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Singaporeans are suffering

As taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers are not allowed to take more than two passengers due to the prevailing pandemic measures, a family of three or four, despite being a family and staying together, has to either take two taxis or use public transport.

This inevitably will cause a spike in the use of public transport.

From a virological point of view, where is the logic in this regulation as it seems to presume that the viruses are less inclined to take buses or trains?

As such, these frontline workers, already stressed up trying to put food on the tables for their families, end up being drawn into needless arguments with their passengers.

Just how on earth can they explain the illogical rationale of this regulation to angry passengers?

If private vehicles are allowed to carry a family of four, why wasn’t this regulation calibrated or differentiated similarly to help our frontliners and passengers?

This begets the question – was this regulation designed to maintain ridership in our public transport but at the expense of our frontliners’ incomes?

Who are the real beneficiaries of the Point-to-Point Support Package?

Why was the monies in this package given to the operators instead of going directly to supplement the income of all the affected frontliners, or be used as a relief so that some of them can use it to look for alternative jobs?

How about those who own their own vehicles and have mortgages to pay, the relief or part-time drivers, are they excluded from this package too?

With so many of them struggling to cover even their rental and expenses, it is sad that many of these Singaporeans are worse off than foreign workers right in their own backyard.

Is this humanely acceptable of a wealthy “First World” country like Singapore?

Who is going to champion their plights and rights now that unions are so busy engaging in businesses and politics these past years?

Onerous Temporary Relief Fund

When some of these drivers and gig-workers did not get their S$9,000 handouts previously, l was told that a few of them went to Devan Nair Centre where NTUC has set up a help station to assist them in making an appeal.

Once there, they were “encouraged” to sign up as members of NTUC and ends up paying S$9 monthly membership fee.

When some of them ended up receiving notices from CPF Board that they have arrears for MediSave contributions, it confuses them.

After clarifying the matter with CPF Board, they were then told that the notices for those arrears will be withdrawn as they was “erroneously” computed based on data submitted previously in their appeals.

Now when many of them have to submit fresh appeals to get the S$700 or S$500 grant, they decided to forgo it as the whole grant is just too onerous and daunting for them.

Here lies the irony – mayors, member of parliaments (MPs), unionists, and grassroots activists are aware of this issue but why has none of them done anything about it?

Aren’t they suppose to be helping Singaporeans who are in dire needs so that “no one will be left behind”?

Workers in other sectors were affected too, like contract and part-time cleaners who were left “high & dry” when F&B establishments and contractors stop paying them during the current lockdown.

What is sad is that many of them were illiterates, not tech-savvy and find making an appeal for the relief grant too onerous while those who are supposed to be helping them pretend that such problems do not exist or are hiding online, expecting to receive emails from those affected.

CDC Voucher Scheme

Where are the S$100 CDC vouchers as announced in February by the former Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat?

Wasn’t it supposed to be distributed in June to help our hawkers and businesses in our heartlands?

With so much hardship facing our hawkers and heartland businesses during the current Heightened Alert, why aren’t any of the mayors showing any sense of urgency in launching this scope of support earlier so that help can reach our hawkers and heartland businesses before collapse?

Surely these CDC Vouchers were not meant for use as burn-offerings to honour the demise of our hawkers and heartland-businesses right?

Are our mayors so overwhelmed by this task that we need to consider spending more monies to recruit more mayors so that they can exercise more initiative and be able to respond to the needs of Singaporeans with greater urgency?

Despite having spent billions to become a Smart Nation, these gaps and lack of initiative show just how “gong” our Smart Nation really is.

Where are common sense and empathy these days?

Exceptional time demands exceptional courage

It is sad that many of those affected are starting to lament the loss of Heng as our Finance Minister as there is now a growing narrative on the ground that he had paid a high price for pushing for timely help and support for fellow citizens who were in need previously.

By calling the latest lockdown as “Heightened Alert”, Lawrence Wong, who is Heng’s replacement for the Finance Minister, is not compelled to repeat what Heng has done for Singaporeans previously.

This means massive savings on his watch and he also does not have to make any request to use our reserves, thus helping to spare the president of unnecessary stress.

Isn’t he brilliantly heartless or was he simply clueless in being the Finance Minister?

As l took a walk and see real hardship faced by fellow Singaporeans, l must admit that the current government seems to have no heart or compassion for fellow Singaporeans these days.

Many families are struggling to have a decent meal while breadwinners stand helplessly as bills, expenses, and mortgages pile up against them.

Stop mis-pricing Singaporean workforce

A street-smart friend of mine, who is very resourceful and hardworking, told me just this week that he wanted to cry when he last check his bank balance.

So, stop the excuse that Singaporeans are lazy and shun jobs that are less glamorous or tedious.

If employers want to be taken seriously, they just need to stop under-paying Singaporeans, improve their job scope and stop exploiting them as if they are slaves.

