Humanity: the quality of being humane; benevolence.
So what’s new? Covid numbers have hit the roof, hovering around 20,000 post-CNY. By now, I’m sure you know somebody who has had it and I’m also sure you know or suspect at least a few of the people you know who may have gotten it but not reported it. These folks went around infecting others because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by quarantine. Such behaviour may more prevalent that we care or dare to admit.
Of course, we know that it’s not deadly or even serious for the vast majority of folks out there. Going endemic means that we learn to live with the virus. But measure need to be in place to protect our healthcare services from being overwhelmed because as the numbers get large, vulnerable or susceptible individuals may need medical attention. But Singapore being more about economy than humanity, those who are not content to be inconvenienced choose to endanger others’ lives and hopefully don’t get caught. At the end of the day, even if we don’t die of Covid, these folks have an unfair advantage over those of us who follow the rules even if it means that we are inconvenienced. This is basic decency and humanity.
Next, a word from our minister of tight spaces.
Even a primary school kid may go yao mo gao chor ah? If there is no need to fund, then don’t fund lor. As if it’s a sum of money that somehow has to be spent and we must all continue to watch those crappy channels to justify the spending. I thought extreme financial prudence is a hallmark of being Singaporean. But then, most of us probably don’t hold our official news channels with the same degree of sacredness as our ministers do. Interestingly, we have all learned about a recent diplomatic incident between Singapore and India not through any of our “official channels” but through foreign media. What happened?
Well, our very own PM Lee made some cringe-worthy remarks ahead of a vote to refer the leader of the opposition to the public prosecutor after a committee stacked with ruling PAP MPs found that he “told untruths” during a testimony. These “untruths” were in connection with a lying scandal involving a former MP who had since resigned. And sparing no effort to make Mr Singh look bad, our PM said:
“Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder.”
Yao mo gao chor ah?
Not surprisingly, India lodged a diplomatic protest with Singapore over Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks about the number of Indian lawmakers facing criminal charges, potentially testing ties between the two countries that share a key economic partnership.
Some people don’t understand why our Indian friends are angry since our PM was speaking the truth. It’s hardly surprising since in Singapore, we’re better known for our economy than our humanity. Let me explain with an analogy.
You are taking a walk in the park with your son. You run into Ah Lian, wife of your friend Ah Beng who is in jail. You tell your son to be a good boy or he’ll end up like Uncle Ah Beng. Do you think you deserve a smack in the face from Ah Lian? It’s not about whether what you’re saying is true or not. It’s about taking a cheap shot at your opponent by embarrassing your ally. Mentioning it as a statement of fact would not have caused as much offence. You can criticise an opponent for all you want. Using a friend’s embarrassing mistake or shortcoming to enlist support against an opponent is certainly uncalled for. Anyone in that friend’s position would feel offended.
Now, for the budget. PSP’s Leong Mun Wai summed it up pretty well. Not enough to ease the pain from the coming squeeze.
It’s hard to argue that the budget measures won’t be good for the economy. But what about our humanity? Let’s face it. How many of you have suffered a loss of income because of the pandemic? And we’re going to be taxed further so that our government can have an even wider margin of safety? That’s how I see it. You can well afford to be much more generous than this, but no.
Covid brings out the ugly side of many people. One YouTuber, a Chinese pastor in the US, said that when his church gave out food donations, many Chinese immigrants (who had enough food at home) queued up to collect the food items and then sold them! I’ve seen bosses who ask their workers to run errands without paying for the transport. Some fail to pay their workers who buy them lunch. Some bring toilet paper home from the office and leave the workers having to use their own. Very clever, but I won’t do it; not because I’m not smart enough to figure that out, but because it goes against my humanity. We are supposed to be in the same boat, but when it’s sinking, some are taking more than one life-vest – just in case.
Leong Sze Hian did his calculations and based on the announcement that “CPF Basic Retirement Sum to be raised by 3.5% per year from 2023 to 2027”. The Basic Retirement Sum for those turning 55 this year is $96,000. The 3.5 per cent increase means that the sum will be $99,400 in 2023, $102,900 in 2024, $106,500 in 2025, $110,200 in 2026, and $114,100 in 2027.
So here you have it. The concept of “work until you die” is slowly but surely coming true. Interestingly, I have quite a number of friends who don’t know what to do if they stop working. Some actually believe that one should work as long as one is healthy. In other words, life=work. How fortunate of our government to have so many people thinking this way. How tragic for Singapore.