Continuing from our previous debate over the standards of living, we now try to look at how Mr Lim’s solution can actually solve a few of the nation’s problem at the same time.

By getting people to adapt to the idea of spending on cheaper products, their basic needs can be met. Yes, this may mean a lower standard of living, but most of their essentials may still be gotten at a fraction of the price. I’d akin this to buying laptops – where you may choose between different models – from Acer to Apple to Dell to Fujitsu to Sony to Zenith – there’s a range of them with almost similar functions but yet could cost up to $2000 different in prices. You can also think of it as getting a Meizu’s M8 instead of the Apple iPhone.

When people are forced to spend less, they’d probably want to go home early instead of spending too much time in town – since they can’t really afford to spend much anyway – this will, no doubt create the evening rush on the roads for the people who drive, but this will just be what it is meant to be – The Evening Rush, not the Evening-cum-Night rush and the CTE towards the north will not be jammed anymore at 9pm. Theoretically, it’d be very jam from 5:30pm onwards, but should clear by around 9pm; the latest 10pm, and not like 11pm to midnight nowadays.

Given this, not only will there be a shortened jam, but it’d also boost the revenue from ERP. since (i) people who try to beat the ERP will now be forced to pay here since they can longer afford to pay for their evening hangouts anymore and (ii) the LTA would have another reason to relook into upping the ERP charges during the super-peak period.

Subsequently, people will begin to wonder about the point of having a car since they can’t really go places and if they have to go to kopitiam instead of MoS/Harry’s/TCC, they might as well go home. Thus, car ownership rates will eventually go down and traffic conditions should improve. Whether the ERP rates will go down is beyond this argument.

In addition, less people will spend on taxi since it’s premium service and thus more people will utilize public transport. There will no longer be issues of taxis missing just before midnight because there will not be anyone to take the taxis before midnight! Everyone will be home in the warmth of their family!

Hence, when people are forced to stay at home because of rising cost of goods outside, the next best thing that can keep them entertained is to procreate – which by doing so, improves the national birth days and thus helps in nation renewal. The government will not have to force it down people’s throat for them to have more babies. It will come naturally and for most people, this is free! No more having to spend $15 for a beer when you can have better things to do – moreover, it’s helping the nation too! You save and the nation grows with you!

So, by just convincing people to spend on cheaper goods (or not spending at all), you inevitably solve 3 problems – the road congestions, the taxi issues and nation renewal.

Nevermind that our transport system is not really that efficient and ready to serve the peak hours. Afterall, you don’t really have a choice but to take public transport. Whether I serve 4 buses in 1 hour or 1 bus in 1 hour, you’d still have to take the bus home. Unless of course you want to walk.

So, who says spending less doesn’t help? Why bother about standard of living when you can solve at least 3 problems? Afterall, Singaporeans have short term memory and are easily adaptable. =)



Reader's Comments

  1. hanneng | November 17th, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    My view is spending less or switch to cheaper products is not enough.

    You like it or not, the price will ALWAYS go up.

    I always ask friends to make multiple income( eg: work part time, sell online, buy share, etc).

    This is the only and Pro Active way to beat the cost of living problem.

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