Has this thought ever cross the minds of Singaporeans while they are bathing in the economic success of the island with everyone feeling so rich, with properties exchanging hands with price tags like $20m, $30m and more? The same properties used to cost $1m or $2m twenty years ago. And I heard someone just bought a piece of property not to live in but to park his collection of fanciful sports cars.
The wealth and quality of life of many Singaporeans have improved tremendously over the last few decades. Can the Singaporeans continue to enjoy such phenomenal growth of wealth and lifestyle as we move ahead from here? Sure, many will even get richer and own flats of their own with several generations and extended families living in their own private flats, and their own car parks. This could be the new style of abode for many rich Singaporeans. Owning a landed property is not enough. They are looking at owning multi level private properties with each member living in different level for privacy, and their own covered car parking lots.
Contrast this development with the daily barrage of small is good where the attempt is to prepare Singaporeans psychologically to live in micky mouse size flats. The private flats I mentioned above are not HDB flats but each level a big luxurious apartment. The better off one that we know lives in a multi level private apartment, actually a small condo, with just one family of less than 5 members plenty of car park space for his collection of cars.
The average Singaporeans must live in smaller flats into the future and that is a certainty. Not that they need to sacrifice whatever land space in the island for the rich who want 20,000 sq ft for two and enough space for 20 cars. The growing population that is needed for growth and to sustain the growth needs more space as well.
And space is a big problem. With the limited space, not many more roads can be built except mass rapid transport. Owning a car is not going to be the norm into the future. Taking public transports and taxis are going to be the way of life. And don’t worry, there will be big publicity campaign to convince Singaporeans that the quality of their lifestyle will not be compromised. Travelling in class and style in trains or taxis will be much more fun and convenient that owning private cars. I know, I know, after the fiascos of the last few days, no one is going to agree with me that taking public transport is great romance and paying higher taxi fare is gracious living. And sharing the BO of unwashed workers who would be most happy to rub off their sweaty clothes onto Burberry and Zegna of stylish commuters is something to experience, daily. Sharing the same air in a train cabin with hundreds of people will definitely enchance the DNA quality of the ageing strains in the veins of ex migrant stocks. The new migrant’s DNA is like a breath of fresh air and will do everyone more good than harm.
Singaporeans could enjoy more spacious parks and watch TVs in public areas as well if they find their cubicles too small for such activities. Watching TVs in public areas means being entertained with fresh airs around and opportunity to make new friends. It is good for social integration and building good neighbourliness, and good for nation building as well. It will replace the anti social habit of glueing their eyes onto the Ipod or Ipad.
Singaporeans that live within their means will find this island really a paradise. Those who are able and can afford it, owning 20 or 30 expensive cars will be fun, and private car parks or COEs are great to have. For those who cannot afford such luxuries, there are smaller flats and world class transports and spacious parks for their amusments, and first world living that they have worked so hard for.
Having enjoyed such gracious and spacious living, with the convenience of public transport, Singaporeans would not want to go back to the days of landed properties and driving their own cars. The new lifestyle is progress for sure. But if the country could live within its means, live within its constraints and not wanting all the progress and convenience of a first world standard, if only it knows its limitation of land and not to use all up for more people, maybe, Singaporean standard of living could be back to the past, lower quality of life, having to upkeep and clean bigger flats which is a big chore, and having to drive their own cars without the convenience of MRTs and reliable butler styled taxis.
We have progressed and the quality of life can only get better. Or are Singaporeans pushed into a corner? What is the alternative for poor public transportation when ownership of cars is no longer an option? Is living in mickey mouse flats a no choice option?