So we shrimps (viz, we the "lesser mortals" as Singapore citizens) should heed the wise words of Greek historian, Polybius, who said: “There are two roads to the reformation for mankind — one through misfortunes of their own, the other through the misfortunes of others; the former is the most unmistakable, the latter the less painful … the knowledge gained from the study of true history is the best of all educations for practical life.”
1. Historial trace-back. Let's do a short historical trace-back: Once upon a time, not so very long ago ......
19 Feb 2010: Gahmen announced Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD) for residential properties sold within one year of purchase and mandated reduction in Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit from 90% to 80%.
The Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS) hosted "Lo Hei" celebrations (a Chinese New Year festive meal where "Yu Sheng" raw fish salad (homonymic pun to denote "vitality in abundance") is tossed sky-high to signify the diners' wishes for success in business ventures in the new year). Media coverage showed the guest-of-honour Finance Minister, REDAS President (Mr Simon Cheong) and URA's elegant CEO in merry "Lo Hei" ritual.
“REDAS was hoping for more cash in our ‘ang pows’ (red packets) from you, Minister. But when we opened the ‘ang pow’, we were disappointed there was not much inside for developers, ... Nonetheless, we are happy with your long-term productivity ‘ang pow’, as what is good for Singapore's economy in the long run must also be good for the Singapore property market. It is what REDAS calls a deferred payment ‘ang pow’.”
In covering the "Lo Hei" event, Channel News Asia (25 Feb 2010) reported: "... in the interest of a stable property market, REDAS said its members are committed to a fast-track supply to satisfy demand. This would also minimise excessive speculation in the property market". The Straits Times (25 Feb 2010) went on to elaborate that Mr Cheong also said: "Hopefully when demand is satisfied, there will be less pressure for future anti-speculative measures".
Now, now, I know ... we live in a polite society and name-calling is not very polite. But who was the first to admit that they were in "fox holes"? Who would live in "fox holes" if not foxes? Please excuse me for I have a simple mind.
3. Simple Simon Says. Talking about my simple mind ... that in turn calls to mind a game that we kids played in the good old days called "Simple Simon Says" (kids these days don't know what they have missed but I reckon Mr Simon Cheong is old enough to have played this game).
In this game, one player (let's refer to this player as the "leader") would stand in front of everybody (ie, the "followers"). The leader would shout "Simple Simon Says" + "Do This" as the leader simultaneously makes a gesture (eg, point at own nose, or stand on left foot, or some silly contortion) and freezes. The followers have to immediately mimic that gesture and similarly freeze until the next call. This would go on with new gestures being made for each call at rapid-fire pace. But when the leader shouts "Simple Simon Says" + "Do That", then the followers must NOT mimic that gesture; otherwise, the slow-wit(s) would have to drop-out from the game. Hence, the last kid left standing at the end of the game is lauded as the quickest wit of them all and gets a lollipop or something. If the last kid left standing is a boy, then as he licks his lollilop, he would bask in the open admiration from all the sweet little girls in their frilly frocks and dainty hair clips. If the last kid left standing is a girl, the boys would probably be tortuously mystified for the rest of the day as to "what the hell went wrong back there"?
PROPERTY is all about LOCATION and TIMING.