Whispers from the heart

Ocassional conversations with my heart. Never heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. Always light-hearted and hearty. Ever thankful for your heart-felt support.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What I learnt from the GST hike ...

Singaporeans are a very happy people. After the "mee siam mai hum" affair, many were seen sniggering and laughing happily at PM's foray into the pop scene. More laughing was heard when a group of P65 dancers announced taht they would be trying some hip hop moves at the coming Chingay procession. Really, Singapore's happy index was at sky high levels, only to be rivalled by the soaring Straits Times Index.

This is not good at all. Our ruling elites do not believe in humour. In fact, some months ago, our PM had advised that we should all maintain an optimum level of unhappiness within us. He did not dictate what constitutes the optimum level (we are a very free and democractic society, remember?), but most ventured that the level would be one at which you are not too happy with life that stops you from working 24/7 and not so unhappy that you vote for the opposition. It is a delicate balance indeed. However, PAP, with their 40 years of governance in the tiny island, is very experienced to deal with such difficulties. The trick is to provide some form of 'package'; be it progress package, offset package or santa claus package. It always works and its efficacy is so entrenched that the ruling elites seldom think out of a box, er package that is, anymore.

After Miss Wee's blunder, one would have thought Singaporeans' optimal level of unhappiness has gone up. But, it was apparently not good enough by our government's world class standards. Luckily for all Singaporeans, our PM is our saviour again!

He (but who else?!) has single-handedly pushed our unhappiness index to the limit with his 2% GST hike in 2007. It was so effective even aunties around me were visibly upset over it. Fortunately, their AQ (Ah Q spirit) triumphed over their EQ and IQ. They reasoned that after paying for the hike, they would be qualified poor. It can't be bad if you are getting it back, right?

Now that we have reached that wonderful optimum level of unhappiness, some MPs are telling us to exercise restraint over our feelings. "Do not get into overdrive" mode except when you work.

We must accept the news, treat it like another of Newton's laws and pretend nothing impactful has happened.

Again, Aunty does better. I start dreaming of what kind of goodies I ought to be getting from this coming April's Budget. Let's call it April Fools' offset package. Surely, it must be worth a few hundred dollars? Will a hardship package be worth less than a vote-buying package? If we KPKB, will we get more?

On the personal level, I have gathered some learning points from this hike. I would like to share them.

1 The Oracle is failing ...

In the past, when MM Lee shared his visions of good years ahead, Singaporeans would be somewhat comforted and renewed with confidence for the future. Nevermind where he got those romantic notions but they did materialise, didn't they?! Lately, MM's words are only good for laughs. Most of my friends hardly felt the optimism of a better few years ahead. We even joked that perhaps we must put on a white shirt first. Frankly, I don't give a damn about MM's visions anymore. The soccer team may need the ra-ra prep talk more.

2 The country is struggling ...

I was one of the many goondos who bragged to others about living in a world-class super wealthy developed country. It was indeed sobering to realise Singapore is only living from hand-to-mouth. It hasn't the spare cash to help its poor at all!!! Worse, I did not know there were so many Mr Tans amongst us that we need a whopping 2% of our domestic consumption to prevent them from dying at the MRT tracks. Thank goodness this hard fact was revealed sooner lest I, too, become an "elite uncaring face".

3 PAP is not a political party, it's a choir!
Notice how every member in its ranks (all 82 of them) sings the same tune and reaches the high notes in such harmonious perfection and timing???? Unlike those decadent western democracies where their MPs quarrel and fight, ours is a world apart from them. In fact, ours resembles the Vienna Boys' Choir except for a few flower vases amongst them. I must say the PAP choir sings more beautifully than the boys from Vienna except that those little boys probably scored higher in musical talents and cute looks.

