The harrowing headline read “IS SINGAPORE LOSING ITS EDGE?” as readers shiver at the thought of Singapore being no longer relevant in the global economy. Wondered why the headline did not read “Singapore drops a notch in competitiveness rankings” which would equally accurate. Read the article here.
Instead of trying hard to be Sandman sprinkling sand into eyes of little children, I would say it is a good thing that we are losing a bit of competitiveness as Singapore tries to find its own national identity in this constant flux of people, goods and ideas. In fact, one of the reason we have dropped in the rankings is that we have tightened our immigration guidelines. I hope I wouldn’t be alone to say that we need to reduce the tide of immigration to allow Singaporeans to define for ourselves what we are and where we are heading.
We have enjoyed a fantastic economic run from 2005 to 2011, so successful that many upper middle class Singaporeans do not bat an eyelid to buy condominiums worth a million bucks and fork up hundred of thousands for their continental cars. I wonder where else in the world beside Europe where we have Mercedes, Audi and BMW topped the best selling car charts. And I would say we are almost unique in the world when it comes to property prices that have climbed up so rapidly when the rest of USA, Europe and China are facing economic headwinds.
Have we done well economically? Yes we have. Have we done just as well socially? Are we more happy as Singaporeans holding our Pink ICs or are we more worried if we would be able to be continually successful? Are we stressed out and insecure as individuals, as a society and as a country? We might have done well economically, but we might have also lost our way.
The ironic thing is that the PAP govt is paying the political price and would most likely continue to pay the price for bringing this uneven spread of economic wealth and the ensuing insecurity of living in a highly commodified and materialistic society plugged deeply into the global economy.
Of course, the quest for the national identity is an ever constant state of flux. But never has the Singapore spirit and identity been so diluted, where Singaporeans are pulling in different directions and the only things we seem to agree on are our dissatisfaction with the PAP, the high property prices and the overtaxed transport system. Oh wait, there’s another we can all agree on, the love for local food. Hahaha.
And on that optimistic note, I shall end my post.