Is this my Singapore? My home and my country?

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Last week from Mon to Fri, I took my meal break at Joo Koon MRT Station with my colleague Train Officer ‘Anak Abu’. We were supposed to travel back to Jurong Crew Station for our one hour meal break after ‘stepping out’ from our trains at Joo Koon station. We would have to travel back to Joo Koon from Jurong station to intercept our trains after taking our meal break.

To save time, we brought along our food and took our meal at Joo Koon station staff rest room. We had one and half hour to enjoy our meal relaxing there.

Train Officer ‘Anak Abu’ brought his home cooked food whereas I bought mine from the coffee shop when I reported for work. There is no coffee shop at Joo Koon station. It’s like a deserted ghost town there.

Since TO Anak Abu brought his meal from home, usually he had more than enough. He would share some of his home-cooked food with me. I can’t share mine with him cuz Muslims don’t consume non-halal Chinese cooked food. In return, I bought him a can drink or 3 in 1 coffee sachet. It’s a win win situation for us.

The routine is always the same. We would heat up our food separately in the micro ovens. The company supplied two micro ovens in every station for staff. For Muslim and non Muslim food.

After our dinner, I would just relax reading ‘Today’ in the staff room and sometimes chit chat with the station staff also taking their rest and meal there. TO Anak Abu would proceed quietly to the ‘prayer corner’ to have his evening prayer. There is a ‘prayer corner’ in every station. As Singaporeans, we got along quite well.

For the one week of interactions, I learnt from TO Anak Abu that he had bought a 4S brand new HDB flat at Blk 221A Bedok Central on the 16th floor more than one year ago at $368,000. It’s only 87 sq m. The smallest 4 room flat.

My parents’ 4A model at Pasir Ris bought from HDB in 1994 is 105 sq m. So much bigger and it cost $101,000 then. That was 18 years ago.

Train Officer Anak Abu kept complaining that he had to use up all his monthly CPF contributions to service his 25 yrs housing loan after paying for his medisave. There is no saving in his CPF account even if he retires unless his current stagnant pay of $1,850 increases. He is one grade below me. He has reached his maximum pay ceiling.

That’s not all. I also learnt from him that another recently married Malay colleague Train Officer ‘Zaidi Blond’ wanted to buy a HDB flat in the same block cuz there are few left over unsold units due to some unknown reasons. They like to get their flats around Bedok area cuz it’s near to our working place at Tanah Merah MRT station.

That colleague could not afford it due to insufficient CPF for the 20% downpayment. You see for the same 4S flat in the same block but at the second floor, the price has shot up to $436,000! Within one and half years, the same flat on second floor (TO Anak Abu’s flat is on 16th floor) has increased by $68,000 just like that! He had to give up. He had to try his luck in Sengkang or maybe get a three room flat instead.

Now the interesting question is why the price of the same flat at second floor instead of sixteen floor has gone up so high by $68,000? The costs of the flats should be the same cuz they were built at the same time. Why is it so?

Imagine if another Singaporean couple (only citizens can buy direct from HDB) were to buy that flat and later found out the huge price difference, how would they feel? How would you feel if you happen to be that couple? Bitter? Angry? Cheated?

The truth hurts. You will surely feel cheated and bitter over this $436,000 4S flat purchased as a first timer direct from the HDB. Will you support this government since you are so bitter and sore? I doubt so. I’m just speaking the truth as a Singaporean with feelings.

With a stagnant pay of an average of $2,000 over a month and having to service the housing loan for 25 yrs of your working life, do you still have any more cash for retirement?

The above living example is a stark reality on this 700 sq km where we belong, where space costs a premium. Space in the air in this case (not landed property) and space on the road with COEs breaking $100,000! We also fight for space in the trains and buses etc.

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Is it due to the extra two million immigrants on this little rock of 700 sq km we call home that resulted in the lack of space? Or is it due to inflation? If in a year, the same flat on a much lower floor shot up by an extra of $68,000, can you imagine what would happen in three to five years’ time? I shudder to ponder over the consequence nightmare. We are only talking about few years later.

I then tried to pacify TO Anak Abu by telling him that in five years’ time, he is allowed to sell off his flat and he would make a huge profit! He retorted that he still got to buy another sky high rocket price flat. He got no place to go and still need a flat to live in. He says unless we are like Train Officer Tin where he bought his 4 room flat in the open market many years ago so cheap. When he retires to Sabah, he could sell it off and reap tons of money whereas we got no choice but stay put here. We will live and die here. This is our country and this is our home.

Train Officer Tin is a PR refusing to take up citizenship. He has it all plan out for his retirement. He already bought land and built a huge freehold house in Sabah. In another few years time – in fact any time from now if he feels like it – he could just cash out his CPF and sell off his flat to return to his hometown. He will bring his family back to Sabah. He could easily bring back to Sabah more than RM1,000,000! Sale of his 4 room flat plus all his CPF savings.

There are many PRs like Train Officer Tin. Some are from Sarawak, Sabah and Johore Bahru. Those that live in JB commute daily to work here. With OT and allowances converted to RM, it’s easily more than RM6,000 per month. Only professionals earn that kind of pay there.

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Usually those PR Train Officers are very hard working. They work round the clock treating our 700 sq km little rock as a gold mine. The incentives are strong cuz they can always buy more land and houses back home. As citizens of this 700 sq km ‘gold mine’, we can’t even afford to buy a government subsidized flat as in TO Zaidi Blond’s case! We are different from those PRs.

If their performance is tip top and got a good appraisal from their supervisors, they could even hit more than RM15,000 year end 13th mth pay plus 3 months of bonuses! They really love Singapore and they heap praises on our government. Why not? No reason for them not to.

They are the greatest beneficiaries of this unique Dual Economic Systems where they work hard to earn their money here and spend it in their own country of origin. Their roots are still in their country of origin. Their parents, friends and relatives network is still intact back in their villages. Whereas, we do not have that.

Those PRs need not waste two years of their life serving NS. They need not go back for yearly two weeks of in-camp reservist training until 40 yrs old. When we go back for our reservist training, they cover our jobs by doing OT to earn extra income. That is a fact.

Benefits wise, they are no different from citizens. They got everything like medical care, resale flats or even education for their children. It’s just that they pay a little extra than us. They pity us cuz our CPF is locked up by this regime. Their CPF is not locked up. I could go on and on. It only pains my heart and make me cry in tears. I have been talking about Malaysian PRs. What about India, China or Philippines PRs?

Those were some of the issues Train Officer Anak Abu and myself discussed throughout the one week of meal break time at Joo Koon station. The fact is we envy those PRs in our midst. How we wish to change places with those PRs and become beneficiaries of this spectacular unique Dual Econmic Systems! An oasis for PRs at the expense of indigenous citizens.

We are not proud to be Singaporeans. We curse our fate as citizens of this country. How to have an inclusive society when there is no morale? How to fight and win a war when citizens are dishearten and feel cheated?

I feel much closer and at ease with Train Officers like Anak Abu even though those PRs are Chinese. We are Singaporeans. We grew up together sharing the same ideals in schools and living environment and even been through NS together. We had stories of NS days to share and relate.

We know where we stand as citizens of this country. In the meantime, there is nothing much we could do. Life still got to go on and trains must move. We only wish that our children have a better future than us. We do not want our children to end up like us short-changed and losing out to those PRs!

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DISCLAIMER
“The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect the official policies, practices or opinions of SMRT or any organisation with which I may be affiliated.”

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I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of SG. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I also share some of the interesting jokes, stories or anecdotes from my friends or observations on my blog. Thanks for visiting my blog.
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310 Responses to Is this my Singapore? My home and my country?

  1. Lohcifer says:

    We are trapped. The smarter, scheming, conniving foreigners have gotten the better of us. We labored hard and long, we made sacrifices, we stinged on luxuries, we pushed ourselves hard in the hope that a brighter day will one day emerge in the horizon. We harbored the secret dream that there will one day be light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. But before we know it, in the blink of an eye, life has passed us by and that light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an approaching train. We are now in our twilight years, energy depleted, health deteriorated, shaking our heads at people who sell hawker food driving Rolls-Royces, at community and business leaders able to afford hundreds of dollars for sex with underage teenagers. We wonder how people can pay tens of thousands of dollars for first-class SIA flights complete with lobster and caviar meals when a bus trip to Desaru with a few packs of cold nasi lemak was the event of the year for our family, an event that has brought us boundless joy, an event we talked about for years with fond memories. Not for us were annual holidays to fancy destinations, not for us were thousand-dollar meals in celebrity-chef restaurants. Our life was markedly different from others. Now as we approach the final curtain, we realize it is over, my friend, it’s too late to start afresh again. Our bodies are tired and our spirits have been crushed a long time ago. Our kids are grown and they have their own struggles – how to make a living that will ensure comfort, how to afford a roof over their heads. We have no more energy left to care. We are numbed by years of fighting, years of struggles, we are bent from the heavy weight of responsibilities and we are scarred by years of trauma. For too long we have suffered in silence, for too long we have sucked it up, now we can only ask “Death where is thy sting?” because death’s sting, painful as it may be, will only be for once, so rather than lay in wait for healthcare that we cannot afford, with bed sores that we have no resources to heal, with a heart shattered in far too many little broken places that nothing can ever put it back together again, may death’s sting bring a quick end to our sorrows, may death’s sting bring speedy deliverance and the start of much-coveted, much-needed eternal and hopefully, sweet repose. If the Buddhists are right, then perhaps our rebirths will be a little more comfortable. If not, it’s ok. What else can hurt us anymore?

    • Hi Lohcifer,
      Really it reminds me of Shakespear’s famous soliloquy, “To Be or Not To Be!” http://gintai.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/william-shakespeare-the-great/
      To ease the pain by a sudden Death’s sting is the easy option. Patriot totally disagreed. We fight on lah. Thks for the poetic and moving comment or shall I say lamentation?

      • Lohcifer says:

        Oh no I’m not about to off myself just yet. I’m just reflecting the sense of utter hopelessness and helplessness many fellow average citizens feel.

        • Cepheids says:

          Are you sure average? $2000 household income is bottom 10%. In no other country in the world except Switzerland can the poorest 10% even lead a life like the author!

          Singapore’s problem is that it has educated us too well. Too well that the bottom of society think they are average. And to top that off, they have access to media. They can voice their concerns. They can talk about things and people actually see it.

          What are the bottom 10% of other countries doing? I am sure they are complaining, but they probably do not have the idle time to complain online.

          Btw, TO Tin is probably not bottom 10% of Sabah.

          You got lucky to be born here. Quit complaining, and work hard. Or migrate.

          • gohomepls says:

            Go back to your country la.

          • Cepheids says:

            I’m Singaporean and yes I want to go home. But not now. Soon.

          • Anonymous says:

            Come back to Singapore soon and try to live. You might understand why then.

          • Cepheids says:

            It’s hard. My profession does not pay well in Singapore. I can complain, but I won’t because it is for the greater good of the nation to become a Financial Hub, instead of a Tech Hub.

            Governance is a tough job, leave it to the professionals in white. They probably understand the whole situation much better than us.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t abhor Changes. But this is changing too much at a rate where Singaporeans can not even adapt to? Governance is a tough job no doubt but right now MOST Singaporeans feel that their professionals in white are too out of touch with the Citizens. When you meet more people who are supposedly in the “$7,000″ median household income you might understand more. Because of the conquest for more money in order to pay off their housing debts and whatever debts they are in.

            Imagine this.

            1) Housing Loan leaves family with less than sufficient money for a month depending on individual families -> Both parents goes out to work in search for more money and leaves the child in the hands of a caretaker. -> Child grows up distant from parents -> Possibility of Social problems?

            2) Both spouse working to earn more money and might have to work OT on a regular basis because of fear from employers that they are incompetent/lazy and they just want to have dinner with their families. – I have met a lot of people who are like this. -> No time for Parents nor with each other -> Distant from loved ones -> Possibility of Low birth rate/Infidelity?

            This are just 2 of the many scenarios i can list out to you and i believe you know what means/measures are being carried out by the Government in order to curb this problems, especially number 2. So tell me, how can a nation not feel frustration when this is what they feel and what the Professionals in White thinks is that we are xenophobic? Social Cost vs Monetary Benefits.

          • Tommy says:

            Hey dude..pls do yr research properly..assuming ur of the highly educated sob in one of the finest country in the world.If 2k is not consider average pay..pls flip yr papers and see what others r offering nowadays..So i assume yr bottom 10% is actually saying 60% or maybe more than that of the citizens in sg.Take note, our police CPL only got close to 2k after they joined and that to add on security officers and technicians can.t get that pay even if they do ot most of the time. So bottom line is if ur well off u know your damm role n keep your highly educated/highly paid mouth up .

          • Lee says:

            No, they didn’t lie but they didn’t represent the facts as it should be read from a citizen’s point of view.

            That’s what statistics is about : How you present them. And fact is, the representation has been very creative at best.

            Fact : Bottom 10% being $2k salary.
            Fact too: Fresh university graduates without a ‘professional’ degree are still drawing salaries within a few percentage points of that figure from the private sector.

            Question: How many percent of the citizen population does this “bottom 10%” of the salary pile represent ???

            1% .. ? 2%… ?? 10% .. ? 20% ?? 25% ?? Or more … ?

            Perhaps you should dig through the numbers and question them further.

            If you’ve never had the chance to work in the SME industrial heartlands, perhaps you should. Spend sometime talking to all the people, especially local blue collar workers who work there and get a feel of how much do they earn. Exclusive of OT pay, a very low proportion of these people actually have salaries touching/crossing SG$2000 a month.

            Now, based on the same statistics … what’s the percentage of people who work for SME’s versus MNC’s in Singapore ???

            You should never take the figures literally.

          • Cepheids says:

            I am not taking the figures literally. The statistics clearly show that the bottom 10% of people, make 1.6k on average. So, the bottom 10% represents 10%. 5 million people? That’d be 500000 people, who live in households who make 1600 a month.

            Yes, I have not had the chance to work with blue collar workers, but I can tell you that the CBD is very very congested. There are many people working there too. Those are the diploma and degree holders, who are 50% of our youth.

            http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/reference/yos11/statsT-education.pdf

            50% of our students make it to polytechnic or university.

