept for the future, being saved on my behalf and as I would not know any better. It is mine, in name but sometimes, I hardly see it.

The question here is that, just because it is a forced and enhanced saving that receive top-up from the employer and sometimes, the government, made it any less, mine? I hardly think so. I think that so long as it comes to an account that bears my name, I am responsible for it.

Another point is that, it is because I worked in that company, and that the company is willing to pay my remuneration,  and most importantly, it is considered as part of the pay package offered to me, as such, I will considered this point as moot.

Which comes to 1 point in Ms Chia's statement about being responsible as a citizen. One of the key responsibility of the citizen is that of tax. We pay taxes, which means, we contribute to the national coffer. putting it into prospective, going by Ms Chia's rationale, the government should bear in mind when they spend on the coffer, they should think twice when spending it willy-nilly and we should be consulted, no? We should be accountable to, no? anyway, I shall leave it to another time to dwell on this point.

And this comes to the next point in her discourse about how it is irresponsible to allow the account holder should be allow to use the funds anyway they want. Lets just say that nobody is talking about a carte blanch, but rather, a greater liberty to use the funds when they are in their vulnerable years after 55 whereby they could be retrenched or fall ill while taking a substantial impact in their income.
That has nothing to do with irresponsible spending, more on not being dependant on the public and becoming destitute.

Lets get back to basic. The whole idea of the CPF in its inception is a self funded retirement fund that is based on how hard one has worked during their working life. It spurs the economy as most people worked hard to make sure that they have not just enough to make ends meet, but also to build a nest egg for their Golden Years. To suggest that money is anything less than their own, and to suggest that people worked hard to have better access as irresponsible is derisory to say the least.

Lets just say that we should go back to the basic and make the fundamental changes that is needed to meet future challenges. It is as simple as the following:

  1. Improve wage condition for everyone, especially those of lower wages
  2. Increase Employer contribution ration
While some will say that this will result in market meltdown and foreign investment exiting en masse. It unfortunately has become inevitable as the minimum sums rise and rise again year after year while my pay seems to be getting nowhere.


Thursday, March 05, 2015

How Long and How far

Thanks to a recent change in the nature and location of my work, I did not take public transport that often. I am sure that the statement below was not due to me.

video




Which does make 1 wonder, what is the capacity that our MRT was built for, because I was once led to believe that, it is a matter of if we choose to board or not.
















As such, it is clear that, the recent occurence of train having issue has absolutely nothing to with SMRT or the LTA whatsoever, it is not their fault.






















And we,  as commuters, should just





















However, I do have questions

While it is possible that we all staggered our time to avoid over crowding the public transport, can LTA come out with an app that let us indicate our time at the MRT station so that others can decide if they should wake up even earlier to avoid crowding?

Can I tell my boss that I need to clock out earlier so that I will not crowd the MRT on my way home?

Can We have an excuse chit to show to our children's childcare so that we will not be fined when we are late to pick up our kids due to train breakdown?

Can I ask that PTC be finally able to include in their SLA that if there are train breakdown after a fare hike is annouced, they should just pay for the fare hike themselves instead? I mean, I am not asking them to resign or comit Harakiri which is what honourable people did in the good old days

In the mean time, please know that COE just went up and that there will be more Gantry in case you are thinking of driving

And for the rest,

We still need to ask ourselves, how long is the journey going to take and how far that we have to walk to our destination.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Money can't buy

The recent parliament speech by Ms Josephine Teo was indeed inspiring. And that I think she is right in saying that National Service is something bigger than money and that it should not require a higher remuneration in the form of an increase in NSMEN allowance.

Looking beyond materialistic needs, I cannot help but agree with her.

I also think that, besides National Service, the other higher state of calling will be to be called to serve the people through the ballot box. As National Service is a law enshrined to ensure that able bodied men are called to protect our Nation, Electing of the Members of Parliament is a higher calling as it is the people who desired that you represent them.

As such, I think it is only fair that we restructure the MP's pay in accordance to that to reward them.

The first thing I can think of, is that a Member of Parliament should be paid in a multiples of that of a NSMEN. As such, I think a MP should be paid 10 times that of a NSMEN.
Of course, we should also give them other perks.
1 of which I can think of, is that, they should be given free Safra memberships as long as they are in office.

Also, They should be given a card, not unlike that of a Pioneer Generation Card so that they can pay less when they visit GP and Polyclinics. Speaking of healthcare, they should also be given annual $8 heart bypass and also prostate examinations.

They should also be given a fare card that allows them to have free rides on our world class public transport. I will gladly subsidise them if a fare increase is warranted. After all, public transport should not be a lost-making business despite it being a public service and all.

I will think that they will need their everyday expense taken care of, as such. They should be given NTUC voucher of a princely $100 every quarter and entitled to CPF life. They also should be given a subsidised rate to an elder care services in Batam or JB.

I mean, we have to make sure that we spend public fund prudently and also that it is not always about the money but the feel good element for one being elected to serve..... No?