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Topics - MariaSharpie

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1
If ever there was a budget laden with cheap gimmicks and full of wayang, this one is it.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced an ‘ang pow’ of up to $300 for every individual. The giveaway amounts to $700 million. This is against a collection of a surplus of $9.6 billion the previous year.
In other words, the government is giving back to taxpayers 7 cents for every excess dollar it collected in taxes and fees. For the government, this is a wonderful scheme.

The government had forecast that it would collect only a surplus of $1.9 billion but ended up collecting $9.6 billion instead – more than five times the originally estimated amount.

Such an absurdly discrepant amount reflects poorly on the Minister’s judgment, planning and execution of the country’s fiscal system. The hantam buta strategy of tax collection has resulted in the [email protected] wildly over-collecting from citizens.

To prevent an outcry of why it collected so much more revenue than it needed, the government tries to placate and distract Singaporeans by announcing the ang pow gimmick.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/budget-2018-a-budget-of-wayang-and-cheap-gimmicks

2
Bill Gates sat down with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for the first time this week.

Gates is the founder of Microsoft and cofounder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the world's second-richest person with an estimated fortune of $91.8 billion, according to Bloomberg's index.

Gates officially became a billionaire when he was 31 — the youngest billionaire in history, at the time. But the boost to his bank account didn't send him on a spending spree, Gates said during his interview with DeGeneres.

"I don't have that many things that are extravagant taste, so it didn't change too much," Gates said, adding that his primary concern at the time was being able to pay his employees, many of whom had families to care for.

"So you didn't say 'Oh I'm going to buy a Porsche?'" DeGeneres pressed.

"I did — that I did," Gates said. "That was an indulgence, and then eventually for my travel I got a plane, which is a huge indulgence, so those are my two."

"So you have a Porsche and a plane and that's it?" she asked.

"In terms of crazy things, yes," he said. Gates has previously referred to his private jet as a "guilty pleasure" and "big splurge." It has been widely reported that he owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express with seating for up to 19 people — and a $40 million price tag.

More at https://sg.yahoo.com/finance/news/bill-gates-reveals-two-apos-224222533.html

4
US President Donald Trump has said arming teachers could prevent school shootings like that which left 17  people dead last week in Florida.

A staff member with a gun could end an attack "very quickly", he said.

Mr  Trump floated the proposal as emotional survivors of the 14 February massacre implored him to make sure it never happens again.

The Republican president also backed calls for improved background checks on gun buyers.
Other survivors meanwhile lobbied Florida lawmakers on gun control.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/trump-endorses-guns-for-teachers-to-stop-shootings

5
SINGAPORE — The Tripartite Workgroup (TWG) has come up with proposal to help boost freelancers’ Medisave savings, as they called on  the Government to study and potentially adopt a model where service  buyers pay a portion of their freelancers’ pay to their Medisave accounts.

This was among the seven ideas proposed by the TWG, which was formed last March, following a nine-month study of the challenges faced by freelancers amid the rise of the gig economy.

They include insurance to protect against the loss of income should they suffer injury at work, voluntary standards for written contracts, and greater support for them on matters such as pay  disputes.

In response, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine  Teo said in a letter to TWG that she has accepted the recommendations, which “will help shape the Government’s strategies” to address concerns  raised by self-employed individuals.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/freelancers-should-get-work-contracts-insurance-medisave

6
And so this difficult yet somewhat controversial question was finally raised by a brave soul at Reddit Singapore, where he cited excerpts of a recent conversation with a Malay friend and produced thoughtful perspectives based on his personal experiences:

"Was speaking to a Malay friend last night about how highly educated members of the Malay community in Singapore were and wondered why so many folks ended up in the Normal Technical Stream. He cited the fact that Malay families are too big and a significant number of them get started too early. To me, that doesn't make sense because there are also quite a few Chinese families that are quite big in size and they still do relatively well.

