Singapore: First World Economy, First World Costs, Third World Everything Else

At the Europe Day celebration organised by the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said, “We have to acknowledge that, over time, Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs. There has to be some balance.

Indeed, under the current government, Singapore is now a “First World economy” and we have “First World costs” as well. How about everything else? Let’s take a look.

Indeed, Singapore is now a First World economy – Singapore is the 4th leading financial centre in the world.

photo 1 (16)

Chart: The Global Financial Centres Index 15

Singapore also has First World costs – we have one of the highest prices in the world.

photo 2 (16)

Chart: UBS Prices And Earnings 2011

Singaporeans have to pay First World health costs – Singaporeans have to pay the highest out-of-pocket expenditure for health.


Chart: World Health Organisation World Health Statistics 2013Global Health Observatory Data Repository

Singaporeans have to pay First World university tuition fees – one of the highest in the world.


Chart: Education at a Glance 2013

Singaporeans also have to pay First World housing prices – we have the most expensive public housing in the world and one of the most expensive private housing in the world.

photo (9)

Chart: Global Property Guide World’s most expensive cities

Singapore also has First World car prices – we have to pay for the most expensive cars in the world.


Chart: Yahoo! Singapore News Global Price Comparison: The Toyota Corolla Global Price Index

Indeed, Singapore truly has First World prices – we are now the most expensive place to live in in the world.


Chart: The Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of living index 2014 report

But this is where it all ends – Singapore has a “First World economy” and “First World costs” but everything else is “Third World”.

The Singapore government is only willing to give Singaporeans Third World subsidies for healthcare – the Singapore government gives even lower subsidies for health than China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Slide3 (1)

Chart: World Health Organisation World Health Statistics 2013Global Health Observatory Data Repository

The Singapore government is only willing to give Singaporeans Third World subsidies for education – the spending on education is on par with other developing countries.


Chart: World Development Indicators

Singaporeans are also made to earn Third World wages – Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the high-income countries.


Chart: International Labour Organisation Data collection on wages and income

Thus forcing Singaporeans to have Third World purchasing powers – our purchasing power is even lower than Malaysia and on par with India.


Chart: Cost of Living Index for Country 2014

And Singapore thus have Third World income inequality – we are the most unequal country among the developed countries.


Chart: An Overview of Growing Income Inequalities in OECD Countries: Main FindingsKey Household Income Trends, 2013

Singapore also has Third World poverty – our poverty rate is higher than the other developed countries and many developing Asian countries.


Chart: Income Distribution and Poverty: Poverty rate (50% median income), percentageWhat Do National Poverty Lines Tell Us About Global Poverty?Poverty line set for HK

And because of the Third World inequality and poverty rate in Singapore, this has resulted in a Third World prisoner rate.

Inequality vs Prisoners

Chart: The Equality Trust

It has also resulted in Third World levels of trust.

Income Inequality vs Trust

Chart: The Equality Trust

And Third World levels of happiness in Singapore.

Singapore One Of the Most Unhappiest Countries In The World

Chart: The PAP’s Policies Give Singaporeans Heart Attacks?

Not only that, Singaporeans have Third World retirement funds – Singaporeans have one of the least adequate, if not the least adequate retirement funds in the world.


Chart: Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific 2011


Chart: Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index


Chart: Developing Asia’s Pension Systems and Old-Age Income Support

Meanwhile, the Singapore government has taken our CPF to help to earn First World sovereign wealth funds – GIC and Temasek Holdings have the world’s 8th and 9th largest sovereign wealth funds even though Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement funds.


Chart: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Fund Rankings

All the mismanagement in Singapore is also caused by the fact that Singapore has a Third World government.

photo 1 (13)

Chart: The Economist Democracy Index 2012

And because of the Singapore’s government control of the press, we also have Third World press – we are ranked 150th by Reporters Without Borders.

photo 4 (10)

Chart: Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2014 Ranking

The Freedom House ranks us at an even lower 152th.

photo 3 (13)

Chart: Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2014

Thus you can see we have Third World government spending – the Singapore government spends the lowest government spending among the high-income countries.


Chart: 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

And we also have Third World spending on social protection – the Singapore government spends the least on social protection among the high-income countries and on par with other developing countries.


Chart: Manulife Asset Management Asset rich, income poor? Key components of retirement income security for aging Asia

Finally, Singaporeans are forced to work Third World hours – Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world – to have Third World livelihoods.

photo 2 (5)Chart: OECD StatExtractsSingapore Yearbook of Manpower Statistics, 2012

But you know what else? Singapore also have Third World political and business dealings – Singapore is the 5th easiest place for the rich to get rich if they are politically affiliated to the government. In other words, the situation in Singapore is as bad as other developing countries, like Malaysia, India and Indonesia.


Chart: The Economist Our crony-capitalism index Planet Plutocrat

Meanwhile, the Singapore government pays themselves First World salaries – wait, let’s rephrase it, the Singapore government pays themselves OUT-OF-THE-WORLD salaries. They earn the highest salaries in the world among political leaders and earn 4 times as high as the second highest political leader.


Meanwhile, the highest income earners, the Singapore government among them, earn First World salaries – they earn the highest salaries among the developed countries and one of the highest in the world.


Chart: ECA Global Perspectives National Salary Comparison 2012

And they yet pay Third World tax and CPF – they pay the lowest tax and CPF among the developed countries and one of the lowest in the world.


Chart: KPMG’s Individual Income Tax and Social Security Rate Survey 2012

Yet, the majority of Singaporeans have to pay First World tax and CPF – the average Singaporean pays 38% in tax and CPF and as much as other high-income countries.


So much so that for the richest in Singapore, their incomes have kept growing but for the poorest, their incomes have hardly grown.

photo 2 (32)

Chart: Singapore Perspectives 2014 Differences

So, you see, the Singapore government wants to have a First World economy and First World costs. However, they run Singapore on a Third World government and Third World press, while paying Singaporeans Third World wages and force us to accept a Third World purchasing power. They also make us pay for First World health prices, university tuition fees and transport fares but they give us Third World government subsidies and Third World social protection – so the Singapore government pays us Third World subsidies but they collect from us First World tax and CPF. Meanwhile, Singapore has now become so unequal that we have a Third World income inequality and Third World poverty. The richest in Singapore, including the Singapore government pays themselves First World (or out-of-the-world) salaries but allows themselves to pay Third World tax and CPF, yet force Singaporeans to pay First World tax and CPF. They also force Singaporeans to work Third World hours and have Third World livelihoods. Today, Singapore has a Third World society.

All these while the Singapore run an economy on Third World business relations and dealings – Singapore is the 5th easiest place for the rich to get rich if one is politically affiliated, so much so that Singaporeans now have a Third World spending power and Third World debt.

While the Singapore government claims that as Singapore moves into a First World economy where we need First World costs, then shouldn’t everything else be First World as well? Shouldn’t we have a First World government and First World press? Shouldn’t we have First World wages, purchasing power, subsidies and social protection? Shouldn’t we be able to work First World hours and have First World livelihoods? Shouldn’t we have a Third World society? Shouldn’t the inequality and poverty rate in Singapore be as low as First World countries? What did the Singapore government do to turn Singapore upside down?

All very convenient for the Singapore government to claim that we need First World this and First World that but why does “First World” apply only to the economy, costs and their own salaries? Why does the government want everything else to be Third World?

If the government is willing to let the wages and lives of Singaporeans be at a Third World standard, isn’t the Singapore government very hypocritical? Otherwise, if the Singapore’s government is only interested in making sure that the economy and costs are First World, while letting everything else be Third World, then what is the Singapore government’s priorities?

Is the Singapore’s government priority on Singaporeans? Is the Singapore government interested in taking care of Singaporeans?

Meanwhile, would Lim Hng Kiang like to also explain why he is a government minister and a GIC board of director but would claim that GIC manages the Government’s reserves, but as to how the funds from CPF monies flow into reserves which could then be managed by either MAS, GIC or Temasek, this is not made explicit to us.


  1. HC

    Singapore is really good only on the outside. But rotten totally inside. Lee Hsien Loong must be voted out.

