Statistical jugglery comes in handy for governments across the world when sentiment on the ground is furiously against unpopular initiatives they desperately latch on to. Throw in some mind-blowing numbers and the public gets so confused that they may begin thinking what the government is unleashing on a reluctant population is good after all! This is perhaps the intention of the Government as well!
Here are some figures that the government threw up yesterday on population growth in Singapore:
- 11,000 people per sq. km now and 13,700 people per sq. km by 2030 – this is the population density in Singapore, as spelt out by the government–
- 700, 000 new homes by 2030
- Around 25,000 new citizens every year to ensure that foreigners do not outnumber locals. Not many of the real talents would like to sacrifice their original nationality, so just to ensure the ratio is not thrown off-balance, the government may end up giving citizenship to those the nation can be without. Good political strategy as these new citizens may become vote banks for the PAP!
- Doubling of rail systems by 2030
- Roads also can be expected to go through a radical makeover along with a spike in the number of buses
Homes in the Sky, under the Ocean?: These numbers scare the hell out of me. It looks like the government will have to look at every inch of spare space to make way for the 700,000 new homes in the pipeline. What next Singapore? Homes in the sky and under the ocean?
With all the redevelopment of rail / road systems, ongoing and upcoming, what you may end up with is a nightmarish Singapore where there is nothing but concrete and metal everywhere.
The construction (destruction, actually!) activity happening everywhere in Singapore is already a big eyesore and a nuisance. Looks like more hassles are in store for the public with all the planned infrastructural development. This cannot go on endlessly as it is messing with the clean-and-green environment.
Density Higher in Hong Kong – Really?: But let me get back to the numbers, starting with a quote from Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan, as reported in today’s newspapers: “Hong Kong in terms of density is much higher, and we must never try to reach that area —— whether in terms of household size, or in terms of crowdedness, or in terms of lacking in greenery and of course the other aspects of population, etc.
According to statistics available online, Singapore is currently the world’s third most densely populated country/city, behind tiny Monaco and Macao, and followed by Hong Kong. So I am not sure whether to accept the figures presented by the government or those that can be pulled up from the Internet, including that from the U.N.
Even so, why compare Singapore with countries that are worse off and not with those that are less densely populated. For instance, why not try comparing Singapore with Australia and Canada which are among the least densely populated countries? Or with cities in most of Europe or the U.S.? Many cities in Australia and Canada always rank among the best places to live in, and it is not as if they face poor economies!
I guess we have to just place trust in the minister who says that “good urban planning to achieve high quality of living is a top priority for the government because this is a key to our survival.”
G Joslin Vethakumar
My other post on the issue — https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/overpopulation-behind-all-major-problems-in-singapore/