Organic News

5 Major Facts about Singapore that every Singaporean should understand


Lately there has been an ongoing trend of Singaporeans lashing out at the government, voicing out unhappiness and dissatisfaction. We saw a article of how we are ranked in the top most expensive cities, we had Roy Ngerng causing a huge stir about the CPF system, we had photo comparisons of what a 3-room flat in Bishan can be like a bungalow in Pennsylvania. Many people are saying that our ministers are getting paid too high and there is a large widening gap between the rich and the poor.

To make things worse, the recent boom in foreigners has caused upset amongst Singaporeans, citing that “Singapore has less Singaporeans than foreigners”. We love comparing to successful first-world countries. “Oh, look at how great Germany is doing. Look at how wonderful it is to live in the Scandinavian countries. It will be so much better to migrate to the UK or Australia”. What I can tell you is that if you are someone who follows world news, global economics and politics closely, you will realize that every country has their own problems as well.

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

No, Singapore is NOT the only country that is facing an immigration issue. The United Kingdoms, Germany, Australia, United States of America, Canada is also facing the same issue. Ironically, these are the countries that Singaporeans want to migrate to because they believe they can enjoy a better lifestyle there. Before you start to tell everyone about your dreams to migrate, have you considered that when you ‘migrate’ to a foreign country, you automatically become one of those “foreign immigrants” which Singaporeans are so upset about?

Here is the hypocrisy when Singaporeans point out they are not happy that so many foreigners are overtaking Singapore, and Singaporeans say they want to migrate to other countries, and eventually they end up being a foreigner in a different land. And this is exactly how our first-world counterparts feel. People in Europe and the U.S. are complaining that there are so many Asians flowing into their country. Their own local populace is also crying out that there are too many people coming into their country.

And this is why we must look into the reason on why immigration happens. People immigrate in hopes of finding a better lifestyle than staying in their home ground. Countries allow immigrants to come in, if they can provide the countries with benefits. Why has Singapore become a hotspot for immigrants?

Let me introduce to you jobs which pay about $1,600-$1,800 a month, to do cleaning services, waitressing, laundry, bus operators, cashiering, clerk assistants or construction labor. Too many proud, and ‘elitist’ mindset Singaporean graduates want the easy life and cannot handle hardship.

If every Singaporean refuses to do blue-collar jobs, who will do it? Who will be the ones who keeps our streets clean, construct awe-inspiring buildings like the Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, operate our MRT and bus services, serve our food at restaurants, maintain proper roads and infrastructure?

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The governments and employers have no choice, they need to open up the job offer to anyone outside our country, who are hungry for jobs and don’t mind taking up the offer. And yet certain, bad-mouthing Singaporeans still complain that they get bad service from foreign workers. The notion here is, “If you think you can do a better job than them, go ahead and do it instead of complaining”

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

A certain blogger Roy Ngerng has churned out many infographs about how menacing the CPF system is. While the the information cannot be proved to be true, what we can comprehend is very clear. Personal income tax in Singapore averages 6.5%. The top marginal income tax you could ever hit is 20%. CPF contribution is also another 20%. This may sound harsh to you, but please take note that in other ‘first-world’ countries, their personal income tax is higher than our maximum 20%. Some countries go up to 50%. That’s like an employer promising you a $4,000 salary but you only get to take home $2,000.

In Singapore, we may only take home 70-80% of our net supposed salary. However, 20% of that amount is still technically yours. Unlike other countries, our government has not completely removed that 20% away, never to be seen again. It is simply kept in a retirement account. And the bonus is that you can still use your CPF to pay off any medical bills, insurances and housing bills. The CPF money can still be used and planned to a certain extent.

I don’t know about you, but I much rather have 20% in a retirement account than have it completely taken away by ‘income tax’. No matter how bad you might assume CPF is, it’s already a system that is much better than 90% of other countries. If you blatantly say you just want to migrate to other countries “because there is no CPF there”, you are forgetting something called “2-3x higher income tax rate”

3) Complaining about Real Estate and Car Prices Thousands of motorists sit stuck in the

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what our roads and highways will look like if the government makes car prices as low as that in the United States ($20,000 avg.) If we let every Singaporean have the privilege of owning a car, we will have infinite traffic jams, and even commuters who choose to take the bus will find themselves caught in these massive jams. Even motorcycle users will be affected. Air pollution indexes will raise higher than what our “forest fire hazes” have given us, and everyone will have to walk out with N95 masks everyday like the situation in Beijing. Is this what you want? Low car prices?

