My thoughts on the current political scene

September 09, 2015

Finally back with a blog post after so long..

As a 16 year old girl in the current society, perhaps what I should be loving is fashion trends, trendy gadgets and such, but I think that for me, I am kinda different from the rest.. This month started off pretty well and they are lots of excited things that happened; or will be happening soon like the GE2015.

As polling day is nearing, I believe majority of Singaporeans has attended rallies of the parties and independent candidates that will be contesting in the General Election 2015. Parliament was dissolved earlier, instead of having an election 5 years once, it will be held this year since 2011.

I remembered how I stayed up till the late mornings just to see who got elected as a member of the parliament back then in 2011. From there, I knew I was interested in politics. And in fact I loved the grc that was in charge of my area, it was under Moulmein Kallang, however this year Moulmein Kallang is gone and now I'm under Jalan Besar GRC. Under the leadership of Doctor Yaacob once more.

I may not be of a legal age to vote, but there are indeed people who are interested in the outcome despite not being able to vote.

After watching so many speeches and hearing so many comments towards the PAP, SDP, RP, NSP, SF etc, there are some issues that I would like to talk about.

Actually, rallies are supposedly to boost your votes but again I realized it would be better for some to just..... not say anything.

The most popular issues so far were the Foreign Workers issue, Immigration, Healthcare,  CPF, Population, HDB flats, transport and some more issues raised were the Minimum Wage,  Single parents.

And here are my thoughts on it.

1. Foreigners cum Immigration

This is one of the hot topics in Singapore, especially when you see a lot of Chinese, Filipinos, foreign workers from Bangladesh or India, and having a handful of Singaporeans not liking them because of the following reasons (which I find neutral about it)

  • Foreign Workers are stealing our jobs
  • Foreign students are snatching places in JCs/Polys/Universities with my kids

There's a reason why students are learning Social Studies in school, and it is an important subject in order to know what is happening and why were the policies there and the reasons behind it. But I'm not just gonna think from that perspective.

For point one, where it says "Foreign Workers are stealing our jobs''. To be honest, let's just touch our hearts and ask ourselves, how many Singaporeans do you see are construction workers, domestic helpers, fast food restaurant managers, customer service officers etc? I mean, apart from the not so popular jobs like those people who works in CBD areas and such... Aren't those jobs too?

Perhaps the competition may be really huge in the company itself, the place that I'm working in has staff from China, Myanmar and Philippines as well. Even in restaurants or fast food outlets, like Mcdonalds, majority of the staff are from the Philippines (managers esp). I wouldn't say that Singaporeans are picky on their jobs, but perhaps that have better qualifications that would get them a better job with a better pay.. but it happens that the company has great competition especially with highly skilled/talented foreign workers which are indeed the competition of Singaporeans.

But I feel that we should not reduce the numbers too much, because we do need them to help our economy to prosper as a country because everybody thinks differently and perhaps their creativity can help the company too. And it's also good to build relations with people from different countries (esp our neighbouring countries or countries in a region; asean) so that in future business deals can take place even more easily. However, there is a need to cut down on the numbers too. I understand that it is really indeed stressful to feel that you may be less talented than that particular worker and may feel discouraged to do well etc. And time to time it is inevitable for Singaporeans to feel that it is no longer Singapore that they are staying in but a country full of foreigners. In a MRT cabin less than 3 ft away from you will just be a foreigner you see.

And to mention, nursing is one of the jobs where I see many many filipinos working at wee hours to take care of patients (I was one of them) and the nurses in charge of my ward; 80% of them were filipinos! But they were really kind, caring and great at their job. Even in polys, people may perceive nursing as a unpopular course because it has the highest cut off point at 26. But I feel that the people in this line are the ones who should be recognized because they take good care of people who are sick. But how many more Singaporeans are more than willing to be in this line?

On the bright side, it shows that our country is popular and people are all working hard to get a job or live here for good to enjoy the higher income that they can make and a better place that they can live in.

Then of course, this problem is not only faced by working adults. Parents too are concerned about their children having intense competition in school with the kids from other countries. Singapore is one of the countries with the best education system and everyone yearns to send their children to Singapore to study.

The fact is that kids from these countries tend to work harder than an average Singaporean kid. Because their school fees cost higher, and they do not want to waste their parents money and thus they worked really hard to do well in examinations and get a good cert and return to their country for work or further education in other countries. The top student for GCE O Levels in my school has been a Chinese student since 2011 or long ago if I wasn't mistaken. Their english and language proficiency may not be as good as a Singaporean but their hard work were reflected on their results.

