Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Smaller flats doesn't mean lower quality of living" : HDB CEO...

I was a lazy buyer when I bought my property more than a decade ago just after Asian Crisis. Prices had fallen to the level that I thought would be prudent to buy. But the effort I put into selecting a property really left much to be desired later on. When I arrived at the development the day it was launched, I took a look at the show apartment for a 3 room unit, I thought it would be big enough - special effects of mirrors and interior decor aside. I spoke to the sales person who told me I was "late" and all the best units have been snapped up by buyers queuing overnight and only 20% of the units were left. The sales guy told me units are all differently priced - the facing, level, etc all affected the price. I didn't quite understand why lower floor units were priced cheaper but figured the facing was important but was okay as long as the unit didn't face the afternoon sun. I told the sales guy to help me pick a 3 room unit with the facing I wanted. 25 minutes was all I put into selecting my property.
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When I got the keys to my unit, I was quite excited and went to unit immediately to have a look. When I opened the door, I was very disappointed because the apartment was much smaller than the show unit. It turned out there were 2 types of units with 3 rooms and I bought the one with the smaller floor area.  The unit was much smaller than the 4 room HDB flat my dad bought 20 years for one-tenth the price I paid for the apartment. This kitchen felt like it was half the size of the one in my dad's HDB flat. The children's room was smaller than my own room in my dad's flat. Inviting a few friends over and you feel the squeeze. When we have gatherings, we have to always trim down the list because place is too small. There are I things to want to buy to improve my life but cannot do so because the house is too small.

A few months ago, a friend came to my place to give me his wedding invitation card. He had just purchased an apartment and the down payment wiped out all his savings. When he came into my apartment, he said, "Wow! Your apartment is so big!". He was not being sarcastic, He bought an apartment much smaller than mine and paid double what I paid.

The incredible shrinking homes of newly married Singaporeans due to prices of homes rising much faster income is phenomena that has been with us for the past 25 years. A 5-room flat today is much smaller than the 5 room flat 10 years ago which is smaller than a 5-room flat purchased 20 years ago. Smaller homes affect the quality of life.

"Our families are smaller. In the old days, we have very large families living in a flat. Today, the family is two, three, four (people)." - HDB CEO[Link]

Actually for many Singaporean families, the inability to own a bigger place is the reason why couples have fewer children. It becomes extremely unpleasant to pack 5 kids and 2 parents into a typical 700 sq feet 3-room flat. Kids grow up and you will soon have 7 adults  in that small space. Many Singaporean families have fewer kids because property is expensive and all they can afford is a small place comfortable only for a family of 3 or 4 people. The HDB CEO got is logic all wrong. In fact if you look at the places with the lowest fertility rate, it correlates with high home prices. The lowest fertlity rates are in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau:

228 Singapore1.10
229 Hong Kong (PRC)1.04
230 Macau (PRC)0.91

These are also places where property is so expensive people typically live in small apartments. Our nearest neighbor Malaysia has a fertility rate of 2.70. More than double the fertility rate of Singapore. Malaysians do not love having children twice as much as us. What they have is lower population density and larger homes. In fact studies in the past years have shown that higher population density leads to lower fertility rates:
"Where you have high amounts of high-density housing you have very low birth
rates ... where you have density, you tend to have very few children."- Professor Kotkin, fellow at California's Chapman University and London think-tank the Legatum Institute.[Link]

The HDB's idea of building smaller and higher density housing and PAP's policy to import foreigners increasing the population density on our small island is driving down our fertility rates. Instead of removing the causes of the low fertility rates, they use the outcome of lower fertility rates to justify the need to bring in import more people and build smaller homes for Singaporeans. This mixing up of cause and effect puts Singaporeans in a vicious cycle of falling fertility and increasing foreign influx. Expanding the population by importing people puts a enormous strain on the long term citizens of this country - our numbers will languish and we will end up a minority in our own country.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's be cynical. That's the main aim. To remove all the 'old stock' that someone has once denigrated as having come from peasant stock. What they want are those from a better gene pool so as to make Singapore more creative and hence a larger economy and therefore the people on top get paid more for doing less.

Anonymous said...

