The Singapore Government spends undisclosed sums to host bureaucrats from China, teach them about governance and stuff, all on the premise they have lots to learn from us.
As Reuter describes it, Hainan has poured money into prime seafront property, five-star hotels, golf courses and marinas for private yachts. Just like the Singapore model. And along familiar lines, the economic growth has resulted in inflation and a yawning income disparity. The poor family farms, that once generated 20,000 yuan (about S$4,000) a year, are sold off to build luxury homes that fetch as much as 150,000 yuan per sq m. What we would call land acquisition to feed the land bank for property developers.
"It is more like a hometown of rich outlanders, instead of ours, though we were born here and lived on htis land for generations," lamented the 26-year old Zhang, whose parents used to grow mangoes on farmland which has been cleared for construction of another new tourist resort. It is enough turn anyone into a xenophobe. But the similarity dies here.
Fortunately the Hainan goverment does not turn a deaf ear to its citizens' plight. Last year, it gave urban residents 42 yuan a month to subsidise food consumption. Across the board, not selectively in predetermined electoral wards.
The central government also pledged to raise the annual average minimum wages by at least 13 percent in the five years to 2015. Maybe not as drastic as Prof Lim Chong Yah's recommendations, but at least they are headed in the right direction, they do have officially sanctioned minimum wage levels. And oh, the local authorities have to set the lowest wages at least 40 percent of average local wages. You see, these guys take the income gap seriously.
Maybe the Singapore lecturers should learn from their PRC students.