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Rant: Return our CPF?

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I was like blogging about how absolutely annoying Yang Yin was, and then I had to chance upon Han Hui Hui (HHH)'s speech at Hong Lim Park that lambasted Singapore's government (People's Action Party) for basically doing a poor job of governing the country.

Her speech was extremely incendiary, and as a student who studied the building of Singapore briefly in Secondary 1 and 2, I felt rather incensed by some of the sweeping generalizations she made in her speech, some of the absurd arguments she has against the local ruling party and her whole sail negation of all the effort that PAP has put into building this country.

Before I begin my own tirade against her arguments (and arguments only), I have confessions to make. I don't claim to be the person with the best and most well-rounded knowledge of the local political scene despite my frequent attempts at trying to catch up with the news and doing extra readings for the sake of General Paper (GP). I am also not saying that PAP is like the flawless government or that our leaders are infallible. Maybe it is because of the history of Singapore that I have studied, I have come to appreciate our government more for the things they have done for us, the areas they are always trying to improve, rather than to be wholly blinkered by the errors that they have made.

And, you are free to disagree with any of the arguments that I have:) After all, politics is always full of diverse opinions which are greatly influenced by our personal experience and beliefs as well as our individual doctrine of thoughts.

For background information, you can visit hardwarezone.
I apologize if any of the information above is flawed, because I did not write it: in fact I have no idea who HHH is before today, so I am researching as I write my post.

And here is the video that irked me so much:

Here is some of my thoughts (I will try to take on a measured tone as far as possible).

#Problematic argument 1
"What should we do with the [CPF] money that the government will return to us? We can take back our CPF and build our own flats!!"

First and foremost, why are we even worrying about "what to do with excess money"? Like goodness, if say suddenly maybe three thousand dollars fall out of the sky, I am very sure I would have some place to spend it in, starting with a good buffet. Whilst the use of rhetorical question is one of the commonly used public speaking device, this rhetorical question had me absolutely confused.

As for building "[your] own flats" as HHH excitedly suggested to all, it is logically impossible. Spoken in Chinese, her statement can either be interpreted as 1. using the money to hire people to build the flats, and 2. using the money and building the flats yourself.

I cannot decide which option above is more absurd. Do you know how to design a flat, know the materials to use? Do you know where to hire all the hard workers who toil endlessly to enable the timely completion of the flat? I doubt it. Building the flats by oneself is odder still, to the extent that it could have been like this comical punchline in a Jack Neo movie where the characters light-heartedly whine about the government and come up with solutions like building their own houses. Building a private housing would have possible, but not with the amount of CPF money  that you are banking on. I know people who live in bungalows and other private housings: those cost a couple of millions at least. In the recent Yang Yin scandal, Madam Chung's private estate is a whopping $40,000,000 (thereabout). I am sure your CPF isn't half that sum.

#Problematic Fact 2
"Is there a need to sell a flat up to 3 - 4 million?"

Have you seen a HDB flat (assuming they are talking about flats) selling for 3-4 million? Good riddance! The most common costs of flats in Singapore is about 300-600 plus thousand, where did the 3-4 million dollar flats come from?

Assuming that you are not talking about flat as the subtitles suggests, but about private estates, why are you complaining about the price of private housings? As in, buy what is within your means, if you can afford a 3-room flat, buy a 3-room flat. If you can afford a mansion, go ahead, no one is stopping you (unless you swindle people's money). The private housing prices here are high due to the scarcity of land, if you want to have cheaper "private housing", why not go to places with less people? Like somewhere near the edge of Gobi desert or Sahara. You can build a mansion the size of a football field and no one cares. If you can afford it, that is.

#Problematic Fact 3
"Take the land and build condominiums. Can Singaporeans afford to buy such properties??"

Well yes, apparently a great number of people can afford to buy such properties, because otherwise the logical deduction would be that all the condominiums existing now are empty for our good brothers to live in. Which is not the case.

