Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hard not to be stressed when basic food and play will incur more tax

By Hazelyn A Yuen 
23 February, 2018

I foresee that the increase in our Goods and Sevices Tax (GST) in future will push up the cost of living further.
[Wow! A psychic! I wish I had the power to foresee the future, like her. I wanna know what numbers will be in the Hong Bao draw.] 
We can cut back on more luxurious travels, expensive cars, premium houses, etc, but we still have to eat, so shouldn’t the most basic food items be largely exempted from GST? 
Such goods are relatively inelastic in price, and if they cost more, demand for them will still not fall.
[OMG! This psychic is predicting that once GST increase, Singaporeans will take fewer holidays, buy fewer expensive cars, and fewer premium houses! What's the GST on houses? Oh wait! There's no GST on property purchase. That's "covered" by Buyer's Stamp duties. WHICH HAS ALREADY INCREASED (for million dollar property)!] 
A GST hike will not benefit producers and consumers, but likely compound the already stressful cost of living domestically.

Even leisure or play is going to cost more, as seen by the tax on digital services which include entertainment content. So, too, will a visit to theme parks or gym classes or the buying of sports gear. How are we encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle — which could help to reduce stress — in a pressure-cooker society?

Right! The solution to a "pressure-cooker society" is to spend lavishly on theme parks and gym classes. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hai Di Lao closed due to hygiene lapses. Singaporeans (some) lose their shit.

[One restaurant suspended for hygiene lapses. At least two Singaporeans suffer a lapse in common sense.]

Food outlets under suspension should be upfront about why they are closed 

Popular spicy hot pot chain Hai Di Lao's flagship branch at Clarke Quay has had its licence suspended for two weeks for hygiene lapses, according to a suspension notice issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Monday (Feb 12).

By Tay Yong Hong

14 February, 2018

I refer to the report, “Hai Di Lao’s Clarke Quay outlet gets 2 weeks’ suspension for hygiene lapses” (Feb 13).

While I feel sorry reading that this popular Chinese restaurant is suspended during this peak festive period due to unhygienic handling of food, I think they are misleading customers by posting signs at the shop saying that they are undergoing renovation, even if that is true.

I hope the authorities will require companies that are suspended to be more upfront to their customers on why they have to close temporarily.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dual citizenship: Little to fear, much to gain

[This is not a forum letter, but the writer writes very much from a personal perspective. So putting this here.]


MARCH 8, 2016

In response to Member of Parliament David Ong’s question about 19-year-old Brandon Smith, a New Zealand and Singapore dual citizen who has refused to come back to serve National Service (NS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week reminded all Singaporeans of their NS obligations, adding that exceptions cannot be made for those residing overseas. The case, however, is more than just about avoiding conscription, as it highlights a larger issue with the Singapore Government’s policy on dual citizenship.

Singapore will not allow Mr Smith to drop his citizenship before he turns 21 on the grounds that the Republic has provided Mr Smith with protection that comes with being a Singaporean. This makes him an outlaw for not serving NS.

But, more importantly, the Government will also not let him keep both his Singapore and New Zealand citizenship after his 21st birthday. This rule is driven by the unfounded fear that if we all had a choice and things went south in Singapore, we would all run for (or remain on) greener pastures.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Review age limit for caning sentences

[I've been sitting on this for a whole year. Time to "publish" it.]

Today Voices

Liew Kai Khiun
January 6, 2017

I refer to the report “Ex-teacher, 66, jailed for molesting girl, 7”; Jan 4). It is always saddening to read about child victims of molestation, especially by teachers.

What angers me is that by dint of the culprit’s age, he was spared the caning punishment and given an extra six weeks of jail in lieu.

Besides serving as a deterrence, the purpose of judicial caning in Singapore has evolved since its codification in 1871 into an additional punishment to underscore the enormity of the crimes committed, particularly those involving bodily harm.

A love-hate relationship with the mobile phone


By Thow Chun Meng

A reader says people are so dependent on the mobile phone that he wonders how much people are enslaved by it. 

28 December, 2017

During this time of the year, we get many phone text messages from people wishing us a good year ahead and such. The mobile phone has changed the way that people interact tremendously.

Instead of calling each other for a chit-chat or to catch up, we simply drop a short message.

We are so dependent on this piece of gadget that I sometimes wonder how much we are enslaved by it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Parents with premature babies need more financial support

[A well-intentioned writer who is not aware of Medishield Life.]

By Ng Chee Kheon

19 December, 2017

Whenever the subject of how to raise Singapore’s total fertility rate is being discussed, the focus is invariably on things like increasing maternity and paternity leave, providing affordable childcare services and education, and enhancing work-life balance.

However, the emotional trauma experienced by parents with pre-mature babies, as well as their financial plight, have not been highlighted enough.

Pre-mature babies need to be warded in an intensive care unit for weeks, if not months. The resulting total medical bills could run into tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Give illegal hawkers a chance to make honest living

[A letter from almost 3 years ago. I sometimes draft blogposts and then feel that they are not good enough, or that I want to write more and I put the post in draft, and never publish them. Sometimes it is because I am trying to be more... critical? nasty? sarcastic? Yeah. One of the above. So here is a "mediocre" post. Not very nasty. Though I do think the letter was not thought through.]

Jan 02, 2015

I SYMPATHISE with the food hawkers who continue to ply their trade despite being fined ("Complaints rising against illegal food hawkers"; Tuesday).

Are there any statistics to show how many people have suffered food poisoning after consuming food from unlicensed hawkers?

If the authorities feel that these hawkers' food is not prepared in accordance with proper hygiene procedures or has not undergone quality control checks, perhaps they could send these hawkers for food hygiene courses or do random quality checks on their food.

[Of course! That is precisely why they should be registered and licensed and... you don't know what you are talking about, do you?]

I propose that the National Environment Agency give such Singaporean hawkers a chance to make an honest living, by giving them a licence to peddle their wares, just like how some seniors are allowed to sell ice cream along Orchard Road and in parks.

I believe some unlicensed hawkers are truly unable to find jobs, for various reasons. It is good that they do not steal or peddle drugs.

[So these were the only two alternatives you can think of? So illegal hawkers other options are to steal or push drugs? I love your perspective. And what you think of the less fortunate.]

I admire their strong determination and perseverance in wanting to make a living on their own, instead of depending on government assistance and handouts.

Instead of playing a cat and mouse game, why not legalise their trade in a way that is acceptable to the public?

Allocating designated spots for them to ply their trade will make routine checks easier.

The smell of fresh and piping hot chestnuts sold by street hawkers reminds me of my childhood days, when my father would buy roasted chestnuts from these hawkers.

[So, only roasted chestnuts? kari-pok? Otah-otah? nasi lemak? kueh-kueh? Or just those that remind you of your childhood?]

They will continue to add colour to our Singapore culture.

Lim Chye Hai