Singapore is not paradise on Earth

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I refer to the Quora reply you posted up last week, where a certain ang moh foreign talent, in response to the question “Why do people hate Singapore?”, proceeded to wax lyrical about how Singapore was paradise on Earth.

Are you sure that guy isn’t the PAP or a PAP supporter in disguise? Because saying things like “Singapore is the closest you can get to a near perfectly run country” makes it very suspicious. Also, he is probably an expat earning an expat package here in Singapore, so life would be very comfortable and affordable for him. The rest of us do not have that luxury. After reading the reply, which was really nothing short of a love letter to the government / ruling party, I felt compelled to share a commoner’s views on the issues mentioned so as to even out the bullshit a little.

Cost of Living

In my opinion, the cost of living is the primary reason why people are so unhappy in Singapore. I see all these keyboard warriors riding high high up on their white horses criticising Singaporeans for their grumpiness, for being rude, unkind, selfish, ungracious and self-entitled and boy does it piss me off.
It’s a trickle down effect you see. When important goods and services like housing and food are expensive, it puts a strain on the people. They have to work harder and longer to earn more money. They have to forgo their work-life balance, they see their families less, they have less time to do what they enjoy doing. They are frustrated and stressed out because of money and their quest to earn more money. Wages in Singapore for Singaporeans are not high. Well not high enough for most to lead a comfortable life with a spacious HDB/condo and car. It definitely doesn’t help when they see foreign talent coming in taking up their best managerial positions, earning high salaries, driving expensive cars and living the high life. How do you expect us to be happy? And we don’t have minimum wage for the lowest paid people in the workforce. Imagine living on $800 or less a month. That’s disgraceful. Which reminds me, the Swiss recently voted NOT to give everyone a basic income. What’s up with that? They are fools for rejecting that. Who doesn’t want money for doing nothing?
Food is severely overpriced in restaurants. Some restaurants are even more expensive than those Michelin starred restaurants in New York City. It’s ridiculous! Yes you can eat at hawker centres and food courts, but how many times a week can you do that before getting sick of it? Besides, most of us work long hours, there’s no time to cook once we get home.
Healthcare is so expensive. Very, very, very expensive. There’s a saying here in Singapore, you can die here, you can’t get sick. It’s so unfair especially when you see real First World Countries like Finland and Canada etc. provide free healthcare to their people. Imagine the poor and elderly who are really sick and really need medical treatment? Also the queues and wait is so long it’s unbelievable. By the time it’s my turn I’ve probably been deceased for 5 years.

Cost of Cars

For families with elderly and/or small children, cars are quite important for getting around. But with sky-high COE prices and the strain of supporting elderly parents and children, can you blame Singaporeans for being angry? The COE is sometimes even higher than the cost of the car and you know what’s the best part? It’s only for 10 years. It’s essentially a rental, but for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And don’t get me started about the parking fees and ERP. It’s ridiculous that we have to pay so much for both the car and parking. To make matters worse, now they want to increase the season parking fees for your second car at your HDB carpark. Since elections are over, now can chut pattern.

Housing

As a young person in Singapore, I’ll never be able to afford a freehold landed property because the gini coefficient is just too big here and the rich have snapped up all the good private houses. So we can only look at public housing or HDBs. Not only are they small and expensive, it’s also difficult to ballot for the good ones in great locations, meaning that you have to settle for those that are inaccessible and ulu. Also, your HDB doesn’t belong to you totally. You’ll have to give it up after 99 years. You even need a permit to hack down walls to do up your HDB so don’t even think for a moment it belongs to you completely. #truestory

Education

There’s just too much emphasis on good grades that the whole learning process is being neglected. You study, you memorise, but you don’t learn. We’re like robots in a factory line, all being programmed with the same shit on different days. When you memorise really well and get super good grades, you’re given a scholarship and you’re set for life. You’ll be considered an elite. You are guaranteed the best government jobs, and given the best opportunities while the rest of us common folks who are perhaps just as smart but not so good at memorising when we were younger, slog our whole lives for a pittance.

Freedom of Expression and democracy

I don’t even… because freedom of expression is like a mythical unicorn you see so often on American shows.
There is no freedom of speech in Singapore and there is no democracy in Singapore. The government does not let the people speak their minds and educate others about the poor state Singaporeans are in because that will definitely have an effect of the voters. That said, I often wonder if the elections are rigged because there’s no way so many people are complaining online about the ruling party but still vote for them! It gets really suspicious. The Brexit referendum is a great example of democracy (this should interest Mr Shawcross since he’s British). The British Prime Minister was against Brexit but the people had ideas of their own, didn’t buy his propaganda and voted to leave the EU. That’s democracy. Giving the people the power to have a say in their future. Good on David Cameron too, he took responsibility and stepped down as Prime Minister. Something our politicians will never do.
Contributed by Nicholas Tan
The Singapore Conscience is an online aggregator of Singapore’s historical, community, social, political and labour news, and sometimes interesting international news.  

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