Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life really got worse in Singapore.....

Singaporeans are sometimes accused of complaining too much. Life may be perceived by some people as 'good' or 'very good' in Singapore and those complaining are just doing so because they like to do it or have something against the wonderful PAP govt. I think you can just shatter this myth easily looking at numbers from the a recent UBS survey.

Here is a Business Times report on the survey[Link].

Main findings:

1. "Singapore workers have to slog longer to earn enough money to bite into a Big Mac. Its price is equivalent to about 36 minutes' worth of work, 14 more than three years ago."

2."It shows that the country is among First World economies in prices but not necessarily in wages".

3. "With pay increases not keeping pace with price hikes, purchasing power is squeezed. Singapore has declined 10 spots to the 50th position, behind cities like Bratislava in Slovakia, Johannesburg in South Africa and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

4. "Halimah Yacob questions the survey's validity".

5. "'The figures may be right, but the conclusion could be wrong" - MP Seah Kian Peng

You can go through the report in detail[Download here]. The numbers clearly shows that that our cost of living has risen much faster than our wages. We have gotten worse compared with other Asian cities such as KL, Seoul, Hong Kong etc. When interviewed by Business Times, MP Halimah said govt measures ranging from Workfare Income Supplement for low-wage earners, to rebates and subsidies in healthcare, education and housing help people to cope much better. Did she forget that the govt also implemented means testing that will significantly increase the cost of medical care for Singaporeans? Did she forget that the cost of housing has escalated by 40% in 3 years as govt subsidy remains more or less the same? Workfare? Most of us don't qualify and you don't envy those who do because at their income level life is just miserable in Singapore.

And there are plenty of things that has gotten worse that is not captured in the report. Buses packed like sardine cans, MRT carriages with seats removed, congested roads, decreasing job security etc. Overall life has gotten worse for most people in Singapore. It is hard for PAP MPs to understand this because their lives have not gotten worse. The PAP leaders have denied almost every problem Singaporeans raised. When the cost of housing rose, they insisted that it was still affordable so they did nothing - they blame Singaporeans for being too fussy and obstinate about location and size of flats. When Singaporeans above 40 (now above 30) find it hard to get jobs - they tell you to moderate your 'unrealistic' expectations and take any job that pays you anything....joblessness is also the fault of Singaporeans. When we tell them that utilities especially the cost of electricity is too high, they tell us to cut down on our usage if we can't afford it. is again the fault of Singaporeans, they are using more electricity than they can afford. So this is what we pay this govt the highest salary for - to tell us to solve our own problems?....worse still to create problems for us to solve?


Anonymous said...

The comparison of the number of hours we need to work to afford a Big Mac needs further tweaking. Did the size of the Big Mac decrease, while its price escalated?

I am asking this because I am a frequent buyer of Old Chang Kee currypuffs. The price used to be about $0.80 per puff 10 years ago. It is now $1.20, and the puff has shrunk considerably. So, inflation is increasing at a much bigger rate.

Same for our income. Housing prices go up while the actual sizes decrease. We are paying more for medical care, but is it for the exact same services, or a scaled-down version. We pay more for food, but are we getting the same portions, or getting less while having to pay more?

Anonymous said...

It's out of point but Japan has the "amakudari" or descent from heaven. I think its much more worst here, retired generals, civil servants and politicians get appointed to cushy jobs in the not so private "private sector". What shall be call it "PAPikudari"

Anonymous said...

Yes,times are tough. Cost of living is increasing while income is barely moving for those who still have jobs. People are sleeping in HDB void decks. Old folks working as karung guni for food. Then I pop down to Orchard Rd on the weekend and the place is jam packed with shoppers. No sign of tough time anywhere with all the glitz and glamour and the carefree spending. Property launches are being snapped up in no time. Flippers can still make money with buyer willing to pay more. There must be still enough people making good money out there for these to be going on week after week, month after month.

