Tag Archive | singapore girl

Feel good expressions that are plain bad

The crash of an airplane is always a bad, sad event especially one that’s carrying a full load like MH17.

What makes this event even sadder than sad is the fact that it was shot down, with suspicions resting on the heads of the Ukrainian rebels backed by Russia.

No one onboard, as far as anyone knows, the ill-fated Boeing 777 had anything to do with the Russia-Ukraine squabbles. So it’s a random, pointless and baseless tragedy!

Making this shocking event especially brain-numbing shocking is the fact it’s Malaysia Airlines’ second air tragedy in just four months. :cry:

For me, who is linked to Malaysia by personal history, kinship, friendships and the sheer proximity of our countries, I feel as numbed as I would feel if MH17 were a close personal friend.

So, I was snappy with a VVIP Singaporean friend who Whatsapp me from Bangkok with this message: “Malaysia really tak boleh. This year two total wipeouts of planes with lots of passengers. How they cope with Isis?”

I replied: “Pse don’t blame Malaysia. MH370 still a total mystery. MH17 a matter of timing, Ukraine rebels etc. Just pray this doesn’t happen to SIA. As for Isis, just blame US n the Israelis.”

No further contact from him.

Guess I must have pissed him of.

Just as I was pissed off to read on the front page of The Straits Times of July 19, below the banner headline top story, one that was titled “Lucky couple, someone must have been watching over us…”

It’s about a Scottish couple who had been planning to fly on MH17 but switched to a later KLM flight because MH17 was full.

Mr Barry Sim and his wife Izzy, who heard about the tragedy on the way to the airport, spoke of the “sick feeling” they experienced on hearing the news. Mr Sim told the (UK) Telegraph: “You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going.”

His wife added: “There must have been someone watching over us and saying ‘you must not get on that flight’. “Coming to the airport in the taxi I was just crying … I feel like I’ve been given a second chance.”

As a bystander, I was upset by the headline. I can imagine what those who lost friends, loved ones, even whole families, would feel.

If someone watched over the Sims so that they didn’t board the ill-fated flight, what did it mean for the 298 who perished? There were babies, grandmothers, even a nun. No supernatural forces were on their side? Surely not!

I am sure Mrs Sim hadn’t intended to convey what the headline made her appear to imply — or encourage those reading it to infer adverse meanings.

But the fact is, that was how it came across. At least to me.

Hence today I am glad on re-checking the online version of the ST July 19 issue, I found the Sims’ account carried a factual and neutral headline: Malaysia Airlines MH17: Scottish couple missed flight which was overbooked.

In recent years, the Internet has helped to proliferate feel-good aphorisms, taglines or sayings that are meant to uplift and convey “there but for the grace of you-know-who”…

I however never feel good to say “I used to complain about my tight-fitting shoes till I met someone with no feet.”

I prefer to feel good on meeting someone who has everything and realise that compared with the best I can still count myself lucky.

For in this world of unpredictability and constant change beyond our control, it is better to live by the Chinese saying 塞翁失馬焉知非福 (Saiweng Shima, Yanzhi Feifu)

What bugs me about our Government…

Unlike what the doyenne of PAP critics Catherine Lim claimed, I am one of millions of Singaporeans who trusts our Government, especially when it comes to my CPF.

This said, I have one bug bear.

The bug bear only came into my room in the last few years.

I had been considering moving to HDB in my sunset years, especially after I discovered that HDB flats as young as 3 years (!!!) could be bought in the resale market. These are SERS flats and they are in choice locations.

One of mum’s friends snapped up one in Tiong Baru when she was already 80! And she took the top floor of a high-high rise!

I visited and I was “sold”.

But like the careful person that I am, I looked to my left and right and then front and back and then pondered again.

Then wham! My option as a private property owner to buy HDB in the open market was taken away overnight. All in the interest of cooling our bubbly property market.

I might have accepted it as another of G’s policies to keep our good ship SG on even keel.