4 An acute shortage of real economists in Singapore ...

In some decadent western democracies, an issue like a GST hike would generate many discussions from the academia, particularly the economists. In Singapore, there seemed to be a dire shortage of such talents. We have mostly unhappy bloggers giving their 2-cents worth of the new directive. No wonder our PM is sending his son to MIT to read economics. In a few years, we would finally have one authoritative economist to lead us all. We will have Singaporenomics; our own version of an open economy that does not depend on others for survival. We only need PAP's magic hat of tricks.

5 PAP's magic hat of tricks ...

After ruling the tiny dot for 40 years, PAP has indeed perfected some tricks. That's why MM does not believe in learning points, like those needed from the shin corp deal. Tricks are much more efficient and less accountable. I used to sneer at Greenspan's magic hat of tricks of rate hikes and rate cuts to solve the woes of the world's greatest deficit economy. How un-creative!

It is right that PM should be paid more handsomely than Bush. PM has more tricks besides the 'fixing and buying' strategy : wage cuts, CPF cuts, fare hikes, GST hikes

These alone, PM is worth twice over Bush. And I'm sure he would have more tricks in it if not for the shrinking magic hat. By the way, he also has one fail-proof trick that Bush lacks, the PACKAGE!

6 Welfare is a dirty word ...

PM said so. He meant every word of it, I'm very sure. That is why the ruling elites had never took the WELFARE OF SINGAPOREANS at heart. Well, he told you so. Singaporeans are hard-core romantics that must learn the BRUTAL TRUTH. You want welfare, pay for it yourself. The message was very clear in the GST hike announcement. To the elites, you are the poor, remember?!

7 Things that come in a 'Package' are not "handouts".....

The first time I received a Package from the government, I was a little stirred and a whole lot shaken. I felt I was receiving a handout for having done nothing!!! This guilt of developing a clutch mentality lived with me all these years, especially when I received $600 dollars in the bank but I was not required to vote at the elections. Money for nothing!? A handout. Luckily, the recent spate of events had enlightened me. It was never a handout lah. It was a short term deposit that the government had put in your bank to be withdrawn later at full principal plus interest.

8 Hikes never STOP AT TWO ...
Keep dreaming but it will never stop at just two rounds, that is. I think this is the double-digit growth that we have been dreaming about for years. It's up, up and away. Ok, I must qualify that this is purely speculative and I'm not willing to offer constructive solutions until the peanuts and white blouse are in the package on the way to me.

9 GST hike is also helping the poor in neighbouring countries ...

I hope our neighbours will finally appreciate PM's kind gesture to help them. Imagine the number of Singapore shoppers that will throng their supermarkets and provision stores to stock up on rice and cooking oil. In fact, it makes more sense to have your wedding package in JB, keep your children in their childcare centres and keep your old folks in their homes. All you need is a one-room flat in Singapore to sleep at night, after 12-16 hours of work at the office. JB can become our satellite town and enjoy the spill-over growth in this way. Never say we never help, boleh?

10 GST hike will help our local retail industry to upgrade...

Contrary to what SCCI claimed, GST hike will not affect our local retail industry. It will only affect the local retailers as more will pack up their bags. Hey, we need more world-class products to entice the rich folks visiting our IRs. Notice how local retailers (or mum and pop shops) tend to sell unglamourous low-end stuff from China? With their exit from the industry, we could free valuable retail space to bring in the really fun and sleazy - like nude dancers, pimp services (sorry, match making services industry) and more interactive risk- management centres (casinos are a bad name).

There is nothing much we could do. It is very much like the Shin Corp deal and many others before it. In fact, many conspired that Shin Corp is the cause of it! Utter nonsense, Mdm Ho had a string of corporate successes and is the only rare talent born outside of the Lee Family. (Shin Corp is only a paper loss, as yet. Hee hee, wait till the write-offs for Optus and Shin corp are due. Then, you'll know what is a double whammy ...)

So for now, you either start spending like there's no tomorrow and end up being the poor to reclaim your 2% or stop spending and die of starvation in a bug-infested flat. Either way, you are going there ... Of course, the government is betting on many of us dangling at the midway of these 2 ends.

