MY COUNTER-ARGUMENTS TO “5 FACTS EVERY SINGAPOREAN SHOULD KNOW”

Dear ASS,

I refer to the article: 5 MAJOR FACTS ABOUT SINGAPORE THAT EVERY SINGAPOREAN SHOULD UNDERSTAND (http://www.allsingaporestuff.com/article/5-major-facts-about-singapore-every-singaporean-should-understand)

Here are my counter arguments:

1) Population Control A.K.A. “Why are there so many foreigners in Singapore?”

The argument that foreigners should come into Singapore to secure jobs related to cleaning services, waitressing, laundry, bus drivers, cashiers, clerks and construction workers is a non issue at all. The main problem now is that foreigners are entering into every levels of jobs that Singaporeans are being trained for in their school education, resulting in competition for jobs with foreigners at every level. United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Canada quoted in the text all have very stringent foreign labor application and verification processes that will require the employers who intend to hire foreigners for any job to show proof of due diligence to seek potential candidates among its citizenry and the current qualified status work force. Sad to say Singapore foreign work visa application process is highly pro-business that only requires minimal barriers of entry that does not encourage employers to seek qualified Singaporeans for the job.

2) Treating the CPF system like it is a complete scam

The notion that there are countries that levy high income taxes and therefore the CPF scheme despite its withholding of 20% to 40% of your earned salary factoring in your local income taxes is the best of all evils given that “it is much better than 90% of other countries” – is a an insult to the intelligence of the common folks. Please, though a few countries may have high income taxes, but consider the social benefits provided by the government that easily over compensate such charges, plus don’t forget the liberal tax write-offs in these countries to bring down taxation. To insinuate this few countries, for example Canada where higher taxation is given and acceptable because of its free or minimum fee medical insurance privileges, and the United States where one would bear the brunt of high taxation if without careful investment planning (and reaping maximum social benefits if one is considered as below a well established poverty line based on household income and number of dependents in the family), is just plain ignorant and presumptuous.

3) Complaining about Real Estate and Car Prices

Nobody will be complaining about car prices if the public transport system is well planned, efficient, convenient, and well-executed as an integral part of our daily lives. The sad fact is that the public transport system in Singapore coupled with the economic system where the rich can only become richer (here lays the gross lack of any notion of Singapore Dream among the general populace when mere survival in the world’s most expensive city is the only concern) does not accomplish this, making this dislocation of reality versus desire when car prices and their ownerships rocket to many times that of any first world country.

Despite all claims and denial from the government, real estate prices in Singapore are driven by the government’s price reference. The pricing of HDB dictates the movement of real estate prices where the demand-and-supply theory takes on thereafter. It is inconceivable that any leased property have to incur such huge cost as half a million to nearly a million dollar anywhere. The reference about home or housing prices in Hong Kong or any other country borders misinformation because those properties are bought and sold with perpetual rights of ownerships. They are never with entitlement of only an “X” number of years. It is only fair to compare apples with apples if any in this case. But when the obvious comparison when one can buy a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 215 sq meter, 2 car garage brand new freehold solar home in the city of Los Angeles for $600,000 which is less than the price of a leasehold HDB in the resale market, then something is drastically wrong isn’t it?

4) Difficulty of finding employment, even with a degree

This is a direct consequence of the huge influx and availability of foreigners willing to work for cheap and live to work in their brief moments on foreign soil as compared to Singaporeans. The employment regulations of any foreigners installed by the government should be called into doubt – that whether adequate lawful employment processes or the processes leading to any lawful employment of foreigner are in the best interest of the citizens. Let us not forget that its is the citizens and the electorate that any government should work for with their best interests in mind. Employers should also reflect on whether they have done all possible to seek suitable, qualified and willing candidates from the citizenry rather than taking the easy way out with the current compliant employment environment in favor of easy access to and approval of foreign worker visas. The notion of 6-day and 9-hour per day work week is fair for a mere assured salary of $2200 is indeed doubtful by standards of any First World country, if indeed Singapore is considered as belonging to the First World. This benefit package however is certainly very attractive for foreigners with no family commitment and willingness to plant their roots in Singapore, willing to slog it about given the number of years on the island and cash out back home buying their villas to retire. It is another case of reality and for comparing apples for apples.

5) Explanation is really Needed!!!

It is a common mistake to assume that Singapore was a 3rd world kampung island 40 odd years ago. This myth was perpetuated by the dishonest ruling party to elevate their perceived accomplishment. The ruling party has no-doubt modernized Singapore, but never to the extent that they have claimed so far as stated. Archived video footages are available on the internet to show that Singapore was a vibrant trading port with nice colonial buildings which were tall by then standards. The constant regurgitation of the “3rd world kampung” myth is irresponsible and ignorant to the truth. The times has changed and progressed to a point in this day and age that it will be dangerous to assume that what has worked in the past will continue to do so into the future. The last thing for anyone is to rest on his/her laurels and assume the stance of the three famous monkeys – all of them not-hearing, not-saying, and not-speaking.

Max Chew

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