But what got — and still gets — my goat is that HDB home owners continue to enjoy the bonanza of being eligible to private property — whether to live or invest in — and continue to hold their HDB.

Why, I ask myself, especially if the HDB property owner is only a PR and not a citizen. :roll:

Where is the level playing field, between citizens with private property who want to acquire a HDB unit from the resale market and PRs owning resale HDB being allowed to buy private property?

Where is the level playing field between citizens and citizens, when on the one side are those like me — who have never benefited from the state’s subsidised housing — prevented from buying resale HDB and those who have had one or more bites of the hugely subsidised new direct HDB cherry and then are given the extra privilege to buy private, even as the Government is trying to douse the speculative sparks in the property market!

One way I can read this is the G’s way of closing the income and asset gap among Singaporeans! But since our really rich won’t contemplate HDB for love or money, it means those who are effectively held back are only the middle income who are truly squeezed by the falling value of their cash assets, the rising cost of living and their dwindling earning power which moves inversely with their rising age.

Thus if boy-oh Roy Ngerng and his looney gang had wanted some support, this would have been a better cause for them to adopt. At least where I am concerned.

Even then, I won’t have lent him one cent, let alone donate it, if it meant encouraging him to defame anyone, let alone the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile I reproduce a letter from the ST Forum Page which continues to express private property owners’ grief and grievance against the unfair treatment of better off Singaporeans. Resonates with me. Wholly!

THERE are four factors to be considered when discussing whether HDB flat owners who move to private property should be allowed to keep their old flats (“Let HDB landlords enjoy their rent”; Thursday).

First, one reason for banning private property owners from co-owning an HDB flat is the fear of driving up prices in the resale market that could become unaffordable for first-time home buyers.

Without the ban, affordability can be sustained only by channelling more public funds into building more new flats, rather than recycling the existing stock.

Second, residing in private property accords the owner the benefits of exclusivity, prestige and better facilities.

There is a price to be paid for these benefits, and not hoarding a public flat should be one of the costs.

The upgrader has already benefited from the first ownership of affordable housing in the form of an HDB flat that helped pave the way towards owning a private home.

The first-time home owner who goes straight into buying private property does not enjoy this benefit.

The argument that the rules penalise a flat owner for becoming wealthy is not convincing, as there is the option of not owning private property.

Third, there are already schemes allowing HDB owners to sublet their homes partially or in full.

A retiree can even rent out the whole flat after the mandatory five-year occupation period if he lives with his children.

It seems odd that a retiree would want to hoard an HDB flat to support his retirement when he could simply choose not to buy a private property.

Fourth, Singapore’s rental market is heavily leveraged on foreigners’ demand. Whenever the volume of foreign tenants declines, there will be many homes left unoccupied.

Unoccupied private homes are a poor investment. Unoccupied HDB flats point to public policy unwisely executed.

After all, HDB was founded on the basis of providing an affordable home, not providing an affordable investment.

Liew Eng Leng

Why G must never hand over all CPF

If one needs only ONE reason why our Government must stand firm against all assault on the CPF Minimum Sum scheme, then the widow from Skudai who squandered $1 million (MR2.5million) in just 12 months is that very reason. (See full story below)

OK, perhaps this example has come to light at a fortuitous time when people with little money sense are pushing to get their hands on some real money of their own. Or perhaps this example has been dug up by parties who want to deliver a lesson to those who don’t know better. No matter. Because the example ain’t a made-up story. It’s something that can and will happen to those falling into the category of the proverb “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

Those who agitate against G keeping the minimum sum and turning it into CPF Life and yet at the same time cry that their CPF savings aren’t enough to see them through their twilight years are talking from both sides of their mouths.

So if you don’t have enough CPF to last you till your last day, then taking out whatever little you have is going to change matters, izzit?

What kind of muddled thinking is this, especially for the 50% of CPF members on the verge of retirement who are said to have less than the stipulated MS!