Readers beware
I sincerely request that economist wannabes refrain from expounding your theories here. If you are all for the hike, there is nothing you can't tell me that the Straits Times wouldn't during the runup to the Budget Speech. If you are against it, well, my heart knows why too.


  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous vesance said…

    The JB idea sounds feasible but when my parents retire, I'm going to sponsor their immigration visas.

  • At 8:47 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…

    Good for you!

    I have always wondered why some singaporeans thought it unthinkable or difficult to leave Singapore.

    I have met Indian and PRC people in foreign lands and these people are less educated and speak less english than us.

    Your parents should be proud of you. Spread your wings and show others Singaporeans are eagles, not the timid lion as in the Wizard of Oz.

  • At 9:26 PM, Anonymous vesance said…

    I bought a magazine: 100 Places to see in Australia b4 you die. Singaporeans are forced to retire at a relatively young age (60s) compared to other countries.

    This is not encouraged in Australia because the moment you retire, the government cannot tax you as much.

    Income taxation is major source of revenue for Australian government so when you retire (you may also start tapping into welfare pension), its double whammy.

    When the time comes for my parents to retire, I'll have to do some retirement/activity planning. So much to see, so much to do.

    I have always wondered why some singaporeans thought it unthinkable or difficult to leave Singapore.

    ST may have done a good job of selectively portraying "quitters". Like how they selectively portray non-whiners type FT(s) in Singapore.

    "Quitters" on the other hand are mostly Annabel Chong(s) / Francis Seow(s), Lesbians / Gays, "undermotivated leeches / failures", Oppositions / Criminals .. etc ... You get the drift.

    Like you've said, its the Vienna Boys' Choir.

  • At 12:17 AM, Anonymous 40+ Singaporean said…

    If the P65 MPs really want to connect with the general population, they should spend more time at meet the people sessions and exchanging their views about things that matters on their blogs instead of trying to be like the Mediacorps artistes trying to do stunts for charity.

    Our country is struggling alright. I used to be like you, speaking out for Singapore when foreign visitors comment about our very controlled society. I used to tell them it is a trade-off. I no longer think this way. It is really unconvincing to sell the idea of having to increase GST by 2% so that we can help the poor, and then to implement some form of 'package' to 'give it back to the lower income' group.(BTW, I like your reference to the April Fools' package, so cynical and so true!!! hahaha) It will be far better to make certain necessary items GST zero rated, if GST must be increased for the valid reasons. Using the fact that the economy is doing well(is it?) and hence it is a good time to increase GST is a terrible lame excuse.

    So many things our government do is like Newton's laws, irrefutable. Our good ol MSM is already doing its spin this weekend, featuring some Scandanvian native telling us why he moved to Singapore to escape the high taxes in his home country, because he is not in a position to enjoy the welfare. There is also a piece on how good our MRT services are compared to Tokyo and New York. No doubt this is a follow up on Minister Lim's recent talk about improving our services. Indirectly, we are being told we already have it very good and shouldn't be complaining. It funny our MSM never seems to compare other important aspects of our transport services like frequency of trains and locations of the stations, leaving the readers the impression that the only thing that matters in train services is how crowded it is. I know for a fact that our trains are not as crowded as those in Hong Kong or Tokyo because the coverage is very poor compared to these cities. I can easily get to anywhere in Hong Kong on MTR, taxis and buses, if I choose not to drive and I don't have to walk miles to the nearest MRT station, as I do in Singapore (Ok, I exaggerated but many places are not within reasonable walking distance from our MRT stations here in Singapore). The truth of the matter is that the Singapore authorities are very kiasu and despite all the controls they have over all aspects of our transportation infrastructure, they cannot get it right. No MRT station in Suntec but there is one at Marina South, where about 5 people get off each day compared with the thousands who walked to Suntec from City Hall station. We have the now infamous White Elephant station, due to the fact that our transport operators are more commercial organisations than public service organisations and who can blame them? It is our government's view of how public services should be delivered, via profit centred entities, sigh!!

