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Living in the Ponzi Scheme

I’ve never been one for the corporate office. Although freelancing was not the most lucrative in as much as I was unable to build without a steady income, I am far prouder of the things that I did as an independent contractor than when I was employed by a corporation. Whilst peers in the PR agency could boast of reaching certain positions in Western multinationals run out of New York and London, little me, a nobody with no great corporate experience from little Singapore was compared with a multinational PR agency (“You did more for us than….).

I only swallowed getting properly employed in an insolvency firm when the then Evil Teen became a part of my life. My pride of being able to survive outside the Singapore norm (needing New York, London or the Government to tell me what to do) had to give way to the responsibilities of fatherhood and so I stayed in the “steady,” and “respectable” space of being a working “professional” in establishment Singapore. I actually worked more than office hours on a daily basis because it was the “normal” thing to do.

Then came the pandemic and the lockdown in April 2020. Life in the lockdown took some adjustment, especially at the moments when retainer income wasn’t coming in. However, I started a simple walking routine and when I started moving more, the brain started to function. When I had to return to the office and resume a life of having to be in a certain location more than two hours at a time and had to look at files and store bits of paper, it finally dawned upon me that the “normal” life of an office job and being part of some self-made tribe of a profession is in fact not normal at all.

The increasingly crowded bus ride into the office puzzles me. Why do people take such joy in going to places that go against what nature designed us to do? It is not natural to sit at a desk for eight hours a day looking at bits of paper containing information about things that happened a decade ago. People take pride in being chained to a desk. I hear of people bragging about how they were up looking files all night or how they are under so much stress that they can’t sleep or eat, I’m suddenly aware of why populations in the developed world aren’t growing – people are too busy masturbating over files in the office to have sex

I shouldn’t knock masturbation – as Woody Allen says, “It’s sex with someone you love.” However, there comes a point when we’re so busy masturbating over our self-importance (the usual sources of masturbation being I am a degree holder with many professional qualifications working in a managerial post in a big company in an office in the centre of town and I am too busy to eat or sleep), that you forget that there’s the “actual sex” of doing something useful for someone (the paying customer) without doing harm to people.

Sure, I get the fact that we all need to make a living. I get the fact that a steady income is paramount to survival. I do make my way into Shenton Way on a daily basis because I do need regular payments. I am also grateful that my main employer understands that I function best when I am moving around, so he uses me for the task that allow me to move.

However, we’ve created a system that is unsustainable and, in many ways, a total scam. We have conditioned people to believe that they need to go to a desk and stare at a screen and bits of paper for a third of their day because their entire livelihood depends on it (one of worst forms of slavery in professional firms is the clause that prohibits you from taking on another job even if it’s in a totally different industry). Once’s entire life then gets forced around a certain company or to an extent on a certain industry. Lawyers will only hang out with lawyers, accountants only mix with accountants, PR professionals only mix with other PR professionals. No other animals tie themselves to a single source of food – the grazing animals move around for different grazing areas and the hunting animals look for the grazing animals.

Governments around the world have failed miserably to build a more sustainable system and only encouraged a return to an unnatural normal with the encouragement to return to normal. While I do think that Singapore’s government did a reasonable job in managing the pandemic, it failed in trying to create something new. Instead of encouraging experimentation with work models, it proceeded to encourage the landlords to run various adds on how much better life was in the unnatural normal (incidentally the Singapore government is the largest landlord in Singapore).

Masturbation only encourages people to continue jacking off rather than thinking of ways to get better. Look at the way in which professional firms get paid – selling time. Whenever you see a working professional, what you’re essentially paying for is the time that the said professional spends on your issue rather than whether the said issue gets solved at all. Senior partners in Singapore’s big law firms can charge around $1,000 an hour – the underlying words being an hour. This holds true even when you lose a case. As Mad Magazine once said – “No lawyer is ever undefeated – they get paid whether they win or lose and they continue billing after the case when they go for appeals.” The system is designed in such a way that it is not in “professionals” interest to solve the problem in the most efficient way.

Thus far, only one professional has had the courage to challenge this established system by including a “success fee” clause in his contracts. The professional has made a lot of money but even he has on occasion had his success fee struck down by the courts on a few occasions. In another instance, there is a case of a judicial management where the court had no problem taxing the fees of the lawyers and restructuring professionals who charged by the hour. However, they proceeded to hold up the fees of the auctioneer of the equipment, who was the only one who could quantify the value they brought (dollars and cents) and charged based the measurable dollars and cents they brought in. The court felt it was expensive to charge based on measurable value (the auctioneer in question is not known for being cheap but they’re known for providing value which cheaper competitors do not provide). How is it common sense to accept charges on an efficient system but challenge the payment of the only party that actually can measure the value of the work they provide?