There is no denying that many people have fallen on hard times but I don't think the pain is that acute to shock the nation into realising something need to be changed. The common attitude is, it doesn't affect me, I still have a job, my property is appreciating, everything is fine. If you care to ask around, this is the majority view.

Anonymous said...

i think many at orchard road are tourists, rich chinese indonesians shopping and singaporeans just window shopping. This is because the data on internal consumption is quite low in singapore.

Singaporeans are just not spending enough to prop up the economy. This has been the case since SARS

even for the condos at orchard rd, if u ask the security guards they will tell u 80% owners are not sporeans.

makes me wonder if 80% of the richest 2% of super rich indonesians are actually living in the orchard area.

Anonymous said...

One elite suggested Chicken too expensive, eat Fish then...

Anonymous said...

i like this one best:

"The figures may be right, but the conclusion could be wrong" - MP Seah Kian Peng

die die oso yao ba hei shuo dao bai... ie talk until black turns to white.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 30/9/09 08:29

The Bill in Japan has been passed to BAN Amakudari.

At least the Japs are OPEN and ADMIT to the problem, take responsibility and SOLVE the problem.

Ours? We DENY it outright!
You can look forward to more and more Mentors ministering the mini-stars!

steven loke said...

Voters will need to ask themselves before the next election...Is your life better than 5 or 10 years ago? That should be the reality of voting, rather than buy into their promises (aspirations) of a better life.

I quote from Kahlil Gibran...And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city.

Let us take care of ourselves now.

Meanwhile, the electricity tariffs are "fixed" to go higher. They can bother to take a full page ad to explain to the masses, but why explain if the tariffs are transparent. Life is going to suck big time.

Anonymous said...

The figures may be right but the conclusion cud be wrong. hah???.....dont know what it means but what I know is that the
right hand now doesnt know what the left hand is doing?

Anonymous said...

Even better still, just after F1 finished, rich man's problem and expense becomes our problem and expense. Now we are paying for electricity use in F1 but yet I did not heard MP asking the government to reduce usage on electricity in F1.
"Electricity Tariffs For Households To Go Up By 12.5% In Q4

Channel NewsAsia

For the quarter starting in October, electricity tariffs for households will go up by 12.5 per cent or 2.41 cents to 21.69 cents per kilowatt-hour."

Xtrocious said...

This statement is not true in certain segments...

It's no secret that the richer has gotten richer - all thanks to the stock market recovery and property market boom...

It is us - the peasants - who are finding it tougher and tougher...

The elites and their cohorts are busy enjoying life - luxury car showrooms and new property launches are packed to the brim...

Anonymous said...

They said bus services have improved, but I find it hard to believe. I waited all of 45 minutes for service 132 outside Thomson Community Centre on Saturday evening around 9.15pm.

What is happenning with our transport system?

Anonymous said...

It's time to move to KL....

Anonymous said...

We are footing all of PAP's bills! Losses by temasek, GIC, electricity bills by F1, english language lessons for FTs. This is on top of their multi-million salary. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of PAP. PAP is Singaporeans' worst liability. VOTE THEM OUT!!

jellyfarm said...

Hey I feel sorry for your guys. I'm a Malaysian with a S'pore PR who has opted to live out of Singapore since last year because I felt the rent I had to pay here was eating into more than half of my pay.

I also feel tremendously sorry for the old folks here - the very same people who helped Singapore to become the industrialised nation that they are (this includes my Dad who was a teacher here). It seems like the government doesn't care about their old age needs and leave them on the wayside as if they didn't matter. It's horrible to see your grandpa and grandma wiping down hawker centre tables whilst the young and energetic fawn about clothes, makeup and material things that 'Auntie' & 'Uncle' can't even afford, when they should be.

It's terrible seeing this happening to Singapore and how so many other more sophisticated aspects/characteristics of a modern industrialised economy (like arts, creativity, expression and freedom of thought/speech) are ignored because of the bottom dollar.

