Feb 27, 2007

Duh. My Head Hurts.

Today we look at the first three paragraphs of a letter to the Straits Times Forum.
ST Forum Feb 27, 2007

I found PM Lee's Chinese New Year message very timely and meaningful.

He wisely reminded Singaporeans that they should work hard to keep the family unit strong and healthy. I cannot agree more. Through the family, we find love, support and fulfilment. When we face difficult times, it is the family that we turn to for comfort.

I am happy that PM Lee has pledged that the government will continue to do its best to foster strong family ties ........

Benson Lim Yin San
Stop right there and think. Think of all the family members you love most. Your mother. Your father. Your spouse. Your children. Your siblings. Your grandparents, aunties, uncles etc.

Now, Mr Wang invites you to answer the following questions.

What has the Singapore government EVER done to "foster strong family ties" between you and your mother? You and your father? How about your spouse, your children, your siblings ...?

The Straits Times publishes very strange letters.

But then, we have a Prime Minister who
claims that if he gave money to your family, it would break down. Suddenly, you would divorce your wife, disown your parents or something like that.

Ah, the mysteries of life in Singapore.

42 comments:

jc student blcy said...

I think the PM or MM doesn't want to let us have the wrong incentives for keeping family harmony. Still, arbitrary help from the government in the form of policies or directives (e.g. perhaps a maximum no. of works hours a day) would help, though it is ultimately up to the individual if they want to work OT. A good approach is to just give them options and encourage people WITHOUT the $$. Maybe we need another "propoganda campaign"?

Anonymous said...

What have the Romans given us? Nothing ... except the roads, the aqueducts, Latin ... or perhaps nemo dat quod non habet.

Anonymous said...

jc student blcy,

Does your mother need an incentive to love you? Do you need an incentive to love your mother?

I feel v sad for you, if your answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

No, not another "propaganda campaign". That'll mean more money down the drain.

Kerry said...

"Suddenly, you would divorce your wife, disown your parents or something like that." Well, technically, if the government were to give a housewife say, $1 million to produce children, it is possible that she may take the money and run (away from her nagging husband, aged parents) to a foreign land to start life anew (with new husband, more well-off in-laws, etc). But the harsh reality is that the hand-out will only be $250 a year for 4 years max. Trust the government to think of family unity.

jc student blcy said...

TO the fella who addressed me:

The presence of love is not the issue, but it is the degree of it. Having an incentive to spend more time together will likely boost family ties. Please do not over-generalise my statements, focus on the macroscopic issue, not so much the individual cases. We are after all examining the government's methodologies here.

Anonymous said...

"The presence of love is not the issue, but it is the degree of it."

So you will love your mother more, if the government gives you an incentive? Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pap-anonymous-432PM!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr Wang...such kiss butt letters to the press don't make much sense - what has the govt done to foster better family ties?
From my personal point of view...nada!
And I'm not even refering to monetary incentives. Over the years it has gotten so much more competitive and expensive in Singapore...and it will only be getting worse.
I left Singapore to live overseas so that we could have a better family life. I never had time for them when I was working so hard to make ends meet in Singapore. Now, we can afford to just live on one person's salary and have time and energy to devote to each other. And I live in a first world country at that.

Yau-ming's blog!! said...

Hmmm... throwing money at the family won't seem to help either. In Australia, they are having a serious problem with runaway children being funded by the govt/tax payers. The system assumes the worse and gives generous payments to the runaways. Unfortunately, it encourages young kids (as young as 12) to make up grievances against their parents - then use the govt subsidy to live away from home spending their money with the wrong company - u know the drill - sex, drugs, alcohol etc..

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the PM message is a general one aimed at the mindsets and perspectives of Singaporeans, like how your mother tells you to "take care of yourself" when you go overseas etc etc.

But Mr Wang have a point. The problems affecting the Singaporean family unit is in a way, affected by the government policies to push economic growth almost at the cost of everything else. While it may be true that we should keep our family ties in good condition as some kind of personal responsiblity (if you believe in Asian values), the government simply cannot push all responsibility away.

