Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The hidden ugly side of Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen,

An interesting personal account of Lee Kuan Yew's "island paradise". Something that Lee Kuan Yew tries very hard to keep under wraps from foreign governments but surfaces nevertheless. Mind you, a huge section of Singaporeans live this way. But what is frightening is this; there is no hope for them out of the poverty; with no skills no education and no financial assistance from the million dollar Singapore ministers. My gratitude to Vijay Kumar and to Singapore Democratic Party for posting it and for permission to use it.

I hope many more concerned people like Vijay Kumar would expose the uncaring and heartless million dollar Singapore dictators.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com
Blog: http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/

Your letters are welcome. We reserve the right to publish your letters. Please Email your letters to nair.gopalan@yahoo.com And if you like what I write, please tell your friends. You will be helping democracy by distributing this widely. This blog not only gives information, it dispels government propaganda put out by this dictatorial regime.

Tuesday, 07 July 2009
Vijay Kumar
Malaysiakini (letter)

In between the glamarous buildings and shoppings complexes of this city state, there is huge suffering that the world has never seen. Something that the Singapore government or media will try to hide from the rest of the world. And this is the lives of 80 percent of 'true' Singaporeans who live in the republic's Housing Development Board (low cost) flats.

I, like many young youths, went looking for a better future in this Lion City of opportunity. After four years of working experience in Kuala Lumpur. It was my first experience outside Malaysia and I was very happy to be offered a job in Singapore with a basic salary of S$3,500.

Then, with huge hopes, I started looking for a master bedroom to rent being single. I finally got a master bedroom in Clementi for S$700 a month but only after being rejected by many other landlords for being Indian. The ensuing eight- month ordeal that I spent in this HDB flat really opened my mind to what Singapore is for those who can't earn.

It made me ask if this is the type of development that I ever wanted in my country Malaysia. This is the first time that I felt gifted to be born in Malaysia. Anyway, I lived with a family of three (husband, wife with one daughter) who rented out their master bedroom to me while they slept in the common room.

It was a three-room flat (but unlike in Malaysia, a three-room flat has only two bedrooms). I did not believe it was the master bedroom that I was staying in until I went into the other room and saw that there is no attached bathroom there. I was given a bed and a mattress and also two fans. Then I noticed that the couple with their daughter sleeping on the floor with a thin mattress in the other room. Not even a fan in that room.

Both husband and wife are born Singaporeans and were employed. It was after one month that I realised that the daughter was not going to school regularly and most of the time there would be a quarrel in the early morning between the father and daughter as there was not enough money to pay for the bus to go to school.

There were times when the daughter was very sick and father had no money to take her to see a doctor. It was a real pain in the heart to hear a small girl suffering through the thin walls of this HDB flat. It was unbelievable for me to see this happening in this ultra-modern city. It took me another two months to realise that what was happening in this flat was not an isolated case of urban poverty in Singapore.

It was every where in those HDB flats. There was a Chinese neighbour (an elderly man) and his son had no money to get a taxi to send his father to the clinic for daily diabetic wound-dressing. I soon understood that poverty in Singapore transcends racial boundaries. The whole family of my landlord got a shock that I own a car in Malaysia.

My landlord would keep pestering me every time I come back to Malaysia to bring my car over so that his whole family could go sightseeing in Singapore. In all my life, I never believed people in a developed country like Singapore would ever consider car ownership a privelege.

Three months later, one fine day, I came back home and realised that there was no electricity in the house. This time, my landlord did not have the money to pay for the utility bills. I was back in the Stone Age, using candles. This lasted for days until finally he borrowed money from somewhere and settled the bills.

My landlord as a person I have known during that period never come back drunk or looked like a gambler. He had to pay for his mother's medical expenses, that much I know. This was the time in my life when I learned what is was like to live in that poor quality HDB flat, drying clothes in the rooms and listening to what the couple talked about in the next room via the thin walls.

It was this time in life that made me to think, 'Is this what I want Malaysia to be? For those who talk great or look up to Singapore's success, have they ever come and lived in Singapore like I how I did? Have you seen a HDB flat and how it looks like?

Bring your whole family for a dinner using public transport and then rush to catch the last bus. Is this what a 10% growth rate a year is about that we want boast? Does this growth figures mean anything in the first place? Do we want to open our country to expats so that they can progress at the expense of our own Malaysians?

