Wednesday, May 09, 2007

They are efficient

I would like to praise the French election system. The voting closed at 6pm in most of the places except several stops in Paris (until 8pm). At 8pm, the TV channels announced the result. Very punctual and efficient. First image was the candidate who won and the percentage of the vote he got.

In Malaysia, the party wins when it wins 2/3 of the parlimental seats. It usually take a while to announce the result, so you just have to stick to the TV the whole night waiting for the moment.

The same in US. We waited pass midnight for the 2004 presidential election to know the result. They have to know whether the candidates won in the majority counties that lead to victory in the entire state, and the electorate seats it has in the state adding towards the candidates. There was no fixe timeline when we could know who is the president.


  1. But haven't you ever wondered how the polls can close at 8, and how they can announce the results at 8? I mean, that just seems a bit odd to me - people in all of the major cities of France can vote until 8pm, and their votes can't be counted until the polls how can they say who won at exactly 8pm, when there's still millions of votes to be counted (ie. everyone from Paris, Marseille, Lyon, etc)? It's always seemed weird to me.

  2. BE, might be u should ask yr French husband or inlaw abt this ?

    I found certain thing in US super efficient, eg. their naturalization process, I send in my application on March 16th, I just received a notice for my interview on June 6th. Within less than 3mths, I will get my citizenship, I am impressed with the system. So easy and fast.

    I also like their tax system, they send me a letter telling me I miss filing my addition child refund. I was impressed that the tax dept actually asking me to get more refund $ from them ? Do u think we get that kind of system in Malaysia ? Dream on.

    Despite the fact that we have so called free medical system in Malaysia. When my dad want to get his radiation therapy, the line to get to see a radiologist is 6mths. Plus he has to go the hospital at 7am to wait for his turn. We are afraid my dad cannot wait for that long cos his cancer is very aggressive, grade 4. So instead we send him to a private hospital in K.L, Pantai and guess what it cost us to do the therapy, RM60k.

    I still think the med insurance system in US is the best. Our tax is one of the lowest in the world and we pay our own medical insurance but it is worth it. My entire open heart operation cost US$480k but we only have to pay US$150, the rest paid by our med. insurance. No waiting time, I had my operation the next day after I saw my cardiologist. If I were to be treated in Jantong hosp. I prob. will be in heaven now.

  3. Samantha,

    My guess is that after 6pm, they have most of the results in the vote stations, that the votes from stations closed at 8pm would not make much difference.


    You are lucky to have that kind of insurance, but not every American has the same insurance like yours. My friend who might go to live in LA is so scared now bcos her husband's company only cover 85% of the insurance, and she was told that giving birth to a baby can cost around 10k. How about those whose companies don't provide insurances?

  4. BE, how can u say that ? "the votes from stations closed at 8pm would not make much difference." That makes the whole lot of difference in 2004 vote in the US.

    But, I tell you I am so excited to do my first voting next yr, US Presidential vote. Do u know that I have never vote in my life, not in Malaysia, not in Australia. Ya! I am all excited.

    I don't think by law any company can, not provide insurance. My hospital I work with does not have as good health insurance as my husband. But, I don't believe a legal comp. not provide health insurance, depend on % I would say. Mine only provide 85% and I have to tambah the rest.

    One can always buy one own insurance, more expensive but I believe one should.

    When my mom comes here, I will self-insure her. I know a lot of people don't insure their foreign parents who come to US to help them. I don't want to judge them cos they might have different reason.

    I used to hire a Chinese girl from Mainland China as a part time hse cleaner. She told me one of her gf is pregnant but does not have insurance. Her gf follow her husband who is doing postdoc in US.
    I told her to tell her gf not do such risky thing. I said there are a lot of insurance one can buy ( at least for the baby sake).

    This girl is really daring, for all the 9mths she was pregnant, she did not see any gyn, not scan, not maternity vitamins etc...

    Every week passed when my cleaner girl came, I would ask her if her gf has insured, every week goes by, she said no. I even offer to help her but she said her gfs does not want. She said America is such a good country and human rights is so important here, when her water break, she just go to the ER, she is sure the American would not turn her away.

    She was right, she went to ER when her water broke and guess what, she was bleeding uncontrolbly , hemorrhage. They gave her blood transfusion, a lot of blood.

    After her childbirth, the hospital send her bill, she ignored, they moved to a new place, the hospital cannot find them.

    Yes, this is the kind of thing people do, I am afraid to say a lot of Chinese people do this in the US.

    The cleaner girl told me most of her friends do not have insurance, esp. the one who follow their husband here (those who came here to do Ph.D and Postdoc.)

    There are a lot of assistance program for poor people. It is not like US don't have welfare system, our welfare system is more controlled.

    I work for a private hospital. Most of my patients are so called 'redneck' country people, they are not the most elite people but most of them are self-employed, they have to buy their own insurance. U know I am surprised this hard working blue collar people actually choose to go to private hospital than government (university hospital).

    They are the ones who work hard, blue collar but very self sufficient. They don't depend on government but on themselves.

    Why she still want to go to US knowing this fact ? :"My friend who might go to live in LA is so scared now bcos her husband's company only cover 85% of the insurance, and she was told that giving birth to a baby can cost around 10k."
    Won't the husband be responsible to buy the other 15%? Do u know u can buy secondary insurance ? Company insurance is primary , u can tambah a secondary ?

    There are all kind of people who try to cut corners. But, there is always retribution, what goes around will comes around.

