Monday, October 16, 2017

Short sighted government -- Singapore


In the past, visionary leader have built up a good livable city, leveraging on Singapore's position and human capital. There is much progress and most citizens have gained much from the progress. Healthcare was good, housing was affordable, and public transportation was reliable.

It is clear that since 2000s, the leadership in Singapore is deteriorating. The visionary selfless leaders who cannot plan for successors have appointed loyal obedient "yes-men" to be the next generation of leaders.

Under the undemocratic GRC-system. Many of these "yes-men" were brought into parliament to follow status quo. Instead of looking at future and plan accordingly, the policies and culture favored the "safe" approach, which is to simply carry on what they think is successful.

Rules built on rules, law built on laws, Singapore found itself in a situation where everyone had to conform and innovation was almost impossible. The creatives -- artists, writers and inventors were a minority as the country does not seem to support the arts if the arts does not conform to the written government narrative.

The same way which promoted growth in Singapore in the past -- attracting MNCs, continuing to build housing and invest in real estate companies made a few rich and connected Singaporeans richer. The continued import of low cost labor means there is very little need for technological solution to solve current problems.

Status quo also means destroying historical landmarks and buildings to build more malls. Nature will always be secondary, and even Bukit Brown Cemetary -- a historical area which rests a lot of the benefactors of early -- Singapore is not spared. Our mangroves and forests are cut down and beaches reclaimed. There insatiable thirst for expensive infrastructure projects continued with more HDB flats and malls built and despite the low fertility rate.

Tengah is a secondary forest patch that connects the Western catchment area to the Central catchment. The plans for a new town means that the corridor connecting Western catchment and Central catchment will now be disconnected. Habitat fragmentation negatively impacts the biodiversity.

Our last few sanctuaries will no longer remain for our children to see.

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It is sad to see the government's interest for continued economic growth. And the solution for the growth is for more immigrants and cheap labor, which will require more homes.

Public housing, on a 99 year lease is never real ownership and most Singaporeans still believe that their CPF funds thrown into overpriced public housing which on a 99 year leasehold can be an asset.

Most will find that after paying for their overpriced public housing, overpriced car, everything else is expensive because there are a lot of rich speculators fueling the rentier economy. Many of these people do not need to work and add value, but demand high returns making rents high and driving up costs.

With the progress of technology and the Internet, the automation of processes, very soon, low cost workers will not be needed. With the advancements of online shopping and logistics, regular shopping at malls will not be required. With all these changes which are already certain in many advanced countries, why are primary rain forests and historical sites still getting destroyed? Are there people profiting from these activities?

MRT breaking down is also getting common, and it seems like SMRT, a private company with record profits almost every year, pays its chairman -- millions, yet no accountability has been seen from the top leadership at SMRT, LTA or Singapore government for the lapse to fulfill the basic duty of doing maintenance, however when it comes to collect bonuses, every cent saved by no doing maintenance goes into their bonuses and shareholder's dividends.

Sadly, even with the domestic problems of the Prime Minister where he was called out by his siblings, his refusal to sue them in court just shows his guilt in the accusations. Yet he is fast to sue bloggers and others not related to him, showing even more double standards.

Singapore is on a downward spiral with many irreversible changes. Once the forest is cut down, the biodiversity will be lost -- forever.

--Ironbowl