Do not over react

This was an old joke of LKY’s time. When he opened his mouth, everyone jumped and tended to over react. Unfortunately this state of affair is still continuing till today. The Stop at Two policy lingered on for too long waiting for the man himself to say stop, but he was too busy and did not do so. So no one dared to push the button, or no one intelligent enough to see the problem coming.

In a way, the housing fiasco was also a case of over reaction, but with a clear agenda. With a surplus of more than 10,000 units of unsold flats, a happy problem, turning into a disaster that building another 50,000 units over the next two years would not be enough. In the meantime a property balloon has been created that cannot be pricked but pricked it must. Whichever way, to prick or not to prick, some parties would be hurt real bad.

Back to the population ‘crisis’. There is a shortage of babies according the economist’s formula for growth and sustainability, but not a shortage of several millions after exploding from 3m to over 5m over a decade! How can that be? And if the population has grown so fast, should there not be a huge surplus instead, like the surplus of HDB flats. Why is it that after flooding the island with 2 plus millions and there is still a huge shortage? Unbelieveable!

The last few years have led to a population explosion that has strained the whole infrastructure built for a much lesser population. The population increase over the last decade is more than what the normal growth needed for at least 10 years or 20 years of babies. No?

With a 3m population at 2% growth or 60,000 a year, a simple extrapolation will mean 600,000 in 10 years. Even compounded it will give a number less than 1m. We now have 5.4m or an increase of 2.4m! Is this not enough, not an over reaction, that we needed less but imported more than what we needed?

Then why the hooha that the growth number is still not enough? The trick is the bigger base and a statistical formula that says no matter how big is the population, you need so much percentage of growth to be sustainable. Now the base is bigger, so with the same percentage, more and more babies are needed. Even when the population hits 10m, they would insist on a 2.1% growth rate. They forgot why French caps were invented.

And the latest message, just multiply without a care of how many. Now, if the daft Sinkies really follow the edict, and every family just reproduce 4 or more, what is going to happen? Would it lead to another over reaction, another population explosion to be followed by another Stop at Two policy? No need to bother with whether the infrastructure can support, the number of jobs needed to create, the amount of food needed to be imported and the energy and water resources needed to support a 6m or 9m population.

Over reaction without thinking and without planning? No? No? In a financial crisis, or when there is natural disaster like flood or drought, when there is a food shortage, the bigger our population, the bigger is our problem. Even with money the producing countries may not have enough or want to sell them. Forgotten about the wisdom of keeping trim and fit? Are we over reacting again?


theonion said...


The happy problem of more than 100,000 unsold units in 2001-2003 were highlighted by the common man who is against as well as a number of opposition parties of the incompetence.

A number of contrary voices which was inclusive of moi had stated that the problem should remain.

Yet, such was the clamour that now we have the other side of the coin of high prices.

Frankly, all I can say, leave well alone but that prices should remain flat that means no further increase or some decrease.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I think the best classical example of over reaction is one typified by redbean.

Singapore can sustain around 15 million. Of course it has to be done right.

I don't thin k that the present infrastructure is "strained". I think it copes with the present 5+ million quite well.

It is to be expected that housing prices will rise, not only to increased immigration, but a growth in money supply and credit as well. People who have money, will buy SOMETHING -- usually something of value -- objective value and subjective value. Singapore real estate satisfies that proviso quite well. If asshole central banks are INFLATING (printing money) all over the world, it makes sense to "park your cash" in something like Singapore real estate.

There is nothing to panic over or to over react. What is happening is perfectly "natural" in accordance with natural (economic) law of markets and individuals acting in their self-interest.

Worrying to much is stressful. Too much stress is bad for one's sex life.

Got libido?

Anonymous said...

When we were around 3 million, the message was 'stop at two'. We do not have enough land space for more.

Now, at 5 million, the call is for still more babies.

Isn't it strange?

Think carefully before your leap, because they may reverse the thinking again and penalise those who go for more babies.

Trust not the albinos!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

For a casual visitor here just to spend a few days away from the wilderness, anything can. And let me tell you, your 15m is definitley wrong. With careful planning sinkieland can easily take in 50m people.

No need to worry about cost of living and the type of lifestyle. It can be turned into the most futuristic city like year 2525.

Got dole?

The said...

/// In the meantime a property balloon has been created that cannot be pricked but pricked it must. Whichever way, to prick or not to prick, some parties would be hurt real bad. ///

Readbean - the property bubble is like virginity - one prick and it is gone for ever.

Anonymous said...

Will rent keeps trending upwards then? Who will pay $3K a room?

