Whilst I attempt in this blog to raise awareness of the state of our rice bowl through economic and political analysis, I have not forgotten the personal stories. These stories form the backbone of the rationale behind everything I do. They demonstrate how easily a porcelain rice bowl can be cracked, robbing our people of their livelihoods, dignity and humanity. But they also demonstrate  how far we still have to travel to become an inclusive,  tolerant and caring Singapore.

I call this section, “stories from the stairwell”  because  of the  impact that the  people I meet on my grass-roots outreach activity has had on me.  I conduct outreach twice a week, door to door, stairwell to stairwell and have been doing this consistently for  nearly two years now.  Additionally most Sundays  I go to Food Centres where I meet hundreds, if not  thousands, of  people at one time.  When time permits we sit down with them and hear their stories too.

Outreach activity has altered many of my perceptions and strengthened my determination. The stories are often heart wrenching and the urge to offer immediate succour seems overwhelming.  But it is even more important not to attempt sticking plaster solutions to a deep malaise. The conditions on the stairwell only deepen my conviction to affect real long term change through political pressure and Reform .

I will be sharing my experiences and those stories here. Do email me if you have a stairwell story of your own that you would like to share.

The first article here is written by Raymond Anthony Fernando. Raymond is a model citizen,  literally. He has received two outstanding awards for his advocacy on the changes needed in Mental Health Care and support for the caregivers.

Model Caregiver in 2007 – Award given by the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) Centre for Caregivers.

Mental Health Champion 2010 – Award given by Silver Ribbon Singapore and the Health Promotion Board.

Some of you may know him through his regular contributions to the forum page in the Main Stream Media on facebook and through his blogspot, Raymond’s blog:

H  is also a motivational speaker a trainer for caregivers, counsels troubled youth and has shared the story of his life with Doris  on national television 6 times, 3 times on radio. He is the author of 11 books to date and has helped his wife to write 5 telling her own story. You can find details on how to purchase Raymond’s books here.

His story is touching and illuminating. As he says, he doesn’t want sympathy but a proper support structure.  I would only add that raising money for another charity or NGO would not be my preferred solution. We are already a rich country . What we need is reform of the system and that will only come about through political pressure that allows the will of the people to be heard.

Please do read his article.



  1. Hi Ken,
    I have been reading about the process of constitutional amendments made to bring about a Malay minority as an elected president. With that in mind, and with a little bit of inspiration I have written the following poem:

    A Lament: Not Really!

    Are we ready to have a Malay President?
    But not a Malay Prime Minister?
    Or an Indian Prime Minister? – Not Really!
    Though Fiji, Guyana and Portugal
    Mauritius, Suriname and Ireland
    have (and had) Prime Ministers
    who are Indian or part-Indian or part minority.
    But Singapore is not ready – Not really!
    Maybe part Indian-Chinese or part Chinese-Malay
    could rule the aristocracy – but Not Really!
    Anything else may rip this Singapore community
    For we like to be in several genomic silos
    To be the head honcho, we want the chaste pure
    The pure line of gene pool that says:
    You are an unalloyed Chinese
    Otherwise even with your highest diplomas
    you are a part something else, an alien outsider
    And we don’t like that.
    And if you are not what you are that we say who you are
    Then you are a forfeit, a natural fracture.
    And we know what’s best for the country.


    Ex Singaporean, now Australian
    24 June 2017


  2. Singapore is no longer a rich country…see below reply from CPF.
    This is why they the age withdrawing limit change as the fund is emptying….All you can do is to exchange the ponzi scheme with a piegoen hole here

    I refer to your email of XX MM YYYY and the email of XXXX

    You can apply to withdraw all your CPF balances if you are leaving Singapore and West Malaysia permanently with no intention of returning to either country for further employment or residence and renounced your Singapore Citizenship.

    I would be pleased to assist if you require further clarification. For more information, please refer to our article on Leaving Singapore or call us on 1800-227 1188 or +65 6227 118 (overseas) from Mondays to Fridays (8 am to 6 pm). Thank you.

    Yours sincerely

    Maurice Su Bing Chong
    Customer Correspondence Unit
    Central Provident Fund Board


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