    • microsoft furbee

      sponsor help Roy Ngerng Yi Ling make sure they dont send anymore letter and they leave him alone. they want to sue computer company website your pm lee from malaysia climb into the sg court room raise own flag claim indpendent 1person gather outside british hotel sack president nathan. your cpf is gov building right? your school gov building right ? doesnt owe right why cannot give school kids 50000 every month your prime lee corruption give wife temaske holding and can buy 25% citibank shares why you want to sue the boy how about your lawyer got how many car how much cpf money you have where it goes you never report nsa kate middleton webpage we want a full report. next who say you can disfigure the court room we want british flag how about fort siloso why you can change name disfigure its call briitsh fort. where the british flag. next why other country owe money you got nice car nice house can print money and gun man outside your house with army. why business owe money if your country doesnt owe money. so why you sue the boy he will just say yes in court room he did it and go jail. so lee and the judge and lawyer corruption the boy can claim indpendent also you lee from malaysia dont have papers to claim indpendents how come you can take malaysia and print your own money and jail sdp their oppsition gov who say you can have police and army guns? you school 40hdb flat 40 4dpools your country right your money money fraud all have to return to malaysia. look we not interest where or what you do you happy sack happy sue why you sue the boy now. next is he is not reporting to court room or replying your letter you go report to the queen what tank guns and money you have in singtel and cpf why can go inside atm full write out plus your british police why all die and why you sack president nathan when you can give him posb dbs hsbc next is you say all not your one. or you say you never ask the judge or lawyer to sue. then why you using singapore money? why you prime minister for what want to work or not print give other country they no need to owe. next is you sue jail hang money fraud money counterfeit embassy laundry say them murder now you give minister judge $100000 say the boy murder. your court room hang 10people. now we say the boy minister judge pay him $100000 he hang 10people also what is the diff but he is a murderer. why u sue him never give him 100000$ why spain queen in spain? she is suppose to stay istana road name sophia. why you employ lawyer sue her money fraud or daughter she suppose to be in russia also. your know dont know right then why all the british police no more all died why political motivated murder how? so now your not happy jail me la. the problem is not me is your pap your lawyer judge sue jail your kids or lee sue pap member like finance or defend minister how? you need who help your better think 1st dont anyhow sue your kid get kidnap oversea who your call tell me quick say microsoft you stupid cockroach head. why they he kate satelight only have this kind of stupid info to know where you hiding. now next why we help your country for you depend on microsoft we sell you 1handphone chicken 900billion how? that why we never search you gov your people dont sue us ok we print money you get 50000 every month we know your lawyer owe money close case say no need to return letter just tell the boy can write any letter he wants so long he doesnt litter the flyer anywhere.if your daughter get caught for fraud how? and they say got drugs or vitamin for hospital but they say drugs we cane jail 10time? cause your lawyer judge doing this you go oversea sudi arab how? next is even we have connection sometime we done sue you people also like yemen can head chop off. that why we need money your bank can print 900billion bankbook record can reset is gov power means no one owe you send in 40company change the paper work and reset the credit or topup 900billion means like congress owe 1trillion 99yrs or obama health plan 1trillion or bank 900billion for business and meeting and 900billion for pay debt or 900billion pay debt china 1800billion you choice you jail the boy not i your people wont let your go anywhere also. you go oversea they will ask you for paper wait 4yrs study 14yrs then you can get a can of coke. we give your freedom they can go all the way ask for indpendent and open 40bank like president print their own money and like elvis or venezuela tibet note. means even your serangoon can be a state or country cause your lee also gather 5000white shirt people outside hotel and all business fraud tell them settle themself private with bank. if fighting outside injure go hospital. can play computer game psp football basketball no need fight. look after him 2mth parental guardian at home or take 2extra duty 2mth off if missing gun part or gun. rape murder same also give 2month pay look after her 2mth and parental guardian at home. 100000 insurance money. 0case 0sue 0jail army optional like your tony tan son can defer 9yrs no need go jail. for the boy tell him dont anyhow throw the paper on the floor littering no need to reply their letter he can write what he want on paper or on internet we want to know. they protecting your pap right. your fraud 900billion judge sue u how? but the boy got 900trillion. at least the world now know you on british land and they dont owe money and usa doesnt need to owe they can have 900billion 1note cash card or 1usd buy m1 starhub singtel silver bird blue 900billion share. if your judge lawyer not happy can report to kate middleton facebook webpage and the boy can type his letter to kate and boy have green light ignore police and judge letter we cover you overseas also so long no rape and murder and buy your normal ticket we no money cant print you look after yourself. you need usa bank bitcoin paypal merrill lynch or els they sue lee money laundry how we can say money to pay usa bill. puttin head obama admin. microsoft cia. kate queen. china intelligence.
      tell your police army airforce radio microsoft on their radio just leave the boy alone and if the boy got problem type summon microsoft furbee on your handphone. microsoft head nsa. facebook head fbi.
      microsoft high commission serving elizabeth the queen.

    • Philip Tetley

      It just goes to show that people are the same all over the world. “Rich” people are spoilt and will complain. I grew up in Africa where we were not blessed with sound economic policies and good government. I will say all countries always have room for improvements, even some of the best like Singapore. It seems to me that Singapore had to make sacrifices to get where it is today. It will always be an unequal society if it wants to remain a global financial center, socialist policies do not attract financial institutions. That is just how the world works! I read with regret some xenophobic comments about foreigners coming to Singapore just to make money, what an ignorant comment! Singapore became a global trading hub because historicaly it was open to traders from all corners of the world. If Singapore wants to remain a global trading center it has to remain an “open” city. It may not be the most democratic but for very diverse religious and ethnic society its harmony and tolerance is astounding, you don’t have to look far to see how different other parts of the world are in this regard.

      In a world racked with mismanagement and poverty and torn apart by religious and ethnic division we all look at Singapore with envy. Nobody knows better than Singapore how global the world economy has become and Singapore is proof that it is possible for a poor country with no resources to thrive in this new world. However I do agree Singapore is at a stage where political debate on its future needs to happen now, it cant stay still it has to adapt and remain dynamic.

    • Matthew

      From an outsiders perspective, Singapore’s lack of a welfare system is not the problem, the problem is that everyone wants to live in Singapore because it’s so awesome, and no one wants to live in Malasia or Indonesia because they’re dangerous and lame.

      • abdul shaufi

        “everyone wants to live in singapore”…lol,keep telling yourself that…hahaha.what a joke!

  2. Char Heng

    Your figures are selectively chosen and do not bear an an analytical approach to your title. Your comparison on university fees in the US compared to Singapore is terribly wrong and did you stop to check that the British pay 18,000 SGD a year on tuition fees? with subsidy at that. Please get your facts right. And american healthcare cheaper than singapore? Thats one hell of a laugh. 50,000 for an appendectomy stateside compared to just a couple of thousand here. utter crap this post is. selective one sided opinions and cherry picked tables and charts.

    BTW, I’m not anti PAP but neither am I for them.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hello, please click on the relevant links and write to the authors of those reports to clarify.

      I’ve taken the information from renowned international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation.

      • Char Heng

        yeah well. I did a google image search on the images you posted and checked up on the links. sure the data is there. but you obviously cherry picked which data to put in there for the basis of your argument. your graphs are not found in the websites and a google image search shows that they exist only on your forum. come on, give an unbiased viewpoint with a solid analysis. dont cherry pick data to form your argument. this isnt General Paper or some school essay.

      • homospheretalks

        I didn’t think the comments would be that bad and it would be untrue but… good to know that.

  3. Tong

    How can you conclude that Singapore has Third World standards based on comparisons with developed countries? I quote as an example:

    “Singaporeans are also made to earn Third World wages – Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the high-income countries.”

    Is this a good measure of where Singapore is ranked globally? Hardly – the very scope comparison is aimed squarely at high-income countries. If one were to conclude that Singapore is “Third World” in a specific area, would it not make more sense to perform said comparison with Third World countries? Indeed, the only conclusion one can draw from many of the above graphs is that Singapore is doing worse than a specific few developed nations – hardly a telling conclusion in any shape or form, especially given the context. Comparisons which displayed Singapore in relation to the rest of the world were much appreciated, albeit being few and far apart.

    Finally, given that the whole nature of the article revolves around First v Third World, it might be instructional to include a definition – or at least attach some meaning – to the terms “First World” and “Third World”, especially since such a term is used broadly and does not in fact have a clear interpretation.

    • rah

      I fully agree with what you are saying tong. this author just wants to appear educated and controversial. he doesn’t know the first thing about economics and politics. he chooses different yardsticks when he so desires

      • Tong

        Yes rah, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

        As a born-and-raised Singaporean, I am certain that there is a good deal Singapore can improve on. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool, or is lying. However, injudicious criticism and misleading statistics are never appropriate.

        Take for instance the author’s stance on education. In this crucial benchmark of human well-being, the only points the author has seen fit to dwell on happens to be..the cost of tertiary education, and government subsidies. Using these statistics to support the stance that Singapore is Third World in every other area is specious at best, deceptive at worst. Given that there are far more basic, important and sensible benchmarks for education (say, availability of primary education), why the use of such misleading ones?

        The author also boldly claims, “All the mismanagement in Singapore is also caused by the fact that Singapore has a Third World government”. To support this, he uses an unlabelled list of arbitrary numbers, attached to dangling references. In fact, these numbers are a measure of political freedoms. Once again, why? There are many measures that are more categorical, and can thus provide a better indication of the effectiveness of Singapore’s government.

        In conclusion, the greatest issue I have about this piece is that the author has seemingly decided on a conclusion before gathering the ‘evidence’. Constructive criticism is never objectionable; misrepresentation or omission of statistics is.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Perhaps we might like to remember that the Minister for Trade and Industry was the first to spark off this furore by saying – Singapore cannot be a First World Economy with Third World Costs.

        Perhaps if some commenters would like to take issue, they can point this discussion back to the PAP.

        Why does the PAP want to create this dichotomised thinking by claiming that Singapore needs to have First World costs?

        Perhaps if the commenters would like to claim to be as impartial as they would like to lead themselves to be, they would want to write to the minister to explain for all Singaporeans to hear, for we are all eagerly anticipating, as you obviously are.

      • choofrfreoer

        At first I thought Roy Ngerng was a retard, so I spoke to him nicely, thinking that with some knowledge he would see that what we are writing against isn’t his political stance, but his affinity with twisting logic to fit his pre-determined conclusions.

