Strumming to a better life


“When you learn to play the guitar, you must accept that you will develop calluses on the tip of your fingers. It will be uncomfortable, but if you don’t persevere, you won’t learn to play it,” says 45 year old Mr Tan Soon Lee.

Meeting him at a McDonald’s fast food outlet, it will never strike you that he has an interest in playing the guitar, let alone spending money to hire an instructor to teach him.

The father of two daughters has been learning the guitar for a year now and he shared that the desire to take on a musical instrument came as a challenge of sorts. “When you are young, you can learn anything if you have got the time. But when you grow older and when you have kids, you have lesser time and you become less nimble and absorb lesser,” he said while comparing himself to his eldest daughter who picked up the Ukulele recently.

Tan Soon Lee

Mr Tan works as an engineer in a local electronics company, while his wife works as a freelancer.

Due to his heavy work schedule, Mr Tan commits to spending weekends with his family, doing household chores or going on family outings.

Like his family, many families stand to benefit from the recent Budget 2015 announcement which saw various measures which are targeted at the middle-income.

“I am particularly happy with the income tax rebate and waiver of examination fees for students taking national exams,” he said.

“My daughter who is 12 this year will be taking her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and is one of those whose exam fees will be waived,” he added.

For Mr Tan, this year’s Budget is really targeted at the middle-income. “There are new measures which can help middle-income families to get by better and to do better,” said Mr Tan.

He shared that the SkillsFuture Credit is a good way to encourage locals to take on courses which they could not previously because of the lack of funding. “Now there should not be any reason for Singaporeans to improve their skills or even learn a new skill,” he said.

However, he remarked that more should be done on the public education front. “Many of my peers are not aware or convinced about the efforts to train Singaporeans, if more can be done, I’m sure Singaporeans will jump on the wagon to go for training,” he commented.

Touching on the CPF, he said the increase in CPF contribution rates for those between 50 and 55 age band will help workers to have peace of mind.

older worker

“With an increased contribution rate, mature workers can continue working without worrying that they do not have enough for retirement. Lesser worries mean I can have a better quality life,” said Mr Tan.

He added that the raising of the salary ceiling will allow more Singaporeans to save more during their working years to prepare for retirement. “The more you have in the CPF account in preparation for retirement, the more peace you have,” he said.





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