Thank you for continuing to send in funds to help offset the damages and costs to the Singapore prime minister.
I was sued by the prime minister for an article on this blog and have been asked to pay him S$180,000.
As of 12pm this morning, I have raised S$26,083.36.
The funds were raised from the POSB bank account and PayPal, and also from customers at my dad’s stall who have been kind enough to support. Also, last Wednesday, a nice lady recognised me on the street and also gave me S$150.
(1) POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling): S$22,384.70
(2) PayPal (email@example.com): S$2,679.66
(3) Customers at my dad’s carrot cake stall: S$305
My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio.
A customer of my dad gave S$290 for the fund raising yesterday. Another man contributed S$15. Thank you for this!
Some people have said that they would like to visit my dad’s stall to eat the carrot cake. Just to let you know, he is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.
Top 10 Articles that Singaporeans are Most Concerned About
Over the past 4 years, I have written more than 600 articles on this blog, and which have garnered more than 6 million views.
I thought that I would share a summary of the top 10 articles with the highest views, to show you which are the topics that interest Singaporeans most, but more importantly, to show you how these matter in the larger scheme of things in Singapore.
(1) Truth Exposed: The Dirty CPF-HDB Scheme To Trick Singaporeans: More than 700,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
In this article, I illustrate that for Singaporeans who use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension fund to pay for the ‘purchase’* of public housing HDB flats, and if they were to ‘sell’* their flat, they would need to pay an “accrued interest” back into their CPF.
The government explains that since the money from the CPF has been taken out to pay for the flat, and interest was not earned on the CPF, and so when the flat is ‘sold’*, the ‘buyer’* has to pay the interest that would otherwise have been earned, into the CPF – also known as the “accrued interest”.
Questions have been asked by members of the public as to why they would need to pay the interest which should have been paid by the government and why they have to pay the “accrued interest” in the first place, since the money has been taken out. It seems illogical that Singaporeans have to forfeit the interest earned on their CPF but are punished for taking the money out of their CPF by having to pay the “accrued interest”, when the scheme to use the CPF for the ‘purchase’* of the flats is created by the government.
Due to escalating flat prices and the low interest earned on the CPF, this has also resulted in Singaporeans not being able to save enough inside their CPF, and therefore not being able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum (now known as the Full Retirement Sum), and not being able to take out their CPF at 55 in a lump sum.
*Singaporeans do not technically own their flats. They only lease it.
(2) How Much Do You Need To Earn To Survive In Singapore?: Nearly 500,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
In this article, I estimated that Singaporeans who are single would need to earn at least S$2,000 and couples with two children would need to each earn at least S$3,500 in order to have a basic level of living in Singapore. There has been no estimate made by the government on this.
However, Singapore has been ranked the most expensive city in the world for 3 years in a row now, costs have increased. Also, in the previous estimate, I did not factor in how the CPF payout is inadequate for retirement and how individuals have to pay higher healthcare premiums now, for adequate coverage – and therefore more needs to be set aside for insurance for both.
As such, for single Singaporeans, my latest estimates are that they might need at least S$3,000 and couples with two children might need to each earn at least S$4,500 (especially with average childcare fees being at about S$1,000 every month and university fees possibly escalating to as high as S$20,000 a year by the time the children reach university age.)
This means that about half of Singaporeans currently are not earning enough, and possibly only 30% of Singaporeans will be able to ever earn enough to be able to retire and afford other basic services.
But please also do your own estimates. Do make sure to include the purchase of additional insurance for retirement, healthcare and education, for which the CPF, Medisave and MediShield do not cover fully. You can also refer to the Living Wage Action Coalition as a guide.
(3) I Have Just Been Sued By The Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: More than 300,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
Well, this is self-explanatory. I was sued by the prime minister in relation to an article that I had written on the CPF.
I was sued for defamation and have apologised to the prime minister.
(4) This is What is Wrong in Singapore. Now, are You Willing to See It?: Nearly 200,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
In this article, I summarise the socioeconomic situation in Singapore.
Today, Singapore is still one of very few countries in the world without minimum wage, but the de facto minimum wage of S$1,000 that cleaners -are supposed to – earn is the lowest compared to countries with a similar level of national wealth, and even lower than all the other Asian Tigers even though Singapore is more expensive. This has resulted in Singaporeans having the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries.
You have already seen in (2) how half of Singaporeans might not be earning enough for a basic standard of living in Singapore.
Moreover, even though poor to middle-income Singaporeans are paid relatively low wages, high-income earners in Singapore earn the highest salaries among the developed countries, which has resulted in Singapore having the widest rich-poor gap among the developed countries and the highest poverty rate as well, at an estimated 30% (more in (6)). As such, personal consumption expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been decreasing over the past 40 years.
Moreover, Singapore has been ranked 5th on the crony capitalism index by The Economist, which makes Singapore the 5th easiest country out of 23 countries, where “politically connected businessmen are more likely to prosper”. The socioeconomic problems in Singapore are compounded by the Singapore government spending the least on healthcare and education, as a percentage of GDP, and Singaporeans earning possibly the lowest interest rates on their CPF pension funds and therefore one of the least adequate pension funds in the world (more in (5)).
I therefore ask, whether Singaporeans are willing to acknowledge the socioeconomic circumstances in Singapore. But don’t take my word for it – click on the article for links to other references, or do your own search.