        Now, I see Roy Ngerng avoiding all of these nice comments with his “readers please be discerning” and “you’re a PAP troll” replies. That is exactly why I’ve determined that Roy Ngerng is not an idiot making mistakes; the real issue is far more insidious: He is doing this on purpose, playing on passions for his own nefarious ends.

    • Janus.

      Hello Tong, as you can see, Roy does not need to compare our third world areas to other third world countries because the government already states that they are working to make Singapore a first world country and has already made their salary, the economy and costs first world. Thus Roy has to compare the Third world areas with other First world countries for a proper hypothesis.

      • Tong

        What? No, that does not make sense. What are you talking about? Your conclusion does not even include Singapore.

        Let me put this in plain English.

        Roy’s stand is: Singapore is Third-World in all areas except our economy.

        To test this hypothesis, we must compare Singapore’s benchmarks in several areas (like education, governance, etc.) to Third World countries.

        Roy is comparing Singapore’s benchmarks in very few areas (therefore, incomplete analysis), and he is comparing Singapore against First World countries (therefore, wrong scope).

        As such, he cannot conclude that Singapore is Third World in every area other than its economy. Such a conclusion is not relevant to his statistics.

        I hope I’ve made the situation clear to Janus and to all readers.

  4. Tong

    I refer to a reply by the author, Ngerng, on May 9, 10:25PM. (Regretfully, there appears to be no ‘reply’ button.)

    I fear that your point is unclear.

    The point I (and other readers) made was simply that your post contained statistics that were very dubious in presentation, selection and interpretation. Due to this fallacy of incomplete evidence, then, your own conclusion that Singapore has (I quote from the title) “First World Economy, First World Costs, Third World Everything Else” does not hold water – or at least, not enough to proffer a substantiative case.

    What the minister said may or may not be true. However, what this article purports is incongruous with the minister’s statements, not least because the article is written in the present tense. Will Singapore have Third World costs in the future? Maybe. Maybe not. Being an unstructured question in nature, it is difficult to answer this question. But right now, is *everything* in Singapore (except the economy) Third World, as the author so resolutely insinuates? One can see tout de suite that the character of these two questions are vastly different. Thus, the Minister’s remarks are simply a red herring; redirecting the abovementioned remarks to the PAP would not clear this matter.

    In summary, PAP/the government/relevant ministers and authorities may be imperfect/wrong/etc. However, using dubious statistics to unfairly draw conclusions, as the author appears to have done, is definitely wrong. It is a disservice to the author, this website, its readers and all Singaporeans.

    • choofrfreoer

      Come I help Roy Ngerng reply: “READERS PLEASE BE DISCERNING!”

      That’s his standard response when he knows he’s cornered and cannot rebut. Don’t fool yourself; as much as we wish Roy Ngerng to be a virtuous individual who posts this for the good of Singapore, not knowing that his statistics are misleading, he isn’t. He is malicious, doing this not for the good of Singapore, but to overthrow the PAP, most likely for personal issues.

      Yes, Roy Ngerng is intentionally putting these statistics in to mislead people. It is intentional. On purpose. Not a mistake. Hence, there is no need to tell him that he doesn’t make sense. He knows he doesn’t make sense. But he hopes that he can continue to mislead people through this means.

      A person who is really concerned for the sake of Singapore will not intentionally subvert logic to generate unhappiness for the sole sake of changing the political party. Roy Ngerng is a demagogue who engages not in liberal democracy, but ochlocracy. He plays on the passions of people instead of rational thought. We hardly need these kind of people in Singapore.

      Now, why is he doing this on purpose? That is one answer he won’t tell us, open as he portrays himself to be.

  5. yoo

    Nothing much will change. At least not in the near future. Sure, all countries have their own set of problems. However, recently there has just been too many such articles commenting on the pap, and Singapore. It feels as though the pap will not be threatened enough to do anything for they are still in power. I know it is impossible to please everyone, but isn’t it obvious enough that more and more people are disliking this damn country? I would like to think that the last general election had gotten pap thinking. But apparently, they seem to have totally forgotten about the incident. No doubt this article is biased. But we cannot deny that Singapore has lost it’s former charm, at least to me and a few others. I used to be proud of singapore, thinking what a wonderful country it is as compared to others. What a good place it is to live it. How lucky was i to have been born in this country. It was a comparison I’ve had from a young age since. I had been travelling and living in different countries alot. Even though Singapore is still so darn good in many if not most areas, it’s definitely not a good place to live in in my opinion, and I wouldn’t want my children to live here too. Among my circle of friends, many have the same thoughts as I do. I believe the author wants to justify his discontent with the way Singapore is ran (and I say ran because Singapore is owned by those few people-in my humble opinion, feel free to correct me on this but this is not my point.) Thus, all I see left for Singapore in the future is not a country, but an ISLAND for foreigners to come and go, earning their bucket of wealth and taking it along as they leave. Singapore is on the road to destruction. Let’s say, even if most are patriotic and loyal to the leaders(not the country), more and more of the future generation will think the way we(those who currently criticise singapore) do. I really do hope the leading parties will at least take the time to consider improvement policies that would at least improve certain aspects of our life, for example elderly healthcare. Shouldn’t the government’s priority be it’s people and not the economy. Even with a prospering economy, with no singaporeans will it do the government any good?

    I have utterly given up showing my displeasure with the government’s decisions through any means. It just seems so futile. I really wonder how will Singapore be like, maybe say 70 years from now? let’s just see how the leaders are gonna run this country from here on out. From another country that is.

    • rah

      “I had been travelling and living in different countries alot”

      FYI, YOU are the foreigner going to other countries and earning your bucket of wealth and taking it along as you live.

      we claim singapore is being overrun by foreigners. sure that is true. But should we not have brought in foreigners, then who would do our menial jobs? Sorry, did YOU want to be a construction workers or a maid? Then you criticize the Chinese and Indians for coming over and stealing white collar jobs. But when caucasians come, no one says anything. Being selectively xenophobic. Racist actually. I am malay, and I find it ironic. In my mothers time, the chinese and indians were the foreigners. Yet we accepted them openly and integrated them. Now the very same people turn a cold shoulder to other foreigners. We have too many foreigners that is true. Doesn’t make it acceptable to be racist to the ones that are here.

      and if you have travelled a lot, you would realise that every major, important, prosperous city, has high proportions of foreigners. Open your eyes and stop being ignorant. Sure, we should review our immigration policies but that doesnt mean you have to be xenophobic.

      On top of that, Find me a government that is loved by their people, and we can actually talk. American Democrats? British Labour? Japanese political infighting? Indian corruption? Chinese Shadows? French racism? So much talk about how PAP sucks but no examples of a successful political party

      FYI, I am not a PAP fan. i just amn’t an ignorant little bitch.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hello yoo,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Actually I feel the same. I think most Singaporeans, and I dare say the majority of Singaporeans feel the same.

      I started writing because I started realising that people were unhappy in Singapore and I wanted to advocate to the government for a change of policies.

      It was only as I wrote and researched more that I realised that this wasn’t going to happen because the government’s plan for a long time now has never been to better the lives of Singaporeans. Better the economy, sure, that’s their goal but the aim of that? It definitely isn’t translating into helping Singaporeans, when you look at the policy measures.

      I feel the same as you and I think many do. I thank you for your sincere comment.

      It’s just sad that nowadays it’s difficult to actually comment, without receiving another harsh critic from the other side. Some people might not be “planted” but the PAP has planted many people just to hit back at other Singaporeans and commenters who simply want to speak the truth.

      It is irritating because you know many people simply want to have an honest conversation but this conversation is constantly broken up by their harsh and negative rhetoric.

      Anyways, I just want to let you know that I agree with you. And I also think the majority of Singaporeans do – that’s my sense.

      Another comment will slash at my comment here. But that’s fine.

      I only hope that more Singaporeans will realise that we feel the same, and in spite of the negative rhetoric aimed at driving our solidarity in thoughts apart, we need to always remember that.

      And when we find the strength within us, let’s rise up. And let’s get ready to fight for our freedom.


      • sunny

        I am never someone who would like to comment on a political piece, but your above comment has really sparked off something in me. Your attitude is utterly revolting when you mentioned that “another comment will slash at my comment here.” Isn’t freedom of speech and expression part of a value you are so ardently advocating for? Yet you seem to be so negative and afraid when faced with differing view points. Your condescension insinuated towards the other writers who questioned your article also shows your arrogance and immaturity (I refer to your seventh paragraph “It’s just sad… …to speak the truth.”) I hope that as a political writer you should at least have the self-awareness of demonstrating what you are advocating for.

        I appreciate the effort you have put in to voice out your own opinions, but a humble and well backed-up stance will go a long way to help you.

      • Roy Ngerng

        I hope you can see the irony of your comment.

        But thank you. I’m only one voice among many, one thought among many.

        My voice means nothing. But the voices of the masses will.

        When people realise their true power and the extent of their oppression, change will come, in time.

        Whether or not Singapore will come out stronger depends on many more understanding the irony of your comment.

      • sunny

        Instead of leaving your comment hanging, I believe you will do everyone, including those that you are intending to enlighten, a favor by clarifying what irony did I accidentally include in my above comment.

