Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Khaw Boon Wan's HDB prices

Hazrul was the first one to hit the nail on its head: It's the prices! He had plenty of company later.

But not being in their position, I have the luxury to return to some thought that I have often visited since I last read Niall Ferguson's, 'The Ascent of Money' a few years back.

I read chapter 5, 'Safe as Houses' a few times. Houses are not safe investments over a long time. That is the historical record and Niall Ferguson is a historian.

When people here scream about runaway prices, I know we are getting nearer to the critical point. You understand it better if you have historical examples to compare against.

It is a matter of time but as usual who knows when that property will bring us to our knees? You see this happen everywhere but don't imagine Singapore to be immune. We just get to that point looking clever and then without knowing, we fall over the edge of the cliff.

Greed and fear, debt, the banking system etc., all converge at the real estate market. It is here we feel the pressure, over stretch and eventually throw prudence to the wind and nothing happen for a while as toxicity builds up beyond sight and then it collapses.

Elsewhere it is usually the banking system that is brought to its knees from reckless real estate financing. This is as unlikely as us facing conventional military attack. But just as the big guns were pointing south when the Japanese invaded from the north, it wouldn't be the financial system that would take us down. What might be our Achilles heel is being revealed. It is politics.

What is the least courageous way to solve the problem? Turn it into something Ponzi like. For that you need to build the 700,000 units MND is plugging for. This government will stake its political life on the Population and Land Use White Paper. Right now in private the Cabinet must be lamenting why the people don't understand. They forget that most voters are Type 2 smart and at the end of the day, you don't lead a people with reason but trust. Too bad, that has been destroyed because the PM was reckless entertaining a safe to fail policy even with housing and transportation capacity. He played it loose for not preparing the infrastructure in case the population surged. Inderjit Singh has wisely suggested how to regain the people's trust but would the government listen?


  1. I am appalled at what I saw on TV just now.
    He appealed through his croaky voice that there are 500,000 flats waiting to be built for married couples who can't wait to have kids. And the way he has put it, is as if the entire nation (or whoever objects to the 6.9m or land use - whichever since he tries to obfuscate both as one ) or Opposition Party is causing the obstruction!!

    HE should have asked MBT what he was doing all these years proclaiming there was no problem with supply and backlog, and his predecessor even had colorful brochure and tv to boot! Poor planning on their part suddenly become an emergency on our part.


    1. It was disingenuous of him to say that Singapore will not be a concrete jungle but a garden in a city when so many flats are coming up. He said it's going to be like Punggol, many times bigger. But how big is Punggol? I felt disgusted when he took a swipe at the WP's alternative road map and pleaded with them on behalf of Singaporeans not to disrupt his plan. What a pig!

  2. Khaw specialises in acting pious and self-sacrificing, and boasting... This is the same man who mucked up the medical area.

    Considering all the loud complaints - for years - about prices of property going up, it is quite incredible that the PM claims the govt was taken by surprise by the sheer numbers of people who came in and needed somewhere to live and a means to travel.

    What on earth did he expect? That they'd camp in a park? Live in a non-existent dormitory? Walk or cycle to work?

    And do we sack the Perm Sec and Minister of Manpower during those years of the ''floods'' for not even realising an entire million were making their way into the country? Not quite a number you can hide or overlook.

  3. He is known for "solving" problems by cutting subsidies, raising fees, increasing tax and duties, selling more at higher prices, etc. to boost his KPI. It is anathema for him to reduce pricing. Hence, he repeatedly use the word "affordable". He will certainly sell you more at his "affordable" price.

    The White Paper is about building more, selling more........... at "affordable" price. 200,000...... 500,000.......700,000.........:-)


  4. Poor Buddha who kena worshiped by this Satan.
    回头是岸,南无阿弥陀佛 南無觀世音菩薩 南無妙法莲华经.

  5. He is just STUPID! If we keep our population stable, do we need to build so many more homes? First they create the problem by wanting to bring in an additional 1.6 million people to join its Ponzi demography, and then says that the WP is stopping him from getting in the foreign workers to build these flats. How convenient!
    (BTW, WP is not the MOM and is unable to control the number of FW coming in to Singapore).

  6. "you don't lead a people with reason but trust"

    So true, you must have trust first in order to have reason. No amount of reasons can replace trust. Many people don't understand that trust is the most important requirement for reason to exist, and reason is not trust.

    Don't believe ? If you cannot believe and respect crooks and robbers that repeatedly screw you, and yet you can believe their reason to defend themselves to screw you ?

    How about this ? Conman who out to con you and you know that he is conned you, and yet you choose to believe his reason without trusting him ?

  7. Don't keep releasing new plots of land to developers, otherwise they have no incentive to buy en bloc properties for re-developing. Without en bloc of the ageing estates/private condos/apartments, our garden city landscape will soon deteriorate. Residents living in condos >40 years old are in despair as developers are not keen on en bloc. We need constant rebuilding and renewal of old buildings.