    Sorry, back to the topic of your post. A choir you said about our parliament. I agree. I think of them as the chorus, so perfectly orchestrated, it puts the cast of CATS, which played some years ago here to shame. Our world class durian theatre should consider putting up the parliamentary act, which will definitely be a sellout.

    Welfare and handouts are indeed different when espoused by our leaders. Welfare is a dirty word but we will give out a package. They can almost said it in the same sentence with a straight face and get away with it. Stripped it off all the packaging and spin, the truth of the matter is that there are Singaporeans who need assistance and our welfare is woefully inadequate.

    I have no doubts GST will cross the 10% mark in a few years' time. We have began our trip on the slippery slope and it is not going to stop sliding upwards, while the 'package' will stop long before that happens.

    Thanks for another good post, Whispers Aunty!

  • At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want to think that the 82 PAP candidates have a soul and have a voice. If all of us put pressure on the MPs, they may soon enough quit the PAP before the 5 years is up, or put enough pressure on the cabinet to stop their nonsense. They have kept quiet enough about the Potong Pasir / Hougang issue in Parliament, they have kept quiet about the obvious conflict of interest of Minister of Finance and Shincorp such that Tharman has to respond to queries instead of PM Lee. They are 82 individuals with 82 lifes, believes, religion and I think I would not cut them all down yet. They may still be our saviour against those millionaires without a care for the people.

  • At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why would they risk their $13,000 a month part-timer salary for your sake?

    If things go smoothly, they might have the $100,000 a month salary. Again, why would they risk it all for you?

    They have a family to feed too!

  • At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They have a God / Allah / Conscious to report to. They have the people to report to, whom they swear to represent. If the WP members can resign because they have a backbone, I believe the PAP members can also resign because they are fiesty, P65 and are not as stupid as we think.

  • At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it is obvious this country is not for the likes of you and me - I left some time ago and now it is time for you and other intelligent ones to leave quickly - it is not your country - it is theirs; remember PAP built it all by themsleves!

  • At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I left Singapore over 20 years ago & is now an American citizen. I've never regretted my decision. In fact I'm grateful to America for the opportunities she has given me. I love America, warts & all, the most important of all is I and my fellow Americans have a voice & I'm able to voice my grievances, be it whining or complaining. And I can protest in groups of 5 or 500 or 5000 if I want to. I can even sue the govt. (local, state, federal) if I want to. I'm actually more American than my fellow native born Americans. My regret is that I still have alot of immediate family members in Singapore and I worry for their futures.

    I too wondered why some Singaporeans find it difficult to start a new life in a new land, when other immigrants risk their lives through legal or illegal means to come to the USA for the opportunities. And they don't even speak English, yet are able to stick it out and eventually better their lives for their children.

    A summary hike in our sales tax without a vote by residents will never fly over here. The county council members will have to sell or spin about how wonderful an increase in the sales tax will benenfit us residents for it to go on the ballot as a measure & residents of that county will go to the polls to vote for it.

    BTW, our Austrian born Governor Arnold Schwartzernegger sign into law raising the minimum wage to$7.50 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2007 & to $8.00 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2008 in Kalifornia.


  • At 7:04 PM, Anonymous vesance said…

    My regret is that I still have alot of immediate family members in Singapore

    Is it difficult to sponsor your family members so they can become Permanent Residents?

  • At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Vesance, a naturalized or native born American citizen can sponsor their parents or children (cannot be over the age of 14, I believe. I could be wrong on the age limit) for PR. Still need to go through the bureaucratic hoops. But its not too bad just have to dot the i and cross the t. Typical of any bureaucracy. As for siblings, it is not impossible, just a lot of red tape. I'm not too sure about other extended family members such as nieces/nephews. A friend of mine some years ago sponsored her sister & family and the process took 10 years to go thru the legal channels. She & they prevailed & they are now here, of course, all this is before 9/11. USCIS (used to be called INS) have tightened the rules over the years but since 9/11 the rules have changed and getting quite stringent.