  6. rchen7

    i think you are using a really dogmatic tangent here. the government’s intention towards finding itself a better economy is always undermined by singapore’s size. nowhere in your article did you mention any of singapore’s disadvantages. compared to many other countries that you mentioned that are considered ‘first world countries’, singapore has zero resources to be the first world country that you make it out to be and needs to be. this should explain the weighty problem that our government has in figuring out what our economy has to do in order to stay ahead. did ever consider that issue and helping the government figure shit out instead of complaining? if you want to talk about problems and how to fix them, thats constructive. you have to think of everything from a money-making, entrepreneurial point of view. thats the only solution for singapore to maximise itself and its potential in the global sense.
    i certainly don’t see the government’s thoughts on making singapore a first world economy with first world benefits as a ‘negative rhetoric’. if you are encouraging reluctance and dissent to where your government is headed, you’re encouraging the opposite, which is a poor economy and what you call ‘third world’ results for singapore. the correlation between a better economy and better lives is stronger than you might think – its clear you feel that they are disconnected. so what exactly is the ‘truth’? i think thats what is more interesting than you disagreeing with having a better economy. also, remember there aren’t any harsh critics, theres only honest and constructive ones. any critics that aren’t harsh aren’t constructive. i would advise you not to take political parties that cause disservice to finding solutions in singapore too seriously. some of the messages that some of them send reek of complacence, taking things the easy way out, instead of actually solving economic issues and pushing singapore ahead of the crowd – that’s progress. giving away handouts is not progress its encouraging a mindset that you can get something for absolutely nothing and that is far from realistic. if reality is harsh, wouldn’t you want to know reality instead of deluding yourself?

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi, you made several hypotheses in your comment.

      Do you have research to back up the hypotheses? Would like to look at them to see where you base your assumptions from.

      I do have an article backed up with research which would dispel your comments. So, would like to see your research to exchange ideas.

      Otherwise, the assumptions that you propound in your comment, not backed by research and analysis, is dangerous for Singapore.

      • Tong

        Kindly display this ‘article backed up with research’, so that readers may, as you so crudely put it, ‘exchange ideas’.

        I do hope you were not referring to the article above, as it is for reasons mentioned previously full of weak (if not downright fallacious and invalid) inductive arguments.

        As you have aptly mentioned before, I hope you see the irony in your comments. The irony here, naturally, refers to the lack of (appropriate) research to back up hypotheses mentioned, as well as the absence of valid underlying assumptions.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Sure, so tell me, how else would you argue otherwise?

        To all commenters in this thread who have been going around and around challenging the validity of the information here and even discrediting the international organisations which have compiled the information, now, the other readers deserve to know how else we should interpret the information.

        So, to all these commenters – please explain specifically how you would present the information and explain otherwise.

        We are all looking forward to knowing your exact views on the information.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Meanwhile, to all readers,

        I’ve presented the facts here based on what I’ve compiled.

        Do be discerning with how you read the information – it’s up to you to understand and interpret it.

        The facts are quite clear for themselves.

        For example, the PAP only pays 30% for health. Is there any other way to interpret this, except that they are underpaying?

        I will leave it to readers to be discerning.

        At the end of the day, it is up to us to find out more and do what’s right for ourselves.

      • Tong

        That is a logical fallacy, I am afraid.

        It is a common debating tactic known as an argument from ignorance. I would much rather you answer my question directly, rather than resorting to such methods to refute arguments that your own conclusions are faulty.

        Your statistics may or may not be incorrect; that is not what is under debate. What is broken is your links from these statistics to your conclusion (that Singapore is a Third World country in all but economy). I have mentioned the reasoning repeatedly already. In addition to what has been mentioned, the article is in general way too simplistic to be seriously considered. Basic assumptions like the definition of “Third World” were not addressed.

        Nevertheless, if the author truly wishes to know more about the subject, I recommend a thorough reading of some basic material; for instance, presenting Singapore’s standings on benchmarks like the Human Development Index, or access to primary education and life expectancy would be beneficial for a more complete exploration of the matter at hand.

        Once again, I must emphasize that I am not questioning the veracity of the statistics. What is important is that the author’s purported conclusion does not follow from the statistics provided – not dissimilar to fallacies of hasty generalisation or biased samples.

      • anonymous

        @Tong – How does deduced analysis become fallacies? Isn’t fallacy only refers to arguments and assertions?

      • rchen7

        I use my powers of observation.
        these aren’t assumptions. these are facts.
        geographically, singapore is relatively small compared to many other countries.
        without government, and without other forms of control, the only means of power is really about ‘possession’.
        everything IS dangerous to singapore once you think about what i’ve said. these aren’t hypotheses or ASSUMPTIONS, as you phrase them. its real life. but if you base all of your conclusions on fear and danger, then the end result is always a disastrous one.
        source: not some lame opposition team with no arguments.

        you use your perception against all of the government’s decisions. what shaped your perception is what interests me.

        statistics are mostly biased from the beginning when statisticians are trying to ‘prove a hypothesis’. if we are looking for a way to prove our point, the numbers we find are already null because we will only accept numbers that support out argument.

        case in point.
        “For instance, consider a Singaporean walking through MacRitchie Reservoir and noting the colour of birds that he has spotted. He then puts up facts and figures stating that 100% of the birds he saw are blue. Would he be able to conclude that all the birds in Singapore are blue? How about all the birds in South-East Asia? All the birds on Earth?”

    • Am

      For Tong to talk about logical fallacies and misleading information, i have to disagree on the grounds that Roy has used it here to highlight a point and that governing officials have used similar statements in a platitudinal manner. Your agenda here is to put Roy down and i am certain that you are a PAP advocate. Not that it is anything wrong, but be honest about it if possible.

      While Roy may have cherry picked information here and seems to have overstated his findings, what he says is certainly ‘food for thought’. I am encouraged, and also would encourage you to work on this further in order to make your points clearer. That is to specifically cite instances when the government/officials have made statements stating or insinuating remarks like ‘1st world nation’, in order to rebut a point and to build a basis of factual comparison. Also, cataloging statements made and retractions by the officials would be more helpful to your arguments.

      On the topic:
      When a ruling body keeps to much information and does not share in decision making processes, it deprives the people of a chance to even help out. Withholding information while necessary in some regard, is taken to an unnecessary level in Singapore. Why do i say this? The situation: The government keeps information to protect the nation as a whole, but the people need to be sufficiently informed to help themselves. To me at least, there is a dichotomy between the needs of the nation and the needs of the citizens. Also, when you deprive a person of information, you cause them to lose their autonomy and create a state of passivity and self-defeat (look at the increase psychological disorders here and the manner people act out in public now–look at Stomp as evidence of this). Dissatisfaction is the cause of this and i am certain the manifestation of passivity and self-defeat is starting to change already with the alarming passive aggressiveness here (look at netizens). Moreover, the panopticon created in Singaporean society would create phenomena like the Hawthorne effect on a larger scale. Inefficiency and ineptitude despite our long working hours because of scrutiny/expectations, a heightened state of fear of perceived loss, and correspondingly dissatisfaction.

      I’m not saying the present governing body has not done a great deal for Singapore and their jobs are getting any easier. Singapore faces an uphill battle to remain relevant and competitive in this world, but Singapore has been shaped for about 40 years now to follow this growth trajectory. People are becoming aware that this is not growth that they would like or would even find useful to them. This is the time for the government to really work with its people or risk alienating them even further. If they don’t then Singapore is either a sinking ship or will only be host to the rich. It is true that the spending power of these wealthy investors may help the economy, but it will not help even the middle class in the long run (unless they can adapt well enough). Yup, Singapore is fast become a social Darwinist state. Cooperation will help us in the long run, not competition.

      • Am

        Catalog the information over the past 10-20 years or more if you seriously want to make a point and notice patterns. Otherwise your work will be considered more sensational than factual. More so, it is better to comment and offer suggestions, rather than just tearing down what appears to ‘not work’.

      • Am

        One more thing.

        I pray you are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The 5 levels of needs and wants, which is rooted on physiological needs and caps off with self-actualization. Well Singapore has become stable to provide the 2 base levels of safety and physiological needs. When these needs/wants are fulfilled enough, one addresses the next level of needs and here in Singapore, some people have begun to grow higher (some may even skip stages owing to relevance to the individual) to reach the peak of self-actualization. At this stage is where people start to think, even if some who have reached the top without fulfilling the lower levels face more difficulties. When people think, they start to become more aware and can dedicate more attention/resources to such pursuits.

        Now, when the minister made his comments about rising costs of living and hence, increased competitiveness, he is indicating that the 2 base levels that had been secure are now going to be compromised. In a practical sense, when the bottom is compromised, those who had risen higher would have to climb down to secure the base (securing work, employment, etc.) which would be harder to meet now. Those who do not would face ruin, whether economic, social, psychological or physical. So in can be said that these policies are made to make citizens more controllable or at least distracted.

        Unfortunately, what has failed to be realized is that because of the government’s social engineering mechanisms, problems have been created at these lower levels like falling birth rates, lack of creativity/entrepreneurship or original thought, ‘kiasuism’ or the exacerbated perceived fear of loss, increasing mental disorders, and also, an increasingly disgruntled population.There is more than meets the eye with these policies, but it is important to discern what could be really happening. We may not know the full story, but such comments by officials does reveal more than it does on the surface. And the use of control like in past (1960s onwards) is becoming less effective as the problems are becoming greater that the government may alienate its citizens and citizens leave the country in turn (this has happened–see the issue of ‘fair-weathered Singaporeans’ many years back).