          • jon says:

            The numbers are a corresponding estimation to the SG population. They are off a median estimation. If you want more accurate figures you would have to obviously choose the modal estimates instead. Using height for a comparison, the median height of an av SG man is 1.706m(2003 data). But in actual fact, it does not represent the frequency within the male population who stands at 1.706m, merely the average of the collective data. The modal figure, which appears the most out of the collective data would be a better representation of the average male height.

          • jon says:

            Representation of the average of the collective data(aka the middle figure) is usually inaccurate. Disparity in an area of figures vs another area would be one of the major conflicting factors of accuracy.

          • Anonymous says:

            Median vs Average vs Mode. Median is the preferred indicator as it reflects the guy at the middle (the 50th percentile). Mode is not a good indicator of the “average” situation. For example, let say there are alot of people earning the same income that happens to be above the mode, say 3K and this figure happens to be around the 60th percentile. Does that mean the average Singaporean earns around 3K? No. Because clearly there are 60% of the guys out there earning less than the mode in this example.

          • Anonymous says:

            People:

            Reason why the stats seem so off: They’re not read properly. The values quoted are for ENTIRE HOUSEHOLDS. In the same page on the singstats site, for the stats of each individual resident, the median is $1994 per resident in 2011. 41-50th decile is $1800, 51-60th decile is $2200. It is average, and just because you migrated overseas to get better pay for your job type is all good, but please be more sympathetic to the AVERAGE people in Singapore who do earn these salaries

          • jon says:

            I personally believe that the modal construct of the income paradigm(to me the average/common household income) would be more than 2k a month. But that does not mean it can be a justification that we should be satisfied with what we have.

          • Cepheids says:

            Oh… Police CPL is average?

          • Anonymous says:

            Just wondering what job do I have to secure to earn an average pay? BTW I’m a lab analyst with an MNC with a monthly income of 3.5K and I still feel the plight of those reflected in this article. Do I belong to the below average category?

          • Cepheids says:

            Average household income is $7000+. Average household size is 3.5 people. Thats $2000 per person. So, if you are married and your wife/husband does not work, then you are below average.

            If you are single, then you are above average.

          • Bless you says:

            May god bless you with the day you see the light.

          • Spickandspan says:

            Lol la that is the right attitude to have when employment prospects seem so dull. That joker really needs to see the light and stop putting his head up his ass so far up that no light can reach.

          • Ultraman says:

            At the end of the day, you’re just another insignificant individual trying too hard to be an embellishment of this elitist society

          • Anonymous says:

            Sounds like another elitist who had it all too easy for him. Just like that MP’s daughter with that big mole on her face who blogged and asked the average Singaporean to “get out of my elite uncaring face”

            An interesting read for you, my dear: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/some-s%E2%80%99poreans-grossly-underpaid–professor-lim.html

            The author can actually also do roughly the same thing as his Malaysian PR colleague, the only difference is that, well.. his colleague is going back home, where he came from, back to where his family and friends are, theres a nice warm fuzzy feeling to it.
            For a Singaporean to do that however, would be a totally different feeling, in addition to not being able to actually take out all their CPF. Singapore is after all, our home. A lot of us complain about how bad we have it here as Citizens, but deep down in our hearts, we are still rooted to this country, because we can’t just case aside the fact that this is our home. The only thing is that we as Citizens, are all treated as 2nd class citizens with our policies who favor PRs over Citizens.

            Its quite sad really.
            I too intend on migrating, Ideally, to migrate and one day be able to come back to Singapore, to come back home. As a first class citizen.
            Much like you. You’re living overseas, but you know that one day, you would come back home. But not everyone is fortunate enough to migrate or work overseas, especially those who came from the lower income bracket. They get so caught up by the whole system that they can’t find any other way out and succumb to what they feel is their ‘fate’. To live in their own Country and be treated like a second class citizen, tied down by loans and their HDB repayments that span 25years.

            You shouldn’t be criticizing your fellow Singaporeans just because they weren’t so privileged as you are. You should learn to have more compassion, instead of fighting your own people.

          • SG says:

            Sounds like another elitist who had it all too easy for him. Just like that MP’s daughter with that big mole on her face who blogged and asked the average Singaporean to “get out of my elite uncaring face”

            An interesting read for you, my dear: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/some-s%E2%80%99poreans-grossly-underpaid–professor-lim.html

            The author can actually also do roughly the same thing as his Malaysian PR colleague, the only difference is that, well.. his colleague is going back home, where he came from, back to where his family and friends are, theres a nice warm fuzzy feeling to it.
            For a Singaporean to do that however, would be a totally different feeling, in addition to not being able to actually take out all their CPF. Singapore is after all, our home. A lot of us complain about how bad we have it here as Citizens, but deep down in our hearts, we are still rooted to this country, because we can’t just case aside the fact that this is our home. The only thing is that we as Citizens, are all treated as 2nd class citizens with our policies who favor PRs over Citizens.

            Its quite sad really.
            I too intend on migrating, Ideally, to migrate and one day be able to come back to Singapore, to come back home. As a first class citizen.
            Much like you. You’re living overseas, but you know that one day, you would come back home. But not everyone is fortunate enough to migrate or work overseas, especially those who came from the lower income bracket. They get so caught up by the whole system that they can’t find any other way out and succumb to what they feel is their ‘fate’. To live in their own Country and be treated like a second class citizen, tied down by loans and their HDB repayments that span 25years.

            You shouldn’t be criticizing your fellow Singaporeans just because they weren’t so privileged as you are. You should learn to have more compassion, instead of fighting your own people.

          • Craplistic says:

            too much crap…

    • panda says:

      this post is very heartfelt. You just spoke my heart out.

      • Aaron says:

        I agree with what the author is saying but I sometimes wonder if Singaporeans have not been so savy in exploring alternate ways to make more income for themselves.

        One of the issue I see is that we are so used to following rules that we are not venturing outside our comfort zone. In the US, I see many cases of people staying side businesses or stay at home moms earnings some online income. I don’t see that happening here.

        I have been fortunate enough to stumbled upon some US based blogs that taught me how to make some money online. Without this side income, it will be hard for me to live a comfortable life in Singapore as well.

        Hence, my humble suggestion for everyone reading this is is to explore the Internet beyond entertainment and news, and see how you can profit from it

        • jon says:

          You see, that is the difference in the western and SE Asian culture. Conservativeness. Singaporeans are taught to be practical and pragmatic. While in western culture, enterprising would be the word taught to its youngsters. The western kids are more street smart, less meticulous when it comes to risks, while us on the other hand, are more calculative of risks. Pros and Cons, the pro being us having more paper qualification(overall) and the cons, being less daring, losing out on opportunities and so on.

          • Ma Ling Luncheon Meat says:

            The very fact that entrepreneurship needs to be “taught” to us at a later stage in life, says a lot about the pragmatism. we don’t sit well with making bold decisions and that’s why we are watching ourselves getting stumped over by other emerging economies.

    • Tina Jabr says:

      Singapore is one of the best countries in the world to live in. i have lived in the middle east…you know how things are there, always explosive, economy wise and otherwise. i have lived in europe, so expensive and cold. and i have lived in india, total chaos and well…not so clean. singapore is one of the best ive seen, in terms of safety, cleanliness, friendliness, economy, and just about everything. yes no country is perfect but this is pretty close. just if people become a little more joyful from inside it would easily become the best in the world to live in.

  2. I sometimes wonder whether our citizens are unaware of the situation or they are OK with it.

    • J says:

      THAT IS WHY MORE PEOPLE SHOULD OUT !…I DON’T MEAN COMPLAIN FOR THE SAKE OF COMPLAINING!! THERE SHOULD BE A MINIMUM WAGE STANDARD FOR A START AND COMPANIES SHOULD BE EMPLOYING LOCALS FIRST AND SHOULD SHOW OR GIVE A REASON WHY THEY NEED TO EMPLOY PR’S IF A SINGAPOREAN CAN FILL THE POST

      • F says:

        I agree with J. As a student living abroad, I realistic there is a very stark difference between our government’s policies and overseas government policies. For example in the UK, in order to hire foreigners, the company has to produce adequate proof that a local is unable to substitute the foreigner for this job because of skill-sets or knowledge. The company is given a quota of foreign work passes to give out based on their size, profits etc. Then, the foreign worker will have to apply for a visa, which is a temporary work pass, and that does not grant him any privileges like in Singapore’s PR system.

        I am also dismayed to learn that Singapore’s train drivers get paid so little. In london, the tube drivers get paid more than 50,000 pounds annually! That works out to be roughly 8300 SGD monthly, thats more than 4 times what a train driver in Singapore gets! Most of the tube drivers are local and the transport union has a very strong say in the wages and people they hire.

        read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/03/tube-drivers-salaries-50000

        People might say that the living expenses are high here but i beg to differ. It really depends on how you manage your finances. As a student, I spend 250 pounds
        comfortably every month on food and transport. As for lodging, it can get quite expensive, up to 400 pounds a week on rent. I spend less than 650 pounds every month in London, roughly the same amount I spend monthly when i am in Singapore!

        Singaporeans really need to think twice again. Is this their country?

        • A says:

          well, in all fairness, think about the taxes they pay. not forgetting the fact that UK is a welfare state.

          • Anonymous says:

            Their tax comes with welfare and health benefits.

          • Anonymous says:

            8300 sgd should be about £2k+. And remember too o the higher living expenses there, not o mention about d tax, etc

          • Lee says:

            Its about £4100/-. Your currency conversions are way, way off.
            But, they pay in the range of 20-30% tax for that income bracket. Which means about £3000 still goes to their pockets.

          • Anonymous says:

            Cost of living is LOWER in the UK.

          • kao says:

            the exchange rate now 2 is to 1 bro…

          • Anonymous says:

            It should come with welfare and health benefits. The LOWEST tax a UK citizen pays to the central government (ie income tax) is 10% for anyone earning from 0 to 7999 pounds in a year. (around 1.1k sgd a month) Anyone earning from 8000 to 38k pounds a year (1.1k to 6k sgd a month) pays 20% on personal income and an extra 10% on dividend (investment) income.

            By comparison, Singapore taxes 0% for those earning up to 20k sgd a year (around 1.2k sgd a month) and 2% (yes, TWO percent) for those earning from 20k to 30k sgd a year (up to 2.5k sgd a month). Taxable income does not include CPF contributions, which means this is your take-home pay that is being taxed.

            All of these does not take into account GST (which the UK also has) and road payments (our ERP) etc which UK citizens pay to their local government.

            Given the amount that UK citizens pay, they are pretty much obliged to get health benefits and welfare payments at the very least. On the other hand, the majority of middle-class Singaporeans (2.5k to 5k a month) pay miniscule amount of taxes – most of the taxes the government gets from middle class singaporeans comes from GST. If you want free health benefits on top of that, you’d better be ready to pay for more.

          • Cepheids says:

            On top of that, the median household income in Singapore is $7000. If you income is not near $7000, you are NOT middle class. If you are NOT middle class, don’t expect a middle class lifestyle!

            http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/catalogue.html#hhldincome

          • Anonymous says:

            so what you’re saying is that the poor should know their place, while the rich stay rich?

          • Cepheids says:

            I’m saying thats how the world is. That’s reality. And Singapore is already pretty far away from the depressing reality that is going on in many places in the world.

            I’m saying the rich will stay rich, and the poor will stay poor. We will all try to make it such that the rich are not that much richer and the poor not that much poorer, but no matter what we do, there will be a gap. And right now, even if anyone thinks the gap is too big, it is already in a pretty good state.

            I’m saying the poor should not expect too much.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry but I’m too dumb to interpret the link above… where exactly does it say that the median household income in Singapore is $7000? What jobs do I have to secure to earn that income?

          • Cepheids says:

            I don’t know what kind of job you need to have to have a $7k personal income, but if both parents work, which is very normal in our day and age, $3.5k should not be that difficult right?

            I am also not talking about starting pay. Consider someone who already has working experience of 15 to 20 years, in the middle of their careers. Graduates start at $2500, diploma holders at maybe $2000. Not hard to imagine hitting $3500 by 40 years old.

            260k students enrolled in primary schools in 2010. In that same year, 75k students enrolled in a local university. 83k enrolled in polytechnics.

            So, 50% of youths in Singapore would hold at least a diploma.

          • Anonymous says:

            So for a diploma holder to be average, he has to have 15 to 20 yrs experience n will only be average at the age of 40? Its just sad ….

          • Cepheids says:

            Hmm, no, diploma and degree holders make up 50% of our youth. I can’t say the same for the older generation, but this is what will be happening soon. 50% are diploma and degree holders. The very bottom of this bunch, would be the average.

          • CG says:

            “Household” refers to the income of the entire household, not just one person. Therefore to say that a $2K per month per person income is “average”, is not incorrect. It certainly isn’t bottom 10%. Where 3-4 persons in the household work and earn an average of $2K-3K, they make up the “household” income average of $7K as per your statement.

            You may just be trying to show you earn enough to be classified as “Middle-class” and is therefore “entitled” to Middle-class lifestyle, sure. Perhaps you are a sole bread winner, so you represent your entire household’s income. But if there are 2 or more persons in the same household earning $7K per month, it will certainly push the entire household to the more affluent “upper middle-class”.

          • Cepheids says:

            Yes, I neglected to be clear.

            On top of that, the average household has 3.5 persons. So yes, $2000 per person.

          • xep says:

            Cepheids, do you know that household income of more than $5000 can’t buy a 3-room BTO flat and have to get a 4-room BTO instead? Do you know the price difference between 3R and 4R? So what if your household income fall between $5001 and $6999? Are you the out-of-nowhere class? Do you know why most “out-of nowhere class” complain now?
            I’m not expecting much from a person like you that doesn’t even live in Singapore and doesn’t need to worry about whether to get a shelter for your soon-to-have family or to squeeze with your parents with 3 siblings in one 3R flat behaviour. You are a perfect example of how disconnected the MPs are with the citizen.

