Last night at TB’s place, politics became a pre-dinner topic. It started with the park connector that would be built and how PAP is throwing money at it, to winning (or more like losing) votes at the upcoming elections, then to the ills of the incumbent party.
TB’s main gripe was the $1.5million paycheck ministers receive and the broken promise of “justice and equality” for all. TH’s point of view was (is, really) that perhaps the amount is needed in a country with such a small tappable population. This sparked off the major debate and I won’t go into the details, but needless to say, it got me thinking about life in Singapore.
In clarifying his position to me this morning, TH said that the minister’s salary is really the wrong thing to focus on, yet he couldn’t understand what the real issues are with Singapore and Singaporeans. I know where he’s coming from and I often wonder what it is people have to complain about.
Truth be told, we’re probably living in a glass tower. I don’t know what life is like for the poor. How many Singaporeans are truly struggling? How many kids are falling out of the system and ‘disappearing’? How many Singaporeans need help but are not receiving any or enough?
Most of the time, I see spoilt Singaporeans. Why do they need a car when public transport is pretty good? OK, it’s not perfect but they’re trying. What’s wrong with public housing? If it’s too expensive for newly-weds, how about living with parents for a while? Why the need to upgrade? Take shorter holidays in countries that are closer, shop local, buy local. What’s wrong with that? Families have maids that are treated like slaves yet still complain about how difficult life is. Seriously??!! Was there a memo that we would all be living stress-free, able to take exotic holidays, buy a car, wear branded clothes, eat in fancy restaurants, live in private property and be served hand and foot that I missed?
In providing everything for Singaporeans and shielding them from the real world, Singaporeans are now a materialistic, wussy, shallow bunch. That’s something I hang on the PAP. There are many things they haven’t done right – they need to be more accountable to the less fortunate, embrace human rights, open up the media channels – but I can’t fault them for providing an environment that is conducive for learning and self development in a safe, easy and comfortable way. The rest is up to the individual. Is that so bad?
I’m of course simplifying many things here. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t get a grip on what Singaporeans want. Cheap and good excess to everything with high pay and low taxes? We’re not on fantasy island. Let’s talk about real issues, people. Anyone?