Profit reigns in Singapore Pte Ltd and that's the only thing that matters to this government as more and more foreigners (like me) are welcomed while Singaporeans are overlooked for jobs.

It is definitely an awful payback for the old, present and future generations of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jellyfarm.

You know, Singaporeans have been brainwashed into thinking that they are enjoying the best of everything compared to its neighbours. People like you know better and I envy you for being a Malaysian and enjoying PR status in Singapore.

Sure, Malaysians don't earn that much compared to Singaporeans, but things over there are much, much cheaper, especially housing.

Yes, it is an awful payback time for the old, but the young will also have their comeuppance when the time comes. They will face even higher hurdles in the form of housing and medical expenses. I tell my younger friends, don't have kids if you can. It is cruel to bring them up here, if you are not financially well off. Singapore is already an elitist society.

Anonymous said...

PAP has become so thick skinned. All the commoners are telling them "Please help in our daily life", but the MIW only cared about glory and money.

So many indicators have pointed in the direction of "surging numbers of FT caused all these problems"

Yet PAP said' the figure might be correct, but not the conclusion".

What kind of devils have Singaporeans voted in!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been hearing this quote for quite some time now and that is : THE EXIT STRATEGY.

and I have a bad feeling that they may be preparing a EXIT STRATEGY.

Actually I feel that Singapore is more fragile now then ever and if:

a) another SARs here
b) China or other place become more attractive, FT leaving in droves
c) Property or Shares tank
d) PAP lose mandate and weaken considerably, funds pull out here
e) no new growth engines enough for all of us
f) Deep 'W' shaped recession
g) sea level rises

What exit strategy do we have.
I think we should have dual Citizenship now so that we can have a breathing space when things turn out badly.

Singapore is like a small 'tight' ship in turbulent seas and must always steer vigilantly....

Anonymous said...

Yes, the F1 power bill I suspect is split among all the households. It's like our utility bills always increase after F1, last year and this year.

Anonymous said...

"and I have a bad feeling that they may be preparing a EXIT STRATEGY."

If they screw us over and try to run away, we will track them down, right down to the last family member.

They should not think that they have the right to enjoy life, while the rest of us have to pick up the ruined pieces of our lives, thanks to their incompetence.

Some of us have very good skills in playing hide-and-seek, especially in seeking.

Anonymous said...

I've studied many risk management case studies, but in all cases, the company takes a loss when their hedge loses money. I've never come across an example where the company can say "Oh, oh, bad hedge, and then pass the costs to the consumer." I suspect it is because Singapore Power has a monopoly. In other countries, the government would have opened fire at the electrical supplier for doing such an unethical thing; in Sg our government is the initiator and perpertuator of it. Just shows how warped and unscrupulous our PAP government is.

Anonymous said...

I also get a feeling that there may be a SAF mobilisation soon before the election comes and ST talks about some terrorism, hostility and need to be vigilance and scare the shit out of ordinary folks.

Then they say:

Do you want a untested and inexperienced team to run the country at this moment and be ruined by what we, our forfathers build up?
Give us the mandate and we will prove to you we deliver.

I know all people are nerved and we read you. We know what you need. In fact we will have a HIGH POWERED committee run by a respectable senior grade minister to ensure we reach all level of Singaporeans, especuially the poor and needy.No one will be left behind.

Then they come out a slew of attractive packages and viola its them again.

We shall see... and we are improving

Anonymous said...

Life is bad or really got worse for only about 33%.

66% are still OK or their life may have even improved.

PAP will take care of this 66% and whack those garang opposition so as to ensure 98% seats every election.

To ensure the streets are peaceful even one person protest is illegal assembly!

That's all they need to do and be concerned about.

Anonymous said...

This is no surprise. It has been this way for the past 10 years. Typical of the Singapore government.