Do we want to 'progress' to a level that even our children can't buy a house in our own land? Last, I ask myself. Do we Malaysians look at GDP growth as the only measure to choose our government or are we much more matured than that? Achievement at whose expense?



Lee Ka Yew said...

This is a true story.
I have been paying promptly for the HDB loan instalment since I brought it from HDB.
Due to the downturn in Singapore, I lost my job. Unable to pay for the instalment, HDB threaten to take back the flat without any help given.

So what is the point of government keeps on saying try to 'help'? If I don't have money for BILLS, how will I have money for re-training!!!

Anonymous said...

i always felt that singapore's growth was at an unsustainable rate

Anonymous said...



jamestan said...

Dear Gopalan,

My friend's mother's CPF is running out next year. But luckily, he is bringing her over to Australia. Otherwise, she will be picking cardboard boxes to make a living, and hopefully do not get sick.

Australia have a visa of last resort to bring the last member of an immediate family over, called the "Remaining Relative Visa". A person holding this visa can work, study and receive highly subsidised public healthcare. After a waiting period, the person can also receive certain social security payments, apply Aussie citizenship and even sponsor other people for permanent residence.

There are local and state government programs, as well as NGOs and ethnic community programs to give these people an opportunity to live with dignity.

This is what I called an advanced country, not a shameless wannabe like LEEapore.

Unknown said...

The way I see it, the Lees are running out of monsters to sell to the Free World and are morally bankrupt to Singaporeans.

With Communism number out of play, look how lamely they tried to play up the JI's number by letting Mas Slamet go. And drug control, "see how we keep you safe from the tons of drugs flowing from all over the world to your ports?"

Wouldn't be surprised if the Lees turned out to be one of the financial backers of GM, Citibank or Lehman Bros, embezzling the CPF as if there was no auditting. You did get it all out, didn't you?

I caught the first glimpse of what was under the glitter and blink-blink when I read "Future of Singapore by Derek Wee" (google it sometimes, and read it through to the part where enters the "wax lyrical" part).

If that blogger (Mr Wee) dreads entering one's most productive years, he should be 38 now, Mr Kumar has provided the link by describing that the blogger's dread is true. Now the picture is complete.

There is this exhibit at the Chinese Heritage center at Chinatown, where they display the extreme conditions the "first settlers" (if to approach some semblance to a Smithsonian museum). Umm, at least they had hopes, those poor, stinky kids; those men and women toiling in the dust and sleeping like logs on the floor.

What a shame several generations later they find out they'd pawned their hopes to the Lees!

Marjorie Chen, Jakarta.

Anonymous said...

I am an engineer. Over the past year, I have been squeezed out of my job by cheaper Chinese, Malaysian and Indian engineers. To them, $2000 is much when they remit back home. To me, I can't even afford a HDB, as frugal as I try to be, because the foreigners keeps driving home prices up on a daily basis. To add insult to injury, more of the foreign graduates replacing me had their university fees paid by our very own Ministry of Education. These graduates were not only given free college education, they were even given a month allowance of few hundred dollars each. While I had to work part time to support my education in NUS, and I still remain in debt to my student loan. (BITTER LAUGH!!!!).

I spent 2.5 years of my precious youth serving the SAF, during which I lost my first girlfriend during training. These foreigners were given PRs and citizenship in less than 2.5 years and they don't even need to serve. If war breaks out, I have to protect 1/3 of the population fuilled with these people?? (Assuming they dun run away at the 1st sign of trouble??!!) SAF even sent me a letter threatening to fine me for going overseas without telling them...to attend a funeral of my uncle...(BITTER LAUGH!!!!). Hey, here's an idea, why don't I migrate to another country before migrating back. That will save me more time!

I am working in odds jobs now 7 days a week. I am now almost 30 already. Inflation exceed my savings rate, and I find a home, marriage, kids and happy future beyond me. A simple illness or a year of unemployment could wipe me out. Yet the government is wondering why there are less marriages and births....(BITTER LAUGH!!!!)

I bear no love to my country now. My country does not need to be attacked, it has already be invaded and taken over. Thanks PAP!

Anonymous said...

Ha HA SO True !
Keep up the good work