singapore must pause and reflect

Singapore must pause and reflect

I couldn't agree more with last Saturday's article ('The little reddening dot'), which highlighted that anger, impatience, a sense of entitlement and rudeness are steadily on the rise here.

When I came to Singapore in 1992 on an overseas work transfer, I saw at that time a small country that was well-managed, had a vision and direction, with one of the more civilised cultures in Asia.

I even became a Singapore citizen in 2008 as I regarded this country as home. However, in the past five years, there has been a remarkable shift in the opposite direction, which does not bode well for the long-term future of Singapore.

In fact, if this trend continues, many of the desirable talent Singapore worked so hard to attract and cultivate - citizens as well as foreigners - will think of leaving.

After all, when the level of frustration, high cost of living, crime, corruption and unhappiness reach the levels seen in New York, Sydney or other global cities, one might as well go to these places to live.

Singapore has been a special place to raise a family and have a good career, but maybe not so in future.

The article refers to the Government being able to make a choice.

To me, the Government has chosen the path of monetary and materialistic emphasis, plus enhancing its global image, over its citizens' quality of life.

The surge in population, which strains infrastructure; rising costs as people compete for jobs, goods and services; and the emphasis on casinos and wealthy foreigners to drive growth, all impress on young people the need to increase their material wealth, and they are then trapped in a rat race to achieve this.

A social imbalance emerges, with accompanying behavioural consequences that are hard to reverse now.

When you add poor planning, and one-dimensional solutions focused mainly on financial outcomes, things may worsen in the coming years.

It is too shallow and unstable a platform for long-term viability.

I am sad to witness this trend and I hope Mr Leslie Koh's article may be the starting point for Singapore to see that a bright future starts from a more balanced, happy and sustainable lifestyle.

Kenneth Ling