This guy just succinctly summarised every Singaporean’s life

By February 27, 2017Perspectives

TL;DR – Your life, your choice. 

Want to know what is it like to be a Singaporean?

Here’s a quick and easy guide found on Facebook the other day.

I don’t usually entertain such Facebook posts but this one…

1. You serve NS and are put under a 10 years reservist and IPPT cycle that can stretch into your 40s while you have to juggle family and work commitments at the same time.

But I ain’t too sure how are you going to live till your 40s without national defence. Let alone talk about family or work.

2. After NS you come out to work and fall in love,married and start up a family.

At least you have a job and congrats on finding love.

3. A wedding cost a lot so most Singaporeans married in their late 20s,mid 30s or even later.

The last I remembered (fine, I checked their website lol) it only costs a couple $15 to register their marriage which works out to be $7.50 each.  #Godutch #Genderequality right?

(Though I have to say the ROM website needs some upgrading. Who still uses Internet Explorer these days?!)

Throwing a fancy wedding dinner at a fancy 5-star hotel is a choice – your choice really.

4. Now we come to the house.
Upon successfully balloting for the house one need to wait at least 3 years for it or you can buy from open market or private developers where price will be even much higher.

It’s starting to sound annoying but it’s true – nobody said it’s compulsory to get a house of your own.

There are people who live with their parents or in-laws.

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5. Once you get your keys your entire CPF OA will be depleted totally and the rest of the mortgage balance will be paid by your monthly CPF every month for a maximum of up to over a decade or 25 years max.

Then imagine, what if all these happened without CPF? Are you gonna pay with cold hard cash?

6. During this time every month of your CPF will not be able to save and accumulate CPF interests because you need to use it to settle house loan.

Technically not true. If you earn more than what you are paying, you will have savings. The rule here is not to bite off more than what you can chew.  And yes, you still earn interest on the balance.

7. So 25 years finally finish and your house is fully paid up but by then you will be 55 or into your 60s already.

Congrats! You are still alive. Count your blessings.

8. You want to rest and retire but you can’t because your CPF OA account is empty and CPF minimum sum of 161k is set in place to prevent you from cashing out your CPF in full to use to finance your retirement.

It’s your retirement, and your savings shouldn’t just be your CPF. If you didn’t buy those branded goods, travelled to different countries, or drank those alcohol. Sorry, I assumed. Facts? You have enough money to have an internet connection, which means you have enough to have a phone, or a computer. You have a fully-paid for home to live in and it’s not like you are sleeping under a flyover.

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9. So in your 50s or 60s you still need to work until you die or at least for another 10 to 20 years in order to build up your CPF OA account.

If you don’t work until you die, it just means that you will be sitting at home, surfing Facebook and complaining until you die. Matter of preference, I guess.

10. By the time you can really rest you will be in your 70s or 80s already.

Most will have meet their maker by that age already. Lol How to look forward to retirement bliss?

70 – 80? Do you know the life expectancy of people in Nigeria is 52 years? That probably explains the popular Nigerian prince scam.

11. Also the health could be failing or no one is willing to employ the elderly Singaporeans and what are they going to survive on?

It was announced in our Budget 2017 that employers will get wage subsidies if they voluntarily rehire older workers above the re-employment age of 67, as well as those workers who would have already turned 65 before the re-employment age is raised in July this year. So yup, you do have a choice at staying employed even when you’re old, if you want to.

12.In the end their CPF Medisave accounts got wipe out and they either rent their flats out to sustain themselves or sell back their flats and lease to downgrade in order to survive in their dying years.

Downgrading for cash doesn’t sound that bad if you ask me. Especially if you don’t need all that space anymore – smaller area to clean too.

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13.If anyone can still say Singaporeans are living a blessed life then I clap for you.

Thank you for your claps.

My final thoughts?

Life ain’t THAT difficult. It ultimately boils down to the choices you make and your own expectations of what entails a “good life”. For some, they are content with a job and a roof above their heads. For others, they desire monthly business-class trips to Europe and beyond.

Here’s a quote I live by, and maybe it’ll be useful for you too?