Thankfully, I am not the only freak who thinks that the current economic system is an unsustainable scam designed to promote masturbation. Someone from the Temasek Review Emeritus pasted a link to a post of mine, which lead to a Forbes article where Nobel laureate Steven Chu described the world economic system as a “ponzi scheme.” The article can be found here.

I may be a nobody from a Little Red Dot, so its understandable that nobody will take what I say seriously. However, Mr. Chu is more than qualified to talk about the economic system of the world. Policy makers around the globe would do well to take him seriously and restructure their systems to encourage productivity and sustainability instead of defining insanity by repeating the same things and hopping for different results.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

18 Responses to “Living in the Ponzi Scheme”

  • xoxo:

    Sure!Look at stock prices rose at much faster rate than Pre-Covid.
    Then,there is a BIT OF A COIN called BITCOIN that rose faster than gold.

    Here,we have oredy have a *porn* eCONomy for year$ on.
    Steven Chu is behind the curve compared to ALL THE KPKB sgs at TRE?

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Why is Nobel laureate Steven Chu stating the obvious ?

    Do we need a Nobel laureate to tell every economist the obvious ?

    What is his solution ? No solution ? Just Talk Cawk Sing Song like Opposition ?

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  • Fark The PAP:

    Our living space is getting smaller and smaller. Our jobs are getting from perm to contract to temp.
    Now even part time.
    Singaporeans, who are we fighting for?
    You really think all Immigrants are here to create jobs?
    Go look around, you can work your ass off, but they HAVE PREFERENCES!!
    KNN PAP. If PAP not out, we be DEAD!!

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  • Stupid Singaporeans Vote PAP:

    Fark The PAP:
    Our living space is getting smaller and smaller. Our jobs are getting from perm to contract to temp.
    Now even part time.
    Singaporeans, who are we fighting for?
    You really think all Immigrants are here to create jobs?
    Go look around, you can work your ass off, but they HAVE PREFERENCES!!
    KNN PAP. If PAP not out, we be DEAD!!

    Hahahahaha,. Give the man a Tigers.

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  • solution is already being give:

    //Do we need a Nobel laureate to tell every economist the obvious ?//

    i thought the solution is already being given by the Nobel laureate ?? can do it or not ???

    if it is obvious ?? why the power of influence (policy makers or all the elites tasked for the jobs ??) is not coming out with a solution ??? OR hor there is something more to it, coming out with any solution will mean eating away / taking away their own interest that the current system is giving them ?? there you have it, the solution is already with the top people who already know it BUT are they going to implement it ??

    also the reason why we are moving ahead with 6.9m or 10m open-leg policy with so many buildings coming up ??? also obvious hor that the white monkey idiots are full of wayang ???

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  • MarBowling:

    The PONZI SCHEME of Things first initiated by Lee Kayu May May soon come to a DEAD END! Recently, his DSon still THINK he can still CONTINUE to RIDE on his Big Daddy’s Horrendous and SNEAKY scheme of things by LAUNCHING HDB BTO Flats in the previous Keppel Club site with a 4-Rm BTO costing about $700k.

    Sensible and concerned folks shouldn’t BUY INTO THIS LATEST SNEAKY SCHEME OF THINGS, period. Aftermath Covid19, THINGS WON’T BE AS USUAL LIKE in PRE-Covid19 TIME! Most countries on planet earth are suffering due to the IMPACT OF COVID19 and are LICKING THEIR WOUNDS! Mai Hum and Gang are USING THEIR USUAL TRICK VIA THEIR FARKING MOUTHPIECE, THE SHITS TIMES TO RAM UP CONFIDENCE AND TRUST IN THE PAPIGS BY STIRRING SHITS IN THE BTO MARKET AGAIN!

    Hopefully, LOGIC and SENSE will PREVAIL in the LOONG TERM!

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  • Sinchiapor the Incorporated:

    “Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

    This quote of Aldous Huxley reminds us of Dostoevsky as he writes that, in the end, people “will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves but feed us.’” In this our society, people are comfortable handing over freedom to people in power in exchange for safety and stability. In this exchange, people learn to love their servitude, choosing it over any dreams of revolution. Huxley again:

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

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  • AhLi the Reddot Masturbate:

    He walked into a room full of men masturbating – They all looked shocked when he didn’t stop.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Sinchiapor the Incorporated:
    “Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

    This quote of Aldous Huxley reminds us of Dostoevsky as he writes that, in the end, people “will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves but feed us.’” In this our society, people are comfortable handing over freedom to people in power in exchange for safety and stability. In this exchange, people learn to love their servitude, choosing it over any dreams of revolution. Huxley again:

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

    Hi, talk is really cheap you know. Freedom ? First answer the question below.

    Will you fly to Ukraine to fight the Russians, bleed and died for freedom and let others profit from your death ?

