Monday, July 16, 2007

Will We Get Bankrupt with Mean Testing On Healthcare?

I raised my concern on the Mean Testing on Healthcare, at the Dialogue Session with Minister, Prime Minister Office, Mr Lim Swee Say, during his MCV to Mountbatten on 24th June 2007.

The people on the ground, were very concerned, when Minster of Health, Mr Khaw Boon Wan mooted the idea of Mean Testing for Healthcare, especially for the highly-subsidised 'C' Class wards. He also suggested implementing it within a year.

Whether the Mean Testing will be classified by our asset or by income, we found it to be non-justifiable or questionable. The worries lie with the defination of 'affordability'. To us it depends on our savings and the balance of our income after deducting our monthly expenditure.

Those badly affected are the 'sandwich' class, between the rich and poor, or between the aged parents and the dependant children. The rich can easily afford, and they will not go for C Class wards in public hospital, the poor would be taken care of by the government or welfare organisation.

We have to take care of our aged parents, who are no longer covered by any insurance scheme, and as they age, medical expenses will be higher or may become non-affordable.

Futhermore, quite a number of elderly are not used to the aircon in the better ward and some would like companionship in an open ward.

We cannot deplete our saving too, we also have to save for our children's future. They may not be able to continue their tertiary education in Singapore, due to the limited universities places available here. We have to save money, in order to send them abroad for further studies.

These middle income group already are the victim of mean testing as in housing, that is if their combined household income is above $8,000, they are not entitled to buy any public housing. If they want to own an asset, they have to get private housing. They have to pay higher housing loans and pay higher initial payment and thus deplete their saving. At the same time, they also contribute to income taxes, which are used for the subsidies.

Mean Testing for hospitalisation at public hospital, was mooted by a popular Minister who had done alot and still working on improvements to the healthcare system and lowering the cost. At the same time, he is faced with rising health costs, an ageing population and abuses, especially some families 'dumping' their parents to the care of the public hospitals.

I propose that Class C wards may still be accorded to patients of any income group, with reducing subsidies after a period of stay, for example 70% for first 7 days, 50% for the next 7 days and 30 % after 14 days stay etc.

The needy can apply for the normal subsidies. The medical doctor may certify that a patient require a longer stay, and providing the regular subsidies. Those not qualified under 'needy' may seek the Member of Parliament for recommendation of financial aids, if needed. Those who abuses the healthcare system gets the least or no subsidies.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Minister Lim Swee Say, MPs for Marine Parade GRC Mr Lim Biow Chuan and Dr Fatimah Lateef were welcomed by the girl pipers and Mountbatten Constituency Grassroots Leaders (GRLs) upon their arrival at the Katong Community Centre at Kampong Arang.

They were then led to the Events Hall, where about 300 residents and GRLs were ready for the dialogue session to comment. MP Mr Lim Biow Chuan the host MP introduced Minister Lim, the other panelist, Dr Fatimah, Mountbatten CCC Chairman Mr Lim Nghee Huat and MCV (Mountbatten) Organising Chairman Mr Chew Siong Hee.

When MP Mr Lim Biow Chuan, invited questions and feedbacks from the floor, I immediately raised my hand, and caught Mr Lim's eyes, I was invited and had the privilege to ask the first question of the dialogue session.

I am very concerned with the issue of Mean Testing, when Minister of Health Mr Khaw Boon Wan mooted the idea a few months back and suggested implementing within a year. In fact, I intended to discuss the issue with Minister Khaw, when he invited seven of us, for lunch on the 25th May 2007, but we were too preoccupied with the discussion on the Opticianary & Optometrist Bill.

I will dedicate my next post on my concern on Mean Testing, and sum up the various feedback I received from friends, associates and peoples that I had met.

Minister Lim's answer was very sincere, concise and well phrased, asking us not to speculate the worst scenerio, as Ministry of Health is still working on the details, nothing specified yet. Minister Lim continued to say that Singaporeans need to accept that the needy require more subsidies.

