Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Friday, October 06, 2006

Singapore - The State of Affairs

I wonder if Singaporeans find themselves too controlled, too contrived, too constrained sometimes, too no character? Let me explain why.

When I arrived in this kiasu-land, I laud the government for its various initiatives that help the people of Singapore esp their cost control measures and technology advancement. For eg:

  1. The cost controlled supermarket called NTUC FairPrice is available every stones throw away no matter where you are in Singapore. Nowhere can you find themed offers like American month where all American produced products go on sale. Yum yum, Tim Tam.
  2. Called it boring & secure but advantageous for the society as every hawker center serves the same dish at the same price. Noodles and rice go as cheap as $2.50 in no air-cond hawker centers and some are pretty tasty. No more going the extra mile to cheap food stalls as it is available everywhere.
  3. The government via IDA has recently introduced free Wireless access at 512kb called Wireless@SG in public places by Jan 2007. With this initiative, users of iCell, QMax or Singtel network can log on to more than 900 hotspots all over the country. To increase the usage of this free broadband, the govt is giving away 10,000 subsidized computers to low-income students which will help bridge the digital divide in the country with development cost of abt $100M. Yipee! Now I do not have to only look for McDonalds whenever I want to surf outside. :)
All these measures do put Singaporeans in very comfortable positions but just like taking bribes from someone, there could be an underlying message or agenda. Singapore has turned into a country extremely controlled by the government so much so that even their business is monopolised in a very indirect way. Smart huh? For eg.
  1. Morgan Stanley's Asia correspondent quit after a disruptive email remark regarding the reason Singapore is chosen to host the IMF when it would have made more sense hosting it in countries like China and India. When said that it is due to the illicit money laundering to corrupt businessmen in Indonesia and that Singapore's success is far-fetched, noone knows what happened but one could only assume the amount of pressure he could have been under.
  2. M1 which was one of the top telecommunications operator in Singapore has gone down the drain, unable to beat competition that comes in the form of government-controlled telcos like Singtel and Starhub. How can a privately-owned M1 reduce their price as much as the other 2 players so much so that they are actually a loss unless they have the government's funding? Makes us think why Government Linked Companies in Malaysia could not experience the same backing and funding from the Malaysian government. Well, no-brainer.
  3. Pacnet, a privately owned ISP with high profit margin when they have just started has its position now taken over by Singnet which dropped prices so low only the government's funding can cover their losses. Not only that Singnet is offering free laptops and handphones with any new signups of brodaband that only costs $60++ a month! Another one bites the dust.
Toast to the government. Great job though to maintain the stable economy.

0 Bowed to the princess

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