Lim Swee Say failed, hence Minimum Wage is born

Just about 2 years ago, NTUC chief Lim Swee Say was drumming up a new term he coined called the “progressive wage”, of which he openly called out to cleaning contractors to pay all their cleaners $1k/mth [Source]. Apparently, nobody including the Government themselves  listened to him because the Ministry of Manpower announced in 2013 that the median wage for cleaners was about $800 [Source]. More than a year has gone by, the private sector was still not listening as contractors continue to depress cleaners’ wages. It was very embarrassing for a million dollar Minister and a union chief to be ignored and apparently General Election 2016 inches closer, the PAP realized they could no longer rely on the useless NTUC chief cum Minister without portfolio to raise wages. 

So the PAP backtracked on their principle of “progressive wages”, showed NTUC Lim Swee Say the finger and legislated a Minimum Wage. This is evident that the PAP themselves know that the “progressive wage” model is a lie, and tacitly admitting that all their arguments against Minimum Wage were fallacious.

But the biggest backtrack are not PAP’s electoral promises…it is the wages of the cleaners:

stupid sg

 

A Minimum Wage is a right step in the correct direction but $1k/mth?! That is even lesser than the median wage 14 years ago and we have not touched on inflation yet! The Minimum Wage is a slave wage and it looks more like a carrot for cleaning contractors to hire more foreigners. Coupling a Minimum Wage with a loose immigration policy will only result in more foreigners wanting to come to Singapore to work as cleaners. Singaporean cleaners, especially those sickly and elderly, will still continue to live in extreme poverty from the meager $1k/mth with today’s cost of living.

That brings a stark comparison to SMRT and SBS, where government funding have recently been channeled into the balance sheet of the two companies to make a “living profit”. Interestingly, low income workers do not enjoy similar funding to survive on a “living wage”?

It has been perplexing me for quite some time why would an elected government serve corporate more than the people. Until I enlightened myself and abolished some incorrect presumptions on the nature of the PAP like how incorrupt and democratic socialist they claimed themselves to be. Simply put in, there is a great disconnect between what they say and what they do. This Minimum Wage back peddling is one fine example. What they claim and what they do is one hell of a world apart. The question remains if the majority of Singaporeans will continue to dig their own grave in 2016?

Dear Lee Hsien Loong, I am ashamed to have you as Prime Minister

Dear Lee Hsien Loong

girl

When you published this photo on Facebook, I thought you were yet making another distasteful joke about smoking and pork soup about China. Nope, this is worse. It is already very unfortunate that the little girl lost her fingers in the freak accident, you have to gather her entire family and pose in front of the cameraman whom you brought along. How different are you from Lee Bee Wah in this photo [Source]?

Ok never mind the photo. So you are paid $2.2 million a year. Didn’t you just receive your year-end bonus? How much is that? How much money is sitting inside your bank account and given your position,  how have you helped Li Xuan? She is only 14, she lives in a HDB, her father is working as a hawker selling sugar cane juice for a living and she did not have insurance payout.

Have you got no sympathy? Where is the caring and compassionate society you so proudly laid credit for a few months ago [Source]? You told her a crap story about a US war veteran, how does that relate to her circumstances aside from a broken arm? You might as well tell her stories about Stephen Hawking, Christopher Reeve or about yourself surpassing every Singaporean elite to become Singapore’s only qualified Prime Minister. What she needs most today is financial help. You are generous enough to offer $36 million every year to at least 2000 foreign students, yet you never once entertain the thought of helping the Singaporean girl lying on the bed in front of you.

It is shameful to have you as the Prime Minister, period.

Next, I will go on to a recent hotly-debated national issues. Transport fares is going up when breakdowns and overcrowding are still happening. When workers like me need a higher salary, you tell us to be more productive and salaries will rise in tandem. However when it comes to SBS and SMRT, they can continue to be incompetent and worsen their services yet you can allow the fare hike to happen. This is gross injustice that private companies are legislated by law to earn “a living profit” while low income Singaporeans like me are not mandated to earn “a living wage”. Are you voted in by Singaporeans or Private Limiteds?