He said public healthcare costs are going up but government revenue may not increase at the same pace, hence there is a need for means testing to allocate limited resources more suitably. Especially when health cost is increasing with an aging population.

He added that, Singaporeans should be familiar with this concept as only families, whose household income is less than S$8,000 a month qualify for public housing subsidy. That is a form of means testing that is not disputed as much as healthcare.

The next question was raised by a female resident. She raised the issue that SME and micro-businesses had problems with government policy on tightening labour market. Due to the strict laws on employing foreign workers and granting them work permits, they have to hire illegal workers.

Minister Lim replied that more foreign workers will be allowed in, but raising the employment of older workers, low-income workers and getting housewives to return to the workplace are top priorities. An overly liberal approach to work permits may impede efforts in these areas.

The 3rd question was raised by another GRL, Mr Michael Chwee. He was referring, his concern on proposal on CPF withdrawal, when extending the retirement age from 62 to 65 by Minister Lim Boon Heng, who is tasked to look into the problem of the aged. The withdrawal of CPF's minimum sum (of up to $100,000) which is set aside, only allowed to withdraw at present age of 62 be extended to tie with the new proposed retirement age of 65.

Minister Lim, who is also the Secretary-General of NTUC, said: "Don't speculate and assume the worse – that the government is going to keep the CPF money for many years to come. That is not the scenario the government is working towards." The scenario that the government is working towards is an economy where older workers can be re-employed in the same job, part-time or with a slightly different job scope. But Singapore has a long way to go as the employment rate of those aged 60 to 64 is currently at 42 percent.

Minister Lim said: "25 years ago our life expectancy was less than 70 years old. Today, 25 years later, our life expectancy is about 80 years old. I'm very sure that 25 years from now, our life expectancy could be 85 or 90 years old. So we have to ask these very tough questions... will Singaporeans have enough savings and earnings to see him or her through this longer life span? If the answer is yes, then none of us need to worry, but I don't think the answer is yes. "If you continue to have an income, you can defer drawing your CPF by another two to four years. This way, by the time you really stop working, there will be more money in your CPF. You can also earn interest in your CPF account."

Another female resident Mrs Lim, seek clarification on Mean Testing only applied to Class C Ward and not Class B2 Ward. Minister replied that he believed it only involved Class C Ward.

By this time, the organiser noticed that Minister Lim had exceeded the time available to him, he was scheduled for another meeting. He apologised for taking too long in his answer, and requested that any other questions or feedbacks be delievered to Host MP, Mr Lim Biow Chuan or email to him. The residents and guests were invited to lunch.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ministrial Community Visit to Mountbatten - Minister Lim Swee Say

After weeks of meetings and preparation, the D Day (24th June 2007), finally arrived. There are 4 stations, the Minister from Prime Minister's Office, Mr Lim swee Say will be visiting today.

The First Station is hosted at Civil Plaza at Jalan Batu (inside Tanjong Rhu Housing Estate).

Started the day at 8am, with the flag off of the Walk and Jog Events by Mr Lim Biow Chuan, MP for Marine Parade GRC and Advisor to Marine Parade GRC GROs. Mr Lim joined the group of about 50 participants in the Warm Up exercise and walked with the residents.

The Welcoming Entourage was joined by Dr Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC and Adviser for Marine Parade GRC GROs at 8.45am. The team in charge of Ministerial Community Visit to various constituency, led by Minister of State (Health) Mr Heng Chee How, MP for Jalan Besar GRC, Mr Ang Mong Seng, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Mr Sam Tan Chin Siong, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC were also present to see the MCV run smoothly.

At 8.55am, we saw the arrival of Minister Lim Swee Say. Minister was given a warm welcome by the entourage and the Pipers from the 18th Singapore Company, Northland Secondary School and 5th Singapore Company from Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary Boys' Brigade. Minister Lim, MP Lim Biow Chuan & MP Dr Fatimah Lateef were garlanded by Grassroots leaders, assisted by pairs of couple of different races in different costumes.

