It is the year 2050. Singapore is now a buzzing global city, as many would now call it – the city that never sleeps.
In the long past, the Singapore government had resisted allowing night activities for the people of the land, in the belief that if they had allowed people to have too much fun, the people would have “too much” freedom. They needed a population they can control and that they could command, so night activities were strenuously resisted.
This has since changed. By the middle of the 2030s, the foreign population in Singapore took over more than 50% of the population. By the late 2040s, foreigners in Singapore accounted for 75% of the population. By 2050, the Singaporeans who were left on the city-state numbered only 25% of the population.
But in 2050, the government no longer called Singapore the city-state. All over the world, the tourism agency would advertise Singapore as the first and ever truly global city – a city where you could truly work, play and live 24 hours a day. They needed to have enough night activities to keep the visitors happy.
Few Singaporeans would remember now, but in 2013, the Singaporeans then had strongly resisted a government plan to increase the population in Singapore to 2030. For the first time in the country’s history since self-rule, thousands of Singaporeans protested against the government’s overpopulation drive. More than ten thousand Singaporeans protested in that year. However, the protests fizzled out as the people continued to feel disempowered in their ability to override the government’s plans.
Converting Singapore From A Country To A Global City Node
Unknown to Singaporeans then, 2030 was only the mid-point plan of the then-government. The then-government had plans to eventually convert Singapore from being a country to one that is no longer a country but a city node, where Singapore would become the only business centre in the world, unhindered by a hinterland.
It was by no accident that since the late 1990s, the wages of Singaporeans started being depressed. In order for the Singapore government to turn Singapore into a city node, they couldn’t risk having too many Singaporeans in Singapore who would upset their plans. They needed to reduce the Singaporean population to a minimal level to operate, so that they could then open their doors wide to everyone else to transit in the city node.
Thus from 1990s, they started depressing the wages of Singaporeans. The aim was several fold – primarily to reduce the people’s wages so that they would simply not have enough money to give birth (coupled with policies which gave little financial assistance to the parents), increase the wages of the rich to create a ruling elite with enough money to rule the country.
Indeed, by the mid-2020s, many middle-income Singaporeans were migrating in droves out of Singapore, due to the Singaporean-adverse policies by the then-government. In the 2010s, already more than half the population had indicated that they would want to migrate. By the 2020s, 70% of the population felt the same. Hundreds of thousands were moving out of Singapore every year. No other country then had such a high percentage of their citizens moving out. Singaporeans were displaced into other countries.
Creating A Two-Class System In Singapore
By 2050, there were only two classes of Singaporeans left in Singapore – the rich who wanted to stay and the poor who couldn’t afford to move out. There was only 25% of the population who were Singaporeans – 15% were the ruling elite who held 90% of the wealth in Singapore. 10% were the lower classes who were made to clean the streets for them. Singaporeans could already see the signs in 2014 – the poorer and older Singaporeans were already cleaning the food courts, hawker centres and toilets. But what Singaporeans didn’t know then was that this was the start to a labouring class who would be subservient to the elite class, once Singapore was converted into the city node.
The farms in Lim Chu Kang had been cleared out by 2050. Tall blocks of flats were built in that area just to house the labouring class. These flats were small and uncleaned. The flats were built very close to one another, with barely little space in between them. A family could very easily look into what the family in another block of flats were doing. They could even hand things over to one another across the flats, through their windows. Security was heavy in those areas. The government had deployed a large pool of security to beat the labouring class into submission. Any signs of rioting was quickly put up and the “perpetrators” executed live. The Little India riot in 2013 had set the precedence as to what the government would be willing to do just to get their way.
The security was made up of Singaporeans in the national service but the soldiers were now made up of only the elite class. The labouring class wasn’t allowed to join national service. Only the elite class was trained, as the national servicemen would now contribute to policing the labouring class.
By 2050, Orchard Road has become a top destination for the rich. Far East Plaza and Lucky Plaza had been demolished many years earlier. In their place, new luxury malls have sprouted. In fact, the whole of Orchard Road has become a shopping district which sells only luxury brands. There was not even H&M, Zara or TopMan,
The labouring class wasn’t allowed to go near Orchard Road, which has become a gated community for the rich. On weekends, the labouring class were driven in buses to Pulau Bukom, where they could only do whatever skimp activities were on that island – screening of old films, and ball games on the dirt tracks.
Erasing The Culture And Nature In Singapore
Meanwhile, there were few “heartland” areas left in Singapore. Toa Poyah and Queenstown were kept as open-air museums to showcase the life of the underclass while they had stilled existed decades ago, and also for the occasional study trips from other international organisations and governments to study the “success” of the “public housing” in Singapore, ironic since most of the island is now littered with posh condominiums built by the government to attract millionaire investors into Singapore. Of course, the slum flats in Lim Chu Kang was kept away from public eye. The children of elite Singaporeans would intern in these museums as live-in residents to showcase what life was life. Guided tours were given to tourists.
By 2050, MacRitchie Reservoir was only half the size of what it was in 2014. By 2030, the southern portion of the nature reserves was sacrificed to build the MRT line that had sliced off that part of the forest. By 2040, another MRT line was built to slice through the middle of the nature reserves. More than two-thirds of the biodiversity of the forest died.
