by Augustine Low

You could get heady just listening to all the election-worthy pledges and promises making the rounds as May Day messages.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong told workers at the May Day rally: “Come what may, we will always be there with you, for you, and we will always have your back.”

The government, he added, will help Singaporeans take ownership of their careers, reskill and upskill, secure better jobs and opportunities, earn a better living and live a better life..

Lauding Singapore’s “world’s best public housing,” DPM Wong stressed that BTO flats remain affordable because flat prices have been moving in tandem with incomes.

“Affordable and accessible public housing – like access to first-rate education and healthcare – will always be a key part of our social compact in Singapore,” he said.

“As long as the PAP remains in charge, we will ensure quality public housing that is affordable and accessible for our children and future generations.”

There’s even the obligatory warning of the world becoming “increasingly dangerous and troubled”.

Sounds more like an election rally speech than a May Day rally speech.

DPM Wong managed to pack it all in:
• always there with you, for you
• always have your back
• reskill and upskill
• better jobs and opportunities
• earn a better living
• live a better life
• world’s best public housing
• affordable and accessible public housing
• increasing dangerous and troubled world

However, what’s left unsaid is an even longer list:

GST increase
Cost of living increase
BTO price increase
Rental rates increase
World’s most expensive pasar malam
• MediShield Life Premiums increase
• Utility rates increase
COE price increase
• ERP rates increase
• Public transport fares increase
Property tax increase
Property stamp duties increase
• Impending S&CC (Service and Conservancy Charges) increase

Yet they keep telling us it’s all sunshine and roses.

In the words of DPM Wong in his May Day speech: “That’s why despite the dark clouds around us, I say: never fear, and never lose heart. Singapore may be small. But this little red dot is shining brighter than ever.”

The hard truth is that more people are getting fearful, more people are losing heart. So there’s no point promising us they are always with us, for us, they always have our back. There’s no point asking us to look beyond dark clouds for sunshine and rainbow.

The sad truth is too many people have to walk alone, too many people have to watch their own back, too many people cannot cope with all the cost increases, too many people are worried about what tomorrow brings.

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