"The incredible shrinking homes of newly married Singaporeans due to prices of homes rising much faster income is phenomena that has been with us for the past 25 years. A 5-room flat today is much smaller than the 5 room flat 10 years ago which is smaller than a 5-room flat purchased 20 years ago. Smaller homes affect the quality of life."

Smaller but more expensive. But then, they have smart alec telling you it is due to market forces (ahem with minimum bid price for land) and cheaper housing price is similar to be raiding the reserve (it seems that the position of some person has been raided instead).

Anonymous said...

"Smaller flats doesn't mean lower quality of living" : HDB CEO..."

Ya lah, just as crowded MRT doesn't mean poor standard of transport. It's whether you want to get in.

After all, do you have a better choice?

Just like do you have a better choice than PAP as government? Or a better place to live than Singapore?

Or is it whether you want to emigrate to a better place?

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the CEOs of our government-linked stat boards or "companies" such as HDB and SMRT like to shoot off their mouth without thinking...

I also noticed that IDs and contractors are doing brisk business nowadays, but home buyers are forking out more and more money for purchase plus renovations.

Anonymous said...

If I were the CEO of HDB or SMRT, definitely I will not live in HDB flat or take MRT.

Anonymous said...

with this CEO logic reasoning, i think the we have a minister in the making

Anonymous said...

If such CEOs become PAP candidates, they will have at least 93% chance of being voted in as MP. And of course to be appointed as minister because of their talents.

Anonymous said...

We are a democracy.

By our action of voting, we voted these people into government.

By our silence, inaction and fear, we allowed them to flourish.

We got the government and the leaders we deserve.

Kojakbt said...

Ask yourself, where do you think this HDB CEO lives?

Would he be able to empathize the plights of Singaporeans living in the new but smaller HDB flats?

Anonymous said...

The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people. – Napoleon Bonaparte.

This is exactly the same situation we face in this small island. People have to suffer in silence. Another good 5 years or 10 years, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Everything the PAP does these days is linked to trying to boost GDP through importing head count.

Anonymous said...

Today I went home and saw a PRC family hiring an Indonesian maid to carry her groceries.

Majulah Singapura!

Clear eyed said...

And in my estate (which is fast becoming an Indian national enclave) most of these Indian families boast at least 2 kids, a housewife mother and a maid. The new normal of our society.

Anonymous said...

You may ask. Why Singapore take in so many PRC Chinese, India Indians, Pinoys, Burmese etc as foreign talents?

Because they are the best available and in the numbers Singapore needs. If not, where can you find so many talented Americans, Europeans, Koreans or Japanese who want to come here? So no better choice lah.

Some more when these talents become PRs, they also have money to buy HDB resale flats or condos, you know. And so they make our properties very high value, although the flats or condos are smaller.

And if they become citizens, maybe even part of the 60% who will vote PAP. So we have majority people who are happy and satisfied.

Like this very good for Singapore what.

Anonymous said...

Oh! I definitely agree that smaller flat doesn't mean lower quality of living... just like lower CEO salary doesn't mean less talented, less committed or less dignified minister. Huh? Logic not the same meh?

mille miglia said...

i guess my father forty six thousand square feet home which he in turn inherit from my grand father is something of a rarity than.

it is a hassle to live a big house, we keep having to shout to inform each other.

Anonymous said...

It becoming like the animal farm, the pigs are enjoying and the other animals are working harder....

The CEOs are pigs.. in the making...:)

runroad said...

'We got the government and the leaders we deserve.'- anon, 12/11/11 22:06

Absolutely spot on. By our own choice we gladly accepted the cynical lie that paying four times the price for a quarter as much is a really good deal, a chance to turn a profit when we pass it on to the greater fool. Really, is there anything to bitch about?

All was said and done a month ago when we could have opted to make a difference but greed and cowardice won the day again. So be happy on the brink of extinction, native Singaporean, there is a perverse pleasure to be had in other's pain for now. By our own hand we cut ourselves.

"And the knife is near at hand/ I cut myself to see who I am/ Reach inside but I still can't touch the policeman inside."

Lye Khuen Way said...