          • A says:

            i’m not sure if this is a case of “either” “or”. so you would want to get more pay, and end up paying more taxes? and truth to be told, healthcare in singapore for citizens is already heavily subsidised in government hospitals. sometimes, you just can’t have the best of both worlds.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not to belittle the suffering of our low wage workers here. However, F’s comments are abit disingenuious. Everything has a cost. London Underground tube drivers earn about 4,000 pounds a month but this cost is simply passed on to consumers. A single journey on the London Underground cost 4.30 pounds and that is within a single zone. A similar journey from Pasir Ris to Joo Koon cost $1.90. Would Singaporeans agree to pay $4,000 a month to a train driver and pay $4.30 for a train journey? I am not sure whether the many middle class Singaporeans would agree. Just see how they rise up in anger when taxi fares increased. A pound in UK works like a dollar in Singapore so lets not try to equate what the London Underground drivers are earning by converting it to dollars. Otherwise, our train drivers earn about 62,700 philippines pesos which is more than 4 times what a filipino police officer earn. May I also point out that 400 pound a week on rent means you spend 1,850 pounds a month and not 650 pounds. I stayed in the UK a few years back and even without inflation over so many years, one would find it difficult to survive on 650 pounds a month. Life in Singapore has gotten much tougher. But is this any different than anywhere else in the world? Name me a utopia where money comes easy and standard of living is high. There are people in other countries where life is infinitely worse and will give a arm and a leg to come and “suffer”in Singapore. Our government can definitely do better. But many policies are designed with the good intentions to help keep the economy growing. Will we be happier when our economy declines? We would then be the only population in the world that would be happier in a recession or declining state. Now, that would be a first.

          • asdf says:

            Not implying that you’re being disingenuous too, but £4.30 for a single-trip ticket on the London Underground is reduced to £2.00 with the Oyster Card, which is like our EZLink card. Suddenly the gap isn’t so large anymore.

          • F says:

            Sorry if my comments are not clear. But I meant UP TO 400 pounds (most expensive i have heard). I am currently living in a 100 pounds a week flat-share with my friend. Yes, true, the bills are passed on to the consumer, but they are mostly passed on to FOREIGN consumers, who do not have annual travel passes on the tube ( which can save around 30% of their transport costs). And a single journey on the tube is 2 pounds within the same zone… My british born friends hardly take the tube anyway, most of them drive a car (which costs 3 times lesser here) or cycle to keep fit.

            What you said was right, but I was trying to draw parallel with what our government always compare, first class nation, surely we must compare in the league of UK/Australia/US/Japan? I do agree that inflation is everywhere, but I am just saying the government should spare a thought for the people who are struggling with finances. I am not saying that the government in UK is doing a fantastic job either, but at least, they try to help the locals who are struggling financially with fiscal policies and prevent any foreign workers from
            excessive hire by greedy corporate companies.

          • LYT says:

            i think we need to be balanced when looking at issues. i do agree with annonymous. Yes there are areas of deficiency in our current system. But now the U.S., U.K. and France are also looking at ways to move away from a less welfare system. Why? they realise that as people live longer, the welfare system runs into deficit. Massive deficit. What is Obama doing now? Trimming the Medicare and public institutions e.g. education, civil services…And because people have been used to the welfare mentality, they are facing with massive opposition. Why? the workers’ unions have too much power in these countries. It is all about balance. Which is why even though Prof Lim Chong Yah’s proposals are radical, they do bear some weight in addressing the rich-poor income gap.

          • Marc Tan says:

            You think Saw Phiak Hua’s salary and bonuses are not passed onto the consumers? While the salaries of train drivers stagnate, former CEO Saw is so well paid she can afford multiple ferraris.

            You are living in a dreamworld if you think policies are designed with the good intentions. Policies are designed to keep the PAP in power and their inner circle of power elites well fed, rich and loyal.

          • Anonymous says:

            Policies are designed to satisfy the ruling party – isn’t it the same for every country?

          • Lee says:

            You forgot… the London Underground / Tube is a loss making enterprise. The SMRT is a profit making enterprise. Record profits year on year … see the difference ??

          • L says:

            After which, takes tax payers money to buy trains for own usage while raising fare?

        • blue-green says:

          i suspect raising their income will lead to larger increases in fares. do consider as many tradeoffs and repercussions rigorously. i often find myself helpless as well when i try to think of proper, feasible, sustainable solutions to problems. just because a solution is popular does not mean it is necessarily good.

        • Anonymous says:

          Pretty much the same sort of employment policy and pay range in Australia.

      • Leo says:

        No need to pay FTs CPF, they don’t have to go for reservist or RT. They have only half the maternity leave. Are those good enough reasons to employ PRs first? (< sarcasm btw)

      • Anonymous says:

        It is indeed these economic policies that create a sense of selfish every man for himself Singaporean mentality. We can all lament and empathize with each other but at the end of the day we must all find our own means to survive. Why are owners of SME’s more inclined to hire PR’s? Such a shortsighted move made for short term gain. I hope the current generation of entrepreneurs take this into account and think of the bigger nation-serving cause while they grow their empires.

      • K says:

        Haha, if you not aware of this, let me explain it to you. 90% of the companies in Singapore are foreign companies, they are foreign investments basically. So why would they care if its a local or a foreigner, you guys dont have local companies, so how can you expect locals to get the job? When you apply for a job, its MERIT based not looking at the nationality especially when its not a local company. And sadly PRs are abit better than locals with their qualifications. But yeah i totally agree that Singapore is getting abit hard to deal with, im a PR i have been staying here for 7 years, i have realised it. Not only the housing, but even other luxuries are getting quite expensive.

        • seah says:

          the company can shift out out here .u make the place so congested n expensive.please go back

      • JA says:

        Can a local accept a Job that pay S$1000 and need to work for 12 hrs a day & 6 days per week? But the foreign worker will accept.

      • JA says:

        Hi J, will a local accept a job that pay S$1000 per month and need to work 12 hrs a day ,6 days per week. But the foreign worker happier accept it.

    • Cepheids says:

      The top echelons are NOT scooping up the fruits of high GDP growth. Look at this:

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Gini_Coefficient_World_CIA_Report_2009.svg

      Singapore has one of the smallest income divide in the world.

      What Singapore has are over-informed people. And that results in complaints. What they should be doing is to withhold information from the bottom of society so they do not complain. Singaporean government have been too good to Singaporeans and made them spoilt. Now, they come online and make noise.

      • bas says:

        Don’t take this personally Cepheids, but a little too quick to cite facts aren’t we. Well here’s a quote to ponder over.

        “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” – Albert Einstein

        Facts can be selectively used and interpreted in any way that supports your point.

        Opinions are like armpits, they all stink, but a little empathy on your part would be nice.

        • Cepheids says:

          Yes I understand what you mean. I do empathize with the people who were not fortunate enough to get a good education or maybe they were just born not to be academically inclined.

          But I wish for them to understand that things are not really that bad, and if they learn to be content, they will be much happier.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry Cepheids, but the statistics you’ve provided have been contradicted. Singapore has one of the biggest income divide in the world.

        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_107980.html
        http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/papers/people/op-s17.pdf (pg 12, pt 5.9)

      • lam says:

        //What they should be doing is to withhold information from the bottom of society so they do not complain.//
        Wah..so that’s what Yaacob Ibrahim means by sorting the wheat from the chaff.
        Apparently it means major censorship…it means a little knowledge is too dangerous mindset…thanks dude! Now only the elites should have access to information too. No wonder MCYS like to say if you can afford a PC & internet plan, you can afford anything..gee. Their sole purpose is really to dumb-down on the people.

  3. Darkness 2012 says:

    When home no longer feels like home. It is best for a man to plan his great escape. If you take the trouble to observe carefully many ppl are already starting to plan their great escape. Some even have high flying jobs, but at the rate cars and houses are going through the roof – I believe many do not like to be held to ransom. This is the only way as the PAP refuse to budge or even recognize that so many are unhappy in Singapore

    • Hi Darkness2012,
      Some of my colleagues already saw this happening. They took Vietnamese, Thai or Batam wives (They are not into PRCs). Refuse to let them take up citizenship. Just PRs only. Thru their wives’ connections invested in large swathes of land and houses. All these before they hit 55 yrs when they would have to sign in option A or B where they lock up all your CPF money until age 65 then they start paying you a mthly pittance. It is MINE money and now becomes government money! Is it morally correct? Whatever excuses or justications whether by passing laws in parliament or claiming its for your good so that u do not squander it yadda yadda, it is still against human dignity and no right to take away MIINE money and return it to me in crumps whilst u invest (or gamble in the world casino stocks and chips?) and make obscene amount in whatever ventures! No self respecting country that respects human rights and dignity will do such as thing to its own citizens unless they are desparate for your money to invest in more UBS, Citibanks, Suzhou Industrial Parks, or giving $4 billion to IMF etc etc If they just return our money to us just like those PRs, more citizens will come round and respect this regime. More PRs will also take up citizenships. As it is they like us locals are frighten of this CPF aged 55 yrs annuity option policy! That is what they say to me! From the horses” mouth.

    • Cepheids says:

      There are more unhappy people in other countries, but they do not have the opportunity to voice it. Singapore government is not oppressive enough, in return, they have complaints.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tell me how not to complain when the price of the same house shot up from 150k to 320k in the past 10 yrs n my pay increased by 25% at best?

        • Cepheids says:

          In 2000, there were 4 million people. Now, there are 5 million. An increase of 20%.
          In 2000, Singapore was 637.5 km^2. Now, it is pretty much the same.

          And we are not talking about a linear relation here, your salary increased by 25%, the land will increase by that same 25%, and a further 20%, and some more.

          • Youfail says:

            Just as the inflation of the cost of products and the devaluation of the SG currency with respect to the cost of products, I personally feel that your intellect capacity has not been inflated even by the minuscule of proportions. That is perhaps due, to a lack of substantial matter in the cerebral cortex.

  4. Saycheese says:

    The PAP can still win almost all the seats in Parliament. The citizens are no so daft as to elect cheats to lord over them. 60.1%, including most of those whose wages have declined, are in fact quite happy with the conditions here to continue voting for the MIWs.

  5. Pingback: Daily SG: 23 Apr 2012 « The Singapore Daily

  6. news@asia.com says:

    I enjoy reading this article.

  7. Crap says:

    Don’t feel trapped. You can do something in 2016.

  8. marksman says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope more blue collar compatriots do the same.
    Perhaps one day we get to see a non commisioned officer, or just a lieutenant in parliament.
    Enough of those ‘chiak liao bee’ paper generals and rear admirals churned out by Ah Kong’s system.

    • J says:

      WELL SAY BRO!….. THOSE FUCKING USELESS COLONEL AND GENERAL ONLY KNOW HOW TO SUCK UP… DRIVING THEIR TAXPAYER FUNDED CAR AND MONIES…COMMANDING LIKE THEY WERE IN ARMED FORCE AFTER MOVING THE THE PUBLIC SECTOR… STILL KISSING ASSes!!

      • Cepheids says:

        People who complain here, how much tax do you pay? 5%?

        • Anonymous says:

          How to pay tax when I’m not given the opportunity to earn that much?

          • Cepheids says:

            Well, if you didnt get the opportunity, someone else did. That someone is probably better than you, and that someone is geting paid now, and not complaining.

          • Spickandspan says:

            Such primitive thinking will not get you anywhere. Your self-induced ego says only that much of your mentality. Being immature is one thing, but being ridiculously obnoxious really calls for severe berating. You mean to say that is is ok to bereave one’s right to basic employment just because he/she was not capable as another? Yes, society is based on the construct of meritocracy, but sometimes if another is able to compensate by working longer and harder hours, he/she should be offered a second opinion, and not shrugged off like what you just did.

        • Jules says:

          Cephids, why do you think that anyone need to earn the right to voice their opinion? And in particular, u r implying that if you dont earn more than the avg income, u shd just sit down n shut up n be content w your lot? U have an oppressive mentality that is hardly enlightened or educated.

  9. patriot says:

    Hahaha…….

    the lower unit is supposed to cost less than those at higher levels, yet it costs more as
    said in this article. Lol……..

    Similarly, if this generation struggles to survive, the next generation will have to fight for survival.

    This is the kind of nonsense we Sinkies are facing, yet with the New Media, Sinkies are no wiser.

    To wish for death to get away from suffering of living is definitely not the way to go, the Chinese
    has a saying that dying can be just mere ending of living(qing ru hong mao) or it can be ‘hong hong lie lie’ meaning performing a heroic deed that benefit others but will cause or likely result
    in sacrifice(of ones’ life). Nevertheless, me thinks the wise action to take is to look for a better place elsewhere(foreign), the World is vast, no nid to confine oneself to a State that is almost
    sold out literally. There is NEVER a nid for loyalty to a sold out state nor to a regime that sold it.

    If Sinkies are cohesive and not individualistic and self centred, we probably would not have to face the shit today. BUT sad to say, we are successfully divided and rule by a conscienceless leadership and oni a calamity, natural or man-made, could end the Sin.

    If Sinkies do not wake up to the situation and allow it to progress in the way it is going, a man made disaster cannot be ruled out.

    patriot

    • J says:

      TRUE ENOUGH MANY SINKIES STILL CHASING A SINK BOAT!!! WAKE UP LAH!!! LIKE WHY GO INTO DEBT BUYIING A CAR. WHY GIvE THE PAP MORE MONEY? SO THEY CAN GET A PAY RAISE?/

      • Spickandspan says:

        That is why my policy is to always buy a car from the 2nd hand market. COE pricing is way to unreasonable and I will never pay the exorbitant pricing for that piece of certificate.

  10. Robin Low says:

    Don’t understand why people like to say wait till 2016?

    Why not now? everyone go and spread awareness and question their “Elected MPs” to get the MPs speak up for them and share their plight.

    Public housing when not affordable by the public unless you get a 50 year loan is not acceptable.

  11. Kojak Bt says:

    Hi Gintai,
    You wrote an excellent article. Is it alright if I post this on TR Emeritus (www.tremeritus.com) to share with more readers? Thanks.

    • Hi Kojak,
      Pls carry on. Pls spread my message far and wide. Reproduce it in every crook and cranny of the cyber world. This is to create awareness and understanding of the dire situation we are in. We are just like strangers in our own land of birth. We have forfeited our birthright as inheritors of this piece of small rock as a result of others’ greed and insatiable avarice. Why then eminent intellectuals like Professor Lim CY and Professor Tommy Koh being true sons of Singapore are coming out in the open to speak out? Do they have an axe to grind? I don’t so. They are patriotic Singaporeans who sense something is going very wrong!
      Go on reproduce my article as you deem fit. Gintai is public property! It’s open to all.

      • J says:

        THAT IS THE WAY!….. I WOULD LIKE TO CLIP THIS TO MY FRIENDS,/…OK OR NOT?

