The population of Singapore when I first moved there from Chennai in 1994 was a little more than three million. It is a figure that has since swelled to 4.5 million, thanks to a steady inflow of foreigners for work. The Singapore government has now announced that it is anticipating a population of 6.5 million by 2027, representing a hefty 40% increase in 20 years.
That is a bit scary as I have always found Singapore way too dense when compared with cities in the West. In fact, when Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong announced a year or so ago that he would like the country’s population to double, I found it too alarming. I thought if that happened the beauty of Singapore would be lost for ever, with the people suffocating under the weight of overpopulation.
There is no question that any increase in population will be good for businesses. But if we go by that logic there will be no end to the desire for the population to keep growing. Shouldn’t we be looking at the examples of economies such as that of Australia, which is more than twice as big as India in terms of size but has a population of only 20 million and still thriving?
But going by the plans announced by Singapore to be ready for the projected growth, I am convinced wherever else it may fail at least it has the vision to see and plan for the future. As for me, I will take solace from that enduring Beatles’ number, Let it be. If a city bursting at its seams is what Singapore wants, let it be, let it be!
For more on Singapore’s vision, check out http://news.asiaone.com.sg/st/st_20070210_89358.html
–G Joslin Vethakumar