Minister and the Entourage were ushered to the fountain area, in the centre of Civic Plaza. Minister together with MP Lim B C, Dr Fatimah, CCC Chairman Mr Lim Nghee Huat and Organising Chairman Mr Chew Siong Hee to officiate the launching of Mountbatten 50th Anniversary Logo.

The Minister and Entourage were welcomed by people dressed as Earl Admiral Mountbatten at the next trail of The Mountbatten Story - 50 Golden Years, before viewing its exhibition.

Minister and Entourage penned birthday wishes to Mountbatten on Birthday Wish Panel. Minister, next viewed the start of Footprint Trailon Bitz and Pieces of Mountbatten.

The Minister was then led to the children's playground, where he witnessed the children colouring contest in progress. He interacted with the children and parents.

He viewed booths showcasing Grassroots Organisation (GRO) courses and activities. There was also a Carnival section, where there were game stalls and other fringe activities stall. Minister stopped to look at the drawing of cartoon portraits by the artist. He also sat down to allow the specialist to do a silhouette cut out of his face and head.

At the end of the trail of Station One, Minister Lim, MP Lim BC and MP Dr Fatimah were each presented with the cartoon portrait of three of them together.

The Minister and Entourage proceed to the next station, Station 1A, St. Hilda's Community Services Centre at Blk 10 Jalan Batu.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Minister Lim Swee Say next stop of visit - Station 1B is St Hilda's Community Services Centre.

Minister and entourage were greeted with Welcome Cheer by Senior Residents at centre entrance. They were led into the centre to view the activities while they interact with the centre's residents and volunteers. They were enlightened with different activities, which are conducted for the residents like:

  • "Coffee Bin programme for Senior Citizen"

  • MaxiMums Programme for Mothers

  • "I Can Club Programme for Children"

  • Joy Heart Club

The Minister and the Entourage then proceed out to the void deck next to the centre to view exercise activities:

  • Golden Oldies Exercise

  • Ready Steady Go - Exercise Programme for Wheelchair Bound)

Before the Minister leave St Hilda's Community Service Centre, he was presented with a painting of old Tanjong Rhu.

The Entourage proceed to Station 2 @ Kallang Estate Market by coach, they tour through Meyer Road, Tanjong Katong Road, Dunman Road, Guillemard Road, Cassia Link and Jalan Empat. They were provided with the profile of the estate along this route.

The Minister and Entourage were welcome at Kallang Estate Market (Jalan Empat) by the Dragon Dance and Lion Dance Performance.

After watching a short performance by group of children, they stopped by to watch the Children Art Contest in progression, they also interact with the residents. Minister was presented with a paper aeroplane model made by the children.

Minister and Entourage then tour the market and food centre and interact with the shopkeepers, stall holders and residents.

The Entourage left Kallang Estate Market and Proceed to Station 3 at Pebble Bay Condominium at Tanjong Rhu by coach.


Minister Lim Swee Say and Entourage arrived at Pebble Bay Condominium, Tanjong Rhu, the Station 3 of the Ministerial Community Visit to Mountbatten Constituency.

The Minister and Entourage were welcomed by Bhangra Dance Performance and received by Chairmen, Chairperson and members of the Neighbourhood Committee (NC) in Mountbatten and MCST members.

Everyone proceed to the open space next to poolside to join the residents in Pebble Bay Carnival Fair. Whoa!! it is quite unusual to expect residents in Private Estates to gather together to organise a Carnival Fair, and the turn out is very welcoming.

The Entourage sat down in the open field in front of a stage, where we were entertained by the performance of Percussion Drumming, which is formed by the residents of Pebbles Bay Condominium.

Minister Lim was then invited to gave away prizes for winners of the Children's Colouring Contest and Kite Making Competition.

