Tag Archive | PAP

Prepare yourselves, GE is nearer than you think?

OK, I’m no political pundit. Nor an academic in political science who should be better able to read the political tea leaves than your average auntie. I also don’t move in the circles of great thinkers and insiders in Singapore’s elite political sphere..

But to parody the Wet Wet Wet song, I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. GE’s all around me, and so the feeling grows; it’s written in the wind; it’s everywhere I go..

.. that the next General Election for Singapore, IMHO, is a lot nearer than all the august big brains — Eugene Tan, Bertha Henson, Kit Wei Ching, Song Seng Wun to name a few — in our midst have been predicting.

“The bet is that it will be late next year or early 2016 to take advantage of the SG50 hype,” said Bertha, while Song thought the PAP would prefer to concentrate on the SG50 festivities for most of 2015.

Then they say there are the contentious and likely amendments to the Broadcasting Act and Town Council Act to get out of the way be4 the next poll.

Ditto the thoughts of some acquaintances of mine who appear to run with the in-politics crowd.

These give all sorts of reasons why GE won’t be before SG is done with its SG50 celebrations, as more goodies have to be distributed first be4 the ballot papers are handed out :roll:

Still, the consensus of the knowledgeable is that the polls will be called a good year before the government’s use by date of January 2017. Their forecasts grow granular around the months of September to December 2015, or at latest January 2016.

I beg to differ, not least because of what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the PAP’s 6oth birthday last Sunday.

He said the next general election will be a “deadly serious” fight between the PAP and the opposition and that “every seat, every GRC, every SMC will be contested. Every seat, every contest will be a national contest, not a local one. Every seat is a general election, not a by-election.”

Wasn’t PM stating the obvious? When had the PAP ever gone into a GE without making it a “deadly serious” fight with the Opposition? When had it not contested “every seat, every GRC, every SMC”? When had it ever treated a national election as anything but a national contest and a general election, not a by-election.”

If it isn’t a GE rally speech, I don’t know what is.

To me it was clear as a bell that the Sec-Gen of the PAP was signalling to the party faithful that GE isn’t months but possibly only weeks away and so better be battle-ready.

As for the feel good effect of SG50 softening even the most hardened of the Singaporean hearts that are against the PAP, I feel PM had better take a cue from what happened to Churchill after he won the war. The epitome of British leadership lost the election immediately afterwards.

Instead if  PM chooses to go to the people before SG50 celebs take off, what better way could there be for the PAP to celebrate 50 years of nationhood than for the PAP to collect yet another resounding victory at the polls.

I hope I am right as I can’t see PM and most of his cabinet ministers continuing to rush around for another year as they have been doing this year at myriad functions that seek to thank this, that and the other besides the Pioneer Generation!

If nothing else, some of them will collapse from exhaustion while others because of their packed please-the-people schedules will have no choice but to let their portfolio run on auto pilot.

Not a good state or slate to go into election battle surely?

So shall I bet my Pioneer Generation Card against your SICC card that the January 19 2015 sitting for this Parliament will be its last :lol:

I am curious… but not yellow…

so will ask the Ministry of National Development and other ministries, agencies, statutory boards or what have you to please let me and other equally kay poh Singaporeans know

1) MND’s reply (see below) –to one of Mediacorp’s several questions ignited by the seemingly lousy debt collecting ability of the Workers Party when it came to the s&CC of households in its Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council –makes me hungering for more.

MND, do give a total breakdown of just how many 1, 2, 3 and 4 room flats there are, instead of lumping them into 3-room and smaller and 4-roomers. And don’t stop at just four Town Councils! Please give statistics for all 16 Town Councils.

That way, kay pohs on both sides of the divide — pro-PAP and pro WP — will see the exact picture of who gets what and how much. Then can better compare and contrast.

Shouldn’t be a Herculean task as I’m sure all the needed data are in the MND or the HDB’s database.

2) Other stuff that I am curious about is crime statistics. Not where crimes are committed but which town council has the dubious reputation of having the most residents calling Changi prison home at one time or another in their life.

Breakdown of their crimes too would be great for then we will know which crime flavour — murder, assault, molest, cheating, CBT, arson, you get the picture — permeates the air of which TC.

3) Another set of numbers that should prove interesting is which TC has the most residents depending on public assistance.

