Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There

It has once again been a while since I last blogged as I was a little busy with my work and other commitments.

Since it is Mothers’ Day today, I shall write about my life story as a tribute to my mum, especially after visiting a senior’s family today, while on Silver Generation Ambassador duty as I felt that the jobless son should not feel so defeated about life in Singapore, just because there are many difficulties that the family has to overcome.

I was born prematurely at 7 months after my mum had slipped while mopping the floor and was sent to the hospital the next day. When I was born, I stayed in the incubator for 6 months due to my light weight. I was diagnosed with swelling in the brain that affected the movement of my limbs. The doctor was supposed to operate on my brain, but the swelling miraculously subsided after she chanted at the advice of a stranger she met at the hospital. Since then, she became a firm believer of Singapore Soka Association because of this miracle. It is because of this, Paul is a believer of this religion.

Paul had not been able to walk on his own, therefore his family decided to let him undergo his first operation when he was 4 years old. He did well, but was not able to squat. Another decision was taken by his family to have a second operation done when he was 6 years old to correct this. This operation was done in Brunei, as his dad was based there at that time.

I did not attend kindergarten in Singapore and went straight to Primary 1. I was looked after by my maternal grandmother until I was 12, when she passed away due to illness. In the 1st year in primary school, he had been carried by the school janitor to the toilet whenever he needs to do his toilet business.

Domestic help came in after that, as the helper assisted my family and bringing me to school. When I reached the end of Secondary 2, the helper suggested that I should go to school on my own since it is within walking distance from my house. Therefore, I started going school on my own and started my independent journey. I even had my first ECA in my school life as a member of the Interact Club

The 1st setback I encountered was in 1995, where I flunked my O Levels and had to repeat it at my Secondary School the following year. I was surprised that I was able to bounce back and get into Accountancy course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic upon appeal written by my Secondary School teacher.

My polytechnic life was the start of where I started receiving help from bus captains, as they always keep a lookout for seats for me as I boarded the bus. This also kindled my interest about bus rides and the bus routes as I started to enjoy my bus rides. I am eternally thankful to these bus captains as they are still helping me today, 20 years after I graduated.

I had to serve NS as a clerk, despite my disability and I was bullied by some officers during my 2.5 year stint in there. However, I was fortunate that one officer, who stayed around the same estate as me, offered to ferry me to camp at no charges whenever his work schedule permits. The other officer, decided not to roster me for reservist training when I did my ORD clearance. Although the NS stint did change my outlook in life in not to trust people too much.

The challenge of hunting for a job after NS was a tough one for me as prospective employers minded my physical disability, even though I was only seeking a desk bound job with my diploma. In the end, I lasted 6 months in my 1st job as tax assistant. I am grateful for the manager who trained me up, but not with the other manager who demands too much from me. I did not expect the next job to come only 6 months later in the same industry. This was the job that started my interest in helping the people, as I did not want to forget what I was taught in school, therefore decided to help out as an IRAS volunteer, to help people e-file their taxes. I did not expect the love for this to last so long and branched out to other areas too.

My love for singing started when I started this job of mine 10 years ago. This was because, my previous job did not allow me to have much time for myself. I was doing my ACCA on a part time basis at that time too. Although I did not manage to complete in the end, I was thankful for my bosses for signing my SIATP certification, certifying me as an accredited tax professional. I did not expect to be handed the leadership of the singing group, but it has been a great feeling to run the group and making friends with common interest.

All these will not be possible, if not for my mum’s strong support and faith in me, letting me have the confidence to do things on my own despite my disability.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish her a Happy Mothers’ Day.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Busy Mar & Apr

It has been a busy March & April 2018 for Paul both on the work & volunteer front, as I have been busy to do both tax filing at work and helping the taxi & Grab & Uber drivers to file their taxes, although it has been 3 years since IRAS ceased the programme, but I thought it will be useful for these people to come to me if they want, and instead of queuing at IRAS for a few hours just to get it done when their time can be better spent driving for fares on the road or cooking up more plates of char kway teow as life in SG is tough nowadays.

I am thankful for all the support given to me by my friends, the various organisations & people who assisted me in the publicity of this programme,  volunteering their time to help these people file their taxes, the space I got to run this project & of course, the sponsors who gave me funds to run this project.

I am also grateful to most people that I have helped contributed some money for this cause upon hearing that I have run this programme on my own resources and sponsorships. Most of them have expressed their wish that this programme to be continued. I have since started the hunt for a location to do this for next year. It will likely be a shorter version of 4 weekend sessions at the last 2 weeks before the filing deadline. If you have any places to offer, in the North, Central or North East, please do let me know.

