Our post Perfect example of the government not listening has stirred the PAP nest, triggering a spirited defence of the F1 event by the party’s supporters.$CUT$
The common refrain that runs through their rationalisation of the grand prix is that it would put Singapore on the global map, give us international recognition and bring us tourist dollars. And, besides, Singaporeans enjoy watching the sport.
Let’s examine these claims.
1. The F1 attracts tourist dollars to Singapore
Second Minister for MTI, Mr S Iswaran, reports that the race brings in an additional $150 million in tourist receipts (see here). But the cost of the event is $150 million (see here) which means that we just about break even.
And that’s not taking into account the hidden social and health costs such as added stress for motorists and commuters in an already overcrowded city, added pollution to a country blanketed in haze, and an increase in prostitution and gambling.
2. Singaporeans love F1
Even Channel News Asia reported “Singaporeans lukewarm as F1 bandwagon hits town”.
It quoted a pharmaceutical executive, Ms Adeline Tay: “There is not much exposure (to) motor sports in Singapore in the first place, and many of us cannot tell one driver from the next. It feels like a money-generating event for the country, and not for Singaporeans, who just avoid the mad traffic in the area.” (See here)
3. F1 gives us international recognition
Perhaps. But is this the kind of recognition that we really want? To be known as the playground for the super-rich but, behind the glamour, a place where our elderly have to work to survive?
In truth, the issue is not just about the F1. It is about the mindset and priorities of the PAP and where it is taking our country.
Together with casinos, the staging of the glamour event is aimed at styling Singapore to be the Monaco of the East where rich foreigners come here to play.
A CNBC report Can Singapore become the ‘Monaco of the East’? quoted a yacht manufacturer saying, “The good thing about Singapore is that it has a lot of foreign people who live here and they are used to that kind of lifestyle at home.”
What about Singaporeans? The drive to attract the uber wealthy has made us the most expensive country in the world while our wages have barely kept up.
If we want international recognition, then let us be known for taking care of our elderly, our weak and our poor, not for Lamborghinis revving down Orchard Road.
If we seek global branding, then let us compete to be the world’s most liveable city, not an overcrowded island where only the wealthy get to enjoy life.
If we yearn to be on the world map, then let us strive to be like Silicon Valley, not Las Vegas.
If being No. 1 is important, then let us be recognised for a place where our retirees have security and peace of mind, not where they have their pension savings withheld.
There is nothing wrong with getting rich, but there is everything wrong with a Government that has lost its moral compass and doesn’t understand how its greed is making life extremely stressful for the rest of the population.
For where your treasure lies, there will be your heart also. Need it be said that a government’s treasure should be in taking care of the health, happiness and well-being of the people?