    Through an act of Congress the US govt. have the Green Card (PR) lottery for the world immigrants. There is a quota for PR applications for countries & certain countries are not given the privilege to apply for the green card lottery. I think China, UK, Canada are some of the countries that are not eligible for the lottery. If you go to the USCIS website, (google for INS or USCIS) there will be information on how to apply. The INS website always end with .gov. I had gone to their website a few years ago and the application process is very straightforward. There is an application fee that you have to pay when you apply. Singapore is one of the countries that is eligible but the quota for Singaporeans is very small compared to other countries. Anyone can apply, you don't have to be a tertiary educated person. I believed you can apply again & again if you don't win the lottery. I think the website even tells you how many people win the lottery. You can find all the info on the INS website. I have heard through Singaporean friends of mine that some of their friends did win the PR lottery.
    Here's the USCIS homepage link:

    Here's the PR lottery link: You also can access it thru the USCIS homepage & click on PR & scroll down to Diversity lottery link.

    Also if you have a child born on US soil, your child is a US citizen even if both parents are not. Thats why we have alot of Mexican women who cross the border into San Diego to give birth so that their child has US citizenship.


  • At 11:03 PM, Anonymous vesance said…

    To Ex-Singaporean: Thanks so much for the information. In an ideal situation, it will be good to sponsor everyone.

  • At 6:01 PM, Anonymous 40+ Singaporean said…

    To anonymous (I don't know if there is more than 1 here),

    Yes, the 82 PAP MPs have a soul, I am sure. They have a voice too, though not as loud as the ministers' but they sure sing the same tune. There is no semblance of any debate among the PAP MPs in parliament. It is usually a pre-orchestrated, pre-rehearsed chorus of support for whatever the ministers have announced in way of policies.

    I only watch the televised proceedings for the information bits , not for well thought out and presented arguments or debates. I have concluded there is none.

    To vesance, your parents should be very proud of you. Migration is a big decision. While it may not be a big thing for some and to whispers' point, it need not be that difficult, it is nonetheless not a good choice for some. Some of our older folks are so used to the their surroundings and way of life in Singapore, including their friends and family, it is difficult for them to move.

    As citizens of this country and having done their part in helping build the nation, why do they have to be 'forced' to leave because some minister feel it is too expensive to keep them here in Singapore and a lower cost location to house retirement village outside of Singapore is the solution? Rubbing salt into the wound by encouraging and inviting so called talents from foreign countries is like a double whammy.

    In a way I am happy that the Malaysian government has plans to build up Johore and make entries easier for Singaporeans. The most important thing here is that it will offer Singaporean choices, particularly older folks, should cost become too high for them to remain in their homeland.

    In Singapore, we very rarely get any kind of choice. The government decides what's good or bad for us and they cannot see why some do not agree with their decisions, and cannot accept any alternative views.

  • At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What irks me most is the manipulation of the people using the monopolies the mandarins have created and enjoy. The lies in the media, the statements made that insinuate that we are stupid, and the control they exercise over every aspect of the people's lives... made me shudder and leave, never ever to come back! It is not easy to give up a place where one has grown up and where all family and frieds are!

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…

    I have 3 other siblings. Except for one with an iron rice bowl (in the elite admin service), the other 2 were retrenched some years back.

    Having many degrees didn't help them nor the many years of work experience.

    Most of us don't ask for the sky from the government. We just want assurance that when we can't run anymore, someone will hold our hands and walk with us to the finishing line. Not too much to ask, really.

    The last speech from PM had destroyed my faith in Singapore, not when PAP is still ruling.