I personally feel that Malay families are more supportive towards their kids chasing their own dreams. Unfortunately for them, their dreams in Singapore just don't pay off financially; ultimately many of them have to endure a long and tedious process before ever achieving the slightest iota of tangible success.

Growing up, I studied in the Normal Academic stream and frankly this does something to your self-esteem. Even though I've caught up with my peers since, I always had a chip on my shoulders owing to the fact I had to work doubly hard to arrive at where I am today. With so many Malay kids being assigned to the Normal Technical stream, something ought to be done to at least minimize the stigma associated with this tier of secondary school education, which is often seen as reserved only for the less academically inclined."


Not unexpectedly many Reddiporeans chimed in with their viewpoints, some exerting that an individual's determination to make something of himself supersedes racial considerations. Others cited cultural differences, one's access to resources and the manner of upbringing as possible influencing factors. Then again, is the comparison between the academic achievements of Malays and Chinese (or any other race for that matter) even a fair one? More importantly, is the Singapore education system really complicit in not doing enough to give the Malay community a proper leg-up like everyone else, and meritocracy just a mere hip buzzword bandied about by the government? Food for thought by netizens showcased below:

By WLDKRT:

"I came from the Normal Technical stream and subsequently got posted to ITE Bishan. After which I completed my diploma, served the nation and went on to finish up a university degree (with Honours). All done locally. Most of my peers in university are working; I myself am starting my own business because of passion and I have no regrets. I am a Malay fyi.

My academic track record: My PSLE results was shitty (of course I deserved it because I played too much). My parents cried upon seeing my PSLE results and they told me straight to the face that I was a failure.

I went to the Normal Technical stream and most of my friends in secondary school were Malays - we often hung out at void decks "lepaking" and smoking. I took my 'N' Levels and I think I did ok. Failed in Maths though (obtained an U grade). That didn't stopped me.

In ITE, I took up Product Design because I felt it's one of the better courses for me, not withstanding the fact it was also one of the easiest to gain entry to. Did my 2 years there and graduated. Most of my lecturers encouraged me to aspire to attend institutions of higher learning because they saw my potential. To this very day, I am grateful that they pushed me beyond my limits. I graduated and was happy.

More at http://www.domainofexperts.com/2018/02/has-singapores-education-failed-malay.html

7
SINGAPORE: Former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han was arrested on Wednesday morning (Feb 21) for attempting to flee the country in a sampan, the police said at a news conference.

The 57-year-old, one of six church leaders convicted in 2015 of misappropriating S$50 million of church funds, had been out on bail and was due to turn himself in on Thursday to begin his jail term.

Another man, 53-year-old Tan Poh Teck, who was piloting the motorised sampan, was also arrested.

In a split decision by the High Court last April, Chew had his original six-year jail sentence lowered to three years and four months. Chew is the only one of the six who has not started serving his jail term for criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ex-city-harvest-church-fund-manager-chew-eng-han-arrested-9977688

8
SINGAPORE: The increase in goods and services tax  (GST) was not the only option considered for raising revenue, but it is  the most sustainable source of income over the long-term, said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah.

“There are a few other things we have explored as well … But GST is the one that will give you, over the long term, a sustained revenue of  sufficient amount that will take care of our expenditure needs, for  healthcare, infrastructure, security and education,” Ms Indranee said on  Tuesday (Feb 20) on 938NOW’s Talkback call-in programme.

Calling  the changes that Singapore faces “unprecedented”, Ms Indranee  highlighted the country’s greying demographic, saying that “the number of people who are getting older, in the next five to 15 years, is not  something that Singapore has seen before”.

“So, the need  to spend more is going to jump. And that is the reason why we have to  look at the GST. Because what you really want is long-term sustainable  revenue. Cutting expenditure will help, and that is something we must do and have done. But in and of itself, it will not take care of the  increased expenditure that we will need,” she added.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/gst-hike-not-the-only-option-considered-for-raising-revenue

9
The PAP government owes Singaporeans an explanation as to how it  ‘missed’ statutory boards’ contributions estimate by a mile last year.

