Singapore’s population size is growing at a rate of 5.5% as it reaches a 5 million mark, and it is targeted to grow to 6 million in a decade. Undergrad Rasyida Samsudin shares her thoughts on the reality of rapid population growth.
At 6.10 p.m. every day, Ms. Yana (not her real name) participates in Singapore’s very own urban marathon. Within the underground station City Hall, she makes a quick dash from Platform B (North-South line towards Marina Bay) to Platform A when she had to change to the green line heading eastward. If she is not so lucky, she would have to wait for about two passing trains before she could board one. Yet even if she is able to catch the train, she would have to squeeze in amidst the crowd and find some space on the next train.
It is a jungle out there, with people fighting for some space to board on public transportations in Singapore. If you observe carefully, the scenario that occurs daily during the peak hours is a perfect illustration of Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest. Except in an urban setting.
Singapore’s population size is growing at a rate of 5.5% as it reaches a 5 million mark. Although the government complains of the falling birth rates, with the recorded average of a new-low 1.23 (according to PM Lee on February 21), perhaps the population growth still makes up for this. But the real concern right now is how much can this land mass of 710.3km2 take?
Apart from Monaco, Singapore is ranked as the world’s most densely populated country in the world. We are standing on a population density of 7,022/km2. Well, that came to a no-surprise as we are already feeling the squeeze in public places, such as shopping malls, the MRT and buses.
With the ever-increasing population size, there is no doubt that competition would get tougher. Employment would be the top concern among Singaporeans alike, with more foreigners coming in to fill the spaces in our employment scene. The 5.5% increase from last year’s record was mostly contributed by the entrances of non-residents, which grew at a significant 19%, according to Statistics Singapore. This is followed by an increase of permanent residents, which grew by 6%, while the increase of citizens is merely 1% from the previous year.
Personally, I am already feeling the stress as the country aims to push this population limit to a 6 million mark. What is going to happen in the next few years as the government strives to get more foreigners in to boost the manpower size in this tiny island? Are we going to be the next Dubai, with the size of foreigners exceeding locals?
With an ever-growing population on a limited land capacity, housing will be more expensive, indefinitely. Cost of living will increase, causing strain on the working population. “I don’t think I want to be married then,” said a friend of mine who worries not being able to afford her own house after getting married.
This then becomes a catch-22 problem, doesn’t it? With falling birth rates, our government tries to bring more foreigners in to boost the manpower, but this means tougher competition in the employment landscape, meaning we have to work harder to earn a living, and young Singaporeans will not find the right time to be married, or are to afraid to get married due to the costs, which means falling birth rates and this the government has to get more foreigners in.
In an animal kingdom, when faced with shortage of resources, they migrate. Is this a natural instinct that fellow Singaporeans might follow?
One of the most convenient solutions I have for myself in the next few years running is to marry a foreigner, preferably a Spaniard, buy a house by the beach, which probably costs about the same as a 4-room flat here anyway, and live happily ever after. Or another option I have is to stay on, equip myself with the necessary skills to climb up the corporate ladder, and earn big bucks in this progressive Asiatic country. Not as easy as it sounds like, but sure does sound appealing, doesn’t it?
So it is an option between fight or flight. I still have many years ahead to think about it, considering how I am barely in the employment scene myself at the moment.
Or maybe, I can marry a Spaniard, and bring him to live with me in my father’s fully paid-for HDB flat, and live happily ever after. No wait, that will mean a plus one in Singapore’s population size in the future. Don’t think anyone would like that, eh?
Questions for readers:
Singapore’s population grew at a rate of 5.5% over in 2009. Do you think you noticed this?
Do you think that Singapore is getting overcrowded? Thoughts? Concerns?
How does this overpopulation issue affect you?
What do you think is going to happen in the next 5 years? Do you have any personal plans of your own, perhaps, to migrate…or work overseas?