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Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Protected: To my ten-year-old self

In Personal reflections, Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

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Protected: To 10-year-old Risa

In Personal reflections, Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 10:38 am

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Fertility Woes

In Singapore Politics, Uncategorized on August 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

Apparently, people here aren’t having children because it’s too expensive.

That’s true, considering I walked down the diaper aisle at NTUC the other day and realised that diapers cost a shitload of money (pun intended). Everything in Singapore is expensive–housing, cars, diapers, daycare fees, you name it. On top of that, we’ve got the world’s longest working hours–one in five Singaporeans work more than eleven hours daily. Bottom line, Singapore doesn’t provide a family-oriented environment that encourages citizens to start families.

We’ve heard enough bloggers bemoan the rising cost of living as a reason for the low birth rate, and maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree.

Perhaps choosing not to have kids has become a fashionable trend for people, and lowering the cost of living isn’t going to help our low fertility. Yes, it has been mentioned that gender equality has led to women having more control over their lifestyle choices like getting married and having children. And since an increased percentage receive tertiary education, more women now tend to prioritize their career over starting a family. I don’t think this reason has been given enough credit. If celibacy is now a fashionable trend and if fewer people appreciate the joy of having kids, then lowering the cost of living isn’t the solution.

Gone are the days when marriage and having children were “compulsory milestones”. Maybe it’s time for us to accept that Singapore isn’t that traditional and conservative anymore. With globalisation, we’ve become so Westernized that marriage and starting a family is just one of the many lifestyle choices that are, well, optional. And that’s not a bad thing.

I concede that we still need to make the cost of living cheaper so that more Singaporeans become financially stable. However, I don’t think we should expect the fertility rate to miraculously increase when things get more affordable. Societal ideals have changed with time and our population trend will change along with it. It doesn’t mean we’ll “fold up” like LKY says; it just means we have to look deeper for the solution.

Romney and Our Highly Paid Ministers: A Quick Thought

In American Politics, Singapore Politics, Uncategorized on August 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm

When it comes to the debate about ministerial pay, Singapore gives the following justification for pegging it to the private sector’s top earners’: We need to attract talented people to work in public service in order for us to establish a good government. These talented people are in the private sector. They aren’t interested in joining public service, because they stand to earn more money in the corporate world.

Just a thought: If these “talented people in the private sector” are so concerned about monetary gain that they won’t even consider a job in public service, do we even want them in our government in the first place? Sure, they are “talented”, they’ve got Ivy League university degrees and a bunch of skills that we could use in government. But the application of the skills are slightly different in the public sector than in the corporate world. For instance, the government tends to “over-hire” so as to provide employment. But most companies in the private sector would usually want to cut down on the number of employees they have in order to cut costs and widen the profit margin–here, we can see a clear distinction in the aims of the government and the corporations. So those talented people in the private sector might just be playing a whole new game altogether–they’re focused on profits, not people.

Now, let’s draw a parallel to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the Presidential hopeful who is supposedly one of the “talented people” in the corporate world that might be able to govern in the public sector. He believes that he’d be a good choice for the American people, because he’s actually “been in the economy”, and he knows “why jobs come and why they go”. Since he “knows a thing or two about how jobs are created and how they are lost”, he sounds like the right man for the Oval Office.

But, no.

Perhaps he knows why jobs are created and lost, but only because he’s the one responsible for destroying thousands of American jobs by buying over companies and firing workers for the sake of gaining profit, slashing paychecks, pumping and dumping shares, and “getting back their bait” by extracting special payments before selling the company off. I’ll let Obama’s anti-Romney ads convince you further on Governer Romney’s track record on destroying the lives of thousands of Americans. But I don’t think we should be surprised as to what Romney did when he was involved in Bain Capital and when he was serving his term as Governer. Everything he did was done in the name of generating a profit–or what “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” calls “cheating the system to make a quick buck”. Ultimately, he was one of those “talented” corporate people who knew the system well enough to make monetary gains from it. That’s a man for the office of Bain Capital and other large businesses, not a man for the office of President of the United States of America. He’s playing a whole nother game–profits, not people.

So you see the parallel.

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