4) On the plus side, I would like to know which TC has nurtured the most government scholars and the most graduates. Good too if we are told whether any TC is the best breeding ground for Singapore politicians. Or where they would move to once they get into Parliament.

While Singapore and the world now knows that 1 in 3 residents in AHPETC didn’t pay-won’t pay-can’t pay their S&CC bills, it would be interesting to uncover if Tanjong Pagar Town Council is where most of our politicians live :lol:

Question: How is the S&CC Operating Grant computed?

MND Answer: The S&CC operating grant is allocated to all Town Councils (TCs) based on the number of HDB flat units and the flat types. Smaller flat types get higher grants.

The grant enables TCs to subsidise the S&CC for residents living in 4-room and smaller flats, with more being allocated for 1-room (S$33.70 per month), 2-room (S$26.20 per month) and 3-room (S$17.00 per month) households. The grant for each 4-room household is S$9.00 per month.

This grant formula has been in place since 1999, and is applied consistently to all TCs. S&CC grants are not based on the number of voters, nor does it apply to private property residents. TCs will receive more grants if they have more and smaller HDB flat types.

Ang Mo Kio TC and Tanjong Pagar TC receive more grants than AHPETC because they have more and smaller HDB flats. Ang Mo Kio has 89,127 HDB flats, of which 39 per cent are 3-room or smaller. Tanjong Pagar has 75,050 HDB flats, of which 59 per cent are 3-room or smaller. In comparison, AHPETC has 71,760 flats, of which only 29 per cent are 3-room or smaller. Likewise, even though Chua Chu Kang has about the same number of HDB flats (71,348) as AHPETC, Chua Chu Kang receives less S&CC grant (S$4.9 million compared to AHPETC’s S$7.2 million), because only 12 per cent of its flats are 3-room or smaller.

Red for MND town council press release…?

due to a misleading phrase about Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East’s inability to collect S&CC money from households in the Opposition Workers Party controlled ward in a timely manner.

Tell me what would you think when you read this in the Ministry of National Development’s FY2013 Town Council Management Report: “Under S&CC arrears management, the sharp decline in the TC’s S&CC arrears situation is of grave public concern”.

Sharp decline in the TC’s S&CC arrears situation. I did a double take. Isn’t that good? Well no apparently as the following four words “of grave public concern” show.

Then alamak! I get it. The news release writer had meant “sharp deterioration in the TC’s S&SCC situation”. Why didn’t anyone correct him or her?

It reminds me of a misunderstanding I just had with one my mother’s helpers.

Yesterday was raining heavily and as I had many purchases that mustn’t get wet, I called ahead hoping one of the helpers would come down to the car porch and take up the shopping as I live in a crumbling 50 year old condo which has no sheltered parking.

The phone rang endlessly but no one picked it up. Tried again and again and then gave up.

Stormed up to the flat annoyed yet fearful. What if something like Nightmare on Elm Street had happened to all three?

I needn’t have worried. All three were fast asleep.

One helper on hearing me shut the front door came out from mum’s room blinking away her afternoon nap.

After I checked the landline and found that it hadn’t been switched off I asked: “Why didn’t you answer the phone when I called?”

She muttered something that made me close to ballistic.

“If you heard the phone ringing why didn’t you answer?” I demanded between clenched teeth.

She repeated what she said earlier.

“Why didn’t you answer phone? Phone!!”

She looked confused. And damn it! She repeated once more what she first said.

I told myself to keep calm. I thought of Gandhi. Mahatma. When you are in the right etc etc..

It was only at dinner that I realised what the most recent addition to the household (2nd helper was hired only in July; Picky Siti has been with us for 7 years) had said.

“I here! I here!”, meaning she was in mum’s aircon room. Not “I hear! I hear!”

Which brings me back to the MND’s press release. It’s OK for a newly arrived Myanmar FDW to cause confusion with her mangling of English. Not for an official release writer.

This brings now to the MND’s Town Council specifics about those arrears.

Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. These rates were significantly above the national norm of about 3%.

In December 2012, the TC committed to improve the TC’s arrears situation. However, its S&CC arrears rate had further increased to 29.4% as at end Apr 2013.

What effect does MND hope to have on discerning Singaporean voters with these revelations?