However, I was angered by the fact that someone who is not my boss, had complained to my boss that I have been doing this outside my working hours too. I believed that this person could have seen the newspaper articles which I had been featured on the papers in Feb 2018. Fortunately, my boss’ nephew had informed my boss that he had saw me on the papers and my boss was supportive of my volunteer exploits. But after this incident, she asked me to keep a lower profile. I have always been trying to keep a low profile but when people asked me to be featured, they always tell me that I am sure with the feature, you will inspire people who are diagnosed with the same condition as you or some who are worse off than you.

Let’s hope my hunt for a location will be successful so that I can continue to help people in need of this service.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year Of The Dog

It has been a while since I last blogged. I would like to take the opportunity to wish my readers a Happy Chinese New Year. It has been a slow 2 months for me as there has not been much work at office. This gives me the opportunity to take 3 breaks, 1 for my birthday, 1 for Christmas & 1 enforced break by boss for CNY, which left some of my colleagues unhappy. To me, I feel that it is good to have one, even though your leave is cut as I will very likely be very busy next month.

KTV Group

It has hard to imagine that I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the group, same time as I will be celebrating my 10th year of service in this company. This is something I did not expect, leading a KTV group for almost 10 years. My love for singing has kept me sane from the work at office. I am always thankful for the support of the participants and my co-organisers for helping me to run the group, giving fresh inputs as I ran out of ideas.

Work

It is hard to phantom that I will still be working in this company after all these years, especially after what happened in December 2014 to the company. But various factors have prompted me to stay on. I hope the good vibes can outwit the bad for a while yet but I have also made plans as my bosses are already in their 70s.

Volunteer

I was asked by the Pioneer Generation Office & Ministry of Finance for an individual profile for Budget 2018. I did not expect myself to be in the news again after appearing for the TATA SMRT Facebook Group several times on the mass media last year. I am thankful to the guys at PGO for their faith in me to pull this off. This also gave me the opportunity to publicise the community e-filing programme which I will be doing from 24th Mar to 15th Apr at one of the tuition centres at Kovan on weekends afternoon. My family was certainly surprised by the features as I had not informed them in the first place.

I would like to thank all of you for your likes and feedback. One of them even messaged me that I do not look my age.=)

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Shin Min Daily – 20.2.2018

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/touched-kindness-strangers-sporean-cerebral-palsy-pays-it-forward#.WouIx8aaVd0.facebook

Today – 19.2.2018

http://www.zaobao.com.sg/special/report/singapore/budget2018/news/story20180220-836379?xtor=CS2-6

Lianhe Zaobao – 20.2.2018

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 In Review (Part 2)

Some of you have been observant to note that I have not included work & friends in my previous post. I have decided to put in this post instead as I was in a rush to go out yesterday.

Work

Work has not been a smooth year for me, as although the number of clients in my company have dropped about 25% as Paul has to handle a newly created accounts department and continue to handle the admin matters of my client’s audits & compilation reports. Not that I am complaining as it keeps me occupied, but I have to handle some corporate secretarial matters from time to time as my boss has no confidence in my colleague’s command of the English language. The sight of people sitting at his place do nothing but chit chatting with other colleagues while I clear his butt full of shit is frustrating. The angry part will be my boss accusing me of taking bribes from one of my audit associates. Although this was resolved after the audit partner promised to station her staff at my office to help us to manage the compilation & audit matters of the clients. Let’s see what happens on 2nd Jan 2018.

Because of this, I am thinking about if I should make a switching of jobs, as I may be losing touch with individual tax. The good thing is I am able to continue the programme with some help from nice people. The switch of jobs need to be hold on for a while as the economy is still not so well yet. It is fortunate that my bonus is maintained at a acceptable level this year.

Friends

It is good to see 4 of my friends from the KTV group tie the knot this year. I enjoyed meeting some new people at the volunteering sessions as well.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year 2017 In Review

It has been a practice of mine to do a yearly review of the year 2017. It has been an eventful year 2017 for me, although it may seem that I seldom update my blog.

1. Family

a. It has been a turbulent year for me and my family as my mum took the drastic step to try to introduce a gal for me in the hope that I will settle down. We had a big fight over this, as I only got to know this through my uncle’s wife that she was doing this. Although I understand she is doing this for my own good, but on first thought, I felt that my wishes were not respected. I went for the meetup after my apology to my parents. Personally, I felt that I was someone placed at the shop window, being put up for sale to my prospective buyer. I had good vibes about the gal, although she is not perfect. In my opinion, no one is even for myself as you can choose people, people can choose you too. I could sense that her mum had her misgivings about me and the need to maintain a long distance friendship with me knowing too little about her, as she spoke less than 4 sentences during our meetup. She is also someone who stays at home type of gal, without hobbies. Communication could be an issue.

b. My brother lost his jobs through retrenchments this year. I certainly hope that he can regain his confidence and find employment soon.