The Minister and the MPs interact and have photo sessions with the residents, who are multi-nationalities hailing from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Germany and other nationalities and Singaporeans.
The Entourage then proceed to the Station 4 and final station at Katong Community Centre for the Dialogue Session with Minister.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Day I Fluffed @ Media Release

On 5th June (Tues), I had to attend a Media Release on the Ministerial Community Visit (MCV) @ Mountbatten - 24th June 2007 (Sun). The Minister visiting will be Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister (Prime Minister's Office).

The Media Release started at 9.25am at Katong Community Centre, well attended by all representatives of the media. Mr Lim Biow Chuan, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC & Adviser to Marine Parade GRC Grassroots' Organisation, hosted the Media Release.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan provided the media with a run up about the profiles of the constituents in Mountbatten. Mr Lim also introduced the various activities of the Grassroot Organisations in Mountbatten. Mountbatten constituency will also be celebrating its 50th year anniversary (1957 to 2007). The 50th Year Anniversary's Logo will be officially unveiled by the Minister Lim Swee Say during his visit.

When Mr Lim touched on the Befrienders' Scheme, all the media representatives were excited. Many questions were asked, it almost turned it to a Befrienders' affair. The Befrienders' Scheme was introduced by Mr Lim Biow Chuan in Mountbatten, we recruited volunteers especially from the private estates, to help the under-privileged constituents, who had seek his help. This group of constituents are unable to qualify for any assistance or aid under the CDC Comcare or other official aid.

One of the main objectives of this Scheme is to built up close rapport with these residents, visiting them at least once in 2 to 3 weeks, building up a 'buddy' system, monitoring the help they need and the deliveries achieved. We will try to get help from any resources to help those genuinely in need. We strive to achieve to help them 'to learn to fish themselves, instead of only providing them with fish'.

As I was the sole member of the Befrienders' present, I was swarmed with interviews by the media representives, maybe the next popular interviwee, after MP Lim. When I was interviewed on camera for the CNA News, I was not nervous at all, but my mind was not very composed, ..... maybe I had not expected the limelight, ........ and had not intended to talk too long on camera.

When I was interviewed for the Chinese version of the interview, I was stuck, trying to find words to use. I could converse comfortably and fluently with my patients, clients or anyone in Mandarin, at any point of time. When I watched the News at Channel 8, I was very relieved that it had broadcast the interview in English rather than Mandarin.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What kind of consultation, you can expect from an Optometrist?

What kind of consultation you can expect from an Optometrist?

i) History Taking : Need to know your visual history, eg. trauma to eyes, treatment on squint etc

Patient family visual history, eg. Parent/sibling - treatment for retinal detachment or glaucoma etc

Patient medical condition and medical history, eg. Diabetic, hypertension etc

Age / Profession / Visual Need

ii) Vision Check : What patient can best see without visual aids or with existing aids.

iii) Vision Correction Measurement (Objective findings): Using of retinoscope to measure the optical error of patient eyes system.

iv) Vision Correction Measurement (Subjective findings): Fine tune with optical trial lens, to obtain best vision obtain on eyes chart.

v) External Eyes Examination: With the help of slit-lamp, examine and detect any anomalies from the front of eyes, ie. eyelids; corneal up to crystalline lens. It may detect foreign bodies on corneal; cataract – opacities of the lens; dry eyes syndrome; conjunctivitis etc.

vi) Internal Eyes Examination: Using ophthalmoscope, examine the eyes for anomalies of retinal – eg. Diabetic retinopathy; optic nerve head – glaucoma etc.

vii) Other Checks may include:
a) Tonometry – eyes intra ocular pressure (diagnosis of glaucoma)
b) Binocular Vision screening
c) Vision Field Screening
d) Colour Vision Screening
e) Low Vision screening

Friday, May 25, 2007

Optometrist and Optician Bill

Proceed to Suntec Convention Hall to participate in Forum Discussion, hosted by the Singapore Optometric Association.

The main agenda is to discuss on the introduction of the Optometrist and Optician Bill.

Next I proceed to Ministry of Health, College of Medicine Building, Conference Room, for Lunch Meeting at the invitation of Minister Khaw at 1pm sharp.

