1. Singapore is doing very well now and the evidence is clear.
2. But bloggers still persist in painting a very negative picture of life in Singapore.
3. So they seriously lack credibility.
To make Point 1, he wrote this:
To make Point 2, he wrote this:
IN the real world, the economy is humming strongly, more jobs are being created than at anytime in the last 10 years, the stock market is near record high and so are high-end properties.
The Singapore dollar has strengthened to around S$1.55 to the US dollar on speculation that economic growth would quicken, thus encouraging investors to put more funds in the city-state.
The sanguine mood is reflected on the streets. With the school holidays on, the crowds are out in force. At night, it is virtually impossible to get a cab in the city centre without prior booking.
Restaurants and shopping malls are full, and people are spending ahead of a hike in Goods and Services Tax from 5% to 7% next April.
Year-end festivals are a month away but a fairyland of lights already covers the kilometres stretching from Orchard Road and Bras Basah Road to Marina Bay.
While the mood is upbeat, the Internet world, however, is painting a very different picture. Here, the talk is of continued weakness, rising unemployment and people committing suicide.
Forums are still full of tales of retrenched managers driving taxis, and 70-year-old “uncles” cleaning tables when they should be enjoying their sunset years.
They also feature pictures of homeless families sleeping in housing estate lobbies.
To the cynics, the government has lost its economic way, unable to steer Singapore to a better future. “They’re so desperate they need casinos to get out of the rut”, is a frequent comment.
Ironically, this is happening as the city is flourishing with growth expected to reach 7.5% to 8% this year and new jobs created – 132,000 in the first nine months – being at a 10-year high.
Here - we can imagine - Mr Seah pauses rhetorically, shakes his head, sighs deeply, and then types out the next sentence:
Why is there such a large disparity between the real world and the blogosphere?
... and then he proceeds to examine the implications of the blogosphere's lack of credibility.
But wait. Let's stop here for a moment. Why would bloggers paint negative pictures of their lives in Singapore, if indeed their lives were filled with light and joy and positive events?
Bear in mind that bloggers are legion. And that mass conspiracies are extremely difficult to coordinate. Can you imagine 1,000 Singaporean bloggers covertly exchanging emails and setting out an elaborate strategy to paint false, negative pictures of their lives in Singapore?
The truth is less diabolical, less dramatic. And for the average Singaporean, a lot sadder. On Thursday, CNA published the following article:
Middle class wage stagnation could lead to social instability
SINGAPORE: Middle class wages have been stagnant in the past 5 years, according to economists, and this could lead to social instability.
These concerns were shared by economists at the annual Institute of Policy Studies Singapore Perspectives conference, who also added that the government is taking steps to address the problem.
Economists believe a US economic slowdown in business and consumer spending may cause problems for Singapore, but as Singapore is tops in the ASEAN resilience index, it should be able to weather external shocks, thanks to a diversified economy and strong Asian demand.
They predict that growth going forward will be above 3 to 5 percent.
The long-term growth limits for a mature economy was previously in the 3 to 5 percent range.
However, economists are asking who this growth is for. The income of the bottom 30 percent of the population has fallen. What is more worrying is the fact that the majority of Singaporeans in the middle class has only seen about a one percent increase in their nominal income in the last 5 years.
Looks like the bloggers got it right, after all. And had gotten it right all along, for the past five years at least. Well, they should know - it's their own lives they blog about. What say you, Mr Seah Chiang Nee?