In December 2014, the secretary general of the People's Action Party (PAP) took a dig at the opposition.
"When other people say First World Parliament, you don't know what it means," Lee Hsien Loong said, apparently taking a swipe at the Workers' Party general election 2011 slogan.
And then referring to his own party, he said, "When we say First World Nation, here we are!"
Four headlines in recent years might bring some moderation to the superlative accolades the PAP may be tempted to heap on itself.
Right at the beginning of the new year of 2014, this was the headlines in the Straits Times:
"Patients being housed in tent and corridors, or sent to other hospitals."
And the year ended with another unflattering headline too, this time from the TODAY newspaper:
And in 2013, things weren't much better either. This was the headline from TODAY in September 2013, after the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Social Work Department released its survey findings:
And on the social/community side, we saw this:
So, from healthcare to public transport, from wages to suicide rates, Singapore has seen things deteriorate. And these are only four areas which we highlight here. What about the growing income gap, the discrimination in the job arena, the social ills from the national gambling addiction, the dwindling personal space for each citizen, and so on?
Is our nation a first world nation? By what measure do we make such a claim?