Would this seeming inability to collect what is due to the AHPETC make them shake their heads and vow never should this brand of incompetency be allowed to run our country?

Or would the revelations make some among the discerning voters think one or all of the following:

1) There must be a concentration of poor people in AHPETC

2) There must be a concentration of canny skivvers in AHPETC who are able to keep delaying paying what they owe

3) Those who want to be successful should move far away from AHPETC for poverty and dishonest skivving could be as infectious as SARS

4) Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth.

I wonder which of these my dear regular readers will pick? :roll:

If the last then I fear for the future of the PAP.

How to match Govt’s $8bn Pioneer Package

The Government is setting aside $8bn — to self grow to $9bn — to kick start a Pioneer Generation package that will fund much of the health care needs of Singaporeans, born or recruited, so long as they were born in 1949 or earlier.

It occurred to me that we the people of Singapore can actually match and even surpass that giving over the next 30 years (guess by then 99% of the Pioneer Generation would have gone back to the stars!), if we really put our mind to it.

And we needn’t look to the rich and powerful exclusively for this miracle.

Instead, do it the $2 a day way. (Why $2 a day? Read my post here)

If 450,000 (the magic number in the Pioneer Generation) people living in SG were to give $2 a day to a needy stranger, it means $900K would be handed out daily.

Multiply that by 365 days, that would be about $330 million given out a year. Multiply that by 10 years, that would be $3.3 billion. Multiply that by 30 years, that would be $9.9 billion.

On paper, the sums work out beautifully.

In reality, the devil is in getting as many as 450,000 people here to give $2 every day, even if I am not expecting exactly the same 450,000 donors day in and out!

This is because 450,000 folks are 3 times the size of Ang Mo Kio or about 150,000 families. A mammoth number to mobilise on a daily basis by any yardstick! :roll:

The other devil is finding the 450,000 needy persons to receive the $2 (or more) everyday.

Because say what we like against the PAP G, there just aren’t 450,000 needy people in SG, however hard we look. Even under the SMRT tracks. :lol:

But a more do-able number may be to target 45,000 needy folks with $2 gifts?

Say something about these, please, PM Lee!

If I were to respond to a survey about life in Singapore, I would say I am 60% happy with my external environment and 80% happy with my home environment. Can’t be 100% lah or else I would be in paradise, and I’m not talking about the Paradise restaurants :roll:

So, I would like Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to address some of the issues that bug me about things that aren’t within my control and hopefully change them so that my happiness level with the external environment would match that of my feelings for my own home.

First and foremost is this thing about the People’s Association and the grassroots adviser.

For years and years I’ve found it — and still find it — impossible to understand why defeated PAP candidates are allowed to remain the grassroots adviser to the ward/s that has/have gone to the Opposition.

I am no Opposition fan. In fact, I am mostly neutral when it comes to the Opposition. And when it comes to one or two Opposition noise makers, I am downright hostile.

Yet I feel it isn’t right for Opposition MPs who have won fair and square to be left out in the cold where community events are concerned. Especially at the once a year National Day dinner.

Shouldn’t the kosher MP be the GOH instead of the defeated PAP candidate? Sure, it’s the grassroots organisations such as CCCs that organise the dinner and the entertainment but when was the last time that the grassroots of an Opposition ward asked the standing MP to be the GOH, instead of the PAP loser?

If there has been such an occasion I am sure it would have made the front page headlines in the Straits Times. I don’t remember ever having read such an account. :roll:

My hope therefore is for PM Lee to address this topic, preferably at the National Day Rally when all Singaporeans, PAP, Opposition and everyone in between are supposed to be united as one nation, one people, one Singapore.

If PAP nurtured grassroots leaders don’t know any better about propriety and respect to the Opposition MP who represents their constituency, then let the supreme commander of the PAP educate them about respecting the wishes of Singaporeans in word and deed!

The other topic I would like to hear the PM talk about is the ever-annoying policy to share government goodies with Singaporeans by using the annual value of property yardstick.

Of course I am highly grateful that the $120 discounted maid levy wasn’t doled out based on homes’ annual value or else I won’t have got that either.

Never mind that my flat would be put to shame by most of the ECs such as Bishan Loft and new generation HDB housing.

