Most Singaporeans have not even heard of Ridout Road before it became a hot topic. Questions and eyebrows were raised when the sizes of our two of our ministers’ residences were revealed.
“The Size Of 31 And 26 Ridout Road
Many people have asked me to illustrate the size of 31 and 26 Ridout Road so that they can visualise it. I did a bit of thinking and came up with this.
31 Ridout Road has a land area of 136,100 square feet. 26 Ridout Road has a land area of 260,000 square feet.
Ok get ready for this. An Olympic size swimming pool is 13,428.68 square feet. A football field is 48,000 square feet.
So 31 Ridout Road is more than 10 times the size of an Olympic size swimming pool and almost 3 football fields!
As for 26 Ridout Road, the land area is about 5 and a half football fields and more than 19 Olympic size swimming pools!
You sure can play lots of football and do lots of swimming in these 2 properties! No need to play football kicking a plastic ball in a basketball court like many schoolchildren have to resort to during school recess!
I hope this helps.”
Below: the progressive development of the two plots of land.
Apparently, the whistle was first blown by opposition politician Mr Kenneth Jeyaratnam. In early May, he wrote an open letter to our president. He later addressed the apologists here. Mr Jeyaratnam then addressed the reports which seem to show that everything is above board.
Someone questioned whether it’s wise or prudent for a minister to live in a “junior college size” property. Others have called it a “palace”. Frankly, I’m not too perturbed by that. As some PLPs have said, there’s nothing wrong living in a palace if you can afford it. I have no problems with that. They don’t need to be frugal. Who cares how rich people live? Ministers can buy up entire islands in Indonesia if they want to. That shouldn’t be the point of contention in the latest Ridout Road saga. The question we should be more concerned about is whether our ministers had exploited their positions to get a much better deal on their rentals than what a common citizen of similar financial standing could ever hope to get. Not that I can afford, but $200,000-$500,000 “COE” to rent the properties at bargain rates? Not a bad deal at all.
Imagine a property with ample space to house 5 families (4 adult children plus the parents) under one roof. How much is the rental? $20,000 revised upwards from $19,000. Can 5 ordinary Singaporean families get such a low rental on a piece of landed property in a prime area? Even though I’m not a property agent, I know that it’s a damn good deal. We don’t care if a private developer wants to do give such offers. But SLA works for the people of Singapore. Have we been shortchanged? This ought to be the main point of contention. The amount of money spent on making the houses habitable is actually peanuts to the rich people in Singapore. Could they have offered to clear the forest, repair the roofing, drainage etc and rent the property for $20,000 a month? A quick check with property guru will yield some very interesting revelations. This is what needs to be addressed and explained.
We shouldn’t be arguing about whether it’s right for office holders to live luxuriously. The main point of contention ought to be whether they who earn millions should be given massive rental discounts while we the mediocre 老百姓 struggle with rising cost of living.
And the explanation from an institution that is supposedly independent is puzzling to say the least.
Well, I agree with Mr Jeyaratnam that Singaporeans are not bodoh. They do see the weakness in the reports. They will earnestly and eagerly follow all the debates and questioning in Parliament. They gripe and cringe and may even express their disgust. Some have even predicted on social media that this government is going to get booted out of office.
Me? Not going to happen. First, we have the PLPs (Pathetic Lightning Pleasers) who don’t care about who’s right and who’s wrong. They don’t even care about what’s right and what’s wrong. They just know where to stand for the sake of personal prosperity. I can bet with anyone that the number of like on the two ministers’ social media platforms will not see any drop.
Hamsters like Peter Liu only care about work, raise, bonuses etc. They don’t see the need to be politically engaged or at least in touch. And that’s why the NOS (Naive Opposition Supporters) are likely to be disappointed. From what I observe, Peter Liu is not an exceptional individual. In fact, he is quite typical. Combine that with the hypocrites who bash and vote for the same party and the chances of have meaningful change in Singapore greatly diminishes. To Mr Peter Liu, I only have one thing to say. When he sees injustice, he is just going to turn a blind eye because he needs to work and get his raise and bonus. What if injustice happens to him? Should we also turn a blind eye because we have to work and get our raise and bonus?
Unlike the NOS , I don’t take every and any “concerned citizen” too seriously. That’s because besides the PLPs, we also have the kiasu, kiasi and gian png people. There is a huge difference between treating opposition rallies like rock concerts, vilifying the government on social media and actually marking a cross in the box to express and views and live with the consequences. Most people are entrenched in their belief that only papa can do the job and the government only needs to throw a few freebies prior to the next GE and their victory is practically guaranteed. I don’t want to write too much as the saga is still unfolding.
Then, we have the nostalgic folks who wish that Lee Kuan Yew is still alive. It’s pretty cool to say that the Ridout Road saga would not have occurred if LKY were still around. It’s fun to speculate what he would do to Shanmugam and Vivian, but while it’s good that Lee Hsien Yang is finally in touch with reality, he also ought to know that his father had a part to play in creating two Singapores.
As a strong proponent of eugenics, LKY had always subscribed to the philosophy that the elite must always have absolute control over the average folks for the latter’s own good. He just didn’t count on his elite not follow the frugal ways of the old guard. While we complain about ivory tower scholars and generals running the country, we must be aware that LKY did encourage bright students to apply for SAF/PSC scholarships. Today’s political talent pool was created by our great statesman. To be a credible reformer advocating genuine meritocracy, equality, intellectual and informational freedom, one must step completely out of LKY’s shadow.
The Ridout Road saga may be the hottest topic now but trust me, it will soon be forgotten and will not be an issue in GE2025. And before that, we may even be treated to a spectacle of 秋后算账. POFMA or even defamation suits. Let’s pray for Kenneth Jeyaratnam.
Finally, I would like to ask president hopeful Mr Goh Ching Wah what he has to say about this and will he reopen the case if he gets elected and the people find the the investigations and reports unsatisfactory? I notice that you have turned off comments on your page. Why?