Monday, November 19, 2012

Singapore, Lee Ruling Family's one party state turns into an unworkable mess

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One truth which history has taught us is that sooner or later, one party totalitarian dictatorship always gets it wrong, because they refuse to listen to anyone but themselves. Absent the advantage of open discussion and debate on issues, totalitarian regimes lack the benefit of examining problems from multiple angles, and thus, the lack of any thorough investigation inevitably leads to failed policies and failed governments. And this is what Singapore is facing today, which it would not be, had it been a democracy which allows open debate.

I was just reading the opposition Singapore Democratic Party's articles on the failed housing policy of the government. See It is shocking indeed to read that even a small 3 room HDB apartment, government owned housing, in which 99% of Singaporeans live, cost as much as US $600,000.00 which the citizens rent on mortgages on 35 year leases.

While the average person in Singapore earns no more than US$1,000.00 or so per month,  how is it possible for an ordinary citizen to find a roof over his head if this is the only premises available to him?

What sadly happens in reality is that these poor ignorant people are fooled into thinking, through the use of a state controlled press, that a 99 year leasehold such as these are in fact investments, making them buy them and be shacked for the rest of their lives in these crippling mortgage payments. In any case since almost all residential property is owned by the Lee Kuan Yew government they have really no choice in the matter. In the end, after being made to pay these exorbitant rents, they have nothing in their pockets and live hand to mouth to their graves while the Lee Ruling Family which run these agencies make unimaginable wealth.

Take the case of the unrestricted number of foreigners in the island, a consequence of the absolute open door policy of inviting foreign businesses into the island. Due to the falling birth rate, aging population and mounting emigration to the West, the government finds themselves forced to bring in unprecedented large numbers of Chinese from China to work these businesses. This causes an intolerable strain on the land scarce tiny Singapore Island thereby pushing residential property prizes even higher.

Now of course with the prices as high as they are, they simply cannot find any solution to bring it down to acceptable levels. If they did, those sitting on these apartments worth their weight in gold would turn worthless the next minute. On the other hand, if these property prizes remain as they are, the people simply cannot afford them leaving only rich foreigners to get these 99 year leases.

And what is the average man to do, without a shelter over his head? He tries to rent some cubicle somewhere in the event of his losing his job, and stranded with no income or insufficient income, with no government social security whatsoever, he does the next best thing. He takes his own life. This explains why the island has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world, the preferred manner being to jump off these high rise apartment blocks, a tragic irony because it is these very housing blocks that have driven them to it.

It is an island simply gone wrong. It is a place almost like Alice in Wonderland or fantasy land where a foreigner finds it easier to get a job than a local. A place where foreigners live in comfort in government housing while the locals for whom these apartment were built in the first place are left stranded without any housing. It is a place where despite the glass towers and skyscrapers and beautiful roads and manicured laws, 80 year old local Singaporeans are forced to continue working cleaning tables at food courts literally until they drop, because there is no social security and no money. It is a place where the government politicians pay themselves 5 times the salary of the President of the United States and if anyone complains, they are sued and bankrupted by corrupt judges who abuse the law.

Singapore has ceased to be an island which anyone can call home and has turned into a metaphorical hotel with a revolving door, where foreigners come in for a few years, set up a business and take advantage of the low tax rates and money laundering services and go home when they have had enough only to replaced by others who pop in for a while, make some money and head out.

Singapore has gone too far in the direction of being an international city for money launderers, tax cheats, and Indonesian bank crooks. It is no longer an attractive place for a native Singaporean to live. And that too is a tragic irony.

Gopalan Nair
A Singaporean by birth in exile
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 4375

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The suicide rate in Singapore is lower than in the United States and much lower than many other Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, China)