Change lifestyles to reduce reliance on foreign labour

As citizens, we need to look at our current lifestyles to reduce our dependence on foreign help in running our basic services.

We need to look at:

• Having common rubbish points for landed property. No door-to-door collection means saving fuel, reducing labour needs and a conscious reduction of waste as residents will have to carry it to a distant point.

• In Singapore, we "green" everything, and we maintain this greenery by using foreign workers. We need to re-examine the monetary and social costs of greening even little spaces.

The right choices of plants and where to have them need to be made so that there is less overzealous greening of spaces.

• Instead of the greenery along road dividers, we should rework the space to create bicycle lanes beside the pedestrian paths, like in Shanghai. The roads for vehicles can still be of the same width if we reduce the width of the road dividers. Bicycles are also a "greener" and healthier mode of transport.

The day will come when our tax dollars cannot sustain this spending on greenery and its maintenance, as well as the way we collect our rubbish.

These are just observations I hope can go some way towards reducing government spending as well as the need for foreign workers.

One day, we may not be able to afford them and they may not want to come and do the dirty work.

Wee Soon Thong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'Change lifestyles to reduce reliance on foreign labour'. Print Edition | Subscribe