(Cover image modified via)


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Smith Leong

Author Smith Leong

Social Media Trainer @ NTUC | Youth Mentor | Labour Champion | Photographer | Content Creator |

More posts by Smith Leong

Join the discussion 31 Comments

  • Andy says:

    If not you are not happy with what you see, do something to help out the less fortunate constructively . There WILL always be less fortunate people in most developed countries with thousands of reasons and people will always use this to lament over how tough life is…..Life isn’t easy if one takes it easy, laid back attitude…it’s math….. We only have this little red dot ” malicious people” are always trying to destroy economically and socially…If Singapore fails, all of us will suck thumb…There are no winners here when the curtains are drawn.

  • Oilko Oklio says:

    Now you only live once…what the heck is wrong in wanting to optimize that chance and actually live. Not just survive and die. Sorry bro but being a loser isn’t happiness. That is known as giving up. Everything that you described forces people to just barely survive….not live out life. The system is in place to make sure you don’t live out life. The rich only can stay rich if the majority stay poor. That is the reason.

  • Zel says:

    Your rebuttal is hardly constructive. Using the notion that finding contentment = happiness kind of invalid the entire point if a debate. You bring up countries like Nigeria which is a less developed country and ignore other options to use for a comparison. Of course they are worse off and thats because they are not as fortunate. Going by your logic, they should be content with a roof over their head and dying by 55 right? YOU are imposing your own standards of happiness onto others. Dont make an assumption that everyone that complains do not understand the importance of appreciation. The consensus is that this country have room for improvement, while his post is not completely constructive yours is by far worse and one made on your own assumptions.

    • Ann Oy An-Ce says:

      Hi there!

      I live in London, which is incidentally not actually the most expensive place to live in the entire world – despite how it might feel most days.

      Most people here can’t afford to rent a place in London (which is bigger than Singapore, in case you haven’t been to school and don’t know that) to stay alone, let alone *cue gasps* actually really truly o w n their home!

      The author of the original post highlights his own absurd sense of privilege (which the author of this post tries to explore) when he assumes that it is his right to own a home, to have medical benefits, and to have money for retirement at an age he thinks is sufficiently early.

      I like to think you know that the present post was written ironically, but I’ve learnt not to assume – particularly since you’ve made enough grammatical errors to make your primary school teacher run out of red ink.

      The current author’s point is not to ‘impose his standard of happiness’ on an arbitrary person who honestly probably doesn’t give a crap what he thinks – it’s to point out the flaws in the original author’s argument. An extremely important enterprise, given the horrific amount of misinformation and local fallacies the Singaporean public enjoys basking in. Granted, the comparison to Nigeria probably wasn’t the best, but now that I’ve given you the example of London (where bus rides are a flat rate equivalent to about SGD 2.80 and mrt equivalents are a flat rate of about SGD 5. They also strike a lot and are maintained a lot and delayed a lot. Hooray for transport!) would you not agree that in a similar city setting, being able to own a home (lots of money right there if you didn’t notice) and have money for retirement is a dream come true?

      (This mini rant could end nicely here but since this is the internet and I can say anything I want to and any way I want to I’m adding something. Too bad too sad.)

      I take particular umbrage with the fact that you said that “Of course (people in Nigeria) are worse off and thats (sic) because they are not as fortunate.” I want to point out that there is zero logic in that. “worse off” = “less fortunate”. They are commonly used as synonyms (unless you want to be technical about it and talk about the fact that there is an element of luck in “less fortunate”, but “worse off” is more factual/literal and therefore Nigerians are unlucky and therefore are poor. Somehow I don’t think that was your intention) I think you meant to say “poor”. Like “Obviously Nigerians are poor. Singapore is rich; how dare you compare?????” Say what you mean bro it’s quite liberating (as I am discovering tonight).


      To use your words, since they were so very poetic and you clearly put lots of thought into them (and I clearly haven’t since this is such a disorganised rant I truly do apologise but it’s almost 3am), your post is not completely constructive (but) yours is by far worse and one made on your own assumptions.


