This damn post…

…is forever in moderation, so I decided to put it on my blog and link to it on the comments.

@PAP Forever, here is my other post which will probably be forgotten by the time it’s approved (newer responses edited in*): “it’s a fact. look at the opposition calibre and what sort of ppl follow chiam or kj around. what do you call ppl who can’t get along with five other ppl? well that’s the opposition. losers, mostly.”

You say you don’t make personal attacks, yet your posts are filled with accusations that others have a brain of a baboon, are a loser, are stupid, are a joke, that things are crappy in other countries, or that other places are going to die. You seem to have lived in the US or Europe, but are quite familiar with the UK, and cite London’s prices, yet London is not the UK and the UK is not Europe.*

You did not address my response, that it is the PAP’s measures to keep themselves in power that had created this political landscape, where only the “losers” are left to follow the opposition parties and the “talents” would rather stay in the private sector because they can’t earn as much money helping to run their own country so it’s better to literally mind their own business and ignore the state of the nation.

“now, you buy a flat in ghim moh for $30,000 some 30 years ago. today the same flat is $350,000. you sell the flat. you get $320,000… you move to a less prime area. and with this money YOU FULLY PAY UP YOUR FLAT. IT’S 100% yours.”

Except that it’s not really the case. 4-room flats in Ghim Moh should sell for about $445,000 (4I) or between $600,000 and $698,000 (4A) according to these transaction records. Looks good, right? So the profits look like it’s enough to buy this 5I flat for $525,000. Except in terms of floor space, the 5I flat would actually be a downgrade of a few square metres from the 4A flat, and the returns from the sale of the 4I flat would leave you $80,000 short (525 – 445 = 80). And you would have spent a total of $555,000 (525 + 30 for your original flat.) No big deal, take an $80,000 loan, work it off, you say.Except if you were already able to afford a $30,000 flat in, say, 1980, at the age of 25, you would be somewhere around 57 now. How much time do you have left to work off that $80,000 loan? Never mind, let the children pay for the upgrade… after all, they’re enjoying the new flat too.

So the house is “purchased” on a 99-year lease. Why do I insist it’s not a purchase? Have you tried breaking the walls of “your” HDB flat? Removing a pillar to expand the size of the room? Relocating the balcony from one side of the flat to another? All this you can do in other land-rich countries if you buy your home, but not for a HDB in Singapore, because it’s rented. People who rent in other countries aren’t allowed to do this either, it doesn’t matter how much land space they have, the landlord makes the decisions. The only difference is, here the landlord is a stat board and elsewhere the landlord is a person.

“…even if you moved to say jurong west extension, the infrastructure there is still better than when you bought the flat at ghim moh 30 years ago.”

Yes, of course, thanks to Singapore’s progress. That’s why the prices rise. It’s normal. Would you still be here if we had retained kampongs?

“and yes, if you live in a 4 rm or 5 rm in ghim moh, you 100% can get a new flat elsewhere. but this is a diff point right? you are now asking if you can get ANOTHER flat. my friend, you already got a flat. does the taxi driver overseas own a flat to begin with? DREAM ON.”

No, you start with your parents’ flat and if and when you’ve finally worked enough you move out. In either case, as pointed out above, you merely rent the flat, you don’t own it. At some point after having driven enough passengers, the taxi driver overseas can actually OWN his home…

“if you buy a new flat now, you get close to $200,000 off (less market rate + grant + low loan interest rates). tell me which country gives its citizens this kind of money to start a family? DREAM ON.”

Let’s assume the loan money doesn’t need to be paid back later on* and take $200,000 off a new 4-room flat’s price, say in Bt. Batok. I happen to like the place because I grew up there. Also, it is supposed to have the greatest number of flats available, so I have a higher chance of getting a flat there. Bear with me when I take existing flat prices as an estimate, it won’t be accurate but in the absence of other figures it’s the best I have. This 4A flat closest to where the new BTOs will pop up is valued at $460,000. Assuming it sells for exactly the valued price, and $200,000 is “given” by the government, a new homeowner would have to pay $260,000 for a ~105sqm flat. At current rates, this would be €158,000. Give or take a few. Let’s see what we can find in Germany: maybe a 108sqm 3-room apartment in Berlin for €122,000, 50m from the nearest bus stop. Or a 122sqm 4-room apartment for €142,000 a few streets away, 150m to the nearest subway station. Maybe the reason why the government is “giving so much money” because they have to make the flats look affordable in the first place? These prices are full prices, before loans are calculated. There are also conservancy charges but they are charged on a per-sqm basis and aren’t subsidised.*

“now if ppl sit on a pot of gold and don’t want to sell?”

Why should I sell my flat which is fully paid for, to move away from people I’ve been seeing for 30 years, places where my children have grown up, food that I’ve been eating for so long, just because property values have risen? It’s not like every flat is just an investment. Money is not the answer to everything.

“you think the taxi drivers live in prime locations overseas? hahahahaha”

They don’t, but they pay a lot less for their non-prime locations than we would have to for ours. Of course, that’s due to our land scarcity, but the point is that they can afford it.

“scenario 1: if you get below abb but can still go local uni. no scholarship. no prob, can get loan. pay back later. if hardcore poor, can get bursary. if malay, no prob, ask mendaki.”

A loan is something you’ll have to repay later, right? Adding on to the housing loan and the $260,000 we discussed above. Not everyone will want to take on this burden.*

“scenario 2: if you didn’t do well enough to get into a local uni, govt’s fault? maybe you’re stupid? …not everyone can go uni right? but you can still go overseas for 1 yr or go sim or whatever, still possible to get degree. but remember, you not very bright, so no more subsidy for you. it’s fair.”

Yes, but these “no-subsidy”, “poly level”, “not very bright” Singaporeans are still the majority. Only 44.1% of Singaporeans between 25 and 39 as of 2010 had university degrees, which means 55.9% of the younger part of the workforce at this time are “poly level” or lower. So they’ll have to make do with 2-room or 3-room flats costing around $100,000 after a $200,000 loan. Which, as you say, is at least a roof over your head. No argument there, it’s still possible to live a good life within your means, right?

“let me give you an eg. of dimwit. THEY KEEP COMPARING WITH EUROPE WHEN THE EUROPE IS GOING TO DIEEEE. see what i mean? they don’t realise they got it gd. they don’t realise they literally don’t pay any tax. they wanna be like europe which is dying. this is the kind of opposition crap you hear.”

Judging from the list of tax rates around the world on Wikipedia, we do have it good. “they moan and groan our ministers so exp and say the euro one cheap. but euro is going bankrupt???” Europe is not going bankrupt, some European countries are. Some individual economies are still going fine, like Germany, France, and Sweden.

“so now we return to the topic. is it because of fear? no. it’s because this is a great country and there aren’t many things to get excited about…”

Maybe you’re right, but at some point some people have got to be looking for more than just a roof over their head and some food in their stomach. We can always rely on the “authorities concerned” to govern correctly, except when they don’t. So we need more people in politics, more different voices, to make sure the Parliament is not full of echoes, and that Singapore is run for its people, not for its shareholders.

Also, to your other response: “oh yeah it’s the education system that’s at fault ah. might it have something to do with say, OUR POPULATION SIZE? are you aware that our students beat their students in math and science?” I sincerely don’t think population size is a factor. The education system as it is now is meant to produce workers, not entrepreneurs. Everyone’s favourite Sim Wong Hoo didn’t have to go to university to make it big. So did Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who both left university. That doesn’t mean they were “stupid”, they knew what they were doing.

Watch Ken Robinson’s TED talk in 2006 about creativity and schools…

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