As the current hardship is equally pandemic in the Malay community, as it is across other communities, what exactly has our dedicated Malay President does for her community so far?

How can she stay so silent while there is so much suffering and hardship within our community?

Our Elected Presidential system is obviously broken, and until it is fixed, the well-being and welfare of Core Singaporeans will remain compromised and neglected.

Many of these affected Singaporeans, including their families and friends, will not forget the hardships faced and how “compassion-less” our president, new Finance Minister, MPs, mayors, unionists, and grassroots activists have shown themselves to be in this pandemic.

This is going to cost the People’s Action Party (PAP) severe vote loss at the next election unless they start walking their talks more consistently and start ensuring that urgent relief and support reaches affected Singaporeans in a more timely manner, and also remove bureaucratic complaints that hurt the dignity of fellow Singaporeans.

As facing financial hardships does not make any Singaporean a beggar, it helps if those in power stop insulting the dignity of those affected and start making supports and grants less onerous too.

Since PM Lee is on local leave and has the time to walk the ground, he should do so without his stage managers and jesters, and validate first-hand just how out of touch and “compassion-less” his 4G politicians, advisors and “whole of government” really are.

Lee needs to know that during exceptional time, only exceptional leaders will have the courage to effect exceptional measures for the people as the failure to act will definitely come back to haunt his premiership and the longevity of his party.

As such, how Lee is going to respond in truly alleviating the many dire hardships that Singaporeans are currently facing will define his legacy and show if he still personally believe that Singaporeans deserve better…

 

Joseph Nathan

 

* Article first appeared on the author’s Facebook page.

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

14 Responses to “Singaporeans are suffering”

  • liew mun leong must be jailed:

    maybe we only hear, HEAR, of plight of needy fellow citizens here in TRE.

    why do we say so?

    you see, we know for a 100% certainty, much of the plight faced is caused by pap.

    YES. YES. YES. caused by pap.

    yet, in the bigger scheme of things, as seen in the rest of the citizenship, most go on about their lives as if nothing bad has happened and continue happily GE after GE after GE, HA after CB after restrictions, to vote pap.

    pap opened ports to aliens after CB and caused the current HA. whose fault? as far as we know, outside of TRE, the rest of the citizenship thinks it is their own fault.

    pap crowded 3.9m aliens into an alien that can accommodate 3.0m local born, causing congestion and potential virus spread hotbeds every corner one turns on small island. yet, the rest of the citizenship not a squeal. in fact, many laughed when a few gathered in HLP some years back to protest the ridiculous pap 10m mouths open leg policy.

    what is our point?

    to keep hearing about so called, SO CALLED, plight of fellow citizenship brings forth only one thing. too bad. they live in a land where the political leaders voted into power caused their misery and either they have a hand in their own misery or their neighbours colleagues friends relatives have a hand in it or are not doing anything about it.

    why not, for once, let WP or PSP or both form New Government and let this New Government do the far better job of truly improving lives of everyone born in this once very great small island?

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  • xoxo:

    Generous FURLOUGH has been granted to numerous FTs /PRs with high paying job$ using $100 Billion from our SGS’ RESERVES while NEEDY SGS GOT ONLY $600 ONCE OFF?

    CAN THE SGporean ERECTED PRESIDENT N FORMER LABOUR STALWART SPARE A SINCERE THOUGHT for her COUNTRY FOLKS?

    CAN THE GOVT SEEK HER APPROVAL TO TAKE $100 BILLION JUST SOLELY TO BE USED AS GRANTS TO OUR NEEDY C I T I Z E N S ONLY???

    Afterall,it is sgs’ RESERVES?
    OR,may i suggest those COMPANIES THAT RECEIVES BIG WAGE SUBSIDIES FROM THE $109 BILLION LOOTED BY H$K AND HAVE MADE BIG PROFIT INCREASES LIKE DBS BANK RETURN THE SUBSIDIES SO THAT IT CAN BE REDISTRIBUTED TO OUR OWN NEEDY SGS?.
    CAN OR NOT?

    DBS CEO N BOD MUST SET GOOD EXAMPLE TO BE CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBLE,EH?

    PRIYUSH GUPTA?
    OR,YOU EXPECTING ANOTHER BIG FAT BONU$?
    You are NEW CITIZEN N MAYBE SOME OF YOUR SENIOR FTs can set good example.

    Time to show gratitude,not greed?

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  • xoxo:

    My point is simple.
    As a loyal n bona fide STAKE-HOLDER OF OUR RESERVES AND A FAITHFUL N LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN,having served NSF like all sg males,i humbly but firmly think SGS DESERVE A BIT MORE FAIRNESS from OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT N THE GOVT.

    WHY SHUD RICH RESIDENTS ESPECIALLY NON-CITIZENS OF SG GET HIGHER GRANTS THAN NEEDY CITIZENS?

