[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[Tomorrow.sg biased?]
Is Tomorrow.sg, the online version of The Straits Times?

I kindof think so. If many think the mainstream media is biased, well, there has to be a certain bias to online media too.

It occurs to me that once I say something that is pro-government, Tomorrow.sg tends to pick it up. But when I make some not so pro-government comments about certain policies or issues, they usually don't get published.

I must admit that I was too fast in commenting about the GST hike. But the crux of it was not whether it should or should not be raised but the point that I was driving across was on the policies the government would make or amend to help the lower income groups. Or those that they claim need the most help.

Sadly, Tomorrow.sg quoted me as saying: "My view is that raising the GST to 7% is just a little 2 points up so no big deal. Although if it keeps getting up, up and up, it may be too hot to handle. Perhaps it should be capped a a certain percentage - maybe 10% or something."

And you know what the backlash on Tomorrow.sg is? Very 'constructive'.

But I must thank those that have left the comments on my post - I will try to understand the bigger picture.

Many have said that the "new poor" of Singapore, which are those in the middle income group, should be helped too.

So let's sit back, wait and listen to the policies that will be announced come budget day.

I read about a closed door discussion about university fee hikes on Tomorrow.sg. And there was a trackback to a post by Mr Wang about 4 in 10 foreigners in NUS receiving bursaries.

So here's a letter that I wrote sometime back on NUS alumni donations:

I refer to Bob Chua’s comments (ST, Nov 7) urging National University of Singapore alumni to contribute more of their time, not just money, to the university to act as mentors and career coaches to graduating students.

When money is involved, issues of transparency will also come into play. Many will start to question where the money goes and whether it has been used appropriately. The guidelines on who receives what will also be scrutinised. So will the process of selecting the recipients.

If universities are more open on how such donations are used, it will seem to be a more transparent process for potential donors.

Perhaps only then will alumni be encouraged and not have a conservative attitude with regard to donating money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a very simple maths sum. If u wants an extra egg, u would hv to pay for it, do not expect the hawker to give it to u free. Likewise if we r to do more for the poor, we need additional financial resources. Well if a 3 yr old kid understands this why cant the opposition? Lol!!! If they dont oppose then they shldnt be in the opposition. Oppose for the sake of it seems to be a favourite pastime of the opposition. Hahahah

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:06:00 pm

Blogger Collector said...

Here's another simple fact: GST is a regressive tax. The extra 2% may mean nothing for the MIW drawing $13,500 as allowance, but it hits the poor chap surviving on $500 a month real bad.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:58:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

typical thinking of a simple minded PAP supporter. Who don't understand that there is no such thing as free meal? no one is expecting the gov to help (it naive to expect sg gov to help you anyway isn't it?) but it just that we expect the gov not to give us hell instead. if you expect everyone to take whatever arguement from those pro goverment media and so called economist who sing along with the official line, sorry to disappoint you, we are not that stupid to take their view without question.

there is no point of telling us that GST increase is to help the poor as we are not that uneducated. We know GSt is regressive and the poor would pay a higher rate of tax more than anyone else.

no one is interested in their offset package as this is a one off sort of thing but GST is permanent.

Why not increase direct tax like income tax instead of indirect tax like GST which will only serve to increase the rich poor gap?

the fact is increasing income tax will make this country a less attractive place for their foreign talent. Thus the local poor have to pay more to help finance the foreigner.

This country perhaps is the only place in the world where the gov places the benefit of foreigners and the rich well above the local.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 6:31:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Collector wrote:
"Here's another simple fact: GST is a regressive tax. The extra 2% may mean nothing for the MIW drawing $13,500 as allowance, but it hits the poor chap surviving on $500 a month real bad."

If an upper middle class person buys a $100,000 car, the extra GST revenue adds up to $2,000.

It's very true that the "poor chap" mentioned by Collector is in dire straits, for he is likely spending all of his $500 a month on purchases. So the GST increase will cost him $10 a month more, which is significant.

It also means that every time one of these upper middle class chaps buys a car (and they will keep doing so, even with GST at 7%), it's $2,000 more tax revenue.

Enough to offset GST for 200 chaps surviving on $500 a month.

Enough to support this chap for 4 months.

It's all terribly regressive, so the economists say. Do you think the above scenario is regressive?

Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:29:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well at least the online media (Tomorrow.sg) do provide a link for people to refer the origin of the text so as to enable people to make an objective judgement of the overall picture. It responsible reporting and i do not see any bias on their part whereas traditional like the ST tend to selectively quote others without providing any link or reference.

Friday, December 01, 2006 12:53:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why cant we have a gst hike that excludes a levy on neccessities? that wouldnt be too much to ask for would it? remove the gst on such goods(rice oil sugar salt the basics)
i'm sure many in the govt know this, but why doesnt it get through? its simple really.

Saturday, December 02, 2006 3:03:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if men like wee cho yaw dont eat rice, salt, oil etc etc. End of the day who benefits more? Mr Wee boss of UOB or the man in the street? Let us charge GST on all items end of the day target the poor and needy channel funds directly in tht direction. In this way, its more focused and targetted.

Saturday, December 02, 2006 7:48:00 pm


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