Many things went up or down by 1%
After attending a count-down in church with very nice food – I slept very well and had a dream that many things went up or down by one per cent.
10 new year wishes & messages
In this connection – the next morning – I read the articles “10 new year wishes from Singapore leaders” and “Growth expected to be over 1 per cent, Govt watching economy closely: PM Lee Hsien Loong” published at Sunday Times on 1 January.
Support local talents?
The former states that “encouraged viewers to support local talents”
– funding for all Singaporean sportsmen and women increase by one per cent and no more funding for any new foreign sports talent (in my dream)
Jobs and the unemployed?
“It’s not only about matching today’s unemployed with current jobs but also helping tomorrow’s unemployed be prepared for future jobs”
– Workfare payouts increase by one per cent and is extended to Singaporeans below age 35, and a temporary freeze on the issuance of new S-Passes to foreign workers (in my dream)
Helping the needy?
“A “BIG THANK YOU!!!” to my colleagues in the MSF, NCSS, SGEnable, Comm Chest, partners in our social sector and our various bodies set up to help tend to our Singaporeans and their families”
– ComCare payouts are increased by one per cent and the typical maximum periods for short and medium-term assistance are extended (in my dream)
Jobs & cost of living?
The latter article states that “despite the easing off in demand for workers, unemployment remains low and jobs are still being created”
– some taxes (water conservation (consumption) tax, etc) and charges on basic necessities (polyclinic and public hospital fees, etc) are reduced by one per cent and the National Jobs Bank starts to finally disclose the actual percentage of the jobs posted that went to Singaporeans (in my dream)
“the slowing economy has cast a pall of gloom over many employers and workers”
– HDB Service & Conservancy Charges (S & CC) are reduced by one per cent and a minimum wage of $7 an hour is imposed (in my dream)
Needy senior citizens?
“150,000 needy senior citizens are receiving money for daily living under the Silver Support Scheme”
– the Silver Support Scheme payouts increase by one per cent and the Pioneer Generation benefits will be given to all Singaporeans who reach 65 years old – not just just to those who were 65 and over on SG50, and CPF interest rates will be pegged to the historical long-term annualised rate of return (less one per cent) of the GIC (in my dream)
“more parents can send their children to “good and affordable” pre-schools because of schemes that keep childcare fees low”
– childcare fees will reduce by one per cent and childcare subsidies will increase by one per cent, school and tertiary education fees reduce by one per cent, and scholarships and tuition grants for foreigners will be reduced by 50 per cent (in my dream) – (“Fee hikes at 200 childcare centres this year” (Sunday Times, Jan 1)
1% decrease or decrease is small?
Whilst the above one per cent decreases or increases may seem small – it may show a symbolic gesture that we are trying our best to do something within our control (unlike the external global environment) for Singaporeans in this trying times (“S’pore’s GDP: Quarter -2.0 % change is the worse of 38 countries?“, Dec 31).
$190b cash (Budget) surplus 2005 – 2014?
Also, the cost of these may not be a significant strain on our fiscal Budget, given that we had an average annual cash budget surplus (under IMF fiscal reporting guidelines) of about $20 billion a year, in the last decade or so (“$190b cash (Budget) surplus from 2005 – 2014?, Dec 21).
What Singapore is, and where it wants to go?
Finally, I cannot but agree with my classmate, Editor-At-Large Han Fook Kwang‘s remarks “Ultimately, it is about what Singapore wants to be and what role it sees itself playing in the global economy. It requires a clearer vision of its identity and where it wants to go.
It would be a good test for the leadership and an opportunity to develop their thinking about what Singapore is, and where it wants to go, and to share them with the people.
If successfully done, it will deepen their relationship with Singaporeans. In turn, the people will get to know their leaders better. But they should be encouraged too to contribute their ideas and to play a part in the search for answers. It shouldn’t be a top-down effort – that would be a wasted opportunity (“Does Singapore have the mettle to survive tough times ahead? (Sunday Times, 1 Jan).