        And again, it comes back to the point of the dichotomy between the needs of the nation and the needs of the citizen. If you can’t take care of your citizens, the nation will not prosper surely. There is a way to progress now even if it means to regress economically in the short run, paving the way to a better future. And this is to get more involved with the citizens and truly make us a nation for Singapore’s true wealth has always been its people and not resources. Money comes and goes, but it can come again. However, with people, if you lose them, its not going to change the future no matter what and Singapore becomes a nation without people. What i say may seem far-fetched, but i beg of you to think further for this is a much bigger issue rather than just rising costs in Singapore.

      • Tong

        I shall only comment on the relevant portions of your reply, i.e the first two paragraphs.

        For the first paragraph:
        My agenda may be to put Roy down, but I find it disturbing how quickly you brand me as a PAP advocate. For the record, I have just reached voting age and thus have not participated in an election. Does this mean I cannot be politically savvy? Or does the fact that one is a PAP advocate, WP advocate or etc. invalidate one’s arguments?

        I am glad you agree that Roy has used logical fallacies and misleading information. You purport that this is acceptable, however. I disagree. Misleading information is always wrong, regardless of who it is used by.

        For the second paragraph:
        Once again, I am heartened that we agree about Roy’s cherry-picking of information and his overstatements. You choose to view this as ‘food for thought’; it is not my place to disagree. What I am merely trying to point out is what we have already agreed on – that Roy’s conclusions does not follow from his findings. What conclusions other readers draw from these inferences is entirely up to them.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hello, I challenge the government to take me on. When that happens, I will challenge them to reveal to us the information.

        As long as the truth is revealed to Singaporeans and Singaporeans are protected, I am OK.

      • choofrfreoer

        Yes, I support Tong in putting Roy down. But since when does “putting Roy down” translate into a PAP advocate? I also put LHL and his gang down on other places like online forums.

        Why do I support this stand, you ask?

        One of my key beliefs is that of responsibility. Roy Ngerng is being very irresponsible, abusing his privilege (read: it’s not a right) of freedom of speech. He is misleading everyone with his cherry-picked statistics. He isn’t presenting data and coming to a conclusion; he is coming to a conclusion and inserting/omitting data to back it up. And he is tailoring his piece to make it sound like an objective analysis when it obviously isn’t.

        In my opinion, a person should only use the mass media for communication if he/she is responsible. It is better to keep one’s ideas to himself/herself if unsure of the potential undesirable consequences it may cause. It’s always better to keep silent (as in the government) than spew outright lies. In this case, Roy Ngerng is obviously intentionally flaming public dissent for whatever personal grudge he has against the PAP. This, I cannot condone.

      • Am

        You fail to discuss what i have mentioned. Please give an opinion on what i have mentioned before talking further.
        Show your own analysis please. If you dismiss Roy’s data and analysis let us also dismiss the government’s stats and figures too. Look at you talking about data integrity and not talk about the workings of politics and power. Defaming a person just because he has an opinion that differs…trying to protect what cannot be protected…I urge you people to think deeper because the depth of your thoughts are not displayed here as of yet.

      • Tong

        Am, you need to understand that I do not need to discuss what you have mentioned in order to debunk Roy’s supposed conclusion.

        All I have to do is point out Roy’s statistics and how Roy has used them to draw a faulty conclusion. This I have already done. In fact, you have done the same by stating that Roy has “cherry picked information here” and “seems to have overstated his findings”.

        The rest of what you have mentioned does not affect the fact that Roy has manipulated information erroneously.

        Please try to understand.

  7. da

    roy is one of the biggest controversy-seeking retards i have ever had the (dis)pleasure of encountering.

  8. James Eu

    As mentioned, articles are presented with facts and figures. Any comments is purely assumptions, unless you have factual data to back this up. I suggest all of you to provide facts instead of merely stating the opposite, then that would be a constructive debate.

    The only person so far who I have seen presenting FACTS, are the author. Can’t someone at least present graphs and facts to counter this allegations? C’mon guys, I’m sure you could try harder, being a FIRST WORLD ECONOMY.

    • Roy Ngerng


      Thank you all for the comments.

      My intention of writing this articles and the other articles is to use clear statistics and facts to illustrate how the livelihood of Singaporeans have been compromised.

      My analysis has shown me that the PAP government has intentionally used government to reduce the benefits and protection for Singaporeans.

      It is thus that I advocate the following:

      (1) Clear statistical analysis to present the complete picture. Most would have noticed that the articles are long because I try to be as comprehensive as I can.

      (2) Use the statistics to join the dots together and let us have the bigger picture.

      (3) When the dots are joined, the prepertrator becomes clear.

      As such, I advocate for a change of government and the removal of the PAP, so that Singaporeans can place ourselves in government to create policies that will protect Singaporeans and allow Singaporeans to grow together.

      Thank you.


    • Tong

      James Eu, I am afraid that what you state is not the truth. An argument needs premises, inferences and conclusions. The author puts forward his statistics as premises. However, because of his faulty inferences, his conclusions do not follow. This is a fallacy; “factual data” is not required for a “constructive debate”.

      For instance, consider a Singaporean walking through MacRitchie Reservoir and noting the colour of birds that he has spotted. He then puts up facts and figures stating that 100% of the birds he saw are blue. Would he be able to conclude that all the birds in Singapore are blue? How about all the birds in South-East Asia? All the birds on Earth?

      Thus, we can see the weakness of using only statistics. One must always consider the conclusion being drawn from these statistics. In the example given above, you do not need other statistics to see that the claim made does not hold water.

      In this article, Roy Ngerng uses the cost of tertiary education as statistics, concluding that Singapore has a third-world system of education. He has carelessly omitted other more sensible statistics, like literacy rate and availability of primary education, both of which puts Singapore right at the forefront and solidly in First-World standards. Given these wildly contrasting statistics, is Roy’s conclusion fair and just, or is it hasty and incomplete? I’ll let readers decide for themselves.

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  11. Am

    Tong: lol you can say relevant portions and when another does it then its cherry picking.

    Anyways, any opinion that goes against the norm or what the government says is controversial and flaming, because it disrupts this fragile peace we have that continues to ebb away everyday. If an opinion needs to be heard, it will be heard whatever the circumstances. Look at what Noam Chomsky has done in the US. Because of such efforts people can be more aware of their situation and see with their own eyes and not a prescribed lens. Harming the public? Just look at the effects of social engineering and compare that to what Roy is doing.

    And Roy, don’t expect information to be revealed. It will never be done willingly. So do what you have to do. Keep calm and objective oriented always. If you’re religious, then pray for protection, guidance, wisdom and peace as i will for you.

    • Tong

      There is a difference between cherry-picking and relevance.

      Let’s say we are identifying a bird. The colour, shape, size, etc. of the bird are relevant benchmarks. Imagine Student A concluding that a mosquito is a bird because it has wings. This is cherry-picking, as it omits important information like shape and size. Roy has committed this fallacy in this article.

      Now imagine Student B, who supports A’s stand by stating that mosquitoes spread malaria. This is irrelevance.

      You can see that debunking Student A’s theories is a simple matter of pointing out the fact that A has omitted relevant information. There is no need to address Student B’s theories at all. This is what I have done (and might I add, you too agree that Roy has cherry-picked information and overstated facts). I did not need to respond to your theories about government policies etc because they are irrelevant.

  12. Am

    Lastly, if your views are really so important for the peace of the public then email Roy or have a personal chat with him, instead of flooding him with retorts and put downs.

    • Tong

      I’m not sure to whom you’re referring, but why is this necessary? This is a public forum. Dissenting views – as long as they are logical and well thought out – should be aired for all to view.

      • rchen7

        exactly. the importance of having an open discussion is not about embarrassment or humiliation. that should never be a deciding factor on my connection with Singaporeans and the country we care about – Singapore.

        the ancient teahouses of china valued the open and constructive conversations being had once social, economic and political stratums were left at the door. i enjoyed my conversation with Roy, even if we disagree. Thanks Roy.

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  15. kc stone

    been reading articles on this blog for sometime and its latest development of being sued by the PM. pretty interesting i must say. and i must applaud Mr Roy for his bravado and unrelenting dedication in exposing the truths about life in Singapore which like it or not, most singaporeans wouldn’t even dare to even comtemplating doing the same.

    i’m in financial industry and in my years of travelling to other countries, doing financial research and dealing and communicating with my clients here and abroad and been appointed to the boards of some of business institutions here, i’ve come to conclusion that Singapore govt are steering this country to become the Monaco of the East. look at the casinos, the sentosa cove, the F1 race and the influx of foreigners which through my not so acute observations, the latest rounds were not just for lowly and menial jobs that most singaporeans shunned. i only have to look around me in my office to realise that.

    thats the way this country are going. perhaps the govt believe its the only way to go. towards “higher economy”. the middle class are out. if you can’t stand the squeeze and the heat of the pressure cooker, you can always decide to get out and seek greener pastures as well. the govt not going to stop you and indeed many have done so and many will.

    i don’t mean to say that the systems here are perfect but we must remember that this country has absolutely ZERO resources. nilch. nada. you dig out a soil here, all you would find is a cables sneaking through the soil like a gang of colourful snakes. no oil, no precious stones, no precious metals. nothing. so what is this country natural resources? yes. the people. its citizens. the people who comes here to make their fortune. and the govt has to find ways to milk this resources to keep the country going.

    i’m not disagreeing entirely with the owner of this blog but nothing so far in his over-long and various articles did he mention the size “advantage” of Singapore. the size alone has and always has been a great disadvantage to this country. not to mention its paltry numbers of total population and its dwindling birth rate.

    it may sound harsh but no ones gonna “wait” for you. if you think its too squeezy to remain here, you always have an option to get out. most singaporeans have better education and skills so it wouldn’t be too difficult to eke out a living somewhere else. the govt seems has decided that being the Monaco of the East is the way to go. if you can’t “yacht” along with it, you better have Plan B. its not the govt duty to look after yourselves. theres only so much they can do. that goes for any govt anywhere in the world.

    again, its not a harsh reality. its just a reality. accept it and move on.