  • Shah Mikhail says:

    What pisses me off really is the fact that this guy dare say that all singaporeans like this and that is obviously whole load of bs.( no greater crime than to generalize , we are not the same understand ) . So lemme do my part as a fellow millenial sjw sg lovin brother serving this country with blood and sweat and some puss cuz all the training gave me foot rot ( wth sorry i complain ah cannot help it ROFL )
    God knows …
    I wanna criticize the areas i feel to be under criticized by mr. Leong Smith

    Firstly brooooo come on lah really this age ol(just us strawberry gen) life sucks boo hoo thing again . Have u seen kids in third world countries . I mean do u have to struggle for clean water . Be happy with what u have lah . I really dont understand why any of us complain abt anything at all. Whats there not to be satisfied abt. We got public transport , we still got water even tho u know who threaten us we strong eh stand grnd one . U ppl want what . Like sweden and those european countries ah . Commies bro we become commies . Cpf how u hate on cpf. Without cpf u think u got freedom… i mean the will power to safe meh . No lah bro . Support the economy . Not like the govt dont tell us where they put the money. To catch that infedel ( sg pride betrayer ) ( i wont say his name here ) . U also complain abt renting ur home . How much space u want lah bro . U got go army or not . Ur bunk u got how much space to urself . With that u never survive meh ( obv LOL u write this post muh hahaha ) . and finally u say u wanna retire by 70 or 80 . No goddam way understand . Who gonna clear my plates ? In the end i really dont understand how u got to this conclusion. There is no other conlcusion than the fact we be #blessedAF . So please #staywoke #trump<3 #nofilter #killamos #hahalowmiddleclssshaha Ok wait maybe just maybe …u sarcastic ? Is it ? Hmmm

    Tl;dr : shitpost …. just a shitpost

  • J Class Vacationer says:

    Right… so apart from being snarky and having a one-note answer as a rebuttal to every point (your choice), what value add has this article contributed to the discussion? This reductive piece of rant has not alleviated itself from the source material it has sought to rebut.

    • Adam says:

      Well said

    • Shutu P says:

      It has begun an important discussion about privilege and is encouraging to see that some people at least (you are clearly not a part of this group of people) care about correcting misconceptions in the eternally irritatingly misinformed public.

      It is also meant to be funny maybe.

      Just maybe.

  • Thinkbeforeutype says:

    The way u reply to his points shows that u come from a quite above average or well to do family am i wrong? Or u are currently quite above average in terms of finances.

    • Roo D says:

      What the hell does that matter?

      They way u reply to his post shows that u come from a quite below average or poor family am I correct?

      And you are salty.

      Or bitter.

      Never quite understood that expression.

  • Kyle says:

    You PES E ah bro. Go and read Hard Truths by Donald Tay lah friend. People got PhD from big name University, can trust.

  • Jack says:

    Govt is not walking the talk. Try to apply to be a civil servant when you hit 40, ya?

  • Audrey says:

    What you have described is life in every country. There is no Utopia. In some countries their citizens don’t even have half the chance to do the things you have.

    • MrOstentatious says:

      Life in every country? I don’t see conscription in places like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, among many other countries I don’t have first-hand knowledge of. In some countries, citizens don’t have the chance to do things that the author has. But on the other hand, there is a good number of countries that have a way better quality of life that Singapore has to offer.

      Having been working in Japan for 2.5 years now, I notice a trend – people finish university at 22 or 23, start working, have the financial ability to own a car, which incidentally doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, They are able to get their own houses and fully pay off the mortgage by the time they hit their mid 40s.

      My friends in Australia, too, are able to own houses (yes, houses – not tiny, cramped pigeonholes like we have) by the time they are 40 as well.

      So, why compare to the worse-off countries, when there are countries with better quality of life out there? Are we not aiming to progress, but regress instead?

      • ostentatiousyourauntylanjiao says:

        Are you stupid? To be very honest, there isn’t a need for people to own a car in Singapore, its merely a matter of convenience. In countries like the US, where getting from one part of town (not even talking about crossing states) can take hours, a car is NEEDED. Public transport in Singapore is reasonably priced, and much more efficient that many countries, and getting to work/home/school on time relying solely on public transport is more than achievable and practiced by many.

        Tiny, cramped pigeonholes? Bro have you ever been to Hong Kong. Simi pigeonholes? Honestly this whole point is so incredibly stupid. Even primary school kids understand HDB flats were built to combat land constraint. I don’t really feel a need to expand on this point because if you don’t know the reason by now, perhaps, you will never understand it.

        Maybe, just maybe, if you actually used your brain to think, instead of merely reiterating common sentiment blindly, you will realise there is no such thing as a perfect system, or a perfect country. There are always pros and cons. Singapore is expensive, but safe, in many more ways than one. People fly all over the world to Singapore for healthcare (based on many i’ve met who’ve actually done so), people feel safe to go out at night here, people know that their children will have a decent education here, and whether their kids can actually excel is up to individual determination and resilience. Yes, personal transport can be costly, but it is not a necessity. Water, food, housing are necessities and i can assure you these are rather attainable. Yes, some governmental policies seem incredibly pointless at times, but which country has a perfect government?

