So the video of the 76-year old retired teacher begging for the return of her CPF money at a dialogue is making the rounds. People are discussing it and the way I see it, it’s a discussion between the head and the heart.
Heart: Aiyoh. That poor old lady! How can we treat old people this way! Why can’t CPF return her her money so she can prepare for her own funeral rites? She’s already 76!
Head (indifferent) : Well, she was paid every month from her CPF and don’t forget she lives in a $3m house…
Heart (indignant): That house! It’s awful…how can people dig out information like that and put it on the Net? No privacy for the old lady! And so what if she lives in a $3million house? It’s still her own CPF money!
Head (chugs his beer): If everyone starts asking for their CPF money back, then how? What if she blows everything in one go and still lives another 10 years? You going to look after her? Remember she even forgot to pay her property taxes.
Heart (spills his beer) : Ah! Another heartless move! Since when can the G anyhow take from people’s bank account? I hear it can even garnish your income…Take from your employer your salaries!
Head: Ya, it can. If not, then how? People don’t pay and we just let them be? What will the rest of the people who pay up say? Got one rule for one set and another rule for another group?
Heart: But it’s HER money and she’s so old already.
Head : She can sell her house and get cash and move to a smaller place. And if she still lives for a long time, she can use both her money from her property and her CPF! She probably used CPF to pay for the house anyway!
Heart (furious) : But maybe she don’t want to move! She lived there all her life and wants to stay there till she dies. A lot of old people are like that…
Head (picks his teeth) : A lot of old people also don’t have $3m houses that they can sell! Other people downgrade, so why can’t she? She empty out her CPF and she has no more money, then how? Get the G to feed her? Or you pay more and more taxes so she can carry on? She will probably still have to sell her house in the end!
Heart (even more furious) : Still doesn’t get to the point that it is HER money. She seems quite well-educated. Ex-teacher and all. So she probably knows what to do with money. I can’t understand why the G has to be so rigid. Must be those high salaries they get paid…
Head (cynical): Hah! She’s single, so got no children to help her plan her finances. She sounds like she’s all alone. Sure someone will go con her, like that volunteer who used the old man’s ATM card to keep withdrawing his money. You want to trust her with her money?
Heart (raised voice) : Exactly my point! It’s her OWN money, so what business is it of anyone how she spends it? Thing is, the G just doesn’t want to give us our money back. Or it thinks we are all too stupid to know what to do with our own money.
Head (bites chicken wing): Eh friend, I think you are getting too emotional. If we let her have her CPF, then we have to change the rules for all. That means, everyone gets their CPF money back and we have to pray that that money can last as long as they live…Because if not, you and I are going to have to pay taxes through our nose when they start complaining that their money has run out!
Heart (throws chicken bone on floor) : What do you mean change the rules for all? Case-by-case basis lah. That old lady is too pitiful. She should have just taken all her CPF money out when she retired in 1988 when there wasn’t all this crazy thing about CPF Life and what not. Instead, she trusted the G and left her money behind. Actually, how much you think she has left now? Can’t be too much because minimum sum was then about $30,000? So just give to her lah! If she want to sell her house later, up to her.
Head (talking while chewing): What if she comes up to Hri Kumar in a few years and say: “I have no money because the CPF supposed to be for my retirement and it’s not enough, so the G must look after me now?’’ And she STILL don’t want to sell her house and you soft-headed people make excuses like she old, she wants to die in place, let her be and yadayada….
Heart (chewing while talking): You assuming he’s going to be re-elected. I still think the G can find a way out for her. Go talk to her about her house, her forgetfulness and her property tax troubles.
Head (lights cigarette): Ya. I’m sure that Hri Kumar is hurrying over to her place to help her…
Heart (lights cigarette): You mean to shut her up? He’s probably regretting holding the dialogue.
Head (musing aloud after exhaling). Actually, I think you can see what’s going to happen when the seniors form a lobby….they can start asking for things as a “group’’. Probably got plenty of people like her who lived well, stay in big houses, and still want to live well when they’re older even if they can’t afford it. The G give them Pioneer Generation Package some more…Maybe should keep the package and give them their CPF back.
Heart: Aiyah. So heartless!
Head: What heartless? Your bloody head…!
Heart: Okay okay, you are not as heartless as that woman in the high-cut cheongsam….!
Head: Ya…she’s being CSI-ed now. Doesn’t she know that even closed door dialogue you can be recorded? And your face can go on YouTube? Silly woman should have kept her face straight…
Heart: Wah. At least you and I agree on one point. Want to get another beer and then watch World Cup?
Head: Okay, I go queue for chicken wings to ta pau.