Study : Birth Rate Problem (Singapore) and Solution

Declining birth rates at world level means the end of humankind, at country level means end of the countries’ culture, at individual level means of the family line. However, all this really doesn’t matter to most people because it just seems so far-fetched and most likely not going to happen when they are still around. Sad but true, humans have been short-sighted since the beginning of time. Humans will never act till something happen that truly impact them significantly – Rise of Terrorism VS Counter-Terrorism, Use of Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Weapons VS Restriction of Armaments, Small Things like a loophole in the operating procedures VS Patching the loophole.

Now, let’s take a look at what the government has done over the years to make having of babies more affordable. Judging for the statistics provided in 2014, I believe the government has found out some reasons for people not having babies. Some factors that cause this will be long working hours and wage.

Long working hours

More time at work means less time at home So less time at home means less interaction with your spouse. Less interaction with your spouse means relationship between your spouse is not going to be very close and so that will mean lesser chance to make babies. More time at work means you will have higher fatigue and stress level as well which contributes to not having babies as well. So it is time to play the game of balance, you need to lose some to gain some – Economic growth VS Birth Rate. But if we think far, having a healthy replacement level of population will ultimately means a robust labour force that will turn means stable economic growth, just at a slower rate. If we forgo the replacement level of population and focus fully on economic growth, of course for the short term, it will mean well but at the long run this adrenaline will not last. But again, do people really care? This may really happen but if I don’t have any offspring, this will not impact me even a little while I am still alive and I do not need to care about the far future.

Time to give back to the society dude… do your part. The whole will not have come to the current stage if not for people who are giving. So companies should also do their part, making prolonged working hours a no-no for their staffs.It may hurt your profit margin but the intangible benefits it brings along will offset the decrease in profit margin or even more. This is one of the reason why the government has prompted the self-upgrading, push for innovative, automation, giving PIC grants. It is to help the companies to improve efficiency with a more skilled workforce and upgrade their technology infrastructures.

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Wages

Money,money,money, everything in the world is about money. Of course, this will affect the birth rates. The more you earn, the easier is it to let you start a family. This is because cost of living is always a factor when people are considering starting a family. This is where the government has step in to help in this area and the government has been doing good it in. The government has initiatives to increase the wage of the lower income group and provide massive housing grants up to $80,000. There are many subsidies provided in terms of hiring a maid, childcare / infant care centres, child development accounts, baby bonus scheme, Home Ownership Plus Education scheme, tax rebates. All these have help couples tremendously to make starting a family more affordable. The government has done well in this part. This is also another reason for the government to put for self-upgrading for individuals(skill credits) and various WDA grants to ensure that people have the relevant skills for the economy and they will be actively employed and value add to companies they are in, thus securing their positions and wages in the companies.

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Marriage and Divorces

Without marriage, there will be no legal babies, so yes marriage will be a reason why birth rates may be low. Judging from the statistics given, the marriage rate is on the unhealthy level, it will mean that for the population to sustain married couples will have to have 5 children on average to make up for the sustainable replacement rate of 2.0. The divorce rates are still manageable and is not of a real immediate concern now as the birth rate is not really affected significantly. Some what are the possible reasons why people are not getting hitched?

1. Still looking for the perfect partner.

2. Too busy with work, no time to socialize around. (Links back to the long working hours)

3. What’s wrong with being Single?

4. Nothing is working out for me.

5. Too shy la.

6. Everything is expensive in Singapore. (Links back to wage)

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I will say birth rate is about 3 gears : 1 – Time Gear , 2- Money Gear, 3 – Value Gear. The government has done quite well in the Money Gear, need to put in a bit more effort in the time gear but much more effort needs to be put into the value gear. So what is the value gear?

The Value Gear

Traditionally, people get together and give birth to children because they need to carry on the family line. But in the current state of world, not many people hang on to this belief. People have lost sight of what a family truly means and what being a family mean and can bring about. The value of family has become so insignificant and has often been obscured by avarice, fame, technology and social media. People now live in the state of art of technology and virtual reality where face to face human interactions are getting lesser and lesser as well as paper and money chasing. When there is no push for a need or change, people will stay stagnant. The need to bring the value of family life has to be pushed to the limelight again. This value is always there but not emphasis enough that people often overlooked it. For people who are already parents, remember the first time when your child first call you Mum or Dad? The first time your toddler can walk on his/her own? The time when your child hugs you when you come back from work all tired ? Those feelings cannot be brought by money, it is something so special that it cannot be imitated. Life successful is not about only how much you progress in career, how much you earned. It is also about living life to the fullest and experiencing what it truly is.

