So we started with the subject of "education" and discovered the line that multiple pathways to success need not necessarily require a degree. Can't have a whole country of just managers and no doers isn't it? Skilled labour need to be respected in a balanced world. And for a first, we find Prime Minister interviewing a cohort from a wide spectrum. Keppel had a field day of free advertisement. We are re-educated.
Then we have Prime Minister becoming a Financial Adviser. As he said, last year he was a Property Agent, but things haven't been looking up, so he has switched to become a Financial Adviser. I thought he did a fantastic job to link the logic behind why property is part of the CPF system, and the many options to monetise the property for retirement income.
I felt his advise for a retiree to continue to own a property, even if staying with their children, a particular insightful remark. He must surely have seen the many cases when the parents had fall-outs with their children, or worse, cheated by their children, and then having no roof over their head. Abandoned.
And so we have the declaration that the Minimum Sum for the CPF Special Account would be raised to $161,000 in 2015, and the statement that there would not be a further increase thereafter, subject to a review from time to time (ah, always leave the option open!). For me, this was a boo-hoo-hoo moment. I had so looked forward to continuing benefiting from the 4% return with a continually revised ceiling. Where else to get this kind of returns for a risk-free investment? Unfortunately that is not to be.
$161,000 it shall be. And no way am I going to pledge my property to cash out half the sum at age 55. I want my full return of $1,200 per month from age 62 onwards (I was previously under the impression that this sum would only be received from age 65).
Finally, the great infrastructure development. Having discussed about the great airport move from Paya Lebar Airport/Airbase to the expanded Changi Airport over the next few decades along with the Jewel of the East last year, Prime Minister described with much graphical details the great Jewel of the West this year.
We already have Jem and Big Box, and the new but delayed General Hospital at Jurong East. But the elaborate plan looked like the creation of a New York Central Park in the form of the Jurong Lake Gardens. A new monumental go-to place in the form of a new Science Centre, and the possibility of a future Express Train terminal to Malaysia. Certainly a major transformation from the current drab and boring looking Chinese and Japanese Gardens, which for years have languished in a never changing state, seldom used, venues of zero excitement. Transformed, it shall be. "There is only do, or do not", as Yoda might say.
As a foreign dignitary once said, each year he come by Singapore, he sees something new and exciting. The landscape is ever changing. This trend looks set to continue. Change is certainly a consistency.
Looks like the construction industry will continue to have positive prospects in the years ahead. Major infrastructure development will continue to place demand - numerous MRT lines criss-crossing our tiny island, highways realigned and expanded, monumental artistic buildings and gardens rebuilt, bigger and better. The list goes on.
I am inspired by the exciting future of our country with each passing year. Toast!