Unaffordable cities: Singaporean workers tread water on millionaires' island - Marc Nair, The Guardian
The Guardian, 13 Feb 2014
With 17% of city state's residents worth S$1m, those who serve, drive and treat them may as well live on another planet
In 2001, Singapore was ranked 97th in the list of world's most expensive cities. Ten years later, it was ranked sixth. Ongoing inflation means that basic amenities such as food continue to rise without an equivalent match in real wages.
According to Hui Weng Tat, associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy: "We have a large number of households who are earning income in the lower end and not having enough to cover their household expenditure, especially at the lower 20%."
A study by the National University of Singapore's (NUS) social-work department stated that "the working poor in Singapore … is defined as someone earning less than half of the average monthly income of a Singaporean, which now stands at S$3,000". The World Bank's poverty line is set at 50% of the country's mean income.
But Singapore's minister for social and family development, Chan Chun Sing, has said the government doesn't want to define a poverty line in Singapore. The reason is to avoid a cliff effect, where families narrowly above the poverty line will not be privy to the subsidies and benefits offered to families below the line. Full story
NTUC Chief Lim Swee Say wants to change Singaporeans' mindset on low-wage jobs, and make it "jobs of the future" for them