    • Joach Falken

      In the former german “democratic” (i.e. sozialist) republic, jokes were beimg made that the government might choose a new population, if the original one left the country (for the democratic western Germany). Your comment seems to take a similar approach… Indeed,ulation and the electorate should choose its government, not the other way round.

  16. kc stone

    i’m an advocate of “least govt fingers in the pie”. if you know what i mean. yes. they have an uneviable task of ensuring theres an affordable housing programmes for its citizens, affordable healthcare, educations etc..etc..and no. i’m not a PAP advocates. hell, i’m even a self-employed who don’t contribute to OA and SA. but i believe you know that for health subsidies, 80% of the cost of the ward of B2 and below are borne by the govt? and 30-40% for higher wards? and you can use your medisave to get a private health insurance plan to cover higher cost of your treatments? thats one of the examples that i feel i must point out to give a balance view towards the whole issues

    i feel the owner of this blog should forward a fairer and balanced points and arguments. again i must point out here that i’m not PAP advocates or what-not but to say that PAP purposely and conciously are out to squeeze and defraud singaporeans are a bit too far-fetched and illogical. theyre not stupid or a rogue govt i believe. their systems may not be too perfect for some singaporeans and may benefit from further fine-tuning to deliver more benefits for its people but to accuse them of purposely coming out with a system to make singaporeans suffer is a bit too far-fetched in my not too humble opinion

    • Am

      A voice who hears reason.: kc stone The point of this blog i believe is a wakeup call to Singaporeans who believe that the government will always have their best interests at heart. The blog, while overstating and not fully comprehensive, does just that. When one tends to be sensational, there’s always more people can use to bring you down. So work on the arguments.

      Roy has not defrauded Singapore. He has merely exposed lies that have been told for 50 years. Again this is an aspect of governance that is unavoidable, but when it affects the citizens this seriously then you have to wonder who or what the government is working for. LKY is seeking to protect what ‘the empire’ he has built. Everyone else in the PAP is following suit. So what of the people? This is the problem when you gear your economy towards economic development. A little humanity dies when you place money as the centre of your pursuit. And of course, everything else will crumble away, like welfare, etc.

      Now they are suing Roy? What a joke. They are the ones harming Singapore. Comparing Roy’s jibes to the government’s lies, is comparing a scrape to a bullet wound. All that is happening in Singapore now sickens me, especially when we are all unaware of the consequences of our actions. We should not implicitly subscribe to ignorance and oblivion when i take in what i read. That being said, i hope the people of Singapore don’t give up without a fight. Fight for what you believe in and don’t keep complaining under your breath so no one can hear.

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  20. J

    I’m a new reader here, & I’m heartened to have Roy defending Singaporeans’ rights, certainly his blog has shed some light on the government, and led me to really think on how efficient and just our government really is.

    I do agree with many of the articles here, however this one just doesn’t sit completely well with me. It is pretty obvious that some of the statistics are purposely cherry-picked to support his argument, but it’s hard to judge Singapore’s current state with just these, as someone above stated that literacy rates and such should be included. Of course, some of the above mentioned facts are hard truths as well, the news did report on the happiness level of Singaporeans, etc.

    Just take everything with a pinch of salt, don’t just believe or condemn every single thing you read. This is a blog after all, you have to understand that it’s a combination of both facts and opinion. I think it’s great that Roy is standing up for us, even if I don’t completely agree with everything he’s posted.

    Thanks for all the articles Roy, really gave me a better perspective on the current situation in Singapore. 🙂

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  22. muthu

    Guys, please. There is no need to argue on this. If you put Roy down today, another Roy will come up one day and ask the same question. I think that Roy is some where right about the Singapore government to show us the original statistics and Tong is also some where right where he says Roy has put up a misleading chart

  23. Schiff

    Arts student socialist who does not understand economy is shi**ing on the best run country in the world. In other news water is wet and grass is green.

    • Gordie

      Another trait well known in Singapore is that many people cannot take criticism even constructive food for thought.

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  26. Tan Bok Choi

    Wow plenty of misleading info. He talks like he knew stuff. Wait till he lives in the US and know the actual cost of healthcare and education there. Cherry picking info. So how would you run a tiny city state with no resources expert?

  27. Jonathan Knight

    I agree with this post. Well written and thought through. Some information may be biased (no one can be completely impartial) but he’s got the point that most Singaporeans miss out. I’m a foreigner that has stayed in Singapore for many years, I’ve been through enough to draw the same conclusions..

    To all of you PAP buttlickers that claim that he’s missing small details here and there, how about you look at the big picture?

    I’m well off and staying in Singapore and PAP has got me a lot of money. So why do I support this? Because it’s true.

    *Third-world would not be entirely accurate. Singapore is not nearly as bad as Third-world countries but definitely not within first-round for most things.

  28. Gordie

    Great article. When I see such extremes in wealth and poverty, one draws their own conclusion about First World for some and Developing Country for others.

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  30. russofrevo

    Ive never been to Singapore, but it seems to me that a govt that doesnt have a massive spending habit, or massive healthcare benefit, is fiscally responsible unlike US or Europe where our govts are trillions in debt. Also the amount of $$ a govt spends on education is not a barometer to how well educated the citizens are. In US we spend billions each year, yet education is getting worse (and more expensive)

  31. Fred

    Reading these posts as an American, I found the one made by choofrfreoer the scariest. Intolerant and paranoid, assuming nefarious personal motivations for the overthrowing of the the government (the Holy Government! – how dare you!!) when someone simply makes a point and generates debate. I hope he is not typical for the inhabitants of Singapore. His statements (like “intentional subversion”) and the thoughts he reads into the OP’s mind would befit a member of some secret police. “Why did you write that? Do you want to subvert the State? Who are your accomplices? SMACK!! POW!!” Maybe he is the one who does not belong in Singapore, but in China or Russia.

  32. charissa

    I do not have the time to do research from legit sources like united nations etc so take my words with a pinch of salt as someone who’s singaporean and has been living in europe and the US for a number of years. (San francisco and new york).

    All I can say is, this article is extremely misleading. If a Singaporean were to read this and walk away with the impression that education and healthcare in US is in fact better (as demonstrated in this article with some screenshots of graphs), you are going to find yourself a terrible shock.
    US healthcare is an unfathomable bloody mess. You can’t afford to see even a doctor without an insurance plan. No job = no decent insurance. There’s no such thing as in Singapore where you walk into to a private clinic, pay 20 USD for consultation + medication. Such a concept does not even exist to an American. (You mean that is possible?!)

    Without a great employer and insurance: you pay 100 USD min to see a doctor and there are no walk ins. A friend of mine had to see 3 different doctors to discover his “swollen lymph nodes” is in fact cancer. This was in new york.

    With a great employer and insurance: you pay 20 USD to see a doctor and then pay another X amount for medicine. I have seen a lot of doctors who prescribed me medicine that I don’t need (50 USD/mth for birth control pills?? when there’s another brand that is covered by my insurance). For my whole 26 years of experience seeing multiple doctors in singapore, that has not happened once. My doctors in Singapore only gave me the bare minimum of what I need – not what lines up their pockets. The total costs of seeing a doctor + medication still adds up to more than seeing a private doctor in singapore just by strolling in.

    Now – education. Americans on average take years to pay of their college loans. 10 years? 20? if ever? My parents did not pay my college fees with their CPF and so I bore 100% of my college fees and paid it off in 3-4 years. How in the hell do you get data indicating college fees are more expensive in Singapore? We are heavily subsidized!

    Now let’s talk about the QUALITY of education. I went to CHIJ St Nicholas. My dad was making 2000 SGD take home for a family of four. My sister went to Nanyang Girls. Both of us have had classmates transfer to Cheltenham ladies college – a top boarding school in the UK. For SGD 12$/month, we were receiving a quality education equivalent to that of a top boarding school in the UK. My classmates were paying 12’000 pounds a SEMESTER.

    Also, you forgot to mention that for ALL THAT WE ARE GETTING, I paid a ridiculously low income tax rate of 7-9%. I have not paid more than SGD 4K in income taxes when I was in Singapore. Currently in the US, I am paying almost 40%. Why don’t you mention that????

    Sure, I don’t have the time to take multiple screenshots and put in any effort to do any research or write up a comprehensive rebuttal backed up with evidence. But if anyone were to believe the information you’ve put across here, they will find that reality is FARRRR FARRRR FARRRR from the illusion you’ve presented here.