This year marked the 10th year you are Prime Minister. It is evident you have no concern for Singaporeans, our standard of living is never your priority. To you, we are just economic tools – we can see how those old and broken tools sell tissue paper or literally beg on the streets for a living. You disgust me every day knowing what you earn in half a day is what Singaporeans get at the end of the month.

Please resign.

A cheated Singaporean
Alex Tan

Poverty in Singapore from a personal experience

I grew up in poverty, my father was a delivery driver (even today) and my mother was a cleaner working 2 shifts from 630am to 11pm in two coffeeshop. I stopped taking allowance and started working part time at Macdonalds when I was in secondary 2. Every holiday was a good day to my family as we would be getting overtime for working in the holidays. My parents and I were working close to 365 days a year because there is no annual leave, no medical benefits and no bonuses even for full timers. Because of our poverty and the exploitative working culture in Singapore, we have become workaholics.

Even though we have been working hard everyday for the past 12 years, we see no light in the tunnel. My father is still a delivery driver in the same company drawing the same $1.2K a month as he had for the past 10 years. He is 62 but he has barely 60K only in his CPF after he made his 50% withdrawal when he was 55. Retirement is impossible for him because the CPF life payout worked out to be less than $355 a month for him. My mother has been a cleaner all her life, and because some cleaning contractors do not pay CPF, her retirement account is even more pathetic, at about $20k. And the CPF Life monthly payout? Maximum $169 a month. We sold off our 3A room flat a few years ago to pay for my mother’s cancer treatment (Singapore hospitals are just a little short of being loan sharks. They will keep calling and pestering and then they will get a private debt collector company to press you for payment) and now live in a 3NG room flat in Whampoa.

Throughout these years, we received no help from the PAP in school fees, cash or food because our household income was at about $3k a month (including the part waitering I was drawing), barely above the minimum requirement for social assistance. I remembered my mother told me she ever seek help from the government but the case officer told her that as each of us has a handphone and we live in a 3 room flat, we were too “rich” to qualify. It appears, to get assistance in Singapore, you have to be wearing rags, scraping the barrels and collecting tin cans for a living.

Right after my National Service, all of my richer friends get into universities for degrees or diplomas for some. I had zero savings from the pathetic $400 pay I get during NS. I couldn’t even feed myself then and thinking about a degree was really out of the world.

A year later I quitted my $1.8k project engineer job and worked in the insurance industry. There I met many high net worth prospects (I cold-call 12 hours a day from 10am to 10pm everyday whenever I am not on appointment) and clients and the true state of Singapore society dawned unto me. Meritocracy is non-existent in Singapore. Hard working people are paid the lowest and the rich people are not even clocking in a fraction of the poor’s contribution. They simply live off interests, dividends and for some, an autopilot business. The PAP gives them 0% GST on gold, 0% capital gains tax, 0% dividends tax, no Minimum Wage, high quota for cheap foreign labor and as a result their cash reserves appreciate easily by the double digit percentage every year. On the other hand in the very same year, my poor dad was still drawing his $1.2k salary as he had for the past 10 years. This phenomenon of the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer is a result of PAP’s capitalistic policies.

The message is clear: there is no incentive for hard work in an overtly capitalistic system. No matter how hard you work, you will be merely scrapping by. It is through seeing such adverse inequality that fired me up to oppose the PAP relentlessly over the years. Ending the poverty cycle for Singaporeans is very hard to achieve because a political change is near-impossible with the incredibly high number of stupid Singaporeans who know nothing about the negative impact of PAP policies. I have equal hatred for PAP supporters as I have for the PAP. They seriously deserve a big fuck you from the poor people in Singapore.

