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Two Mount Vernon funeral parlours to make way for Bidadari development

SINGAPORE - Two privately-run funeral parlours in Mount Vernon will be cleared to make way for recently-announced housing developments in the new Bidadari estate.
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Singaporeans want ‘compassionate meritocracy’

Singaporeans want ‘compassionate meritocracy’ | Singapore |
SINGAPORE — Despite divergent views expressed in the Our Singapore Conversation survey done by the Institute of Policy Studies, there was broad consensus that Singaporeans want a more compassionate society that is less stressful, with more family...

Via Yi Hui
Yi Hui's curator insight, August 30, 2013 11:18 PM

increasing amount of singaporeans want work life balance.

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Project Happy feet raise S$70,000 for underprivileged children

Project Happy feet raise S$70,000 for underprivileged children | Singapore |
SINGAPORE - Over S$70,000 has been raised for underprivileged children in Singapore and Cambodia via an unconventional race in flip-flops called Project Happy Feet, which returned today (Aug 31) for a third run at East Coast Park.
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Singapore’s Economic and Immigration Policies are Insane

Singapore’s Economic and Immigration Policies are Insane | Singapore |
On Friday the Financial Times carried an excellent article by the eminent and long-standing economic commentator, Samuel Brittan. 

He goes on to say that “promoting GDP at all costs would be an insane objective for long-term economic policy. GDP would be maximised by opening a country’s frontiers and promoting mass immigration…so long as there is a net addition to the labour force, the country’s GDP would almost certainly rise, however overcrowded and unbearable the country might be to inhabit.”

Clearly Sam Brittan considers that such a policy would be so patently ridiculous that it can serve as what in logic is called a “reductio ad absurdum”. His words perfectly describe the policies pursued by the PAP government in Singapore and echo much of what I have been saying in Singapore since 2009 except I tend to self-censor and Mr Britten doesn’t feel that need. In the 1990s Singapore began to open the floodgates to the import of labour from Asian low-income countries, nearly doubling our population. As I keep telling you, this has resulted in real wage stagnation for the bulk of the working population and declines for those in the bottom quartile. Particularly because our work force isn’t protected by a minimum wage so wages can keep getting lower and we enjoy minimal labour protections.

Meanwhile returns have soared for the owners of fixed factors of productions such as owners of land and property. This has produced a bonanza for the government which owns nearly 80% of the land.

The government is making all this money from the influx to the population but doesn’t use it to improve the infrastructure let alone our daily lives Opening the floodgates means that public infrastructure and amenities, such as the transport system, become ever more overcrowded while waiting lines to see doctors at government clinics have lengthened to several hours. A shortage of beds at government-owned hospitals means that patients often to wait hours or days before being admitted.

When these policies are questioned, the PAP government usually responds with the fallacious argument that if Singaporeans oppose curbs on foreign labour then they will have to put up with slower economic growth without any explanation as to how faster economic growth, which has so far failed to produce rising real incomes, will work differently in the future. The people are often told that they need to endure short-term pain for the sake of long-term gain, a consistent cliché in the government’s rhetoric since the 1980s. Yet the pain seems to always be the people’s while the gains accrue to government ministers, who justify higher pay and bonuses on the basis of the economic growth that they have “miraculously” generated. Private property owners are a rare elite who also prosper.

To illustrate the disconnect between the PAP government’s policies and the people’s welfare, a UBS survey in 2009, comparing global cities, put Singaporean median workers’ wages on a par with those in Kuala Lumpur and far behind those of workers in Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The UBS survey was much criticised by the government. However in the following year Singapore was dropped quietly from the survey which seems hard to justify given that Kuala Lumpur and other Asian cities continue to be included.

Singapore’s example shows how an authoritarian state capitalist government can win plaudits from a largely ignorant international audience by adopting insane objectives that ignore the welfare of its own people. Back in the 1950s Western commentators were similarly dazzled by the seemingly inexorable rise of the Soviet Union and we all know what happened to that.

Via Jin Go
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