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"Return our CPF" protest? What about a contest?

Friday, June 13, 2014

All of us have beliefs that we hold dear. I am sure you have your own beliefs too. Before I go on, I would like to share a reply I wrote to a reader recently:

Hi J,

We are in the territory of beliefs now. And when it is a matter of beliefs and opinions, it is hard to say who is right or wrong. In fact, it is impossible. It all depends on the philosophy that we subscribe to.

This is why a democracy is such a wonderful system. The majority decides and the minority has to follow. However, this is also why a democracy is such a terrible system. "Tyranny of the majority"?

This "tyranny" can be dealt with if we listen to the minority and see how we could accommodate their needs. Being a multi-racial society, we have done it before, I am sure you know. So, perhaps, we could try to do it with the CPF too.

To be frank, I like the system as it is now but I do understand that there are genuine cases of hardship out there. Perhaps, more help could be given to these people without letting them touch their CPF savings (if any). It is really an accounting entry if we do this. Tax payers are still paying for the financial assistance. Difference is that tax payers are paying for this sooner than later.

I think tweaking the system by letting disgruntled elderly CPF members who genuinely have the need to tap into their CPF savings will go some way to quelling the voices of discontent. Education should go hand in hand with this. Hopefully, these voices will become distant over time.

I agree that there will always be people who are irresponsible, stubborn and even foolish. We cannot kick them out of the country, can we? Since we cannot kick them out, we will have to try to fit them in, no matter how difficult the challenge. That is the job of the elected government. This is my belief.

Best wishes,

We can have discussions and we will most likely disagree since we will most likely hold on to our own beliefs. There will be debates where there will be no winners. There will be contests without victors.

Putting our own beliefs aside, the fact is that we are all on the same boat. A peaceful and harmonious Singapore is to our common benefit. If this is our common belief, then, we should all consider giving up some ground. So, before we say anything else, think about this. Can we soften our stance? Can we reach some common ground for the common good?

Related post:
An(other) open letter to the Prime Minister.


AK63 said...

I would like to second this....

Different people with common goals but different views come together on common grounds for the common good.... Aye to that!! :)

In my belief and understanding since I know of the existence of cpf funds and its aims and priorities, I agree it is a very good system from the government to help its people secure a better retirement through forced savings and employers' contributions. There were objections from the people, of course, but most see the long-term benefits of the system and accepted.

The cpf act is very easy to understand in those days. Put aside part of your salary and a part-contribution from your employer into your cpf accounts to help you save for retirement. Only those reaching 55 can apply to withdraw the whole sum. Almost everyone is happy with this arrangement. Simple enough. Not bad sia, reach 55 can strike lottery, good what?

Then the government realised that releasing a huge amount suddenly at 55 can have adverse effects on its people. What if they throw it all away? Hence the creation of SA which becomes RA when you reach 55. People reaching 55 can still withdraw their OA in full but RA only starts payout at set retirement age. Lots of grumbles and mumbles but the change is accepted again. Ok lah, better than nothing, right?

And again some geniuses in power think OAs have the most funds and not SAs, what if they throw it all away again? So here comes this MS thinggy. It was still quite straight-forward to understand. When you reach 55, your OA plus SA if higher than the MS at that time, you just need to put aside this MS in RA and the rest you can withdraw. For those who can't exceed MS, you can withdraw half of whatever is the total and leave the other half in RA. Lots of noise as usual but dust settled and life goes on. At least people can still withdraw some monies mah, ok lor! No fish, shrimp also can lah!

Then more changes set in. This time not only must set aside MS and also MMS, no more take half of whatever liao. For those high income got high cpf amounts no worries lah, set ma set lor! MS full liao, MMS also full liao, ok can take balance, some kopi lui ok lah! Poor things are those who cannot reach MMS let alone MS, total lock-down. Looking forward to 55, about to reach, govt changed gameplan, or better known as shifting goal-post (learn from here one!), die lah, plan this plan that plan ge pi ah, kena play out bigtime by mother-in-law (learn from here too!), kopi lui also bo liao, how? Go hong lim and kao bei kao bu lor!

Cannot withdraw at all at 55 is really too much, at least pay out some for sustainability also better than none right? Now nobody can look forward to 55, except those with abundance, and the other payout is moving further away 62? 65? 67?

Anyone looking for an excuse to stage a coup, a revolt, a rebellion, a takeover, a whatever, just read above....

AK71 said...

Hi AK63,

Your comment left me in stitches and almost speechless. LOL.

Here is something to chew on:

"I went from resenting my mother-in-law to accepting her, finally to appreciating her. What appeared to be her diffidence when I was first married, I now value as serenity." A. Waldman

Thank you very much. :)

The Sun said...

Truth be told, I do not think that the return our cpf protestors will find any common ground or compromise from the government anytime soon. And honestly, whether we like it or not, I think we have to live through more of such protests and online accusations against the government on cpf matters. The defacement of the PAP wiki page may just be the beginning of many unpleasant things to come...

Anonymous said...

Hi AK,

Thank you for your being so frank about your view on CPF.

I find myself divided on my views on CPF.

On one hand, my logical self will argue that every policy move is measured and tailored to ensure every citizen will have something to live on at least;

on the other, my emotional side can't help but feel that there is too much hand-holding... for Ah Tong's sake let us decide how we wish to live our life!

It is probably better for the ruling party NOT to shuff everything down everyone's throat. They finally realised that even if the policy is 'for your own good' they have to

1) convince the stakeholders

2) not be so high-handed.

I think a better way for this is to have an in-between... When you hit 55, you may withdraw 50% of your savings, irregardless of how much you have inside. The choice is yours.

2nd suggestion: I personally feel that the government has been doing a lot of 'Compulsory' things lately. I rather policies have less compulsory elements. Let it be a good policy and let everyone clamour to join in. The compulsory element just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


AK71 said...

Hi Tree,

Thanks for weighing in on this matter. :)

I also feel that a softening of the official stance could be a good idea at this point.

I also agree that high handedness even though policies might be sound could suffer public backlash. We certainly saw a very vocal crowd in HL Park recently. :(

Julian Chan said...

Hi AK71,
Interesting job as the govt. Being paid millions when they can get somewhat the equivalent outside (and without all the noises even if its from a small segment of Singaporeans).....
Kudos to all that worked hard for their lives...

AK71 said...

Hi Julian,

Yes, I am sure PM Lee will be able to get a salary a few times higher than what he is getting now as the PM. :)

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