Many thanks, Lucky for your write up. This CEO , Dr Cheong is a lady. She is sure a good pick by Mr Mah. Same group think.
In fact, come to think of it female CEO of GLC do have things in common. No ?
Another "Truth" is that the Gov does not beliveve in Minimiums. No Minimium wages but they are aware of Minimium Sum for CPF & MOQ I am sure. Why not reduce the size of bath room/toilet of older HDB to say 3 /5 for new HDB flat ? Would not that be in line with Dr Cheong' logic ?

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky

Your beloved Holy Cow will solve everything, no?
Endorsed by you cannot be wrong!

Anonymous said...

These are the type of talented CEOs and ministers that can ensure GDP growth for Singapore. And made the govt rich. Land in Singapore is precious, you know. Every inch of it is money and can contribute to reserves.

And the good thing(for PAP) is that at least 60% of voters are OK with all these.

Anonymous said...

The Singapore reserves don't belong to us.

We cannot use it to pay for our limb amputations when we get too old to care for our feet.

Just sit there, waiting for gangrene to set in. And our precious MP or non-existent social workers to visit once every 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, can you ask the CEO whether he is now living in a smaller or larger place compared with 20 years ago? I think hr talk cock only lor

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight into my daft head, if smaller flats doesn't mean a lower quality of living, does it also mean a better living?

At the same time, this article was written, the Straits Times printed another article that says that Singaporeans are happy workers.

Could some cultured Singaporean please burn that newspaper?

Straits Times is good at insulting Singaporeans' inteligence.

Anonymous said...

Lye Khuen Way,

What's MOQ?

I just love this blog.

Anonymous said...

Native Singaporeans are feeling alienated and disenfranchised by the perpetual bullying going on in Singapore. Guess who is the big bully who calls itself Big Brother?

I love it when the Hokkien people say: "You kana that time, then you know."

More and more Singaporeans who are realising they have no value in Singapore will get the message...in time.

Anonymous said...

"Every inch of it is money and can contribute to reserves."

Talking about contribution to the reserves, have you ever thought of the possibility on the similar contribution to the other opposite directional flow of the reserves by our very talened elites.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Anon 11:21
MOQ = Minimium Order Quantity

In Purchasing, it is common for Vendors to specify a MOQ.

The logic I was trying to show was that, there are certain bare minimium in real life.
We just cannot use simple arithmetic to argue that a 3 room HDB flat of today is big enough as compared to a 3 decades ago 3 room HDB flat, just because there are smaller family nowadays.
We were deemed daft, but it appeared that there are some more daft than others.

Anonymous said...

Quality of living
for SINGAPOREANS have deteriorated
because
JOBS for PERMANENT RESIDENTS and FOREIGNERS,
NATIONAL SERVICE for SINGAPORE CITIZENS

Anonymous said...

Quality of living
for SINGAPOREANS have deteriorated
because
JOBS for PERMANENT RESIDENTS and FOREIGNERS,
NATIONAL SERVICE for SINGAPORE CITIZENS
Anon 13/11/11 15:24

DOES IT MATTER WHEN 60% OF VOTERS ARE OK WITH IT?

Fated said...

We have embraced capitalism.
And there is no turning back.

Our forefathers accepted slavery, subjugation and capitalism too.

Only the rich can have beautiful, large graves at Bukit Brown... lesser mortals have mass graves.
This is capitalism.

Once we accept that, we will understand why, at $100,000 there are still buyers of COE.

Do you want your car too?
Do you want higher pay too?
Do you want nice clothes too?
Do you want a domestic maid too?

Well, its a journey that we walk..
but we may never ever get to the same destination.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Khuen Way.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the 60% don't care about these issues. It's just that they are unaware, especially if their daily dose of information comes from CNA amd the State's Times.

Anonymous said...

The HDB CEO is just like our SMRT CEO and many of the self-serving PAP MPs. Their main concern is to enrich themselves by sucking up to the PAP. I think any decent leaders of other countries cannot envisage how a government can think of making so much profit from its citizens through its public housing. Similarly they must marvel at the greed of our Singapore leaders to help themselves to out-of-the-world pay just to govern a small dot.

Singapore Man Of Leisure said...

I think her colleagues at other quasi-govt depts trying to encourage more babies and multi-generation living will gently poke her... Want to cover ass can; but don't kick their rice bowls!

Imagine married couples telling their parents:

1) Sorry mom and dad, we can't stay with you. We will make your house "smaller".

