The rush hour crunch is getting on the nerves of Singaporeans and costing the job of the Minister of Transport and Communication in the last election. Whether it is a case of mismatch of policies or a case of not listening, or a case of losing touch, while the commuters are groaning in pain, the official policy is to discourage car ownership and pushing more people to take public transport. And there is also this big and desperate call for more foreigners to come in or else there will be no economic growth.
If this is not madness, then the dictionary would have to change the definition of the word. The population is feeling the crunch everywhere, on the road, in the bus and trains, in social outlets, in schools, looking for jobs, looking for a place to live, there are just so many people fighting for space and services.
Saturday’s front page news in the ST is about shortage of hospital beds in public hospitals. Can it be? We have one of the best healthcare systems in the world and hospitals are running out of beds! The corridors of some hospitals have also been temporarily converted to squeeze in more beds.
Queues are everywhere, even to park cars. And it will be worst when there is a big event being held.
Not to worry, some wise cracks will pronounce that these are signs of progress and prosperity. Singaporeans who want high growth rates and prosperity must not complain about such little inconveniences. These are happy problems. Do they want to switch places with some underdeveloped countries when these problems are non existent? So, please welcome another 900,000 foreigners to ensure that there is continued growth.
The crunch is on. Is this what the Singaporeans want? Is this what growth and prosperity is all about? Can the standard of living be maintained or be betterer without having to live to the brim in all things? Why must every activity or place be bulging and congested and people in a constant state of stress, fighting for fresh air?
Why must we increase the population further from the 5m today when living conditions are showing signs of stress and fatigue everywhere? Is slowing down the population growth a guarantee for economic downturn and decay? No better way out?