Open letter to PM Lee: Cries and beggings from die hard PAP voters
1st March 2013
Open Letter to Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Dear Mr. Lee,
This is a joint letter by 4 life-long friends who are in our 50s and
60s. After speaking to many colleagues, friends, and family, it saddens
us to know that most fellow Singaporeans share similar grave concerns.
In case you are wondering, none of the 4 of us have ever voted for the
workers party, let alone affiliated to any political parties. Amongst
the 4 of us, 2 of us are PAP voters, one has never voted as he lived in
Tanjong Pagar, and another had always voted the "anything but PAP".
We beg you to fix things before its too late. Our children are now
either in the workforce or freshly graduated, and they are at risk of
abandoning the country for greener pastures.
Back in school,
they were so full of with youthful dreams and brimming with ambition;
telling us how they want to be what they want to be, and what they want
to do when they become adults. It was a priceless joy that any parent
could wish for to see their sons and daughter excited about living. What
we did not expect is how the Singapore we built has left them feeling
bleak about their future. Those sparkles of joy they had in their eyes
were not seen much over that 6 years.
Our younger generation
have been facing a terribly harsh job market for the last 6 years,
flooded with hungry and desperate foreign PMETs willing to accept lower
salaries. This resulted in salaries to be not much differebr from 10
years ago. Wage increment has not keep up with unbelievable rate of
inflation over the last 6 years.In the private sector, fresh graduates
are lucky if they can get anything above $3,300 right out of school
while the poly and ITE graduates start with $1,500 to 2,300.
Those new in the workforce for 3 to 8 years, have no shortcuts in life
and are subjected to climb up through usual career progression paths.
With salaries just slightly 10 years ago, they have been finding it hard
to keep up with the accelerated "economic progress". The price levels
in Singapore has soared beyond comprehension in the past 6 years.
It is unbelievable how Singaporeans have been pay such amounts for non-luxury items items like:
$700 to 1,200 monthly child care fees without subsidies
$3,000 to $9,000 to give birth to a child in a hospital
$150k to own a bloody Toyota Corolla for 10 years (excl. insurance and road tax)
$300k to $1.1 million to lease a pre-owned "subsidised" government housing apartment for
$300k to $1.1 million to lease a pre-owned "subsidised" government housing apartment for
$1 million at least for the smallest studio apartments by private developed freehold housing
$192k annually for someone who is supposed to speak up for them in parliament
And of course, $2.2 million before bonuses annually for a Prime minister (after a 36% discount)
The items listed above have never been out of reach for median-income
Singaporeans in our time, but are now seemingly unaffordable for our
Wage increment has not kept up with unbelievable
rate of inflation over the last 6 years. It is sad many of their
aspiration is now measured in dollars, as they find it hard to cope as a
young parent. Are even driven to moonlight just to to supplement their
day job. Doesn't it hurt you that to know some of our sons have chosen
to driving taxis at in their early 30s? It pains to see us young
Singaporeans make such a choice due to mid-junior management jobs pay
lesser than what a taxi driver can earn.
Many made the choice
to give up their dreams for utilitarian approach to life, taking up jobs
which they had never desired. Are even driven to moonlight just to to
supplement their day job. It pains us to see our childrens' aspiration
reduced to one that is now measured in dollars Doesn't it hurt you that
to know some of our sons have chosen to driving taxis at in their early
It is worrying that some young Singaporeans make such a
choice simply because mid-junior management wages are lower a taxi
driver's potential income. This cash and time poor generation can no
longer afford to socialise, procreate normally, after putting in an
average of more than 10-14 hours daily at work. They have been working
hard to the extend of neglecting their social life beyond human
work-life balance. You resort to interfering by setting up programmes to
urge the them to paktor, nag them incessantly to get married and offer
them angbao money to make babies. Recently, you even had to implement
for them priority queues to the normal skip 2-3 year long wait to get a
flat if they start a family early. The saddest part is, these the
dollars earned depreciate so quickly in real value due to our country's
crazy raise in price levels in property, car ownership and our daily
We have already nagged enough at them to get
married and settle down early. They feedback to us: paktor is expensive,
getting married is expensive. To prevent them from going down the road
of being old bachelors or spinsters, some of us even give our children
hundreds of thousand to buy a house just because the prices are simply
out of reach for them. Many of them have to take up 20 to 50 year just
to purchase a hdb flat. Back in our days, a 25 year loan was already
quite ridiculous to us.