Long working hours, stressful lifestyle, short holidays, high cost of living, high taxes. These undoubtly put a strain in the family unit of Singapore. Because these things are powerless for a individual S'porean to address, that's where the govt has to step in.

They should have woken up when the birth rates fell and never went up. Singapore is not a family-friendly society in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Please lah, Singapore's issues are different. The government won't even give money to a homeless old man living in a void deck ... I seriously dun think it will have the problem of giving money to undeserving kids.

Anonymous said...

I've come to expect such letters in The Sycophantic Times. I strongly suspect that they write these letters themselves. Either that or schools are doing a fabulous job and all teachers should be given PAP membership.

Anonymous said...

I believe what the Govt is doing now is really "peanuts" compared to the huge reserves that they have been hoarding.

Let's face it, a lot of poor families break up because of money problems. So sometimes I wonder how can we really boost our family ties if a majority of us have to spend a large part of your salary towards ever rising daily expenses, medical fees, servicing our loans & have very little spare cash left to improve the quality of life for our dear ones.

I'm sure the PM & his team of highly paid ministers could afford to come up with much better incentive schemes to really help the majority underpreviliged boost better family ties.

jc student blcy said...

When I talked about the wrong incentives, I was referring to financial incentives. Through some arbitrary help, like those in my initial post, it would definitely be easier to love my family more. The more time I spend with them, the more likely we will all bond. This is the general concept. More time with family = greater likelihood of bonding. There are exceptions of course, but government is for, as Jeremy Bentham puts it, "THe greatest happiness for the greatest number". We must never forget the emotional aspect of life.

Anonymous said...

I would like to bond with my wife and kids most of the time. But many letters has arrived in my letter box at the lift lobby. Some are junk mail, most are regular bills. I do not have credit card bills. I guessed that I have to work overtime for the next few weeks, if my boss wants me to.

Excuse me, I have to go upstairs to my flat and tell my wife and kids the economical aspects of life.

Anonymous said...

You know Singapore is in a very sad state when people begin to refer to welfare, not only as a dirty word, but as "financial incentives" to make its citizens "love" their families more.

Next thing you know, they'll suggest we all upgrade ourselves with courses or have more "propaganda campaigns" to help us attain higher degrees in love. Of course, PHDs will be the best lovers.

You'd be naive to think there is such a thing as unconditional love.

W said...

jc student blcy: Re Bentham, I believe what he meant was that a utilitarian government is for the greatest happiness of the greatest number. But pick up any introductory political philosophy textbook (I recommend Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy), and you'll see what the problem with utilitarianism is, and why utilitarianism has, since the 19th century, lost traction among developed world governments.

Agree that more leisure time would all else equal improve familial bonds. Problem is how this is to be achieved. I don't think arbitrary $ transfers will have any effect on the margins. Permanent increases in non-wage income is an idea (e.g. minimum income for one non-working parent), but one that this government will never consider. Otherwise, increase wages to increase leisure hours; again, not likely to be favoured by this government. From an economics point of view, government "help" is really just hot air if the options that work are off the table.

whybegay said...

Mr Wang have you forgotten about,

1. The 11pm curfew imposed for teens

2. The banning of denegerative gay parties

3. The prohibition of advertising for clubs like Crazy Horse

4. The implementation fo the 5 day work and school week???

5. The high entrance fees for the IR casinos

Mr Wang you head hurts because you are as wilful to the truth as this kid Angry german kid

I will say the same thing as I said to Kitana who is another law-related person, which is, "If you want to talk in depth about politics, you should do thorough research for the sake of legitimacy."

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang have you forgotten about,

1. The 11pm curfew imposed for teens
[Crazy Horse: Are your facts right? There is no curfew in Singapore, teens who stay out will get a warning letter. Even if the curfew thing is true, so what, does that mean the Govt is now the nanny for every parent who ALLOWS their teens to be out after 11 pm say on Friday nights?????!]

