From adversity, comes opportunity – an opportunity to “do right” by the people, to re-balance. Here's a 9-part sojourn to reflect and inflect ...
1. TEASER: What is the point of Urban Renewal?
2. MOCKTAIL (non-alcoholic cocktail): Have we left our people behind?
3. APPETIZER: How to bring our people along in Singapore’s Re-Making?
4. NUGGET: Why en bloc law was (and still is) needed?
5. POSERS: What is today? What will be likely tomorrow?
6. DIGESTIVE: Why skew the law?
7. PURGATIVE: A sense of déjà vue!
8. NUTTY PEANUTS: Myths debunked!
9. CROWN JEWEL: 80% to en bloc The Istana?
Seized by the tumultuous collapses of this period – from East to West, spanning the spectrum from communist regime to celebratory capitalism …
– China is ramping up Social Welfare to assure her people of national safety nets in order to boost domestic consumption;
– the United States of America is re-inventing herself towards Activist Government to reverse the flow of “trickle down” to “trickle up” effects in order to make the rich contribute more to society and thus build-up the middle class.
From the footpaths in rural China ... to the supermarket alleys in Germany ... to Main Street in the US with much less buzz these days, there is a distinct dissonance with the past excesses leading to the present mess! Dismay when a surgeon refused to operate unless the fees are paid upfront. Disbelief when a cashier was sacked over a 1 euro refund coupon in stark contrast to CEOs who flew in on private jets to ask for hand-outs. Disgust when the board of directors approved executive bonus pay-out even as the company crumbled. Distrust when those who are supposed to govern, regulate and/or protect chose to break faith with the People and instead crossed over to join hands with the Corporates in the name of "Progressive Corporatism".
In the midst of this generational wave change, where does Singapore stand? “Social welfare” is unspeakable? “Activist Government” is unthinkable? “Trickle up” is untimely? Where do we re-balance ourselves (if at all)?
En blocs have a significant wealth effect on private residential owners who are (or were?) largely middle to upper-middle income Singaporeans (other than at the super-luxury condo category which is dominated by foreigners anyway). So???
At the 20 Sep 2007 parliamentary debate of the en bloc law, the then Minister for Law, Prof S Jayakumar put on record in his closing remarks that "the position I take is that this is an ongoing process ... my ministry, together with the other agencies, will monitor very closely the operation of these new provisions ... but if it is necessary to make further amendments, then we have no hesitation to do so".
"Change" is possible??? Will Singaporeans say "Yes We Can Too"???