    19 members of Congress personally invest in the defense contractors
    https://www.businessinsider.com/congress-war-profiteers-stock-lockheed-martin-raytheon-investment-2022-3

    Just answer Yes or No will do.
    Don’t run.
    Don’t hide. Your answer please. Over to you.

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  • agreed:

    Agreed.
    Outcome based is more important than time spend.
    Let people be judge on performance and result rather than obeying rules.
    Give them freedom rather than restrict them.

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  • illegal to go there:

    //Hi, talk is really cheap you know. Freedom ? First answer the question below.

    Will you fly to Ukraine to fight the Russians, bleed and died for freedom and let others profit from your death ?//

    hahaha. good one hor ?? but already got sinkie land law leh to make it illegal to go there leh ?? liddat, so how to prove that some people’s talk is not cheap lar ??

    and besides, within sinkie land hor, is it legal to fight & act but not talk only by going into the street to demonstrate and protest and be physical about it ???? can or cannot ??

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    illegal to go there:
    //Hi, talk is really cheap you know. Freedom ? First answer the question below.

    Will you fly to Ukraine to fight the Russians, bleed and died for freedom and let others profit from your death ?//

    hahaha. good one hor ?? but already got sinkie land law leh to make it illegal to go there leh ?? liddat, so how to prove that some people’s talk is not cheap lar ??

    How to prove ? Talk cawk and give excuse not to do it right ? Just take a flight to Poland and from there the Ukrainian freedom fighters will arrange your trip into the war front.

    Please do it now. And also bring along Teo Soh Lung and Dr Chee and Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

    illegal to go there:
    and besides, within sinkie land hor, is it legal to fight & act but not talk only by going into the street to demonstrate and protest and be physical about it ???? can or cannot ??

    Yes, you can go to Hong Lim Garden to protest… that is your human rights.

    Majority of sensible Singaporeans want peace as their human rights and do not wish troublemaker like you to infringe upon their human rights.

    You do your stuff and we do our stuff. As long as you don’t step on others people human rights.

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  • Bad mouth communications:

    Sinchiapor the Incorporated:
    “Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

    This quote of Aldous Huxley reminds us of Dostoevsky as he writes that, in the end, people “will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves but feed us.’” In this our society, people are comfortable handing over freedom to people in power in exchange for safety and stability. In this exchange, people learn to love their servitude, choosing it over any dreams of revolution. Huxley again:

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

    I think WW2 created a lot of hunger, poverty,uncertainty and even some lawlessness and social instabilty.

    These conditions create a situation where people would gladly hand over freedoms for a peaceful stable life.

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  • to fill one's stomach:

    //Talk cawk and give excuse not to do it right ? Just take a flight to Poland and from there the Ukrainian freedom fighters will arrange your trip into the war front.//

    aiyoh, you siao si-bor ?? people tok about “freedom” ? and you tok (diversion OR baiting ??) about poland and ukraine ?? sinkie land issues are enough to fill one’s stomach liao lar ???

    //Majority of sensible Singaporeans want peace as their human rights and do not wish troublemaker like you to infringe upon their human rights.//

    what trouble maker lar ?? what defines a trouble maker (just by being disagreeable ??) ??? yar lor, majority of sensible people (not only people in sinkies land lar ?? ) want peace as their human rights ??

    but what makes you think they do not want exercise “peace” in a way that they deem fit (not the way you deem fit lar??) if it is not made “illegal” (and with “law” hanging on their head ???) ??

    //You do your stuff and we do our stuff. As long as you don’t step on others people human rights.//

    you forgot hor, who can step on who and who has powerful legs to step on others ??? and who has more power to get people into real ‘trouble’ ??

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  • KNN Worse Than Animal:

    to fill one's stomach:

    …….who has powerful legs to step on others ??? and who has more power to get people into real ‘trouble’ ??

    Nepoleon who stands on two legs. There are many in Sink-jie-ball.

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  • Papa's Pappies R Fixers:

    ((You do your stuff and we do our stuff. As long as you don’t step on others people human rights.))

    YOU better pay up your cpf and medisave or else…. Just leave it to US to manage it for you silly….. or go complain at Hong Lim Green you troublemaker!

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  • Pitch-forked Sinkies:

    I believe it was the humorist, curmudgeon and gifted writer, Mark Twain who summed it up best in his quote:
    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” :)

    Sure, it may be harder to avoid such schemes. Today scams are the low-risk high-return career of choice for those without a conscience: A career financial criminal can be elected Board chairman and can continue to cheat and chisel, providers of technology platforms that purposefully amplify misinformation.

    But I don’t think that’s the real problem here. Work has largely become tedious; or demeaning to author. While they have elements of other structures, their primary economic structure is built on capitalism.

    A famous apocryphal story is that “Because that’s where the money is”.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    CPF & INSURANCE IS Mother of All PONZI schme

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