The disparity between wages and cost of living is just too great. Singaporeans work and slog all their life just to own a house/hdb, a car and support their children. That's it. With wages being so god damned low (I'm a software engineer, and software engineers are being paid peanuts compared to USA), how you expect people to get married and have babies. Babies not money ah? Marriage dinner not money ah? Girlfriend not money ah?

Of course everything seems fine for the PAP ministers; their pay so high of course it doesn't affect them. PAP has completely lost sight of how the typical Singaporean is. They think and want to think that everyone is like them. They will never, NEVER EVER, take a pay cut when times are bad, but will instead give the reason that this is to prevent corruption.

Being Singaporean just makes me more immune to this BS. At the end of the day, nothing will change. There will just be more foreigners and even when IR and Youth Olympics has started, the coutry will still be the same. Wages will continue to decline and the outlook of Singapore will be just the same as it is now.

Anonymous said...

Let us EXPAND further on this WORD OF WISDOM:

"The figures may be right, but the conclusion could be wrong" - MP Seah Kian Peng

Figure = LOW Unemployment on paper
Conclusion = HIGH Actual Unemployment on the ground!

Verdict: Wrong Conclusion...

Figure = shows AFFORDABILITY for HDB
Conclusion = People still CANNOT afford to buy HDB!

Verdict: Wrong Conclusion again...

Figure = HIGH Votes/Seats for certain political party
Conclusion = LOW actual Popularity/mandate for that party

Verdict: Wrong Conclusion again & again...

End of story. More examples to come... we are sure...

Anonymous said...


Figure = healthy percentage/mix of numbers of foreign workers in Singapore

Conclusion = country FLOODED with foreign workers bringing in unhealthy effects, every second person you meet in the street is a foreigner.

Verdict: ...

Anonymous said...

Got more imported Singaporeans to vote for them , next time Singaporeans votes not necessary liao. Singaporeans are forced to leave because of the standard of living is so high and more imported ones can stay here to vote.

Anonymous said...

I felt very sorry for you guys here. I am a Msian but Spore PR who recently opted to live out of Spore. It is due to I cannot get the quality life that hd been enjoying in Msia even though income in Msia so much lesser. I was charged with high rent. Big portion of my salary went to renting a small tiny room. I felt very disapointed n being exploited when I see my landlord who enjoying high rent income which help them cover mthly installement+utilities bill. Yet, I was being calculated by using their gas, water or electricity too much. Stress of worklife in Msia n Spore probably same as always hv to work until late and being very tired. But, due to space constraint n too many people packed into one HDB flat, I can't get a good rest and quiet time after being tired of whole day of work.

Many eldery in Spore are neglected due to urbanization. I felt very sad when I saw many elderly digging recycle cans from shopping mall dustbin and yet no shoppers give a second look at them.
Finally, I opted to leave this attractive FT welcome policy country.

Due to globalisation, open immigration policy in some advance country leads more migrants to get in to work and boast their economy. Spore is not the only country that face this challenge. Probably the immigration pace is too fast and get worse when hit by global financial crisis.


Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 11.36

Great that we have non-Singaporeans like you and jellyfarm sharing their views with us.

You know, 66.66% of Singaporeans probably have been using only half a brain as alleged by one of our immortals, so they think Singapore is now the centre of the universe and they are enjoying the best standard of living around this neighbourhood of ASEAN.

I envy some of my Malaysian friends living in semi-detached houses in JB costing less than a 3room HDB flat.

What is the point of earning more here when, in the end, all that you slogged and saved all your life ends up in an overvalued pigeon hole, that does not even belong to you. All that you possess eventually ends up with the Government. That is the punishment for being poor in Singapore. The rich can afford private housing which are theirs to pass on.

Singapore is no longer liveable. Old people like me, what to do? Just bear with it. As someone said, it is a curse being born a Singaporean. How true!

Anonymous said...