I am not saying that starting a family is easy, it has never been easy. It is an experience that money can’t buy, something that you should experience it for yourself to make your life, a life of no regret. Support and necessary guidance must be there and provided in times of need for families and those who wants to start a family. Social media, the double-edged sword, although have diverted our attention away, it can also help in expanding our social circles. It is again the playing of the balancing beam game where players try to strike a balance in everything.  The bringing back of the value of family must be amplified and re-cultivated among people. The first step for the push is always hard but not making the step means nothing is going to change. So go out socializing, meet new people, put down your gadgets. The feeling is truly different then cooping yourself up at home…

 

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Return of Celebrities From Being Monk/Nun

With the recent story of Singapore Actor Xie Shaoguang giving up being a monk, we will look at other celebrities that have done the same. Each of them has their own reasons for doing so. What will be the real reason why Xie Shaoguang decides on this?

Dolores Hart

She was an actress who already had made it and whose career was only going to better and better. She has a seven figure studio contract. However, she gave up all the fame,wealth and glamour and because a nun. The reason why she went back to have a feel of the red carpet is because :

->”Once you have decided to become a public figure you have made an agreement with your audience and it’s a lifetime agreement,” she(Dolores Hart) once said. “So even if you pull away there is a part of you that you can’t just say you no longer belong. You do.”

 

MiMi Tao

She was sent to a temple school at 12 and was a monk for six years. She is a transgender and works hard to pursue her modelling dream. She is now a well-known lingerie and fashion model in Asia. The reason why she stop being a nun is because :

->Her Mother’s Debt.

 

Huang Yida 黄义达

He is a Singaporean Singer and Songwriter who started out in 2004. However, he went “missing” for a period of time and went to become a monk for a short period of time. The reason why he became a monk has been speculated as stress, unable to cope with life, hitting rock-bottom in relationship and career. The reason why he stop being a monk is because :

-> He has turned into a better person and believed that he can do it!

 

桑妮 Sang Ni

She is an actress born in Taiwan. She was nominated as best new actor and has played different roles in TV dramas and Movies. She has acted in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Later, she became a nun after getting influence by the teachings of Buddhism and feel more at ease at heart during her practice. The reason why she stop being a monk is because :

-> Her family was having a hard time and her parents are unable to retire. So she has to go back to earn a living.

 

Zhang Feng Qi 张峰奇

He is a Taiwan Actor,Singer and Songwriter who started out in 2003. He has produced several albums, acted in a number of movies and held a number of concerts. Under the influence of Buddhism, he went to became a monk at the age of 7. The reason why he stop being a monk is because :

-> His parents persuaded him and wanted to groom him for the music industry

 

So what could be the reason why Xie Shaoguang returned to secular life?  Below will be some speculations :

  1. His restaurant is not doing well and is short of manpower
  2. His restaurant is doing too well and he is going down to be the extra pair of hand
  3. He found his true love and is planning to get married
  4. A promotional gimmick for his restaurant
  5. He needs money urgent for some other matters
  6. No special reason, he just want to be a chef. Maybe that is his real passion.

 

Will Xie Shaoguang triumphed with his ‘People who understand will understand even if I don’t speak, people who don’t understand won’t understand even if I speak.’ Do you worry that other people don’t understand?” stance or will he succumb to the media’s pressure into giving the reason? Only time can tell or perhaps the ‘digging’ and ‘sourcing’ power of the media will be able to unearth something…

As the saying goes, if you have nothing to hide, you will have nothing to fear when people start to investigate.

Last but not the least, I believe everyone needs to have their own privacy and have their own reasons for doing something. So give him the peace he deserved and let things die down.

Study on Military Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in military has always been a cause for people to raise concern. However, why is it that till this day, cases for such acts are still on the increase despite the new initiatives rolled out year by year. We can take a look at the statistics provided by the respective governments (US and UK) to better understand the situation.