I could however end the poverty cycle for my family through emigration. I am a project manager now, armed with a few industry certifications (I think it would be appropriate to call myself a local talent because my foreign colleagues would be Q1 E pass holders in the same industry) and I’m completing my degree’s final exams in a week’s time. My wife and I have been saving up well and we are preparing to fly. We have no intention of buying a HDB here which will laden me with a 30 year long debt. We did not even have a wedding here because it costs easily at least over $10K. And a kid is going to set us back $200K over 20 years. I have done all the calculations and comparisons. In Singapore, we know the price of every thing and the value of nothing. Home ownership and family planning are supposed to be life’s happy events. But in Singapore, these are expensive activities I couldn’t afford. Just like Christmas and New Year, they are supposed to be days of joyous celebrations but to my family, they are days we earn double or 1.5 pay. Whenever there is a wedding or birthday, I will start worrying about the hongbao money or how much am I going to spend on the present.  It is impossible to be happy in Singapore when every thing is so expensive and your pay is so low. It is such constant reminders of financial constraints that makes me hate Singapore so much.

The reason for leaving is both economical and political. Have Singapore been a free country, my favorite tagline would be “fuck you corrupted traitors”. But we know these mofos love defamation suits and we know how oppressing it is when you cannot call a corruption corrupt. It is unbearing having to live in a country with leaders you hate so much.

Shutting TRS down will result in a freak election

Recently, two social-political websites have been asked to register with the latest MDA’s internet control regulation. Namely theindependent and breakfast network, one continued business and the other simply closed shop [Source]. This naturally got people asking when will it be The Real Singapore’s turn, and PAP supporters of course are leading the call for MDA to shut down TRS. Nonetheless, the fact remains that MDA have not yet asked TRS to register.

The outcome is very simple if MDA decides to conduct a political suicide for the PAP. TRS will shut down, and a new blog will appear. Shut down the new blog, another one will appear. Not necessarily by the same group of editors, but most probably by some TRS fans which is already quite a number of them, given we are the most popular non-PAP controlled media with more than 100K likes on Facebook.

However, chances are MDA have calculated their moves as above and they are leaving TRS alone. There is no benefit for the PAP to shut down TRS. In fact, PAP might be voted out sooner than they think if they remove TRS. This is why:

1) TRS serves as an effective output channel for anti-PAP Singaporeans
The reason why things are bearable in Singapore is because there is TRS to air anti-PAP views. Every article that is highly critical of the PAP are very well-received on TRS with readership easily exceeding 100K views from Singapore alone. Life without TRS will be a pressure cooker with no output valve for the average Singaporean, and an explosion will only be a matter of time. They will continue to take in half-baked statistics and dubious survey results from the mainstream media, and then be in for a rude shock when they found out they couldn’t retire just because they did not complain hard enough without TRS’s presence. The true Singapore Conversation takes place only in TRS, the mainstream media and even other alternative sites practise censorship so much that they have only all but the good stuff about PAP to hear.

2) TRS can die but never the Singaporean voice
TRS is simply just a platform, and prior to TRS were many other now-defunct forums and websites like soc forum, delphiforum sammyboy, 3in1kopitiam, Temasek Review, Temasek Revealed and Temasek Times. Facing a shut down by MDA is within our planning parameter, which means we are prepared to shut down and some of us might still want to continue writing and create a new site.

So long there is a cause for grievance and the PAP-controlled media continues to deny Singaporeans, the Singaporean voice will continue. There will always have a whistleblower who want to expose a corrupted act like the Brompton Bike saga [Source], there will always have a PAP member like Jason Neo [Source], there will always have a Singaporean who are totally fed up waiting for SBS bus [Source], there will always be foreigners like Sun Xu [Source] or companies like La Fondue [Source]…there will always be someone who want justice done and sadly, among so many websites, only TRS have the balls to publish articles like these. TRS have helped the PAP so much on so many occasions with such exposes. The PAP should be giving TRS a National Day Award for relaying the true ground sentiment.