    WHAT ARE SUBSIDIES FOR?
    THEN,WHEN IT COMES TO *CLAW BACK* ,THE GO T CHOOSE TO BURDEN THE NEEDY WITH GST?

    WHY NOT INCOME TAX?
    SGS with zero income n WHO GOT only $600 from their own reserves got to pay some more taxes?

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  • Asd:

    I think erected president recently has many urges

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  • Asd:

    I think disgraced nation especially discriminated in own country by foreigners employing their own race which is racist but it seems not an issue because foreigners are very welcome

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  • xoxo:

    Whoa! Leaked Tax File$!
    Top Rich Americunt$ pay VERY LITTLE tax!

    The RICH MUST GET RICHER.
    IN $IN CITY too,we cannot lose out.
    We must MINT MORE BILLIONAIRE$!

    NEVER MIND,THE POOR BECOMES POORER as long as we can have MORE N RICHER BILLIONAIRE$ TO SHOWCASE TO THE WORLD that SIN CITY IS *FIR$T WORLD*???

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  • It ain't People's Action Party:

    LKY hijacked the noble ideals of PAP during the 80s by first flushing out the vanguard natural aristocrats amidst much controversy, to make way for his hand chosen 2-G Pappies whose allegiance he would secure by the incrementally outrageous remunerations he heaped upon them …. and his dynastic Emperor Dowager would ascend the throne with two Sovereign Wealth Funds in tow as bedfellows, guns and roses…. Papeconomics and pseudo-meritocratic military oligarchy. Long sad times for trueblue sheeples sidelined further out and more…..

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  • PC Ong:

    Please lah, the opposite is true. Business owners who received wage subsidies for their employees, they don’t even need the money. They invested in stock market which is booming. Most of us salaried employees are also doing better, as we don’t go out often and save a lot of money. The govt also give us a lot handouts. Only those working in hospitality/aviation/travel are affected, and they are a small minority.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    MP Kate Spade Tin already calculated each citizen would receive $23,225. I have $600 still waiting for the rest. Is it coming? I only have few dollars left. How?

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  • Leeches:

    So, to can help getting a few hundred dollars grant, people are “encouraged” to pay $108 membership year after year?

    Eventually, membership fees will be more than the grant! People end up subsidizing the big organizations!

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  • sad situation.:

    Sad situation.
    Pity those who are suffering much under the restriction.
    Too bad if they depend on ComCare or Government to help them in their hour of need.
    Not sure why we end up like this….Big divide between the people.
    Just look at the Seniors out there struggling…when they should be enjoying their evening years…

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  • Trickle down economics?:

    PAP government and its sovereign funds spent billion to bail out SIA, SembCorp and crony companies.
    Did the benefit trickle down to Singaporeans?
    Singaporeans still get retrenched.
    Employers are complaining they are unable to import more FTs and FWs quickly because of the Covid.
    How much benefit did you get from the government $100 billion Covid package and Temasek’s estimated $10 billion package to SIA?
    $30,000?
    I got only a few hundred dollars.

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  • liew mun leong must be jailed:

    Leeches:
    So, to can help getting a few hundred dollars grant, people are “encouraged” to pay $108 membership year after year?

    Eventually, membership fees will be more than the grant! People end up subsidizing the big organizations!

    SIA share continues to go up. from S$4+ to above S$5 now. Even though there is ZERO chance of it making a cent of profit in 2021 and 2022 and 2023 and 2024.

    how come like that also can?

    hahaha. it is called using cotton sheep monies to prop up temasick failures.

    cotton sheep is paying for it. it is just that it doesn’t know.

    SPH share also continues to go up. from 99 cents to S$1.70+ and now above S$1.80. Even though SPH umbrage fatty already said SPH cannot be a going concern unless restructure, meaning, unless cotton sheep monies are used to prop it up, SPH must liquidate.

    how come like that also can?

    hahaha. cotton sheep monies, especially cotton sheep cpf monies, infinite resource for all the failing temasick companies.

    infinite resource. zero cost to abusers.

    we just shake our heads at the sheep mentality of cotton sheep. not a bleat. not even a shake of any umbrage finger.

    so ffffing brainless sheep, cotton spinning all the time but never once stopping and ask, how can their monies be abused in such a way to prop up clear as day failing temasick setups such as SIA and SPH.

    hahaha. shares go up to entice cotton sheep to throw their good money into the fray so that the temasick can recoup.

    since our last calculation, SIA is now worth no more than S$1.34 each share and SPH is worth no more than S$0.32 each share.

    paying anything more now is just foolishness, a naïve form of national service.

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  • U don’t need so many FTs:

    Singaporean Diploma is even better than FT degree. Also singaporean can be cross trained to take up IT, finance/banking, etc jobs.

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