Flash news! Singapore is an island state that is no more than 42km wide. It is irrational to blame the government for having such a small island to work with. Since we are born into a small country state, maybe it’s time to accept the fact that not everyone can be allowed to own a car. The COE system is put in place so that people with higher status, eg. businessmen, professionals, managers, politicians who have a bigger need for cars can afford the $70,000 to travel around. The notion here is that if you can’t afford a car, simply settle for public transport. It only takes a maximum of 1 hour 15 minutes to travel from Tampines to Jurong via MRT.

Anyway, if you are a financially educated person, you will know that owning a car is having more liabilities, which is a bad financial decision especially if you are aiming to get rich ASAP. In a way, the government is discouraging people from buying cars, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Which brings me to my point of soaring real estate prices in Singapore. HDB_10_2_1

We simply love comparing that our $400,000 3-room flat in Tampines/Bishan can afford us a freakin’ Villa (complete with poolside and balcony) in Thailand or Mexico. Let me emphasize again that we are a small island, so it is simply irrational to blame the government for having such a small island. We cannot build 1,000,000 Villas for the 1,000,000 households in Singapore for everyone to live in. There is not enough space. This is common sense that you cannot fit so many big houses into a small country.

Take a look at other countries who are suffering from land shortages. Real estate prices in Hong Kong are more expensive than Singapore’s. Japan’s real estate prices is almost similar. Everywhere in the world, real estate prices are generally rising due to demand and supply from people who need a house.

Another notion here is, if you cannot afford to buy a big house, settle for a small one, or just rent out a flat. And if you really want to live in a Villa with $400,000, please consider migrating because you won’t find anymore hope here.

4) Difficulty of finding employment, even with a degree

In agreement to point number 1, it’s really not the case that it’s hard to find employment in Singapore. It’s more about us Singaporeans being too elitist and picky for own good. What do most of us always say we want to be upon graduation? 

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“Oh, I wanna be a [insert industry here] manager” Well, captain obvious, if the entire population dreams of becoming a manager, who will become the employee? Think about that just for awhile.

Working as an employer’s assistance, I have posted out job listings calling for receptionists and customer service executives needed for SMEs. The pay given was $2,200, which includes potential commission if sales deals are closed over the counter. I specifically stated that the education level required was not necessary, as long as the applicant knows how to speak fluent English and their natural mother tongue. The catch? You must commit to a 6-day work week, 9 hours a day. This sounds like a grind, but,

I got 0 replies from Singaporeans, and 20 replies from foreigners.

You see, it’s not that it’s hard to get a job in Singapore. It’s just that if everyone wanted to become managers, there’s simply not enough. Once again, simple demand and supply concept. As for people who rant about how so many foreign workers are taking up managerial positions and commanding Singapore employees to do jobs instead, I believe that from a HR perspective, these ‘foreigners’ have already achieved a good reputation through networking and work experience.

Because honestly, if you are a Singaporean with a good track record of experience, and your foreign rival has no experience at all, any logical HR manager will hire you instead. Before we start jumping to conclusions, we need to take a step back and appreciate that some foreign workers indeed have the necessary years of experience required and have displayed good working habits in order to get the promotion to a managerial role.

Trust me, if you set up your own business one day, and get a chance to be your own boss, you would also choose your employees based on their work attitude, personality, and years of experience. Nationality is a very weak subject in the world of employment.

5) No explanation needed 

Singapore-River 1_marina_bay_night_2012

Our government has transformed Singapore from 3rd-world kampung island to 1st-world global recognized state in a matter of 40 odd years. If you can’t even appreciate this fact, it’s time to do some self-reflection of whether you can do a better job in their shoes, if we reset time to 1965.

Jackie Loh
Writer
The Influencer Media

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229 comments

  1. Another HEJERAA harping glorified praises for the good of this red dot that the the PAP government had screwed up. This HEJERAA had only just come into this island when the foreigner flood gates was open he thinks he knows the history of singapore. He should just stay a SUCKER-UP and concentrate on where he came from. Save your two cents ideas for your own Black hole rotten smelly and filthy homeland.

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  2. Mr Loh,

    Apologetics – your arguments do little to actually tackle the problem at hand. Speaking from an utilitarian, economic pespective appeals only to the elites who find sense in your words.

