Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Retire? Wait long long ah!

It was recently announced that the CPF accounts (OA, SA, Medisave) will have an increased rate of return, albeit only for the first $60k combined.
Besides that, the govie also made a whole slew of changes (ya, what's new??) to the CPF system, to make sure people don't run out of funds to sustain themselves in their old age.

Some of the changes include raising the drawing down age for CPF, from the current 62, to 65, and subsequently to 67. Also, they are going to implement a compulsory annuity, so that everyone (currently below 50) will have to contribute a certain portion of their CPF minimum sum , to a shared 'pool' of funds, which would then serve as a common nest egg for those who live beyond certain age.

What do I think of these measures? To be frank, any increase (however small) in the CPF returns is welcome news. How much it will actually help, i am slightly skeptical though.

But the biggest shit, to me, is the fact that we are less and less in control of our OWN MONEY! With such strict restrictions (and more coming, i'd bet!) on the CPF, it is no wonder many Singaporeans dont really see it as "their" money. It's like a secondary "tax" that the govie levy on Singaporean, with the promise that they will EVENTUALLY get it back, when they are old and possibly dying. And that, is also the reason why many people i know, would rather throw all their CPF money into their flats, since it's money they cant touch anyway.

Just read a good article in the TODAY papers... it mentioned the fact that the govie has used the CPF as a "easy way out", resorting to cutting contribution rates (notably from the Employer's side) whenever the economy isnt doing too well. No wonder many people don't have enough CPF to retire lah!

Talking about taking the "easy way out", that seems to be the way many of the ministries are doing now. Just look at the road congestion issue...
When the road gets congested, LTA says, "No Problemo. Let's put up another of our wonderful gantry-of-fortune at XXXXX road/expressway. that should keep the motorists away!". And when enough traffic gets diverted to another road, they'd again say, "Well, it looks like this XXXX road is becoming congested as well. Time for another of our gantry-of-fortune to appear! Ta-dah!"
Soon, the whole Singapore will become ONE BIG restricted zone. hahaha

Give us a break!

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's new...

Haven't been updating my blog for some time, due to tighter work schedules and changes (albeit good ones) in my personal life.

Still, when you live in a place like Singapore, things are mostly the same all the time. You'd know what i mean if you are a Singaporean. :P

No idea what i mean? Okay, here's a quick snapshot of what happened in the last couple of weeks/months where I've been 'dormant' in my blog updates:

1) Govt makes some unpopular decisions, like raising ERP - both charges as well as timings - and adds more of these wicked gateways; forcing Singaporeans to work to 65 (and later to 67) whether they are able to or not; forcing Singaporeans to buy annuities, etc... the list just goes on.

And as ALWAYS, there's some hoo-haa in the press (or rather, more like the Govt Newsletters). But as ALWAYS, it's just a bunch of bo-liao people who either loves to whine but dares not take any action (when it comes to Election day), or it'd be some individuals who brilliantly demonstrate their excellent skills of "three-legging" by blatantly singing praises and "we love taxes" to the govt's tune.

*yawn* So what's new?

2) Telcos arguing about who's got the best deals for their customers. And i'm not just talking about the best plans/packages offered to their internet/pay-TV customers. These days, when it comes to protecting their customers' privacy (from potential lawsuits), it seems like it actually makes a difference which company you subscribe to... Gosh, i gotta say, i feel sorry for those poor kids who kenna sued by Odex, for allegedly downloading anime. But $3000-$5000 for downloading some cartoon? Give them a break lah!

3) Chelsea leading the pack at the Barclays English Premiership - BPL. (hmm.. since when did it change to "BPL", instead of "EPL"?? But come to think of it, maybe that acronym serves the EPL football fans better, cos when Starhubs next bids for the exclusive rights to telecast the live matches, god knows what unearthly price we'd have to cough up.. so Better Pay Lah! (BPL).

Being a Man United fan, i'd normally hate to see Chelsea perches at the top of the league standings.. but given the kind of boring and uninspiring football i've seen from United thus far, i have to say, they probably deserve their mid-table (bottom half) position.

Chelsea is not exciting to watch either.. playing their blend of BORING, but efficient football. Boring.. and as usual, predictable.

So, what's new........

Well, on a more personal note, i have finally completed transcribing Bach's 4 Harpsichords Concerto for 4 Prime guitars, backed by a Niibori orchestration ensemble. Hopefully, once the September performance is over, Guitaresque can begin to rehearse this with Genus orchestra in preparation for the Feb 08 concert.

Kuja's into her 4th month now, and I'm pschying myself to take more of her unpredictable outburst and mood swings. I'm hoping an enormously huge serving of salmon sashimi (which she can only take after Jan 2008, hopefully) will curb her dangerous and fiery display. But before that, the upcoming short trip to Bangkok should hopefully give her some short term distraction to her discomfort (and mine!). hahah.