More homes, more rental units and you need more foreigners to occupy all these homes or it becomes a burden to owners and the economy.

"The trick is the bigger base and a statistical formula that says no matter how big is the population, you need so much percentage of growth to be sustainable. Now the base is bigger, so with the same percentage, more and more babies are needed. Even when the population hits 10m, they would insist on a 2.1% growth rate. They forgot why French caps were invented."

The babies won't be forth coming but coffins will rise and thus empty nests and lelong lelong.

Foreigners may also abandon ship when it gets too crowded.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

That's why I used the word 'prick' : )

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Everytime I am in the train I wonder how easy a contagious disease could spread and infected the whole population within days. There is not place to hide, no room for quarantine in this kind of crowded and close living.

Anonymous said...

More people, more businesses and more infrastructures and it leads to more people required to feed the hungry business structure or die.

Anonymous said...

With the Government having large investments in local private developers, besides the HDB, they have to make sure the balloon is not pricked.

That is why foreigners are important because they prop up the private property market, which in turn influence the public housing market.

So, whatever the consequences now, the population must grow, if not from within, then from immigrants.

Anonymous said...


Government owns 90% of land in Singapore

Is it in government's or rich land owners' interest to see property price go down?

How to double confirm?
Follow the money trail. Where does all the money finally end up?

Anonymous said...

The rich have no idea how crowded HDBs shopping centers are. On weekends, you hardly can find seats in food court. Equally bad, you have to siam people on walking paths or be slowed down by slow moving human traffic when walking in these crowded places.


Anonymous said...

We have educated a hungry populace for success.

People don't think much of the word "success".

And people don't think much of the word "work".

What are they hungry for at the end of the day?

Feeding a hungry money machine and you work yourself to death!

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean, there are a few planning studies out there which specify varying numbers of what population Singapore can support.

Could the be wrong? Of course. No one really knows what the future will bring or what the optimum number is.

There is no need to panic about contagious diseases. At 4 million population, something like SARS , if not contained, could wipe out a significant amounts of people.

If you double the population to 8 million, the perceived (not empirical) increase risk of dying from a contagion is meaningless. A contagion will get you regardless.

So occupy your mind on more "happy" themes. You'll feel better.

Got panic?

Anonymous said...

Came across HDB One Room Unit for rent with rental charges as high as over $2k a month. Thot One Rm Units are to cater to the lowest income citizens for them to have a roof over their heads.
Who is/are the owner/s of these HDB One Room Units?

Anonymous said...

I think the call for more babies is to cover the track that they have brought in so many new citizen without telling us. It is a way to justify their action of inviting foreigners to come and stay in Singapore because we do not produce enough. You see, the problem is us and not them!

Anonymous said...

Since Sinkies are powerless against the authority, they will have to leave it to gods.
Be it be in the form of disease, food and water shortage and or other natural and man-made mistake, let it happens. There is no escape from it.

Anonymous said...

Because of high cost of living and low wages for bottom feeders, many turned to rental for more money. Even those who are not financially challenged are renting out their HDBs. Heck, got money to make, make as much as you can because there is no limits to what money can buy you anyway.

And we are building more to feed the money making machine. Everyone wants a share of the concrete pie.

We are assuming that we can depend on high influx of foreigners to feed the housing market.

Well, they too want to capitalize on your market. So the demand for homes goes up. Build more, more units for rental and therefore the need to pump in more foreigners to sustain the business structure.

How not to die like that?

Anonymous said...

Reality check: your pigeon holes are not easily liquidated. With an impending aging population, more will want to cash out.

Where are the throngs of buyers who can afford sky high prices coming from?

Time to bail out of a sinking ship!

Anonymous said...

Your beautiful homes will become a burden dragging you to hell.

Anonymous said...

Everyone aspires to be landlord. Even the poor can be landlord.

How to sustain that? You plug the source of income for them, they sink...you sink.

Anonymous said...

Your minister cow is worse then Marlboro Tan. He panders to the greedy by building more. Is that a solution to control prices or sink us eventually?

Anonymous said...

The curse is that, whatever you build, it will not last beyond the fourth generation.

Anonymous said...

MS, what happy themes you want to share with us?

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans ae now mired in shit because of polices that our leaders formulated years ago.

Future generations will have to bear the consequences of sustaining exconomic growth at all cost.

At this rate, we will come to the stage of what they call 'living hell' with overcrowding, failed transportation system due to overcrowding, and just like the Japanese, being a rich ountry but poor people because of the effect of exhorbitant cost of living.