        • Go ahead J ! I am most pleased and flattered that my article attracted so much attention. Pls do me a favor by spreading it to the whole world. Like I say Gintai is public property. It belongs to all Singaporeans! Pls look at my other articles when you are free. Thank you also for replying to those who commented here. Cheers!

      • icedwater says:

        It’s “nook and cranny”. But I salute your effort, your article, and your willingness to spread it around. This is how we should use the new(er) media – now we are the ones writing the stories how we want and the big newspapers have to follow one step behind…

  12. winston says:

    I read this n I cried. Tears of sympathy. Cuz we are Singaporeans, we live n die here. But seems like e country hate us, despise us as Singaporeans, giving us “sorry, we’ll do better next time.” Or “bear with us, give us more time.” Then influx more foreigners, then house price still rocketing, then ask us “get married n have children.”

  13. Steven says:

    Hi,

    I saw this article through sharing from the facebook.

    This is so true. I am a 100% pure-born Chinese Singaporean and I came to this world in the mid-70s.

    I love the life when I was in the 90s when everything were at a reasonable pricing and the standard living was there and of course, there were Malaysians coming to SG to work but I am totally fine with the controlled numbers of them coming to survive in this country.

    Right now, everything are not right.

    * Foreign Workers vs Foreign Talents
    I am not detesting them but the MOM should control the headcount and not let it come and go freely. Also, from the recently adjustment from the Government, I seriously dont understand why Minister is cutting down on the foreign workers and not foreign CEOs and those top foreign managements… We need the workers to help on the constructions, service industry and etc and not foreign talents to tell us how to manage a team or company. End up if poor management, they can just leave and go back to their country!

    * High Standard Living
    Everything is just soooo expensive. Housing (like what was mentioned), food, transport and etc… But salary is still the same… And if we ask for a pay raise, boss will say cannot because revenue not enough. But again, taking the example from Train Office Anak Abu. If SMRT was to increase his salary to $3k gross (mid-range), would you think the transport company will increase our transport fare??

    * Attitude of Singaporean
    Be it chinese, malays or indians, I think nowadays especially the younger adults always like to complain this and complain that… Complain about food, complain about service, complain about transport and blah blah blah… I seriously hope the younger ones will complain lesser, understand the situation and see how things can be work out.. And I hope our Government really understand what we true singaporean needs before they execute their decision. I mean, we are not commodities for trading and earn money for them.

    Correct me if I am wrong…

    • Read this article post on “Under The Willow Tree”

      Thursday, February 16, 2012″Foreign Talent” Issue is a Symptom of the Power Struggle between the Political, Corporate Elite and the Working Class
      There has been a lot of argumentation about whether the “foreign talent” policy is the right policy for Singapore and the PAP Government as the primary proponent of Singapore’s hyper liberal immigration policies, has given all sorts of reasons why Singapore needs a massive influx of foreigners. These reasons consist of arguments regarding Singapore’s need for foreign labor to supplement economic growth, and to “top-up” the shrinking population.” Meanwhile the opposition and other critics of the foreign talent policy usually fall into the trap of engaging the PAP on their terms and use counter arguments as to why the policy doesn’t really work. Such arguments usually run along the lines of foreigners overloading the infrastructure, depressing wages, lowering the standard of living, lowering productivity etc.

      While these counter arguments are mostly valid, harping on the illogical nature of the policies often misses the point, and the point that I would like to make is that the “foreign talent” policy is in place because large segments of the corporate and political elite benefit from the policy and have the power the implement it. To illustrate this point, all that is needed is an enumeration of the benefits of the policy and the parties who benefit from the policy:

      Business owners and managers benefit because they are able to increase their profits by cutting their labour costs using cheap foreign labour
      The list of low productivity, labour intensive industries in Singapore is long and many of these industries include some of the largest Government linked corporations in Singapore, and the list includes:
      Property developers and construction companies (Capitaland, Keppel land)
      Shipbuilding (Keppel Corp, Sembcorp
      Transportation (SBS, TIBS)
      Banks & Telecoms companies benefit greatly from cheap call center personnel, IT back office personnel (DBS, SingTel, Starhub)
      Hawker operators & restaurants (cheap waiters, burger flippers)
      Retailers (cheap sales staff)
      Hotels, Casinos & hospitality (cheap bell boys, cleaning staff, counter staff etc.)
      Businesses are able to expand their operations faster using foreign labour inputs and do not need to focus on the difficult process of training and productivity enhancement
      Perversely, some businesses benefit from the massive influx of foreigners because it creates increased demand for the goods & services that they produce! Instead of having to compete in new markets in order to acquire customers, why not bring the customer to your front door where you already have a dominant competitive position! Great examples of companies which benefit from this include the transportation companies (SMRT, Comfort, SBS), telecoms companies (SingTel) and the property developers (more people in the country means more demand for residential real estate at higher prices!)

      Rapid expansion of GDP brought about by the foreign labour influx allows the ministers to pay themselves BIG GDP BONUSES!!!
      It is clear to see that large segments of the corporate and political elite in Singapore have lots to gain by the ‘foreign talent’ policy, whether or not the policy is truly beneficial to Singapore as a whole and whether or not there are segments of society which suffer as a result of the policy. Once we understand this, it is easy to realize that the politicians do not really have the interests of the working class (which forms the majority of Singaporeans) at heart, but instead are acting out of their self-interest. At the same time, it is also easy to realize that there is significant regulatory capture in Singapore, and that instead of acting in the public interest, the PAP Government has been advancing the special interests of a small minority of corporate elite that has come to dominate economic policy agenda setting.

      The close intertwining between the political elite and the corporate elite exacerbates the regulatory capture and incentivizes politicians to act in the corporations’ interest rather than in the interests of Singapore as a whole. Just consider how many retired politicians and civil servants have proceeded to take up senior positions in GLCs, and how many corporate executives there are who have taken positions as MPs in parliament, and it is clear that the corporations and the PAP are in bed with each other.

      But such a phenomenon is not an anomaly. According to Wikipedia, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether.

      Regulatory capture has been well studied, and the economist George Stigler has won the Nobel prize in economics for his work in the field. But even thinkers as far back as Adam Smith anticipated the phenomena. Rick Bookstaber notes that “Smith recognizes that workers and employers would jostle for an advantage by using political influence, and he also recognizes that this would be an unfair fight, with the employers having stronger influence and, because they were a far smaller group, being better able to do their lobbying behind closed doors.”

      So where do we go from here?

      Well if the foreign talent policy is ultimately a power struggle, then the working classes need to struggle for their power. That means standing up against the oppressive talent policy, whether through voting for opposition politicians or through other means. If the corporations want to play dirty, then the people need to call them out on their bullshit and put them in their place.

      Harping on the logical fallacies of the foreign talent policies seems like the right thing to do, but is ultimately ineffective, and falls on deaf ears. The only effective way to reverse it is to repel the private vested interests by force and to hit the politicians where it hurts the most. There is no other way, and the sooner Singaporeans realize this, the better.

      References:
      Wikipedia (2012) “Regulatory Capture”
      Rick Bookstaber, Credit Writedowns (Feb 15, 2012) “Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter on
      the Bifurcation of Society”

      • Jeers says:

        don’t forget that in Singapore, the working classes are not protected by any unions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well as I have mentioned, Singapore is a small country and there are alot of people living in the land. I was a Singaporean but now I am an Australian citizen. Yes, I moved here and can now afford a 3 bedroom house with a garden, a few big dogs, a nice car that only cost me about $9k singapore dollars. It was not very expensive and the pay here is at least 3 times better and I work much less hours than in Singapore. Hence you see, land space is the question. Singapore has alot of people and hence competition for land and good well paying jobs is high. Do the Aussies still complain despite lots of benefits like free visits to the doctor? Yes! Every country complains so no shock Singaporeans complain.

      Even thought the trains here break down even more than in Singapore and lots of things don’t work, people in general rate themselves as content. No need to go to uni in Australia, cleaners actually get paid more than office workers. Will Singaporeans want a lifestyle like that? That’s the question. Wait a minute: didn’t Singapore say it wants lots of money and efficiency and lots of buildings and state of the art buildings and technology? Well there’s a trade off for everything. If Singapore decides it doesn’t want to try to be number 1 in everything and settles for a lifestyle that focuses on the welfare of its people, then perhaps the people can lead a more laidback lifestyle. However, again, land space is actually the big problem. I believe that the foreigners are indeed taking alot out of Singaporeans. In general, Singapore is too small for everyone to be able to afford a house and car. That is why things have to be kept that way: lower pay, more expensive housing.

      So the solutions for you are 1) Climb to the top ladder in Singaporean job hierarchy 2) Move overseas if you are able to. Ok? Simple. The problem is more land space than government. Just remember though, other countries also have their problems. However, I feel lucky to live in Australia because they are doing pretty well economically. I think life depends alot on lucky as well in 50 years time Australia and Singapore could collapse too, who knows.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always felt that we are living in a third-world country. Most citizens are paid peanuts. It is very tough for them to afford the basic necessities in life. How can this country be so advanced, yet pay its people so little? We want to get out, yet it is not easy for us to do so. However, citizens of every other country seem to be able to come here and settle down so easily. Too easily. If the government wants to bring in foreigners easily, they should make it easier for us to get out and seek greener pastures too. Because at the moment, we are just stuck here with no hope for a better life.

  15. kama1954 says:

    An eye-opener of an article. i am a Malaysian who has never worked nor lived in Singapore, I also have a lot of friends from Singapore. I have been to Singapore countless times, to visit et al. During my college days, I had a couple of Singaporean Malay girls as classmates (both have since married Malaysians and settled down here, one in KL the other in JB).

    The gist of my rambling is this; why vent your hatred on foreigners when it is your government that is at fault? If the government had not made those allowances, those foreigners would not have been there in the first place. I certainly take umbrage at my fellow Malaysians being labelled as scheming, conniving foreigners. Those Malaysians, pretty much like the Chinese diaspora, took the opportunity laid out for them.

    • Annabel Lim says:

      You taking umbrage at what? You either have very thin skin or a very tiny brain. “Foreigners” means “Malaysians”? Is that so? Malaysians are not the only foreigners allowed by the PAP government to rob us blind on our very own shores. Thanks to your comments, to the list of adjectives often used by Singaporeans on Malaysians, now we can also add “stupid.”

      • Jason says:

        Was there a need to be so rude? Kama1954′s post was civil as it gets and you have to resort to insults. I’m Singaporean, I don’t share Annabel Lim’s sentiments they’re immature and puerile.

        Grow up Annabel.

      • Eric Cheong says:

        Kama1945,
        I can’t speak for my other fellow Singaporeans but in my mind, our friends from across the Causeway are no longer considered FT. We are so close in terms of culture and behaviour that it is sometimes hard to distinguish between a Singaporean and Malaysian. From time to time, i do cuss at the occasional Malaysian motorcyclist for being reckless but they are what they are. When we say “foreigner”, its usually from other countries.

        • Lim says:

          I agree. Singaporeans can and have accepted malaysians very well, they are like cousins to us..no problems there. It is usually FTs in recent years from the surrounding countries.

  16. Anonymous says:

    we have been brainwashed and hypnotised by comforts that we are all individuals and no more citizens united.. Many have yet to come together to protest against the PAP.. WE pay taxes yet the still hold our CPF.. those who have asked have become bankrupts..WHEN THE MEMBERS OF PARLIMENT ARE COMFORTABLE WHEN THEIR VOTERS AND FELLOW CITIZENS ARE SUFFERING.. I DONT THINK THAT WE HAVE A GOOD GOVERNMENT..WHEN OUR CHILDREN ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY LIVING, THE MPS GIVE BETTER TO THEIR CHILDREN… SIGH DEMOCRACY IS LOST IN SINGAPORE, WE ARE NOT A REPUBLIC ANYMORE SAD AS IT MIGHT BE..WE WILL NOT BE CARRYING ARMS FOR SINGAPORE BUT RATHER GIVE UP.!!!

  17. george says:

    Yes, spread the word. Reclaim our country from the degenerating ruling class. LHL’s facebook should get us rolling. If he has to close it in a jiffy, it means he is being made to feel the wrath of the downtrodden and exploited.

  18. SG Girl says:

    And they still don’t understand why Singaporean couples don’t want more children…

  19. CruEL says:

    Did u do enough to vote PAP OUT? did you tell your friends and your family and relatives to NOT vote for PAP? If not, you still have yourself to blame.

  20. Alamak! Ladies and Gentlemen,
    My apology for not able to reply all your comments at once. I am overwhelmed by such solid support and robust participation on my blog. I thank you all from my heart. Every single individual comment is important to me. Pls keep them coming. I need to prepare a blog for tomor. Look out for it here! Its abt my EX-CEO SMRT farewell party I attended this afternoon! Cheers!

  21. MdAlias says:

    Now you know why Lee Kuan Yew got the guts to call us DAFT Singaporeans?

  22. MiaoMiao says:

    Sigh!

  23. lavender says:

    If you guys out the PAP, do you think the opposition can do a better job? Or what are you guys actually hoping for by wanting the PAP to be out? Are there any thoughts on what’s gonna happen if the PAP is out? Not that the PAP must be in, but besides wanting them out, surely you guys will have some views/opinions on what’s-gonna-happen-next? #justmentioning

    • Renton says:

      believe it or not I once considered to vote opposition too. But after some thinking I had the same conclusion as you, what makes us think that the opp can do a better job? OR even maintain the current good sides. 6 years, if we screw it up it is all downfall and family tragedies for Singaporeans, is no joke.

      • Richard C says:

        PAP dont even need to be totaly out. We just needed them to be less than 2/3 seats and everything in SG will change. They can still be be gov, only that they will not be able to do anything as they wish (without any contest). and we will see responsibility and accountability.

    • icedwater says:

      I seriously don’t think there will be enough votes to kick the PAP out. More opposition voices are needed so that there is better discussion and different perspectives in Parliament. Also, giving the PAP a wake-up call might be enough to get them working in the right direction again… but I have always been called an optimist.

    • Observer says:

      We hope they cannot do better than the MIW in screwing its citizen!