2) Sorry mom and dad, we are not into grandchildren... They will cramp out our "space".

Why can't just tell the truth!? Build smaller flats so we can give the "illusion" of affordability mah! If the flats are same size as your parents' old flats, you all cannot afford one lah! Opps! That is also not politically correct...

I hope we don't sell shoe-box HDB flats in the future and say look! Japanese live like that also can mah! Just follow the Zen minimalistic look. So much space can be "created"!

Hello! I flunked my science subjects, but I still know some basic laws of physics... LOL!

Jared Seah

Anonymous said...

"""Hello! I flunked my science subjects, but I still know some basic laws of physics... LOL!

Jared Seah"""

very good one. our talented higher-than-thou elites always think they can get away with some stupid comments and rationale which only they believe.

ask these smart elites whether they prefer to live in a house of only 60, 80, 100, 130 or 150 sq.m2.

Anonymous said...

//I don't think the 60% don't care about these issues. It's just that they are unaware, especially if their daily dose of information comes from CNA amd the State's Times.
anon 13/11/11 18:04 //

我看到媒体报道了一个故事。故事里的事,是那昨天的事。

故事里的事,说是就是,不是也是。
故事里的事,说不是就不是,是也不是。

故事里的事,说对就对,不对也对。
故事里的事,说不对就不对,对也不对。

故事里的事,说好就好,不好也好。
故事里的事,说不好就不好,好也不好。

Anonymous said...

60% are those happy and satisfied.

Not necessary they are rich. You can be poor but you can also be happy and satisfied.

Just like you can also be happy and satisfied with a smaller flat and even think it is good quality living, like what the HDB CEO said.

Don't ask me why some people like that.

Anonymous said...

The HDB CEO deserves praise. She is definitely talented. She must have known that Singaporeans do not mind paying hundreds of thousands for the space of a car. She must also must have known that home is just like a hotel to most Singaporeans. Only kids stay at home and kids do not need large living space. Preferably they should be brought up like chicken in infant/child care centres.

And yes, the CEO with her remuneration should not be staying in any public housing because she is not qualified to apply for one. And yes, with that kind of remuneration, she can be living at Nassim Hill, Bukit Timah or Balmoral, what is wrong with that?

The HDB CEO is indeed talented, observant and talks very sweetly too.

Anonymous said...

Please don't blame the voters. Blame the government for pulling wool over their eyes.

TokyoSingaporean said...

The Japanese do live in small apartments. In fact, many of the apartments here have no rooms or simply one rooms. This is because there are a lot of singles in Japan and there is demand for such housing. These housing are build by private landlords and are highly affordable at $900 Sing for a fully furnished single room apartment that comes with a kitchen, washing machine, electric oven, heater cum A/C, a small balcony.

Many newly wed Japanese couples RENT a one room or two room apartment while arranging for a bank loan to have their freehold HOUSE built.

Most Japanese families own houses. They do not live in rented apartments.

Anonymous said...

//Actually for many Singaporean families, the inability to own a bigger place is the reason why couples have fewer children. It becomes extremely unpleasant to pack 5 kids and 2 parents into a typical 700 sq feet 3-room flat. Kids grow up and you will soon have 7 adults in that small space. //

Now imagine when the 5 kids want to have their own kids. Where will they stay?

Anonymous said...

Come on people, no need to bash a woman merely for her gender. We're already in 21st century where both women and men are capable or incapable. So let's just focus on the issues of housing for discussion sake.

Since the CEO is unable to give affordability to the citizens, Dr Cheong had no choice but to spin "more space per person", rather than "more sqft/dollar$".
You have to wonder if the people at HDB really need a refresher course to reflect upon their manifesto.

They been cutting down 10% of floor space over 10 yrs, but the size of income has not even risen 10% over 10yrs for some low-20% of people. Let alone to catch up with inflation. If HDB is unable to tell us what their land cost is, they keep pegging on the fact that family size has reduced therefore space also adjusted. What's next? You will also have shorter lease hold from 99yr to 60yrs, but the price will keep increasing. What's next - they will start building shoe box houses for singles as that's the increasing demographics, and the price will be the same ast 3-4bdrm of today. Where exactly is the value for money here?