I feel like it is a case of, "since we here cannot afford it, thus no one can afford it, so why build it?". It is a logical fallacy in itself, since just because the speaker cannot afford it, she assumes that no one can afford it. Gah.

#Hasty Accusation 4
"Money faced government. They are not caring for our accommodation. They are not caring for our medical healthcare. Is this how a government should behave?"

Think Middle-East. Think about Greece. Think about all the corrupted government that you read about in the newspaper and think about our government. Whilst I agree that I have limited knowledge about our politics, Singapore is the 5th least corrupted nation. Thus, the whole accusation of money faced is rather untenable, especially given the context of CPF where the money is returned to you eventually.

"They are not caring for our accommodation." Just a moment ago, I remember someone declaring that she wants to build her own flat or something with her money. Wait, so now you would like the government to care for your accommodation (which they have already been doing and is still trying to improve).

"Is this how a government should behave?" How then, should a government behave? Like the Greek government perhaps?

#Bad sentence structure 5
"Don't let them play like monopoly."

Sorry, I can't help it, I had to really gawk at this one. I mean, you either play monopoly, or you monopolize something, right? I presume it really meant "play this country like a game of Monopoly".

#Rhetorical Question 6
"It has been 50 years under their rule. Did our lives become better or not?"

Well, I wouldn't know for sure, since I have only lived for 18 years...hold on you won't know either! Furthermore you haven't even been living here for your whole life.

I feel like the above could be a false dichotomy. Our lives has indeed been better in some ways. Think about public transport. Bus 189 used to have very low arrival frequency, but now it comes so frequently that I don't have to wait for more than 10 minutes. Back when I was a child, most buses didn't have air-conditioning, so you can imagine the heat. Now we do. We have more places to relax, more places to shop, better facilities. There are simple exercise equipment below most flats. All these weren't around 50 years ago. Why can't we appreciate the small good things too?

Yes, there may be areas that are not as good. Like how the traffic is always pretty congested in the morning, the public transports are so crammed. I cannot count the number of times I felt grouchy because I was shoved up against someone's sweaty armpit in the public transport, but it is too absolute to claim that our quality of life did not improve at all as the speaker seems to suggest.

Besides, if you have so much time to grumble, why not try to make your own lives better? Or, go to whatever places that you think will make your life better. A discontented heart will never be satisfied.

#Claim 7
"Lee Family must go!"

That made me angry. That made me really upset that anyone could say that so easily without feeling guilty for saying it given all the good things that Mr Lee and his family has done for the country. I am not saying that they are flawless government. I am not saying that they haven't made any mistakes either. I am just saying that perhaps we need to think about the amount of effort they put into coming up with policies that strive to make our lives better.


I would have continued pointing out all the illogical and warped arguments that inundated her speech, but I am too irked now to continue in an organized manner without bursting into a string of expletives. I couldn't even finish watching her video because I was so hopping mad. Yes, our government has their flaws. Yes, they are not perfect. Yes yes, they could have  done more. But our government is made up of humans, and humans are prone to flaws, so why do we expect our government to be perfect? It is like, we are picking out flaws and magnifying them. (Remember what HHH says about having to eat grass at Hong Lim Park?) Or distorting their intentions.

At the end of the day, it would be prudent to note that a perfect governing system doesn't exist. No, you cannot just grab "90 people out of the 3 million" (it is 5.4 million btw) to form a new government just as you cannot grab 9 people to form SNSD (lame, I know). I am trying to say that while governing a country may appear easy to people like HHH, it is not. (Think about Obama's white hair, whoot.) We have leaders like Kim from DPRK, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao (says my GP teacher), and I feel that our government is much better by comparison.

I know I am presenting an overly idealistic or even rosy image of our government, but that's because I am trying to focus on the small good things that we too often overlook. It is natural for us to complain and grouch about the shortcomings of the government, but at the end of the day, we also need to look at the things they have done for us, the sacrifices they have made, and be fair in our judgement.

Btw, here is petition you may want to sign if you have watched the video above and are fuming like I am.

Till next post, ciao~~


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