SM: We’re victims of our own success

Dear SM Goh,

I refer to your remarks made at the 10th anniversary celebration of Ramadhan On-Wheels as reported by Straits Times on 5 Sept 2010.

You lumped housing shortage, carpark shortage and crowded MRT trains together as top end problems compared to the problems of those who struggle to make a living every day. But those who struggle to make a living every day also need a house to stay in. Therefore, housing shortage is not a top end problem. It is a problem that inflicts all except the richest.

You said these are problems created by us moving too quickly from third world to first world. In his book “From Third World to First : The Singapore Story: 1965-2000”, MM Lee chronicled how Singapore achieved first world status by year 2000. It seems strange that the problems of achieving first world status too quickly only surfaced ten years later in 2010. The long time lapse between the incurrence of the problem and the actual manifestation of the problem suggests that ours is not a problem of moving too quickly to first world. Therefore, we are not victims of our own success as far as it concerns the success we already had long before these problems cropped up. We are victims of our inability to understand our own limitations and of our recalcitrant pushing beyond those limits.


2 Responses to “SM: We’re victims of our own success”

  1. Sgcynic Says:

    I beg to differ. We are not experiencing the impacts of our success; we have regressed over the last decade…

  2. anonymous Says:

    “Regression” is putting it rather mildly. We appear to be ferociously undoing all that has been done, going back on all that has been preached and promised.

    I suspect that this has been going on – unnoticed – for quite some time; well beyond a decade. We are noticing it now because the effects of past decisions are really piling up, like the Stop at 2 policy, caps on the number of people who can study to be doctors.

    Imagine the effects in 20 years of the situation now – a crowded island, high property prices, empty CPF accounts, uncertain jobs from about the age of 40, low wages, the need to fall in line with official thinking. Hmmm, the scenarios don’t really bear imagining; they look rather distressing.

    As for “success”, the meaning of this word when applied in Singapore is really open to a lot of interpretation and debate. Do you, for instance, see a more considerate and sophisticated citizenry? Materialism is rampaging here.

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