Economic growth itself has many ways

I refer to the 23 Apr 2014 Straits Times letter “economic growth is the only way forward” by Dr George Wong Seow Choon.

Dr Wong claims that since we have no natural resources, our growth has to depend entirely on manpower. But almost all First World nations have little or no natural resources, why is their growth so different from ours? If they can grow their economies with their existing people, why can’t we? Is it because the leadership of this country is incapable of leading the country’s growth through innovation and creativity that it must resort to importing large numbers of foreign labour instead? What is so rocket science about mass import of foreign labour? It makes no sense paying top dollar to PAP for what any Tom, Dick or Harry can do.

Dr Wong claims we need more money for better public transport, infrastructure and housing. But we have more money. We generate millions and billions of surpluses almost every year and that does not include the high prices people pay for their HDB flats because those are hidden on paper behind high cost of land, land that has been acquired for as low as $1 per square foot.

Dr Wong warns Singaporeans against bankrupting the nation to help the disadvantaged as though paying millions for ministerial salaries, foreign student scholarships, hosting F1, up keeping Gardens by the Bay wont bankrupt the nation but helping the disadvantaged would.

Dr Wong stresses the need for our children to study hard to keep one step ahead of others but so what if children study hard, achieve good grades only to be replaced by foreigners with not so good grades?

Dr Wong emphasizes again that we have no natural resources and that we are also a little red dot and so we must work hard. But what is so hard work about mass importing labour? Just open the gates only right? Don’t even have to do anything to prepare for the incoming horde until people complain and when people complain just shoot them down as gripers, problem solved. Surely Dr Wong’s call for hard work applies to the government as it does to the people? Why is the government allowed to take the easy way while the people have to suffer the consequences of the government taking the easy way?

Dr Wong emphasizes that the only direction is towards growth. We’ve heard that many times. What we seldom hear from people like Dr Wong is how? Grow quality or grow quantity? If all that Dr Wong knows is grow quantity, then Dr Wong is as hopeless as the government is now.

Dr Wong claims that he belongs to the pioneer generation who tightened their belts and united behind LKY’s “no free lunch” mantra. Dr Wong must not forget that behind him are pioneers of pioneers who were the true pioneers that literally carved a city out of a jungle. Even though there was “no free lunch” during Dr Wong’s time, lunch then was relatively much cheaper than it is today.

If Dr Wong truly yearns for future generations to enjoy better lives, then he must not whitewash the problems that plague the present generation, problems that will continue to be exacerbated unless we face the truth squarely and not accommodate wrong doings through false arguments.

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