Thursday, August 27, 2009

Low wages and purchasing power in Singapore

Read this article.

The high cost of living coupled with low wages and domestic purchasing power condemns the average Singapore worker to an ignonimous, monotonus and stressful working life. Singapore workers have to work harder to earn the same amount of money and save for a longer period to purchase the same product.

In 1991, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong promised Singaporeans that we will be able to achieve the “Swiss standard of living” within a decade. Ten years later, we have a living standard which is closer to Russia than Switzerland.

Like Singapore, the Russians has a low wage and domestic purchasing power and Russia, especially the city of Moscow, has one of the highest cost of living in the world.


Anonymous said...

I wonder a loud whether the Swiss Minister is being pay as much as Singapore Minister.

I doubt it. Then if Swiss has reached that kind of standard, why then are Singapore Ministers paid more than them if they have not reach the goal of a Swiss living Standard?

Ted Kennedy and President Obama are great example of public service. "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

So, my view is please don't keep asking for more pay, perform more service to the nation, like why are you turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the heartlanders' when they are bullied by the Financial Institutions?

Anonymous said...

How to save enough when there are so many people trying to rob these poor people?
Instead of helping the poor people insurance agents rob them of their money by conning them into buying wholelife and endowment products and worse now the anticipated endowment.
Bullshitting the poor that limited payment WL can quickly finish pay up instead many cannot becuase of the very high premium. 10 years is not a short time. What happened? any saving? LOSS!!!!
Conning these people that anticipated cashback can get cash every year, better than bank rate,. What happen ? cannot finish, lapse. LOS$S again.
So you see, poor people not only face the high cost of living but wicked greedy unscrupulous agents eyeing their little money too.Poor people usually make up the most of the agents' cleintel . From here you can see the money the agents make from, these poor souls who work hard and supposed to save but stolen by the so called insurance agents who are EXPERTS IN FINANCE but stolen by them . And these agents use big titles FINANCIAL CONSULTANTS to cheat them. very cruel indeed.. so expensive yet so low protection and saving. The LIA reported this.I am sure hell will be very crowded with agents, all kind on agents.

Tan Kin Lian said...

The sad situation, for many low income people in Singapore, is the result of the Government's policy of reliance on the free market, without any minimum wage policy or understanding of the plight of these people. Two worlds apart.

Anonymous said...

Without the gahment's help and also robbed by unscrupulous insurance agents connman pretending to help. How to help without the proper qualifications? Big joke!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how UBS can arrive at figures that put Singapore *behind* Taipei in terms of wages. I've been living in Taipei for 4+ years, and know that wages in Taiwan are a lot lower than in Singapore (starting pay of a Master's degree holder in Taiwan can be less than S$2,000 per month), yet personal income tax rate in Taiwan is double that in Singapore (top marginal tax rate of 40% in Taiwan vs. 20% in Singapore).

ThinkOutOfTheBox said...

The free market favours only the rich...

Buying shares - the rich get cheaper brokerage fees as their amount is huge

Savings deposit - the rich get better interest rate

Borrowing money - the rich get cheaper interest rate

Using credit card - the rich has higher rebate points as their cards are those high end kinds

Of cos the rich get richer...

Anonymous said...

The business of Singapore is business.

The politics of Singapore is business.

"Swiss standard of living" and "more good years" are aspirations that will be achieved in "Year X" or maybe 1 or 2 centuries.

The 99% of Singaporeans (digits) that don't enjoy Swiss standard of living should feel proud of the 1% of Singaporeans that do enjoy Swiss standard of living and world class wages. This elite 1% keeps the Singapore flag flying high.

Ask not what the country can do for you. Instead, ask what you can do for your country.

Continue to encourage your children to study useful subjects like engineering and IT. We need useful employees (I mean citizens) in Singapore.

Avoid "soft" subjects like history, political science and philosophy. These subjects require critical thinking. We don't need critical thinking skills in Singapore. We already have a system that works. We just need to breed more workers (I mean citizens) to work in our system.

We cannot learn anything from the history of the ancient Greek city states of Sparta and Athens. Their struggles have no lessons for us. It is definitely not true that Singapore model ourselves after Sparta.

Anonymous said...

