Nov 01 2011
“I don’t search, I find”, Pablo Picasso ever said. He was probably not referring to the current Singapore real estate market. “I don’t find, I search”, would be more like it these days. Residents who are in need of a place to stay have to search frantically for accommodation, at least if they want to find something affordable. In recent years, the city-state has drawn a boundless number of new immigrants, who all need a roof above their head. At the same time, properties are sold to anonymous owners who have no intention whatsoever to ever occupy the premises themselves. No wonder that this surge in demand keeps property prices soaring, affecting both the private and the public housing market.
It’s a basic need of humans to fence off some private shelter for themselves and their loved ones. And that need is probably even bigger for those “in-love”-ones. Just imagine the dream of two newly wed turtledoves. They circled around each other for a number of years, they cooed at first sight, held wings in the sunset, looked each other in the eyes in the shimmering candle light, and finally recognised a mutual urge to build their own nest and spend the rest of their lives together. So then, with cold feet, the male dove finally pops the long-awaited question…“Shall we buy an HDB flat together”? Don’t frown your eyebrows. Someone told me that this is the all-time number one way in Singapore for a guy to propose to his girlfriend. No doubt Juliette would have turned her back away from Romeo should he ever have come up with this Singlish equivalent of “Will you marry me”? And it’s highly unlikely that Romeo could have resolved the awkward situation by giving it a witty twist: “My dear Juliette, it’s a misunderstanding. Don’t you know that “HDB” stands for a flat where “Happy Days Beckon”?”
Unfortunately, in these modern days the word “romance” is all too often written in digital letters in stead of in calligraphy. Love is abbreviated, condensed into ugly acronyms, coded into text messages in stead of patiently and devotedly written down with blue ink on a white sheet of paper. But this is not Verona and we are in 2011 after all. A newly wed couple doesn’t long for a balcony, for who wants to sing a serenade under the moonlight if you can go and sing karaoke in an air-conditioned room? All that honeymooners want is an apartment to call it their home, which they can stuff with objects of past memories and where they can create new moments together. HDB: “Happy, Don’t Bother”. Young couples don’t want to end up on a waitlist whatsoever, for they are rushing into marriage life with the eagerness of a playful puppy that’s being walked by his master for the very first time. At the beginning of their career, many newly weds can use some financial help also, to make their concrete dream become concrete. Whatever money they save can be used for other purposes. The decoration of a baby room, for instance. Any policy maker who endeavours to make public housing cheaper, would be delighted to kill two birds with one stone. Ensuring that couples have their own cozy little bird nest would simultaneously address that other pressing issue of Singapore’s dramatically low birth rate. After all, a sense of privacy is a pre-requisite for unhampered intimacy. Or as our romantic yet naughty friend Romeo would put it: “Horny Days Beckon”…
A Belgian expat in Singapore, expressing his love for words, travel and yoga into his posts, each carrying a music song name as title. The blog contains columns, philosophic considerations, poetry, and many travel pictures A Belgian expat in Singapore, expressing his love for words, travel and yoga into his posts, each carrying a music song name as title. The blog contains columns, philosophic considerations, poetry, and many travel pictures. He blogs at http://chasing-thoth.blogspot.com
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