Archive | January 2012

The young homeless man with a smile

He was a young man. Early to mid-20s. Contrary to what some may think, he wasn’t at all downtrodden with sad demeanour or immersed in self-pity. In fact, he always had a smiling face and would speak animatedly about things.

Life hadn’t been too kind to him, though, and he ended in the predicament he was in – a young man homeless.

Family circumstances led to him having to seek shelter in one of the homes run by a non-governmental organisation.  Read More…

$715,000 too much for a ministerial office? Nah.

Seems that most people online are disagreeable with the S$1.1 million salary for ministers which has been recommended by the Gerard Ee committee.

To be clear, this S$1.1 million for a MR4 grade minister includes the bonus components.

The basic or fixed salary for a minister at the MR4 grade is S$715,000 annually.

This comes to about S$55,000 a month. (S$715,000/13 – 13 being the 13th month payment.)

It only adds up to S$1.1 million if the variable/bonus components are factored in. These are dependent on the minister/government meeting some key performance indices, as you can see from this illustration.

Interestingly, in 2000, Mr Chiam See Tong suggested that ministers be paid S$50,000 a month – “a level enough for them to maintain “a comfortable life”, with a bungalow, servants, two cars, annual holidays and funds for their children’s education.” (See here.) Read More…

The aunty with a marketing trolly

I was, as usual, going for my morning kopi and to read the news at the coffeeshop. It was quite sunny this morning. As I walked under the void deck, I noticed this elderly woman. She must be in her 70s, and she was pushing this trolly along, making her way to the markets across the streets.

At the traffic light, I stood beside her and observed her from the corner of my eyes. The sun was bearing down on her and I could see her face winced as she waited for the lights to turn green.

Walking across the street, she had to climb up this flight of stairs to reach the shophouses which lined the way to the markets.

As I watched her, it reminded me of my own mom who would go to the markets every morning to get fresh food for her children, including my nieces who were living with us then.

This elderly lady must be doing the same, I thought.

The simple yet important things our mothers and grandmothers do.

*An earlier post on something similar: A mother’s love does not require rest.

Moving forward from salaries

Since the new pay structure for ministers were unveiled on Wednesday, views have been mixed. Some criticise it for not going far enough, while others welcome it. The truth is that each person will have his or her own expectations, which is evident from the different views from the opposition parties, and from online comments so far.

I am afraid there will never be universal consensus on a matter such as this which is not only a politically sensitive one for the government, but it is also one which throws up visceral emotions.  Read More…

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