Sunday, May 06, 2012

Us and Them. The Mystified Swiss Standard of Living.

Former Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was/is smirk about his attainment of Swiss standard of living for Singaporeans.

It is the year 2012 and we see that we are no where near the realization of GCT’s mysterious Swiss standard of living. It was his aspiration in the 80s.

Public housing, 110 square meters big, sold with a 99-year lease, unashamedly at half a million Singapore dollars, burdening next generations with future housing debt and devouring their retirement funds; no life-pensions for retired workers (save for the ministers who retired before 2012), forcing elderly who cannot afford to retire to work as cleaners, clearing tables; unaffordable medical costs which children raid their own CPF funds to pay for their parents’ healthcare; continual exploitation of those earning less than S$1000 each month by rejecting minimum wage; increasingly unreliable and costly public transport while the bid of certificate of entitlement to drive a car costs more than the actual price of the car itself; open-gate policy to foreign influx to sustain businesses at the expense of depressing local wages.

Nevertheless, GCT chided people who were cynical of his Swiss standard of living, with the claim that Singapore has already achieved the 1984 Swiss standard in 1994, 4 or 5 years ahead of time [Here]. Effectively, we are enjoying the Swiss standard now, yet so elusive to the large numbers of us. GCT gleamed about their “achievements” as they “surpassed their expectations”.

By his definition, the mystified Swiss standard of living refers strictly to the GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) of the Swiss in 1984. He proudly noted that Singapore’s GDP per capita in PPP was ranked 4th by 2009, throwing the US, Switzerland and Japan behind Singapore.

It was the pursuit of the GDP figures only, not the QUALITY of living that matters. He was misunderstood, unsurprisingly, by Us.

There exists a huge irreconcilable gap between Them and Us. Them as the ruling party that monopolizes all decisions for our nation, and Us, the people who made noises against their monopoly. We speak different languages although using the same words. We did achieve the Swiss standard, meant exclusively for the top earners only.

Explaining explicitly why GCT felt the substance of the Swiss standard of living in Singapore whereas a substantial number of people felt otherwise. Also, the foreign influx gives very good massage to the GDP figures and thus, serves Them well but detrimental to Us.

Yes, we should be extremely proud with our GDP ranking. It doesn’t matter if all Singaporeans are begging for food in the streets. Only GDP matters.