Information from Ministry of Defence  – UK British Army sexual harassment report 2015

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Information from Ministry of Defence – US SAPRO Statistical Data on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault APY 14-15

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Generally, females are still the more “vulnerable” genders as military is still a male dominated sector. And in a normal sexual relationship, it is usually a male-female one, of course there are male-male or female-female relationships. Now lets think of some reasons for sexual harassment to happen and what might have promoted it as well as what could have caused the victims to be not report such incident.

Feres Doctrine (US)

A doctrine that bars claims against the federal government by members of the armed forces and their families for injuries arising from or in the course of activity incident to military service.

This will also mean that rape / sexual harassment is part of Occupational Hazard. Hey, it is something that happens during the military service so you can’t prosecute me for that. There has been lots of challenges to this but not much successful has been achieved. The Feres Doctrine needs to be revisited and revised so that it will be more applicable to the current state of the world. Of course a periodic reviews needs to be done that ensure that it stays relevant to the state of art.

 

Insider Cover Up

It is hard to obtain evidence pertaining to the act. This is especially so when the perpetrator is someone that is of higher ranking and has the control over the flow of information. People may collaborate together and commit the rape / sexual harassment. Information can be limited as people can always state that the information required involves “National Security Sensitive” information and should not be revealed to others. A victim with the knowledge of knowing that providing the proof will be hard will be deterred from reporting such incidents especially so one can be prosecuted for filing a false report.

 

Preying on the young and weak

A lot of time such harassment occurs due to the presence of threat, intimidation or lack of knowledge. As from the statistics, a bulk of the incidents happens to the junior servicemen / servicewomen. For fear of their career advancement, many whom have suffered from such harassment chose to kept quiet about it. Next, group intimidation is also serious problem as people can be ostracised simply but not going with the crowd. And we all know how bad it is when we are in an environment like that, the pain, anguish and matter torture can drive one to death. Many young people lacks the knowledge like where to report such incidents, their rights in workplaces.

 

The need for more public attention

Notice the sharp drop in number of incidents for certain years, because in the year before lots of attention has been diverted to such cases and this has caused a deterrent to people who may have wanted to commit such acts. Knowing that the chances that they will get reported and prosecuted successfully due to the public’s attention, perpetrators will lie low till the situation gets better and this is when we see the sudden surge in cases year after. People need to learn to embrace the victims of such harassment and applaud them for their courage for fighting for their rights instead of seeing them in another light.

 

The trial of such cases

Any such court trial will tend to be long, mentally draining and financially draining. Look, you are suing a government body – they have the time, resources, money. Many times, victims after careful consideration will just let it go due to the respective constraints they have. Not forgetting during the court sessions, the victims will be cross-examined, drilled, grilled till that their mental limit.There should be a framework for this that will help protect the victims and rehabilitation programme to help them get back on track in their life healing from their traumatic experience.

 

Although, statistics may be available for only a few countries, I strongly believed that such occurrences of sexual harassment are not limited to a few countries, in fact most of the countries might have the same situation only differing in the gravity.

Much needs to be done, the few words covered here will not be enough to alleviate the whole situation. But I believe everyone can do their part in making the military sector a better place to work in.

 

 

 

Lust

“Bringing out the nature in you is my job.” – Unknown.

 

The love-hate relationship with Lust, the tussle, the struggle, the embrace, the fulfilment. Much as we wish to resist it, it is just so easily to succumb to the seduction of Lust.

Lust lurks at every corner and ready to strike at its victim who are weak. Even the strongest person’s will can be withered and eroded slowly to become vulnerable.

Let’s look at some event’s that have repercussions due to lust involvement.

Profumo affair

Sexual relationship between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan’s government, and Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model. Keeler may have been simultaneously involved with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché.

Result: Fall of the Political Party and Create possible risk in national security.

Homosexual love – Jeremy Thorpe

Jeremy Thorpe, Member of Parliament for North Devon from 1959 to 1979, and as leader of the Liberal Party between 1967 and 1976 has a sexual relationship with Norman Scott, a riding instructor and would-be male model.

Result: Resignation and Assassination.