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan once said that the swiss standard of living is not that high at all. Maybe the PAP realised that the swiss are not worth emulating, or this just an excuse. Anyway there are more murders in switzerland than singapore, maybe that's why Dr Vivian feels their standard living not that high, after all he is a doctor

Anonymous said...

i am seriously beginning to worry how far more we can go on like this without control...what will Singapore be like in 10 years time?

Anonymous said...

To be less stressful, spend within one's means...have a understanding with wife/husband and family the real financial situation in the family. Spend less on frivolous items DO NOT compare with other relatives and peers! if you need more money, explain to the family on the possiblility of less family time, if all members agree and you are willing, then work harder than usual and remember you are a willing party so less complains and will be happier...The worst is when you work sooo hard and unappreciated (not by boss but taken for granted by family)!
Think about living well, eating well and genuine good family life and not a extravagant lifestyle...

chris said...

Singapore in 10 years time will be whatever you want it to be.

Exercising your power to vote for what you dream of is a right every citizen has in a democratic society. If you just moan and groan without willing to pick up your duty then what else is everyone who wrote here complaining about?? Vote for what you want and make your voices heard. It's getting really boring listening to you guys being angry, hurt and lose faith. I guess it is just the bo chap attitude of Singaporeans which is just lame. And change doesnt happen overnight. It takes years...

And, Singapore in a way is democratic as you dont have someone holding a gun to your head when you vote. Just maybe sueing till you are broke...but thats besides the point. Malaysia is a good example of change. Even if everyone only sees the negative aspect, but there are some big changes there, where the voices of the people actually are translated into real votes. What more can be said of you guys??

Thoughts to ponder?....and please critic what i wrote. It makes a good debate.

Parka said...

"Singapore has a GDP (PPP) per capita higher than Switzerland, but our wages are way below the Swiss."

There is a very serious problem if the GDP is higher and yet the average wages are low.

It means that money is missing.

Or there's just some other hidden factor. An investigation by MAS should be carried out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Tan. There's an article in Today (dated 28 Aug 2009) commenting about the lifestyle comparison between Singapore and HK. Maybe you'd like to have a look at that? It doesn't really paint such a deadly scenario of SG though.

Anonymous said...

""Struggle of a 76-yr-old Singaporean Street Scavenger ""

Something is very wrong here. Why nobody in sg care? The people must be sick.
It is not their body that is sick. It is their minds that are sick.
It is more important to cure their minds than to cure their bodies.

Anonymous said...

The root of the problem I think is that we have developed too fast and we are paying a price for it. What am I talking? I mean we have unwittedly allowed our assets (housing esp HDB, cars etc) to be driven by market forces, and we have thus allowed assets to be inflated that are taking away our disposable income, savings, retirement funds etc.

The globalisation and easy money have blinded us into thinking that the world is growing together, and it is a scenario of all ships rising that will help to carry Spore. Hence Lao Goh's dream of swiss standard.

But alas, the easy money is nothing but consuming debts and more debts, and now is the time to pay back by deleveraging thru the financial crisis.

We are not US or other developed nations, where they help those affected with some social benefits. So without some benefits, those affected are falling hard on bad times, esp those with high debts and low savings.

Looking at the example of Japan (which we are a close proxy),it would be tough to survive in a deflationay environment (low wage, high costs) but with sticky high asset prices. It is no wonder that from 1990 to 2000, Japan has been labelled as a "lost decade".

I believe we are in for such a decade, and we must learn from the Japanese to survive these tough times without losing our dignity and our mind!

Anonymous said...

We are essentailly fighting against what is known as the Law of One Price here.

Unless there is something special which only Singaporeans can do, there is really no reason why Singaporeans should earn more than what someone from India or China earns.

A minimum wage policy or a stop of the FT policy would not be able to repeal this fundamental economic law.

THe recent advances in technology have helped to greatly facillitate this Law of One Price. This has helped to lift millions out of poverty in countries like China, India etc. Unfortunately this is at the cost of disadvantaging workers in developed countries like Singapore.

The best that can be done is to implement policies to help worst affected low income families cope.

This is however called WELFARE and has been labelled as a dirty word by the Singapore Government.

Hence instead of spending budget surplus to help the poor in Singapore, they would much rather squirrel this away to Temasek and GIC to make strategic investments.

Anonymous said...

To be a Russian is better than a S'porean, at least Russia still got countryside to go to for retirement...

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