Archive for July, 2008

Opposition yet to show it can deliver, unlike PAP

July 26, 2008

I refer to the letter by Mr Lee Choon Wah which appeared in the Straits Times forum on 26 Jul 2008. I shall not refer to him as Mr Lee as I normally would because it would be confused with Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I shall instead refer to him as Choon Wah.

Choon Wah expresses his lack of faith in the opposition today because they have nothing to say or to show towards bettering the nation’s economy. Yet, Choon Wah recounts an occasion in the 1960s when, as a secondary student, he shook the hand of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and instantly felt that the country was in good hands, even though Singapore in the 1960s has yet to become the prosperous city state it is today. So how is it that Choon Wah can put faith in Mr Lee Kuan Yew even though the latter has very little to show in the 1960s yet he demands the opposition today to show concrete proof of their ability to deliver economic prosperity? It seems like Choon Wah is applying different standards to different people.

Choon Wah is grateful to the PAP for having run the country well and giving all his siblings a good 10 years of education, jobs and HDB. But all these were delivered only after the PAP has been voted in. Before the PAP was voted in, how did Choon Wah know that the PAP would eventually succeed? Similarly, how does Choon Wah know that the opposition won’t succeed even before they have been given a chance at it?

Home and Singapore, from a PR’s viewpoint

July 26, 2008

I refer to the letter by Mr Amit Nagpal which appeared in the Straits Times forum on the 25 July 2008.

Mr Nagpal starts off by saying that government housing is a luxury in New Delhi where he comes from and implicitly laments Singaporeans for not appreciating the luxury of being able to buy a flat from the HDB. But he ends off saying that he ought to have the same right to buy an HDB in Singapore. One moment he chides Singaporeans for not appreciating the luxury that they have, next moment he says that the same luxury ought to be his God given right. He is contradicting himself by applying different standards to the same thing.

If buying the HDB is a luxury, then it ought to be a luxury to everyone including himself, so he is in no position to think that it ought to be his basic right to buy an HDB. On the other hand, if buying an HDB is a basic right, why chide Singaporeans for not appreciating the luxury that ought to be a basic right in the first place?

Where else can you buy your home in 5 years?

July 24, 2008

I refer to a Straits Times forum post by Mr Peter Wadeley ( Straits Times Forum, 24 July 2008 )

Mr Wadeley was lucky to have bought his flat in 2000. Had he bought his house last year or this year, he might have had to extend his loan period significantly.

We do not know how much Mr Wadeley earns but we know that expats are generally paid a lot more than their local counterparts. Perhaps if Mr Wadeley is willing to exchange his job with his Singaporean counterpart, he may come to better understand why it is so hard for Singaporeans to pay for their flats and in turn become less surprised.

Mr Wadeley says he can’t think of anywhere in the developed world where a home can be owned in 5 years. But according to the global property guide (http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/most-expensive-cities#most-expensive-cities), Singapore is the 11th most expensive city in the world in terms of the price of buying an apartment. Many European cities rank below Singapore including Stockholm, Sweden which is ranked 30. The price per square metre of an apartment in Singapore is more than twice that in Stockholm, Sweden. The price of a home in Swedish countryside would be even cheaper.

Mr Wadeley was only in Sweden for a year. Did he buy a property or did he merely rent a place? If he merely rented a place, how can be be so sure that Swedish homes are more expensive than Singapore homes?

Generally, all else being equal, the more crowded a city is, the more expensive it becomes. Singapore, being one of the most crowded cities in the world, would definitely be a more expensive place to stay than Sweden, which has a lot more land.

Mr Wadeley is impressed that his security guard neighbour can buy a 4-room HDB. Perhaps Mr Wadeley should ask his neighbour how many years he took to pay for his flat.

Mr Wadeley shows concern for the many Singaporean housewives in Sweden. That is a fair concern. When foreigners come to Singapore, they are paid a premium but when Singaporeans go overseas, they are treated as second class citizens. That is the difference, we are second class citizens whether we are here or in Sweden so much so that a Swedish can laugh at us even in our own land.