2. The banning of denegerative gay parties

[Crazy Horse: I thought officially the SPF does not BAN gay parties. They simply do not give permits...LOL]

3. The prohibition of advertising for clubs like Crazy Horse

[Crazy Horse: This is one of the reasons Eng Wah LOST money. If the Govt is to be the puritanical creature that it is, why did it allow Crazy Horse show in the first place?]

4. The implementation fo the 5 day work and school week???

[This causes more stress for teachers as they have to cram everything within 5 days. If you did reservist, you'll understand how "shortening" the reservist call-up period means intensive training programs that are tougher than active NS days.]

5. The high entrance fees for the IR casinos

[Crazy Horse: So? Is the high fees meant to protect Singaporeans from the "evils" of gambling. If gambling is "evil" why not BAN it in the first place? So is the Govt causing the deterioration of family cohesiveness and bonding through encouragement of richer Singaporeans who can afford the entrance fee? Goodness... Gahmen is allowing the elite rich families to degenerate by vices such as Crazy Horse show and casinos.. promoting lust and greed...]

Mr Wang you head hurts because you are as wilful to the truth as this kid Angry german kid

I will say the same thing as I said to Kitana who is another law-related person, which is, "If you want to talk in depth about politics, you should do thorough research for the sake of legitimacy."

[Crazy Horse: In ah-beng speak, WTF?!]

Crazy Horse

Anonymous said...

Some families can spend $2 billion of our reserves on Shin Corp and have to write-off the investment totally less than 1 year after the investment.

Their families stay intact and are so HAPPY that they can blow away $2 billion SGD in the regional equity market.

Long live Temasek Holdings.

Anonymous said...

if u got chase by ocbc, u must noe where to find $$$

Anonymous said...

To whybegay:

> 1. The 11pm curfew imposed for teens

Firstly, there is no curfew. Secondly, will imposing an 11pm curfew prevent teens from mischief in this internet age? Trouble can be brewed without the teen leaving his/her room at home. Add to that, they can easily meet-up in the day when the adults are working.

> 2. The banning of denegerative gay parties

You have a right to your opinion to be anti-gay, although one wonders how "gay parties" are more degenerative than "non-gay" parties. Nevertheless, views like yours will become increasingly that of the minority as time passes.

http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007
/yax-704.htm

In any case, suggest that you attend some IndigNation programs to face up to the reality of LGBT support in Singapore, which is masked by biased MSM reports.

http://www.plu.sg/indignation/

> 3. The prohibition of advertising for clubs like Crazy Horse

I do not see how potential advertisment for clubs like Crazy Horse would be more explicit or morally degenerative than existing advertising, e.g. Mediacorp's advertisment for "Desperate Housewives".

Anonymous said...

I wrote at February 27, 2007 11:07 PM:
... how potential advertisment for clubs like Crazy Horse would be more explicit or morally degenerative than existing advertising, e.g. Mediacorp's advertisment for "Desperate Housewives".

Forgot to add, the "Desperate Housewives" advert are broadcasted on TV Mobile, the overly loud mini-TV advertising screens on buses. That is, its contents are viewed by one and all who takes buses as public transport, including vulnerable youths :-P

kitkat said...

The only languages my grandparents knew - pure hokkien, cantonese, pasar malay - were lost at my generation. I love them, but I never could properly communicate with them.

My head hurts too.

whybegay said...

Please keep to the topic of the blog post. If anyone feels that any of the implementations listed is not effective, feel free to list your alternative suggestions to strengthen the family ties at the MPs' blog at www.p65.sg

I am not an MP that can change policies, so there is no use complaining to me.

Anonymous said...

I am not an MP that can change policies, so there is no use complaining to me.

So which constituency is Mr Wang an MP of? Why are you complaining to him on his blog?

