Communal living back in Singapore

The idea of communal living was thought to be dead since Singaporeans got richer over the years. Those hand to mouth years of living in cubicles or sharing a flat with several families, sharing kitchen, toilets and common facilities were just a bad dream best to be forgotten. Those were times when most Singaporeans were poor and they had to make do with strangers living within the same four walls.

With today’s affluence and with Singaporeans owning or leasing their own flats, it is like coming full circle to see more and more Singaporeans renting out and sharing their homes with strangers. And with flats that are built smaller and smaller, having more than one family inside a flat is like reliving the past once again.

With more retirees having to remortgage or sublet their flats, living with strangers is going to be more popular for the losers in life. But it should not affect the quality of their lives. Having more people in the flat means more company, more people to chit chat and to look after each other.

There must be some draw backs in communal living. I was reading the case of this Chinese national who killed three women and seriously injuring one in roughly one hour, in the same flat. I am not going to speculate how all the screaming and crying and shouting and banging could go on for so long without anyone barging in to stop the killing.

What I am going to say is that living with strangers can pose high risk, very high risk, for the weaker sex and the old. And the stranger could be very disarming with his friendly smile and pleasant disposition. Not to worry, this kind of things don’t happen too often. It is a risk worth taking. A few cases like this are quite normal as more and more people start to rent out their flats to strangers.

And there are many happy and warm stories to tell of communal living, of friendship built, of help and assistance given, and kindness and gratitude repaid. They get to know more people, make more friends, and help to show how friendly Singaporeans are. They will benefit from the richer experience in life.

Just a wonderful experience to many, except bad luck to a few losers. Forget to add, the quality of life will be so enriching.


Lost4ever said...

Dear Mr Chua

Share what I put together yesterday morning in my laptop, just some thoughts.... bombs & criticism appreciated..

5. Retirement village
a. Vision for productive retirement village
i. Camp style
ii. Extended Family unit
iii. Self help
iv. Conservative and Productive retirement
1. Special interest
2. Tuition
3. Simple toys and traditional craft
4. Aquaponics and organic farming

some more:

10. Worry about the retirement village plan:
a. Are our cpf sufficient for retirement, can we ensure continuous stream of income
i. Toys & traditional crafts(百纳被,batik) etc
ii. Urban farming
iii. Baby sitting
iv. Tuition
v. Repair works…. etc
b. Are we able to be actively engaged in activities to stay healthy
i. Morning exercise
ii. Item (a) activities
c. Are we able to be actively engaged mentally
i. Item (a) activities
d. Are we able to transfer the collective wisdom of a generation to the next
i. Story telling, recording, writing to record knowledge acquired over the years

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Lost, this could be a reality sooner than you think.

Just wait for the rogue Americans to start a war in the region and everything will be blasted to ground level, and lifestyle will be quite similar to what you have described : )

Anonymous said...

Another thought.

10% of Singaporeans expected to be mentally ill in the future as we age.

Wonder if HDB needs to start looking into possible changes in housing design/policy to deal with such a scenario.

Probably too overwhelmed fighting fires a the moment.

Anonymous said...

No worries. I will be leaving for Honduras this Monday to plant oil palm. I have heard the incidences of dysentry and typhus has led to a very high turn over. But iI have waited one whole year for this, to join my Brothers. Wish me luck!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The number of mentally challenged will rise. Some have taken the short cut to Bedok Reservoir. The govt and the police must not take this lightly. Some are prone to violence. There were several cases in China when they just went around hacking at children

Many who are challenged can still live normally within society. For those who have shown to resort to violence, they must not be allowed to walk around freely. Nothing personal but pray that tragedy does not happen because of the govt's neglect.

And Anon 12:31. Good luck to you. Wish one day you will become an oil palm tycoon in Honduras.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The rates of dementia and Alzheimers are increasing becasue people are living longer.

Medical science is very successful in combatting issues of the body....except the brain and the neurological system.

Once plaque and protein compounds start killing off neurons, there is nothing at the moment which can be done to combat this natural process.

We are our brains. Therefore when neurons die "we" change at the fundamental level.

As one grows older, community becomes more important -- regardless of how rich you are.

Anonymous said...

Living longer is good. But not if you cannot afford to fall sick. Then it becomes living longer in hell. What is the use of living longer in such a situation? Good for the hospitals, the doctors, the insurance companies and the operators of old folks home.

Never underestimate the advantage of communal living. The prevalent support and unselfish behavior is apparent. Of course Singaporeans can never go back to such basics. It is unthinkable. To go back from wastefulness and selfish behaviour to a less affordable lifestyle is plain torture. People in many countries of the West are tasting just that and are rebelling.

Anonymous said...

Communal living will be back in big wave. Do you remember our MIW youth wing has visited the PRC communist youth wing and even attended the training over there. Further, our brilliant former MM has openly admitted that the red dot social system is similar to that of PRC in many way. So, I believe communal living will be promoted by the MIW from now on. Do you know why? Is this part of the Asian Value initiative?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

I think it is more a case of making the people think that they are rich when it is the reverse. But the people are not all the same. I read today's paper that two good class bungalows were sold for more than $50m each.

People living in those bungalows need not worry about communal living or trying to pretend that small flats would not affect their quality of living.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The world is now one big global village lah.

You don't have to live so close to each other you can smell each others farts and cock cheese.

You have facebook, twitter, skype etc. :-)