We are heading the ways of HK and Japan. If you keep allowing them to grow and the people take the trade offs, good luck. Start planning your retirement in JB the new shenzhen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

Anonymous said...

Many Singaporeans are unaware and fast asleep with regard to the HDB issue; only to realise it when they first get married and start buying a flat.

Very few Singaporeans are aware that the Ordinary Wage Ceiling is $5,000 for your contribution to your OA account. What this means is that when you pay for your HDB flat, your ordinary account will be wiped out and you can only pay as much as you can based on how much of your salary goes into your ordinary account based on your cpf.

So, with a $5000 income ceiling capped by the government for your ordinary account, this means that the maximum amount you can use from your ordinary account to pay for your monthly instalments is capped to a maxium of $1050.

Anything in excess, you pay cash. If you take (as most Singaporeans are) a 30 year loan for a $400K flat, you need to approx. $1270 per month from your ordinary account to finance your HDB flat till you retire. This includes paying for the interest of 2.6% HDB loan on the flat.

You still need to top up $220 per month to pay for your flat and guess what? After you finish, paying your HDB flat, you have $0 to retire.

CPF needs to be reform. But who's listening?

In Singapre, you now see pregrant women working and old men and women clearing the shit out of hawker centres and eking out a living from selling tissue papers. Many Singaporeans are turning a blind eye to what is happening in society.

This is a serious cause of concern. The recent on Values Education is useless, simply because the government has lost its moral license to tell people what is good or bad after building 3 large gambling centres on this island including Kranji Race Horse.

For the sake of our children and well-being, it now has become a moral risk to vote and promote such policies; as they're not good for our society.

Alan Wan said...

Ever wondered why our PAP Ministers never dares to rebut with solid evidence the allegations that they are making obscene profits from the sale of HDB flats and there is no real subsidy when they still insists there is one ?

Not typical of PAP to let untruths go unchallenged, right ? Somemore nowadays they are awarding HDB contracts to PRC companies, so costs should come down, right ?

They know that if they ever reveal the real costs, it will be political suicide for PAP if it made known that they are actually profitting from the sale of public housing just like they are now profitting from the sale of COEs.

And not only mere profits to cover overheads and costs, what if it is really obscene profits ?

Anonymous said...

Wtih 60% mandate and 93% seats, the outcome speak for itself what majority voters think of the PAP.

What better solid evidence than this? And it came from the voters, not the PAP. So the evidence should be independent and unbiased, right?

Anonymous said...

The problem with elections in Singapore is that either you win big or lose big. No in-between.

But majority voters are not yet prepared to make the opposition win big, so by default PAP wins big.

So the problem lies solely with the opposition, not the voters, not the PAP.

Anonymous said...

Ungrateful people.

No War
No tsunami
No earthquake
No civil unrest
No life.

and still complain and grumble.

Got food courts
Got hawker centre
Got TOTO & 4D
Got air-con buses
Got lots of shopping malls
Got cheap ( but lousy service) taxi
Got nice big airport

and still complain and grumble

Got big well equipped hospitals
Got big fighter jets
Got well known airline
Got well known oil rig builder
Got famous chicken rice

and still complain and grumble

tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk.. go live in Bhutan or Bakino Faso..then.. give you free ticket and free residency status... just don't come back.

Anonymous said...

If you call yourself a first world country, then expect that the citizens expectations are rising. The fact of the matter is that there isn't much jobs to go around in Singapore. This has been the case for the last 12 years. You forgot that we're paying obscene taxi fares and HDB flats along with the overcrowding.

Taxi fares come with surcharges, morning surcharge, holiday and midnight surcharges. It used to be morning surcharge start at $1 at 7.30 a.m.. Then it became $1 at 7.00 a.m.. Then you have morning surcharge plus 15% surcharge for your morning cab rides.

And the same has been done for after 5.00 p.m..

See, when you pay them the world's highest paid politicians on planet Earth, Singaporeans will demand more of them.

The problem is the Workers Party talk about a first world parliament. But the opposition in this country suck ass. They are only visible during elections time. They have to work harder at their candidates and do more visible ground work. Once a month would suffice in each constituency in Singapore. Are they willing to do it?

You tell me.

Don't blame Singaporeans. They're waiting for good opposition to come in anytime. Just like Aljunied.

Anonymous said...

