Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally
The main media will have a good coverage of what Hsien Loong said last night. Cyberspace will have a diametrically opposite version from the main media. What should I add to the yin and yang of reporting the same event? I must say that he made my life quite difficult, from the point of writing something that is expected from the new media perspective. And I am trying hard and still fumbling as to how to be critical with what he said. I can’t blame him for not listening to the people’s grouses and brushing them aside or calling Singaporeans names. I can’t blame him for not doing anything towards the people’s complaints. He covered most of the issues that we have discussed here, from NS men, housing issues, immigrants, transportation and education. More recognition will be given to NS men, more substantive and tangible than just mere talks. Of course, it would be better if more were given. $9000 could not even pay for the first down payment, only meaningful if buying direct from the HDB. The issues of immigrants and transportation were tackled, explained and the follow up actions and plans were revealed to minimise the problems. New citizens and PRs will be managed more stringently and at a slower pace. More MRT lines are in the pipeline. Then the runaway housing prices and the promise of more flats to be built. He reiterated the original mission of HDB, to build affordable flats for ALL citizens. Mah Bow Tan will be coming out with his new plans to clear up the mess that should not be there in the first place. This appointment is inappropriate. Mah Bow Tan has his own definition of affordability that no one agrees except those in the party. He has his own queer ways of interpreting supply and demand for housing. He has his own convenient time frame while the anxious flat buyers would be biting their fingers as housing prices soar to the sky. Many ended up buying more expensive flats, paying excessively more than necessary while the more unlucky ones were kicked out of the HDB queue because they waited too long and their incomes exceeded the ceilings imposed. My main misgiving is that no sacred cows were slaughtered. He never did what LKY did like removing retirement age once and for all. The HDB income ceiling stays. It would be more refreshing and exciting if he announced that there will be no more income ceiling and ALL Singapore citizens shall be entitled to at least one bite of the cherry. No citizens shall be excluded from buying his first flat from the HDB. But that was expecting too much. A little tweak in the income ceiling like retaining the $8000 for the cheaper HDB flats and those earning above $8000 can be eligible for Design and Build or Executive Condos will be a better change. The silly $8000/$10,000 ceiling is irrelevant given the high cost of private properties and HDB flats. It is becoming an irritating anomaly. What more when multi millionaires are now allowed to buy HDB flats, though in the resale market! This Rally speech came out as one that promises more actions, acknowledging the problems raised by all the whinings and kpkbs, instead of words or excuses and nothing can be done as in the past. It is more pleasant to the ears.