    Your opinions on migration policy are skewed: Australia, Canada and the US have naturalization periods of on average 5-7 years before granting citizenship, whereas Singapore requires only 2. In countries like Japan, Australia – blue collar jobs are done by locals, and they get taken care of rewardingly. Your statement on high disposable income vis-a-vis tax is also misleading: Education at all levels are free in Germany and Scandinavian countries, and Healthcare is heavily or fully subsidised in the UK and Australia, due to their 30-40% personal tax.

    Using the same portions of an average Singaporean’s untaxed income, he or she would find it hard to pay off education fees and medical bills alone. Throw a house or two in and they’re done for; but of course, Singapore shares little demographic similarities with the above, so we can continue implementing all sorts of untested policies native to our situation.

    Locals refuse to take up “simple” jobs due to the lack of benefits – opening the floodgates to an influx of low-skilled migrants. The slightly cheaper cost of labour, coupled with the astonishingly low corporate and personal income tax for expats – (no CPF) makes Singapore a crown jewel for any passing professional to further their finances.

    The lack of quality control in bringing in low-skilled migrants here also attributes to furrows of social divisions rarely seen in the countries you mentioned above.

    Might I remind you that Singapore wasn’t a “third-world kampong” 40 years ago – this is what Singapore looked like 56 years ago (~1959):

    It is also pertinent to keep in mind that the Singapore Sling was first concocted in 1915 at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel.

    It is not everyday that a floundering kampong-state finds ample time, given her quest to be economically relevant, to create a bourgeois cocktail amid the 3rd-world chaos and confusion that halted human development.

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  3. Bullshit article.

    There so many talking points to this post.

    Singaporean Understand all of this apparently alot of us understand these points.

    1) Is there a need to raise the population to 7 million ? ( Not talking about foreigners or PRs now)

    2) CPF : Money supposed to dispense back to us on retirement in the hope that we can retire comfortably. Like you say it is now an INCOME TAX with no returns for NOW. Can you get back anything ? Get your facts right if you want to compare with other nations. Other nations have public healthcare where people gets treated marginal fees.

    3) How about self employed people ? People who needs the vehicle for daily needs or work ? Talking about financial prudence as a defense ? Please.

    There are so many different taxes thats on going (ERP (Tax to make sure roads are less congestive), COE (Entitlement Tax?), ROAD TAX(Tax you pay to use the road), FUEL TAX(Tax you pay to use fuel) ). You tell me you want to take the public transport and squeeze or you want to work hard and get a vehicle. GOES BACK TO THE FIRST POINT.

    4) Again, Quoting out of context, just because your pay is $2200 but its 6day a week ? Your government Implemented 5 days work week previously to get more work life balance apparently! But then again why would your company wants to operate 6 days a week ? People need to rest – take care of kids – mums. Who the hell in the right mind would want to work your hours if they have a family ?? Unless they dun have families here and just want to earn money aka foreigners.

    When you were young, did your teachers tell you to study hard so that you can become someone important ?

    5) IF THE GOVERNMENT were the same person, minds, ideas over last 30 years. Would you think there will be dissent or complains? The fact that we have 3 different Prime Ministers changed hands, hundreds of other different ministers and MPs. How can you say that because they did something good nothing bad will come from them ?

    The fact that “if its not broken don’t fix it” theory ruin civilizations and governments alike over the cause of history. 20 years ago I sit in front of the TV and watch the national parade fly the Singapore Flag outside my Flat. I believe Singapore will be best country in the world to live in. Swiss standard of living in Asia. Now ?

    Please dont talk cock. Singaporeans are loyal, Practical Bunch. Ask Any Singaporean out there. 80% will tell you they want to work and slog for a better Singapore.

    It all stems from one simple DRASTIC POPULATION increase.

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  4. The first language of Singapore is English. When I went there, I found that many Singaporeans were capable of speaking good English. But also capable of speaking their mother tongue, like Mandarin and Malay or Tamil depending on their race. Singapore is a multi-cultural society and I simply love their diversity and food! The country is also extremely clean, even though chewing gum is not allowed, this did not affect me because there were so many other things to enjoy! Orchard Road was pretty awesome too – from high fashion to small bargain streets! Singaporeans are also very friendly so I highly recommend backpackers to visit the country. If you go at the right time you might be able to catch the F1 Grand Prix night race and the Youth Olympics is going to be held in 2010 as well. I can’t wait to go there again 🙂

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