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.

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?