Ladies and Gentlemen,
Just as a reminder, Singapore island is so small, sometimes you don't see it on the map. It is just 277 square miles. An island 26 miles East to West and 16 miles north to south. It has no natural resources and most of it is just a few feet above sea level. If there is no traffic, you could drive from north to south or east to west in just 30 minutes! In this tiny place about 5 million people are packed, one on top of the other in high rise government owned pigeon hole like apartments which it rents to the people on 99 year leases. I mentioned these facts to point out how precarious the dire economic situation is on the very existence of the island. If a mere 5 large companies were to close, the island government and economy will completely collapse, that's how small it is. And by the signs we see now, it appears that it is indeed going to happen very soon. For a tiny place like this, even a small downturn in the economy, will instantly result in total shutdown of the island.
In todays Reuter report " Outlook dims for Singapore Inc as economy moonwalks", a very dim picture is shown on the island's future survival. Please see report here http://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-economy-idUSKCN12O064?il=0
The reference to "Moonwalk" is a pun on local Chinese custom of eating cakes known as mooncakes during this time of year. A local Singapore employer John Kong a building material supplier was unable to send mooncakes to his workers because he was not making any money and couldn't give any pay rise to his workers because his business is hitting rock bottom and worries on whether he could stay in business. He says his business friends are wondering what will happen to them in 3 months. Businesses are cutting marketing expenses and laying off workers.
China's slowdown, a country upon which the one party state centralized planning rulers of Singapore have decided to depend upon almost entirely, has given a body blow to Singapore's economic survival. Singapore's business for manufactures and shippers down, commodity markets business down, oil and gas sector down, companies bad debts rise, island's money laundering business down, financial services down.
"Earning forecasts for Singapore's listed companies are falling at among fastest in the world".
"Companies are also struggling with debt burdens that have ballooned since the financial crises, even as bottom lines have shrunk"
According to Thomson Reuters "Net incomes are down almost 40% since Jan 2008, net debt has more than doubled"!
Singapore banks DBS Group Holdings and Overseas Chinese Banking Corp are suffering from losses as a result of their loans to these troubled businesses.
Singapore's money laundering scandal the 1IMDB has resulted in banks having to spend more in compliance thereby losing money with no money coming in. Indonesia's tax amnesty has resulted in almost 11 billion dollars flowing out of the island, causing a dent in the offshore banking industry. Especially since the majority of the clients of these banks were Indonesian bank fraudsters, their departure may even put an end to the money laundering business, for which these off shore banks are primarily used.
Entire floors at central shopping malls are empty and tourists are cutting spending.
Singaporeans it appears are losing hope and worried. Key factors were quality of life, regular income and employment because there is no unemployment benefits or social security. If you lose your job, you and your family starve. A person with no money cannot live off the land because there isn't any. It is a small tiny island concrete jungle.
Although Singapore has one of the world's lowest birth rate's in the world, now with these bad tidings, women are not choosing to be pregnant and no babies are born in their maternity hospital. This creates even more pressure to import foreign workers, something the government is trying to slow down since foreigners, mainly from Communist China, already outnumber locals in that tiny island.
Jessica a 39 year old said she lost her job as an audit supervisor, has cut down on her spending, and told her kids she can no longer buy things as often as before.
I mentioned the small size of the island and its tiny population without any natural resources. A large country with an independent minded people living in a democracy may find ways to save themselves. Singapore however is doomed. The collapse in such a small place would be almost instant. Once the bad news takes hold, businesses would leave, people would leave, massive unemployment, there would a run on the banks and the Singapore dollar would become worthless.
If there is any hope of survival, perhaps they should stay. But there is none. And the fault is entirely the making of the former prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. And his son who has taken over is only capable of following his father. Lee carefully created over 50 years a citizenry that is totally reliant on the state. A model citizen is one who obeys the state and merely does what he is told. No need to think. The jobs that are created so far is the result of central planning in certain economic sectors. Jobs are not created by its people as is the case in democracies around the world. In Singapore anyone who has ideas of his own is punished and persecuted against. Only those who are mindless conformists can expect to survive. Unless the government can now think of new ideas to employ their citizens in the nanny state, I think the game is lost.
Especially in a small island such as this, Lee Kuan Yew's main concentration of his efforts should be to develop a democracy, where the people have their human rights, where there is rule of law and where everyone is given an opportunity to think independently and come up with new ideas. This is not so in Singapore. What he has done is to create a citizenry that lives in fear of the government and where the best way to survive is to kow tow and blindly obey their rulers. Such a citizenry is incapable of saving themselves in this situation.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525