2. KTV Group

a. The KTV group that I have been helming for the past 9 years, I managed to find someone to assist me in organizing the ktv events after a one year search. Annie has helped me to revitalize the group with new ideas and bringing in some of her friends as members. One of her friends actually gave the suggestion that the ktv event should be planned ahead, so that more people will be able to join in. We implemented this idea and are pleased with the results. It is hard to imagine that the KTV group has come a long way and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year.

3. Volunteering

a. Grassroots

i. I started my 3rd term as Treasurer under a new Chairman, with two new assistant treasurers. There seems to be more work to do due to the new financial rules. I will continue to do my best in the coming year.

b. Tax Filing Community Service Project

i. I continued where I left off for this project which I started last year. I worked with a Facebook community group, Park $2 Project. The founder, Jason assisted me to find a community group to work with for the project. Although there were some hiccups along the way as the project was only finalized at the last minute, we are glad to have served about 160 people. The success of the project have prompted a person who offered to work with me on better terms too.

c. TATA SMRT Facebook Group

i. I was roped in to help to start the group by Jason, to assist to help members on alternative transport solutions when the train breaks down or is delayed in August 2017. When we started out at first, we had only 150 members, but today it has grown to close to 8,800 members, as the breakdowns or delays became frequent after that. The group had appeared on mass media several times these few months. We have encountered negative reviews about the group too, but we choose to accept it in our stride as some people may be jealous of our success.

d. Pioneer Generation Ambassador Programme

i. Although I have not been doing many engagements in the year, it is good to know more about the government policies that has been catered for the seniors. I must say that every engagement is a learning process for me.

Let’s hope for a better Year 2018 as the year comes to a close.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Busy October

It has been a while since I dmin blogged as I had been busy fighting fires at work, appointed as an admin for a Facebook Group ,

TATA SMRT(The Alternate Transport Advisory & Spore Magnificent Rescue Team)

the administrator, whom helped me with my community e-filing project as he felt that I was able to contribute to the group. I am glad that I am able to put my bus services knowledge to good use and be of help to the members to the group in times of the frequent train delays and breakdowns.

I had been disillusioned by my work recently as my boss had doubted my integrity over a task that I was assigned. Being in a professional tax consulting firm for the past 13 years, I must say it is an insult to me that I nearly decided to move on. The bad economy has played a part in stopping me from leaving for the time being. I am thankful for the support of my friends as well, for standing by me in this difficult times of mine.

The volunteer programme that I have been working on had hit some hiccups, but I was fortunate enough to have found a new partner to collaborate with me and my friends for this project.  We also have managed to find some locations to start the project. We have also managed to link up with the various organisations for the publicity of this project. I hope that all will be well when the time comes.

The ktv group that I have been leading for the past 9 years plus is doing fine, except that there has been a few strange people around. To me, it is not too good to be too aggressive as a guy when you express your interest to a gal. It is also wrong of a gal to accept the guy's offer to do things or deeds for her when she has no interest or liking for him. The same applies to a guy as well. It is also no good to ask probing questions that makes someone uncomfortable when he/she has only know you for a short period of time.

I am thankful that I have been treating my friends and people around me well enough that they are helping me in return in my time of need.
  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Should Grab & Uber Drivers Be Taxed On Their Income

This has been a hot topic this week since The Sunday Times came out with the article last Sunday that IRAS will be working with Grab & Uber to link the applications to IRAS in order to simplify the drivers’ need to input the gross fares less the call levy charged by Grab & Uber.

Personally, I felt that the article had failed to address that, like taxi drivers who rent their vehicles from the taxi companies, most of the drivers had rented their vehicles from car rental companies. The rental is a deductible expense to the driver. The petrol used is also a tax deductible expense. The driver can also claim parking of the car, ERP charges incurred when the car is not ferrying any passengers and car wash expenses. The concept should be as the same for taxi drivers.

For those drivers that use their own car, they can claim the commercial insurance for the car. A car for personal use only has personal car insurance, but commercial cars are allowed to ferry passengers.

This should not be confused by the fact that private car expenses, whether for personal or business use are not eligible for deduction. I feel that they are just like taxis.

I feel that the Straits Times should issue a clarification to the article, otherwise it will scare off the Grab & Uber drivers and make them return the cars to the car rental companies.

IRAS should also issue a Statement of Account Template, like what they did for the taxi drivers and hawkers.

When I did the community e-filing for the taxi drivers this year, I did come across cabbies who moved on to drive private hire vehicles and they still declared their income in accordance to what they did when they were taxi drivers.

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There

A Happy Mothers’ Day to All Mums Out There It has once again been a while since I last blogged as I was a little busy with my work and other...