London is ranked 16th. Paris is ranked 13th. [Link]. We have 20% of our population earning less than $1400 per month. I challenge you to find me one person working full time in London or Paris earning less than $1400 a month - I believe you will have a hard time, yet there are a few hundred thousand Singaporeans living on such low income. Imagine what life is like in the 10th most expensive city in the world when you work full time for less than $1400 a month.
We have the income distribution of a 3rd world country and cost of living that is number 10 among the most expensive cities in the world. So what is quality of life for the bottom one third of the population? You know that article by Vijay Kumar on the "The hidden ugly side of Singapore" [Link] has been circulated in forums and blogs. Many express doubt about the story being true but the important thing is the story CAN be true. When you have people making less than $1400 a month, people who are uninsured (due to existing or congenital illness) because healthcare is not universal and expensive, no minimum wages, no social safety net and the most expensive public housing in the world, you can imagine a large segment of the population living in misery and struggling in the system.
The problem with Singapore is the leadership that got us to this sorry state. We are led by a prime minister whose first moves when he was elected was to increase regressive tax (GST) and cut corporate taxes and those of high income earners. He then increased the pay of his cabinet which was already the highest in the world. He did not understand that the distribution of wealth in a nation is as important as the creation of wealth. His govt focussed on GDP growth and not on quality of life of Singaporeans....hence the opening of floodgates of foreign labor to keep wages down and GDP growing. How to keep this system going? Repress the opposition, limit the rights of the people to gather and speak up, control the media to paint a fairy tale of success and use estate upgrading as an election threat. It is hard these days to believe in the fairy tale, the Internet is slowing breaking the state media's monopoly, and many Singaporeans are beginning to understand that tax payers' money should not be used to threaten the voters during elections.