If the Skudai widow can get through a million bucks in 12 months, how long do you think $60K or $70K is going to last folks who got so little in their self-managed POSB accounts that they hanker after what little they have in their CPF!

At least Madam Pusparani has youth on her side. She has decades ahead of her to redeem her expensive mistake. Not so the Singaporean retiree drooling for his CPF pennies.

So unless we want to see ancient tissue-paper sellers, homeless elderly folks and charity meals and shelters become growth industries in Singapore, please Mr Prime Minister, say NO to any liberalisation of the Minimum Sum. :evil:

Two years ago, after her husband was killed in a freak accident while working at Changi Airport’s Budget Terminal, she received nearly $1 million in insurance payouts and donations from the public. Today, that money is all gone.

Madam Pusparani Mohan, 34, is now looking for work in Singapore to support her four young children back in Johor Baru.

“I made a mistake. People knew I had so much money and they all came to me. I am so stupid. I never buy house and finished all the money meant for my children,” Madam Pusparani told The Sunday Times from her home in Skudai.

She gave some of it away to relatives when she returned to her hometown in Kedah, then spent a portion of it on a holiday in Genting Highlands with her family. She also lost a chunk of it to a bad business investment – all in the span of a year. “Now I don’t have enough for my children’s future.”

On March 17, 2012, her husband, Mr Chandra Mogan Panjanathan, 34, was operating a floor-scrubbing machine outside the terminal when he was hit by a taxi hijacked by a Chinese national.The driver is now serving his jail sentence of two years and one month for voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery.

Donations poured in after the tragic accident was reported in the media. Many sympathised with Madam Pusparani, who was also working as a cleaning supervisor at the airport, for having to raise four children by herself.The Malaysian couple’s youngest daughter was barely three months old then. Today, their children are aged two, seven, 10 and 11.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) helped to collect donations after it received calls from members of the public wanting to help. Madam Pusparani said she is not clear how much was collected, but thinks it could be about $800,000. She also received over $100,000 in insurance payouts, she said.

“The CAG financial adviser advised me to divide the money between myself and my four children. After allocating $200,000 to each of my four children, I was left with $150,000,” she said. She took that $150,000 home to Johor Baru, quitting her job in Singapore, to take care of her children.

A CAG spokesman told The Sunday Times the CAG had arranged for a family counsellor for Madam Pusparani and had also engaged a financial services adviser to help her with the money she received, including setting up an annuity plan for her children.

“I was told not to touch my children’s money as it was meant for their future,” she said, adding that the financial adviser also suggested she could use the remaining money to set up a small business in Malaysia.

But the money proved too much for Madam Pusparani to manage on her own. She said she first had to pay off debts of $50,000 – the couple, who made $2,000 a month jointly, had borrowed money from friends to make ends meet.

Then, she decided to invest the remaining $100,000 in her brother’s transport business in Kuala Lumpur, thinking it would give her a stable income.

“But I was told the money was only enough to buy one lorry and we needed three lorries. So, I withdrew half of my children’s money, which was about $400,000, to buy two more lorries.”

Madam Pusparani said CAG was unaware of the withdrawal as the money was kept in an account under her name.”I was thinking I could put the money back later,” said Madam Pusparani, her voice shaking.

The business did make money in the first three months, said Madam Pusparani, who has a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, the equivalent of an O-level certificate, and who took up accounting as she wanted to manage the business herself.

But in the fourth month, the widow was told that the company was losing money. She said she fell out with her brother eventually and did not recover any of her investment.

Her younger brother, Mr Magan Mohan, 32, a technician, said she blamed the family for encouraging her to invest in the business. Mr Magan said his elder brother’s business has since folded.”Some people think my sister gambled away the money, but she never gambles or drinks. She just got into the wrong business.”

