Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stratospheric Air

A HDB apartment owner is asking for $900,000? Shocking? Well, not really. I once owned a HDB Execute Apartment (a 5-roomer). In the heady days of 1996, it was not inconceivable for me to fetch $700K on the market for it. My brother actually sold his for a cool $600,000. That was the price at which it was valued at that time. Fast forward 15 years today. $900,000 looks right, in a red hot property market where all rationality has gone out the window. But when you consider how people have been willing to pay the high prices for DBSS apartments although they have the same restrictions as a public HDB apartment, you know the time is now to make a killing on your humble public housing apartment.

Why should anyone begrudge another about making good money on their properties? If I had the same opportunity, I'll put out my apartment too on the market at stratospheric prices, so long as people are willing to pay the asking price. And you say it's crazy? Honestly, who do you think is crazy? The one who can make half a million on a single property sale, tax free mind you, or the one standing red-eyed thinking about it? Come on, don't be hypocrites! Say you love the money. It'll certainly come in useful, if not for yourself, at least for your children?

How I love the Singapore property market. The only thing left to do is to cash out of the country and go find a more down to earth place to live.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elections 2.0

Hmmm...Singapore's upcoming Presidential elections is becoming more and more exciting. Former PAP man - Dr Tan Cheng Bock, set the ball rolling first, although to date, he seems not to have collected the application forms from the Elections Department. Then Mr Tan Kin Lian, former CEO of NTUC Income Insurance, declared his intentions, and has picked up the forms. Dr Tony Tan resigned his positions from the PAP and his high profile positions in government-linked companies to offer himself a the 3rd candidate. Now "former" SDP man, Mr Tan Jee Say is throwing in his hat too.

What a Presidential election this is shaping up to become. With Mr Tan JS' entry into the fray, the elections feel like GE 2.0. Of course he has resigned from the SDP, reportedly with Dr Chee Soon Juan's blessings. He has openly said that he will use this platform to engage on "issue of conscience..." whatever that means. If this isn't opposition electioneering, I don't know what is.  Come on, the people have already cast their votes, and whether you like it or not, won or lost, the people have spoken. I, for one, am not interested in a activist President. There will be no end of to-ing and fro-ing. Instead, let our victorious opposition speak for us in Parliament. They have the mandate and the validity, not any elected President. If you asked me, we shouldn't even need to elect a President. Let the victors nominate and have it affirmed by Parliament. The President has limited powers, and largely plays a ceremonial role. And he will still do so, no matter how aspiring Presidential candidates like to fantasize about that position. If nothing, the money is good...

You want change? Then vote in opposition in numbers for them to form the government and then change the Westminster style of government to the American one. Then Presidential elections have real meaning. I am sorry, but I think JS is way off his rocker. But then when you think that he is associated with Chee Soon Juan, you cannot be surprised by this latest development.

Friday, July 01, 2011

End of the road

The word on many Singaporeans' lips yesterday was the closing of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. You never know what you miss when it is gone. Many Singaporeans turned up on the last day of operations of the KTM trains yesterday, to have a last look. But I suspect that many came to have the first look. Except for history buffs, and buildings buffs, few would venture into this railway station on a normal day. They'd rather hit the Malls where there are lots more to see and do than to come to this place where the most exciting thing happening is the arrival and departure of the, let's admit it, ultra-slow trains. And even then, once you've seen it often enough, it will probably be a bore.

I took this train up to Malacca a few years ago, and the entire journey took 3 hours! I would have almost reached KL in the same time if I went up by private car by the North-South Highway. It is a train system that probably has seen little improvements over the years. Truth be told, some parts of the train are rusted. But at least I sat in first class coach. It wasn't exactly the Eastern Orient Express First Class, but it was comfortable. Moreover, it was just S$50 from Singapore's side, and RM50 from Malaysia's side.

My wife and I were in front of the TV when the news came on yesterday. It showed many people milling around and taking pictures. We looked at each other with knowing glances. Were we glad we took this train some years back. At least we now have bragging rights.

Adieu KTM!