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Affordable and quality housing is one of the cornerstones of building social stability, and the sense of nationhood. Singapore’s public housing programme is no doubt one of the most successful public housing programmes in the world, resulting in low rates of homelessness, the elimination of slums, higher cultural and social integration, and lower crime rates. By comparison, in Los Angeles, when I grew up, public housing (aka the projects) was a hotbed for crime, drugs, gangs, violence, and disease, with little chance of upward mobility or even integration. Because homelessness results in a whole host of problems, keeping housing affordable and accessible, still remains one of Singapore’s top priorities. Though with all the various government schemes, it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. Here’s an attempt to help simplify the various public housing schemes available in Singapore:
Taxes are not evil. As humans, our progress, survival, and even wellbeing depend on benefiting from and contributing to a group. And in a sense, taxes are the “membership fee” to belonging to this kind of organised society. A society where a government is put in charge of certain civil aspects that cannot be entrusted to the private sector. These include aspects such as utilities, healthcare, education, environmental protection, security, and defense. But with any group, some members will end up contributing more, while others receive more. Yet at any time, these tables can be turned. This article attempts to simplify the various tax reliefs available for individuals. Many of these tax reliefs benefit families and the “sandwich generation”.
We all wish to live and age well, and nobody desires to be disabled or dependent. You could have planned your life perfectly, and yet tragedy can blindsided you (the 3 D’s – death, disease, and divorce – are cruel and notoriously common). And this is why we have government social safety nets. But when tragedy strikes, it’s hard to know where to start. With different schemes spanning different ministries and agencies, it can be quite daunting. So this is another attempt to help simplify the various schemes:
“I don’t know what resources are out there” and “Why can’t the government just make things easier to understand?” are two common complaints I hear from the public across all ages, races, occupations, and gender. It has becoming increasing apparent that government schemes, like all messages, cannot be successfully communicated without addressing the UI/UX (user interface/user experience) issues. And yes, I do agree that there needs to be a better way to disseminate information in a more clear and easy-to-understand fashion. But to be fair, just saying “this is too complicated and until they make it easier, I give up” is a bit like saying speaking Mandarin is hard or driving is complicated, yet so many people do it all the time. We too, need do our part to facilitate our own understanding through repeated exposure, practice, and patience. And this is my attempt to help in this process:
Everyone wants high returns, and yet, every single conference or seminar I’ve been to neglects to mention the one investment that is the most lucrative and high-yielding investment out there. It is the foundation that Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Ng Teng Fong (Singapore’s once richest man), and other billionaires use which is almost NEVER talked about. Yet without it, they definitely would not be rich; instead, they would be among the high-earners who ended up broke or bankrupt. So what is their secret? (more…)