Driving With A Leg Cramp In Singapore

Source : Channel News Asia

45 minutes for a 1 km drive to the entrance of the important CTE (Central Expressway) from my office to Chinatown. It got so bad when I was unceremoniously displaced from my lane after I turned, by on coming cars who decided to create their own way of passage.
I was greeted with nonchalant gazes when I threw my hands up in despair, stuck behind a fleet of buses, on of whom probably was the one who tried to kill me on Stevens Road some months back.

Another bottleneck on my way home after picking my wayward son from tuition. This time to abruptly ease off right after Toa Payoh because it turned out all the cars on my far right lane were in fact trying to cut back, 3 lanes,  into the far left lane with little road to spare and did not mind holding everyone up in their efforts. Suffered a massive cramp in my thigh just holding to the brake because I did not trust the AUTO HOLD

My mind wanders as I waited and I wondered if this is the true face of this little economic powerhouse that miraculously sprung up overnight in everyone’s faces. I thought of the the number of cars in Singapore and, low unemployment and so everyone is going home at the same time ???

Source Bloomberg

Highest Population Density

Imagine squeezing 5 over million people into a piece of land 642 sq km ? that is about 8,000 per sq km. The personal space of 1 person is about 12.5 sq ft or 1.2 sq m. 1 metre of space is enough elbow space all round. Unlike the other major dense cities of the world, Singapore does not have a “country side” and Sentosa island is counted into that 642 sq km.

The population was just 4 million in 2000. It increased 25% in 10 years. According to Wikipedia, ITS NUMBER 1 IN THE WORLD. Thus, from being able to stretch our hands out, we can only fold our elbows now.   And Singapore ranks the 16th happiest country in the world, according to Forbes’s PROSPERITY INDEX. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mef45ejmi/the-worlds-happiest-and-saddest-countries-2/

For myself, I feel threatened by crowds. My personal space, which includes “drive space” has been violated with  increasing frequency over the past years.  For happy people, Singaporeans sure do drive like MANIACS ! Who can blame them ? The number of cars per capita has decreased with the increase in population. Cars are  ill affordable per capita earnings in Singapore compared to the rest of the developed world. Plumbers in Australia can have a nice little property with a bit of land and a nice car for what a young teacher probably cannot afford in Singapore.

Highest number of millionaire households

Yet Singapore has the highest number of millionaires in the world, all 17% of total households. http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_806234.html


And for happy people, sure loads of them want to migrate. I haven’t had time to read this piece of NUS research through thoroughly, but the gist is about 25% of the people want to leave. http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/ips/docs/publications/wp19.pdf   Another interesting insinuation of this research is that the wealthier Singaporeans tended to be more negative about the economic future of the country.


SINGAPORE is a top immigration hot spot, according to a global survey conducted by Gallup.
If it were to take in all adults who wish to settle in the country, its adult population of 3.6 million would jump to 13 million, said the survey.

My Outlook

I am biased.

1. The Singapore model is easy to replicate. Low tax, educated worker bee population, good infrastructure system, stable politics, safe and relatively unpolluted.

>> once the other Asean countries get their act together in the future, we could be seriously challenged

2. Quality of life is de-proving as the crowding increases.
It takes a lifetime of work to pay off your property these days as loans stretch into the 30 year time frame, not just for Singapore but for the rest of the world.

3. Opportunities diminish in a mature economy. I cannot say my son will have the same opportunity I had when I graduated just like I never had the opportunities that my father had when he graduated in his time, lest mention my grandfather, who only had 4 graduates in his class.

I won’t be grumbling anymore here.

I am tired and had a cramp last night. And I will not be buying the new Mapletree Treasury Services guaranteed by Mapletree Investments (Temasek owned 100%) at 5.375% or any lower.