(5) SHOCKING Facts About Our CPF in Singapore! (Part 2): Nearly 100,000 views (More than 4,000 shares)
This article illustrates how the CPF is actually invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings – the government’s two investment firms – which earn significantly much higher returns than the CPF, and how the CPF earns the lowest interest rates among other pension funds in the world.
I questioned why the CPF is earning such low interest and asked if this is one of the reasons why Singaporeans therefore have the one of the least adequate pension funds in the world.
(6) Poverty in Singapore Grew from 16% in 2002 to 28% in 2013: Nearly 100,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
The government has refused to define the poverty line in Singapore.
I estimated how the poverty rate in Singapore has grown from about 20% in 2000 to 30% today, and how Singapore has the highest poverty rate among the developed countries.
To recap, 30% of Singaporeans earn less than S$2,000 in a month.
Other academics and economists have since come out with the same conclusion of the poverty rate being at about 30%.
(7) How the PAP Tried to Hide What They are Doing With Your CPF: Nearly 80,000 views (More than 10,000 shares)
It was previously impossible to know if the CPF is invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings because the government did not put up the information on its websites.
However, I was able to trace from several government websites that the CPF is indeed invested in these two government investment firms, as I had written in (5).
Here, I track the evidence on the government websites and show how the government altered the information, which made the information less clear.
The government has since admitted that the CPF is invested in the GIC. This occurred after I was sued in 2014.
(8) How The Government Undercuts Singaporeans’ Wages: Nearly 80,000 views (More than 7,000 shares)
I explain how Singapore has one the highest GDP per capita in the world but because we have the lowest wage share among the developed countries, this means that we are losing a large chunk of our wages to the profit of companies.
In addition, because low- and middle-income Singaporeans have seen their wages depressed while the salaries of high-income earners have increased dramatically, this also means that low- and middle-income earners have lost wages – which should have grown over the past two decades.
This would also explain why an estimated 30% of Singaporeans are living in poverty, as I had written in (6).
(9) Singapore: First World Economy, First World Costs, Third World: More than 70,000 views (More than 5,000 shares)
In this article, I explain how even though Singapore is one of the world’s largest financial centres and has one of the highest costs in the world, the average Singaporeans earn relatively low wages, and because of how the government also spends the lowest in healthcare and education among the developed countries, Singaporeans also have to pay one of the highest out of our own pockets for healthcare and education. In fact, the government spends the least on social protection among the developed countries.
Singaporeans also pay for one of the most expensive housing and cars in the world, and therefore have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, which has resulted in the highest income inequality, rich-poor gap and poverty among the developed countries.
The high inequality also has social consequences – Singaporeans were at one point ranked the most unhappy and most emotionless people in the world. Singaporeans also became less trusting of each other and have the second highest prisoner rate in the developed world, according to some reports.
Singapore therefore has developed a First World economy at the expense of keeping Singaporeans on a third world standard of living, some have surmised.
(10) PM Lee and Lim Swee Say: Revealing the Truth With Real Statistics: More than 60,000 views (More than 6,000 shares)
The government made claims that they wanted to increase productivity to increase wages.
However, Singapore actually has one of the lowest productivity rate among the developed countries, and one of the lowest wages among countries with similar national wealth.
Not only that, Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world but wages are still low, in comparison. Yet Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world.
I explain again how this has resulted in the highest income inequality and lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, and which have resulted in a series of social problems, as also stated above.
From the above articles, can you see how they are connected?
Singaporeans are Concerned about their Wages, CPF & Healthcare and Education Costs
In summary, the articles that have drawn the most interest among Singaporeans are those which are about their wages and CPF, and also on inequality and whether have enough to use for healthcare and education.
In these 10 articles, you can see how Singapore has grown to become a very rich country on a national level but much of this wealth has not been shared with Singaporeans, who have been given relatively low wages and thus have low purchasing powers, which have sunk more and more Singaporeans into poverty. Worse still, where the government spends the least on social protection, this has resulted in Singaporeans having to fork out even more to pay for healthcare, education and retirement – even double- or triple-paying for the same thing – and therefore losing even more of their depressed wages. These, compounded with the long work hours and high inequality, has resulted in the near-zero productivity in Singapore and social ramifications.
This is also why I have been constantly advocating for higher wages, as well as increased government spending in healthcare, education and retirement, and also for higher CPF interest rates, and additional pension for Singaporeans. Singapore has become so lopsided that I believe that it is urgent for such policy changes to be made to reduce the inequality, so that the Singaporean society can patch up and grow together again.
And as I have written, I have calculated that there is enough money in the government coffers right now to provide free healthcare and education, and to allow all elderly Singaporeans to be able to retire today.
But this is what I believe.
As I have mentioned, a segment of Singaporeans might not similarly agree with these views. Also, some have questioned the credibility of the information presented. For most of the articles, I do reference them so you can click on the links to view the sources. Otherwise, I always believe that people should do their own research and come to their own conclusions, and which are not necessarily aligned to mine.
I am mainly presenting the top 10 articles to show you what the concerns of Singaporeans who read my blog are, and hopefully the leadership will have the hindsight to improve.
Also, thanks for reading the articles over the past 4 years, and also for contributing to the fund raising.
As of this morning, a total of $S26,083.36 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$150,000 to the prime minister.
If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on the blog, as and when the funds come in.
Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest.
Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000.
Last Wednesday, I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.
You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.