    If you want to be a credible opposition, stop cherry picking data. Also, you make opposition in Singapore politics look like a joke if this is all you have.

    I am all for opposition; it’s healthy and necessary to keep the government in check. But not with misleading lies like what you presented here please.

    • Christopher Brickhill

      What you say is unadulterated rubbish, I write so strongly only because at the end of your post you are quite rude. So that you know, I spent 25 years in NY, and another 8 in Singapore, and my experience is completely the opposite of yours. Yes it is true that you pay a lot more in NY for a GP than you do in Singapore per visit, but you must be mentally deficient not to have insurance. The net of it all is that you get a lot more for your dollar in the US, and the outgoings are similar. Of course in the UK, national health is heads and shoulders over what is available in Singapore, and its fee. Perhaps you have not leaned to adapt.

      About education, again that the US provides is head and shoulders over that Singapore provides, which is an education which develops well the ability to not think at all, but memorized facts per square inch. I do not know the schools you mention, so I assume they do not hack it, but I can tell you at Harvard, where the tuition fees are in the order of half a million dollars, for any sort of degree, something like 2/3 get scholarships, and subject to means tests, I believe in the order of 30% pay nothing. So if you have a brain, and do not have money, you get a top notch education. I read a DPhil at Oxford and paid no fees as all my colleagues did. Singapore, no way. You need to think a little but more about this I submit.

      About taxes, I generally paid 55% per city, state and local tax in NY. Yes, its a lot. My rate of tax however in Singapore, was 40%. But then you cannot compare Singapore to NY. There is zero, and I mean zero culture in Singapore, no Metropolitan opera, no Carnegie Hall, no classical ballet, no modern dance, no libraries, and galleries, no nothing at all. When I first arrived in Singapore I was surprised to find it a lot cheaper then NY. But I left, well I am sure you know the story, its one of the most expensive cities in the world. And it has absolutely nothing except Laksa, and Hokka centre food, which I adore. What I did not adore were the intellectually straight jacketed Singaporeans, the majority, those with the Laksa brains.

      You talk about misleading lies. These are not lies, they are thought out opinions. I do not thank you are deliberately lying, but from what I read you have a Singaporean Laksa brain. Incapable of assessing anything other than a lego brick’s ability to be stacked one upon the other.


      • charissa

        “Yes it is true that you pay a lot more in NY for a GP than you do in Singapore per visit, but you must be mentally deficient not to have insurance.” -> my insurance in singapore costs 30$ a month for 80% of any accidents and emergencies. Other than that, my family was too poor to afford a 300$/month plan. It is wise to have insurance if you can afford it, but I don’t think it’s really an option to pay for great insurance plan if you are living on 400USD per capita.

        I agree with you there is a lot more value in having an insurance plan in the US. I have benefited from the free health checks, subsidized chiropractic care, subsidized therapy visits, all things nice to have but not exactly 100% essential. What was essential were medication and costs of surgery for my parent’s long term illnesses.

        I’m not talking about which is more value for money here. If you have 300/month to spend on insurance and have a lot of medical problems, US healthcare is maybe better. But many people unfortunately don’t. Don’t go around those who cannot afford great insurance that they must be mentally deficient.

        “I can tell you at Harvard, where the tuition fees are in the order of half a million dollars, for any sort of degree, something like 2/3 get scholarships, and subject to means tests, I believe in the order of 30% pay nothing. So if you have a brain, and do not have money, you get a top notch education” -> When I say quality education, I’m not talking about receiving the level of quality at Harvard or Stanford. I think there are a lot of people who have a brain, are brilliant and out of which, only 1% of them is able to qualify at that level. So why are we even using this example??

        If a school provides education that gives 50% of the school 6-7 GCSE distinctions, I consider that quality. What you consider quality is 12 GCSE distinctions or an IB score of a perfect 45. Are those with 6 GCSE distinctions and an IB score of 42 lacking a brain? It appears you don’t count this as quality education? (Or we’re just talking about way different level of expectations here) (I think even the top boarding schools in UK only produced 1 IB score of 45 on average per school so are you using an example that applies to literally 0.1% of the population? Is that really a reasonable use case or relevant example here?)

        Also, I’m talking about quality in relation to the COSTS of education, the access and average person’s ability to that (maybe 75 percentile and up but not 99.9) So there’s no point bringing in an example that applies to 0.1% of the population.

        I’m not aware of a 40% tax rate in Singapore because from what I understand from the IRAS website, the maximum for an income > 330k is at 22%.

        It’s ironic you thought my first response was rude and yet yours was way more rude and peppered with insults. “Illusion”, “Cherry picking data” and “making opposition look like a joke” isn’t quite as rude as “have[ing] a Singaporean Laksa brain. Incapable of assessing anything other than a lego brick’s ability to be stacked one upon the other.” Lol?

      • Christopher Brickhill

        Your remarks are truly off the wall in both cases. About HDB housing, yes there is no law which says you have to buy an HDB, obviously, what if means is that Singaporeans are in no position to do otherwise, and that is bad. About the CPF, no, your comparions are 401K are beyond naive. No-one matches anything. If you are talking about employee contributions, its irrelevant what a tax on employers provides. 401K plans are very superior to CPF in almost every respect, no I will make it stronger, every respect.I would be happy to enter into a dialogue with you in this matter if you can show me that you have done your homework and can make sensible comments. Otherwise I shall leave it here. Incidentally personal situations rarely paint an accurate picture. My advice is to remove yourself from what you say, and delve into the objective facts.

        If you have read my book, I hope you enjoyed it, and incidentally paid for it. The input from the publishers is that Singapore has ranked highly in two respects: the number who have read it, and those that have pirated copies!

  33. charissa

    Oh wait, I also realized you already have a very strong opinion about the opposition which explains why you got so bad about anyone saying anything positive about Singapore.

    “Eighty-five percent of Singaporeans live in government housing, housing that they are forced to buy using compulsory contributions to a retirement fund. ”

    I just want to say how ridiculous a statement that is. Nobody is forced to buy government housing. In fact, people are queueing up for 3-4 years with a ticket, praying they are lucky enough to get the ballot and have the option to buy one! Have you spoken with anyone living in government housing at all? My facebook is peppered with statuses of my friends when they “win the ballot” and they count their blessings and lucky stars! I can share those screenshots with you.
    They are mostly a guaranteed investments. Even if my friends’ families are rich enough to buy a private property, many would still opt to buy a government housing because it’s a rule that you will no longer qualify for government housing or that it’ll no longer be subsidized.

    Also “compulsory contributions to a retirement fund” doesn’t really sound that bad I guess. I just want to remind you that this is the equivalent of the “great 401(k)” in the US, where americans consider it a “great benefit”. 401 (k) is only a 4% match. Singapore’s CPF scheme is a 20% match. I think in america people would kill for that match rate. I can also testify that without this “compulsory retirement fund”, I would probably not have had a house to live in or money to eat. My parents were not the wisest and like you would describe, probably “mentally deficient”. Heck, they didn’t even have 200$ in savings. Without this CPF scheme that has an amount of 100-200k, I wouldn’t have been able to have a home, pay for college or afford my parent’s mountain of medical bills.

    Just more background information for your next book and research.

  34. Christopher Brickhill

    To address your remarks, let me begin by asking you is you find value in continuing this discussion, and get your thoughts in more order before putting pen to paper.
    “you must be mentally deficient not to have insurance.” I mean by this, if you live in the US, and it stands as it is.

    My point is, that no matter how you look at it, you are better off in the US and UK for healthcare, rich or poor. I am not making a remark about whether what happens to the poor in the US, or Singapore is fair, or good. Simply, that from every respect that I can see, no matter how you stack up the facts, what Singapore offers for the poor really does suck. It’s not so good either in NY, or the US as a whole, but it is clearly better that what you have in Singapore.

    As for the UK, and EU, there can be no question. The poor are well treated, in every respect, and in Singapore, as you have confirmed, are not.

    “Harvard, …. So why are we even using this example?” Its an example because it demonstrate that at the very high end, for those that cannot afford the costs, it is free. This means that it is also free lower down the educational food chain. So if you are intelligent and work hard, one of the very best educational institutions is open to you, as are the others.. Obviously, without going into the details, Oxford is a better deal, as are the other UK universities.

    “If a school provides education that gives 50% … relevant example here?)” What you are saying to me is quite unclear, so I am not sure of your point. But let me explain, results at secondary education level are quite irrelevant. The measure of a secondary school is that it provides access to a university, which is where an education begins. This means the 2 As and a B at A-level is an important measure, but this is were it begins.

    Again, about value, we go back to the point about costs, where it costs more to attend NUS, for a very basic education that it does at a real university.

    Next about your income. If you indeed pay 40% in the US, then your income would have been well over US$250,000, perhaps as much as $400,000 depending on your personal deductions. So presumably the costs of your medical coverage, $12K to $15 per year, which is of course, tax deductible, would have been no problem to you. To confirm what I paid in tax in Singapore, it was not a typo. It is correctly stated. This raises another point. If indeed you earned this kind of money in the US, why would your return to Singapore and become a low income earner, especially as Singapore is devoid of anything of value whatsoever. Very strange indeed. Have I encountered a Laksa brain?