Never mind that everyone of my generation in my family has more or less stopped working, some for years. And although all of us live in private property, none of us are of the Wee Cho Yaw class; not even the permanent secretary class. We are even below lesser mortal classes for that matter.

Also, as our homes were bought decades ago, the prices that we paid back then won’t be able to get us decent public housing today. But if anyone would today offer me public housing of 1800 sf near Orchard Road for $500K, we might have a deal! :lol: Then, there would be no more angst about having my full share of budget goodies.

Seriously though, what is so difficult about determining who should get the GST Voucher? (see below) Why base it on a combi annual value of one’s home and assessable income, when it’s owner occupied?

Why not improve the criteria by checking the ages of the occupants? If someone is already 80+, is it likely that he or she would be able to benefit from the GST rebates for very much longer, even if he or she lives in private property? And as the annual value is a notional number, the effect of such a yardstick is that the person is given an implied make-believe income when none exists

It is the private-public property blunt cut-off that I find so galling. Why not throw in age consideration and the price paid for the property? Given our massive computing power, surely this isn’t too much to expect? Or am I mistaken?

The Straits Times
Published on Aug 03, 2013
GOVERNMENT HELP SCHEMES

Fair system of income, annual value as criteria in place

 GOVERNMENT help schemes such as the GST Voucher (GSTV) aim to provide support to those who are less well-off. They use both assessable income (AI) and the annual value (AV) of homes as criteria, as this combination provides a better picture of a person’s means than if just one criterion is used (“Govt help schemes: Income more relevant than annual value” by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; Wednesday).

To address one of Mr Chan’s points, the AV does not refer to actual rental income earned, which would be reflected in the AI. The AV is a measure of the value of the home, irrespective of whether it is rented out. Besides a person’s income, this is an additional measure of how well-off he is.

Most Singaporeans with lower incomes do obtain larger GSTV benefits. This includes, for example, the majority of non-working spouses, who rightly benefit from the GSTV.

However, if GSTV benefits were based on AI alone, those who live in expensive homes and who choose not to work would obtain the same benefits as the poor.

Similarly, using AV alone would mean that Singaporeans who earn high incomes, but who choose to live in flats with lower AVs, would benefit unduly.

Our approach of using both AI and AV as criteria is a practical way of identifying those who are less well-off, from among the full population of adult Singaporeans. It is not perfect in design, but broadly equitable. It also complements other schemes which are less broad-based and allow for more customised assessment of an individual’s needs.

We will continue to review the eligibility criteria of government help schemes to benefit those who need greater support.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Finance

Aiyah, learn to live with less, lah!

So, the single Singaporean, 35 years or older and earning $5,000 or less a month, will soon be able to join the queue buying HDB flats direct from the Government.

You would think this group of singletons would think themselves lucky. But no! Judging from what I’ve read in the SG newspapers, some potential beneficiaries are unhappy with the size of the homes they would be offered.

These quibble that the 375 sq to 485 sq ft units priced from as little as $100,000 — which incidentally isn’t enough nowadays to buy a brand new basic car!!! — are too small for them. Never mind that after a promised $15-K grant from an increasingly populist inclined G/PAP, the flat would cost less than a COE, muwahhaha!

The ungrateful comments remind me of that Cantonese saying: given a bed, would demand a blanket!

I’ve just visited a Singaporean friend who has lived in Hong Kong for two thirds of her life. Her home in the Sheung Wan area measures all of 400 sq ft but the useable area is some 10 to 15% less. It’s in fact a converted office unit with many offices in the 17-storey building having been similarly converted into homes.

I’ve not seen a cuter dwelling. Friend has a fully equipped kitchen complete with built-in electric oven, bathroom and toilet and a full-size washing machine. But she has no cupboard for her clothes or a bed. She sleeps on a futon on the floor while her clothes are hung in an alcove screened off by a discreet curtain.

She’s not my only Singaporean friend who lives in such a tiny flat. Another who moved to London a dozen years ago lives in the top-class district of Buckingham Gate. Her home — across the road from the New Scotland Yard building — is all of 180 sq ft.

As I’ve never visited her, I can’t vouch for how truly titchy it is but my friend tells me, her bed folds into the wall and she has a bathroom, toilet and all the other stuff that makes modern living comfortable in that space :roll:

Now if neither of these examples underline what a gr8 consolation prize our increasingly populist inclined G/PAP is offering Singaporean singletons of lesser means, then let me share an NYT article which my friend Bubur Hitam sent me about living with less.