The invitees, 7 of us, consist of representatives from: Singapore Optometric Association, Singapore Contact Lens Society and Association Of Contact Lens Practitioners (Singapore) –ACLEP(S).

Minister Khaw was accompanied by Minister of State (Health), Mr Heng Chee How, Director of Medical Services Prof Satku, and a few other officials from MOH.

We were served 5 courses of healthy and delicious food.

Most of the discussion centered on the newly introduced Optometrist and Optician Bill. Minister Khaw and his officials gave us a better picture of how the Bill is introduced and the process in the administrating it.

Many Thanks to Minister Khaw and his officials, for the lunch invitation.

Reading Festival@Katong Community Centre

It was a busy day including a Lunch Meeting with Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Starting the day @9am, accompanied our MP for Marine Parade GRC, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, in gracing the events of Reading Festival at Katong Community Club.

The cute little boys and girls are from all the kindergartens in Mountbatten Constituency, (PCF’s centers and School House by the Bay), went up on stage to tell stories.

They are later led to various classrooms to continue with story telling. Several popular mascots visit them in their classroom. The children are so adorable.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Many thanks to Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan

This is a Memorable Day for our Optometry Profession.

The Optometrists and Opticians Bill was introduced in Parliament, after advocating it for more than 30 years.

Many thanks to Minister of Health, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, who agreed to consider the introduction of the Bill, after a few of us, representing the profession, met him two years ago.
Many of our population are still confused with the difference of the role between the optometrist and optician.

Optometrist, sometime also known as ophthalmic optician, is trained to assess and correct visual defect with optical or visual aids, and also to screen and diagnose any anomalies of the eyes, and to refer the patient to ophthalmologist for management and treatment when necessary.

Optician, sometimes also known as dispensing optician, is trained to fill and dispensed the necessary optical or visual aids as prescribed by the optometrist.

As the present pool of optometrists may be insufficient to take care of our present population, we agreed to allow those registered optician, who are untrained in optometry to continue checking the eyes of anyone above the age of 7 years old. The polytechnic will provide them with the training of eyes refraction.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


验光师协助宣导 吸烟危害眼睛讯息



抽烟不但会导致干眼症,也是老年黄斑病变的一个重要构成因素。老年黄斑病变是一种视网膜退化疾病,指的是视网膜中央的黄斑区出现异样,导致视力受影响。 这种病症是55岁以上年长人士、导致双目失明的最常见眼疾。保健促进局同亚历山大医院的调查显示,有六成的验光师和配镜师愿意担任戒烟大使,劝请顾客戒烟。



Monday, May 21, 2007



新加坡验光师协会透露,管制验光师和配镜师的法令将在明年生效,到时只有验光师才能为小一或以下的儿童配眼镜。 很多眼镜行,都会由验光师或者配镜师,为患有近视的儿童验光和配制眼镜,但验光师协会认为,不是每个配镜师都可以胜任。

原来在2000名配镜师当中,拥有证书资格的,只占总数的十分之一。协会大力支持卫生部,为验光师和配镜师制定专业指导准则。 新加坡验光师协会副主席表示,“当一个小孩戴错误的眼镜的话,他们不会讲出来,他们继续戴,这会伤害他们的眼睛。第二个理由是我们新加坡的近视率很高,排名第一在世界上,如果要真正处理这个问题,我们应该从他们儿童很小的时候就应该要处理得很好。”


“他们上完提升课程过后,这些费用应该不会转嫁给消费者,主要这些课程都是短暂性的,而且费用应该不会高。” 协会表示,目前本地有600名验光师,而所有的隐形眼镜师也将被注册为验光师或配镜师。 据了解,卫生部将制定一项新的验光师和配镜师新法令,取代现有的隐形眼镜执业法令,新的法令将涵盖隐形眼镜执业法令的相关部分。