The government had been so brazen because by 2030, most of the activists who had championed to protect the nature reserves had migrated out of Singapore. There was no more Singaporeans who would go against the government’s plan to reduce the central reserves. Meanwhile, the government opened up more pockets of manicured parks and gardens in the central areas. However, this small pockets simply couldn’t replicate the natural diversity that the reserves could.
As the nature reserves could no longer collect as much rainwater in the reservoirs since most of the forest cover was depleted, much of the water in Singapore now came from NEWater.
Singapore: The Illusion In An Oasis
From the outside looking in, Singapore looked like a jewel – indeed, Project Jewel which was built at the airport to showcase Singapore to visitors was well-maintained, to let visitors see the glimmering lights of the Singapore city node. Meanwhile, the very poor and the labouring class were kept in tiny flats in Lim Chu Kang, out of sight from anyone who would come into Singapore. To the world, there was no poor in Singapore.
Just as it was in 2014, the homeless were kept in secluded shelters littered across the island, and the poor was confined into small flats isolated in between estates. To the world, there was no poor and homeless. Singapore was a sparkling clean city, where there are only rich people – the rich’s playground.
40 years down the road in 2050, this hasn’t changed. In fact, the poor were even more well-hidden now. Internet access was cut from them. They weren’t even allowed to read newspapers. They received basic education – enough for them to be a submissive labouring class and adhere to the international charters that Singapore had signed.
Meanwhile, the politicians continued to earn the highest salaries. The Prime Minister had also given himself a new name – he is now the Chief Executive Overseer of the Singapore City Node. His Deputy Prime Minister is now the Chief Financial Overseer.
2015: Turning Point for Singapore
The turning point in Singapore really came in 2015. The general election that was held then was widely known as the “last chance” among Singaporeans. However, Singaporeans then did not realise how dire the situation is. For a few, it was clear that in the 1980s, the government had started introducing policies that would make it more difficult to withdraw from their retirement funds, while the government could also earn from the medical payments by Singaporeans. By the late 1990s, the wages of Singaporeans were being depressed, while prices shot up – the cost of living shot up from being ranked 97th in the world in 2001 to 6th most expensive in 2013, in just over 10 years. The purchasing power of Singaporeans was severely undermined.
Meanwhile, Singaporeans were still submitting to the doctrine that they had to continue to “work hard” and be “self-reliant” on themselves, so that they continue to keep buying branded goods to keep up with their lifestyles. Unknown to them, the government had wanted Singaporeans to be “self-reliant” so that the government could then be “reliant” on the citizens for their retirement funds and medical payments for investments, while the people received very little back.
Still, the people continued to ignore what was really happening in Singapore. Still, the people believed that the government would one day have a change of heart and might start helping them. For the few who had been tirelessly advocating for change, they were in dismay – how else could we allow Singaporeans to understand that the government of the day had taken advantage of Singaporeans for 30 years now, and wouldn’t be likely to have a sudden epiphany that helping Singaporeans is the right thing to do.
And thus when the general election came in 2015, Singaporeans again voted for the ruling party. Unbeknownst to them, right after the general election in 2015, the ruling government announced a whole slew of policies which would marginalise the people, which would end up in droves of Singaporeans leaving thereafter, and where the poor would become a servant class of the elite rulers.
Singaporeans Have One Last Chance In 2015
Singaporeans had a chance to vote in more opposition, so that they could form a coalition government. They had a chance to vote in more opposition parliamentarians who would be able to speak up for them and champion more equal rights. They had a chance to bring Singapore into a new era, where all Singaporeans would be able to grow together with the country.
Singaporeans had a chance, but they were scared. They were ruled by fear and they continued to allow themselves to be scared of things – what if the country would fail? What if things would break down? In their hanging on to their fears, they don’t realise that things are already breaking down – the trains, the hospitals without enough beds, the long waiting hours at the hospitals. In their fears, they forgot that the country is already failing – that many of them have lost their jobs, that their wages wouldn’t grow, they they couldn’t earn enough to survive, that they wouldn’t be able to retire because they couldn’t take out their retirement funds. In their fears, Singaporeans chose to ignore and continued to pretend that their lives were OK.
In their want to hang on to their dear belief that Singapore is a First World country, they keep hanging on to this belief, not realising that Singapore was already slipping into a Third World country – that their lives was becoming a Third World one.
Singaporeans Have A Choice
It is unfortunate, but Singaporeans would decide how their lives would be. If we choose to continue to be scared, and thus ignore what is really going on in Singapore, we can choose to scramble in our own lives and hope that things will change for the better, just by praying that the current government would do what is right. Or we can sit up and decide that we need to fight for our rights – and tell the government to listen to us, or to put in a government which would.
It’s up to Singaporeans ourselves now. We know what’s going on, but do we want to continue to keep our heads in the sand, or do we want to do what we can now to protect our lives, our children’s and their children’s? Do we want to keep living in this delusion or decide to wake up, and take charge of our lives?
Or do we want to continue on the path that we have for the past 30 years and wait for our lives to get even worse. Well, it’s your choice now. To suffer in silence or to start doing something.