    Even my mother expressed interest to migrate to Malaysia. She could still watch cantonese dramas and speak to her neighbours in dialects. She considered that an upgrade already!!!

    I visited my father's hometown recently. I felt an attachment very strong. I tried to find the same in Singapore. I spent an afternoon at Chinatown, my birthplace. Sadly, I couldn't feel anything at all.

    Singapore is just a flat piece of land full of rocks. Contrary to what MM thinks, the people give the land its spirit. You lose the people, you lose that spirit of a country. Tourists or temp citizens are only toppings to enhance flavour.

    If asked, I will gladly tell you that I don't really love Singapore. I love Singaporeans more than Singapore ( I don't attach much feelings to rocks and soil). I consider Singaporeans my other siblings, born of the same place. They can be anywhere in the world but I will still feel that bond, I know.

  • At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    btvfrOne thing I forgot to add is that America don't kick & punch its citizens when they are down on their luck. For that matter America don't kick & punch their illegal immigrants either. Granted the social welfare system here has its abusers, it is comforting to me that the resources are there should I ever need it. At least, I know where my taxes go to & I don't mind.

    Whispers, give the US Diversity lottery a try. As a family, you and your hubby both can apply separately (this way got more chance) & if either of you win it will include you, your spouse & your kids. This is a freebie from the USA. No strings attached. No bond, nada.


  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…


    Thanks! I had made a note of that :)

    I have been studying my options recently. I have mentioned in many places that Singapore is not my ideal place to grow old in.

    The darn thing is my son's NS liability. Nonetheless, small problem like this won't deter me once the heart has decided.

    Like I said, even my 60 yr old mum yearns to fly the coup ...

  • At 8:28 PM, Anonymous 40+ Singaporean said…

    It was interesting to see Bush's response to the protest, in addition to the official reception he got for his visit to Indonesia. Such a contrast in his response to that of our government. He said it was a indication of a democracy. Only very recently, our government prevented protests and potential 'trouble makers' from coming in during the WTO meeting held here.

    Whisper, it is indeed sad that a couple of your siblings are in the situation I know many in their forties are in. They have qualifications but through a number of factors, do not seem to be able to find employment, even though their expectations are not very high and they are keen to work.

    I am of the opinion that our government is responsible for many of the factors leading to this situation through their policies and plans in the past. It is made doubly difficult to accept when they blame workers for being picky, complaining and does little to better the lives of lower income as well as the supposedly middle income groups who find difficulties in their employment quests. And to top it all, declare that welfare is a dirty word.

    I agree that the government is losing or has lost the human element in their quest to build up the country, and their measures of Singapore as a world class or developed country consist primarily of economic measures and not the social measures or aspects of such a society.

    What are we becoming as a society and a country?

  • At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My pleasure, Whispers. Good luck and all my best wishes.

    Allow me to tell you a couple of little stories.

    Someone I know graduated with honors from the NUS, did his NS & came to USC to do his MBA. He is very smart & got hired by a big corporation and was very lucky that his company sponsored his PR. He eventually got his PR & is still here in the US.

    A good friend's brother came here to go to college. My friend told her brother not to come back to Singapore, Singapore has nothing for him & to stay here in the US to seek his fortune. He did so well the college gave him a scholarship. He work for the college while he was studying. After he graduated he works for a very big IT outfit in Washington. The company too sponsored his PR. I believe my friend's brother finished his NS liability & immediately left for the US to study.

    Just want to illustrate that when there's a will there's a way especially for the young 'ums. I have more stories to tell of how each one of us came and stay in this land of opportunities.


  • At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To: Wispers, vesance & those that are interested in the US Diversity Lottery:

    Sorry I gave incomplete & inaccurate info on the Diversity lottery after reading my earlier comment. I just went into the website & discovered that it is run by the State Dept. (US Department of State or DOS). THERE IS NO FEE TO APPLY FOR the lottery. There is a warning from the US Dept. of State regarding fraudsters that want you to pay for the application. The US govt. does not charge any application fee according to the DOS home page Make sure that all US govt. websites ends with dot gov (.gov)

    DV Program

    The Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

    Please Note: There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" lottery entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. The Department of State notifies successful Diversity Visa applicants by letter, and NOT by email. To learn more see the Department of State Warning and the Federal Trade Commission Warning.

