To continue the vulgarisation of the notion of welfarism, the Singapore media highlighted a few forum letters from new Singaporeans who have experienced the "crush" of funding a welfare state. A letter by a former Finn has earned the ridicule of Singapore cyberspace. Other than criticisms directed at his foreigner status and hence, not obliged to NS liabilities, some netters probably googled his name and found that he was previously involved in an assault case against a neighbour. Apparently, his neighbour's golden retriever rushed to attack his dog and the ensuing spat resulted in the retriever being kicked and the female owner being punched in the eye. He was found guilty of causing hurt and fined $1,000.
There are more interesting google bytes of this Finn. It appears that he is no stranger to publicity and controversy other than the dog case. His name has even made the rounds in local cyberspace as actually a "hero", ironically. In a TODAY report, he was in the news because he rejected the Depart of Statistics request for him to participate in the General Household Survey. Subsequently, he was served with a warning of a possible fine of $1,000 if he failed to cooperate. The article went on to report that following his refusal, DOS staff actually knocked at his door late at night. Causing him lack of sleep. An allusion of course, to those Gestapo/KGB visit at night syndrome. In the report, the Finn goes on to defend his right to privacy and his right to decline taking part in the survey; citing the culture of Finland in his defence. As balance, he reiterates his love for Singapore on the usual cliches of it being safe and secure. This case was posted in several blogs, including Singabloodypore.
And then as you scroll down the Google list, there is a forum letter to TODAY by the same name. In the letter, the Finn actually complains about the exorbitant and arbitrary charges by a private clinic along Orchard Road for the removal of moles from his scalp. It is a a well-penned rant. Perhaps it is this experience more than any that shapes his perception of the general standard of Government healthcare in Changi hospital. Of affordable healthcare. Perhaps it was this experience which made him foreswear private clinics and opt for the cheaper hospitals.
It is really hard to imagine this Finn. His relics in cyberspace paint a strange picture. There is something uncanny about this individual. He loves Singapore, citing that its a very "safe country", but alludes to the sinister Government knocking on your door after ten syndrome. He whinges about being over-charged at a private clinic for a cosmetic procedure. He reacts violently to a neighbour over a rushing dog. He resorts to fistcuffs after probably, a heated argument with the lady. He is strangely like an Ugly Singaporean. Except that he is Finn.
But right at this juncture, based on this latest letter, it appears that he still chooses Singapore. He loves Singapore and the vaunted Singapore system. He is willing to forego some rights, some aspects of privacy. Just so to escape the "crushing taxes" in Finland. In the end, he hails : "Long Live the Singaporean Model".
And you realise that even as he comes from Finland, he shares that intrinsic value inculcated into so many Singaporeans. That value which David Marshall so despised. That worship of the Golden Calf. The eating of rice bowls full and brimming with jade chopsticks. It is money, money, money. It becomes clearer now. He is Finn but he is as Singaporean too. He buys into this system. This system of material wealth. It is a system which guards the selfish. Ask the cukongs from Indonesia. They were the first foreign talent to recognise this safe haven of money.
There are some who always tell me. Face reality. Prices will always rise. There is a global economy. I have no quarrel with that. I am not asking for North Korea. I am asking simply this. If you raise prices because you want to help the poor; than help the poor. In ways that can be seen, that can be felt. There must be change as obvious as raised prices. Its that simple.
Quote of the Day ---
"I have slain old Wainamoinen,
Slain the son of Kalevala,
That he now may plow the ocean,
That he now may sweep the waters,
On the billows rock and slumber.
In the salt-sea plunged he headlong,
In the deep sank the magician,
Sidewise turned he to the sea-shore
On his back to rock forever,
Thus the boundless sea to travel,
Thus to ride the rolling billows."
-- Kalevala, compiled by Elias Lönnrot