So it is true

Chinese believes that the Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. It is calculated according to Chinese lunar calendar.

The animal year when a person was born is called his zodiac year of birth. And I happen to be born in the year of the Goat.

So earlier this year (before Lunar new year), my colleague forwarded me this prediction for the year:

The Goat

Even though you may be diligent in your approach to work, there will be a strong chance that you may not see the career progression you deserve. This is because your superiors will fail to get your attention and it will be the reason you will feel as though nothing is improving in your career prospects. Simply hold your head high and keep on doing what you do, your efforts will eventually bear benefits further down the road.

I thought nothing of it as I strictly believe that hard work, best effort, and good attitude can and will overcome any difficulties. Then I received my annual increment result for last year effort – a pathetic figure that does not even cover inflation (btw I’m assuming the inflation is 2%).

Silhouette of Person Sitting Beside Body of Water

It is deflating because of all the effort and the sacrifices that were made, all the time spent working overtime when I can spend the time with my family, all the leaves canceled because I am needed at work. All the job offers rejected because I believed I will eventually be rewarded according to my contribution and hardwork.

But not so this time.

Of course, life is never fair and never will be. There will be people who will say, look at me, I have achieved a certain success in life (car, condo, money whatever), why take this so seriously? My reasoning is that all that I have achieved so far in life is through my hard work,

My reasoning is that all that I have achieved so far in life is through my hard work, effort and sacrifices, not hand-out money or inheritance. And all that was achieved was based on one key personal value:

hardwork = reward

And this is one of the values I was hoping to impart to E because I truly believe that nobody can fault hardwork regardless whether you are smart or dumb, talented or talent-less, pretty or ugly.

This is probably a depressed me trying to rationalise my feeling and I will snap out of this in a few days.

But at the moment, this work is shit.

 

 

 

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Invasion of the vending machines

A sight that is more commonly found in Japan than in Singapore.

Spotted just outside International Plaza (facing the MRT exit) –  a row of vending machines that dispense neither food/snacks nor drinks.

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Reminded me of the vending machine cafe that was launched recently and located in some remote corner in Sengkang (Blk 320C along Anchorvale Drive).  It supposedly dishes out hot food such as Nasi Goreng Istimewa or Vegetarian Rice Noodle with tables and chairs where can tuck into meals in comfort. Sounds a bit sad but I can understand – need hot food at weird hours, find a vending machine cafe.

But a vending machine that can dispense non-essential items such as jewelry, phone cases, knick knack? Why would it even be something I need to get at weird hours or because I am walking by?

Intriguing. We shall see how long they can last.

 

Just a small matter of contradiction

So apart from BREXIT (yawn) and Trump’s next tweet, the next big matter of concern for most Singaporean would probably Budget 2017 – an annual national event that has everyone going ” what is in for me?”

I asked the same question myself and sadly, this year’s budget is a disappointment on so many levels.

One of the more disconcerting issue is the water hike. As the Minister puts it – “water has to be priced fully as it is a matter of national security, and consumers must feel the full price of water to realise its value”. 

The same minister further adds “The consumer must realise how valuable water is to us in Singapore every time he or she turns on the tap, right from the first drop. This is the best way to emphasise the scarcity value of water.”

I get it – I really do. Hit where it hurts most and people will realise that it is a precious commodity not to be wasted. All for water conservation right?

Right?

Then the “gracious” move to quiet the protests all around. They announced a permanent increase in the GST Voucher – Utilities-Save (U-Save) rebate for eligible HDB households.In order to help households offset some of the increase in water prices

One of three components under the GST Voucher scheme, U-Save allows those living in one- and two-room HDB flats to offset about three to four months of utilities bills, while those living in three- and four-room HDB flats may offset about one to two months’ worth of such bills on average.

For the layman, the supposedly “poorer*” you are, the more rebate you get to offset the increase in water prices.

*Uniquely to Singapore, your wealth status is determined by the type of housing you stay in (another grouse for another time)

So the nett impact to the “poor” is negligible and at the same time, the increase to the “rich” won’t even cause them to bat an eyelid.

So where is the “feel the full price of water to realise its value” and the education aspect of all these?

I would rather they tell me straight in the face that they want the consumers to subsidise the cost of the water than to make all these strange justifications that do nothing but contradict each other.

But like all pragmatic Singaporean, I will grouse about it and felt left out for a while…

… then get back to the daily grind because there is nothing I can do about it.

 

water-price-hike
Uniquely Singapore – the closer you stay to body of water, the higher tax impact you will feel