Also there are also kids who come to Singapore because their parents want them too, and there are a handful of them who do not like to go to school, skip lessons and some getting into trouble with the law. Then in this case their student pass is usually cancelled and they will be sent home, so for the issue of having them staying in Singapore still as a working adult instead of a student is not there.

And instead of treating these students as a competition, perhaps treat them as someone to look up to and your child can do better than them even, While places in universities are limited, there will always be place for you if you're truly talented, whether or not in studies.

2. Healthcare

I would like to quote myself as an example of someone who benefitted from the healthcare system in Singapore. Due to my medical problems and such, I had to be hospitalized twice last year and I had done procedures like Xray, MRIs, and some surgical procedures. After, I even had to go back for consultations etc. MRI is a very expensive procedure, however the last time I saw it on the bill that was mailed to my house, about 80% of the 1k+ was being subsidized by the government, and inclusive of 6 days of ward fees (I chose C class), food, procedures, medicine and all, drips, injections, laboratory tests, the bill came out to a total of 7-8K+ but after subsidy, I had to pay 1.3-1.6k (sorry I threw the bill hence I don't remember the exact figures) and it was paid via my parent Medisave, hence the bill came to 0 dollars. Seems pretty great right?

But then, the outpatient consultations were pretty expensive. For doctor's consultation it was 70$+ and blood tests were 30$+ and medicine (3 types) were 54$+ and not forgetting Ultrasound procedure which cost 100$+? And there were actually no further subsidies.

Despite having the CHAS card which was launched recently, it still costs a lot. For consultation at your nearest clinic it may cost cheaper, less than 10$ but when it comes to healthcare at hospital it's a whole different story.

Although a polyclinic may cost cheaper, the waiting time is long and sometimes the medicine given may not be very effective (based on experience) also the waiting time for procedures may take long as well. Even in hospitals, if you were to reschedule an appointment or procedure date, you may have to wait up to 5 months.

I do know that as an individual, the best way to pay lesser for healthcare is to take care of our health more by being healthy and such, but falling sick at times and developing serious illnesses is inevitable to certain individuals like Children and Elderly. And what about them? This will in return cost a lower productivity as when Singaporeans are sick, they can't go to work or school and this will affect their knowledge and their income.

There's the 3Ms to help, Medisave (where the money comes from your pay), Medishield (insurance) and medifund (those who can't pay can apply) but sometimes I feel that for some individuals, they can't even afford to have the first 2 Ms in place. What about those who does odd jobs and such?

However thinking from the national level, if the country spends too much on healthcare, certain areas will be affected, like education and our defence etc. But I feel that while caring for the future of our nation, our people cannot be neglected. While the 3Ms is a good policy, it may not benefit certain people like how certain people will be benefitting from it. It is different. Perhaps the amount of money spent on healthcare can too be increased a little? I guess when Singaporeans get cheaper healthcare, they will not be discouraged to work harder and thus will have higher productivity.

3. CPF 

To be honest, I felt rather unhappy when my company told me that I had to contribute to my cpf if I were to earn 500$ and above, because that would mean that 20% of whatever I earn will be given away. I have friends who started working at 14 too, however at fast food restaurants thus contributing to CPF is a must. Now, I feel that one may not appreciate the CPF in the short run (because your money is often contributed to the cpf and you have less disposable income to use) BUT, if you were to think in the long run; these money will help you in your health care, HDB flats and when you retire a lump sum of money awaits you. The problem is there is a CPF Minimum Sum scheme. To me, there's pro and cons. While some people may feel that it's immoral to withhold the savings of that particular elderly, I feel that it may be better if the money were to be given back monthly for the elderly's living etc. Because sometimes elderly may get cheated of their hard earned money, or children who takes everything from them and the elderly may have to end up working odd jobs etc. Perhaps if the elderly is single or such and wishes to emigrate out of Singapore to enjoy the rest of his or her life, he or she can choose to withdraw all. Perhaps the policy shouldn't be abolished, but I feel that it should be a CHOICE. 

