Sunday, 13 November 2011

Smaller space does not mean smaller mind or ambition – thinking out of the HDB box.

Perhaps, it is true. Housing Development Board (HDB) chief Cheong Koon Hean says that smaller flats do not compromise the quality of living in Singapore.  This is especially true when our mind and ambition is not restricted by our flats and social mobility.

We, of course, know how much more earnings the government makes by offering us smaller flats.  A reduction in space plus an increase in selling price over that past 20, 30 years with no shortage of demand – this is a dream for all developers! 

We also realize we do not need a bigger space for our computer, hi-fi, and even bookshelf (considered ipad).  Technology, especially nanotechnology, has made things smaller. With an ageing population, small flats are even better to meet the demand of senior citizens. Yes. In this way, the quality of living may not be affected and furthermore, there are substitutions for the smaller flats if we can free our mind, expand our visions and set a higher ambition for ourselves.

Smaller space or flat really don’t make a difference. We can live happily if we can set our mind free, do according to our wishes, face less control and more mature rules and regulations from the government.  Alternatively, we are able to set our mind in a level that physically size is not a constraint to our social mobility.  When we can afford we move to a bigger area if not we are happy with what we have.

Our quality of living should not be restricted within a HDB flat.  There are lives outside the HDB flat. Smaller flats should not make our thinking smaller. Smaller flats should also not lower down our ambition or narrow our vision.

The government has successfully reduced the size of our flats but certainly we should not subject ourselves to a narrow mind, smaller vision, and lower ambition as directed and guarded by the government.  However, one way or another, the government must open its mind to listen to the people.  The 2 elections this year have proved the need of listening.

The PAP government has acknowledged that there is limitation for the control imposed on the people. As reported in yahoo: ‘Gov't has to adjust to be acceptable, responsive to people: PM Lee’.

In his CEO Summit at the Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation, PM Lee talked about physical limitations, like facilities, bus stops, childcare centres, and community hospitals in different parts of the island. And the difficulty the government faces to meet all the needs of the people.

"The nature of the government will have to adjust in order to be acceptable and responsive to these pressures in the population," he was quoted as saying, as he pointed out that government will have to "find their own way forward". (

But he seemed to miss the points by answering only the physical demand and limitation by finding his own way.   The bigger picture is the government must adjust to the non-physical demand of the peoples. By doing so, even staying in a smaller HDB flat, the residences will feel happier emotionally and spiritually.  

PM Lee has to adjust to the demand for bigger political and social participation of the people. Not just restrict the debate on facilities, bus stops, childcare centres, and community hospitals.  This will bring the debate back to the size of the HDB flats.  

We want to think out of the box of HDB flats. What is needed is to think out of HDB flats, i.e. the quality of living in a free minded world. Is the PM ready for this adjustment? 

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