Once the hate for PAP reach a critical mass, that's the end for PAP, never mind what it will try to do to correct its mistakes. Too late, It is like stock market once a certain negative or positive mass sentiment reach a certain point, the whole herd rushes in a certain direction. PAP has never experience this; but Japan's GE recently should be an example.

It is still not too late now to hit the emergency brakes and turnaround. The only problem is PAP might not have the will, willingness nor the honesty to undo its decades of errors! It takes internal revolution before any policy changes can come about.

Anonymous said...

In Japan DPJ is a breakaway faction of the former ruling LDP.

In fact DPJ breakaway started in 1993, long before they win the recent election.

You think PAP can have a breakaway faction with the fat rewards and all the yes men and women?

Never even start fxxxxx yet, how to get pregnant, let alone give birth?

Anonymous said...

What do you want the government to do then?

Anonymous said...

The PAP government is self serving and filled with greed to the core. The greed is entrenched too deep. Not possible to uproot or change. they have been weaned on greed. Next please.

Anonymous said...

It is really late to change, with all the retirment money tied up in HDB housing, a reversal of policy will send HDB housing prices down significantly, which means CPF retirment savings will turn largely into dust.

I think we have made a serious error in putting too much of CPF savings into housing, thus leaving relatively little for retirement. Western countries mostly have a pension system to look after their old age needs, we depend on the CPF in old age and if there is no money there, we are sunk.

As they say, we mount a tiger and now do not know how to dismount. Either way, up or down, the solution to this problem would not be easy. Obviously they are not stopping the rise because they are making all the big bucks right now.

Anonymous said...

We can vote in a government that will increase our wages to match with the increase in inflation and housing.

Kin said...

Yap....but to what avail?

My advice: Leave sg if you could afford, don't come back. If you couldn't afford to leave, just stay stuck here, complain and suck thumb. Be contented just by looking at those who could afford to live a good life here.

No point throwing chairs at your MPs or setting them on fire or even vandalise PAP offices. You only get sent to jail. Mmmm....maybe prison may still be cheaper for Sinkies to live in.....tho can't have mcdonalds.

Anonymous said...

> What do you want the government to do then?

Stop the flood that has created the overcrowdings, which results in esclations in cost of livings, lesser breathing space and increased competitions. Don't let us feel that being a citizen of Singapore is 2nd class. It hurts to see these people enjoys our social stability and established infrastructure without any commitments fulfilled by us e.g. National Services; and still dares to complain about all things Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Some day people may actually want to go prison because they can :

a) free meals
b) prison jobs
c) shelter
d) even education


Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are far away from the worst in term of survival challenges. However, rest assure that policies down the road will speed up the sufferings of the average citizen.

Much of the high costs of livings against stagnant and falling wages were/are caused by policies rather than market forces.


tablet pc tienda said...

This can't actually work, I suppose like this.

Anonymous said...

This elite definitely never gone to market before. How can fish be cheaper than chicken? Or the elite is saying to eat ikan bilis?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. The general attitude is if it doesn't affect me, i am not that concerned. The proportion of singaporeans dining, shopping at orchard rd especially on weekends are many, especially young singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha till now I still have to wait average 15 min for feeder bus to mrt, and mostly the wait is from empty bus stop to entire bus stop crowded before one of the 3 different bus numbers to mrt come. The improvement is in efficency, getting more people packed in for the journey.

Anonymous said...

Young singaporeans are too absorb in own self interests, their cars, their holidays (without bringing parents who are not rich and not able to travel when they get older), their material things, busy to make more money, climb the ladder, even young service line girls have little or superficial concern for old people difficulty, pushing old parents (especially those with really bad sickness) around because no siblings want to take the burden, can say money is saved for children education not for parent's medical use, can go on stage and give hippocrite cry of not seeing old parent for very long while chasing more money, no appreciation for the ones doing the caring. In a few more years this will be more prevalent and obvious in this society. Caring only for your own self.