    • Anonymous says:

      The opposition may not do a better job… but we may not be able to take any more shit from PAP

      There may be no thoughts on what’s gonna happen if PAP is out… but we’ve accumulated many long and hard “thoughts” on what’s gonna happen if PAP is still IN…

      We may not know what’s gonna happen next… but we can brace ourselves for the uncertainty that follows…

      What I’m trying to say is that looking at the way things are going, with the discontentment raging in many Singaporeans’ hearts, there is bound to be a tipping point that we do not care anymore and will be quite willing to give the opposition more power to shake things up further. Good thing is, the PAP knows this too and they have from now till the next elections to rectify this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Opp may/might not do a good job immediately, but I’ll take my chances when I know that the current path leads to doom not only for me, but for my children, and my children’s children.

      Also, should the opposition win, I believe that other talented Singaporeans will stand up and contribute, and help make the next era of Singapore a better one, because this is our home.

      I vote for a brighter future (even if its a small chance), not for PAP, nor the Opposition.

    • Cepheids says:

      How to do a better job? Singapore is already very good!

      Go and compare with other countries. You will notice that the income disparities are much worse. Except Switzerland.

      The reason “so many people are unhappy” is because unhappy people in Singapore has access to mass media! The bottom 10% in Singapore makes $2000 a month.

      Does that surprise you? Many of you make $2000 a month? That means you are the bottom 10%! You are not majority!

      The average household income is more than $7000! Can you believe it? It is true! If you split Singapore in to 3 groups, the middle group makes $5000 to $10000 per household.

      If your household makes less than $5000, only 1/3 of Singaporeans are like you.

      Also, happy people do not complain. I think most households that make more than $5000 are not unhappy and happy people do not on blogs or Facebook or Twitter saying how happy they are. Only very few of them like myself, would bother to come to blogs of unhappy people to tell them they should stop complaining. It is the most unhappy people that make the most noise and make everyone else believe that there are A LOT of unhappy people when there aren’t many.

      • Kevin says:

        There’s never a way to divide households into simply 3 groups. NOT 1/3 of the households make $5k income!
        Statistics are made by our govt to show OUTSIDERS how well the country is doing! It DOES NOT reflect how BADLY its citizens are coping! The results are so PRETTY because the TOP earners are earning MILLIONS to simply over-write the low earners!
        Based your “facts” on the govt reports & speak against citizens who are actually trying hard to survive in our HOMELAND?
        Please get your citizenship here & live for the govt!

        • Cepheids says:

          The statistics presented are hard facts.

          http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/catalogue.html#hhldincome

          And yes, I know I am speaking against citizens who are trying hard to survive in their homeland. But I want to remind them that they are NOT average. They are the bottom 1/3. And if they open their eyes to look at other countries, they will realize that other bottom 1/3 people have it worse.

          That said, it also means that the Govt will not and should not do anything drastic or stupid that will compromise the lifestyle of the top 2/3. So, while their complains are valid because they actually reflect their hardship, it is also useless, because this hardship is not unnatural and not unreasonable from a macro point of view.

          It is unreasonable to expect our Govt to be almighty and eliminate all poverty when this is how the rest of the world is too.

          • Anonymous says:

            Dear Cepheids, could you pls tell me what jobs are considered average? Do I have to get a degree coz I don’t see any jobs paying more than 3k for non-degree holders. Having said that, are the majority in Singapore degree holders? I’m just wondering if the stats truly reflect the current situation as I find it far fetched

          • Cepheids says:

            http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/reference/yos11/statsT-education.pdf

            50% of students make it to at least polytechnic. Not degree, diploma. And average worker is not 25 years old, but 40 years old. A polytechnic graduate, after working for 15 years, will probably make $3k.

      • Anonymous says:

        What is your problem? We understand that you have it good compared to others, but as fellow men shouldn’t we all try to help each other despite of the income gap? Afterall, this is our country. The road you’re going down now is basically one of selfishness. Look past the income gap and you’ll see, we’re still the same human beings.

        • Cepheids says:

          I am not saying I don’t want to help. We should try to move towards a smaller gap, but it is not easy. Look around at other countries. The income gap is reality. It must exist.

          No matter how hard we try, there will still be a gap. Now, where you land on the curve, is up to you. If you are complaining about the size of the gap, then I’d say that it really isn’t that big compared to many other countries. We will work towards closing it, but it will still be there. And the 10% richest will still make more than 15 times the poorest 10%.

          If you are complaining about where you land on the curve, then that is your own business.

          • mrnobody says:

            I do not understand why the income gap must exist…it might be utopian to some to say poverty can be eliminated, but look at what Prof Yunus is doing! and there r tons of pple who are like him, contributing in the same way, so if we believe a cause is worth fighting for, there’s no reason why it cannot be done. The income gap can be minimized, or even eradicated, only if we all try, starting with the people in charge (government).

      • Michelle Lee says:

        Cepheids, you are obivously a very happy and satisfied person considering your comments here and any political or economic change would threaten your stability and well being, and you have every right to argue for the status quo.

        I hope EVERYONE here stop using the term “COMPLAINT” or “COMPLAINING” because it is not constructive at all in any exchange of views. It is negative in body language and an insult to others who attempts to share their point of view regardless of whether those views are strong, weak, for or against.

        If I were to “extend” the use of the word “COMPLAINING” then I should also say that you, Cepheids, is complaining against those who you claim are complaining. So, where does that lead the discussion to? Nowhere.

        Simply state your argument and support it with information to express your point of view. It is that simple and the exchange of views can be more constructive whether you are FOR or AGAINST, and I believe most readers will respect both points of view if stated and supported clearly. Let the reader decide if he/she agrees or disagree with your views; they have a mind of their own that can comprehend and make decisions.

        In any case, would Cepheids or anyone wish to help me define which group I fall into? I used to earn in excess of $10,000 per month as a salary worker and now I am one of those PMETs faced with premature retirement, unemployment or underemployment and in the near future be labelled as a senior citizen who is deemed as less productive or even irrelevant to the times. So, should I be happy, unhappy, satisfied or dissatisfied? Do I have sufficient reasons or do I even need to have reasons to “complain” or share my views on how various public policies have affected me, my loved ones and those less fortunate than I am that I am aware of, and what changes I would like to see?

        Frankly, PAP or not, whoever is in the driver seat needs to seriously focus on domestic affairs before situations flare up for the worst. Who I vote for is immaterial because I am only one of two million eligible voters even though every vote counts. Anyways, I have always felt that Singapore looks very good on paper and we put a lot of effort into making sure that is the case; however, my experiences beg to conclude that we are not as good on the ground as claimed by those paper. The Singapore today is strange to me and I would prefer the Singapore I knew in the 70′s to 80′s.

        • Cepheids says:

          The truth is, I am not very satisfied with the way things are in Singapore from a personal point of view. I cannot get a decent employment for my qualifications. I very much love to be home in Singapore but I will also have to sacrifice the opportunities that are opened to me elsewhere.

          I do not know if political or economic change will affect me much, but I can tell you that my profession faces much competition from foreigners. But, I do not resent them coming here to take whatever few decent positions left, because while I was in university, I learned that unlike foreign students, Singaporeans are either elites, or simply CMI. The number of Singaporeans who are really good are painfully small, and most of them are here with me in the USA. Foreign students, most but not all, on the other hand happen to be the “cream of the crop” from where they come from – India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines… They are a much greater joy to work with, than other Singaporeans. So, with all honesty, if my industry in Singapore has to deal with tightened control against foreigners even more, it will most likely go downhill.

          You are right, I am indeed complaining about complainers. But I don’t think that is hypocritical. Such dissatisfaction in the populace is dangerous and unhealthy for the nation. In terms of political environment, we have a very strong and capable (in comparison to the rest of the world) government, and some equally capable opposition. But at the same time, we also have opposition that are simply dissidents, who I will go far enough to call trouble makers. I recall an amusing episode I overhead that an opposition candidate promised to reduce CEO, eliminate ERP and solve congestion all at the same time. People cheered.

          It saddens me that elections has degenerated to a mass marketing campaign. Whoever appeals more to the sentiments of the public wins. It is a solid fact that governance is not a simple task. Policy making is considerably complex as well. We, citizens on the ground, tend to have a rather narrow point of view, myself included. We mostly see what affects us directly, some more than others. It is troubling to have opposition candidates gathering votes by saying what the people want to hear without considering what is truly good for the nation. Complains fuel such things. If complaints get out of hand and gather enough critical mass, we will head toward anarchy, total chaos.

          This is why I urge everyone to trust in our leaders. They are not perfect, but they are pretty much the best we have. They make mistakes, and sometimes they make mistakes that we can plainly see. But they probably do other things well too.

          I don’t know what to think about your situation, and I don’t want to. I believe I will end up in your position in the near future, give it 20 years perhaps. No matter how I look at it, I know that in 20 years, there will be younger and more energetic people, with more up to date knowledge, more agile minds willing to do the same job for less. I’ll like to ask you though, what would you do if you were the government? What would the consequences of making a policy change be, a change that will allow people like you to keep your jobs till retirement age. Would it be better for the entire country? Or just yourself?

          I honestly don’t know, but I can also say I trust that they make all decisions after careful consideration.

          In the past, we were an excellent port, but with the progression of technology, geographical location is no longer that important. We have no natural resources, the people living here for sure will need to struggle hard to survive. We are a small island nation, with nothing valuable in particular except our reputation. We can survive now, and possibly survive in the future because we had a head start and I strongly believe that if we do not do anything else, safe guarding our reputation, and maintaining our head start should be our highest priority.

          We do not have control over where we are born, but we can choose where we want to be, and where our descendants want to be. We may want to remain in our homeland, but we must understand that Singapore is just this tiny island where everyone has to work hard. I honestly cannot imagine how our government can create any policy that will allow us to enjoy sustainable idyllic lifestyles.

          I would venture to imagine Singapore as an “upgrade center”, where people from less fortunate environments fight to come, and struggle to upgrade their lives over a few generations, and their descendants will eventually leave when they can. Those that cannot will stay until they can.

          Our ancestors were also migrants once. Some of us found a better life elsewhere and have migrate away, others, stay to struggle. Meanwhile, more migrants come. They take root here, but only temporarily. And it continues this way. Sadly.

    • Bless you says:

      Frankly, haven’t try yet nobody will know. Some things we try and test many many times le – results proven to be toxic to our local community. Really still wanna try ar?

  24. Johnny says:

    I’d like clarify a little bit.
    Only East Malaysians can withdraw all their CPF when they surrender PR ship, but not the West Malaysians.
    West Malaysians are same fate as Singapore Citizens,where CPF being locked up until age 55.

    After reading ur article, I think I would feel the same as what u think, if I am a Singaporean Citizens, bit helpless.. But if you never take the initiave to change the life, the life will change you. So, if majority of Singaporean keeps mind their own business, no one volunteer to do something for others (Singaporeans citizens) , 10 15 years down the road, everything will just remain unchanged, except some “angpao” every 5 years election.

    Just my 2 cents :)

  25. Renton says:

    First,my suggestion is stop harping on it and move on. Do you think it will help by complaining here? Why dun you think first why you dun study harder get a higher education and get a better job and higher pay? Why keep comparing and nvr measure own capability? Dun give me the crap like your family is not rich, I know a lot of people scrimped and saved to support themselves through big university and got a stable good job.

    2ndly, you people complain about the overcrowding, w/o those FTs who will want to do those ****king dirty jobs to maintai our country? Who clean the toilet? who build our schools flats and stuffs? Your parents? your son? your dear friends? You want them to do all those jobs? and RIGHT NOW, there is 1 guy on my FB posting this blog link on his page, what wows me is that he is even cursing the Indians?! , cmon ffs they are building up all our railways schools and houses. There may be some black sheep among FTs but we Singaporeans dare to say we are All Saint?

    I only believe what my eyes see, and all I see is Singaporeans enjoying good food without having to worry is there food to put into their mouth tomorrow, all I see is booked full movie cinemas and all I see is overcrowded malls with SINGAPOREANS shopping in it.

    Last point, yes NS is a chore and we are forced but if there is a choice do you think the government want us to waste 2 years of our life? It only makes the economy way lousier for guys to not working and not contributing to the economy. Freedom is not free.

    • Saycheese says:

      Chua Mui Hoong loves you. You have been brainwashed by the MSM.
      So, if you study hard enough, one day you will be PM?

    • Quitter says:

      Firstly, let me put forth that I am studying in one of the top universities in USA (within top 10 in the world according to TImes Higher Education) and plan to pursue a post-grad here after graduation (I don’t care if you think I am bragging). Given this, I still agree with this blogger on the issues he brought up and will try not to return.

      The core of the labour problem in Singapore is about how our wage levels are suppressed by the foreigners, and how we actually cannot improve the situation even if we gain higher education. Think of it like this: China produces 1 million engineering graduates a year. If 0.1% of them come to Singapore, we would have a 50% increase in our competition for engineering jobs, distorting the supply of labour. Usually, this will be fine if wages are competitive and reflects perfectly the productivity of the worker. However, is that happening? Do these Chinese graduates as productive as our locals? I can quite confidently say NO; having the same years of education doesn’t imply same productivity or intelligence.

      Now, we have to ask ourselves, why do firms want to hire them in the first place? The answer is really simple – they have all the incentive to because contrary to what our government says, we are still stuck in the “labour-intensive” economy and have trouble transiting into the KBE (Knowledge-based economy). We do not do much valuable R&D, generate valuable services or create new ideas. We are still doing the exact same thing we have been doing for the past 20 years! Do our engineering graduates go into R&D or design products/systems? NO. Most of them find themselves in a menial job such as “production engineer” which basically supervises machine (95% of the time) and debug them when necessary (5%). How about students from other faculties? Most of our business graduates come out to make cold-calls to find new customers and/or create really crappy ROI reports which I believe any A level or Poly grad can do. Science and Arts majors become teachers or enter the Civil Service ‘cos they do not have other jobs suitable for them or require their technical expertise. Hence, foreigners are in high demand ‘cos they can do the simple jobs we are currently doing, and are willing to accept lower pay and conditions, for reasons as stated in the article. And, the thing is, we can’t change the situation even if we are willing to work for it. The economy structure is the limiting factor, not the state of mind of the citizens. Only the government can direct the path of the economy restructuring as the private sector do not have incentives to do so (why would an owner of a firm take the risk of changing his business focus when he is making big profits?).

      Secondly, you are again missing the point of Singapore being overcrowded. It is overcrowded with people we don’t need. We need construction workers. We need rubbish collectors. We need talented scientists. We need finance geniuses. We need ex-CEOs with tonnes of experience and are willing to teach. But we don’t need more service staffs. Or cheap and poor technicians. Or unsafe bus drivers who do not obey traffic laws. Or Kopitiam aunties. We have people for them – people who are better and we are willing to pay a premium for them. They are merely not willing to work for peanuts because they know that are proving first-class services worth many times more, even if their employers do not recognise it.