"They are only visible during elections time. They have to work harder at their candidates and do more visible ground work. Once a month would suffice in each constituency in Singapore. Are they willing to do it?"

The opposition are not allowed to show up at any public events, because People's Association bars any opposition member from attending its grassroots events. People's Association will work only with PAP members, even if they were defeated in the same ward during elections.

Opposition members are not given any physical space to organize their own grassroots activities because these are all deemed as "political activities".

If you join the People's Association grassroot committees, you are expected to support PAP.

Anonymous said...

I remember that many years ago a 4-room HDB flat is a basic standard flat to live in.

Anonymous said...

Our salaries are not increased like the way minister or CEO salaries are increased.

So now 4 room flat is very expensive.

But expensive means high class and high quality.

So we should consider 4 room flat is very high class and good quality living.

Anonymous said...

The opposition should stop giving excuses in this country and really work towards a first world parliament and get around all the barriers to entry. If it is complaining about the people's association intervention, then it lacks the creative thinking required to move Singapore forward. They alraedy have a headstart at 40%. If they are complacent like the incumbent, it would be a much longer time before the next wave arrives at their doorstep.

HGH said...

I wonder what is the size of the dwelling he lives and "breathing" room, where he was in his house.

Anonymous said...

Let's keep the discussion & solution simple;

Vote the Parasites OUT

Anonymous said...

Failure to ask burning questions poses danger and impedes new development for Singapore. Singaporeans needs to keep speaking up and out to make Singapore better for all.

Anonymous said...

The greatest cons of this era are the bankers, property developers and ruling governments. Unfortunately, many still vote for them or work for them.

Anonymous said...

the CEOs of SmRT and hdb are some sugar daughter of some mpigs, right?

Anonymous said...

"The opposition should stop giving excuses in this country and really work towards a first world parliament and get around all the barriers to entry."

I think you need to first have some basic integrity, to admit that your PA is deliberately putting barriers, and is behaving unprofessionally by claiming to be 'neutral' but actively supporting PAP's political wishes.

"They alraedy have a headstart at 40%. If they are complacent like the incumbent,"

Opposition is severely disadvantaged, because there are people like you around, who will twist and turn to support PAP no matter what.

The good news is, most of the opposition are now setting up their own media and grassroots groups. But it is the volunteers vs the full power of the State. You simply have no idea how much influence PA and HDB have. PA runs the activities, and HDB controls most of the HDB land. And it is more likely for angels to descend from heaven than for the government to allow opposition to use the empty lands around to run their grassroots activities.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 15/11/11 12:28 They alraedy have a headstart at 40%. If they are complacent like the incumbent, it would be a much longer time before the next wave arrives at their doorstep."

You call 40% headstart. What rubbish. Most would associate the word headstart for some advantage or gain.

This headstart you are talking about ranges from 15% to 40% and it has been there since year 1965.... What a long period for the opposition to have such a headstart and never gain more than 6 seats. Are you in the business of whitewashing.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting the opposition in this country has been effectively neutered? Why so we even have a debate or discussion then since Singaporeans have been conditioned with an apathy or a fear complex? History has shown that no empire can last forever. That's the nature of this world. Even the sun will burn out one day.

Anonymous said...

Not only opposition or alternative party members are neutered, even the average singaporeans have had their guts removed.

WITHOUT THE SUPPORT FROM FELLOW SINGAPOREANS, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT OF ALTERNATIVE PARTY MEMBERS?

'Bo-pian' is the excuse.

Anonymous said...

let her stay in a one room hdb and see whether she thinks it is higher quality of living. what a pappy dog.

Neel said...

The idea of small flat is because of less requirement and the article is well written.
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Anonymous said...

When I visited a friend in HK 10+ years ago, one of the things that I didn't like was the "tiny" apartment. I was "shocked" to see a washing machine placed below the kitchen sink, a guest bedroom that couldn't accomodate a medium size lugguage, a very small living hall etc. Everything seemed so squeezy. Unless one is very rich in Hk to buy a bigger one or choose to stay much further from the main city, or else these small apartments are still prevalent everywhere (HK). I was glad our HDB and condo space were much bigger then. But today, look around the newly built condo and HDB, they are "catching up" with those in Hong Kong now.