Saturday, November 01, 2008

Compare toxic financial product with melamine

Dear Mr. Tan,

A hypothetical case:
A woman walked into a famous drug stall and asked for advice from the pharmacist to recommend a milk product for the new born baby. Due to the commission for various type of milk product, the pharmacyst introduced one brand with the milamine. When asked what is a milamine, the answered was it was some sort of vitamin that is very safe and will help your child grow more intellegent.

The baby consume the product and seriously ill and the reason for sickness is due to consumption of melamine. Now the mother take up the case with the drug stall to claim compensation.

Various things happened. The drug store says:

> The name melamine is clearly stated as component of the milk. If you do not know what is the melamine, find out first before you bought. It is the life of the baby you know, how can you just trust the word of the pharmacist? So it is your faults for not doing the research, rather than the pharmacist who uttered nonsense.

> What if your child really grow up without any problem and grow more intelligent, will you complain? So common, be sporting, it is your faults for buying the milk. By the way, did anybody put the knife on your neck to buy the milk? you do it on your free will right, even though you know melamine is one of the substance used for the milk. It is your faults and you donot have the right to claim.

> Any proof that the pharmacist tell you that melamine is a vitamin? If you could prove it, we will definitely compensate you.

Obviously, the story refers to the current situation and you should be able to link them to the toxic financial product. After this fact, will anybody argue that the mother will not be eligible for compensation because of the unrecorded wrong advice given??

What do you think will happen to the drug store ??



Anonymous said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

at the end of it, they would probably inform you

"Thank you so very much for the story, however it seems to us its could be better related towards the medical industry, at this point we fail to see the immediate relevance towards the finance industry or in any specifically towards this case for the matter.

Again we thank you for generously sharing your story."

Anonymous said...

Hi HS ,

You make a point. Please send yr article to ST's forum and ask PM, Chairman/vice-Chairman/MD of MAS
and your MP to comment.


Richard Goh said...

I think the pharmacist and the drug store should be collectively held accountable for a serious lapse. The mother is entitled to compensation as she is an innocent victim. The enforcement body (the equivalent of the Ministry of Health) should step in to see that justice is administered.

Any Tom, Dick and Harry can see the picture clearly now.

Whoever still doubt this issue needs to be examine.

jiante said...

Sorry but I do not see the connection between milk and financial products. It is a different ball game.

Milk (poisonous or not) have a health effect on the baby. Financial products do not.

If you lose money, you can earn it back. If you lose your health, all the money in the world cannot bring it back.

Additionally, the milk cannot be poisonous and no way, did the bottle/box of milk states that milk sold is actually poisonous. On the other hand, financial products carry risk statements all over themselves (including advertisements)

I personally pity those investors and do agree to a certain extent that they are misled. But to link it to milk incident is a little too far-fetched.

Anonymous said...

"The name melamine is clearly stated as component of the milk." ------ You may loss yr money, So "buyer beware".

"It is the life of the baby you know," --- It is your life saving you know. You hv to be responsible for yr money!!!!

How similar they are - well said.

Anonymous said...

"When buying milk, no body ask you to sign any form. So u get compensated. Why r u so stupid to sign the forms? Once u sign the forms, u hv no case!!!"

Do we hv a choice not to sign the forms at all?
If it is road side or small, fly by night vendors, will we buy? Even if it is a small amt, we also don't trust they at all.
Because we trusted them, we signed the forms to protect them, thinking that they will always be there, and we will be treated fairly......
It is precisely bec. of the trust that hurt our feelings.

Anonymous said...

i agree with mx..

i have been calling for a ban on motorcycles for many years cos it is simply a v dangerous machine that offers virtually no protection to the riders. When accidents happen, the social cost is tremendous - insurance payout, medical, traffic jams, family hardshps etc.. however, some people say that govt cannot be so paternalistic and ban every dangerous things,..the bikes to some represent the only form of cheap and convenient eventhough the govt know the dangers, even though the riders know the danger, motorbikes are still around in Singapore. Riders are still getting killed practically every day.