  5. Jamy,

    Note that in France the president wins when he gets more than 50% of the total vote. Unlike in US a small county's victory can lead to the whole state falls into one candidate. So, if at 8pm the candidate gets more than 50% and the remaining uncount votes will not change much the percentage, the result is out.

    My friend has no choice but to follow her husband. Her husband is in a very specific field that he has found some Uni in US have the research he is interested. When he was in LA for a conference he heard people telling him that some of the companies do not provide insurance so some people just prefer a job that has lower pay but with good insurance.

    When I was there for an internship, Motorola didn't provide insurance for our seniors. We were told to buy our own insurance until they changed the policy. Even with the company, I had to pay $200++ for the dental bill. On the other hand when I was working as graduate assistant my coverage was very good. So probably the government bodies provide better insurance.

    The Chinese you mentioned is crazy. I made sure I had insurance all the times there. Among the immigrants we say:"Better die in US than get sick!"

  6. BE, I want to laughed when I see this : ""Better die in US than get sick!".

    U know my mom said to me that she rather die on the street of US than be buried in Malaysia cemetry.

    My mom is very funny. On one hand, she is very traditional Chinese lady, my dad is the Master. But, on the other hand, she is a rebel :). My dad adore Dr. M, she hate Dr. M, my dad love Malaysia, she hate Malaysia. She said only people without opp. or well connected would want to live in Malaysia.

    Now that my dad is sick, she told us she does not want to go back to Kch, she wanted to stay in K.L till my dad passed on. She said she would take the 1st flight out once we settle our dad.

    When u really sit down and calculate carefully, I would rather has US med system. [ U know in Malaysia now, a lot of people buy medical insurance, esp. people who work or biz people because people knew that when u really has disease and want to have good care, government hospital will not deliver what u want, either the long waiting list or not enough facilities. Middle class people knew the only way to go is private hospital. Private hospital accept various kind of health insurance. For yr info, jantung hospital told me I need to wait for 1 1/2 yr for my open heart surgery, without insurance, one of the private hosp. in Malaysia quoted me RM800k with pace maker.]

    When I was in Aust, I think I paid abt 32-38% in taxes. I remembered my 1st pay after I graduate was AU$29k. After tax etc, I vaguely remembered my netpay was AU$1.3k er mth. A lot of my $ gone to government.

    I was young then, healthy and every time when I got my paycheck, I would curse the government for taking so much of my $.

    Then when I need an operation, an intent operated me. I had no choice of which doc I want, the government assign u with whatever docs.

    Here if u take out say 5% of yr pay , u should be able to get a good health insurance.

    People are so used to think that government provide health care is good but they forgotten abt the oldest Chinese saying 'yan moi chu cha yan shen shan' (wool comes from the sheep).

    With taxes 30-40% taken out of yr salary, how much left for other things ?

    Even when I was there many yrs ago in Sydney, hse price was expensive. When we first graduated, with the salary we had, we could only afford to live in apartment.

    How to compare with US, where a 3 bedrooms hse is a norm for most people. (esp. graduate).

    When I was in Sydney, not many of us wanted to work over time cos of the crazy overtime tax. The Aussies would rather go to the beach then work overtime, only us Asians take up the overtime schedule. But, after a while, we also fade up cos at the end of the day, taxes took up most of the hard earn $.

    Here, with low tax people has more incentive to work harder cos at the end of the day, the $ goes to yrself.

    I knew a few Phillipino ladies who
    are nurses, they came here in the early 80's. Most of them own a 3-4 bedroom home with 10-50acres of land. I don't think many countries offer them such opportunities. In US, Asians people have good jobs, people don't look down on Asians. In my hospital alone, a lot of heart surgeons are Asians, Chinese, Philipino, Indians etc. There is no such thing that Asians only work in the restaurant. Asians have good life here.

  7. Hi Jamy,

    I'm curious, in US, after one retires, does he still have the insurance from his x-company, or he has to buy insurance himself?

  8. Once u retire at 65, Medicare takes over. If u are not well off (ie with yr retire $ ), Medicare + Medicaid took over. But, if u are well off, u can use Medicare + yr own secondary insurance.
    If u go to nursing home, u have to pay for yrself , when u deplete yr $, medicare take over. U can also purchase yr own long term care insurance then u got to choose higher end nursing home with yr insurance plan.
    If u plan yr retirement well, u are more well off than u are working.
    Yr comp. pension plan + social security.
    If u are smart like me (ha ha ha, joking ok), then u can open acct such as Roth IRA, buy and sell stocks without being tax until u take it out when u retire.

    Most normal people (eg. teacher ) can have abt US$6k / mth for retirement.

  9. I don't really agree with that, because they can't start counting the votes until the polls close, and since all of the major cities close at 8pm, that has to be at least 10 million votes that have to be counted. That's a hell of a lot of votes and could really make a difference in a close election!

  10. Quote from wikipedia:"By around 6:15pm local time on 6 May, Belgian and Swiss news sources such as Le Soir [4], RTBF [5], La Libre Belgique [6] and La Tribune de Genève [7] had announced Nicolas Sarkozy as the winner of the second round, citing preliminary exit poll data. "

    So it was based on the preliminary exit poll data you think? The French were so honest about who they have voted and willing to take up the poll? I'm always amazed how their poll result is so closed to the real result.

  11. That's a good question. I have no clue how they are able to know who won so quickly!