        Aiming to regress? Ya, only imbeciles like you, i won’t even bother to ask you to change your attitude, its your own personal choice how you want to live your life, however, there was a pressing need in me to point out the depths of your ignorance and stupidity. Dissatisfied with the standard of living in Singapore? Might i suggest that whilst the system here is not perfect, it is not Singapore that is the problem, but rather… yourself and your weak, entitled, attitude. Have fun in Japan and Australia. Maybe, just maybe, your can improve your grammar there btw. (Amongst* in the second sentence; there are* a good number of countries that has* a way, better, quality of life than what* Singapore has to offer [last sentence of the first paragraph]; noticed* a trend [first sentence of the second paragraph] and so many more mistakes. No wonder you’re not satisfied with life here, you can’t even construct proper sentences.)

      • Roo D says:

        If they love it so much, please move there so that there is more space for less pea-brained people.

        Thanks very much.

  • Adam says:

    I’m just happy for you and your easily satisfied mindset. Stay content.

  • Benjamin says:

    Typical. A fellow Singaporean common man makes a comment about true issues sg folks are facing and you shoot them down, basically calling it pettiness and in an almost mocking manner.

    “If you don’t work until you die, it just means that you will be sitting at home, surfing Facebook and complaining until you die. Matter of preference, I guess.”

    I assume you’re making fun of the fact that many elderly folk have to work day in day out(my own as well) Just to put food on the table. If you are, shame on you. I hear Many elder taxi drivers tell me I should leave while I’m still young, and that they regret staying because of their girlfriends at the time. It’s heartbreaking. And you speak as if there is nothing else to do other than work. Oh right.. This is singapore. There’s nothing else to do in this sucktown anyway. So I sort of agree with you.

    “Downgrading for cash doesn’t sound that bad if you ask me. Especially if you don’t need all that space anymore – smaller area to clean too.”

    after people pour their blood sweat and tears after years of long hours, stress and heavy workloads, downgrading for cash isn’t “that bad”. “less area to clean too”

    Do you read what you type? You sound like an NS regular. how would they be feeling after wasting their years working like a slave for nothing in the end but a small area to clean, watching their children go through the same process. And btw, less area to clean doesn’t mean they’ll have time to. You know.. Since they’re still out working. Or “exercising” as some people call it.

    “Do you know the life expectancy of people in Nigeria is 52 years?”

    ah the most common excuse..
    “you know arh in US got gun 1 later kena shot, lucky we here ah”

    Avoidence of the problem is to shift attention to a lesser performing country. And you use Nigeria. A third world country.

    Life expectancy in Japan is 83.
    Life expectancy in US 78.
    Life expectancy in UK is 81.
    Roughly the same as sg. Meaning it’s nothing special. I know of elders in their 80’s still alive, and working because they have no choice.

    “Congrats! You are still alive. Count your blessings”

    Basically your reply is “well you may have been paying through your nose for a matchbox home that is only yours for 99 years.. But hey! At least you’re alive! A-hyuck!”

    “Throwing a fancy wedding dinner at a fancy 5-star hotel is a choice – your choice really.” Not much of a choice in an Asian society where money is your guideline. Not saying there are none who will marry without a big wedding, but good luck finding them in a materialistic narrow minded jail state.

    I read your post and was disgusted with you brushing off this man for his comments. You don’t know what he is going through. Maybe you were born with a silver chopstick shoved up your rectum, but whether that be the case or not,I digress.

    I do commend you for trying to convey the message that life isn’t that hard if you work at it and stay motivated. But that nose held up in the air attitude is everywhere in Singapore.

    I am not saying life is better elsewhere, or if you fly away, you’ll live in paradise the rest of your life. No.

    But, do take into account that all the things you’ve pointed out were taken from.your point of view and also not in a very serious,understanding manner.

    And to offer a famous quote as well:

    I would rather die standing up than live life on my knees -Emiliano Zapata.

    Good day.

    • Roo D says:

      Please die.

      Or leave the country.

      Really don’t care.

      You annoy me.

