Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told a recent forum on the National Conversation that Singapore could accommodate 6 million people in time to come. Which sent lots of Internet folks into a tizzy, feeling claustrophobic at the prospect.
Personally, I welcome the prospect. The more the merrier, I say, as I’m one of those rare Singaporeans who have no problems with foreigners.
Think where would I be if not for the fact that we have Picky Siti from the deepest Lampung in Sumatra looking after my mother and my home of 1,750 sq ft for these past 5 or so years. Sure, she isn’t the most accommodating of foreigners, especially when one has to have her in one’s home.
But when she was away for 39 days on home leave in recent weeks, I needed two part-time cleaners, an old friend to come stay over as an emergency net and myself working flat out to cook, shop for essentials and look after mum.
Picky, a foreigner, did the work of four persons!
Her absence also made me realise very quickly that I no longer need to live in such a big place and that a shoe box home or two would do very well for me! One to live in and one to let out. Then i won’t need to invest so much time and money (water, detergents, mops, pails, manpower and related cleaning equipment) to keep the place clean!
Which brings me to why having 6 million people in SG will make it an almost certainty that the majority of us will have to live in smaller homes. Which is no bad thing.
Think of the money that will be freed up — smaller homes could make for smaller mortgages. Less need for live-in domestic help — so fewer foreign “talent” of the wrong kind – while ladies and gentlemen of the house might even have enough spare time to remain longer in the formal workforce or rejoin it, if they don’t need to expend time slogging in keeping home n hearth clean. That may help to ease SG’s perennial labour shortage.
When we have 6 million plus people, there will be gr8er economy of scale, whether it be what we produce, import or consume. There will be gr8er choice and variety. Why, those of us who are still single could even have more chance of a compatible mate right at our door step, without any need to go overseas to fish in bigger ponds.
There will also be more working folks and rich folks to support the uneconomic old from yesteryears.
For a long time, I’ve been wanting to live in Hongkong because of its way of packing ‘em in that makes living and moving around so convenient and effortless. Transport is well integrated with housing and commercial centres so that going from home to work, shop, eat and play is a breeze.
Now that SG is on the way to match Hongkong’s people mass, I can stay put and have Hongkong’s way of life come to me.
So, please pretty please, let’s speed up the transformation — not slow it down!