Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Singletons Also Have Rights

According to an article in the Economist ("The attraction of solitude", Aug 25th 2012),the single lifestyle is a growing force that cannot be ignored.

Even in traditionally conservative countries like the United Arab Emirates, 60 percent of women over 30 are unmarried. Half of American adults are unmarried, up from 22 percent in 1950. Nearly 15 percent live by themselves, up from 4 percent. The march of singledom is global. Research firm Euromonitor predicts that "singletons" will form the fastest growing household group in most parts of the world. It is anticipated 48 million new solo residents will be added by 2020, an increase of 20 percent.

In Singapore, most singletons are staying with their parents, primarily because their own housing needs have long been neglected. Only those above 35 are allowed to buy from the rip-off resale market. Like most policymakers worldwide, our planners also tend to ignore singletons, saving the best of tax incentives and housing grants for benefit of the married only.

Until now. Housing Minister Khaw Boon Wan has been tasked to "look actively" into whether singles should be allowed to buy built-to-order (BTO) flats directly from HDB. Unfortunately the camera did not zoom in on Khaw's face when the announcement was made. We'll never know if he was as surprised as the rest of the nation, whether concrete plans are in place or it was just nebulous promises in the style of Microsoft vaporware.

Thanks to the lack of specifics - the prime minister has this habit of palming off devilish details to his ministers - there is already ugly talk of setting limitations for singletons, e.g. smaller flat sizes, non-mature estates, second tier queues. While they are at it, why not bring back the Lee Kuan Yew suggestion of two electoral votes for the married, one vote for the singles? As Assoc Prof Straughan rightly put it, "housing is a basic need... you can't deny a Singaporean of a basic need just because they don't conform to the ideal family types."

The country is already divided over xenophobia and racial issues, do we need another fissure by discriminating against the singletons? Lest we forget, they do pay taxes, and the males have completed their national service obligations. And we don't mean by saving babies' lives in the hospital.


  1. The use of the word 'rights' somehow sounds inappropriate, just like the recent 'cyclists' rights'.

    For every good that is not 'free', there has to be a priority.

    1. HDB housing is not 'free'. It has to be paid for. Singletons are just asking to have the same equality like everybody else, regardless of his/her marital status. Is this not in our pledge?

    2. The "married couples" have had 30 years of priority.
      Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
      How about 'unmarried singletons' for a try now?
      What have you got to lose? Isn't this the last straw now?

    3. Get the real facts on SG's social re-engineering here.
      Imagine those aborted babies during the 20yrs from 1966-1986!
      After 30yrs, with lifestyle pace and changes in newer generations, reversing TFR will be difficult. They should encourage singletons to go out and live a self-sufficient life and let nature takes its course.

    4. From Anonynous 0915

      @Anonymous 1038, Anonymous 1116, Sherry 122

      What you have all said sounds like what PRs say:

      We pay taxes too, so we have rights.

      If you think you are going to get equal chances at a flat for yourself only, good luck to you all.

    5. From Anonymous 0915

      Sorry I forgot.

      The flat is not a free good, even a toddler will understand.

      But the granting of the right for a single to get flat at the same speed as a family of 3 is free, in so far as it does not cost the HDB anything.

    6. Can PRs vote? Why are you confusing a tax-paying , hardworking singaporean with a tax-paying PR who has no stake in this country?
      When I am old, unmarried and don't have a house, it will be your children and the state who will be supporting me! Is that what you want? Wake up!

  2. Unless the change is stated in concrete terms eg. the law will be abolished totally, anything he says is just a mild tweak or nothing at all.

    This guy cried 'wolf' too many times.

  3. I will not believe until appropriate ministries act on his words. Otherwise it is only talk and nothing else.

  4. This is welcoming news.
    But it shouldn't cap their purchase at 35yrs old & locations. Is insulting really.
    The singles are at their best of prime years in terms of earning capacity.
    They should be allowed to buy say at 30yrs onwards, and be given chance to redeem their mortgage as risk free as they could, just like couples/family.

    I would even further suggest they go boldly on two fronts.
    1) Give them the options to rent. And at end of two years, if they choose to, let them use the rental payment made in the first two years, as part of the mortgage to be offset from HDB. This creative approach will encourage more young people to come out and rent, live and date independently. Who knows, you might have an increase of TFR where some couples will eventually decide to marry and buy the said flat together. This is far better than any of the old tried and failed incentives for couples.

    2) Ignore those private sectors who worry about the sale of their shoebox units. Their self interest should not govern and restrict the rights of the singletons who have equally contributed to the society in many differnet ways. There will always be individuals who want/can afford pte units and pay for the extra facilities. I hope Khaw will do the right thing.

    1. "But it shouldn't cap their purchase at 35yrs old"
      Fully agree. Who knows, the girls might decide to marry a 28 year old with his own house, instead of a fresh grad still staying with his parents. It might change the dynamics of the TFR situation.

    2. Very good idea!

      Is silly to think that males above 18 are deem fit and old enough to take a rifle and defend or die for its country, but they aren't old enough to buy and own a place like HDB here. Singapore is sooooo screwed up in their housing policy and social engineering for decades now, they really ought to wake up. The younger singletons are the key to your TFR problems! Your job is to provide cheap and assessible housing. Not to play moral authority and god by throwing dice.

    3. I am behind NS but the policies of the government seem to contridict or ignore the contribution by NSmen. Giving a few dollars more (by employers) means little since the effort also mean screwing up their chances to compete with PR or FT who do not need to go for in camp along their tenure.

