By: Phillip Ang
Minister Josephine Teo was recently in the news again. Teo seems to believe that Singaporeans are programmable and has urged citizens to build their careers “in tandem” with parenthood.
Her statements are actually rather insulting because the underlying assumption is that citizens are incapable of planning what’s best for ourselves. Hmm… elitist PAP knows best again?
The root cause of our low TFR is our very high cost of living and this cannot be addressed with PAP’s piecemeal measures.
As Singaporeans are already aware, our high cost of living is PAP created through the inflation of property prices via our flawed immigration/population policy. This in turn results in price inflation of all goods and services. High property prices benefit PAP because it is the biggest landlord in Singapore. Teo would of course want the PAP to continue earning high rental income as her remuneration is also tied to this.
Low TFR has been a chronic issue since 4 decades ago and the man largely responsible is none other than Lee Kuan Yew. Although fertility rates were already plunging globally since the 1950s, LKY exacerbated this with the introduction of punitive measures to ensure Singaporeans comply with his “Stop-at-Two” policy implemented in 1966. It was successful beyond PAP’s imagination.
To LKY, human beings are like taps which he could suka suka turn on/off through legislations. Minister Teo’s thinking is no different from LKY.
TFR unlikely to increase so long as high cost of living issue remains unaddressed and PAP keeps talking cock.
LKY was so successful in driving down the TFR that within a decade, it hit the replacement level and fell below this in 1977. No civil servant had the courage to point out the folly of our Great Leeder until a decade later.
By 1987, the PAP finally acknowledged its mistake with the “Have 3 or more, if you can afford it” policy but the tap had rusted and could not be turned on. For the past 3 decades, every attempt by the “best and brightest” in government has achieved the same result – F9. With ministers like Teo, we should count ourselves lucky if our TFR doesn’t fall further.
Ordinary Singaporeans rely on dual incomes to raise a family and are a pragmatic lot. Our situation is unlike Teo and her former civil servant husband, now CEO of Surbana Jurong, whose joint income easily exceeds $2 million annually. Why does Teo have to assume Singaporeans have not done our sums?
Teo keeps harping on the government pro-family benefits which if they could mitigate the sky high cost of living in any meaningful way, then Singaporeans must really be stupid not to have babies.
There are of course other considerations but the reality is, relative to our high cost of living, all the benefits amount to peanuts. Each time benefits are given out, rest assured, the PAP will eventually jack up costs in some other ways to recover them.
If all the conditions are right for Singaporeans to make babies, there would be no necessity for Teo’s instructions and talking cock. Why does Teo assume adult Singaporeans to be stupid?
Teo has already made a fool of herself when she lectured Singaporeans on where to have sex. And now she’s telling Singaporeans why and when babies should be made earlier. Will Teo be teaching couples what to do during sex? Or even how to have sex?
Looking forward to more humour from Teo again.