Monday, March 23, 2015

Passing of a Giant...

I am writing this article from SMU Labs as I'm in a middle of hell week where I would need to make two group presentations this week.  Ordinarily, there would not be a blog update until I am done with all my work.

But today is a very sad day and I think a blog post dedicated to Lee Kuan Yew would be appropriate. 

I did not start out as a huge fan of our government policies. In Young PAP BBS, you can find traces of me complaining about the foreign talent policies about a decade ago, but as I got older and started building my portfolio, it became blindingly obvious that Singapore does reward hard work, frugality, study and astute planning. Income taxes have been slowly displaced by GST and we can experience a high standard of living if we can make do with not owning a car. 

As with all dividend income investors who find that they can stop work in their late-30 ( And there's not much of folks like me around in Singapore right now ), we owe a great debt to the policies which makes all this possible. Single digit income taxes and no expropriation of capital gains by the government goes a long way towards a prosperous investor class.  If I were an American, I think I would still be paying off my student loans from my first degree, much less paying off my JD with my investment income and enjoying my second lease of life as a student. 

I think of late,  a lot of anti-LKY people are speculating whether it is time to loosen up after his death. I do not know what kind of Singapore they ultimately want. I think that no matter how they articulate their desires, ultimately their fondest wish is to be on top of everybody else in this society over the long term. But in the short term, they want to enjoy the welfare which our ancestors worked hard for after independence. 

I think LKY's death should lead us to think twice about the value of reforms and change. After all, the hardcore pragmatism which took us here got us from third world to first world status. 

Singapore needs to take this opportunity to go back to good old fashioned values of hard work, savings and self-reliance. 

Not hand-outs or welfare misappropriated from tax payers. 

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