Get married and have babies: My National Day wish to the government
Posted by temasektimes on August 14, 2012
The Sunday Times carried on its front page the headline, “Get Married, Have Babies” which was quoted as LKY’s National Day hope. In line with this course, may I also add my National Day wishes, as below:
1) replace the COE system that link transport entitlement only to money with another. Allow the average Singapore family the chance to own a family car at reasonable prices. Car ownership is no longer a luxury but a necessity in Swiss standard Singapore where even taxis on the road refused to pick up a family of 5 (including dad, mum and 3 children). Better, permit family with 3 or more children to purchase a car with no extras, to encourage procreation.
2) have an equitable system of primary school enrolment than to rely on past affiliation of their parents with the schools. Allow families with 3 or more kids to enjoy priority of primary school enrolment.
3) Abolish the maid levy for families with 3 or more children. The maid becomes a necessity when a family have three children.
4) reward government departments by means of how well they serve the people than solely by how much profits they generate. Any CEO or senior management would apply their scholastic skills to enhancing the dollar and cents if their bonuses and promotion depends solely on profits. Such an incentive scheme is spirally inflationary in nature.
5) to have better housing controls. Linked to the remuneration system of our senior civil servants, is it surprising when our HDB refuses to disclose the costs of building houses and continue to supply flats with smaller size but higher prices? Restrict PRs from buying resale HDB flats by say, having a quota of 10% of this market segment allocated to them and permit the sale of their flats only to fellow PRs. In other words, confine the price competition to within their circle.
Re-housing exercises via embloc is both inflationary and unproductive, and should be discouraged. The rise of property prices is segregating the Singaporean public into two broad categories, namely, the landlords and the slaves. Meaning, in the future, if you don’t own good properties, you will have to slog through your life working for the other party regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed.
6) make sure that the influx of “foreign talents” are well contained. Foreign employees can be categorized into a) the much needed experienced & talented expatriates, b) the professionals & semi-pros and c) menial workers. The import of foreign manpower should be restricted to only category “a” who truly contributes to new ideas that expands the economy and “c”, of rough jobs generally shunned by fellow Singaporeans. Category “b” is where the rice bowl of most Singaporean lie. The almost unlimited recruitment of foreigners belonging to this category angers the average Singaporean as it threatens their livelihood, let alone expecting them to assist in the integration of the former into our society. Mixing the 3 categories by the authorities/media using the vague term, “foreign talent” in reply to public queries will also get us nowhere. In fact, recent initiative to increase the levies of foreign menial workers to “raise productivity” as a measure to reduce the employment of foreign talents to pacify Singaporeans is misleading and only serve to suffocate the SMEs. Increasing the population size by bringing in FTs indiscriminately to increase our market size and cut costs for the rich employers will only lead to a chain of social ills. Its a planning flaw not to have adequately considered the expansion in needs on transport, medical & housing as we increased the population size from 3 to 5.5 million.
7) streamline our education system to reduce unnecessary stress on our kids. Many advanced nations are known to produce graduates of good thinking and creativity. Yet they don’t apply the “stuff-turkey” approach like Singapore for their educational system while Singapore tries to include everything under the sun into its study syllabi. Why are their kids not stress-up like ours when they produces equally good, or even better graduates than ours? This is because they apply the optimization approach to education and upbringing, by selectively including only areas relevant to their future career development into their syllabuses; as against our maximization approach. Of course, the worse scenario is where an education authority tries to input creativity into its scopes of studies, adding creative-thinking elements into its already maximized curriculum without first reducing the volume of the latter. Typical Singapore graduates decades after graduation would sometimes wonder why they had spent so much time on studies over secondary days on advanced mathematics or certain areas which were never used or may never be used for the rest of their lives. By streamlining our curriculum, we give our kids time to think and dream (to be creative) and lower the yearly number of students patronizing the Institute of Mental Health (which currently stands at more than 50% of its existing mental patients?).
8) provide job security to the middle age and elders. There’s this joke about stupid Singaporeans striving all their youths pursuing a double degree or a Phd (until age 25?) only to be retrenched from the working society at 40. In other words, they literally study hard for 25 years to be productive only for 15. Is it worth it? Even our younger generation see this as a future threat as they will themselves grow old one day. Imagine yourself to be out of job at middle age, got all household expenses hinged at a high level, with unpaid mortgages on housing and car, etc and with young kids to feed, educate and bring up. As we have probably witnessed, our government was largely silent when coming to dealing with this issue. Perhaps, to keep fresh graduates employed takes priority over ensuring jobs for the middle aged and elderly in Singapore, due to the fear that the former may migrate should they be unemployed here and the reason that older folks have already rooted themselves. Occupation as a middleman, such as that of the insurance, property and stock brokers, previously the domain of the middle-aged, is now gradually trivialized by regulatory frameworks with the excuse that this is the “global trend”.
Why are Singaporeans not producing enough children? The whole issue must be considered in totally as a package by looking at different stages of the Singaporean livelihood.