A member of the public, Calvin Sim Pheng Hoe, wrote to ST Forum today lamenting that the Singapore spirit has gone missing these days in Singapore (‘Singapore spirit has gone missing‘, 19 Apr).
“I have been observing that over the past few years, Singaporeans’ pride in the Republic has been diminishing,” he said.
He blamed this on the “rise of social media”. He said there appears to be more Singaporeans jumping at any opportunity to put Singapore down.
He explained, “Singaporeans tend to highlight and share all negative news about our country on social media, such as the faulty sprinkler incident at Jewel Changi Airport or how Singapore is the most expensive city to live in.”
“Shouldn’t we be sharing more news about how proud we are to have achieved whatever we have today instead of putting our country down? What we have today is really amazing and marvelous, and we are the envy of many other countries,” he added.
“But why, as Singaporeans, do we not pride ourselves on our achievements? We have all contributed to our country’s success and I am proud to be part of this nation and country. Singaporeans should be proud that we have come so far in our journey, but also remind ourselves to be deeply grounded to continue to strive for greater success.”
He ended his writing stating that he hopes to see a revival of the Singapore spirit.
Singaporean middle class struggling
Meanwhile, it was reported that the middle class are feeling the pinch with the high cost of living in Singapore (‘Cost of living in Singapore: Middle class but feeling the pinch‘, Sep 2018).
Ms Felicia Foo, 30, a relationship executive at a multinational company told the media, “Sometimes, it feels like someone is breathing down our necks. Things are expensive here. An average trip to the grocery store will cost us at least $50.”
She and her husband, Kelward Ong, a 34-year-old engineer, have a combined income of about $7,000 a month, or about $3,500 on average each. They have 2 children and are constantly struggling, even though they try to live simply as they do not own a car and live in a 4-room HDB flat.
They told the media that they have to stick to a budget every month, and when there is a big expense in a given month, for example, when they get billed for annual insurance premiums, they need to cut back on their own personal expenses so as to make up for it.
“Sometimes, it’s hard. For example, if it’s one of the children’s birthday month, we will end up spending a little bit more to treat them,” Ms Foo said.
Their children are still young and do not attend any enrichment classes yet, but that may change in the near future. And Ms Foo is most worried, “That’s the expenditure I’m most worried about – the kids’ education.”
“If you look at the education standards in Singapore, you either keep up or get left behind, and, in order to keep up, we’d have to send the kids for enrichment classes to prepare themselves,” she added.
Then, as the children grow, they have to worry about bigger costs like tertiary and university fees.
“I would like to stop working, but I don’t think I can do that for another decade or two, until the kids are in polytechnic or university,” she said. “If one of us stopped working, there just won’t be enough to cover the housing loan, groceries and utility bills.”
With so much expenses, it’s no wonder they told the media that it has been a “daunting” task to set aside any savings every month.
In any case, it’s not known if Ms Foo or her husband would share Calvin Sim’s optimism of “priding ourselves on our achievements”, in view that they feel someone is “breathing down” their necks all the time.