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10/14/2010

How rich are Singaporeans?

A recent survey claimed that Singaporeans are the 4th richest in the world with net worth of US$336k each or something like that. So how to compare this money with someone with only $30k to see who is richer materially? Of course the Singaporeans have more money, big and strong Singapore currency. The deception is only beginning. Think of how hard it is to save $100k and how fast it slips through our fingers. It may take someone 5 to 10 years to save up $100k but his decision to buy that car will instantly burn every cent away. Ok, Ok, he does not need to buy a car. He can take public transport or buy a bicycle to promote green life. And a young couple saving their first $150k only to see it vanishes when they sign on the dotted line to buy that little flat, and another 30 years to slog to pay up everything. Yes, they need not have to buy. Just rent or stay with the mummy and daddy. Young couples who are able to save this kind of money cannot buy HDB flats, very likely earning more than $10k pm. It is the govt’s ruling. Then the retiree with his $200k savings! They may feel happy and secure to put such a sum of money away for their old age. However, one admission into a hospital for a serious illness, gosh, not a single cent left, nothing left for his remaining years. Are we really that rich and well off? What is the purchasing power of our strong dollar at home? A Singaporean with $50k could barely pay for his Korean car. A Singaporean with a family income of $1k-$2k may need financial help to make ends meet. So we are rich. A major economic crisis will bankrupt a large portion of the population when so many people are indebt of $500k or more. We are exposing our people to such a high and unnecessary risk which we believe will not happen. We have forgotten what happened in late 1990s. Don't they have nightmares of a crash and living in debt, unable to pay their big loans?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did or do the Government forced the people to consume? Why buy 3 Room Flat to start a family? Why buy car when buses, trains and taxis are available 24/7 and Sinkies need not travel beyond 30 kilometres on average ? Why queue days and nites and outbid each others to buy properties and COEs ? Why so 'howlian'(vain) and yet so hollow ? Sinkies are so rich that the rest of the world invariably envy. Even stray cats and dogs in Singapore are given can foods that cost many times the foods eaten by humans in other countries. Sinkies live in luxuries and wanting more, sic.

Wally Buffet said...

Wa! So many millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires in Sinkapoore. This island in the Sun must be the only country on earth with a billionaire remisier who can afford to buy a British football club. Same league as the Red Shirt mentor from Bangkok.

TOC has a story on old folks in Chinatown who cannot afford fish everyday and there was this old guy who ate rice with soya sauce everyday. Sure or not when the rest of Sinkapoore is eating shark's fin and abalone porridge everyday.

The S$ may be strong vis a vis other country's but with such bombastic prices for the four wheelers and that little cubby hole, it has lost most of it's value actually.

Folks, no two ways about it. Those foreign thrash cheapens our money as well as our passport.

Hehe.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean, you of all people should know that the private wealth funds of S'pore are doing very well, and for the most part have been.

When you use a collective term like "people" you muddy the argument -- there are wealthy individuals in S'pore, and others "average" and others again "not so wealthy".

In a very short time the CAPITAL STRUCTURE has been built up to very robust and enviable levels due to (relatively) FREE MARKET policies/ no policies of free market "converts" Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong -- both ex-Fabian socialists.

Unlike most other libetarians from the CATO, Fraser and Mises Institutes who wax lyrical about the "2nd best in the world economic freedom" (i.e. laissez faire capitalism) of S'pore, I have concerns about the idea of liberty in TOTAL.

Sure, there is economic freedom in S'pore -- and that is not to be disparaged, in fact heralded, and is a great example to other nation states -- BUT individual and civil liberties are SADLY LACKING.

Which is why I personally take the idea of using S'pore as a HOTEL -- I love the economic freedom, but could care less for the "authoritarian" leaning towards freedom of speech, expression and motherfucking censorship.

Also the fact that the GLC's have so much economic and social clout is a worry.

But as I said apart from that: SINGAPORE ROCKS!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Agree that some quarters are doing extremely well financially. And there is near 'absolute economic freedom' to make as much money as one can possibly do.

Notice I put inverted commas to the absolute economic freedom? This freedom is given to the rich and powerful to eat up the small and helpless, beginning from the housing market. There little economic freedom at the bottom rung and the middle rung if you care to look closer. The wage of workers is still depressed to keep them competitive.

They even set laws to dictate what one can buy and spend on, eg housing and hospitalisation. And what free is there concerning the people's money in the CPF?

Matilah_Singapura said...

redeban, you make an error: there is no ABSOLUTE economic freedom in s'pore or anywhere else for that matter.

What s'pore and HK have are the highest level of (personal) economic freedom in the world -- as seen on a spectrum (of the concept) of economic freedom. Hence the World Economic Freedom Report uses an INDEX (i.e. relative strengths) of economic freedom.

You also make another error in assumption by stating the rich can make as much as they want.

Not true. Singapore and HK have a disproportionate amount of people who start WITH NOTHING becoming wealthy. A less intrusive govt means the entrepreneur spirit of private enterprise, ingenuity and hard-smart work gives a much better chance to those who are willing and able.