      On the issue of NS, it is a driving factor for me desiring to leave SG. Simply ‘cos I don’t see why did I have to sacrifice my time when foreigners get a better deal. They paya small extra in HDB etc but get better opportunities in the job market (because they do not have reservice), do not have to pay CPF and do not have to take yearly IPPT. Plus, the government has decided that they deserve (almost bond-free) scholarship more than me because…. they are foreigners. I had better grades, better CCA etc but I also have a pink IC. And that excludes me. If you are thinking, “how can that happen?”. Go google “ASEAN scholarship” or “MOE PRC scholarship” and read their clauses which state that no Singaporeans are allowed.

      • sally rosa says:

        then lucky you, at least when you don’t return, you can still enjoy memories of Singapore with the $4mil spent on Singapore Day abroad. $4mil worth of memories, does it make us here feel any better?

      • Cepheids says:

        Actually, foreign students tend to be better than locals. The author of this blog also showed that foreigners who actually make it to Singapore are more hardworking. Maybe they have more incentive, but still, they are better.

        Singaporean kids are spoilt and they love to complain. They all want to grow up, be managers, make big money doing almost nothing for the society. That’s Singaporeans for you.

    • Lim says:

      //Why dun you think first why you dun study harder get a higher education and get a better job and higher pay?//
      Renton is a representative of what PAP’s sheeples are like.
      Why don’t you go ask NUS why they don’t open up 5000+ more seats and admit ALL singaporean students – that way, everyone will get high education.
      Why don’t you go ask GLCs/Civil Servants/MNCs to hire all locals and put them to run divisions/businesses so they got higher job and pay.
      If everyone can be chiefs, then who drive your taxis/trains, chef cook your food, fix your leaking pipes etc..
      Just because you see the majority 60% middle class shopping and eating, does that mean the bottom 40% 20% 10% does not exist?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Singaporean who moved to Australia. With $200k, I can own a decent sized 3 bedroom house with a big yard. I can own a car. The food here is not just good, its great. We don’t have to go to cinemas all the time because there is plenty of other things to do, scenic etc. and it’s not a overcrowded 5 mil population welcoming too many foreigners to overcrowd the locals. Citizens of australia get free health care and the minimum pay is at least $18 singaporean an hour. Even lazy drunks can afford a house and land. In other words, one of the main reasons things in Singapore cost so much for so little is overcrowding. Anyone thought about that? If you had land and could afford land you could get alot better. Seriously, cleaners in australia and other labour earn heaps, in fact more than office workers. 3 days work of a cleaner here = 6 days office work in singapore. Hence, you see my drift. Land is a major problem.

      • A says:

        just to provide a more complete picture, how long do you take to make a doctor’s appointment? from what i hear, you can wait for a few months for an appointment. how much taxes do you pay? “even lazy drunks can afford a house and land” – exactly the point. do we really want a society where everything is paid for, so that lazy drunks can afford a house?? your taxes go towards paying the houses for the so called lazy drunks. if singaporeans had more kids, maybe we could stop all that foreign talent influx. until then, there’s nothing you can do.

    • Michelle Lee says:

      Renton, did you really think your educational level made you superior over the person beside you who may have lesser academic qualifications? Sorry, I think the lesser educated ones have an easier time looking for a job than the PMETs with degrees (some with more papers) unless the latter is happy and motivated by underemployment and provided he/she can overcome the thought of him/her being a potential threat to the hiring supervisor’s rice bowl. And, don’t tell me the overseas university graduate is more fortunate than the local university graduate.

      Frankly, globalisation does not discriminate. Free Trade deals give access to overseas markets but it also opens our market to other nationalities because we are obliged to reciprocate the deals. There is economic benefit for Singapore; however, how are the gains shared? There is also the ugly side which is intense competition for jobs and unfair hiring practices which cannot be easily traced. That is why employers are being coaxed by our tripartite labor effort rather than being regulated. However, is it effective at all and on a large enough scale? Unfortunately, private businesses is driven by profits and corporate survival in a globalized economy and unhindered competition from free trade arrangements. Add to this, the other economies can afford to play less fair but can Singapore do so without retribution from those other economies?

      Believe what you see and so you must. But, do look around a bit harder in the shadows where the less fortunate have been cast aside, and you can decide whether what you see is what you thought is the reality. What you do thereafter is your right and decided by who you are and your conscience.

      As I posted earlier, Renton, please tell me how much higher education do I need to get to find employment as you have proposed? PhD? Because that is the next higher level available to me. Will it get me a job thereafter? I leave you to ponder on this in your comfort zone while I deal with it in reality. Thank you for your kind advice.

    • Riz says:

      In the 1st place get your facts right between FTs & FW.FTs don’t do the dirty jobs…If you are working in an MNCs then there’s a high chances that you would see a clearly picture.FT’s create problem & the locals have to step in to unwind those problems & at the end of the day the FT’s gets an increment. I see this almost everytime at the MNC’s I’m working for. To be honest I’ve no qualms over the FT’s population here…but at the rate they are covering our island it’s does cause for a concern to local born-breed S’porean.

      Changes are inevitable cause with it we can remain competitive but vast changes as this & treating CTz like a second class CTz is not the way to go…Like someone whom mentioned here she prefers S’pore as its in the late 70s-90s I totally agree with her.Cause during that period of time S’pore is a great place to be living in…

  26. xs says:

    1. Why you say you waste 2 years time in NS? I thought you are very proud of it? So many articles about how good you can become after NS.
    2. You mentioned that foreigner take Singapore as gold mine and work very hard here, after they get good appraisal from supervisor, they get pay rise. Seriously, work hard -> pay rise. Anything wrong?? Why can’t you work equally hard!!??
    Or because you have “life”, “friends”, “family” here so you can’t??
    as if They don’t have them.

    • xep says:

      1. Why you say you waste 2 years time in NS? I thought you are very proud of it? So many articles about how good you can become after NS. —> Where and when do you see that? Please support your statement.

      As for point number 2, it seems you didn’t read into details. Instead get fuming angry because of your logic. That statement is directing at the policy that welcome the foreigners into Singapore, earning as much as Singaporeans but don’t have to spend as much in their own country. It’s logical for people to work at a gold mine, but what some Singaporeans feel is that, the door to the gold mine are only for the foreigners. To Singaporeans, this “gold mine” is just a normal pay due to CPFs, housing loan, COE, etc.

      Hope you will understand what some of us feel. #justlettingyouknow

      • Lei says:

        I’m actually very proud of our Singaporean men who’ve done NS. So many of them come out of the 2 years as better men. Seriously. I don’t know about articles talking about NS, but i know of my own experience of boys/men who have gone through NS and those that haven’t. Malaysian boys and Singapore PRs who give up PR to avoid NS when they turn 15/16 are just no match for our Singaporean-gone-through-NS men. Those that take the NS experience seriously and with pride become more mature, less like mummy’s-boys, less whiny. Of course there are those that come out of NS learning nothing and even put others at risk, but I believe they are a minority. I know you guys always complain about NS, but I for one am proud of your sacrifices.

        • xep says:

          To clarify things, I’m not against serving NS. I’m just want to point out that most guys feel that 2 years is too long and therefore a waste of time as much more things can be done studying, working, etc. Of course, NS used to be longer in the older days but things improve all the times. Being a NS-men right now and I have went through the whole cycle of ATEC and exercises, I feel that the duration of NS can still be shortened. Moreover, reservist also consist of refresher courses for us. But I wouldn’t say its a nation priority right now.

  27. kinjioleaf says:

    Ape think simple, talk simple.

    To employers who insist foreign workers do more, paid less and complain lesser…
    Ape don’t mind working more than 12 hours a day, 7 days a week doing menial jobs provided at the end of 2 or even 5 years term, ape get to buy a land, build a HOUSE over it with some spare for my children to build theirs. Foreign workers slog in Singapore because they look forward to the days when they return to their homeland and retire happily ever after.

    On foreign talents. I’ve witness enough of the so called talents who knows shit about local culture. Impractical solutions, if there is any at all. There are those who have stayed long enough to be able to contribute effectively but they realised all that shine is not gold and choose to hang on dearly to their citizenship and maintain PR status.

    Before I carry on, let me state clearly that I DO NOT begrudge all foreigners. Many are here to earn a decent living and contribute what they can and have done so.

    The exceptions are those who wanted equal benefits yet not willing to take up citizens. To this lot, ape has only two words to you and the first word starts with letter F. Why ape thinks PR should not get equal medical subsidies, housing grants etc? Because you’ve not sworn your allegiance to the state, stupid!

    Back to housing – my Ah Kong sold his land cheaply to the state during kampong days so that high rise housing can be built to benefit more Singapore CITIZENS. Ape often wonders how many ex land owners lying 7 ft under will turn in their graves should they realised their grand children or great grand children couldn’t afford a flat.

    • xep says:

      Very well said, for those Singaporeans who always says that believes in our ancestors beliefs. I bet that our ancestors will want Singapore to flourish like now, but also they wanted their descendants to live a comfortable life reaping the fruits they have sacrificed for us. But sadly, only the former happens while the latter is getting worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very well said my friend….

  28. y.c says:

    Thank you for sharing such a heart felt and honest account of strife that many Singaporeans are currently experiencing at the moment. My heart goes out those who have been neglected in our nation’s ambition toward growth and progress (pure economic growth/statistics/numbers – not happiness). Your story humanizes not only the daily struggle, but also paints a kind of hopelessness and inability for everyday people like you and me to effectively dialogue with the powers that be.
    As a Singaporean myself, i am frustrated, terribly terribly frustrated. But my frustration is embodied in a whole other beast that might seem irrelevant to the story you have told. What is similar though, is the inability to understand the rapid change that is is permeating the very social fabric of our identity as Singaporeans. Confusion leads to panic. Panic leads to disunity.

    How then can we galvanize unity ?
    How can we possibly walk hand in hand towards a common goal?

    The most fundamental needs such as home and shelter; elements critical to the creation of hopes and dreams seem so out of reach to most now. How then is it possible to even explore the glitzy arenas like art, culture, social graciousness, etc–elements inextricably linked to what would be considered a first world nation? We need a reality check. The foundations need to be radically re-looked at.

    We need to firstly recognize that our government has done a good job (i know readers will find this a debatable point, some might even find it perverse ), not many people could have done better given the constraints. But more importantly, we now need to recognize that Singapore is our birth right. And as citizens, we can make change. Anger has never lead to anything good. Neither has bi-partisan coffee shop politics.To make real change, we need unity.

    Your honest account, in my opinion is an agent for change. It is gentle, and it is heart felt. It has impacted me more than any fancy speech of hope and change OR stories of hate and anger. Your story has planted a seed in me, and please know that because i have heard your story, i am now more intentional to thinking about how i can better love a brother.

  29. Thank you for sharing this. Sadly those people who still vote for this government are the ones who have the most to lose if they introduce all these policies. It’s the rich who will feel the pinch, so they keep the PAP in, to keep themselves rich. It’s just selfish. But if you’re in their shoes would you still complain? It’s only the poor(er) ones like us who make a lot of noise. Those earning in excess of $5k (maybe higher) per month won’t want minimum wage, they won’t want welfare state for sure. It’ll make them poorer. Just face it, until the current working population dies away, it’s unlikely that this Lee Dynasty will be going anywhere. I once had faith in this party, they had some really good people, then money and power got in the way. Absolute power corrupts absolutely indeed.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. Noone has mentioned the Singapore government used to confiscate land as well without paying. People keep saying this government should remain in power they are doing a good job. Actually nowadays they really aren’t because Singapore is considered rich because of the money held by the government, not because the citizens actually are well off and well taken care of. Singapore’s human rights index is extremely low worldwide.

  30. Pingback: Making it my Singapore. | funny little world

  31. jamiedouglasd says:

    well written.. but sometimes i question myself, what can the non pap do if they really do take over.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Waiting for Merdeka 2.0

  33. Valerie says:

    I totally agree with it,but the fact is,so wat if we do speck up? Dose the government have time to listen? They’ll push here n there,exp ; pls speck to the MP or else else. Go tot step by step. And yet ending up? Those people only knows how to push it away to another department. Our issue is still there,like some poor which I knw,when they try to approach for help. There are so many question being ask,family members income else. But the gov never even thinks,if there’s enough “do u think that we are so free to q to seek for help?” what sg gov wan is only face “面子"。 Providing PRs with better benefits, so when they spread their words when they’re back to their home town,everyone were envy,everyone were think tat sg gov is sooo gd else! But in fact he just trying to cover the dark side of how unwell he treat his so call citizen like us. When we tok our life out to PRs,u think they believes or bother? They’re having more then enough so they could easily reply..

  34. Sg_Justice says:

    Talk so much for what la. Actions speak louder! Vote for opposition for the next GE!

  35. Resolution says:

    The Singaporeans who will survive will never be those who earn less than 3000 per month, per household…

    Our country’s policy of elitism is constantly building on every “loser’s” blood, sweat and tears. Those who aren’t management, specialists or commanding a pay of more than 5000 per month per house hold will be the ones who suffer the most. To change, we have to go beyond conventional means and welfare… we have to insist on making some policy changes that only the government can do.

    • Cepheids says:

      $3000 is bottom 20%. Are the other 80% complaining? If no, then those under $3000 can go and suck thumb and regret why they nv work harder.

      • kinjioleaf says:

        Cepheids, ape belongs to the 80%. Ape ‘complains’ if that I how you see it.
        Ape feels for fellow Singaporeans, especially the lowest 10% of income bracket. First mindset you have to change. The poor people can be in this predicament not because they are lazy or stupid. They may be less academically inclined but fate is sealed when they are streamed out at a very young age, just to name one of the many examples.
        Second mindset you need to change. Hardworking equals more pay? Hey, then the highest paid should be labourers, construction workers, cleaners etc.
        Do spare some thoughts to the poor people and think about how we can help them instead of merely brushing them off as ‘they deserve it’.

      • Leigh says:

        Look, my husband earns $2400 as a physio. He worked hard, did very well in school, one of he top 4 schools in singapore and had an overseas education. But the govt does not pay him much as a physio in a hospital! When we have a baby n I can’t work for some one, how can we survive? Households who earn less than 3000 might not b those who did not work hard but decide to do altruistic work. Don’t be so snide n arrogant!

        • Cepheids says:

          I don’t mean to be snide or arrogant. And yes, I agree it is not just about working harder. I empathize your situation because I am in a similar position, perhaps not as serious. My profession does not pay well in Singapore too, but fortunately I could find a better opportunity elsewhere. Physio is hard work, and low pay. If he chose this line of work knowing that it will not be rewarding monetarily, he has my respect.

          But I don’t see how you cannot continue working. There are maternity laws that will protect your job. You may choose to give up your career to devote time to your child, which is admirable, but unfortunately, that is a luxury for the rich.

          I understand that being able to spend time with your child should not be a luxury, but our society has become too competitive for that. You may blame the government for such an environment, but the problem lies with human nature. We all want to succeed, and we all work hard towards it. If you give someone else the opportunity to take your job, it will happen. The government can protect you, but at a cost. If they make Singapore a less desirable place for companies to go to, our neighbours will be more than happy.

          While they have the size and the natural resources to not need our kind of economic prosperity, this is all we got. If we lose this, we are toast. Such is the life of Singaporeans, and that is the way it will be should we choose to call Singapore home. For the good of all Singaporeans, our government have to keep things going this way.

          • Johan Wong says:

            Cepheids, mate, your comments have stirred me up but I have kept quiet about it because I don’t see the need to voice out against you with so many other people on here retaliating to your snide remarks.

            I think you should rein yourself in a little and think. Your words just imply that everyone who are where they are now deserves to be there. While it is true that some of them do deserve to be where they are now, most of them don’t. I do not blame you for your way of thinking since you worked hard, and is fortunate enough to be living and working in another country at the moment. I say “good on ya, mate” and will even congratulate you on your efforts and give you a pat on your back. However, some people work as hard or even harder compared to yourself, are not as fortunate as you. Why? Circumstances dictates, hence, they can only resign themselves to being where they are at now. The world is not as fair as you think and hard work doesn’t pay of all the time. Most of the time, yes. But not all the time.

            I empathise with Leigh. In Australia, a freshly graduated physiotherapist would command round about A$4000/mth. True that income tax in Australia is higher and all, but at the end of the day, they take home more. In Singapore, $2400 for a physiotherapist, I believe is the take home pay, after CPF deductions and all. It is truly meagre and does not justify the amount of work and study that one has to put in to become a physiotherapist. You, Cepheids, should be able to empathise with this lady here too since what you do does not pay well in Singapore. But instead of empathising with your countrymen, you gloat. To me, it does not matter if you are earning a decent salary and are carving your way in your career, making it big, or even just making enough for you to lead a comfortable life elsewhere. I say, good on ya. But if you have no empathy, my two cents is that all your years of education has gone down the drain.

            Having said that, I believe that every single person should work hard for what they want. However, having achieved whatever you have in life, you cannot be proud. It is the pride of man that will destroy him in the end.

            I don’t see why having minimum wages as a policy would destabilise someone who is earning $5000/mth. In fact, the minimum wage policy benefits every single person (maybe except for employers and business owners), since it would mean a general increase in wages, no matter which income bracket you belong to. I do not buy the government’s (specifically MIW) argument about having a minimum wage policy will decrease an employee’s productivity and encourage people to be lazy. I studied in Australia and I had to work a casual job to keep myself afloat. Having been there and having been receiving a decent amount of money for my work per hour there, it did not make me lazy nor decreased my productivity. The productivity or the ability of a person to work has got nothing to do with how much he is being paid. It depends on the maturity of the person to think.

            For example, if you are paid $10/hour for working in a fast food restaurant as compared to $4/hour, would you work harder because you want to show that you are worth being paid $10/hour to do the job? Would you give your best at your job (especially during rush hour in a very busy store) to show that you appreciate what you are being paid? I know I would.

            I shall not comment on what the government does is for their own benefits and not for the general citizenry of the nation itself for there is enough of that on here. There is no need for more of the same sort. But I do appreciate what the government has done for the country thus far, albeit I think it is time for a change. It is not the people in the ruling class that needs to be changed, for I believe most of them are more than capable of their positions. I reckon it is their mindsets that need to be changed. It needs updating. They need to start being more radical in their thinking and not stick with what they have been doing during the years when Singapore was still in its infancy.

            I do apologise for a very long comment. Just my two cents worth.

          • Anonymous says:

            “But I don’t see how you cannot continue working. There are maternity laws that will protect your job. You may choose to give up your career to devote time to your child, which is admirable, but unfortunately, that is a luxury for the rich.” oh wow. you’re neither snide nor arrogant. You’re plain and simply ignorant. You might think its a choice for a woman to give up her career for the sake of her child/children but unless you’re a woman, you will never truly understand the LACK of choice in such a situation. Sure, its hell easy to say Singaporeans should suck it up and work harder. Why don’t you practice what you preach for a change? You claimed that Singapore does not have much to offer for someone in your profession and that is the reason you’re not currently based in Singapore, yes? Well, since you preached so much about sucking it up and working oh-so-hard, grow some actual balls of brass and return to Sg; settle for whatever mediocre role+pay SG can offer you and then come back on here and enlighten us with your new discoveries based on ACTUAL PERSONAL EXPERIENCES.

      • still hopeful says:

        To Cepheids, i have read some of your reply here and i sincerely hope that if you love Singapore (govt) so much, please do have a bigger heart for fellow singaporean whether those who give their views here or those who are still struggling with their life in Singapore, don’t keep thinking that they only knows how to complaint but they really need a “place” to vent out their frustration. Thank you.

        • Cepheids says:

          I agree. Apologies.

          But complains will not make you happy… Compare yourselves to those less fortunate. Think Egyptians, North Koreans, Somali, Ethiopian etc.

      • WorriedOne says:

        Cepheids,

        Hard work can only take one so far. Sometimes, due to unfortunate instances, one is where he or she is in society. Life, in general, is unfair. A man who works the hardest won’t necessarily be the man who gets paid the most. Do have some sympathy for the less fortunate. Do not think that they are just lazy to pursue a better life for themselves. Most of the time, they are just stuck where they are due to instances beyond their control.

        In an ideal world where hard work is properly rewarded, many won’t be struggling at all. We’ll all be as well-paid as our MPs if not better. The cleaner works longer hours and harder than me but he doesn’t get paid more.

        • Cepheids says:

          I know. If I can have my perfect world, everyone will be living in luxury! But the sad reality is this. There are 5 million of us and the government cannot take care of everyone. They try to take care of most people.

          How can the poor get better lives? Through the concessions of the rich – taxes, social welfare, minimum wage, labour laws etc.

          While you are here competing with other individuals, Singapore is competing with other countries. If we tighten our labour policies too much, the money generators will leave Singapore and on average, we will do much worse.

          So, this is the cold hard truth, we have to maintain a certain income inequality, if not we will also eliminate the richer tail of our income distribution.

  36. Pingback: A Singaporean feels priced out | Sgpolitics.net

  37. incrediblyvexed says:

    The message behind this article seems to be that foreigners who work here get a better deal than Singaporeans who live here. Isn’t the logical course of action then to give up your citizenship, move to Malaysia or the Philippines and come back as a foreign worker in Singapore? Why aren’t people doing that instead?

    If the lives of these foreigners who work here are so amazing, what is everybody waiting for?

    Oh, I know, you’re all waiting for GE 2016 so that we can vote out the government, collapse the economy so that we can all go and work overseas and be foreign talent too, right?

    To my Malaysian friends, I am a born and bred Singaporean produced by parents who were born and bred Singaporeans. I have no reason to be upset with any Malaysian and I see you as neighbours and friends. Like us, I understand that you are just doing the best you can for your families and I respect your ability to work hard to improve your lives. I hope we can remain friends because once these idiots have succeeded in bringing down the current government, I will be in a country with no natural resources and Low Thia Kiang or Chee Soon Juan as Prime Minister and I am very sure that I will need to go across the causeway to find a job to support my family. Unlike me however, these other 39.9% of my fellow countrymen seem to think that Singapore is a miracle, forever prosperous and that they will always have opportunities here regardless of which salesman ( i mean opposition candidate) they vote for. If the tables are turned in future, please don’t hire them, they are voting for the people who want to throw you out of our country and take away your livelihood. Hire me instead, I’m happy to share the wealth.

    To all people from PRC, India, Philippines etc who come here for work, I have no quarrel with you earning a living either, however, all I ask is that when you’re here, you please follow the rules. I’m sure you had to work hard to leave China or India or wherever to get here. What would be the point if your behaviour changed this country into exactly the kind of place that you had to work so hard to leave in the first place? And remember, opposition supporters are evil, they hate you, if there is an opportunity, hire a PAP supporter instead, we don’t complain so much.

    • sadthat says:

      Incrediblyvexed: is probably the most lucid reply here. I am Malaysian and been here for 15 yrs. I loved Singapore before it was 2000, when as one person said, things were good, and its not overcrowded. I do worried when I see how the influx of other non Malaysians population coming into Singapore is making it harder and less cohesive to live. Personally I can’t stand most of the non Malaysians foreigners here too. Before this, I have never felt being singled out by Singaporeans because I thk Malaysians are much closer to Spore in terms of culture, etc, so we live in harmony, but with now so many non Malaysians coming, we are also unfortunately being caught in the crossfire. To all the Anabel Lims, Singaporeans who are lamenting and complaining abt foreigners invading your territory, pls be objective in your complains.

      • Anon says:

        Tensions have risen to such an extent that Malaysian PRs who have settled well with the comminity in the country are getting the flaks too. Not everyone of them are the conniving businessmen or opportunists who dabble with the property market and leave once they can a fat paycheck. There are plenty who are doing ordinary jobs, like teaching. They contribute higher income tax to the economy. Their kids don’t get edusave subsidies. Their male offsprings have to serve NS to retain their PR status. And they don’t have the right to vote. Some can only buy second-hand HDB because they don’t have the funds like the other rich FTs to cash in on condos. It is not true that all Malaysians who are Singapore PRs are getting the better deal than Singaporeans themselves.

    • xep says:

      To be able to come out with this “logical” reason, it seems you know very little in “how to move out of Singapore” and “coming back to Singapore to work”. From the comments, I don’t know if you’re trolling or just being yourself (ahem.). But I sure feel the sarcasm you brought forth. To other readers, read between the lines of incrediblyvexed statement.

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  39. jasonyio says:

    Hmm in overall, i do agree with lots of ppl here to hire local first, and the cost of housing as well.

    I’ve seen ppl talking about setting minimum wage, setting a minimum wage will have no difference to the society. Reason no.1 being, wages go up, so is your product cost, in the end. all the prices start to rise as well. so it will still be back to square. Because im still currently studying here, i would like a to share a piece of what i think. Take Aussie as an example. they have minimum wage system here, starbucks pay about $15aud/hr on week days, and 23aud/hr on weekend. So lets compare a simple economic rice, with just 2 meat and a veg it can cost up to $10 – $13. depending on the size of the take away. compare with the average in sg like $3 – $5 for the same thing. So do try to understand the economics reason for not implementing a minimum wage system.

    Thou of the system of good and bad, im still proud to be a singaporean. From what I heard from my friends, from europe. to states to china and our neighbouring countries. Non of them are better off than us, in terms of jobs security, nation politics, taxes,

    But of cos the weather in some of the countries are just awesome, compared to singapore. haha.

    • PGoh says:

      economical rice of $10-13 AUD is say, half of an hourly paid person, assuming one earns on average, $20-26/hr in a weekend.

      starbucks in sg probably pay you $6-8/hr? the $3-$5 for the same thing would have taken up much more in ratio with your pay. and the biggest difference? you would be left with $3 after that from your hourly wage, whereas people in australia would have left with at least $10.

      say in a day, you work 8 hours in Starbucks
      In sg – $8 x 8 = 64
      take away 3 meals = 64 – (3 * 3) = $55

      In Aus – $20 x 8 = $160
      Take away 3 meal = 160 – (13*3) = $121

      Huge difference isn’t it.

      minimum wage also keep workers happy as they know that they DO NOT HAVE to ask for lower pay IN HOPES to be CONSIDERED (not even confirmed) for hire. Happy workers = better productivity.

      • Anonymous says:

        i don’t know if you know this but minimum wage for most places on the weekend in australia is actually more like $40 per hour. as a nurse the lowest i would ever get paid is $25 an hr. on the weekend i get paid $50 an hour and on public holidays $65 an hour.

        • Anonymous says:

          And as proud as I am of being Singaporean, the system didn’t work well for me. I get paid 3 times more in Australia as a nurse than I do in Singapore. I get taxed less because my hospital is considered a charity. I save as much as my friends are making in Singapore. I also get free doctor check up as an Australian resident. I can afford a car, my friend just bought a 3 year old mazda for just aussie 20k. My car cost me 5k, its 10 years old but it works fine. I get 6 weeks paid annual leave per year with my contract. Our union just requested a pay rise and we will be getting it. There are no unions in Singapore to negotiate pay rise and work ratio.

          But then again, I have explained to you all that Australia is lucky to have natural resources and hence the government is rich on that. Singapore has none but manpower. Also there is not enough land for everyone to afford things. So you see if you stay in Singapore, it’s hard for you to afford land and house. I am being honest. There are downsides to living in Australia of course. But I visit Singapore often and at the moment the money conversion rate is excellent. I empathize alot with Singapore because living overseas has made me realize that even drunk lazy Aussies can collect welfare from the government, they give them $1200 a month if they are jobless. People here were labelled by Singaporeans as lazy, I can see why, but yet they obviously enjoy life. Lots of things here aren’t efficient, they just take things slow and drink and party alot. They are considered lucky compared to alot of Western nations which are collapsing.

          What to do about Singapore’s situation? I don’t know if voting SDP or whatever party will help you because maybe they get more liberal, but Singapore is still overcrowded and houses will always cost alot to fit so many people in such a small island. We need to consider carefully. Australia is a welfare state that cares for the interest of its people but Singapore might find it hard to do such a thing and introduce minimum wage. Minimum wage will mean that our young ones might start working as construction workers. People are so used to working in offices, can they do that.

          • Bless you says:

            Good to know that Singapore is missed. :)

            I was reading the comments and discussions in this thread and I thought to chip in the discussion too.

            I thought about the fears that we as a nation face and discuss it very often amongst my family and friends. Many times it revolves around our lack of natural resources, our limited land space, our fear of our neighbours, our fear of the emerging economies taking our cushy office jobs.

            I am keen to share my views on the constant rhetoric I hear about us lacking natural resources.

            Think about it on the other side of the spectrum – Africa is resource rich, does it mean the people of Africa have a better life? Apparently not. The people of Africa ironically suffer from a resource curse where profiteers subject the people to lives of slavery and unfair trade in their bid to reap off the abundant natural resources on their land.

            On the other hand, Singapore was pretty much a barren piece of land in our founding days (This is not 100% true though – my grandpa worked in a granite mine in his youth and still bears scars from his mining days). Thankfully we are blessed with deep sea ports and the colonial company decided to establish this sunny island as a trade hub instead. Immigrants arrive on our shores in search of opportunities and thanks to the enterprising spirit of our forefathers, we were blessed with a hardworking workforce. We’ve since come a long way to where we are now and it’s but ironic that we continue to harp on what Mother Earth did not bless us with instead of and being thankful for what we have (and not have). As much as the Australians are seen as “lucky”, it seems like we are not too bad with our luck either.

            So much for history, how about now? If someone is to tell me that Singapore lacks natural resources and hence we have to box up our expectations, understand limitations exist and be satisfied with what we have – don’t expect a house nor a land, etc etc. I won’t agree in full. Stop at your steps and take a look around us. We are, in fact, resource abundant by now. With the widespread consumer culture, how much material does each of us own now? We certainly do not lack resources anymore – we’ve imported (and wasted) so much that we probably have a bigger problem disposing these resources than possessing them now. It doesn’t have to be that kind of resource that is dugged and mined from Mother Earth. What we lack is the resolve to be wiser in using what we have to provide our community with a better quality of life.

            I personally don’t know if things will turn for the better suppose we had vote in the SDP, the NSP or more of the WP. I know that the ideology our current ruling party swore by (and is still swearing by – economic growth, overcrowding our land by massively importing labour, material above all etc) is leading Singapore to her decline. My guess is that after so many years of complacent rule, they have forgotten their responsibilities as elected representatives of the citizens. As such, based on what we are observing, their actions and decisions no longer have our welfare in their core.

            Perhaps all it takes is for us to let go of our fears and give it a shot. Resources are limited but human potential is not.

  40. Khus says:

    Well said allen!

    • Anonymous says:

      Singapore still needs FT to grow and they are still paid lower than citizen. The problem is because of high income disparity. The people in government and top management in companies (CEO, CFO, CF…) are paid ridiculously high amount of salary, bonus and other benefits. And this keeps pushing the living costs higher and higher while the majority of workers’ salary doesn’t grow that high. Sorry I feel some of the CEO even if they didn’t perform well still getting crazy salary! Likewise for those managements in financial industry. Even their fund not performing well but got crazy income. So unfair. If the situation continue, the richer will be so extremely rich, the poorer will be poorer and there might be social unrest of unhappiness.

      • Cepheids says:

        This is the case in other countries as well. If we don’t pay our CEOs as well as in other countries, then you can say goodbye to our economy.

        • jon says:

          Wow, much can be said about you by answering to such an unfounded generalization. Maybe you can use your partial intellect generated by a one-bit cognitive faculty, and cramp out a few more hundreds a month to add to your meager income , instead of roaming around here and leeching on all the posts like a parasite.

        • Bless you says:

          Why?

          Methinks if the CEOs’ passion is money and nothing else, we will say goodbye to our community, our economy, our country and even humanity in no time.

          • jon says:

            Sitting at the top of corporate HQ, a CEO’s job is to basically “babysit” the company and steer it in the right direction. It is his job to ensure profitability of the company as he is accountable to the BOD. Conspicuously, his job is very monetary driven. Such drive stems from the overwhelming responsibility to be in favour with the BOD and the shareholders, and what for? This is the very cause that begs the question. How many CEOs are like Jobs, who has a 1 buck salary and does it to gratify his passion, and for him it is a sort of reward in the process of achieving his aims. Not many, I can assure you, has that sort of enlightenment.

          • Bless you says:

            Wow, you’re quick to defend the role of a CEO in the current capitalist-centric state of affairs. I neither agree nor disagree. While in the current context, a CEO should have a profit making agenda for the company, it’s a different matter when that is his/her only passion.

        • Michelle Lee says:

          Cepheids, I guess you haven’t read the news on Citibank CEO pay objections by shareholders. That’s not the only one and it is becoming a trend with listed companies. Anyways, it isn’t too difficult for me to decide your pay increment and you decide mine when we are both in the same board in senior management ya? I bet it is “hard work” to do that.

          • Cepheids says:

            No I haven’t, but that’s a good start. But it must come from shareholders, not the government.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Someone please post this on LhL Facebook. I can’t do that cos I do not “like” him.

  42. Roxhsz says:

    Im a 25 yr old mum and i can totally relate to the buyin of hdb is so hell expensive. My hubby n i juz bto a punggol standard flat at 330k(in total all the legal fee n stuffs), we juz got our HLE letter that we r only managed to loan at most 180k. Then where can we find the rest of the money??!! I thought gov help young couple? What a bullshit! I even had a son (PURE SINGAPOREAN) and why cnt we get more loan?? Bto flat shld be cheaper but y so exPensive and also the hle so low?

    • jon says:

      En-blocs have been going rampant around SG in the recent years. Why? For the government to make space to build social hubs, eg. shopping centers, office buildings, etc. Thus, space in this small country warrants huge potential. With HDBs(supposedly subsidized) an average of 500k for a 4/5 room, this is to make up for what can actually be build to generate revenue(casinos/resorts/malls etc) instead of subsidized accommodation.

  43. Nur Azmi says:

    So true bro..im fed up with the stagnant system which favours the foreigners..take care of ur countrymen first!

  44. ZZZ says:

    I think Singaporeans should just stop complaining. If you are not happy, why not migrate? By leaving, you are killing two birds with one stone! First, you help yourself by migrating to a happier country of your choice, and Second, you help reduce the overcrowding in the public transport!

    Don’t make so much noise here whining about your predicament, government not doing enough etc. Everyone thinks they know how to govern this country. So why don’t they run as private candidates in GE? Grow up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously you must not be a Singaporean to make such a ignorant comment. I can safely speak for 99.99% of Singaporeans that all of us wish to get out of this country. However, it is much easier said then done, we are not like the foreigners who came to Singapore and have a hometown to get back to, this IS our hometown. All our family and friends are here and it makes us think twice before abandoning them. Secondly, as for the public transport, shouldn’t it be the foreigners who get the hell out instead of Singaporeans itself? This is OUR country for crying out loud why should we be the one to leave. Finally, we are not whining, whining is speaking repetitively of something which can never be solved, these problems CAN be solved, we are just voicing out to make the problem “known” if it is not already to the government. The are many people who try for the GE and many of us are willing to give them a chance, too bad that there are 60% of you people that cant GROW UP and choose to continue with the current cause of out plight.

      • ZZZ says:

        I am a true blue singaporean. Well if you find migrating and leaving your friends and family difficult, then you have already made that choice to stay. So if you have decided to stay, suck it up and stop complaining

        • Lim says:

          Why don’t you go ask PAP leaders to go run other countries that have natural resources, rich with large population, diversity and opinions, political parties and freedom since they don’t like their own citizens, call them daft, whiney etc despite contributing 2 years of NS time to the country, paid them highest salary in the whole wide world!!! Since LSS like to have cheaper, better faster labour, he should be labor chief for India & China or other cambodia burma countries. He will be happier there too. LHL can also go turn the polarized country like the great USA & he can go on AirForce One with his personal plane and secret service too. Go lah, go and be other first world country leaders and show me you are such rare top talents that you can turn anything around without the help of these ISAs, Defamation law suits, CCTVs, Suppression & draconian laws. Since they like FTs so much, they can go and be the World Leaders of FTs in other country.. no body is stopping them!! Is a 2 way street brudder.

        • Bless you says:

          Pal, people can choose to stay AND influence for change at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive.

          Dissatisfaction with the ruling party of today doesn’t automatically make one a quitter, nor a whiner.

          Conversely, if you choose to stay in our sunny homeland and make that conscious choice to “suck it up and stop complaining” when incompetent policy makers dish out rulings that marginalizes fellow Singaporeans, I think it kind of automatically makes you a loser.

      • Cepheids says:

        Bullshit! You definitely do not speak for 99.99%. The unhappy people are very few, but very vocal. I’d think more like 20%.

        Do happy people go online and make blog posts about how happy they are? No! That’s why you only hear about people bitching all the time.

        Stop complaining.

        • Kevin says:

          Because happy people are simply the govt!

          • Cepheids says:

            Right. 60% are the govt? Oh yes I forgot, they voted for PAP.

            Yes, thats your answer. At least 60% of the people are happy, or think the PAP can do better than the opposition.

            To generalize even more, that is to say that there are more happy than unhappy people! So, there is no big problem right?

          • jon says:

            You are unhappy that unhappy people are unhappy and start complaining. Entertain me more, for I don’t see such obtuse ignoramuses around me all the time.

    • Vee says:

      You think say migrate can immediately migrate? Or successfully migrate? Go other country stay no need apply for citzenship over there? Apply no need money? When we alr have a hard time surviving with the amount we earn, do you think we still have the “extra” cash to go apply for a citizenship in another country? Even if we do, go there alr no need place to stay? No need money buy house? Confirm got people employ you to work? Or you want us go there sleep under bridge? Morning wake up bathe in public toilets? Then continue begging on the streets? Don’t say things like they can be so easily be done. Use your brain and think before you talk. If migrating is so easy, all singaporean would have left. Still need to wait for you to say meh.

  45. ZZZ says:

    And no offence Gintai, this is an interesting read. But that’s all it is. Firstly, we gotta ask ourselves why are we earning only this much, and working as a train officer? Why can’t we earn more or go find another job that pays more? Is that because of our qualifications? If so, why is it that way? Can we blame others because we did not work hard to get those qualifications that naturally bring about better salaries?

    • Cepheids says:

      $2k a month is bottom 10%. Bottom 10% of people in Egypt don’t even have jobs. Singaporeans have it very good. Too good already.

      Singaporeans… STOP COMPLAINING!

      • jon says:

        So you reckon for a country ranked 3rd in the world in terms of (PPP) with an estimate of $59,711/annum in 2011 and having a GDP of 251.5B(2010 est)? I think you should look up the statistics of SG first before you start a theory on how fortunate the bottom 10% are, because it is supposed to be how it is and it is NOT TOO GOOD.

      • Lim says:

        Wah lau eh..why compare first world country like SG with basket case 3rd world country like Egypt? Typical PAP syndrome – selective hearing, selecting thinking and selective quoting. Don’t patronize the intellect of Singaporeans.

    • Michelle Lee says:

      ZZZ, please be sensitive to the many PMETs out there who remains unemployed; me included. Does qualifications assure you of a job or better pay? Tell me again because my next stop has to be PhD if so! Stop, look around closely, think clearly before you make these suggestions. The challenges today are no longer just about qualifications. It is far more complex. Even the Govt of today has no clear solutions for PMETs. They are trumping re-skilling, PCP schemes and CET in hope that these PMETs can find new grounds – gainfully employed or underemployed. Is it just about working hard? I hope you are right about these but I definitely do not agree with you from my experience because I am dealing with it right now. And, anyways, people like me are not “complaining”; we are sharing with you some of our challenges to increase your awareness otherwise we become cast away into the shadows and people will say “where got such thing, look everyone shopping like crazy, like money is no issue”. Also such sharing hopes that Happy People do not trample on us unknowingly. Just “work hard” yourself and make sure you do not join my group in the near future or farther future. If you have to join my group, do come over sooner than later because age is not an advantage during these times. I welcome your companionship but really I do not hope to see more like me.

      • jon says:

        A degree qualification nowadays do not necessarily guarantee a job placement, in lieu of current standards. Because now employers have so many other options and are spoilt for choice, they can afford nit and cherry pick their candidates much more freely and meticulously. The very slight edge the FT has over of you almost ensures that the job goes to him. Being an undergrad myself, I as a SG citizen understand the looming threat that presents itself in the form of influx of foreign labour. Though it may be disparaging that this very issue at hand is not to my favour, as evident by the many preceding encounters, there is no choice but to take it as it goes, and be the very best I can. So as for now, attitude is going to be the key, as far as I’m concerned.

    • RT says:

      ZZZ… Many a times… It is not up to the individuals to say whether they work hard to get those qualifications or not. You cannot deny the facts that some people are just not adept at studying. But they will compensate in another way by working hard. Learning as they goes. Hoping for promotions and more incentives.

      It used to be that way. Companies recognising the efforts of the employees, and rewarding them accordingly. But now it has totally changed.

      Comparing a Diploma student and a FT degree holder. A company looking to employ. Which will they choose? Diploma student may be asking for $2000 salary. But a FT is willing to go down to $1.6k.

      Ask everyone here… Who doesn’t want to go find another job that pays more? But again… with the rising costs in Singapore… Who dares to ventures….

      Right now.. is only the matter of the Rich get Richer… and the Poor Gets Poorer….You can’t deny that.

  46. Anonymous says:

    a gd one..

  47. Anonymous says:

    simple solution to complicated problems. if the citizens do the same that the foreigners are doing to their home country. every1 just migrate. end of the day i would very much like to see how the government runs singapore without a substantial amount of locals.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Stop whining. Go get what you are worth.

  49. why not get a qoutation how much is ur parents flat now.. would you like it to be sold at the price of 16 or 18 years back? think again…

    any btw the downpayment is only 5% if both applicant is singapore.. nv heard of any 20% downpayment… max is 10% if you decided to take loan bank rather than HDB loan…

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not get info on how much your parents’ salaries were? Would you want that? Think about it.

    • Kenneth Boh says:

      It is not the value of the flat that is worth debating. Regardless if it’s your parents generation or our children in future, as long as you are stucked here long term, you need a roof over your head. You sell high, you also buy high. So unless you are downgrading to a smaller one when your children are married, enjoy the proceed for a couple more years before you step into the grave, the only other option to live comfortably by reaping the rewards of being asset rich is to emigrate to somewhere else after selling off your flat which you slogged half your life paying for (which doesn’t even belongs to you).

  50. Anonymous says:

    Malaysia have my second home policy.

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