4. Population

6.9 million, I don't know why the PAP loves this number so much - Dr CSJ

I remembered 2 years ago when I was taking cabs to school or out for a period of time frequently, one thing I like to talk to my drivers was the population issue. And I told them, in the next election, the workers party would probably win more seats because of this issue as Singaporeans wouldn't want to see more people living in Singapore and having to squeeze into MRTs or Buses, Perhaps it may come true, perhaps it may not? To think from a national perspective, the population issue is indeed important. As Singapore may have a larger amount of ageing population as compared to newborn babies. It has been affected since the Stop At 2 policy where birth rates has dropped significantly. The aim was to have 2.1 babies per woman yet now it is at about 1.67. Which is not enough. Despite the increasing benefits, for example; cheaper delivery fees, lesser tax, baby bonus, HDB grants (if staying near parents), more paid maternity leave & paternity leave and more, people still find it expensive to have a baby due to cost of living. And the solutions to curb with low birth rates? Increase the amount of Foreign Talents who are willing to give birth to babies in Singapore.  In order to balance the population and to ensure there will be enough young males to serve the nation, and people for jobs etc, the increase is a must.

However, with the increase there are possible ramifications to consider; Transport issues; MRTs and Buses will be too packed, and even with increased frequency of the MRT and Buses, it may still be a problem. Then, we have housing issues. Singapore is a very small country, even with our high rise buildings it may still be a little difficult to house every single one of them.

5. HDB Flats

PM Lee said, even if you earn 1k per month, you will still be able to buy a 2 room flat. And yes, that is true. I would like to quote one of my relative as an example. However, it took him more than 3 applications just to ballot a flat. From the supposed Buangkok area to Woodlands area, now he is getting a flat at Yishun area. 2 room flat. He earns less than 1.2K per month, single and he was only eligible to get a flat after some time later. While you see that he may be able to get a BTO flat but if you were to consider the things he would be paying; electricity bills, food, own spending etc, how much extra income would he have left? Even if the sum of the flat can be divided into 30 years, he is 50 this year, how many more years can he work and will be able to pay off his HDB flat?

That's the thing. While you may see that it is pretty easy to pay off and not pay a single cent (deducted from CPF) but can that individual still be able to work and earn money at an older age? And btw, the price of a 2 room flat is pretty expensive. And houses like 5 rom or 4 room are getting smaller and smaller yet more expensive nowadays.

In addition, can that individual have enough money left after he has finish paying his HDB flat?

6. Transport

I'm pretty curious who will be the next Transport Minister. To be honest, this issue is indeed one of the most highly raved issue apart from CPF. When the trains faces a breakdown, the whole Singapore seemed to break down.

Even with free bus rides to bring the passengers back, it wasn't enough and there was WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE. Even cabs were hard to spot, and this led to Uber earning more money than usual - due to a surge in fees. And I saw a fare amounting to 200$.

The train is one of the highly used transport as cars are expensive (due to COE) and we have many people who are working, studying and at that time it was a peak hour hence when the trains broke down, many people are affected. But do I blame the transport minister? No. Firstly, he isn't the one who build the train nor the one who designed the system. But I feel that he should have resolved it better; let's say offer affected passengers 2 days of free ride; I know, that it cost million of dollars to be lost but I think it's only fair to do so. I mean, if you took a cab or took Uber then you can't expect LTA to refund you because you could have waited..

Should more checks be implemented? Or should the people involved in the train system review it once more to prevent further breakdowns? Definitely.

7. Minimum Wage

To be honest, I feel rather neutral about this issue. It's like, I would love to have this policy but at the same time I wouldn't want to have it. If lets say there were to be a minimum wage, will Singaporeans take it for granted and just be lazy on what they are doing because its the same amount of wage he or she will be getting? Because it will no longer be like, you working harder and then your pay will slowly be increased from 5 to 6 then 7 per hour. And will students drop out of school just to earn that ''minimum wage''? But thinking further from that, if there's minimum wage, the widening gap of economic income between the middle class and the lower class people will be smaller. And there will not be people who are too poor as well. Which is something we all should be concerned about because even if we have the highest GDP, we should always know that there will be people who are left in poverty and who struggle to live.

8. Single Parents

I do not discriminate Single Parents and I find some of the comments on Kervyn Lim's speech disgusting. Saying things like Single Parents will then be encouraged if the benefits were to be given to them. Firstly, I feel that no one chose to be a Single Parent because things like, the father or mother dying due to illness, abandoning the family, females getting raped yet not wanting to kill an innocent life happens. And I don't think its wrong to raise a child in a single parent family. Despite being different from the norm, the child is still going to grow up and get education etc. And I believe that help and benefits shouldn't be denied against those kids because they too hold a Singapore Passport and they are the citizens of Singapore. Despite being the minority, (of growing up in a single parent family) they are still the citizens and why should help be denied?

Other than all these issues, I have yet to see any politicians talking about repealing  377A and allowing Gay Marriages and such. I mean, this may be issues that minorities are facing but aren't they your citizens too? 