    • charissa

      “what Singapore offers for the poor really does suck. It’s not so good either in NY, or the US as a whole, but it is clearly better that what you have in Singapore.” -> I’m not sure where you get this idea from. What are the costs of seeing a doctor in Singapore and have chronic illnesses in Singapore? Are you telling me I don’t have a good idea of this – given my parents have chronic illnesses, make trips to the hospital monthly and that I consider myself poor while growing up in Singapore? I AM the use case you’re referencing do you realize? Going to the polyclinics costs 10 SGD a trip, hospital bills are heavily subsidized. Exactly how do you think this situation is going to play out in the US that you consider it “better than Singapore”? I’ve not heard a single person ever comment that US healthcare is superior to Singapore. Do a quick google search for “compare US and singapore healthcare” and the first article reads “Is Singapore’s “miracle” health care system the answer for America?”

      The point on education: just because a country provides excellent education (at Harvard) for the 0.1% of the country, does not mean you have great education system. Have you considered the education system of the country as a whole? At all tiers and levels? Sure, college is what matters but your qualification to a decent college is dependent on years of quality education at the tertiary and primary level. What logic is it that you only consider college education (no less, only in Harvard) a decent example? As long as the country has a great college, the quality of education at primary and tertiary does not count? The entire nation is still heavily in student loan debt in the trillions and Harvard giving out scholarships doesn’t change this does it? This is not even a valid use case for whatever point you’re trying to put across

      And on your point on NUS, it is ranked 15th in the world by QS World Rankings. For some reason you don’t consider it a “real university” and a “basic education”? You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Based on what exactly did you decide it’s not a real university? Suddenly you’re a qualified judge on whether a university is of reputable standing or not?

      • Christopher Brickhill

        I have told you that in order to continue this conversation you have to get your thoughts together, organize tham, and present them, and you do not do this. For the last time, personal situations are not relevant. Healthcare is superior in the US on a number of counts, which you can verify in a number of studies. There are the central issues 1) The professional are more highly trained, and work one a more professional level, 2) given insurance, the costs are less, and 3) the procedures are superior. Two further related points: 1) You refuse to address healthcare in Europe, which the superiority if the medical care is a no brainer, and 2) Singapore utilizes a number of appalling, and often illegal procedures elsewhere, for example, for insurance claims one must pay first and reimbursed. I think even you can see that a claim for $10 presents no problem, but a claim for $100,000 means that the insurance cannot be utilized. If you wish to respond to this material, please do so according to what I have set forth, and address each issue, (1 though 3, then 1 through 2) in turn.

        I am sorry that you cannot see the point you are making in your second paragraph. Education is clearly superior to education in Singapore on every, (not almost every level). Harvard was, as I have explained twice to you is an example. Seventy percent of the population in the US receive a tertiary education. I do not have the number at hand for Singapore, but I believe I am right and saying that it is less than 20%. Short answer to your question, have I considered the quality at all levels in the US, The answer is and its rather obvious, yes. I have also pointed out that secondary education is valueless by itself. If one wants to consider oneself, or society as well education, the value of a secondary education is only preparing for tertiary education. It is in university where it begins. Heaven help you if you have not been successful at a university. Of course this remark excludes the infinitesimally small number of individual who make fortunes, like Bill Gates, without a tertiary education, please go ahead, and try your luck.

        NUS’s ranking, again, is where you start, not where you end. Incidentally its nearer 30, but that is a good level in any case. What you need to examine is the quality of research and the quality of the students, and remove the influence on the PAP in gaming the system. One way to examine research is to look at citations, and the record of NUS staff is poor, it is way down the list. For students, you can get an idea by seeing how they do at other universities after graduating for NUS. The short answer is that they don’t do well. The PAP, contrary to what we need to see, interferes in university appointments, so ensuring that one often picks staff from the bottom of the barrel. Another way to see this is to look at the syllabuses offered. Also the ability of NUS staff to obtain positions in other universities.

        Singaporeans are taught to avoid thinking and to memorize canned answers to examination and other questions.They are programmed to answer examination questions by wrote, and you will no doubt be aware of the commercially successful business in Singapore of selling examination paper answers to students, which presumably set about to memorize the responses to 100 or so prior questions in the hope that of the half dozen they are asked during an examination, some of those memorized crop up. I and my colleagues have numerous examples of students who are so ill informed that they mix up the response. So you get the response one question being given to the wrong question. Am I an expert in the matter. Yes I am, and am I qualified to judge, yes I am. It is clear to me that you are clueless, and regurgitate what you like to hear.

        It is clear to me that Singaporeans are not congenitally stupid. You may want to look at the record of PJ Thum who was able, prior to his brain being anesthetized, escape Singapore and attend Harvard as an undergraduate at the age of 16, after which he moved to Oxford, and is now a fellow of a College. He recently published, and established that the jailings of many of LKY’s opposition during operation cold store were based on LKY’s falsehoods (more bluntly put, lies), and that a large part of the history was a self serving fiction stated as a self serving justification for the PAP’s existence. This was objected to by the PAP, and quite recently he was questioned in an open hearing by Shanmugam whom he decimated, which is not surprising as the good Shanmugam is brain dead with an IQ, charitably, in high double figures. When it became clear than Shanmugam was losing it, he became offensive and rude. Then of course the PAP tried to discredit the research and PJ. Nevertheless , the global academic community has praised PJ, and pointed out to the PAP, that these criticisms are of no value, disingenuous and that the research stands and condemns the PAP and LKY.

  35. Rizki Kurniawan

    Why bother staying in Singapore then?? Knowing all the hard,cold facts didn’t bother you guys?? Succumbing to the pressure of continuous,hard labourious working hour for the mid income families to barely survive the high cost of living still make sense? It’s time for you guys to pack up and say goodbye to a so called DEMOCRATIC country which applied a COMMUNIST system rule of governing to its citizen. There’s a better future on the other side of the world if you guys truly seek for salvation. Don’t let your future generation be victims to what you have been through.

  36. Abdul Hamid

    “The grass is always greener on the other side”. I am from Malaysia where I have Malaysian friends working in Singapore who keep pestering me to work there. I also have Singaporean friends who does the same, comparing a better life in Singapore than in Malaysia. To be honest, I don’t stay in Singapore so I can’t comment much about this. But I think it’s preference in what you want in life for yourself and family. I for one and with many other Malaysians will never encourage others to come to Malaysia and work here. Just my 2 cents.

    Btw, I am coming to Singapore to work soon so I can compare the difference.

  37. Fucktype, Unappreciative Citizen Kind

    If not happy or not able to survive, leave for places where u think are greener pastures like some here.
    There are always imperfection anywhere u go and its up to the individual to make good or do well for him or herself.
    However I stand strong with you on the third world everything else, especially on the mindset of people as you reflect here yourself.
    In order to prove certain points, u made effort to post these statistics which is admirable in effort but how accurate are they?
    In order to push your stand forward, u made several attempts on persuading others not to come (though I do agree on certain factors that foreign labours shld be controlled and weeded out like in Japan) but then yourself seemed bending overseas to compare local standards.

    If Singapore sucks, its due to the earlier generation incapability to handle the newer challenges and newer measures must be taken but never discard all of the earlier laid practices or foundations.
    But if the country degrades more, its the CURRENT generation inept despite all the education the earlier provided, in attempt to hand over the reigns to ‘better’ hands.

    All generation of people shld work hand in hand together in nation building and not blaspheming this was done and how it shld have been. To be honest, as a citizen here, I have negative hopes of Singapore standing strong in future world as a flourishing first world country with stone-age thinking in scholars hats.

    I have seen, witnessed and is still working with and against people who tried hard to think of a box to think out of that box to try to be creative as well as many others, not willing to step down and get dirty but pushes shit around for the better educated.

    For the lesser educated, it’s worse, most dun even bother to read up and understand facts of a growing nation but kept pushing for immediate changes in the political factor where there is so much incapable and shady people waiting to hands on the cream for themselves in sheep’s disguises.
    Many of them can’t even form proper English sentences nor spell correctly or even bring across correct messages, let alone understand what the hell is going on and always sides the ‘righteous’ end by toppling the ‘evil ones’.

    In conclusion, if u are a citizen here, and virtually unable to do anything but glorify Singapore’s 5 Cs listed below;
    – Comparative,
    – Complainsome,
    – Condemn (as which u can see those interesting creatures here on the Governing body),
    – Credit-accumulation due to overspending on anything and
    – Criticize on virtually anything (that includes my post here).

    I personally think, people who think such way shld denounce your citizenship and head off elsewhere where you think is better and able to do better as soon as possible and never return.
    If your answer to above is “I want but i got no money to do that”, whose bloody fault or incapability is that?
    Otherwise, you can try going into an uninhabited island and start off your living there on your own where everything and anything u do is within your own power, except the forces of nature.

  38. naresh bajracharya

    More S pass benchmark of Singapore immigrant must be issued most hyped talked about investment and upper class skilled labor force of pass success story of ICT to Chinese standered labour force to maintain standard of its labour market and massive inflow of investment from multiple offshore of every satillete of top multinationals will create a new breed of Singaporeans to its past glory of founders such as Lee kwan yoo to be among tiger economies of asiean and to be no 1 in world competitative economies a global beaters even better and topper than USA and a dream to be again first in developed country is a pride to achieve in these eonomic crisis of this time. Now we are in doldrums and must kick start the economy .

  39. Pingback: Data Sgp – nestren

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