In January last year, Madam Pusparani took out the rest of the money meant for her children. She had no choice, she said.”I never work, but I have to eat. I also need to take care of my parents. I was living with them and I had to pay for the monthly rental which was about RM1,000. My baby is still young and needs money for milk and pampers,” said Madam Pusparani, agitatedly.”My expenses came up to RM5,000 to RM6,000. Where do I find the money?”

That last $400,000 she withdrew lasted her five months. By May last year, she was broke.”I also don’t know how I finished (using) the money,” she said.

A friend got her a job as an accounts clerk in Johor Baru, earning RM2,000 (S$780) a month.Today, her employer pays her rent for an old, double-storey terraced house, which her family of five live in. A huge portrait of the late Mr Chandra is the only thing adorning the empty living area.

Her children’s shoes are torn and worn out; so too are their schoolbags.The family sleeps on two old mattresses in one of three rooms on the second storey. Clothes are piled up on the floor as they cannot afford a cupboard to keep them in.

“I cannot survive with RM2,000 a month. I am thinking of going to work in Singapore. But I feel ashamed,” said Madam Pusparani tearfully.”I don’t know how to explain to the people who donated money to me and my children.”

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/1m-gone-2-years-widow-now-broke-20140608#sthash.R6wwL68R.dpuf

Not even half a cent..

.. will I contribute to Roy Ngerng’s defence against the defamation suit that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has brought against him concerning Ngerng’s allegations about the CPF and Mr Lee.

People who make their own beds should lie in them and not ask for help when it comes up all thorns instead of roses :roll:

I am certain I belong to the millions of CPF members who didn’t encourage, let alone, ask him to make a song and dance about my CPF.

So, no, I won’t contribute anything to him, let alone $ to pay for his defence. Not even half a cent, geddit??

Questions for Roy Ngerng

I am intrigued by this boy called Roy Ngerng.

Who is he?

Despite being a full-time health care worker (whatever that is in this particular case), he has been able over 2 years to pen 400 posts!! Awesome, especially when most, if not all, of them carry illustrations and apparent “research”.

And he is all of 33 years old for crying out loud. :roll:

Talk of productivity. The SG agencies trying their darndest with moolah and stick to improve SG workers’ productivity should hire him. Yes hire him, not sue him!

Anyway back to the original reason for this post. Which is to pose some questions to Mr Ngerng. To get to know him better, la!

1) Is Ngerng your real surname? Or did some idiot at the register of births make a spelling mistake?

2) How many immediate family members do you have? (I know your blog has revealed two sisters and a “family” member but are these all?)

3) Are your parents still alive?

4) What do/did they do for a living?

5) Your home is? Private or HDB? Own or rented?

6) Do you own a car?

7) How much do you charge to your credit card/s monthly?

8) Which school did you go to? Primary? Secondary? JC?

9) Did you go to university? If so, here or overseas?

10) University education if any: Pa-Ma or SGov scholarship?

11) What is the highest level of education attained?

12) Are you born Singaporean or did you become one?

13) What were your growing up years like?

14) And finally just how much have you got in the CPF? :evil:

Unable to change

Years and years ago, I heard this joke. The man who stands his ground permanently, never gets to take his trousers off!

Geddit?

Which brings me to more recent times, a fortnight ago to be exact. I was in Hong Kong and not knowing what to bring my friends living there, I hit on the al-cheapo idea of passing them copies of a book of poems I self-published ages ago and which entirety can be found here.

A present! And help me to reduce unsold stock taking up shelf space. :roll:

As usual, those to whom I’ve presented these remnants will thank me, put away the slim volume and never read it at all.

But not the young woman (daughter of a new friend) working in HK crunching Big Data.

A day after her mum passed her my poems and we were making our way to dinner, she said: “I like your poem No 56! About the inability to change”

Huh! No kidding! Not only did she read the poems or at least some of them. She even remembered the title and what it said.

It was the best compliment I have ever received for my “literary” efforts!

And to mark that compliment I am reproducing the poem here.