As a website which believes progress comes only with free speech, registering with the MDA is not an option. PAP’s popularity will tank with the suppression of alternative voices. Without TRS, the mainstream media will see an avalanche of anti-PAP voices many times stronger than those found on TRS. At that point of time, a freak election result whereby the PAP lose governance will be sooner than we thought.

Rising anti-PAP sentiments caused by PAP themselves

anti PAP sentiment

Factors resulting in rise of anti-PAP sentiments

When the Messiah hacked Straits Times and the Anonymous hacker legion group said they are watching the PAP government, Singaporeans were united into cheering for the hackers. Even though the hackers did nothing more than petty vandalism on non-essential government websites like the Town Council’s, the acts made a good gauge of the anti-PAP sentiments.

Fast forward a month later, we have the Little India riot by foreign workers. Although many Singaporeans are disapproval of such violence, everyone agrees that this riot is the bitter outcome from the years of a cheap wage culture and rampant exploitation of manpower in Singapore. Notice during the riot, only police cars are overturned and government vehicles are set on fire. It turns out anti-PAP sentiments were brewing among the foreign workers all along, and it just took one emotional tragedy to become an outlet for the bitterness pressure-cooked inside them over the years.

Looking at how the PAP response to the riot through hardline measures (making multiple arrests in foreign workers dormitories) and utter denial (blaming the riot on drunkards), it is apparent the root cause of the problem has been largely ignored. A second riot is on its way, perhaps slowly, but surely. So long there is a disaster recipe of depressed wages and absence of workers’ rights, the law of nature dictates that chaos will ensue such unbalance without fail.

So as of now, both Singaporeans and foreign workers have become anti-PAP. The next key event before GE2016 is the imminent death of Lee Kuan Yew and the public criticism of Lee Hsien Loong by PAP MPs themselves. For the PAP to collapse, it must implode. And already the signs are showing with former civil servants and party members publicly expressing disappointment and disagreement with the new PAP administration.

There is no more hope in the present batch of PAP administration because none of them displayed leadership abilities they boasted themselves to possess. They claimed they can easily become directors or successful businessmen or lawyers in corporates and statutory boards, yet these 80 supposedly CEOs and Directors in Parliament couldn’t formulate strategies and engender charisma to make the people at least not hate them. Faulting the internet and an increasingly-informed population is not a valid excuse for failing their basic responsibilities. Scoring points through propaganda and misleading mainstream reports can only be effective when livelihood improved. Every now and then when a PAP leader speaks, it simply just rile people up. The people are frustrated with senseless and out of touch comments. Being anti-PAP is not a choice for common sense.

Most Singaporeans turned to the internet to vent their frustrations, others like taxi drivers simply made insulting the PAP their pet topic. These are the real Singapore conversations taking place, with true feedback and alternative suggestions. Place the same comments at the staged conversation in front of the PAP, and they will fall on deaf ear or be shot down with flimsy defences like “Singapore is unique”, which of course angered the people further. The truth turned out, it is the PAP themselves who created the thriving environment for anti-PAP sentiments.

The right amount of anti-PAP sentiments will cause PAP’s downfall, and the good news is the PAP is doing it right. They are actively angering Singaporeans and foreigners by stubbornly insisting their policies is the only option.

Alex Tan Zhixiang

Little India riot: Social unrest resulting from adverse Income Inequality

Explosion at Little India. PAP-controlled media CNA live report says there is no casualty or death. You believe?

Police car smashed and put on fire

Foreign workers riot and so will the rest of the bottom class who had enough of being bullied and exploited by greedy bosses. The PAP will punish the rioters of Little India, and the ground will get even more bitter. The backlash will result in more riots happening elsewhere because this is not going to be the first or last we are seeing.

Social unrest is a result of adverse income inequality. It is only a matter of time people who work so hard for so little rise up against those who are rewarded generously for doing little or no work. This is a class warfare, written in history and Singapore will never be an exception.