On top of the financial strain they
have, they have to bear with a transport policy which makes driving a
luxury in Singapore. Those who cannot afford driving has to failing
public transport system which causes them to be late for work on a
monthly, or at worse, fortnightly basis. The packed train stations and
carriages, the increasing foreign, unfamiliar and unfriendly sounding /
looking environment adds more emotional strains to their daily material
Can you recall just barely a decade ago, Singaporeans
could easily live the typical Singaporean dream of the 5Cs was within
reach for families with more than $10,000 of combined income. Life was
good for a family earning more than $5,000, and comfortable for those
earning $2,500 a month. Unfortunate low-income families earning less
than $ 1,250 could still get by and survive. What about now?
Its sad to see our country regress from the first world we have built.
For them to have an equivilant quality of life to what we have has
become so unaffordable that it is out of reach, let alone wish for a
better. The government should stand back and take a look how much have
exactly have the people really progressed / regressed as a nation in the
It is the truth that national economic progress
favouring the cash and asset rich have outpaced the large majority of
us. This is due to the majority being outpaced by widening gap of
rich-poor. The luckier ones among us with well-to-do parents have gone
on to become multi-millionaires due leveraging on property prices while
most of us made our comfortable Singapore dreams come true lives with
our own hands.
In a reflection of the harsh reality our
children are facing, majority of Singaporeans are already unhappy with
the government as of early 2012. Of the 2,000 Singaporeans it surveyed,
Mindshare found 56% chose agreed or strongly agreed that, “given a
choice, I would like to migrate”.
62% of those polled believe that our political leaders are paid too much these days.
65% think they will not be able to retire comfortably in Singapore.
72% think they cannot afford to get sick these days due to high medical costs.
73% think that public housing prices are getting out of hand.
75% think they should not be spending their entire working life paying off housing loans.
69% believe there are too many foreign workers taking up job opportunities in our society today
73% believe that Singaporeans should be granted priority in employment.
On our end, our parents are nearing the the final chapters of their
lives, medical care and the cost of living been rising and is already
not easy for even for the many of us who earn a good income. What about
the lower income earners?
All we really want to retire happily
in peace, play with our grandchildren, educate them and enjoy the home
we have built with our family right here in Singapore. We have been
working hard over the last 30-40 years and it is only fair for us to
demand this. We believe in the potential of our children and they are
perfectly capable of taking care of us when we are old. It baffling for
you suggested that we need to bring in foreigners to take care of of us.
The rationale of Singapore being an immigrant society is already long
passé. Indeed, our parents were immigrants; but they have worked hard to
urbanise the whole island of Singapore and brought to its peak in
2006/2007. To suggest otherwise would be completely rude and ridiculous.
The fact that our young generation has a bleak outlook even before they
hit their prime is disheatening. We beg you not to let the wonderful
things that Singapore gave us disappear in regression. We need a country
our children can enjoy life like how we did after working so hard for
it. It pains to watch our younger generation struggle in last 6 years at
the home we have built for them. It will be too much to bear to see
them leave our home for a better opportunities in life elsewhere.
Tolong tolong: Please don't drive our children out of Singapore.
"Made-in-Singapore" Singaporeans Tan Ah Kow . Minah Binte Said . Muthu Veerasamy . Veronica Simons De Souza
IMPORTANT NOTE: Other than our obvious psuedonyms. All contents of the
letter is factual, true and researched. A simple search online would