David Mellor

British politician, non-practising barrister, broadcaster, journalist and businessman. As a member of the Conservative Party, Cabinet of Prime Minister John Major as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1990–92) and Secretary of State for National Heritage (April–September 1992), Member of Parliament (MP) for Putney from 1979 to 1997 had affair with Antonia de Sancha.

Result: Loss in election, Resignation

There are a lot more cases in history that relates to lust and has caused relationship to turn soured (Edwina Currie), using sexual relationship for business (Iris Robinson scandal).

 

But these are only fragments of what lust do. The biggest threat / beauty that lust created was the pornography industry.

Credits to (covenanteyes.com)

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Credits to (thewhiterosemovement.com)

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It will seem that lust needs to create something that will take the world by storm or it will always have the supporting role and worse on the decline… Or is lust already cooking up something and waiting for the right opportunity to strike?

Sloth’s Creation

“A control given to you to make you mine.” – Unknown.

 

Sloth, a mortal enemy and yet so well-loved by people. Let’s take a look on what sloth has done over the years.

 

Creation of Drugs (Marijuana, Opium, Heroin, Cocaine, etc)

One of the most popular things that can be related to drugs will be the Opium Wars. In the first opium war – China had to limit trade tax rate (Loss of Income), accept concept of extraterritoriality (Loss in Power of State Law), pay fines (Loss of Money), Hong Kong was “given” away (Loss of Land).

Sloth works hand in hand with Greed and have cause significant damages because sales of such drugs can amount to huge amount of fortune. People are willing to take the risk for the fortune gained even at the cost of their life. Some of the “War” on drugs on US are Mexican Drug War, Puerto Rican Drug War, Colombian War on Drugs and Miami Drug War.

 

Creation of Games (Console, Phone Apps, Virtual, Online)

Games are such wonderful invention where they can momentarily take us away from the painful reality that we may face. However games can become an adversary once they become an addiction, games will become a nightmare that will take away your life. Games can also shape the minds of people causing to lose themselves. Many a time, these people are people who have their own strengths, talents and can contribute to the society but games took them away.

Credits to (dailymail.co.uk)

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Creation of Unemployment benefit / Social Security

An excellent idea to increase the social well-being of any place. People getting paid when they are not working so that their quality of life are sustained at a minimum level. However people have found ways around the system and exploited it. Again hand in hand with Greed like partner in crimes, people succumb to avarice and laziness.

Credits to (reformssdinow.org)

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Credits to (dailymail.co.uk)

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Basically, shadows of Sloth are everywhere. It is all about how well we can disciplined ourselves to hold out against the temptation of sloth. Now to ask yourself – Are you a victim of Sloth too?

Evolution of Greed

“A game with trap so well concealed that people became its pawn and enjoy being in it.” – Unknown

 

People evolved as the time pass by but sadly they are not the only thing that is evolving. Everything in the world is always evolving trying to surpass each other. Greed has evolved also. Long ago, people resort to violence / physical strength / military might to gain the wealth and power they desired. All the war wins / conquests which people talk about, the strategies involved in winning the war, the technologies involved to get an edge over the enemy. Greed played a major role in all and controlled people like pawns and enjoyed the game of killing.

Over time as the world changed and the number of wars drop drastically, Greed evolved and change the game making it enticing, exciting and so “fulfilling” for the people drawn into it. One of the greatest instrument / game Greed has created is the Stock Market. It is a game so well-designed and carefully planned out that it is difficult to find the “evil”.  Ever heard of the pyramid scheme? Well, the Stock Market is the epitome and legal version of the pyramid scheme with added functionalities.

Let’s put this into a simple scenario and make it clearer.

A company calls for IPO with its proposal saying that the returns are good / an existing big company that is doing well and decides to be listed.

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Next year, the company releases news that they are doing well and giving an “excellent” financial statement, well-audited. Further promising the growth of the company going to get more profit. All forecasted so well.

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As the years goes by, new investors will invest, old investors will pull out.

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So this is the pyramid scheme in slow motion of yearly activity. Now to step on the accelerate pad and make this look like the stock market. News come from everywhere affecting the demand of the shares of companies, these have triggered investors / traders actions to buy or sell. Everyone will make a decision that will create the greatest value for themselves. Values of shares increase through the demand for it and this ultimately creates value for people at the top of the pyramid. Not forgetting that stock market allows for quick gain / loss for anyone who dwells in it. The people at the top of the pyramid can also close down / delist the company anytime they want after milking enough money. When they are in need of money again, they can always start a new pyramid and the cycle continues… Not to mention the money they have laundered / squandered away while the company was in operation.

