Singapore is no longer the place to call home, not even for homegrown talent and soccer wonder Fandi Ahmad.
“I want to retire in Batam,” he said.
“It’s just a 45-minute ferry ride back to Singapore if I get bored, and I’m an Indonesian PR. I like the kampungs there with their coconut trees. Singapore has no kampungs anymore.”
Fandi also said, “and it’s getting so expensive (in Singapore)!”
Fandi said this in an interview for the 8 Days magazine’s 27 November 2014 issue.
Indeed, not one to mince his words, Fandi has said what many Singaporeans truly feel.
The Economist has earlier this year ranked Singapore as the most expensive city in the world.
But not just The Economist but the World Talent Report has also ranked Singapore as the most expensive country in the world.
But with all the price escalation – Singapore was only ranked 97th most expensive in 2001 – wages have still not caught up.
Since the mid-1990s, the real wages of lower income Singaporeans have been stagnanting and depressed by a lack of labour protection policies in Singapore.
In fact, Singaporeans today earn one of the lowest wages among the developed countries.
And there is still no minimum wage – only 10 percent of countries in the world not to have one.
Worse still, we have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, and our purchasing power is as low as India.
In fact, Fandi is not the only person who has become fed up with the government’s policies, or lack thereof.
A Mindshare survey in 2012 showed that 56 percent of Singaporeans want to migrate.
A survey this year also showed that 62 percent of youths have considered moving overseas.
A Blackbox Research survey also showed that more than half of Singaporeans believe that the Central Provident Fund (CPF) is unfair.
A study done by Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser showed that the CPF only accounts for 4 percent to 7 percent of the retirement savings for older Singaporeans today.
Indeed, Singapore has one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world.
OK, you get it. The picture is bleak. No thanks to the government.
And Fandi might actually be better off moving to Indonesia than having to pay for the high prices here and be like many Singaporeans who cannot earn enough to survive.
But yet, a question often asked, why should Singaporeans have to migrate in order to seek a better life? Why not change things here? Or advocate to the government for change?
Perhaps this is an obvious question.
If it is any consolation, even if Fandi leaves Singapore, his presence has been cast in wax in Singapore. Fans who miss him can still go to the Madame Tussauds’ Singapore museum in Sentosa to see a replica of him.
Not the real deal, but at least it is not going to be too far from home, until the fans decide to migrate as well.
Seeing how Fandi was cast aside in his later years as Singapore’s golden boy – he was passed over for a coaching job in Singapore – it might be better for Fandi to do what feels right for himself and find home where the heart is.
Unless of course, change comes to Singapore.