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Do you make enough money and are you paid fairly? (AKA Do you need financial assistance or do you want it?)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Every so often, we will hear of people who say that we don't make enough money. 

Then, we might also hear of people who say we should have free education, free healthcare and the best is not have to pay for anything in Singapore.

Now, don't get me wrong, who wouldn't want to have free everything? 

In an imaginary and perfect world, perhaps, this dream would come true but until such a world is created, it would remain a dream.

Why would it remain a dream?

After all, there are people who are saying that it is possible to have free this and that. 

Once every few years like now, their voices are louder than usual.

When the Creator made this world, he made it so that we could live off the land. So, things should be free, right?

However, if we had wanted food, we would have had to hunt and gather. If we had wanted more, we would have had to work harder. 


Free from having to pay with money, perhaps, but we would still have had to pay with time and effort.

Free? I hardly think so.

In an imaginary and perfect world, everyone would get everything for free and no one would have to pay for anything. 

In this real and imperfect world of ours, if someone is getting something for free, someone else is probably paying for it.


Things cannot be free?

So, how like that?

What to do?

Well, if we have to pay for the things we want in life and if we want to have a better life, we have to work harder and smarter. 

Our ancestors progressed from being hunters and gatherers to becoming sedentary farmers, for example. 

They spent long hours in the fields. 

They worked harder and smarter too.

Things haven't really changed.

Of course, we can talk about how some progressed to become landowners but that is the next step. 

For people who are not even contemplating working harder and smarter, that next step will remain elusive, as they remain where they are.

I understand that there are some people who genuinely have difficulties in making ends meet despite their best efforts. 

They could be physically or mentally handicapped. They could have issues at home that hampered their efforts. 

If we are a caring society, we will help these people. They might need monetary help and help should be offered.

If we are physically and mentally whole, if we do not have insurmountable problems at home, I do not think we have any good reason to complain that we don't have enough money. 


If we want some money, go make some.

Such people don't need monetary help.

They want monetary help.

If monetary help is given to these people, they immediately become a burden to society.

A friend who was from a poor background asked if I could lend him about $800 to pay for his fees at a local polytechnic many years ago. 

Even though I wasn't making a lot of money back then, I lent him the money. 

He promptly paid me when he received his monthly salary. He is doing very well now.

Another friend who is also from a poor background asked if I could lend him $500 because he wanted to go to Hong Kong for a vacation with some friends. 

I was financially more comfortable by then and he knew I was. I rejected him. 

We are no longer friends, it seems.

I share these two examples to show how we have choices in life.

Being in Singapore, we are more fortunate than many in the world.

Overworked and underpaid? 

Then, make a change.

I know a lady who was very well paid working in one of the big audit firms. She felt she was overworked and underpaid. 

I asked if conditions might be better in the other firms. She said they were all the same. 

Then, she wasn't overworked and underpaid. It was the industry norm. Her salary was easily thrice as much as mine back then!


I know another lady who was relatively well paid working in one of the big law firms. She wanted shorter working hours. 

So, she took a pay cut and moved to a government statutory board. It was a trade and one she was happy with. 

If she had gone to another big law firm, conditions wouldn't have changed.

I share these two examples to show that, for most of us, if we want something, we have to give something. 

We cannot just take and not give.

At one time, I was holding two jobs. 

In fact, if I were to include a job in the informal sector of the economy, I had three jobs at one time. 

For a few years, I was working seven days a week. I am not very smart. So, I worked harder. 

I didn't have much of a social life and, I guess, I still don't. 

Mind you, I am not complaining.

Before we complain, before we ask for help, before we even ask for our CPF money to be returned to us at age 55 (which is another topic), stop and think if we are doing anything to improve our lives first. 

If we are doing something, ask if it is enough.

Related posts:
1. Do you want to be richer?
2. The very first step to becoming richer.
3. How to have a comfortable retirement?
4. How to tell if you are rich?
5. The Millionaire Next Door.


Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Hee Hee.


Tired of being Mother Theresa eh?

Snigger, snigger.

Sorry! My bad!

Yaruzi said...

Nice post AK. It's very easy to blame anything and everybody else, except oneself :-)

victorlsl1 said...

Would u care to comment on then AHPETC accounts? its confusing and I hope u can put some light to it so I know how to vote? is it financial engineering at its worst?

AK71 said...


OMG! What did I say?

Mai luan luan gong hor. -.-"

Om Amitabah.

AK71 said...

Hi Yaruzi,

Yup, when we want to point finger, we should do that while looking into the mirror first. We could be quite surprised by what we see. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Victor,

Our guest blogger, Matthew Seah, said on FB:

"these are facts.. you go read AGO first"

LOL. ;p

From the AGO Audit Report:

3. Failure to provide all requested documents and information which are critical for our evaluation of transactions.

3.1 AHPETC did not provide us with all the necessary and relevant accounting documents and information, which are essential and critical for our work. Accordingly, we are unable, amongst others, to fully review AHPETC's FY2012-13 accounts, records and books and determine whether public funds in AHPETC have been properly applied.....

3.2 Since the commencement of our review in April 2014, we have made various requests for documents from AHPETC as part of our review of selected transactions......Notwithstanding numerous requests and reminders, AHPETC did not provide a number of the requested documents.

3.3 This led to the AGO having to issue a formal letter to the Chairman of AHPETC on 22 August 2014, asking that AHPETC provide both AGO and PwC the outstanding documents by the final deadline of 12 September 2014.

3.4 AHPETC subsequently provided us with some further documents on 12 September 2014. However when we reviewed this, we noted that a significant number of documents remained outstanding....

Note: The Chairman of AHPeTC is.....Sylvia Lim

I am so stunned like vegetable. -.-"

Anyway, I think that as a former Law lecturer, she should be familiar with the concept of "conflict of interest". Town council staff doing business with companies they have ownership interests in? Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Is it incompetence or simply bochap? It is the people's money we are talking about here. -.-"

Unknown said...

Bu yao hai wo -.-"

Hi Victor,

The link AK put is wrong.
The correct link is here

The AGO audit report is mostly written english, very little numbers to worry about. Should be easy to understand for anyone.

kh said...

Hi AK, conflict of interest per se is not the problem in the AHPETC issue. If the conflict of interest is declared and there are procedures to manage it, then it's fine. Seems like they weren't properly done in this case though.

AK71 said...

Hi kh,

You are right. It wasn't managed well at all which allowed gross profiting by a certain party at the expense of tax payers. The decent thing to do is to admit the lapse and to make a commitment to recover any over-payment. This would have allowed the WP to score points even with die-hard PAP supporters.

AK71 said...

What really irks me is the continuous denial of any wrong doing by the WP:

Mr Low Thia Khiang knows they are answerable only to their residents and MND is powerless to act against them. Only the residents who elected them can demand action against them. And that was exactly what High Court Judge Quentin Loh said. Only the residents could apply for such an action.

When the court rejected MND's application to allow for independent accountants, the judge had very harsh words to say of the town council.

"If AHPETC were a managing corporation ... I have no doubt that AHPETC or its officers will be exposed to the possibility of civil liability ... or in an extreme scenario, criminal liability. I can only say it is a travesty for AHPETC to have ignored their duties and obligations imposed on them by the Town Council Act and Town Council Financial Rules. They owe a duty and a heavy responsibility to their constituents to run AHPETC properly and it is incumbent on them to put their house and finances in order." - Justice Quentin Loh

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