In Kuala Lumpur, I was talking to some people from China who can't speak a word of English, Apparently, their home in Malaysia was raided, and they were going to go to Singapore to live. I asked them why do they want to go to Singapore, and their reply was "Its easy to get in and find work." I saw them talking to a man later at BB plaza, and pay the man a wad of cash, and enter a white and green van.
I was simply shocked at the answer as I did not realize that even with the wide open borders of Singapore, there are still people that I assume were coming to Singapore ILLEGALLY. How secure are the Singapore borders and how many illegal immigrants are already in Singapore?
I believe human trafficking is a very serious problem, and one of the ways Singapore is dealing with that is through a very open border, anyone can enter and somehow apply work permit and legally work in Singapore. (If you pay a levy, CPF or some form of payment to the government)
When I think of the situation, I have know of people coming to Singapore through the Tuas Checkpoint without the use of their passport. Manned by security guards, security is relatively lax, and when you enter by car or taxi, apparently the customs officer sometimes cannot count. I can recall a time when I did not pass one of the passports of my passengers to the customs officer while driving back to Singapore and had to stop and give it to them to enter the data.
As I understand from the countries I visited, I now have a better picture of why the prostitution in Geylang was expanding. Human trafficking tends to bring women to work in brothels, and with these illegals, it is easy to control. (I learn this from watching Hollywood movies)
With my recent experience in Kuala Lumpur, I am certain that there are probably many illegal immigrants in Singapore, and it is indeed not difficult to get in at all. All the talks about having no corruption, and a low crime are simply a perception created to bring in foreign funds from any source, legal or illegal into Singapore banks. (Heard news about "unclean monies" from Myanmar in Singapore) I've several friends who were visiting from India, Sri Lanka and Dubai, they were able to open a bank account and deposit huge sums of money here, without being a resident in the country when they deposit it into a local bank. (Maybank and HSBC wanted proof of residency or PR status)
So is it really easy to get around in Singapore if you are an illegal immigrant? I believe the answer is yes, in Singapore, more than 50% of the people are not locals, and it is probably a very difficult task for the police to differentiate who is legally here. What's worse is their attitudes -- do they care? Comprising of many National Servicemen, I am really disgusted by the attitudes of many police officers in Singapore. Firstly, their presence is never felt. You don't really see them patrol, and those you see in uniforms are probably Cisco or Aetos security guards. Next, there is always the excuse of "lack of manpower". My home at Oei Tiong Ham Park was broken into with people stealing water from my taps, and washing their cars and bringing water home, and then proceeded to walk around the house to look for stuff to take. I've called the police on several occasions, and their response time was 5 hours! The location of the house was opposite Holland Village, and the police offices that responded were from Pasir Ris. I've submitted police reports of vandalism on my vehicle, theft on my bicycles, cameras, bags, and there seemed to be no follow up calls and responses. I've received a call once 2 years after the report of a break in to my house, and at that time, the house was already torn down and rebuilding a new apartment.
What has Singapore turned into in the last 10 years of me being overseas? It seemed unlike the Singapore I used to know, where food was cheap, public transportation and medical services affordable. Today, the streets and public transportation are overcrowded by unfamiliar faces, people who do not speak any word of English, the primary language that Singaporeans commonly use to communicate between our multi cultural and multi racial community. People were courteous and very law abiding. There was hardly any litter, and people are generally contended and happy.
The high GDP and high salaries of the ministers seemed to have not done much to improve the lives of the majority. There is a lot of construction all the time, and building and structures that are 20 years old are torn down to build new ones. My fond memories of the playground I used to visit, my primary schools, secondary school and junior college looks completely different. Sometimes I wonder if it was all necessary?
I look back and see many positive changes that were made all the way till the late 90's and early 2000s, ever since then, that are many things including the Casinos, Changi Airport Terminal 3, Marina Barrage... All of which I do not approve and they probably did not need to build. I listen to the woes online about the horrors of YOG, and experienced a mediocre and expensive Singapore F1 night race. When I look at the F1 Singapore, I see a huge waste of resources and energy. The racing culture was somewhat extinguished when the races in Kallang Carpark was ended. The talks about a racing hub in Changi were also just talks as there is no critical mass of people.
What has gone wrong in Singapore? There is a report of crime getting lower, yet I get news of bodies found weekly on the newspapers. Bodies are found outside the Istana, in water tanks, reservoirs and in the sea. If they are labelled unnatural deaths, are they counted as a murder in crime statistics?
The pursuit of high GDP benefited some Singaporeans, and there are a lot of millionaires. For those who own multiple properties, they are definitely doing very well now. With the price of housing today in Singapore. I seriously doubt the affordability of public housing, and I could see more and more people falling through the cracks. I've spoken with a middle aged lady in her 50's here in Kuala Lumpur, and she complains about trying to get government subsidies when she was living in a 2 room flat. She had to do a lot of paperwork, and get her son to come and proof that she was not getting support before she could get a meager $20 per week from the government.
I hope change will come, and the government can hear the voices of the people and not lose tough with the public as they live different lives with their million dollar salaries. More needs to be done, and actions needs to be taken, and hopefully not just empty words we hear all the time.
-- Iron Bowl