    • Tara says:

      Well said, Benjamin. The best reply i hv read n i totally agree wif u.
      Though life aft my husband’s demise is not a bed of roses, i worked hard n singlehandedly brought up my son. I hv been thru alot n seen alot n no doubt i m contented wif wat i hv now, i can see many Singaporeans are suffering no matter how hard they try but luck is not wif them.
      I m extremely worried abt future generations who may face lots of obstacles in terms of entries to local universities n job opportunities, n of course housing issues.

      Some ppl are ignorant or complacent n selfish, n as long as they are living well here, they turn a deaf ear n close both eyes to ignore the actual scenerio happening now in SG.

  • HaveAGoodTime says:

    This guy doing the rebut is probably a young chap who thinks he knows it all. Saying is always easier than doing. I seriously hope when you’re in your down times and you can still have this point of view. Think before you write rebut like this, don’t do it for the sake of attention or whatsoever. It clearly shows how mentally challenged you are.

    • Roo D says:

      You are mentally challenged if you don’t understand:

      1. A joke

      2. Logic.

      • Todd says:

        I don’t see how is this supposed to be meant as a joke, please enlighten me Mr Rooster. Logic? what kind of logic is this? Another low IQ daft trying to argue for the sake for arguing. oh gosh. god bless you sir.

        • Roo D says:

          Oh yay! A reply! Hi Todd, nice to meet you. As you clearly haven’t realised (as seen in the feeble attempt at a chicken joke), my pseudonym spells ROOD, i.e. internet slang for RUDE. Because that’s what I’m trying to be. Rude, that is.

          Since I have given myself implicit permission to be as horrifically uncivilised as possible, I can now get around to enlightening you properly without the annoying restraints of social niceties. Isn’t the internet a fascinating place?

          (I am literally rolling up my sleeves this is exciting)

          I feel like you misunderstood my comment, which, I do realise now, was extremely brief, because it was meant to be a snappy, perfunctory, rude joke. I do apologise for not being clearer. Let me explain myself.

          I’ll begin with the assertion, most helpful numbered 1, that this post was a joke, and address the “mentally challenged” assertion in a minute, so do bear with me.

          I said that this post was meant as a joke for the following reasons. First, there was the wry “congrats on finding love”, meant to point out that this is not a given for everyone. I thought it was quite funny, since I know lots of people who struggle with this part. Guess you don’t.

          Then there was the gender equality joke. It made me laugh. Didn’t you? Sigh, I guess I’ll have to explain the joke, but you understand that makes it less funny right?

          To quote, “The last I remembered (fine, I checked their website lol) it only costs a couple $15 to register their marriage which works out to be $7.50 each. #Godutch #Genderequality right?”

          The contrast between “cost (sic) a lot” and “$7.50 each” is pretty ironic, which is intended to be funny la. Sorry if you have no sense of humour.

          This quote was sarcastic (which means ironic with a malicious edge) “Congrats! You are still alive. Count your blessings.” which I also thought was quite amusing.

          There are more, but I think three is enough to qualify my assertion that this post was meant to be funny.

          I admit I am having some trouble understanding your difficulty in understanding the assertion that there is logic in this post. I think the author is quite logical. I suppose you don’t. But you know what Todd, this is getting a bit tiresome, so I suggest you just read the article again a couple of times.

          To return to my original claim that HaveAGoodTime is mentally challenged, I was just trying to use his own words back at him to be funny. And rude. Guess that didn’t work out very well. Or maybe there are more low IQ daft people running around than I reckoned. (See what I did there!)

          I do admit though, that I have a bad habit of arguing for the sake of arguing. Unfortunate side-effects of a law degree you understand. Thanks for reminding me that I spend too much time chatting with internet trolls. I really should get back to arguing for the sake of arguing somewhere where people actually pay me money to do it.

          Also, I’m not a sir. You don’t have to be a man to argue.

          (By the way, Roo is a female name)

          However, don’t worry, I understand you are a man, Todd.

          God bless you too, sir!

    • Tara says:

      I agree with Todd n HaveAGoodTime

  • Joe Tey says:

    Basically the so-called rebuttal is to give an extreme alternative scenario to everything.


    His reply to NS obligations is “Liddat NO National Defence AT ALL and we ALL DIE.”
    To working at old age, “Don’t work then sit at home surf Facebook and complain.”
    Or, you not happy means you want to take business class trips and you are not content.

    What a fucking simpleton.

  • Raspberrih says:

    sad. true. but it’s not as if other countries have it any better…. so what’s the point? in fact, singapore probably has it better than most other countries.

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