For years you’ve taken a cut from my paycheck under the promise of social “protection.” In a way, you’re like a very well-intentioned gangster, protecting my money from well… me right?
I’m grateful though that you at least “allow” me to use some of my money towards buying a home, or to subsidise (partially) my hospital bills.
I’m not going to ask what you do with my money while it’s in your hands (I’m sure it’s just sitting there untouched right?). But I do ask that you let me use it for pressing emergencies that directly affect me and my family’s well-being.
What do I mean?
Let me enlighten you.
1. For Retrenchment
My financial obligations won’t stop if I get retrenched. Finding a job takes 2-3 months at best. I’m lucky I have enough savings to last me 3 months, but what if it takes longer? What if I had no savings to begin with?
Any unsecured debt I have (credit cards, car loan, personal loans, etc.) still needs to be paid – otherwise I risk damaging my credit with late payments or even default. The banks don’t care that I lost my job. They’re about as sympathetic as a cat watching a rodent struggle in a mousetrap.
But if I could use my “account” to service my unsecured debt if I get retrenched, even if it’s just to make my minimum payments, that would give me the financial flexibility to weather the situation. Plus, it would discourage those without savings from worsening their financial situation by going to Ah Longs for money.
2. For Education
Ultimately, the government wants me to be successful. The more successful I am, the more taxes I can contribute to our nation’s economy. So why can’t I use some of the money from my account towards education, whether I want to pursue an MDA-approved training course or a degree?
You don’t need me to tell you that education improves my earning potential, which is a win-win for everyone. I improve my standard of living while the government takes a greater amount of tax revenue. Plus, if I’m working in a sunset industry that has a bleak outlook, I can get the training I need to transition to a more promising profession.
But not everyone has the money on hand to pay for education… oh yeah, they do – you’re holding it CPF! So ease up a little on the funds distribution and let us chant Jerry Maguire’s “help me, help you” line together yeah?
3. For Growing Transportation Costs
Paying for transportation in Singapore is like choosing how you want to be tortured. The choices differ, but the result is the same – you’re still paying hundreds or thousands of dollars a month just to commute daily!
It doesn’t matter whether you own a car or use public transportation, the cost to travel to and from work, pick up the wife and kids, or take the family out to Sentosa is always increasing. All you have to do is see how much COE, ERP, taxi, and public transportation rates have increased over the last few years.
Of course, I don’t own 3 cars, nor do I live in Sentosa Cove – and neither do a majority of citizens who suffer every time transportation costs rise. But it would help if I could use some of my funds as a monthly “transportation allowance” to offset the financial pain felt by price hikes.
Now, before you crumple up this letter (if you haven’t already), I have one more thing to say…
Tax payers won’t need to support me with these situations. That’s because this money is already mine to begin with (or so you tell me). All I’m asking is that you make it easier for me to access my funds so I can patch up my social safety net.
If you need to validate my situation before dispersing my funds to prevent “fraud,” I’m fine with that. I’d rather deal with the inconvenience of a sloth-like bureaucracy than have to worry about how I’m going to come up with cash in an emergency.
Again, I’m grateful for the monthly shakedown that’s necessary for my retirement. But you’ve got to be a little more flexible when it comes to financial emergencies that cannot wait.
A Messenger of Singaporean Frustrations
P.S. Umm…. yeah, if you could let me use my funds to cover the hospital bill for childbirth (c’mon, we’re doing you a favor by creating more taxpayers) and for elderly friendly renovations to take care of my ageing grandparents without sending them to a home, that would be great.