Apart from these issues, I think this election is pretty interesting. With single candidates surfacing and people whom we know from famous issues such as the "return our CPF". this election was pretty much full of talents. Also, we have seen the worst and best speeches.. 

And some ministers do need Oratorical Skills and perhaps go for a public speaking workshop.

Also some ministers who should have note the things that they have said as it is pretty sensitive.

Also ministers who do not make sense in their words.

This year, we have no walk overs which mean all seats are contested.

Interesting candidates like Han Hui Hui (aka Triple H), Roy Ngerng, M. Ravi, Tan Jee Say....

Some of the things that happened which left me a little HUH?

Firstly, Singfirst had their message in 4 different languages BUT their Tamil Version was actually just random tamil words put up together which meant nothing, and of cos, people were angry. Then, Mr Lim Swee Say who at first had a pretty good speech on Healthcare, yet when he said; Heng ah! I'm not from Malaysia or China.. That offended people a little? Then, we had M. Ravi and Jesse Loo from the Reform Party who accidentally asked people to Vote for PA- Worker- instead of their own party.. 

And the man from NSP who said BOOOO PAP? Er.. Also not to forget Miss Sim Ann and her ''chut pattern.'' To be honest I think she had the worse speech in this year's GE. Firstly I find her plain rude towards Dr Chee Soon Juan. I mean if that's all you, a well mannered with high education lady would say... then yeah I think there's nothing much I would want to hear from you. Instead of taking time to say such stuffs about other leaders, why not just erm talk more about your effective policies and what you can do?

But one of my favourite speech was from Doctor Chee Soon Juan, and not to forget our PM Lee. 

I find Dr Chee's speech on the ice cream situation very similar to what I usually face.

When I'm buying any grocery, I tend to eliminate the better brands for example; Skippy for peanut butter and get a cheaper brand which was of a no brand brand. To be honest, I didn't mind. But because every dollar meant so much. . And sometimes I felt that I should just wait for a sale as well and just put that peanut butter back. I mean, you may say that the 3$ don't matter but hey when you have loads of stuffs to consider, that dollar or two may be the deciding factor on whether you get to eat what you want or have to be paid towards your bills. 

Cost of living is high, but what can we do? Perhaps if you say, when compared to other countries we are considered very lucky (which I agree) but when it comes to you yourself facing such a situation, will these words come out from your mouth?

I'm not sure if there are a lot of PAP ministers who grew up from a poorer family who didn't attend elite schools etc and then joining the party to serve the people or not. because I feel that those who went through all those hardship, will understand what majority of Singaporeans are feeling.

Even if I'm not eligible to vote, I do hope for strong oppositions to be able to be in the parliament. But not just to oppose, but to come out with policies and to improve the PAP's policies. I believe if the policies are fairly made and if are beneficial for the people, even with the existence of opposition people in the parliament, there will not be issue. I mean, it's all for Singapore right.

To all who say that, opposition parties can only Talk but No Action, ask yourself if you have given them a chance or if they have been given chances in the parliament?

To be honest, I am a pro PAP person but it doesn't mean that I can't support the opposition. Those non incumbent ministers are not getting paid for what they do yet there are still many of them who chose to put their hearts into making Singapore a better place.

To me, PAP is a party which aims to make Singapore a better place in future. (and that they follow, Do what is right and not what is popular) for example the population issue it may not be good now but it will benefit the future. And how each of us living in the current generation we may not be able to live to see what happens in the future (SG100?) and how are we going to secure the future for our kids, grand children who will be seeing Singapore in SG100?

Then, opposition parties to me, they are parties who voice out for Singaporeans; issues that Singaporeans face etc.

I hope that the two parties will be able to work together instead, to make policies not just for a better Singapore in future but a Singapore that ALL Singaporeans in this generation can live in. 

Vote for those whom you really feel that can make a change for Singapore. Hear what they have to say, and you shall decide. Don't vote because you want to oppose, don't vote because you hate a particular party, don't vote because you have gratitude for the Late Mr LKY, vote because you truly want to give that party a chance to carry out their words. And if they fail to do so, the next 4-5 years, YOU SHALL VOTE THEM OUT. Why not now? You may ask, I think this year is the year where more issues are being brought up and perhaps we need to make a change in order to see a change.

To all Singaporeans, I wish you will vote wisely and may all of us see the results we want to see after all results are announced on the 12th Of September.

ps; this post is solely written with no research made, this is just my own opinion. I apologize for any mistakes in advance.

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