Anonymous said...

jc student blcy,

Singapore's attitude and laws are strongly biased in the favor of empleyers. Doing OT is not really a matter of "choice" when your boss holds all the cards. As to "you can always find another job", could you really?

Besides, I don't think that more time with family definitely = better cohesiveness. Heard of the term "familiarity breeds contempt"?

whybegay,

I do not think that any of the "policies" you mentioned were put specifically in place "to promote family cohesiveness". (Except maybe the 5-day work week, which some employers just ignore.) If they do, it is more of a "side effect". Just one example: more families break down due to general alcohol abuse compared to "gay parties". I don't see how banning it will "promote family cohesiveness".

Anonymous said...

hahaha, all said, whybegay is trying to promote (& retreat into) p65 blog on mr wang's blog. pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Before talking about family, there must first be one to begin with.

Legitimise the sale of human donor sperm and eggs(most important). Lower/subsidise the cost of assisted pregnancy (IVFetc)

That will allow the est up to 20% of involuntarily childless couples start a family. They will grow old with children to take care of them.... the govt obviously wont.

Then talk about supporting families... but the fundies in govt are probably more interested in supporting religious dogma about assisted pregnancies.

simplesandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
simplesandra said...

Darn... my blogger account's acting strange.... *sweat*

jc student blcy wrote: "though it is ultimately up to the individual if they want to work OT."

Sorry to disappoint you, but in the real working world, you don't have much of a choice; when your boss wants you to do OT, you either do it or start flipping through the classifieds. ;-)

A good approach is to just give them options and encourage people WITHOUT the $$.

Unfortunately, whether people want to take up (or in some cases, not) is still very much about $$ and self-centered reasons. You can't encourage a "survial for the fittest" rat race and still hope for a compassionate society.

One policy the govt might want to relook at (since it was already suggested by Mr Chiam) is minimum wage - if it's really up to the individual to look after the familiy, shouldn't he or she be guaranteed of a minimum salary that's adequate enough for the task?

simplesandra said...

anonymous wrote: "What have the Romans given us? Nothing ... except the roads, the aqueducts, Latin ... or perhaps nemo dat quod non habet. "

Sorry, but I've stopped trying to look on the bright side of life years ago. ;-)

Anonymous said...

On a totally unrelated note, I have to say that the .gif file totally cracked me up. That summed up my reaction to the ST article to a tee.

Anonymous said...

Why dont we make it simple by giving two options for selection to determine the type of policies you would like to see from the govt?

1)Pro-family policies

2)Non-Pro family policies

In this case, we can see whether you love or desire to improve on family bonding.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous February 28, 2007 12:41 PM

I would like to add a 3rd option:

Government to leave the families alone to sort it out themselves, and put more efforts in making prudent investment and expenditure decisions.

Anonymous said...

whybegay,

Why, p65 MPs haven't got any ideas or have they run out of ideas? Perhaps they should cut down on their CCAs and focus on their main role.

Anonymous said...

Whybegay,

Why is it that your comments always seems to attract a lot of well-argued rebuttals ?

Is it that you are so obsessed with your biased opinions that you can't think properly for yourselves ?

Anonymous said...

The HDB already broke up many families. Parents and child purchased a flat together, and when the child need to purchase another flat because he/she getting married, the HDB or should say the government made the parent pay back the CPF money to the child CPF account with INTEREST. It like forcing the child to be a loan shark to the parent. That is how the government help to foster strong family ties..... tsk tsk tsk

Anonymous said...

Pls examine the finer details and premises of the arguments. THe utilitarian philosophy book is interesting though.

le radical galoisien said...

Well, the Romans gave us the alphabet we write with. Otherwise we'd be writing our English essays in Germanic runes.

Anonymous said...

There is no minimal wage in Singapore and the government is not pro-welfare. Meanwhile, they are importing heaps of foreign workers here to compete with the locals. It is no wonder that some people are desperate. It is indeed sad that some had chosen to end their lives because of financial worries. It is really amazing that we still have people singing praises about how compassionate and lovely our government really is.