Saturday, April 12, 2008

On being 2nd class citizens

Thought Provoker said...
It is truly sad that we are more or less second class citizens in a country where we were born and bred.

However, it is heartening to see someone of your experience having the individuality to see things as they are. Most from your generation are either hopelessly loyal to PAP or hopelessly disillusioned about the reality of living in this business organisation - Singapore Inc.

I remember reading about your despair regarding the CPF changes sometime back and I hope you have since found ways to make things better for yourself.

Take care and all the best - you are not alone...

Thought Provoker

Dear Thought Provoker,

It’s really nice of you to visit my blog and enquire of my well-being. I do not mean to sound maudlin, but your writing to me as a fellow Singaporean (whom I think you are) speaks volume of the concern, care, compassion and empathy which is so absent in the current leadership. Hot air manifesto like “staying together moving ahead” means nothing when you know of how mean and stingy they are when asked to help the poorest of the poor.

As much as we are treated as second class citizens (compared to FT's), we must not succumb to it by accepting and behaving like one. If we do, we would have lost ourselves and rightly deserve to be the morons that they take us to be. The ability for us to exchange and share our experiences in cyberspace (even it's considered inflammatory opinions, half-truths and untruths by some) is the best way to show that even self-proclaimed world class government can and do treat its citizens as underclass. In their scheme of hoarding power and wealth for themselves, they only want us to be mere digits at their disposal.

When will Singaporean learn that disagreeing with PAP is not a crime? Speaking up does not make you a traitor! If leaders are sincere about building an inclusive Singapore, they should welcome our honest feedback. If not, "Together, we can build a compassionate, gracious and inclusive society, and make Singapore the best home for all of us " is nothing but a load of crap and our country is just another 'hypocracy' - a unique democracy ruled by a bunch of hypocrites! Our daily pledge of "building a democratic society based on justice and equality" then becomes a bloody joke that doesn't mean squat. With due respect, it becomes an insult to our late Minister and founding father, Mr S Rajaratnam. I hope he's not turning in his grave with the upgrading fiasco of Hougang and Potong Pasir.

In fact, our experiences, rants and feelings in the blogs are helping overpaid elites and ministers understand the ground better. They should be grateful for our 'straight from the heart' blogs as their balls carrying sycophantic grassroots leaders are too scared to bring up unpleasant truths. Instead of being their "wicked problems", we can help them create new mindset with some humility, I hope :)

As much as PAP MPs (who are worth their salt) are doing their best to persuade the ministers to care and do more, I believe bloggers in cyberspace have contributed in making them come out of their ivory tower to do a little better. The increase of public assistance from $260 to $290 to $330 with effect from May 2008 may be an example. However, it may be too late and too little as the crazy inflation and GST will negate the increase.

If "Ah Long" Singapore has more than enough for GIC and Temasek to sink $billions into Shincorp, Merrill Lynch, United Bank of Singapore (UBS), etc. why can't they be a little nice and help our down and out? With so much fat to spare helping other first world countries, why make it so difficult for our own poor?

In Singapore we are expected to expire before our cash savings and Medisave expires. Do we become irresponsible garbage to be wasted when we outlive our usefulness? Or is it the government's sworn duty to avoid helping us when we are old and sick, and down and out? Maybe to them, Singaporean without sufficient cash or Medisave should never get sick and be hospitalised. They just want us to "pokkuri shinu. Pokkuri refers to the popping of a bubble. They want their lives to be fun and happy, and at some stage, just 'pop' and die in their sleep."! With the kind of overbearing government that we now have, how to be fun and happy? Instead of popping in their sleep, some desperate ones are popping prematurely - jumping from HDB highrise and into MRT tracks!

They talk so much about Medisave, Medishield, Medifund as if it is their gifts to us. The truth is it's our hard earned money and they are making an enterprise out of it. It's not even a social enterprise, it's their money making machine at our bloody expense! It's a shame that many Singaporeans have been so brainwashed that they have forgotten that CPF belongs to them and not the greedy government!

I was treated by my heart doctor at CGH as an outpatient recently. I was told that I could pay outpatient charges with my Medisave. However, I had to pay a co-insurance of $30 and a deductible of 15% of the balance. I must also pay them an admin fee of $3 plus to use this mode of payment. Because of my refusal to pay the admin fee (which is bloody daylight robbery!) they insisted that I pay cash. It really hurts when the government (through legislation) can take away my money and tax me when I want it back for my healthcare. For heaven's sake, it's money to heal my sick damaged heart! The irony is the admin nurse/clerk also advised me to pay cash as she said it's not worth paying a tax of $3 plus to take out $42.50 [total bill of $80 less $30(deductible) less $7.50(co-insurance)] from my Medisave as it works out to 7%! Or was she told to encourage me to pay cash so that CPF can hold longer to my hard earned savings? I don't know. Why make it so difficult for me? Why profiteer from me? Who's money is it anyway?

My concern now is the increase of premium for Medishield. I remember that there was to be no means testing before the election. However, means testing is coming. Or is it already here? Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said, "No medishield premium increase reported CNA on 29 January 2008 but increase is coming wrote Straits Times of 30 January 2008! Deja vou! And it's only less than $3 a month for under-50 stated Straits Times. Isn't that wonderfully cheap? Truth is those aged 80 and above will have to pay up to $1,185 a year! Frankly, I have been so dazed and confused by the ever spinning changing policies in CPF that I've given up asking just what they are doing with my money? All I know is it's not a social service. It's another immoral immortal goose laying golden eggs (like GST, ERP, COE) for them to mess around with. The saddest joke of all is I did not even claim my Medishield when I was laid up in Changi General Hospital as an inpatient for more than 10 days when I had my heart attack! And they are now finding new ways to bleed me with new exorbitant Medishield premiums!

Years ago, CPF outsourced Medishield to private insurance companies like NTUC Income or Great Eastern or AIA or whatever. I was flabbergasted as I thought it was not ethical for CPF to transfer and reveal my personal particulars to such corporations. With the personal particulars in the hands of those insurers, imagine the cold calls they could make to increase their business! So uniquely Singaporean but what to do, it's happened :)

Now old fogeys like myself are advised to slog until we die! You know the propaganda starts when you hear, "Retirement means death, don't stop working", MM Lee . To me, its another song and dance to ensure that the elderly poor do not bug the government for handouts. Tsk, tsk, how can Singapore afford such a dependency mentality! I wonder if the increase rate of suicides in Singapore is due to the fact that it is more honourable for one to jump from highrise HDB and into MRT tracks than to seek help from those elitist arrogant money vampires?

Hey, who wants to retire with an annual pay of over $3,000,000 per annum and having no boss to report to? Having the opportunity to screw the bosses as and when the fancy takes you is a fantastic bonus! Isn't it sweet to tell the bosses that they are "complacent" and "living in the make-believe world" when he's actually caught with his pants down after his subordinates have screwed up big time in national security.

Meanwhile, have a good read of Mr Leong Sze Hian's piece on CPF Medishield at

Thanks so much for visiting and no worries, Thought Provoker, I'm doing good. With your provocation of my thoughts to write more, I hope they won't detain me for being radicalised or trying to radicalise. Whatever that means :)



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