Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Man Who Loves Singapore

This is what a Finn by the name of Mika Sampovaara wrote that was published by the Straits Times on Saturday, November 18, 2006:

He left welfare state to come to Singapore

I would like to commend Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for sticking to the Singaporean economic model.

I read with interest his views regarding Scandinavian welfare states. I am from one of them: Finland.

While it is true that there is more 'welfare' in Scandinavia, it comes at a price. Public spending in my country stands at 25 per cent of GDP, twice that of Singapore.

The government in Finland spends vast amounts of money on free health care and education, nearly twice the 8 per cent of GDP spent in Singapore. Having been to Changi hospital I can say that health care here is no worse than in my country and the charges are very reasonable. My point is it doesn't have to be free.

It's a question of choice and pricing. The public sector typically does not run the most efficient services, because the services are non-competitive.

Singapore runs a tighter ship, because it's only partially subsidised. Compulsory savings schemes for health care and pensions are a far better way. So is taxing consumption over income.

Many people in my country give up half or more of their gross incomes to finance the almighty welfare state. This serves to promote equality of sorts and creates a vast middle class. It also stifles entrepreneurism and leads to voluntary unemployment. The cost of living is higher too, with GST at 22 per cent.

I disagreed with the crushing taxes in my country. It is for this reason that I came to Singapore, and was happy to give up the benefits I had paid for over the years.

Long live the Singaporean model.

Mika Sampovaara

So who is this Mika? Apparently, he is a derivatives trader. Want to know more? Read this news extract:

Owner allegedly attacked after her pet dashed into man's path
By Chong Chee Kin

"Her dog crossed his path and it may cost him an arm and a leg for lashing out - not at the dog but its owner. Mika Johannes Sampovaara is accused of attacking Madam Mindy Tan Lay Eng outside her home in Roseburn Avenue in Siglap.

Her golden retriever apparently ran out of the house and into his path while he was out walking his dog at about 8pm on Feb 4 last year.

The 35-year-old permanent resident of Finnish descent then allegedly punched Madam Tan around her left eye, drawing blood at her eyelid. Next, he allegedly shoved her hard on her shoulder, causing her to fall to the ground. He could go to jail for that. Instead, he is offering her $38,000 as compensation and an apology.

But she wants more: $50,000.

No mention was made in court yesterday of what exactly provoked the alleged assault, or if her dog attacked him.

Sampovaara faces two charges - causing hurt to Madam Tan, and using criminal force on her.

Yesterday, his lawyer, Mr Godwin Campos, asked District Judge F.G. Remedios for more time to let his client 'negotiate' with Madam Tan. Sampovaara wanted to compound the offences by offering $38,000 compensation and an apology to Madam Tan. Compounding an offence involves paying compensation or apologising to the alleged victim, to consider withdrawing the charge. If the alleged victim is agreeable, the prosecution can apply to the court to withdraw the charge. If the judge grants the application, it amounts to an acquittal.

In this case, the judge agreed to give more time for negotiations though he noted the case has been before the court for a while. Sampovaara was charged in July 2005.

The judge adjourned the hearing for three weeks until Feb 2 2006 after Madam Tan's lawyer, Mr Anand Nalachandran, who was holding a watching brief, did not raise any objections to the request. If convicted, Sampovaara could be fined $1,000 and jailed up to one year."

Channel NewsAsia later reported that Sammpovaara got off with a $1000 fine. Tan may take a civil suit against Sampovaara for the injuries she suffered.

Coincidence? At least one interneter thinks not. "I dont think anybody ever said Singapore is not a paradise for high income high net worth individuals, especially foreigners who eat here, shit here, punch people here and get away with light sentence. Somehow, I dont think he gave up his Finnish citizenship, and probably intends to return to Finland after he is done milking Singapore. What a hypocrite."