Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to build a dual economy....

Singapore announced 7.7% economic growth for 2006. Many of us are surprised not because the growth is so high but because it was hardly felt by the average Singaporean. In 2006, Singapore had the highest per capita growth in the number of millionaires and someone said we probably have the highest per capita deaths in MRT stations. One country, 2 realities.





This is what happens when our determined leaders measure themselves on a single KPI (Key Performance Indicator) known as the GDP. You can see their sense of achievement when they announced last year's GDP growth and following that well deserved rewards/bonus to the civil servants. A growing GDP doesn't mean everyone gets more because there is no guarantee that it will be equally distributed, the PAP did not concern themselves with the distribution problem - they reduced retrenchment benefits to a minimum, imported hundreds of thousands of foreign labor to depress wages, cut taxes for high income earners and raise GST for everyone.





Over the years, policies have been formulated to keep this single number GDP growing. As our demographics became unfavorable, they had this ingenious idea to import foreign workers for this economy- more input to the economy = higher growth. Unlike many countries who faced the same problem and preferred to suffer slowdowns than to import foreign labor, Singapore averted a slowdown by importing 800,000 foreign workers and converting a large number of them to new citizens. One problem with this strategy is saturation....the new citizens will also grow old and you need to import even more people to this little island to keep your demographics favorable. I guess faced with this, the PAP decided that building IRs will help to pick up the slack....what great idea will the PAP think of next?....




There were a few rascals who very early on warned about the rising poverty in what seems to be an outwardly affluent society. One of them, an opposition politician was was critcised for engaging in politics of jealousy and was subsequently made a bankrupt so that he will better understand that being poor in Singapore is actually not so bad. Another wrote alot about the "new poor" but the PAP paid no attention to him until he wagged his finger at a CCTV at a civil servant over a matter concerning some forms. Another guy who felt that "Singaporeans are fed up with progress" was accused of spreading despondency and lost his job as a freelance writer for one of our newspapers whose role is to make us feel good. Thanks to the PAP's style of govt which is : there is no problem until the PAP says there is a problem, we can all relax and believe our lives are getting better. ...let us rejoice when we see those wonderful GDP numbers.....

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am very impressed with your take on the management of Singapore by the elite bureaucrats and political mandarins - the issues you highlight are absolutely relevant and I enjoy visiting and reading your seeing eye from across the oceans where I live. Thank you for doing it! If you did this here in the US, you would have many job offers for skilled and crreative writing.

Capt_Canuck said...

now there is an interesting question. If you bring a foreign worker to Singapore, give him a job and then make him a citizen, did you really give the job to a foreign worker then, or did you just give it to a Singaporean? hmmmm

perhaps the PAP wouldnt have to look outwards for workers if Singaporeans would stop leaving to go to Australia or other countries. But then again, if Singaporeans didnt bring in foreign workers then there really wouldnt be maids or construction workes to beat or degrade for their own self justification, right?

Anonymous said...

I have to respect MM Lee for saying it like it is in ST today! Corporate rate will go down, GST will go up in future. No bullshit from the old man. Something PM Lee and SM Goh has to learn. No hogwash about helping the poor etc etc.

Anonymous said...

I think PM Lee said the GST hike is to help the poor. He did not say how much is to help the poor and how much is to help cut corporate taxes.

At a time when corporate profits are at the highest levels, a 1% cut in corporate tax will suck up the 2% hike in GST easily. So how much left for the poor?.........Not much maybe they get $30 voucher each to offset the increase in electric bills.

Anonymous said...

Shut up you blokes! If you're unhappy, you are welcome to vote for another poltical party!

Anonymous said...

yeah we did. it's ppl like u anonymous (3.12pm) who are stupid enough to vote for the men in white, and amazingly still defend their out-of-touch policies. talk about blind faith. silliness more apt.

bob

Anonymous said...

Very simple solution - either emigrate to another more conducive country or vote the PAP out in the next election. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE.....
I'm rich and you are not.
I voted to keep it that way. You were too chicken to do anything.

Right now we are turning so many foreign workers into citizens.

In 3 years time, these foreign workers will VOTE the PAP in again. Hahahahaha....

I win. You dumb Singaporeans lose AGAIN! hahahahahahah.....

Anonymous said...

Having lived in America for the last 8 years, I've grown to appreciate Singapore more. Trust me, I was once a complete hater of the PAP but realise that no country is perfect and no policy can please everyone. Yes some of the PAP policies suck and discrimination policies are long overdue, taxes are rocket high and GST nonsense is but the Govt's agenda but let us be thankful that Singapore enjoys the freedom of a morally correct and chaos-free society. America may have its perks of freedom of expression but its unfortunate too much of it has been abused creating a collapse in moral values and time wasting bureaucracy.