<Pic: Lee Hsien Loong on his US$65 million Gulfstream private jet>
With no credible scholars or economists praising Lee Hsien Loong’s address on cost of living at his National Day Rally speech, the Singapore dictatorship turned to local cronies and propaganda mouthpiece to back the unpopular Prime Minister.
In a propaganda article run by state media Straits Times, the 153rd-ranking government papers quoted several fake experts to assist Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in alleviating public resentment over rising cost of living. Among the fake “cost of living experts” is government academic Tan Khee Giap from NUS’s Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI) – a phoney education institute which publishes its own “cost of living index” after the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) crowned Singapore the world’s most expensive city in the world for 4 years in a row.
NUS ACI’s Tan Khee Giap said that Singaporeans are feeling miserable because they can’t afford the rich way of life:
“With social media and the Internet, people are finding it much easier to compare their lot with others. It is no surprise that it is the middle class, who are more educated and more exposed, who are griping about affordability of goods and services. Once you know more and you’re exposed to more luxury, you will long for it, and if you cannot get it, you feel miserable.”
The co-director of NUS ACI also claimed that the cost of living increased because Singaporeans deliberately chose the more expensive brands:
“Unrealistic consumption patterns can cause distortions in how people perceive the cost of living, leading to a gap in the real situation and how people feel. Sometimes, consumer behaviour is no longer rational. If you don’t earn so much money you cannot enjoy the lifestyle, right? There is nothing wrong with wanting a better life, but you have to be able to afford it.”
Adding on to the propaganda fake news is GIC-linked bank Mizuho Bank’s senior economist Vishnu Varathan, who said that more Singaporeans are who can’t afford the rich lifestyle are pushing up prices by drinking Starbucks and owning LV bags:
“As a country develops and big segments of its population climb into higher income groups, more consumer brands set up shop, offering everything from Starbucks coffee to Louis Vuitton handbags. What happens next is human nature kicking in – the wealthy buy luxury goods that set themselves apart from the masses and the middle income, in aspiring to reach that same standard of living, start consuming higher-end goods and services, too… The prices of mid-to high-end goods and services will increase because of higher demand, and also as mid-tier businesses begin to hike the prices of their goods and services to emulate their high-end counterparts and create a perception of luxury.”
Another self-revered expert is from government bank UOB, economist Francis Tan, claimed that food prices in hawker centres went up because they are now imported from Australia and are of “higher quality”:
“Perhaps a bowl of noodles used to cost 20 cents, and today, it costs $3.50. But the flour used to make the noodles is of higher quality, the pork comes from Australia and you are sitting in an air-conditioned foodcourt. This, the Government cannot control.”
The last professor to chipped in praising Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is NTU’s Ng Yew Kwang who said that the increase in cost of living is only a “perspective” problem:
“In a parliamentary speech in July, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing also spoke about the cost of living, and how people’s perception of the issue can be affected by evolving aspirations and the potential gap between aspirations and anticipated means.”