“Money is the barometer of a society's virtue.” Ayn Rand

Matilah_Singapura said...

Francisco D' Arconia's "Money Speech" from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

This speech should be required reading for all teenagers "inoculate" their influential minds from bad ideas they're exposed to by their teachers, parents, popular culture and the media.

Basically without money (capital) the society is DEAD, as it will be without those individuals who understand money and are its worthy stewards.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

no error lah. I said near and absolute with inverted commas to cast a doubt on its absolute meaning.

for the moment, the mantra is greed is good. the big boys are having a party. They think it is damn fun making money from properties by selling them at higher and higher prices. One man's profit is another's loss. Do they want the people to be angry like in Hongkong?

The developers will be happy making as much money as they can. But if the silly govt thinks that this is good, with the people paying through their noses, it is a matter of time when the people make the govt pays for this.

How the govt manage the distribution of wealth will affect the support of the people.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Bullshit redbean. To praise any individual who has "made it" financially by the sweat of his brow and his will is a rare occurrence for you.

At least in "meritocratic" Singapore, the average Jo/ Jane who starts with nothing, comes from nothing has an excellent chance of "making it" -- better than just about anywhere else in the world.

And no, I'm not a spokesperson for The Regime. Capitalism i.e. laissez faire capitalism was an idea of Raffles, and from then on S'pore prospered.

The PAP has merely surrendered (in pat) to the deep-rooted culture in S'pore: that "making money" (by honest means and hard work) is a good, noble virtue and that idea is ANCHORED in the core philosophy of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Unfortunately the idea, whilst held by many fine Singaporeans is not universal. There are portions of the society who expect the govt to solve EVERY_SINGLE_PROBLEM they encounter in their lives -- from providing them with "free" this that and the other -- just because they see the same thing happening in the western-"democratic" welfare states.

And the govt -- being political in nature -- is only too happy to oblige by introducing things like the CPF (tax) and HDB (wonderful political carrot-and-stick device).

You seem to be fixated on real estate. WTF? Because land is the scarcest resource, it is only natural to expect lots of "action" in that area. So what?

Developers and speculators are what they are: emotional profit seekers. and not everyone wins all the time. Occasionally some go bust. So what are you griping about?

If you believe in honest means of acquiring wealth, then there is only ONE way: creating value over and over again for as many paying customers as you can, over long periods -- it doesn't matter if you clean toilets or produce machines or write books. Production and productivity leads to increased wealth for both producer and consumer.

As far as speculation goes, even the capitalist with the lowest IQ will tell you that sure you can make money by buying an asset low and selling it high, but real sustainable wealth is only possible by PRODUCTION which leads to consistent CASH FLOW.

So let the speculators be: allow them to enjoy their little games. Neurotic attention to their "gains" is simply that: neurotic.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Running a country is not operating a pasar or a casino. The people who wants to assume the role and responsibility as the govt of the country and people, must govern for the good of the people.

I can accept a govt that is small and leaving the people more room for individual enterprise. But when a govt even meddles with your conduct in bed, then it better expect that the people will take it to task for every ills.

We have a case of too much govt. How can you tell the people not to expect too much? How can you tell the people to manage their own lives when the govt insists on managing their lives and also their money?

You don't make sense in this or you fail to see both sides of the coin. This is a case of control comes with responsibility. You can't have all the controls and not the responsibility. All the money and not wanting to work for it.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Not everything is a "coin" with 2 sides.

We can all agree that theft is wrong, so is messing with another individual or his property without his consent.

But that's exactly what govt does: mess with individuals and steal their shit by arbitrary "legal" means.

As far as the idea of "responsible" govt goes -- it doesn't exist -- i.e. anything goes.

If you have a govt which "behaves" responsibly, then thank your lucky stars -- it is more a "fluke" than anything you can actually control.

Many younger folks complain about Lee Kuan Yew -- like all humans, he's not perfect -- not by a long shot. Like all humans, he has emotions and a sense of self, and the will to power: all perfectly natural human traits.

Thankfully, he did more "good" than "harm" -- let's not forget, he did do harm.

However the young folks don't realise that if not for LKY, who else? There could have been civil unrest and the rise of a totally corrupt and brutal tyrant -- i.e. physically brutal -- kill citizens, torture women, enslave children, plunder the commonwealth... that sort of thing.

It is only by PURE LUCK that S'pore got a Lee Kuan Yew -- not perfect, but not that bad as far as will-to-power political operators go.

Singapore could have just as easily got a Stalin or Mao, Mugabe or Idi Amin...or even a Soekarno or Suharto -- DISASTER!

My prediction is that luck runs out: in time S'pore will get a really horrible govt, and then you'll see all the "political theorists" spout all sorts of "reasons".

ALL GOVERNMENT IS BAD. The "best" govt is the one which is the least bad.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah,

For all your bullshitting, these are the bullshits that I agree with you.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Hey redbean, it takes one to know one!

Back at-cha man.