Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A Personal Thought

In a few days, we'll be leaving our home of a few years. Speaking to Mrs Minority, we realised that we've moved homes 3 times in the last 4 years.

  • From overseas to Singapore because of work opportunities. A return to Home if you like, with big "H" to represent the nation.
  • From parent's home (staying there while renovations were ongoing) to the current home. A change from old home to new home, a small "h" for home but nevertheless our current home has become what it means, when everyone says "home is where the heart is". It was to be our wonderful place of rest, of peace, of tranquility (nice quiet neighbourhood), of sanctuary.
  • From current home to smaller home. Courtesy of an enbloc we have to downgrade, because we have to stay in the same area due to work reasons. We're fearful that our belongings won't fit into the new flat. Lots of people have left, our estate a ghost town, and the few remaining people (won't call them neighbours as they agreed to sell) have been coming and going, moving things out and complaining about the move. Well, doh. They went into it fully cognizant of the need to move, whereas we refused to sign the CSA, and have to move against our will.
Walked around the estate again, one last time, before the moving nightmare begins. I think with regards to home, a lot of us go through various stages:

  1. When we're young, we have a strong sense of belonging. Ken Lee's daughters do not want to move because they love their home, their neighbourhood, the non-physical and non-financial aspects of 'being at home'. We have memories of our childhood homes, for those of us lucky enough to have pleasant ones, and to remember them. We long for, and belong home.
  2. When we go into adulthood and work, the world is our oyster, for those of us fortunate enough to fly beyond the nation's boundaries. Home is where we move, to work and earn the money to make it big in the world. We become pragmatic about where we stay. A lot of people who are owner-residents and are for enbloc, I suspect, are pragmatists and do not have a strong attachment to their homes. It's just an asset. We economise home.
  3. When we get to our golden years, when memory fades and things become harder to be mobile for us, like many old folks who are traumatised by enbloc sales, a retirement home is something special. It's a place to rest, and celebrate what you have achieved, be it wealth, family, networks of friends, reputation. But with memory going, it becomes more crucial to be familiar with one's surroundings. Change, at old age, is not welcome. We familiarise home.
Each group has a reason to cherish their homes, or to see their homes as assets. It's a sad fact that in enbloc sales, the first group (children) and the last group (older folks) are often ignored, marginalised, or even neglected in any consideration - be it policy-wise or sale-wise. Yet, the middle group (the working group aged 25-64 yrs old) constitute about 60% of Singapore's population (Source: General Household Survey 2005). That's neglecting about 40% of the population in terms of considering enbloc policies or sales (assuming even distribution of age population across the middle-class socio-economic status).

Even if minority owners among the working group constitute only 20%, that works out to about 52% of people (young, old, minority) who may not want to go for enbloc sales.

That's a large group isn't it?

I'm going to miss my home. Badly. I'm in that 20% minority. Home for me means many many things, and to have it taken away from me against my will, makes my blood boil.

There's also about 52% of blood boiling (and voting) citizens, potentially.

Good bye home. We'll miss you.


Anonymous said...

So much for a caring society. If I were 65 today and may not live to see the next GE, it does not mean that I should be ignored because there will be others who will take my place.

Anonymous said...

I came to Singapore to teach when my husband was re-located here. I rented a place for 9 long years before I bought my present place, (which I have stayed in for 27 years!) which went enbloc.I was in the anti-enbloc group for our estate and was called a "madwoman"! It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving Singapore for good as with my proceeds I cannot buy back a property in the same locality. Who wants to downgrade to a lousy neighbourhood? Or to a smaller apartment? Just think I have lived a good part of my life in Singapore, 36 long years!Good riddanace to bad rubbish. What shitty enbloc rules!

Anonymous said...

Worry about enbloc? Don,t. It has plateaued! Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Well, problem not really solved. Despite the market situation, sales committees are still pushing for enbloc in the various estates!

Anonymous said...

Pushing for it! Getting it through! There's a hugh difference!

Anonymous said...

Moved there nine years ago and people were pushing for enbloc. Last month people still pushing it. We live at brookvale park.

Anonymous said...

Some are not only relentlessly pushing, but frustrating the MC as well.

Anonymous said...

One of S'pores trademark is enblock. We cannot change by being slaves to enblock. What we can change is our own destiny, by not being slaves to it! Your choice?

Anonymous said...

I do not blend my life with enbloc.

enblock victim said...

The recent CH5 series Enbloc (just ended), despite some exaggerations, remains a good representation of the severe emotional consequences of the 'enbloc' phenomenon.
Consensus levels should not be lower then 90% (at least in these early days of legislature; for ALL strata titles), Singaporeans as aptly portrayed in the series, are neither ready for the emotional roller coaster, nor the later social repercussions of this new 'enbloc' phenomenon. In our excitement for 'profit', we have shattered our social compact, the very reason for our current day success.

Anonymous said...

"In our excitement for 'profit', we have shattered our social compact, the very reason for our current day success."

did'nt realise there are "profit" in an enbloc!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

those who are'nt happy with govt policies did something for themselves by emigrating to other countries? those who are unqualified with nowhere to go supplement their shortcomings by complaining?

Anonymous said...

