Promotion

I received a letter that informing me that I have been promoted to …..

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the rank of 1SG.

What the hxll!

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Can You Hear Us?

Kudos to NMP Eunice Olsen for being brave enought to take on the minister. She raised up the issue of Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats in Parliament, “When the income ceiling of $8,000 was set by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), there was no DBSS and no DBSS prices. Shouldn’t the income ceiling be commensurate with the increase in prices?

This is what our million dollar salary minister replied,”…DBSS flats constitute a small part of the total public flat supply, catering for niche HDB buyers “with higher aspirations and who can afford a higher price”. And as DBSS is for this select group, there are no plans to raise the $8,000 income ceiling. If this were done, richer home-hunters might join the queue, resulting in DBSS flats being “priced higher instead of becoming more affordable”, he argued.”

He goes on to acknowledge that the raising resale prices are a concern, and added.” Those who find it too expensive or cannot afford the Cash-Over-Valuation “should seriously consider postponing their purchase or applying for a new HDB flat instead”

 

Simply brilliant reply.

 

It just keeps getting better.

Crowd Around

Did anyone tried to take any form of public transportation these past few weeks?

I did!

Almost daily since my journey to and from work requires me to take a bus then the MRT.

I am starting to feel that taking public transportation to and from work takes a lot out of me everyday. No matter what time I take the public transport, it is perpetually crowded.

In fact, everyday I have my butt squashed against the bus door as the bus captain attempted to close the door. I have to fight to get a standing place along the aisle of the MRT to avoid being squashed at the area near the door.

At the current population of 4.5 million, we are already stressing our public transportation system, I cannot possibly imagine what will happen when the population increased to the targeted 6.5 million. A horrifying thought indeed.  I would like to invite our ministers to come take our ‘world class transportation’ with me everyday, so that they can find out exactly how world class our transportation are.

Instead of spending money on alleviating the overcrowding situation, our transport operators spent money on campaign like:

‘Stop Bus Captain Assaults’

‘Flag the bus early’

‘Pay the correct fare’

As a loyal client of their services, I highly recommend that they consider the following campaign as well:

‘I know you are alighting early, but can you fxxking move to the back of the bus so that others can board the bus’ campaign

‘Keep to the LEFT of the escalator if your legs don’t feel like climbing’ campaign

‘Let people exit the train first so that you will have space to move into right?’ campaign

‘The yellow box on the platform served the same purpose as the yellow box you see on the road, get off !’ campaign

‘Don’t start searching for your EZ link card in your LV bag in front of the MRT gate, try to spend some time doing so before you reach the gate’ campaign

I do have a lot more campaign ideas, I wonder if they are hiring…

*Note to self: This post is just a rant, the accumulation of my years of taking public transportation and facing the hordes of inconsiderate people who lacks social grace.

[Edited]: I was one of the 60,000 people who was affected by the breakdown of train services from Pasir Ris to Tanah Merah and witnessed the pure chaos created. People were crowded around the inadequately-provided signs seeking for more information on what has happened. The Marshals deployed at the station looks lost and more often than not, gave inconsistent instructions. The crowds were heading in different direction trying to make sense of the situation. The bus stop for the feeder service were overspilled with people as they pushed and shoved trying to get on the buses. People were lining along the road trying to flag the non-existent cabs in bid to avoid being late for work.

What frustrated me more is not the train breakdown but rather the inefficiency and the lack of contingencies displayed by our world class service provider.

New Year Resolution #1

I know I am a bit late in setting my New Year resolutions, but I believe in taking my time to think and plan rather than rushed into setting some unrealistic goals.

My New Year resolution #1 – Limit my weekdays expenditure to $100 per week. That means no unnecessary drinking sessions, having dinner outside and extravagant taxi rides.

Saving bank

Let’s see how I will fare.

How much is affordable?

HDB, or rather, the consortium that purchased the parcel of DBSS land at Boon Keng, will be launching the project (Cityview@Boon Keng ) on 5 Jan. The Consortium purchased the site at $234psf/PR and the average selling price for the units will be $520psf. That will make the whole project the highest priced new ‘public’ flat ever sold by HDB.

The same set of eligibility rules apply to the prospective buyers, that is, one of the most jarring being the same $8,000 income ceiling cap. That got me thinking.

How can a couple earning less than $8k GROSS income afford a unit there? Let’s assume a couple pays 5% cash, 15% by CPF with the remaining 80% by loan. Take a look at the calculation below: 

City View @ Boon Keng   4-Room
    1,012 sqft to 1,023 sqft
Price   $523,000 $597,000
Option Fee  5% $26,150 $29,850
Downpayment   15% $78,450 $89,550
Remaining Loan  80% $418,400 $477,600
       
Mthly Servicing (30 yrs) Interest – 2.5% $1,653.19 $1,887.10
% of Joint gross income  $ 7,500.0 22% 25%
   $ 6,000.0 28% 31%
   $ 4,500.0 37% 42%
       
or      
Mthly Servicing (20 yrs) Interest – 2.5% $2,217.11 $2,530.82
% of Joint gross income  $ 7,500.0 30% 34%
   $ 6,000.0 37% 42%
   $ 4,500.0 49% 56%
       
       
City View @ Boon Keng   5-Room
    1,152 sqft to 1,281sqft
Price   $536,000 $727,000
Option Fee  5% $26,800 $36,350
Downpayment   15% $80,400 $109,050
Remaining Loan  80% $428,800 $581,600
       
Mthly Servicing (30 yrs) 2.5% $1,694.28 $2,298.02
% of Joint gross income  $ 7,500.0 23% 31%
   $6,000.0 28% 38%
   $4,500.0 38% 51%
       
or      
Mthly Servicing (20 yrs) 2.5% $2,272.22 $3,081.92
% of Joint gross income  $7,500.0 30% 41%
   $6,000.0 38% 51%
   $4,500.0 50% 68%
       

Above: Information taken from the developer’s website

Adhering to the CPF advice on not using more than 35% of your total gross income to pay for your house, it seems to me that only couple with income of between $6,000 – $7,999 should apply for the flats. To be servicing a $3,000 monthly loan for a 99-years leasehold HDB flat seems absolutely absurd.

To think that two years ago, $740,000 can get you a decent condo in River Valley area. Yet today, the newspapers are reporting that the consultants who have vested interest are ‘confident the units will be popular’, and we wonder why they are so bullish.

In light of the current situation, I concurr that the development will be popular due to limited supply and poor consumer knowledge. Take away the hyped-up air-con living room, enhanced security, and the fancy pants stuff, what do you get?

The same old HDB flat.

Poor couples who jump in the queue thinking that they have gotten a good deal will be in for a rude awakening when they find themselves in a 30-years debt servicing a $3,000 per month installment. Do your sums first before committing – you are essentially renting a very expensive space for 99 years.

Am I the only person who feels that these are all very wrong?  ‘Public’ housing is not so public anymore. Why is the same story being repeated every single time? First, public transportation companies are privatised and listed, next comes the utilities and now the public housing.

What next?