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Why I do not like high GDP growth

A letter from one of our readers.

Mohamad Khan -

Recently the local papers have been telling us “great” news. The information I gathered from the articles I read are about how our economy is booming and how we as a nation are poised to take over the world as the fastest growing economy provided we let in 100,000 foreigners.

I’ve got many foreign friends and I agree out of necessity we do need them. But we are bursting at the seams here. Our infrastructure just isn’t able to accommodate this rapid massive increase in population. No government in the world can prevent floods but they could have prevented this flood of immigrants. Now Singaporeans and Foreign Talents (FTs) are battling it out. It’s like the proverbial line, “This town isn’t big enough for the both of us, someone’s gotta go – and it isn’t gonna be me.”

It’s too crowded here. I mean it’s already bad enough that squeeze into the trains and buses like sardines in a can. Getting a seat is a thing of the past. Somehow being handicapped, elderly or pregnant also does not guarantee you a seat either. I mean I am no economics graduate. I’m just a simple guy giving my laymen’s point of view. There just isn’t any space and it’s getting worse.

You see guys maybe I’m being selfish for wanting a little personal space. Maybe I am not being far-sighted enough for failing to recognize the importance of being an economic powerhouse. All I see is that with higher GDP it means less space for me.

I’ve got evidence too. We are officially the 3rd most populous nation in the world. We can expect more to come. Best part is we are targeting the 6 million mark which means it gets worse. Of course we are told (by the powers that be) to be thankful and compare ourselves to Macau and Monaco which are in 1st and 2nd spot respectively. Well I don’t think Monaco residents and Macau residents have to worry about taking long train journeys and such. The area of Macau is only 29.3 sq km. Monaco is even smaller with just 1.95 sq km of land (See here). So you can literally walk from one end to the other. No need to jostle for space on trains or buses for minutes to close to an hour. So now we can clearly see that it is getting crowded around here.

I mean so what if our GDP is skyscraper high? I don’t understand it one bit. All I see are things getting more expensive while sadly our median salary remains the same. So is this high GDP growth any good to you or me? Food getting more expensive then drinks eventually it’s our flats. What else is going to rise in price? Why can’t our salary reflect that? Since there is so much GDP in the “air” shouldn’t I be seeing bonuses? Or a big fat increment?

So forgive me if I don’t share your enthusiasm when I’m told of this wonderful GDP increase because every time it occurs things just get worse.