An elephant ask a camel: 'Why are your breast on your back?' 'Well,i think this is a strange question from somebody whose dick is on his face,' says the camel!

Anonymous said...

Air View Towers (no one realise its 99 years leasehold.) We got a good price.

Anonymous said...

HI Dr. Minority,

Just pop in to see wha has been happening in the enbloc world.
Now I think if we look beyond our horizons, perhaps we will see the silver lining in all the grey clouds.

1) With global warming according to Al Gore becoming a serious planet issue, Singapore could well disappear below sea level , so freehold means owning all that will oneday be swallowed up by rising sea level.

2) With US and the Far West mired in credit crunch, pick up your profits which you make from enbloc and fly west. From Europe Croatia, Spain , Italy to West Coast California , Santa Barbara to EAst coast Westport...we could exchange our million dollar homes for acres of lush plot and grand homes where you could enjoy the beauty of 4 seasons ..all it needs is a mindset that Singapore is just an insignificant dismissable , submissible dot on the map.

I have lived many years abroad and can tell you that there are lots of great opportunities and a whole new way of life out there in the wide wide world where we could all retire and have a jolly great time!
Just round up all the other enbloc friends and head out to build your own enclave of Singapore or better still strike out and find a whole new life.

We can all measure our material wealth on earth but never our time ..so why squander it with stress over all this , when we could seize the opportunity to carve some adventure into this boring island life.

Live and let live, if the law does not change , we change..and believe me , sometimes it could be a real blessing in disguise.

There is life yet after enbloc, there is a whole lot of adventure beyond this tiny dot of an island.

Good luck to all, to enbloc or not , could well be the turning point in all your lives..just be prepared to be global nomads and go have some long lost sense of adventure in your lives!

FEAR is only a mind set.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Singapore may well disappear with global warming as we are barely above sea level!
Thank god, my place went enbloc even though at the moment I am still very unhappy!

It is getting so very hot. The world is my oyster, yes, I must change my mindset and say:
"Good riddance to bad rubbish, this heap of junk, I will go to some other place. I will not buy another place here. WHY? It is so ridiculously over-priced!"

Anonymous said...

You are so right!
Yes,many places have cheaper property.Hopuses in San Jose,and San Diego are much cheaper!
Here one has to jog for space with the super-rich Myanmar political migrants (I saw rows and rows of them in church today), ultra-rich Indonesians who had paid hundreds of thousands to get a PR here ever since the scheme was launched, nor with the China Moois who are here prosepecting for husbands, nor with the likes of Jim Roger's and other financial wizards who can afford to pay $150k to $200k for a place in Canadian schools or UWC!
Yes, good riddance to bad rubbish!

Anonymous said...

There are some lucky few (my wife and I included) whose young-adult children,lives in Chicago, L.A., Houston, London,Melborne and so on.......We only spend half our lives over here. We get away from enbloc. Enbloc will never go away.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an "ENBLOCK DANGEROUS LIASON." Those "KAYPOS" deserves it. They should just take care of their own business. It just gets messier day after day. "EMPRESS" just expects that its their duty-bound. Teach them a lesson to keep their noses out. This "OPEN-AIR CHILLING TALE LOOKS LIKE ITS GOING ON FOREVER............ENJOY THE NUDITY........YOU KNOW, WE KNOW.....(:

Anonymous said...

Its called to the "KAYPOS PLAY A LOTTERY GAME?"

Anonymous said...

those kaypos must be handicap. why still need to use old techno(like sending telegragh) when we are in space age techno today.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

My own apartment which I had hoped to be one of my retirement base is under enbloc raiders. Yes, I will be retiring in 3 continents which makes for a stimulating adventure.

I have not lived in my apartment which I acquired for a single day, and am just as sad and devastated that it may disappear.

Dr. Minority knows my point of view as a loyal Singaporean . Check on all my previous submissions of my views about this piece of legislation.

As a Singaporean with a bird's eye view , having seen it from within and without, I fear Singaporeans are too insular and perochial, both as policy makers and citizens.

We suffer from arrogant myopia and tend only to measure our success by our annual GNP and GDP against the whole wide world. Just as we measure our children's exam results on a league table and forget the core values of learning and what it takes to make a strong , loyal and good citizenry.

This does not mean I am not proud of what we have achieved in one generation, but there are huge gaps in our own learning curve and telescopic growth means we need constant adjustment of our own vision of what we perceive as the ideal and how others perceive us.

Over the many months, and thanks to Dr. Minority's unstinting maintainance of this very useful site to keep us oversea's Singaporeans abroad informed of this changing scenario caused by enbloc regulations, I have been able to track how and what has happened.

It is important that Singaporeans like Dr. Minority come forth to play a vital role in helping to shape more equitable policies and decisions for fellow Singaporeans. IF we are to mature as an egalitarian society based on freedom and equality , regardless of race, colour, creed and status then it is time we as Singaporeans make a firm stand on what we truly want out of our own country for the sake of our children and our own future.

In this regard, I have continued to play the devil's advocate so that we see with multi-vision. I only provide what I see from the outside having had the opportunity of living abroad for half my life time and I have not exchanged my Singapore passport for another because it is still where I feel I belong.

Anonymous said...

wa tua hoot aa.