Singaporeans are well educated and score high marks in academic subjects. Unfortunately, most are not able to think for themselves or are not "street smart". They rely on the advice of other people. They are quite trusting and gullible and may not even know who can or cannot be trusted. They are easily cheated by people with bad intentions.
This is why so many people are misled into investing in the credit linked notes, such as the mini-bonds. They rely on the advice and assurances of the people who sell the products, not knowing that these people are also ignorant and are mostly interested in the commission or meeting the sales quota. Their managers of the distributors trusted the investment banks who created the products and failed to do the due diligence.
The inability to think extend beyond the credit-linked notes. Many people are now being deceived by the empty promises made by the promoters of certain products, such as land banking or promises of buyback of the investments with an attractive rate of interest. The buy back options are written with legal loopholes.
For a long time, Singaporeans have been used to an environment where they do not have to exercise their legal or human rights. They trusted the "safe" environment" in Singapore. However, this environment has changed and is no longer safe. It is easy for crooks to go around cheating people under the environment of "caveat emptor" or "regulate with a light touch".
There is a story about the frog in a pot of water. As the water becomes heated, the frog get used to the temperature and was not aware about the danger, until the frog was finally boiled. I am afraid that there is a similar situation to what is heppening in Singapore today.
It is important for Singaporeans to pay attention to the new environment and be aware that they cannot continue to blindly trust people who have their own self interest. Singaporeans should learn to think for themselves, i.e. gather the facts and make their own judgement. They have to learn about the legal and human rights that they are guaranteed under the constitution of Singapore.
The leaders can take the lead to educate the people about their constitutional and human rights.
Tan Kin Lian
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