Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sick joke?

I read the recent article by ChannelNewsAsia "Smaller flats do not mean lower quality of living: HDB CEO" (link here).

The first question that popped into my mind was why are we always told what is good for us?

I have always bemused - why are Singaporeans always told we are not doing enough for Singapore in spite of the sacrifices, and when will we be good enough for the country?

Whenever the PAP or some ministries want to push a policy or make a new normal, there will always be reports of how good it is.

What is your agenda, Dr Cheong, seriously?

For example when the PAP wanted to implement GST, there were waves after waves of articles and reports from financial analysts, economic gurus and intellectual professors who will give their $0.02 worth of knowledge - why GST is good for Singapore.

Ultimately it boils down to 'GST is to help the poor'.

All my life in Singapore, it has never been the PAP's fault when something screws up. It has always been us, the surf citizens. To them, we are the big problem. They are the cure. We do not follow their policies well enough thus the PAP has to make hard-line polices and bitter medicine. For our good, they say.

We don't pro-create, we put too much emphasis on our careers, we want good lifestyle, we want to own a car, we want to get a flat, etc.

But pause a moment and think about it. All these issues we are currently facing can be traced back to bad PAP policies.

Take for example, emphasis on careers. The drive during the 80s and 90s was to be No 1 in everything. When I say everything, it literally means everything. Second is not good enough.

From education hub to financial hub to tourist hub, we had to be the best. Best airport, best seaport, best education system, best politicians (where we had the salary reviews and hikes) and best worker (increase of productivity, cheaper and better and faster).

There were strong undercurrents by the powers-that-be to sell the top professions of doctors, lawyers and engineers. All these were to line graduates up to meet to the economic demands and growth. Every mother's son want to be some scholar, doctor or lawyer. Even my brother was not spared. Anyway I have always been the odd one out but that's a different story.

Another example, owning a place to live. The PAP had a good and well-thought out approach. Every Singaporean will own a flat to live in. A very noble approach and aspiration. At the back of my mind though, I always thought it was for them to take back the kampong lands to free up space.

With the explosive escalation of HDB prices and long waiting queues before getting married (ROM first then ceremony later), our young couples had to work hard to put a down payment for flats they have yet to live in.

Mind you, after a couple of years, who wouldn't want a more reduced pace and enjoy the finer things in life when they have achieved a certain level of income?

With kids coming into the picture, this becomes a whole new ballgame. There is another set of challenges like who will mind the babies while they work, the increase of household expenses, the lack and difficulty to travel abroad and sit back and enjoy the finer things in life. These contribute to getting married later in life so as to enjoy a bit more before the challenges set in.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying there are no joys in having kids. I have one daughter for the matter. But with the high cost of living expenses and housing prices, how does anyone expect these young couples to pro-create or start a family? Then we have this discrimination against pregnant mothers... gosh that's another lousy manpower policy that hardly protected expecting mothers.

Not long after we have this ex-PM Woody who sold the Singapore dream of 5Cs. Let's all say together - Cash, Car, Credit Card, Condominium and Country Club membership.

Now would not every young person want to achieve a status in life when my PM is encouraging young Singaporeans to pursue their dreams of 5Cs?

Back to the Today article. We now have this CEO of HDB trying to tell us how to live. Smaller is better, she says, because family nucleus is small.

I'm sorry, lady, I don't buy your bullsh*t. If it is so, why are we paying sky-high monies for a 20 or 30-year loan to get a smaller area that is only leased to us for 99 years?

Is this a sick joke? Perhaps I can second-guess your underlying words and agenda.

Basically this is going to be the new normal for HDB; this is your cue to build new smaller flats. With the justification of smaller area units, HDB can now build and squeeze more units into a block of flat and suck up more of our CPF monies.

This is not meant to be offensive. But sometimes jokers do talk a lot of crap.

Just like 'GST is to help the poor'.
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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thanks for the memories

For the oldies and goodies, here is an article (link here) which will definitely stir up nostalgic memories... memories of a bygone era where life was simple and slower with less 'noise'. Defintely not boring though!

I recently visited a toy museum of the 60s and 70s near Arab Street. There is a small entry fee which I felt was worth every cent. I spent a good one hour there, reminiscing the past. I think it's called the Children Little Museum (link). Photos coming soon.

Address: 40 Kandahar Street Singapore 198895 (near arab street)

I remember we used to make games from ice-cream sticks, rubber bands, plastic bags, match-boxes, drink cans, etc. That was until Game & Watch and Donkey Kong came out.

A few mentions which were not captured in the article:
  • 10 cents gum bottle (usually either red or blue) with a white cap and a glue stick underneath the cap.
  • Pencil boxes with Gundam or other Japanese cartoon characters. The pencil boxes comes with many hidden compartments and was overlaid with buttons that when pressed will either unlock the hidden drawer or pop a door.
  • Tube of gluey, sticky paste that comes with a short, yellow stick to blow. Cover one end of the stick with the paste to blow a balloon which looks like a soap bubble.
  • Skipping classes to go game arcades with prominent 'School uniforms are prohibited' signs. I had to steal away home clothes in my school bag and change into them at a nearby toilet. The games cost 20 cents to play.
Thanks for the memories.
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