Singapore Coolness Featured in the Telegraph made me think of the Income Gap

Full article titled, Singapore: from old colonial to new cool and you can read it here.

It’s all very lovely. Singapore is beautiful. Gorgeous architecture, the works. I feel proud when we are featured and lauded in the international press.

But it’s a mixed feeling. This is because, I recall that back in the 80’s I never had the feeling that there were places I could not get into, because I just could not afford it. Just way out of our budget. Some places in Singapore seem exclusively for the super rich and the number of these places are increasing. No wonder there is truth when people call Singapore the playground of the rich. Perhaps I am able to try the food at some expensive restaurant, but then again I am one of the lucky ones who has people to treat her.

And then I wonder, if i feel this way, if I worry about the future and old age, then what about people who are not as fortunate. It’s just disturbing – the rich and poor divide. The gap getting bigger by the day. Not a good feeling. Lots of guilt and anxiety as well. I wonder if this is how a lot of Singaporeans feel.

photo by bookjunkie

Whenever I seem stories about gambling debts, suicide and crime, it makes me think that the people must have reached such a point of desperation to resort to all this. And that is why for the good of the whole society, this is not a healthy thing.

I know of distant relatives in Norway who are very happy there and it’s mainly because of an excellent welfare system that takes care of the basics like healthcare, education and old age. They started off as refugees, but now they live a worry free existence. It must be why people in Nordic countries are among the happiest in the world.

I wish we had something like that so that no Singaporean would need to worry about these issues when one day they are faced with unemployment. I also know of people whose whole savings were wiped out when the family was faced with cancer. So you could go from rich to poor in a short while. Insurance with it’s various exclusions, does not always help.

I try to stay positive, but some days I just feel gloomy and dejected.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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2 Responses to Singapore Coolness Featured in the Telegraph made me think of the Income Gap

  1. Al says:

    I don’t know if it’s right to compare… HK’s gap is also insane.

    However, to look at it from a different angle, when it comes to lifetime survivorship (comfort is a different issue), to a certain extent, I think CPF has done a better job than Hong Kong’s MPF. Many elderly in HK, after working their entire lives do not even have enough to survive on upon retirement (food, basic amenities, rental). They resort to various odd jobs, sometimes requiring them to dig through garbage, ie collecting cardboard boxes, aluminium cans, selling discarded clothes.

    But, the present scenario is open to debate. If HDB housing is not made affordable, and nobody could afford one (many people cannot afford housing in HK), and if the cost of living rises uncontrollably in Singapore (to the extent CPF cannot cover retired life sufficiently), it may result in another HK during our generation. That, I think, would be extremely sad.

    I always hope HK could learn from Singapore in many ways…. But, after following your blog, sometimes, I feel there’s still much room for growth for your beloved red dot. Nonetheless, I still hope for HK to pick up some of the better governing qualities adopted by Singapore 🙂

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