What is the meaning of "charity"?
char.i.ty (chăr'ĭ-tē) pronunciation
n., pl. -ties.
1. Provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.
2. Something given to help the needy; alms.
3. An institution, organization, or fund established to help the needy.
4. Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.
5. Indulgence or forbearance in judging others. See synonyms at mercy.
6. often Charity Christianity. The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as objects of God's love.
HAVE BEEN following the news and forum postings related to the NKF saga over the past two days. Finding it truly tough to feel charitable towards this "charitable organization" and its patron. Was amazed to find that "nkf" has made it to the top of the Technorati search list today.
Lots of questions come to mind:
1. What is the meaning of "charity"?
2. Why does NKF keep asking for more and more money these few years -- via all possible means (phone, TV, email...), putting on a sad and 'noble' face and making/letting so many people do dangerous stunts -- when it is already so RICH (with hundreds of millions in reserves)?
3. Why are NKF's subsidies for the patients so low (apparently only around 25 percent) when it has so much reserves?
4. Is NKF the ONLY group that can help kidney patients? What about KDF? How about letting KDF take over NKF?
5. Is Durai the ONLY person who is helping kidney patients in a significant way? What about thousands of others? Are they to be paid 'peanuts' as well, using donation monies? Would they want that?
6. Are the 2,000-odd kidney patients of NKF the ONLY ones in Singapore who need help? What about thousands of other types of charity?
7. Must these 2,000-odd kidney patients have 30-odd years' (S$260m) of reserves set aside for them?
8. How many people can $600,000 of donations a year (Durai's pay plus a 12-month bonus) help?
9. How many low-wage earners are among the donors? How many earn significantly less than $600,000?
10. Are the directors paid more when the funds raised are more? How much bonuses have NKF employees received over the past three years?
11. Is stepping down enough to make restitution for this gross misuse of public funds? Durai has put about at least $1.8m worth of donations into his pocket over the past three years. Shouldn't he at least return a significant portion?
12. Does the government approve or disapprove of charities that set aside decades of monies, pay super-fat bonuses and yet keep begging the public for more money? Is there a middle ground for matters like this?
(See also Learning from the NKF bullshit... and cartoon strip, A Threat Too Far.)
How much does the CEO of NTUC Income earn?
From Spring Singapore's Productivity Digest, December 2001:
"NUTC Income started with an initial capital of $1.2 million. Today, it has issued over one million insurance polices with a total premium income of over $1.6 billion and total assets worth over $6.5 billion. It is the leader in life annuity sales with a 60% market share."
From the blog of Mr Tan Kin Lian, CEO of NTUC Income:
"I will give a hint. I earn less than 50% of CEOs of large listed companies that are reported regularly in the newspapers.
I wish to state the following:
- I fly by economy class, including long distance travel
- I drive a 8 year old Mercedes E200 and will keep it for a few more years."
How much does the average Singaporean earn?
According to a recent Straits Times report, 90 percent of Singaporeans earn less than $5000 a month. Surely, these same Singaporeans also comprise the majority of NKF donors?
How long can $280million last?
If the owner is a super-spendthrift, all the money can be gone in a day, month or year. If the owner is like Mr Tan Kin Lian, there'd still be money left after decades, wouldn't there?