There is no way a motorist/motorcyclist can be vigilant 100% of the time and accidents WILL DEFINITELY happen. The geist is when it happens, does the machine offer adequate protection. Motorcycles fail this simple test outright!

So who do we blame?...LTA? govt for creating LTA? bike companies for making these bikes? the riders for choosing to ride these bikes? the motorist/other road users who did not drive carefully?....

Anonymous said...


If you watched the CNA/Channel 8 programme on minibond investment about one 70+ old lady who lost $400k (her life savings working for more than 40 years). can you help her to earn back another $400K?

Unknown said...

mx has missed the point. HS is not saying milk is equivalent to finance. It's the arguments put up by FI's to shift the blame to the unsuspecting buyers of their toxic products that sound eerily similar!
So are they going to do 'the right thing' without being too legalistic?

Parka said...

There won't be any action if it's not a life or death situation in Singapore.

I absolutely hate to say that statement but it's sort of becoming what it is in Singapore.

To gauge whether the government will take action, just see if any lives are going to be lost, or if it will collapse the economy

SAF's death of soldiers have immediate action taken. SARS too. SIA pilot salary disagreement.

Financial products? Nay, nobody's going to die. Life's just going to be harder but nobody's going to die.

Anonymous said...

Also need to see who owns the drug store.

Anonymous said...

i think MOH will do a better job than MAS. MOH will at least fine the store and not say they are only the regulator and cannot order this and that. for me, it is bascially trust, trust in the FI after some 12 yrs of trading with them, never suspect anything will go wrong after so many yrs. but it happened, then people say u stupid loh. but wait, one fine day, it may be your turn, someone u trusted may play u out when u are totally unprepared. so don't say too early...someone once said if there is no trust (to some extent), the society will break down. i do agree to a big extent, if everything is taped or black and white written, what will happen?

Anonymous said...

If you raise this to the "relevent authority". You will get a standard reply that says these are different issues and we should not compare simply them. Howver, I do not think you will be given a satisfactory explanation WHY we should not compare them.

Anonymous said...

The following is specially for the attention of Prof Lan,

Dear Prof, if you happen to be the mother of the child as in the story, who will you blame ? The drug store, the pharmacyst or yourself for being :
1. Not careful enough to check and see whether all the ingredient listed are suitable to your child, including finding out those ingredients that you are not familiar with?
2. Blame yourself for not going to the milk factory to see whether the milk is really manufactured according to the ingredient listed.

Hope to hear the reply from you. Anyway, I am the author of this story and after it is publish, I am disappointed that there is no comment from you!! hope to see your response!!


Anonymous said...

To Koh Siew Yong,

Your analogy makes me laugh. I totally agree with you that if you crashed in a bike accident, you can't blame anyone but yourself because you know beforehand it can be dangerous and accident does happen. I will bet that no one in this forum will argue with you on that, not unless the bike seller told you that the bike will operate well at 80km/h, but when you do that, your bike burst into flame!! Got the point here? It's actually very simple so don't try to complicate it.


Anonymous said...

Let me comment on why I think this hypo case is fundamentally flawed;

1. First of all, melamine was a hidden ingredient which the pharmacist is not even aware.

2. that said, the pharmacist sells the milk powder based on what he or she know as fact at the point in time the powder was sold - i.e. this is a reputed brand of milk powder which has been in production and used by babies for many generations.

Thus if one look at your hypo case, the true culprit of this henious act is the maker of the milk powder; not the distributor.

Unfortunately, the mother in the story is too emotionally distressed to see this simple truth and understandably as with all concerned parents start blaming the whole world for this v unfortunate incident.

Anonymous said...

To Koh siew yong
To put in the similarities:
1. CDO, CDS etc are hidden investment of the FI that the RMs are not aware.
2. Many of the RM, at the point of sales, are not aware of the danger of the product they are selling by reputable FI.
You are right again, here the real culprit is the designer of the product, the FI's, but then the distributor also have to share a certain responsibilities.
I donot quite agree with you with the last point, that the mother (in this case the investors or victims) They donot blame the whole world, but blame the FI and the distributor.


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