For ease of reference, I’ve reproduced the whole article at the bottom of this post. For those who want the hundreds of comments the article has attracted, go here and here

After digesting the information, I hope that more Singaporeans, single or otherwise, would seriously consider doing more with less.

Here our increasingly populist inclined G/PAP — especially Minister Khaw Boon Wan — should take a new lead. Instead of doing war dances over shoe-box homes, G/PAP and Mr Khaw should preach the benefits and practicalities of doing with less space in exchange for more time, money and leisure: To live well with 7 million or more!

The New York Times

March 9, 2013

Living With Less. A Lot Less.

By GRAHAM HILL

I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.

I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.

Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.

We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.

There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.

For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.

It started in 1998 in Seattle, when my partner and I sold our Internet consultancy company, Sitewerks, for more money than I thought I’d earn in a lifetime.

To celebrate, I bought a four-story, 3,600-square-foot, turn-of-the-century house in Seattle’s happening Capitol Hill neighborhood and, in a frenzy of consumption, bought a brand-new sectional couch (my first ever), a pair of $300 sunglasses, a ton of gadgets, like an Audible.com MobilePlayer (one of the first portable digital music players) and an audiophile-worthy five-disc CD player. And, of course, a black turbocharged Volvo. With a remote starter!

I was working hard for Sitewerks’ new parent company, Bowne, and didn’t have the time to finish getting everything I needed for my house. So I hired a guy named Seven, who said he had been Courtney Love’s assistant, to be my personal shopper. He went to furniture, appliance and electronics stores and took Polaroids of things he thought I might like to fill the house; I’d shuffle through the pictures and proceed on a virtual shopping spree.

My success and the things it bought quickly changed from novel to normal. Soon I was numb to it all. The new Nokia phone didn’t excite me or satisfy me. It didn’t take long before I started to wonder why my theoretically upgraded life didn’t feel any better and why I felt more anxious than before.

My life was unnecessarily complicated. There were lawns to mow, gutters to clear, floors to vacuum, roommates to manage (it seemed nuts to have such a big, empty house), a car to insure, wash, refuel, repair and register and tech to set up and keep working. To top it all off, I had to keep Seven busy. And really, a personal shopper? Who had I become? My house and my things were my new employers for a job I had never applied for.

It got worse. Soon after we sold our company, I moved east to work in Bowne’s office in New York, where I rented a 1,900-square-foot SoHo loft that befit my station as a tech entrepreneur. The new pad needed furniture, housewares, electronics, etc. — which took more time and energy to manage.

AND because the place was so big, I felt obliged to get roommates — who required more time, more energy, to manage. I still had the Seattle house, so I found myself worrying about two homes. When I decided to stay in New York, it cost a fortune and took months of cross-country trips — and big headaches — to close on the Seattle house and get rid of the all of the things inside.

I’m lucky, obviously; not everyone gets a windfall from a tech start-up sale. But I’m not the only one whose life is cluttered with excess belongings.

In a study published last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.

Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago.

Apparently our supersize homes don’t provide space enough for all our possessions, as is evidenced by our country’s $22 billion personal storage industry.

What exactly are we storing away in the boxes we cart from place to place? Much of what Americans consume doesn’t even find its way into boxes or storage spaces, but winds up in the garbage.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports, for example, that 40 percent of the food Americans buy finds its way into the trash.

Enormous consumption has global, environmental and social consequences. For at least 335 consecutive months, the average temperature of the globe has exceeded the average for the 20th century. As a recent report for Congress explained, this temperature increase, as well as acidifying oceans, melting glaciers and Arctic Sea ice are “primarily driven by human activity.” Many experts believe consumerism and all that it entails — from the extraction of resources to manufacturing to waste disposal — plays a big part in pushing our planet to the brink. And as we saw with Foxconn and the recent Beijing smog scare, many of the affordable products we buy depend on cheap, often exploitive overseas labor and lax environmental regulations.

Does all this endless consumption result in measurably increased happiness?

