"With this latest release, many Singaporeans would say, 'I told you so', since we've been seeing crowded trains and higher property prices." (Singapore Management University lecturer Eugene Tan, ST 1 Sep 2010).
Last Sunday Prime Minister Lee told the nation, there's an "important distinction between foreign workers and immigrants (PRs and citizens) - foreign workers are transients." That's the lie right there. Okay, maybe we should cut him some slack, someone from ICA lied to him, and he simply repeated the falsehood without an appreciation of the details. After all, this is the same smuck who doesn't know mee siam is not served with cockles.
Any kid in primary school, and he does not have to be from the gifted stream, can tell you that foreigners physically displace Singaporeans from living spaces, MRT seats, job vacancies and limited places in schools, polytechnics and universities. And the foreigner can be staying in Singapore from 1 to 15 years. Heck, there are foreigners who have been squatting for 20 years or more, never taking up PR or citizenship, and for those who left the United Kingdom, could even be drawing a pension from Her Majesty's service.
The 1 out of 3 strange faces you see everyday? It's not in your worst nightmare, or the layers of dreams in the film "Inception", it's the cruel reality of today's Singapore.
Lee praised to the skies the "foreign talents" who were credited with the Pinnacle@Duxton, a classic ostentatious monolith of what affordable public housing should not be. At least Lim Kim San understood that the poor needed a basic roof over their heads, a step up from what the man he came across in Chinatown had, who was sharing a pair of pants with his room mate. Once upon a time, there was the HDB flat for the economically challenged, and there was the private sector housing for the privileged. HUDC was there to bridge the gap for those in the sandwiched class of the middle income, especially dinks (double income no kids). A young couple, collecting their first paycheck, after piously repaying their parents for the CPF that went into their university fees, hardly needs the rude shock of an installment schedule for a 30 year mortage. Hardly the incentive to contemplate starting a family of their own. Think kindergarten fees, private tution and the astronomical sums required for their own kid's tertiary education. No wonder the birthrate is stagnating.
All the new measures to "reduce speculation and short-term investment" simply confirm that the humble HDB flat is no longer the accommodation of necessity for the masses, but another poker chip in the casino of Singapore Inc. Entry fee is substantially higher than $100, it's two full years of national service, currently valued at $9K. In case you have any doubt about National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan's sincerity to solve the long term housing problems, read his lips: "If you ask me whether it has got anything to do with the elections, the answer is yes. Everything has to do with the elections."