Monday, May 14, 2007


消费者配隐形眼镜时,得先询问眼镜师是否有执照,跟着再确定他名字,同执照上的名字相同。 好的隐形眼镜师不会轻易售卖隐形眼镜,尤其是即用即丢的隐形眼镜。


据了解,购买即用即丢的隐形眼镜的消费者中,每十名就有三名不晓得自己的眼睛有问题,却坚持要带隐形眼镜。 这是卫生科学局自2001年,负责监管隐形眼镜师的职业操守以来,第一次发现有人违法,消费者要是发现隐形眼镜师有问题,请马上向当局举报。

戴时尚隐形眼镜 10小时后险失明


角膜损伤病患吴小姐说,“这是上面有我角膜的隐形眼镜,它现在干掉了。” 戴上俗称娃娃镜片的隐型眼镜,结果差点失明,吴小姐越说越气。 她说,“直到医生那边,医生才说我的眼角膜已经跟隐形眼镜都拔掉了。”


为了让眼睛看起来水汪汪,吴小姐戴了这片瞳孔放大隐形眼镜10个小时后,要摘除时却连眼角膜也剥下来,严重影响了视力。 她说,“我现在连揉眼睛都不行,医生说随时会爆裂。” 虽然这种娃娃镜片非常受艺人欢迎,但是医生还是提醒,染色镜片透氧气度比较低,容易造成眼睛干涩,不能戴太久,否则很容易造成眼角膜受损。

Sunday, May 6, 2007 meet-up

Had a fun day at Far East Plaza! Never feel so young for a long long time. After mixing and playing with the members (all are very young …right….including the hot ECL…chio …chio d …gal2). So no more calling me hhdu, the correct one is hhdkk, and what is dk doing in the middle? :)

After interacting with them for more than an hour, I left with ECL to Wisma Atria to have my lunner (lunch & dinner) and shop for some urgent items.

When we returned to the booth at around 7pm, all of them have already disappeared. We believed they should be somewhere gobbling food, thought of calling dk, but both of us are very tired, we proceeded home. But what a loss, the whole group not only went for Ayam Penyet but also gathered at Starbucks with so many chiobus .... aiyah!

Happy Birthday, Eastcoaslife!

I dedicate the launch of my blogging to my beautiful gf/mistress/lover, known to the blogosphere as EASTCOASTLIFE.

I registered my this blog on her birthday. The first post will be on the celebration.

I have made plan for a romantic celebration about a month ago. I made an arrangement for a romantic night out in the open sea on a yacht, but her Chinese business associates also surprised her with their visit.

I have read coolinsider's blog on Café Del Mar in Sentosa, and was attracted by the romantic atmosphere. As we were about to enter Sentosa Gateway that evening, the staff called to confirm our attendance. When we checked with her on the reservation at the lounge area which is by the seaside, and more romantic, we were told that our reservation was only for dining. We were so pissed off as the outdoor lounge was what we were going there for.

I decided to change our location to Holland Village. We went to MichelAngelo Restaurant, and were lucky to get a table without a reservation. We made our orders.

When the food came, we spent about 10 min. taking the photos. One of the waiters reminded us a number of times that the food was turning cold, and even offered to take photos for us (perhaps so we could start eating our food sooner).

When I tried my Black Cod in coffee syrup, served with macadamia nuts and mint jelly,
Whoo .. it simply tasted delicious! When I looked up at ECL, she was licking her own lips, with her eyes almost closed, could see that she also enjoyed her Charcoal Grill Lamb. We shared the Eggplant Tower, which we also enjoyed.

I paid the bill for about $100 plus, although it may be expensive, but when I saw the smile on my darling's face, it was money well spent.

After our last visit to Essential Brew, I read the comments on ECL's blog that their Apple Crumble is a must try. As I like anything apples, I am very eager to try it out, so we walked over to EB. We were lucky again to find a seat on the upper floor. We ordered……

I found their desserts very pleasant, but ECL found the Green Tea Cheese cake too strong and bitter. We missed the Strawberry Panna Cotta, which we tried on our last visit.

We wanted to invite DK over to join us, but ECL could not find his phone no. in her new LG Shine handphone. Sorry ah, dk.