We look around us at the possessions that we paid dearly for but do not really belong to us.
Singaporeans paid heavily for “the right” to drive a car, in the form of Certificate of Entitlement (COE). This certificate costs more than the price of the car itself, as the price is subject to supply and demand. We simply cannot pretend that we do not know that the supply of COE and the demand for it are both controlled. We paid a dear sum to be "entitled" the right to drive our cars for TEN YEARS. For ten years only, we "own" the car.
The government called this public housing. By that, it should mean subsidised housing intended for low income dwellers. What ever subsidy the government may claim that they have been generously given out, it is the ultimate price of the HDB, in comparison to income level, that matters. If we are spending 30 years of our lives to service a public housing loan, it is simply not affordable. Current price of a 4 room flat, unsubsidised, in a mature estate such as Clementi costs $478,000, close to half a million. And that comes after many rounds of cooling measures implemented. Our HDB flats are nearing to half a million price mark.
It is not a freehold apartment. We do not gain full ownership of the flat as it is a 99-year lease product. This flat will be returned to the HDB eventually after that. In actuality, we are the unofficial tenants of the HDB, paying monthly rent for 99 years. It is our national pride, according to HDB's statement. 90% of resident households own their HDB flat. It does look great in terms of statistics. Like all sales tactics.
And this is the most unfortunate reality of all. Singaporeans do not own the country that they have built. This country belongs to PAP and PAP only. Singaporeans do have the right to vote, once in every 5 years, in a 100% insulated political climate for PAP. The vote, however, does not allow Singaporeans to have a say in the type of future that they want for themselves. Instead, the vote is being given to the PAP to decide what type of country, economy and future the Singaporeans should have.
This is the norm which Singaporeans have accepted readily and happily because there are no protests outside Istana.