    As you apply to come to the U.S., please take a moment to visit our Rewards For Justice program website to see how you can help in the continuing efforts for "secure borders" and "open doors."

    Click on the links for information on the Diversity Visa Program.

    2008 Diversity Visa Lottery Instructions
    DV 2007 Results
    List of Occupations
    KCC Information

    Here's the link that I cut & paste:

    This link gives the result of DV 2007 winners.

    Singapore has 46 & Malaysia has 76 for DV 2007.

    Whispers, I apologized for clogging up your bandwidth. Sorry, hor.


  • At 5:15 AM, Anonymous vesance said…

    Been busy with exam preparation and fallen behind with blog commentaries. What a lively discussion we have here :)

    To: Ex-Singaporean

    I applied under Australian Skilled Immigrant category and was granted Permanent Residency recently. My plan is quite similar to many of my classmates, that is: to sponsor our parents over once we find employment next year.

    It usually takes a year or two before parents are granted Permanent Residency so it is good to apply early. I've some crazy plans to dress my father up as Indiana Jones and my mother as Angelina Jolie - Tomb Raider's character. Just so they can explore the Australian Outback in style. Crikey !!!

    I guess this is our answer to the cheesy Singaporean electoral slogan: "Staying Together, Moving Ahead!". LOL.

  • At 11:49 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…


    "more good years" too :)

  • At 11:59 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…

    Do I have faith in the P65?

    Frankly, I don't give a damn.

    I even know some of them personally. Why let the heart be disappointed over and over again?

    If the selection criteria for PAP candidates had never changed, why would the quality of their products improve?

    Afterall, the core philosophy had not changed since day one. The phobia of losing control and power.

    And that will be their downfall.


  • At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Confused said…

    I am more interested to know what are you going to do about all this? In fact, what is everyone going to do about all this? Sad to say, I don't see the 66.6% of the population having a change of heart. With a bit of luck we might have 70% in the next elections. Nothing is going to change. Don't ask me why, I don't understand all this myself.

  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…

    Dear confused,

    Like you, I don't see the 66% having a change of heart.

    What one wants to do depends on your beliefs. If you believe you can control a third of your own destiny (heaven, earth and man), then you can seek to make changes. Most people I know gave away their control of their destiny to the other 2 elements of fate.

    I have mentioned many times that I do not see myself growing old in Singapore. The country's values and mine are no longer in alignment. It has a value system I don't feel proud of anymore.

    Like any doomed marriage, it would be awefully painful when the relationship is not built on shared ideals and values. I will be saying goodbye to Singapore eventually.

  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous asddad said…

    I accepted a job offer in the US several years ago and moved here with my wife. We had fully intended to return to Singapore after we have had enough of living here.

    But as fate would have it, our daughter was later diagnosed with autism. That diagnosis turned all our well-laid plans inside out. Luckily for us, US has excellent early intervention programs and services for special needs kids. If not for state and federal funding, we would not be able to afford all these services. It makes my blood boil when I hear PAP ministers saying that welfare is a dirty word. Are they saying the poor, disabled and needy in society are wretched and do not deserve any help?

    We are now tending towards living here permanently. We know that our daughter will be treated with much more dignity and respect here than in Singapore.

  • At 7:52 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…

    Please, stay in the US. For youself and for your daughter.

    Despite all the wayang the government is showing us, caring for the less privileged is not in their grand plan of things.

    I know because one of my siblings worked in the elite service.

    The philosophy has always been that the government should not be saddled with such liabilities. It will never change.

    Consider yourself luckier than Mr Brown.

