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6/06/2011

The Singapore Crunch

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?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

More crunches will come and it is only a question of intensity and what they are going to do about it. There is still this uncertainty in the air.

If the musical chairs in cabinet are just for show, the arguments will still be that:

1) Foreigners are helping to create jobs for Singaporeans and the Government will just moderate the influx.

2) Public transport buses and trains are still far from being as crowded as Tokyo and the rulers will just continue to build more MRT lines to accommodate the influx of new foreigners.

The continuous digging and construction of underground MRT tunnels will just impede rainwater movements underground and create more serious floodings on the surface roads.

The rulers will repeatedly remind Singaporeans that they already told them that they cannot expect floods not occurring and Singaporeans will slowly believe in the repeated teachings of the immortals.

3) HDB flats will still be very affordable because the rulers will just extend the repayment period longer and longer. That is the reason why Singaporeans need to work progressively older and older, generation after generation.

4) Medical and hospitalisation costs are still affordable and adequate says the rulers, only if Singaporeans do not try to stay longer than necessary in public hospitals. Highly subsidised Singaporeans should always make way for foreigners who paid unsubsidised rates.

5) Finally the newly reformed Government will now listen to Singaporeans, but whether the rulers are really going to hear them or treat them as noises is another question.

The views of the people have always been taken into consideration, so they say, but, as always, immortals make the final decisions first, ask for public opinions, make a 'spirited debate' of the issues in Parliament, and in the end it is all smoke and no fire.

Welcome to the brave new way of doing things in red dot.

Anonymous said...

Imagine what will happen if major part of Sin is under water. Then an out break of fatal contagious disease.
Singaporeans will have to die standing outside hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Imagine what will happen if major part of Sin is under water. Then an out break of fatal contagious disease.
Singaporeans will have to die standing outside hospitals.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Friends have been telling me that making an appt with the hospital can be 6-10 months if one is opting for subsidised rate. Paying full fees will shorten the queue to about a month.

Is this really first world medical service? Yes, the same as in the US and UK. Full paying patient get treated first.