Monday, February 22, 2010

Vibrant City ?

Does a vibrant city means being over-populated ? Seems like Singapore is getting very crowded rather than vibrant. Perhaps in some areas like Orchard and Bugis we are seeing more activities and night life, but it mostly just over crowding in other places.

During the first day of Chinese New Year, I was at Jurong East MRT interchange. The shops were all closed. But the interchange was crowded with many of non-locals sitting around outside the station. Though the place was crowded, but it was certainly not vibrant. In fact, most of them look bored. Perhaps for them gathering at a public place was better than being cooped up in their workers' dormitory or flats.

I had this strange feeling of being a 'foreigner' amongst so many non-locals.

If a vibrant city means over crowding, sacrificing personal space and quality of life and feeling foreign in your own country, then the scale is too much off balance.

If productivity does not equate to more man-hours but rather being more efficient, then neither should economic growth be link to heavy reliance on importing foreign labour / talent. The negative effects are now felt through the continuous decline in productivity over the years.

Taking a global perspective, our planet is already over populated. We are likely to face water and food shortage in the future. We are also causing so much damage to the environment with our growth rate over the last few decades.

Thus,it is perhaps nature way of balancing the global population with some countries having lower birth rate. If so giving birth to more babies only add to the global woes. It is also adding to the local woes since we are already too crowded for a small city. Should not we have an open mindset and encourage the adoption of babies and orphans from over populated countries, besides reducing the influx of foreigner labour?

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