In Today’s “S’pore posts record S$9.6 billion budget surplus, thanks to ‘one-off’ factors“, the article briefly explained how PAP managed to generate the ‘unexpected’ gargantuan surplus in FY2017:

 1. ” …owing mainly to “exceptional statutory board contributions” and higher-than-expected collections from stamp duties.”

 2.  “Some S$4.9 billion in statutory board contributions were expected in FY2017, more than 16 times the initial estimate of S$300 million“.**

 3. “This was driven mainly by an “exceptional contribution” from the Monetary Authority of Singapore thanks to higher investment returns from recovering global markets, said the MOF”.

Fact: Increased contributions from some stat boards were almost offset by decreased contributions of other stat boards.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/our-g-needs-to-explain-7b-windfall-economy-in-fact-weak

10
SINGAPORE: The much-rumoured goods and services tax (GST) increase was confirmed by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget 2018  speech on Monday (Feb 19), and it will go up from 7 per cent currently  to 9 per cent some time in the period between 2021 and 2025.

Mr Heng said the exact timing of when the GST increase will kick in depends on the “state of the economy, how much our expenditures grow and how  buoyant our existing taxes are”. "But I expect that we will need to do so earlier rather than later in the period."

That said, the minister said the GST hike will be implemented in a “progressive  manner”. This means the Government will continue to absorb GST on  publicly subsidised education and healthcare, and enhance the permanent  GST Voucher scheme when the hike kicks in. The enhanced GST Voucher scheme will provide more help to lower-income households and seniors, he  added.

More at https://www.prolificskins.com/forum/current-affairs/gst-in-singapore-to-be-raised-to-9-between-2021-and-2025

12
KUALA LUMPUR: The family of Indonesian domestic helper Adelina Lisao, 21, who died following alleged abuse and mistreatment by her employers here, is demanding compensation for their loss.

According to a report by the Jakarta Post yesterday, Adelina’s family claims that she was never paid her salary since beginning her employment in 2015.

“We demand that Adelina’s salary for three years be paid. Don’t justify withholding her salary because she was unregistered.

“The amount of money does not matter. (It) is still her right (to be paid),” said her aunt, Petronela Koa, while waiting for her remains to arrive at the El Tari Airport in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara.

The family also claim that two people had allegedly recruited and sent Adelina to work illegally in Malaysia.

The duo in question has since been arrested by local police for forging Adelina's documents. The papers indicate that Adelina was six years older that her actual age of 17 when she was sent to Penang three years ago.

Meanwhile, preparations are being made to lay Adelina’s body to rest in her home town today.

It was reported that Adelina was rescued by police last Saturday following suspected repeated abuse by her employers.

She died at 4.45pm on Sunday while being treated at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital. A post mortem revealed that she died from multiple organ failure related to anaemia.

When found at her employer’s home at Taman Kota Permai, Bukit Mertajam, Adelina had severe injuries on her head and face, and infected wounds on her hands and legs.

More at https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/02/336552/dead-indo-maid-was-not-paid-salary-3-years-family-claims

14
SINGAPORE — For most women, menstruation is no more than a minor inconvenience. For Ms Goh Hwee Ling, however, severe menstrual bleeding after the birth of her first child caused a major disruption in her daily activities and made her anaemic.

For two to three days each month, the teacher’s life would revolve around changing sanitary pads every hour to manage her heavy flow.

“Even then, some menstrual blood might still drip onto the floor,” said Ms Goh, who is in her forties.

“Whenever my period arrived, I had to take an extra change of clothes and underwear to work and I often found myself stuck in the ladies’ washing up after myself. As a teacher, it was very inconvenient for me. I had to ask another teacher to take over my class, and pray that the ladies’ was not too far away.”

More at http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/when-having-your-period-leads-blood-transfusion

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