In a recent study, the Northwestern University psychologist Galen V. Bodenhausen linked consumption with aberrant, antisocial behavior. Professor Bodenhausen found that “Irrespective of personality, in situations that activate a consumer mind-set, people show the same sorts of problematic patterns in well-being, including negative affect and social disengagement.” Though American consumer activity has increased substantially since the 1950s, happiness levels have flat-lined.

I DON’T know that the gadgets I was collecting in my loft were part of an aberrant or antisocial behavior plan during the first months I lived in SoHo. But I was just going along, starting some start-ups that never quite started up when I met Olga, an Andorran beauty, and fell hard. My relationship with stuff quickly came apart.

I followed her to Barcelona when her visa expired and we lived in a tiny flat, totally content and in love before we realized that nothing was holding us in Spain. We packed a few clothes, some toiletries and a couple of laptops and hit the road. We lived in Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Toronto with many stops in between.

A compulsive entrepreneur, I worked all the time and started new companies from an office that fit in my solar backpack. I created some do-gooder companies like We Are Happy to Serve You, which makes a reusable, ceramic version of the iconic New York City Anthora coffee cup and TreeHugger.com, an environmental design blog that I later sold to Discovery Communications. My life was full of love and adventure and work I cared about. I felt free and I didn’t miss the car and gadgets and house; instead I felt as if I had quit a dead-end job.

The relationship with Olga eventually ended, but my life never looked the same. I live smaller and travel lighter. I have more time and money. Aside from my travel habit — which I try to keep in check by minimizing trips, combining trips and purchasing carbon offsets — I feel better that my carbon footprint is significantly smaller than in my previous supersized life.

Intuitively, we know that the best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all, and that relationships, experiences and meaningful work are the staples of a happy life.

I like material things as much as anyone. I studied product design in school. I’m into gadgets, clothing and all kinds of things. But my experiences show that after a certain point, material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support.

I wouldn’t trade a second spent wandering the streets of Bangkok with Olga for anything I’ve owned. Often, material objects take up mental as well as physical space.

I’m still a serial entrepreneur, and my latest venture is to design thoughtfully constructed small homes that support our lives, not the other way around. Like the 420-square-foot space I live in, the houses I design contain less stuff and make it easier for owners to live within their means and to limit their environmental footprint. My apartment sleeps four people comfortably; I frequently have dinner parties for 12. My space is well-built, affordable and as functional as living spaces twice the size. As the guy who started TreeHugger.com, I sleep better knowing I’m not using more resources than I need. I have less — and enjoy more.

My space is small. My life is big.

Graham Hill is the founder of LifeEdited.com and TreeHugger.com.

WP is gracious in victory

That’s what I thought of the way the Workers’ Party handled its suprisingly (to me anyway) good victory. At least in the manner Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Lee Li Lian and Ah Huat handled their press conference earlier this morning

They were clearly delighted that their party won quite handsomely: it’s by 3,000+ votes leh and not the the 300 votes that were being twittered around be4 pole faced n squeaky voiced Yam Ah Mee made his pronouncement.

There was no trace of triumphalism among the WP leaders; no excessive and unrealistic ambitions, with Chairman Lim pointing out in answer to a reporter’s leading question. The Opposition with only 10 seats out of 90 in Parliament is a long way from being able to form a government.

So, no, unlike Chua Mui Hoong of the Straits Times, I think what happened in Punggol East last night is no tipping point for the PAP or politics in Singapore — yet.

But the PAP could make it the tipping point all the same if it doesn’t accept defeat with the same graciousness with which WP embraced victory.

Take the PAP’s press conference to concede defeat and congratulate the WP.

The slight smiles on the faces of Teo Chee Hean and Koh Poh Koon were painful to see. They were more like grimaces plastered there out of PR necessity than a genuine acceptance that the majority of citizens in Punggol East had gone with the WP!

Also, i couldn’t help noticing how Mr Teo kept clenching his fists or his impatience in asking if there were “any more questions” –that wasn’t a real invitation for more but a signal to close for the night.

Hopefully what I saw last night was just the natural human reaction to an unexpected and unwanted event and that the simmering disappointment and/or anger at being rejected wouldn’t be carried over to the handing over of Punggol East’s Town Council infrastructure to the WP.

Otherwise Punggol East could go down in the PAP’s history as the truly tipping point :cry: :cry: