Population woes

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Population woes

Postby limlim » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:17 pm

share some good letters in ST Forum

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/for ... r-20121011

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/for ... e-20121011



IT SEEMS counter-intuitive for a very small island state to rely on population increase as a strategy for survival ("Population 6m: Is there room?"; last Saturday).

If indeed this increase is required to support our ageing population, wouldn't that generation itself grow old in the future, thus needing a bigger population to sustain it?

Aren't we merely passing the buck to later generations?

How did the official narrative change from the "procreate sustainably" family planning campaign to this "procreate or go bust" mentality, both in the name of survival? Perhaps that is where the answer lies.

It was for the sake of survival that the population was allowed to balloon even while the family planning exercise was taking place in the 1970s, ostensibly to address the declining total fertility rate.

In reality, the population increase, aided by immigration, was more likely to meet manpower shortages and was needed to capitalise on the prevailing economic opportunities in the 1970s and 80s.

That was the only way we knew how to survive.

We bit the bullet, took the chance and came out rich.

In the meantime, earlier concerns about sustainability took a back seat.

The question now is whether the formula will still work now, given that the population has tripled while the island can hardly be doubled.

Arguably, we have the technology and know-how to pack in six million people. But what would that do to our humanity?

We miss the big picture when we fail to notice that we have become a population that is refusing to reproduce - contrary to human instinct.

We must be coaxed, rewarded and penalised to procreate, which, in itself, is a signal that we are not comfortable with the current population density.

Instead of presuming that the population must increase to sustain the economy, can we also consider alternative economic models that suit a lower, more comfortable population density?

Osman Sidek






SINGAPORE'S population grew 2.84 times in 47 years. But at the same time, the total fertility rate fell from 4.62 to 1.2.

Though experts expressed some concern, they did not point out the potential specific social ramifications if Singapore's population grew to 6.5 million ("Population 6m: Is there room?"; last Saturday).

Planning parameters seem to suggest that the built-up cityscape of about 430 sq km can comfortably accommodate 6.5 million people, compared with Hong Kong's developed area of 250 sq km holding 7.1 million people.

I agree with Associate Professor Kalyani Mehta that overheated population growth in a small area tends to produce social tensions. Already, there is resentment against the more than two million foreigners among us.

It took Hong Kong more than 100 years to accommodate a community of 7.1 million, even though they largely comprised Chinese from a single province - Guangzhou in southern China.

Beneath the veneer of a vibrant city are tremendous stresses and fault lines, despite the apparent advantage of homogeneity where more than 90 per cent of Hong Kongers share the same Chinese dialect - Cantonese - as well as the same social and cultural backgrounds.

The psychology experiment with 10 mice cited by Prof Mehta illustrates the unhealthy development of selfish behaviour and a "me first" mentality. If the 10 mice were of different species, the conflict in the small cage could be worse.

We must not affect the multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural harmony built up over the last five decades.

Paul Chan


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Re: Population woes

Postby limlim » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:26 pm


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Re: Population woes

Postby daisyt » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:55 pm

Thanks for sharing. Very interesting, humanity vs economic..

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Re: Population woes

Postby mamago » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:35 pm

Thanks, limlim...

Paul Chan's hypothesis is rather notable.

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Re: Population woes

Postby AceTutors123 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:45 pm

The roads are already congested as they are during the peak hours, yet more than 5 clusters of condos are coming up e.g. along the stretch leading to Parkway Parade and at the Sengkang entrance of KPE. I really worry that it'll be far too congested everywhere and things will become too intolerable...

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Re: Population woes

Postby pirate » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:07 pm

limlim wrote:share some good letters in ST Forum

Instead of presuming that the population must increase to sustain the economy, can we also consider alternative economic models that suit a lower, more comfortable population density?

Osman Sidek

This is a very beguiling question. But I would like to phrase it more pragmatically.

On a micro-economic level, what are the people advocating this themselves prepared to give up for a lower level of economic activity and a lower population density?

Are they willing to:

(1) Eat less outside and cook more at home so that there will be less reliance on foreign service workers;
(2) Do more things DIY so that there will less reliance on foreign plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc;
(3) Pay more when they do eat outside so that more locals can be employed in the service line;
(4) Pay more for public transport or wait longer for the next bus/train so we can cut down on foreign drivers;
(5) Wait longer for HDB BTOs as we allow in fewer construction workers;
(6) Pay more for FDWs so that there is less demand for domestic workers;
(7) Wait longer and pay more for medical care so that we can reduce the number of foreign nurses and doctors; or
(8) Accept a lower pay as more companies relocate out of Singapore while at the same time pay more for basic services (which is likely unless they happen to be blue collar workers providing these services)?

Even if money grows on trees, you still have to climb up the tree to pluck it.

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Re: Population woes

Postby mamago » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:14 pm

pirate wrote:
This is a very beguiling question. But I would like to phrase it more pragmatically.

On a micro-economic level, what are the people advocating this themselves prepared to give up for a lower level of economic activity and a lower population density?

Are they willing to:

(1) Eat less outside and cook more at home so that there will be less reliance on foreign service workers;
(2) Do more things DIY so that there will less reliance on foreign plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc;
(3) Pay more when they do eat outside so that more locals can be employed in the service line;
(4) Pay more for public transport or wait longer for the next bus/train so we can cut down on foreign drivers;
(5) Wait longer for HDB BTOs as we allow in fewer construction workers;
(6) Pay more for FDWs so that there is less demand for domestic workers;
(7) Wait longer and pay more for medical care so that we can reduce the number of foreign nurses and doctors; or
(8) Accept a lower pay as more companies relocate out of Singapore while at the same time pay more for basic services (which is likely unless they happen to be blue collar workers providing these services)?

Even if money grows on trees, you still have to climb up the tree to pluck it.



:goodpost:

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Re: Population woes

Postby limlim » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:16 pm

http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNe ... 76388.html

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam called Ms Cheong's comments "shameful". He said the incident confirmed what he had long suspected and had said before, that there are "deep fault lines in our society" based on race and religion.

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Re: Population woes

Postby mamago » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:20 pm

limlim wrote:http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20121009-376388.html

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam called Ms Cheong's comments "shameful". He said the incident confirmed what he had long suspected and had said before, that there are "deep fault lines in our society" based on race and religion.



There is no Shangri-La...... as it is now, it's as good as we could get...

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Re: Population woes

Postby mamago » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:23 pm

No fault lines? That would never happened in mankind society..... since the beginning of civilization...

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