Monday, July 11, 2011

CPF : i accept changes but universal promises must be kept

Change is the only constant...

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present - Lao Tzu 

Social contracts though not legally binding has a moral face.
Universal promises are social contracts that must be kept, especially those that do not come with an option except acceptance; CPF is one example.

When we started working 20-30..40years ago, CPF withdrawal age was 50 years old.

Not only it has so many forms of deductions and schemes to retain the monies, the withdrawal age is moved to 60/62 years old. Omigosh, the goal post keep changing!

i. Why set the retain amount at >S$100,000? 

ii. How many people have that amount of money in their CPF when they reaches say 50, 60 or 62 years old after providing for the mandatory deduction or schemes?

iii. If they do not have the net retainable amount, shouldn't they be allowed to withdraw, say 1/2 or 2/3? Surely at that age, they know how to manage their monies. Whats the point of saving all the monies and never get a chance to use them? It is no different to say "I am asset rich but cash poor"

iv. Trust is a like a sword that cuts both ways. I rather get my monies and spend it than receiving a cheque, delivered/burnt to me after death. 

I believe the Government will continue to do alot of good as they have done before. They will continue to implement and execute good, not necessarily popular, policies.

But, like marriage, a promise is a promise; you cannot say "I promise but subject to ... "social contract or universal promise"

Any monies that cannot be taken out or used before the person passes on is a 'disguised Tax', ceteris paribus!

I can accept that CHANGE is the only norm but I also believe that TRUST is a two-way sword.

Will the leader or leader-to-be stand up and read aloud;
"There is nothing about which I am more anxious than my country, and for its sake I am willing to die ten deaths, if that be possible" - Queen Elizabeth I 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Perils Of A Controlled Environment

The only constant is CHANGE...

The Universe is in a constant flux of changes and manifestation; for each action, there is a reaction.

Quantum theory, a fairly abstract probabilities, not unlike Schrodinger's Cat - a thought experiment - the cat is either alive or dead, not both alive and dead; simultaneously dead and alive.

HDB - The concept of providing an affordable 'roof over the heads' for Singaporeans was admirable and it not only solved the housing problems but also allow vacated lands to be rezoned and redeveloped.

HDB built ahead of demand in lieu of resettlement needs.

Its noble intent has outlived its relevance as there is a dearth of resettlement. Nevertheless, HDB should continue with its role as a public housing provider. 

1. Continue to offer reasonably priced HDB flats to first time married couples
(Unlike private developers, when you buy an apartment, you get a strata-title which means you buy the apartment and it comes with the land. In HDB, you only buy the shell in the air. If this argument does not hold water; isn't it true that during an Enbloc sale, your valuation include the land you sit-on whereas if HDB does an enbloc, you are barely compensated, like those under SERS?)

2. HDB can, rather than should, practice discriminate pricing; charges and collect a premium mirroring private housing market when a HDB unit is sold to a non-Singaporean, including PRs.
(HDB for Singaporeans by true blue Singaporeans; you make money from non-Singaporeans and not bleed our citizens dry)

3. The 'two children' policy was, perhaps, right at the time of implementation but it has outlived its relevance. You 'cannot turn the tap on' and start or increase 'production' to reverse the course; that's why its called procreation not production.
(Didn't someone knew or 'ought to know' that when the policy is successfully implemented, at some point in time, the natural population will drop)

4. If Singaporeans and/or married couples can have a safe abode, the procreation rate will naturally rise as they do not feel inhibited or restrained by 'ears on the walls' syndrome.

5. Foreign workers and 'FTs' are welcome to work in Singapore in areas that Singaporean workers are hard to come by, not because of depressed salaries but because of choice. Hardworkingness in Singaporean is a 'norm'; better still if he is paid reasonably well. Who wouldn't work hard and smart to 'protect his position' and progress if he is well cared and rewarded?
(Now that the population is at an optimal level to allow economic multiplier, it is time to look after the well being of Singaporeans).

6. Cost of Living - The high cost of living is caused partly by inflation and partly by direct and indirect taxes. Our taxes come in all forms; water tax, fuel tax, GST, property tax, ERP, road tax, COEs - you name it, you have it!

If all, or most Ministries, make money, by extension, the people have to foot the bill. For example, i) do we really need so many Ministries? I don't know! ii) We have hospital complexes for the restructured hospitals; are they necessary? Is hardware the definitive features or the software (doctors with passion) important?

Any policies, however noble and well-thought, that remain stagnant and non-progressive will ultimately loss its relevance and come back to haunt the 'thinker'.

We have high IQs but where is the EQs? Every right policies will not stay right permanently. At some point in time, it will become irrelevant.

Like the Universe, we need to change and adapt for the better. More importantly, any controlled environment, will implode over time as Society progresses.

Also, every Singaporeans is a talent, or talent-in-the-making; do you care to discover?

If you cannot make others lives a little better, please DO NOT make it worse!

Care and share; the wealthy man cannot sleep well and soundly if surrounded by all the poor, hungry and less privilege. You cannot take along anything when you die as "You Come Naked; Shall Return To Dusts"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stockmarket - Update

Sell in May and Go away...

In June 8, I wrote that stockmarkets will spike down anytime soon around the Lunar Eclipse. True enough market was soon in disarray; with everyone hitting for the exits.

I have mentioned (to those who care to ask) that this is a 'buy' opportunity especially the last week or so. Market has done a dramatic U-turn up (nearing a Solar Eclipse) and shoot for stars (DJIA has one of the Best Weekly performance recorded).

Market react against orthodox arguments, not necessarily bad news = market down; good news = market up!

What's install for the weeks and/or months ahead? I wager an Upside bias !!! Get out of the market by Oct/Nov. 

The fundamentals may change but the technicals indicate a final push upwards before a dramatic turn-down in/by Dec. GOD knows!!!

The charts are a collective reflection of broad human psychology.

Stockmarket thrives on HOPEs - its hope that moves prices upwards.
Commodity markets thrives on FEARs - the fear of shortages forces price to rise

Trade with care and wager at your own risks; if in doubts check with your financial advisors... a short note from an armchair observer!