Friday, February 27, 2009

The GIC saga and the elderly......

It was revealed recently that the GIC losses last year totaled approximately S$50 billion. We don't how much since then. I don't know if this number just include realized losses,or do they include 'paper losses'? Many people believe the actual number may be substantially higher than revealed. I am not enough of a finance person to know who's right. In any case, my calculator cannot even input 50, 000, 000, 000 .... so I am guessing it's really a lot of money. A lot, a lot of money.

Now we hear, GIC is converting its prefered notes into common stock. Hmmm....

Wise decision? The less worse of two really bad options? Who knows? I certainly don't. I can't even get my own 'investments' to work. But I think it sounds logical to some extent to think about it as a long term investment. If we look at it with longer (much much longer) perspective, the investments so far has a good chance of yielding good returns for GIC. Hopefully. Citibank if it survives does appear to represent a good investment option. If it survives.

But not so our elderly. They are not really good investment options. They tend to die.

I think that's why the gahment isn't all to excited about putting any of those many zeroes into maintaining the elderly. Do enough to appear concerned, I think is the motto.

I really wish it were otherwise. It really breaks my heart each time I come across the elderly men and women cleaning out the toilets, our cleaning up after us at the food courts. Why do they have to be working at their age? And such demeaning work as well...They should be in the parks ...enjoying their retirement, playing with their grandchildren. They deserve it. Why do we make the elderly feel they have to continue to pay their way through the end years of their life? I think they are entitled to their rest....regardless of how much savings they have or how much they have in Medisave...

If we are a poor country, I can understand the need to be frugal where social support for the elderly is concerned. But the recent Temasek-GIC fiasco has revealed through, albeit through a glass darkly, the size of our accumulated wealth. Enough wealth to publicly declare a loss totalling some S$100 billion... and shrug it off, because other people have lost more.

Why can'twe spend a bit of this to make our elderly feel loved and honoured. And not just a burden to that we can't wait to be rid off.


Let's Age Actively.... said...

Hi There

How do I add the Visitors counter found at the bottom of your page?


Active Ager

gigamole said...

I got that from :

you can just sign up and follow their installation instructions. If you have any problems let me know, I'll try and see how I can help.


Anonymous said...

I got to the code, but where do I paste it in my blog? under "Add Gadget"? I tried but it says there is a broken link...

here's my blog

thanks again

auntielucia said...

I don't mean to be rude but Let's Age Actively can't be much of an add-value consultant if he/she has to keep asking u something as simple as adding a visitor counter!! %%!!

As for working elderly, I think they are less sad than those one finds sleeping in void decks or corridors! I went to the Buddha Relic Temple last week and becos of the rain tried to take a short cut in the maze of the newly re-opened Chinatown food/hawker centre. And right outside the PAP branch I ran across two oldies one squatting near the the staircase and the other lying on cardboards as well as being partially covered with cardboards.

I don't know if they've been abandoned, needy or just eccentric.. but both took my proferred $2 (yes, that's all) with toothy smiles!

Anonymous said...

smile auntielucia....a little kindness goes a long way...

gigamole said...

:)I see you have your counter working Anon...all the best with your site.

AuntieL...I agree with you re the homeless. I was actually quite shocked to discover this for myself. The time to see this rather sad part of Singapore life is early in the morning before daybreak. They are sleeping in underpasses and anywhere there is shelter from weather and prying eyes. Often just bodies sleeping on paper or cardboard, and covered with sheets of newspaper as blankets.

I had wanted to post on this...but held back because I was torn between alerting the authorities and wanting to be kind to them. If the police came and cleared them out, they will have no where to go to. I suspect the police know where they are but are turning a bit of a blind eye. They are a bit of an eyesore, but really are hurting nobody. Often they are packed up and invisible during the daytime hours.

auntielucia said...

Hi Giga: Agree with yr line of non-interference with the homeless. A long time ago when i was an even bigger and more thoughtless kaypoh than I now am, I alerted the beggars' squad fm MCYS to "help" someone sleeping rough in the bowels of a building near Liang Court.
After much to-oing and fro-ing, I was finally informed by this squad that they couldn't find the chap.

I passed the same spot the next day; the heap of papers he used as bedding and blanket were still there, but no sight of the vagrant.

I concluded that I had inadvertently made a homeless man even more homeless; because he was either shooed away or he spied the squad coming and made himself scarce.. I've become more circumspect ever since.

Since no individual can take care of a non-kin down n out forever, I limit myself to helping out with the price of a meal or a snack.. whenever I run into such sad cases.

Btw, Giga, how come u never visit my blog or commented? Not yr cup of tea or spoonful of medication? ;)

gigamole said...

These homeless folks apparently get picked up and funneled into the 'homes', which are not necessarily a bad thing except the homes are run in a regimented and restrictive way. Most of these folks while needing a place to stay, still treasure some freedom to come and go, do odd jobs etc as they want and prefer not be cooped up like an inmate in a prison.

Will promise to visit ur blog and leave my footprint now and then. My apologies for lack of neighbourliness...just that it gets rather exhausting at end of day, managing home, work, family meals, marketing, work, labs, blogs, teaching, dog, cats, blogs, gym (pant, pant), committees, blogs... and still find time to be a kaypoh.

Sigh....No rest for the wicked.