  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    asddad, you are very lucky to be here in the US , especially with a disabled child. The resources here in the US for the disabled are incredible. These resources are available to both legal & illegal immigrants. You will not be so lucky in Singapore, just ask MrBrown. You make a wise decision to stay in the US where you are able to be an advocate for your daughter with autism.

    I had worked as a special ed teacher dealing with moderate to severe disabilities (all kinds, medical, developmental, physical, etc). I believe federal law mandate that the school districts provide special education programs for children with disabilities. The school districts, county, state have to accommodate this sector of the population. Do you know you can sue the school districts, county or state if they refuse to provide such services to your child?

    I worked in early intervention of children with autism. Our program accepts toddlers at 2 years old. The special education program for children with disabilities (all kinds) goes from the time they are diagnosed from birth to 22 years of age. These programs are free. The kids are from all over the world (whose parents are smart enough to be here), the law prohibits discrimination against these kids based on race or citizenship. Only qualifying factor is their disabilities to enter the special ed program. Once your child is in the system she will have care for the rest of her life. There are alot of resources out there for her as an adult too. I'm sure you probably have those info.

    Thats why I have no problems and willingly pay my income taxes here because I know it comes back to us unlike Singapore where you get no help from the gahmen.

    Like Whispers said, stay in the US, don't go back to Singapore for the sake of your daughter.

    I'd said it again that I love America, her warts and all. Ihave an American flag flying on my front porch 24/7.


  • At 1:08 PM, Anonymous asddad said…

    Having a special needs child has made me appreciative of everything that I have, however small. It has taught me not to take things for granted, and to count my blessings every single day. However, it has also made me acutely aware of how inhumane Singapore's leadership and policies have become.

    I know in my heart that staying in US is the right thing to do. It would be irresponsible of me to make my daughter suffer for no good reason. But it still saddens me to see what the self-proclaimed elites have done to my country.

    Thanks for the info Ex-Singaporean. We went through the school district's IEP process recently and almost hired a lawyer to pursue due process. Luckily for us, the school district budged and gave us what our daughter needed. It was a very stressful period, and I had to keep reminding myself and my wife that at least we have the option to sue the school district if negotiations fail. Try suing MOE and see where that gets you...

    whispers from the heart: I just stumbled onto your blog yesterday and really love your writing. I'll be visiting often.

  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    asddad, I know what you mean about the lack of human kindness in the pap govt. toward its own citizens especially the less fortunate, elderly,the disabled and the marginalized. It infuriates me so when I noticed the inaccessibility of buildings, roads, transport, etc. that the disabled Singapore citizens have to contend with, which is not the case here in the US. Such utter lack of empathy, compassion and humanity by the powers that be.

    Where are you at in the US? I'm here in SoCal & the counties here have good programs for special education. You must be your child's strongest advocate to get her the needed services. Bureacracy being what it is, it is no surprise that the school districts would not do anything so educate yourself on which of the ADA (Americans with Disabity Act) laws that you can use to challenge the school district to provide the needed services for your daughter. Don't take no for an answer, be assertive & you will prevail by being educated about your and your daughter's rights under the law.


  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous asddad said…

    Hi Ex-Singaporean,

    I am living in SoCal as well. Torrance, to be more exact. I would love to talk to you in more detail. Let's take this offline through email. I can be reached at asddad@sbcglobal.net.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  • At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, asddad, you are in my neighborhood. I live in Long Beach! Will be emailing you. My email is kateogrant@yahoo.com

    Looking forward to talking with you & your family too.


  • At 5:07 AM, Blogger Paddy Tan - BAK2u.com said…

    Looking at things are going, Singapore is getting really expensive ... :(

  • At 2:29 PM, Blogger Whispers from the heart said…


    I agree, especially if you run a small business in Singapore.

    Not every cost can be passed on to the customer :(

    No wonder many of my associates had relocated.

    I am also moving out.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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