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Welcome to the Game of Greed! It is either you make it rich or pay with your life… Enter at your own risk. You have been warned…

 

The Power of Sins

 

“All you need was a little push and I helped you. Shouldn’t you thank me?” – Unknown

 

The world started with limited pool of resources which will increase over time. – Oil, Forest, Animals, Minerals, Manpower, etc. Over time, people found out that they need other resources and started trading with people who have control over / access to the resources. Back in the old days, people who own lands held great power because having landing means having access to the resources you need. People will  go on conquest / wars to grab more land. Let’s just put this into a simple environment and this will be much clearer.

BC 220. (2 Kingdom)

Kingdom A Kingdom B
Forest Resource – 100 Trees, Production Rate : 10 Trees per year, Consumption Rate : 5 Trees per year Mineral Resource – 100, Production Rate : 30 per year, Consumption Rate: 10 per year
Oil Resource – 50 Barrels, Production Rate : 10 Barrels per year, Consumption Rate: 5 Barrels per year  Oil Resource – 30 Barrels, Production Rate : 5 Barrels per year, Consumption Rate: 15 Barrels per year
Food – 1000 Tonnes, Production Rate : 200 Tonnes per year, Consumption Rate: 100 Tonnes per year Food – 300 Tonnes, Production Rate : 50 Tonnes per year, Consumption Rate: 200 Tonnes per year
Manpower – 500, production Rate: 50 per year, Date Rate: 25 per year. Manpower – 500, production Rate: 50 per year, Date Rate: 25 per year.

Background : Kingdom B and Kingdom A has pact ever since the start of the civilisation. Trading mineral for forest, oil and food. Everything could have gone happily ever after and the world could progress at a steady rate.

All it take was a small shift and everything will change. It may seem stupid but why would anyone try to break this? Well, this is already happening in the real world –  Look at the power of the 7 sins. Everyday in the news headline you can see a few of them easily.

Envy (Credits to BBC)

Envy

Greed (Credits to BBC)

Greed

Pride (Credits to CNN)

Pride

Lust (Credits to MSN)

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BC 221. (2 Kingdom – Tension on the Rise)

Background : Kingdom A started to be greedy and decided to push up the exchange rate.(Greed) This will ultimately mean 2 things for Kingdom B.

  1. Being more innovative and increase production rate of the mineral to offset the increased need for the trade
  2. Start a war and take over Kingdom A.

Now if Kingdom B was to be continued to suppressed, what will happen? Surely Kingdom B is going to retaliate in some ways or another unless it wants to be taken advantage of forever. Just add a little speck of incitement and the situation will turn into a war easily. And this is happening in the real world as well. All we need to do is to create some misleading information and watch everything unfold.

BC 222. (2 Kingdom -On the Brink of War!)

Background : Life in Kingdom A got even better and life in Kingdom B just turn for the worst. Many people start to sneak from Kingdom B to Kingdom in search for a better life.(Envy) Now, this just sound familiar, doesn’t it? Illegal Immigrants ! Kingdom A started to notice the influx of these people and decided to turn them away. Sounds familiar again right? Over the news headline! And the resentment builds up!(Wrath). What make matter worse was the “weak” ruler of Kingdom B not doing anything to help the kingdom and keep enjoying the secluded, sheltered life in company of his wives.(Sloth,Gluttony, Lust).  The ruler will turn away the Kingdom’s adviser claiming that everything was in control and refuse to change even though deep down inside, the ruler knows that one day the kingdom will fall. (Pride).What makes things worse was Kingdom A’s advisor incited the ruler of Kingdom A claiming that Kingdom B was building up an arsenal of weapons preparing to invade Kingdom A.

BC 223. (2 Kingdom – Fall of Kingdom B)

Background : Kingdom A invaded Kingdom B and took over without much effort. The ruler of Kingdom A found that everything was a lie and the ruler of Kingdom B has never wanted to invade Kingdom A. However, the advisor was no where to be found after the war or have simply vanished from the surface of the world.

Stay tune for the next story…