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Saturday, February 17, 2007

RH: Singaporeans soon to be extinct

From: Robert Ho (ho3@pacific.net.sg)
Subject: RH: Singaporeans soon to be extinct
View: Complete Thread (5 articles)

Original Format

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
Date: 2004-02-09 07:33:50 PST

RH: The problem, as I see it, is not about sex. It's about the
security of life and lifestyle, about a sense of stability and minimum standards of living that is conducive to having babies.

For example, if a survey is done, I am quite willing to bet that rich
or high income couples have more children than lower income ones.

The reason is not difficult to understand.

In Singapore, even the minimum lifestyle is expensive, with the
highest cost in the world for owning a car, even taxis are quite
expensive and public transport creepingly expensive.

Even if you forego the car, the costs of bringing up children can be
very expensive what with everything from diapers to infant formula

And when the kids grow older, there's the [need for] money for piano
lessons, Math and Chinese tuition, etc.

Then, unless your children are scholarship material, there's the
university fees to consider.

Of course, one can say, why worry? God will provide. And some parents
do, especially the Malay families who have a refreshingly simple
attitude to life and don't bother to plan and budget [and give up on
having kids when money no enough], which explains why Malays have
bigger families with more children. The Chinese, who are the real
targets of PAP intervention, are real worriers.

They worry that they may not be able to give their children the
headstart they want, so they end up having few or no kids. The
reasoning of the Chinese is simple, if you can't pay for your children to university level [overseas if they are not good enough for the local Us], then don't have any, or have only one [like I did].

This is extremely Chinese and most other countries wouldn't understand this. It is easier to believe that insufficient sex is the problem and more sex the answer.

The true answer to producing more children in Singapore [at least
among the Chinese because the Malays are happily producing many], is
to so shape the economic environment [the Chinese are economic animals and a race of shopkeepers], that every child can be assured of being taken care of all the way up to JC level. I believe that that is the very minimum level that most Chinese parents will demand before they commit themselves to have children.

Unfortunately, I don't see this happening soon. Thanks to the famous
PAP policy of "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

If you look at the Scandinavian countries, there is a baby boom
happening because many of the lifestyle securities are guaranteed,
from creches to university, sometimes from cradle to grave welfare. In Singapore, the PAP looks after itself [first], then the rich and high income taxpayers [second] and the ordinary folks a distant third.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

So people don't procreate on an empty stomach, so no babies.

So all this SDU and SDS are, as usual, barking up the wrong tree.

It is not a shortage of romance but a shortage of lifestyle security.
As long as the ordinary folk cannot guarantee their income, meaning
their job, they don't feel they can have more children.

Having creches and nurseries, etc, are a minimum start. Then schools
have to be free, not even a token few dollars a month -- why bother to collect when it costs more to collect these few token dollars than to give it all away for free?

Thus, school should be free up to JC level.

If this is done, more parents will be encouraged and embolden to have
more children.

Oh, and by the way, throw in free or low cost pre-natal care, free or
low-cost delivery of baby by qualified midwife or gynae, etc. Free
medical care as long as the child is in school.

All this sounds too radical?

All this have been done and the result is baby booms in those
countries who have tried.

Of course, the PAP cannot have this. Too radical. Too much money spent on the people. Better to keep it all under LKY control instead. So, the result, more SDU activities, etc, which do not address the root problems.

People want to have sex. People want children. The Chinese have always wanted large families, if only so there are enough children to look after them when they age. Children are better than the CPF. But LKY thought otherwise so the problem persists today and getting critical. There has never been a Chinese society where children are unwanted. Only in Singapore under LKY. LKY has created many problems, and this is only one of them.

If LKY feels self-congratulatory, thinking he has done much for
Singapoore, ha, ha, think again. What he has done is merely postpone
some problems so they crop up in the next generations, especially now
with GCT and LHL. Other problems simply take on another facade or come in another guise and this baby shortage is just one of them. When you create economic insecurity and basically make babies expensive to care for and to grow; when you make people pay for everything they need [including maids about which much has been written, suffice to say that the govt levy is more than the maid's salary], then the problem surfaces in another guise, as a shortage of babies.

The business of govt has long been studied and thought about by a
great many minds and even great minds. Does LKY really think that he
has the genius to invent a new model of govt that is really better
than say, Britain's? That he has succeeded in making a Singapore that
defies the history and tradition of govts everywhere? That his "no
free lunch' and 'save every dollar' and 'tax everything that moves'
policies can be continued indefinitely without divine retribution?

Ha. The comeuppance may not come in his lifetime but it will come. It
may not come as a direct consequence but come disguised as some other, equally severe problem. Like this Baby Shortage.

No. There is nothing new in govt. The Welfare State may not work but
LKY's alternative doesn't either. The problems and consequences surface in another guise, that's all. It's a zero sum game. If you squeeze the people for all the money they have, other problems surface other than having an impoverished people who cannot spend and hence reduce the velocity of money to zero, with a retail sector that keeps shrinking, thereby reducing other sectors.

It's a zero sum game. What you win on the roundabouts, you lose on the swings.

And with that depressing thought, I leave LKY to ruminate on his
success, which is actually a delayed failure. In govt and politics,
success is usually merely delayed failure.

Thus, my quote for today, "Success in government is often only delayed failure."

Robert Ho
9 Feb 04
UK 1533 Singapore 2333