20 December 2010

MediFund and the Poor

The Medical Endowment Fund, or Medifund, assists needy citizens who are unable to pay their medical bills.  During the 12 months ended 31 March 2010:
  • There were 364,681 applications for assistance for outpatient attendance and 47,334 applications for assistance for inpatient stay.
  • The quantum of assistance is determined after means testing, and averaged $89 and $1,029 for outpatient attendance and inpatient stay, respectively.
  • Medifund paid the entire bills (after the applicant had exhausted all his / her other means of payment) in 92 per cent of applications.

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Note: MediFund annual reports

17 December 2010

Full-Time Employment Income In Singapore

The 1,786,200 residents in Singapore engaged in full-time employment as at 30 June 2010 derived gross monthly income from work as follows:

893,100 had gross monthly income from work of more than $2,710 (the median).

630,400 had gross monthly income from work of between $1,200 and $2,710.

262,700 had gross monthly income from work of less than $1,200.

No data were available for the number of residents engaged in full-time employment whose monthly income from work was less than $1,800, or two-thirds of the median income, which indicator is used by International Labour Organisation to define low wages.

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Reference: Singapore Workforce, 2010.

An employed person is defined as a person aged fifteen years and over who, during the reference period (the week preceding the date of the survey interview) either: (i) worked for one hour or more for pay, profit or family gains; or (ii) had a job or business to return to but was temporarily absent because of illness, injury, breakdown of machinery at workplace, labour management dispute or other reasons.  National servicemen are excluded.

A person is defined as being employed full time if his normal hours of work are 35 hours or more in a week.  Prior to 2009, the threshold was 30 hours or more a week.


This is an update of the post that was first published on 2 December 2010.

14 December 2010

ComCare And The Poor

The Community Care Endowment Fund, or ComCare, provides financial assistance to needy Singaporeans.
  • Since its launch in 2005, it has disbursed more than $200 million to help 160,000 needy Singaporeans.
  • 25,166 cases were receiving assistance as at 31 March 2010.
  • $66 million was disbursed in the 12 months ended 31 March 2010.

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Note: ComCare annual reports

13 December 2010

The Plight Of Street Hawkers

Approximately 9,000 summons are issued every year to illegal street hawkers.  A first-time offender is fined $300.

To be eligible for a licence under the Street Hawking Scheme, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents, belong to a household in which the gross monthly income is $1,500 or less or $450 per capita or less, be at least 45 years old and otherwise unemployed.

Three out of 71 applicants this year received their licences.  Altogether, 881 licences have been given out.

It costs $120 to renew a licence.

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Note:  "9,000 Peddlers Caught Each Year", The Straits Times, 25 July 2010.

12 December 2010

The Plight Of Poor Households

Monthly household income from work among employed households in 2009:
  • The average was $1,303 in the first decile and $2,459 in the second decile.
  • The average per capita was $334 in the first decile and $626 in the second decile.
  • The median for households in one- and two-room HDB flats, which accounted for 3.1 per cent of all employed households, was $1,091.
  • The median for households in three-room HDB flats, which accounted for 18.9 per cent of all employed households, was $3,193.

Monthly household income from work for resident households in 2009:
  • $650 for households in one- and two-room HDB flats, which accounted for 4.4 per cent of all resident households.
  • $2,660 for households in three-room HDB flats, which accounted for 20.2 per cent of all resident households.

Among resident households in one- and two-room HDB flats, 63.0 per cent were employed households; 37.0 per cent did not have any working persons of which 23.5 per cent were retiree households.

Among resident households in three-room HDB flats, 84.3 per cent were employed households; 15.7 per cent did not have any working persons of which 8.8 per cent were retiree households.

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Notes:

Key Household Income Trends, 2009.

A resident household refers to one headed by a citizen or a permanent resident.

An employed household refers to a resident household with at least one working person.

A retiree household is defined, for statistical purposes, as one comprising solely non-working persons aged 60 years and above.

For statistical purpose, a household refers to a group of persons living in the same dwelling unit and sharing common living arrangements, and may comprise related or unrelated members.

07 December 2010

The Plight Of The Autistic

Fewer than approximately 0.2 per cent of the 18,000 autistic persons aged 19 years and older receive help at specialised centres in Singapore ("Get Real: My Not So Sweet 21", Channel News Asia, 6 December 2010),

04 December 2010

Part-Time Employment Income In Singapore

There were 176,700 residents in Singapore engaged in part-time employment as at 30 June 2010.

137,400 had gross monthly income from work of less than $1,200.

86,600 were under-employed.  This means that they worked part-time for economic reasons (i.e., not by choice) and were available for, but could not find, more hours of paid work.

At least 47,300 under-employed residents had gross monthly income from work of less than $1,200.

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Notes:

Singapore Workforce, 2010.

An employed person is defined as a person aged fifteen years and over who, during the reference period (the week preceding the date of the survey interview) either (i) worked for one hour or more for pay, profit or family gains; or (ii) had a job or business to return to but was temporarily absent because of illness, injury, breakdown of machinery at workplace, labour management dispute or other reasons.  National servicemen are excluded.

A person is defined as being employed part time if his normal hours of work are less than 35 hours in a week.  Prior to 2009, the threshold was 30 hours a week.

01 December 2010

How Did Singapore Fare At The 2010 Asian Games?

Some people consider that Team Singapore put up a respectable showing at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou despite the high standards of the other competing nations.

This is how Team Singapore fared, compared to its performance at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Number of medals won
2010: 17 medals — four gold, seven silver and six bronze — from five sports.
2006: 27 medals — eight gold, seven silver and 12 bronze — from nine sports.

Targeted or projected number of medals won
2010: Between 30 and 33 medals.
2006: Six gold medals.

Medal standings
2010: 16th ranked by number of gold medals and 15th by total number of medals.
2006: 12th ranked by number of gold medals and 14th by total number of medals.

Size of contingent
2010: 240 athletes.
2006: 134 athletes.

Number of sports competed in
2010: 22, including five team sports.
2006: 16.

If winning medals is the criterion, the results speak for themselves.

Singapore Sports Council stated the obvious in September 2010 — our athletes should start competing to win.  In order to do that, athletes selected for international events should be of sufficient calibre; that is, they should be capable of winning, or (if we are in a more generous mood) at least almost winning.

Singapore National Olympic Council requires that national sports associations select athletes who had achieved at least sixth placing e.g. time/distance/score/mark at the 2006 Asian Games and teams which are ranked at least sixth among the Asian Games countries, in each case within a twelve-month period before the 2010 Asian Games.

If our athletes and teams met the selection criteria, what happened at Guangzhou?  Could it be that many  of the sixth placed times/distances/scores/marks four years ago are not good enough four years later when overall standards have improved?

How should our athletes and teams be selected for the 2012 Olympic Games?

Beyond selection criteria, what else needs to be done?

If winning medals is not the criterion, as some say, then what is?  It is not about setting national records or personal bests.  It is not about gaining exposure or experience; if it is, what is the exposure or experience gained at the 2010 Asian Games in preparation for — the Olympic Games, the next Asian Games or the South-East Asian Games?

Why should we care?  Because Team Singapore is funded, even if partially, by government grants.

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This is an update of the post that was first published on 27 November 2010.