56. He is restless.
He keeps looking for change
in new faces
in new places.
But how can anything be
different
when he brings
himself
wherever he goes?

Play Desdamona in big cities!

Oftentimes, the BBC’s “From Our Own Correspondents” program gets my goat. This is because more often than not, what the correspondents write and/or verbalise on air are nothing more than impressions, anecdotes and completely subjective.

Worse, more often than not, instead of taking these “personal impressions” with a pinch of salt, fans of the Beeb take what its correspondents including “stringers” — that is free-lancers wanting to earn a quick buck — write as gospel truth.

Worst is when the citizens of the country, born and bred, take what these Beeb flighty free-lancers say about their own homeland — or island as our case is — as the starting point for deep soul searching.

But lagi worse than worst (if there is a fourth degree of “bad”) is when our government ministers (Tan Chuan-Jin and Lawrence Wong) who should have more between their ears than most Singaporeans (I hope anyway) can actually come out and endorse what’s been said by no more qualified an observer than a Beeb freelancer :roll:

And by their endorsement adds to that very graphic Chinese proverb about using the bamboo pole to hit a boatload of innocent people.

I am of course referring to the account given by one Charlotte Ashton who appears to have lived in SG for all of 3 months and who because of one incident has written as though the other 1001 kindly acts she’s encountered don’t matter.

And trust our SPH Sunday Times to go to town with this woman’s complaint. And trust our sometimes sung-yang ministers to endorse or at least agree that one person’s bad experience means all of us could do better — on the courtesy and consideration front.

I am completely flummoxed that the ST or the ministers didn’t ask whether Ms Ashton had opened her mouth and said “help” in the best of clipped Brit accent? Or whether her pregnancy wasn’t that obvious at 10 weeks? Two points that this blogger raised with no sweat and which I heartily endorse.

Did Ms Ashton ask for a seat and was ignored? If that’s the case, why didn’t she state it in her article? Was she too sick to ask? If so, couldn’t she have used hand signals?

Someone should tell her that playing Desdamona in any big city, not only SG, will help her to avoid the same experience she complained of here, 90% of the time. Hasn’t she heard of the cliche that there is only the quick and the dead in New York?

Also, sometimes people are wary of attractive Caucasian women who suddenly curl up into a ball in a crowded public place. Who knows if it’s for real or for Candid Camera or Gotcha and the Good Samaritan is made a fool for cheap laughs and audience ratings!

Anyway, I find that whenever I ask, I always receive. In supermarkets, when I can’t reach the top shelves, I ask men and tall women fellow customers for help and haven’t been refused once. Some even ask politely if there’s anything else that I need on those elusive shelves. :lol:

On the MRT and buses, I often get seats without asking. The offers come from both sexes in age that ranges from kids to uncles and aunties who can’t be that much younger than me.

And when I am carrying stuff, I ask right away when there are no empty seats and I have several stops to go. But I am sometimes pre-empted by offers as soon as I step into the bus or MRT carriage. Perhaps because I tend to wear a Desdamona-like look?

When I am driving and need to change lanes, which given the non-stop roadworks in SG nowadays, is often, I look into the back mirror and side mirrors to smile my request to drivers behind and beside me. In addition to signalling of course. I often also clasp my hands in supplication to underline my request.

Fellow drivers give way almost 100% of the time and the insignificant minority who don’t I decide probably need to be on their way urgently and not because they suffer from compassion deficit.

In Hongkong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Bali, even in San Francisco and New York, I ask for directions, if I am uncertain rather than work it out myself. Ditto in my own country, because I don’t have a google map in my brain.

At the end of the day, if you need help, you must ask, unless you are comatose.

Finally, what does it say about the courtesy level of the guest who disses the host country so publicly and petulantly when by her own account it was all hunky dory till that incident.

Time people like Ms Ashton learn that into lives some rain must fall. So carry an umbrella or quit belly-aching!