The only solution is Minimum Wage and raise salaries of those at the bottom at the expenses of profits. PAP will never implement Minimum Wage of course, henceforth their downfall is inevitable.

PAP supporters are the real assholes

The PAP has worsen the people’s livelihood and poised to make life harder in the years to come before GE2016. But there can only be so much blame to be placed on an incompetent and out of touch government who have paid themselves too much. The ones who are more responsible than the PAP are no doubt those who put them in power. The naive ignoramous ones take in the lies, the half-truths and the threats, while the evil ones either profit from the status quo or have their monthly check issued directly from the PAP government. Yet all of them are equally guilty for the path of destruction Singapore has undertaken because of their electoral choice, whether misinformed or outright ill-intended.

Objectively, the indirect impact to the entire Singaporean population caused by their support of the PAP:

Livelihood
-Transport fare hike coming in January 2014 [Source]
-COE prices affordable to only rich foreigners [Source], LTA omit statistics on nationality of car owners
-Housing loan continues to stay above 25 years [Source] with retirees having to pay outstanding loan only in cash
-55% of Singaporeans do not meet Minimum Sum upon retirement [Source]
-28% Singaporean living in poverty and increasing [Source]
-Number of S-pass holders foreigners increased [Source]
-Singapore salaries accounting for inflation continue to stagnate [Source]

Freedom
-Prosecution by the Attorney General Chambers against blogger Alex Au [Source]
-Prosecution by the Attorney General Chambers against hacker “The Messiah” [Source]
-Threat of defamation suit by the Council of Private Education against student Han Hui Hui [Source]
-Lawyer’s letter of demand by Minister Tan Chuan Jin to opposition member Vincent Wijeysingha [Source]
-Enactment of Internet Regulations by Media Development Authority [Source]

Social
-Number of foreigners increased, on track to 6.9 million population [Source]
-Worsening overcrowding in public transport [Source]
-More breakdowns in public transport despite appointing former army chief as CEO of SMRT [Source]
-Higher unemployment rate in Singapore [Source]
-More than half of all Singaporeans want to emigrate out of Singapore [Source]
-Most unhappy people in the world [Source]
-Healthcare spending almost non-existent in Singapore [Source]
-$36 million worth of scholarships given to only foreigners [Source]
-Insufficient subsidised local university places for Singaporeans [Source]

The list can go further if not for the state of the controlled media and controlled statistical department withholding relevant details (i.e. HDB construction costs) or obfuscating key statistical terms like “resident population”. In fact, the above mentioned problems are just superficial and the tip of an iceberg. The real problems goes way below into the depth of the CPF structure, the amount of national reserves and the relationships between the country leaders, corporations, civil service and the entire inherent system. To sum these up we Singaporeans are in the juncture of a matrix, where the PAP leaders have no idea where we are, what they are doing and how to resolve today’s issues so we can all be on the path of progress. Singapore could have at least being decent without the lost years and screw-ups under the present PAP leadership.

Very unfortunately, there are people within Singaporeans who enjoy the chaos. Many of them are even happily making profit from the slew of cheap labor and savings made on Singaporean salaries. These are social parasites with vested interests and they vote not for the better of the country, but for the better of their own bank accounts. They do not care if the income gap is widen, nor do they care if our elderly are begging on the streets. They provide no value and progress to the existing system because all they do is to spout nonsense like “be contented with what you have”. They diss at critics of the PAP telling them “emigrate if you are not happy”. They go on every media platform and call themselves the “silent majority”, and they always get angry and personal when they lose a debate with a rational.

Their profile range from foreigners who are permanent residents and new citizens, to employers and civil servants. They subscribe to the doctrine that they are the loyal subjects of the PAP political party, not the Singapore nation. They are ready to dilute your national identity so long it is align with the PAP stance. I have no doubt these are the very ones who will sell out the country if the PAP tells them to. These are the vermins Singaporeans should work against. There is never a political division in Singapore, but a national division. The only one line dividing the people is the care and concern for the country.