What is yours is yours and what is mine is mine, Right? Well in a normal case of ownership, that is true but many times what is so obviously yours is actually not yours. Confused? If something belongs to you, you should have the right to use it any way you want, throw it away or give it away. Right? Err actually not necessarily. I was reminded of this when talking to a colleague. She was pissed off that her adult son had given away his handphone to somebody. Apparently, it was given to him by her and she was angry that her son did not consult her or ask her permission before giving it away. But I argued, “you gave it to him, shouldn’t he be free to decide what he wants to do with it?” But she still insisted that as she was the one who gave him the phone, she has the right to make the decision on what he does with it.
So it is with many things in our lives. The things we have which we think we own, we may not necessarily have full control over it. Like our house. There are rules and regulation governing its usage – from the type of renovation to who can stay in it. Like the money in a fixed deposit in a bank. You are bound by the terms and conditions and cannot suka suka withdraw it without forfeiting part of it. And like the money in our CPF account.
Which is the crux of the kow peh kow bu in town over the past weeks. The gahmen said CPF is our money. But it also said you can only use for certain purposes and you can only withdraw the money when it (the gahmen) decides you can do so. The gahmen also decides how much you can draw out, how much to keep aside and what type of annuity you have to buy with it. Which leaves me kinda confused. So is it our money or the gahmen’s money? It kinda sound like my wife when she gave pocket money to the children for their school aeons ago. She will give each one X dollar and then dictate what they can buy with it (only food and drinks). I remembered one particular instance when one of them spent part of it on some stationery items and she kicked such a big fuss over it. So did the money she gave the children belongs to the children or her?
Anyway, back to the is CPF money our money or the gahmen? If we follow strictly the definition of ownership, then it is not our money because we have absolutely no control over its usage. So if it is not ours, then it must be the gahmen right? Well not exactly. At the end of the day (maybe when we die), the gahmen is duty bound by law to give the money to us or our dependants if all the conditions are met. So in that sense, the money belongs to us and is being held in trust for us by the gahmen. Just like a trust fund. So it is our money after all. Just don’t dream of touching it unless you need to buy a property, buy insurance, pay for your own/children’s education in the local universities, buy stock and shares, unit trusts, invest in gold, pay for medical bills….
Actually hor come to think of it, can use for quite a lot of things leh. Let admit it, without CPF, I dares said the majority of us wage earners will never be able to afford to buy our home, pay for Class A ward in hospital and when we retire, take that lump sum that we are allowed to withdraw and spend it all within 1 year or less on pretty little er-niang in some foreign country.
So why so much unhappiness?