Tax plight: The 5 per cent call an emergency meeting

"It just shows the truth of the old saying that half the world doesn't know how the other three-quarters live." - Bertram Wooster, in Much Obliged, Jeeves

MINUTES from the 127th meeting of The Society of Embattled High Income-Earners Who Studied Very Hard to Be Where They Are Today and Don't Understand The Fuss

11.45am: Meeting opens 45 minutes after scheduled time as majority of members had to negotiate passage from respective golf courses. Treasurer unable to attend as driver on leave and helicopter in the shop (very hard to get good help or rotor blades these days).

11.47pm: Proceedings begin with customary reading of passage from Atlas Shrugged.

12pm: General confusion over membership status of some lower-earning individuals. Chairman appeals for calm after it emerges that despite earning only S$250,000 per annum, these individuals do not qualify for government aid. Conditional membership is granted to said individuals, contingent on their pulling up Argyle socks and earning at least S$300,000 in the next financial year.

12.15pm: General consternation about looming tax hike, but quickly replaced by specific consternation about The Theory of Everything not winning Best Picture.

12.18pm: In response to tax hike, the Society will lobby instead to perform Charitable Acts in Lieu of Higher Taxes:

In lieu of higher taxes, members of the Society may elect to engage in any of the following:

(a) Fly economy class on full-fare airlines at least once a quarter (or business class on Lufthansa). For extra tax credit, no aisle seat. Must eat "food" offered from cart. Note: There is no carb-free option in Economy, please make liposuction arrangements at own expense.

(b) Partake of at least 12 lunches at a hawker centre in approved heartland area. Cannot post ironic photo of meal on Instagram or epiphanies about how the other half lives on Facebook.

(c) Initiate and successfully complete phone call to Internet service provider's call centre without losing temper. If only have premium account, assume a poor relation's identity so as to obtain authentic experience of incompetence and ineptitude. However frustrating the experience, it is unwise to ask: "Do you know who my father is?" Answer very likely to be: "No. Try asking your mother."

(d) Use ATMs for all cash transactions throughout year of assessment. To qualify for tax rebate, select ATM line in which the patron ahead of you is:

(i) an individual with 10 passbooks to update, or

(ii) an individual whose sole purpose consists of wandering haphazardly from one on-screen menu to another before finally cancelling the transaction five minutes later.

(e) Obtain and learn to use EZ-Link card. Not necessary to go to extent of riding train, as ownership of card should suffice as a gesture of solidarity for now.

1pm: Challenge raised to proposal by member: "Would it not be less arduous to simply pay said additional tax?" After some discussion, members decide unanimously: "Yes, but it is the Principle of the Thing."

1.05pm: Motion for proposal is passed. Chairman tasked to lobby officials with plan. Chairman tasks personal assistant to lobby officials with plan.

1.10 pm: Meeting adjourned. More confusion, this time about what this "EZ-Link card thing" is.

Next week's meeting agenda: Discuss problem of just about everybody being in the one per cent these days. Will explore founding of new club: The 0.5 per cent.

  • This piece originally appeared on Miss Ann Thrope, a blog on The Business Times website. For more, visit

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