  5. All these are just smoke and mirrors. Forget about promises. Promises are meant to be broken. Have you forgotten the hard lessons? Swiss standard of living? Goal 2012? See? Haven't I told you so.

    1. PAP (Pro Alien Party) Jokes

      Q: What's the difference between an MIW promise and a bucket of shit?
      A: The bucket.

    2. This is really cool!The best!

    3. those pro PAP can be said to be the bucket.

  6. Mr Shanmugam should stop slamming singaporeans as xenophobic and go read up his chinese history. This is once again proving that they are misdiagnosing the real issues (perhaps deliberately?). We the citizens are merely reasserting our national identity, and telling the foreigners living amongst us not to push their boundaries too far. They NI may not be very clear, nor the communications approach pleasant in some instances, but that's what we are doing. Stop your high handed lecturing.

    1. That is his style. What do you think?

  7. Singaporeans are not 1-eye dragons.

    We point out ah-lian/auntie on MRT.
    We call out man who push old woman off bus.
    We disapprove nimby in the neighbourhood.
    We disapprove racists remarks by locals
    We deplore contractors who abuse foreign workers
    We call out woffles wu wrongdoing & sentencing.

    We point out PRC woman scolding old woman on bus.
    We point out Sun xu who call locals names
    We point out PRC bully local Indian to submission on cooking curry
    We point out Ferrari driver who sped and kill
    We deplore the aussies who punched locals and skipped bail
    We deplore PRC drivers who drive badly on road.

    Clearly, the netizens have spoken out equally on both sides, as long as it's bad behavior. Tell me, which cabinet ministers/MP have spoken out on any of the 'crimes/misbehavior'by the foreigners, until they are forced to?

    What kind of one eye snake is telling the PM Lee that we are one eye dragon? Is this the quality of our foreign affairs minister who couldn't even deal with minor misgivings (due to PAP fault policy)between the foreign/local community that he has to high-handedly slam us again? He should take his preaching to the right crowd.

    1. PAP Joke
      If you find yourself in a locked room with;
      -a snake
      -Adolf Hitler
      -An MIW
      and your gun has only 2 bullets.

      make sure you shoot the MIW twice !!

    2. As long as they rely on grassroot leaders and support for feedback, they will never get the truth. If I were a grassroot leader, do you think I will be so silly to tell the government that their policies suck? I want by BBM and power to order around too. Get real man!

    3. Liddat also complain?

      Is the Minister invited to the Dinner-en-blanc event? If he brings along some tau-huay to the picnic, then I believe he is truly standing up to our culture. He seems to have forgotten how we stood up for our curry culture.

    4. @ PAP Joke,
      ps: Hitler would have insisted on shooting the MIW twice!

  8. We have been disappointed many times before. What does the PM expect? We are supposed to iump in joy??

  9. PAP social engineering is ridiculously. Maybe it worked in the part to lift the country out of poverty. But now the general population is much more educated than the previous generations, so what we need is creativity and innovation ground up. Give us back our space and stop poking your nose where it is not welcome!

  10. Married couples are given 2 cherries while singles deserve none according to our PAP Govt public housing policy.

    So can PAP blame the singles for hating PAP for the rest of their lifes?

    1. Not Gian-png8/29/2012 3:21 PM

      I would rather flush away my ovaries every month than to give my vote to PAP. They have done NOTHING but penalizing me! So in LKY's words, I will help him fold up the Lee dynasty before migrating overseas. Any tweak to the housing policy is too llittle too late, but good luck to the younger newer generation. Keep voting for democracy.

  11. LKY: ..around 44% of Singaporean men and 31% of women aged between 30 and 34 are single.”

    Imagine building studio or 2brm units for these people and place them in same area/blocks? They will be having party every other week and you don't even need to play SDU for them to meet. Duh

  12. PAP Jokes
    Q: Why is an MIW like a vending machine?
    A: Neither actually work, but they both take your money.

    What is PAPism?
    SOCIALISM: You have two cows. State takes one and give it to someone else.

    COMMUNISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and gives you milk.

    PAPism: You have two cows. State takes both of them and sells you milk.

    1. Q: What do you get when you cross a male pig with a female MIW?

      A: Nothing. There are some things even a male pig will not do.

    2. Woh!
      Such talented riddles.

      Make my day.

      Incidentally, that dig at a certain "baby saving" male at the end of the article, was another Hard Truth.

    3. PAPism: "You have two cows. State takes both of them and sells you milk"...
      and the cow dung as well.

  13. notice all the new issues raised were all the issues raised by the opposition in the sensitives wards, i.e. those that have a tendancy of losing to the opposition, like ju chay and marine parade. nsp has raised the hdb direct for singles recently. no further details revealed by nsp after their seminar. so no details from pap as well since pap is just copying nsp idea on this to diminish nsp lead.

  14. @"The country is already divided over xenophobia and racial issues, do we need another fissure by discriminating against the singletons?"

    But aren't the fissures the point? They keep people busy and occupied.

  15. @ ANON: 8/30/2012 7:16 AM
    Stop comparing National Conversation with cow dung.
    It's not fair to the cow dung.

  16. I waited until I was 35 before I bought my resale 3 room flat.

    I do not think freeing up the policy is good - this is not because I feel unfairly treated, but I do not wish to see the public housing market further distorted.

    From its simple vision to provide affordable public housing to the masses, there are now many new regulations regarding rental, PR ownership, minimum occupancy period, profiteering by absent PRs etc etc etc.

    The HDB should go back to its original goals and prevent further distortions by pandering to niche groups - it will just mess up an already bigger mess.

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