The cost of watching the FIFA World Cup in Singapore has just been announced. The two operators are offering subscribers early-bird World Cup football package priced at S$66 on or before 31 May, after which it will cost S$88. Do you remember how much the subscription cost 4 years ago for the 2006 FIFA World Cup? It was offered to Singaporeans at $15 subscription fee for those who signed up during their early-bird promotion and $25 subsequently[Link]. Singaporeans are going to pay more than 4 times what they did in 2006. Many soccer fans are hopping mad at this and have started a Facebook campaign to call for a boycott[Link].
Soccer is important to many Singaporeans but many have found alternatives such as getting good antennas to receive the Indonesian broadcast or watching it over the Internet for free. Also, while the companies involved in the bid are GLCs, you can't really pin it on the govt because part of the blame has to go to FIFA for having an inflexible policy that links their World Cup fees to what a country pays for EPL. Clearly, Singapore soccer fans are much worse off than they were 4 years ago and they will begin to question what has gone wrong to result in them having to pay one of the highest if not the highest subscription fee in the world. Starhub and Singtel can easily come up with a metric like Minister Mah to show you that the subscription fees are highly affordable to Singaporeans ....they can even argue that you receive a subsidy because advertisers pay for part of the cost and so on. But you know something is not right and you know for sure you're worse off than you were 4 years ago...
The 3 things that affect Singaporeans the most are housing, healthcare and transport. Are we better off than we were 4 years ago? Housing affordability has declined as the price increase of flats purchased from the HDB has increased faster than income. Healthcare costs have risen and the govt has implemented means testing to cut subsidies[Link] to keep its own expenditure low and shift the burden to Singaporeans. Transport? The trains have become so crowded during the morning rush hour, I couldn't take the ride anymore because it gets me to work tired - feeder to super packed MRT to another super-packed feeder - so I switched to to taking long haul buses because I have a higher chance of getting a seat trading off half an hour for a more comfortable ride. Imagine my dismay when the announcement about getting rid of long haul buses came out - hub and spoke? I was about to write a suggestion about having very frequent express buses from population centers to areas where people work will relieve the pressure on the MRT system. It seems that the transport minister, Lim Hwee Hua, thinks otherwise. The hub and spoke will result in greater efficiency and shorter travelling times but will add more load to the MRT system. I'll accept the hub and spoke if results in greater comfort. Transport is not just about efficiency - getting people from point A to point B in the shortest time - there is another dimension which is comfort. Has the transport improved over the last 4 years? Not for me....I was pushed from taking taxis by the exorbitant increases in fares to taking bus+MRT then by pushed the overcrowding on MRT to taking long haul buses. For me, transport has become more expensive, less comfortable and less efficient over the past 4 years.
4 years ago, Singaporeans voted for a govt that claimed to be world class during their GE campaign - one that is highly competent, honest and pragmatic. Shortly after the elections, they hiked their own salaries which were already the highest in the world. Singaporeans really have to ask themselves if their lives are better today than what it was 4 years ago for the things that the govt has responsibility and control over i.e. housing, transport and healthcare. If you vote the same way in the coming elections, the outcome will the same 4 years from now.