Pepper realism with idealism and experimentation

Pearl Bank Apartments against the CBD skyline in the evening on May 11, 2019.
Pearl Bank Apartments against the CBD skyline in the evening on May 11, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

It surprises me that Mr Peter Kwan Hoa Kun expressed concern over the ability of one of South-east Asia's largest developers to profitably execute my proposal of a mixed development project on a site in a district slated for future transformation (Important to inject dose of reality into idealism, June 11).

What is $750 million compared with the roughly same amount that CapitaLand has invested in Jewel for a 49 per cent share, especially when the company will realise some returns on its investment in a far shorter duration by selling off a third of the project as residential properties upon completion at Pearl Bank?

Singapore is no longer a Third World country whose raison d'etre is merely about counting the beans to survive.

To thrive as a First World nation, product and service delivery cannot simply be about the scale, substance and speed of transaction, but has to also be about the finish and polish.

These are world-class levels that we will increasingly be up against, and we had better get used to it.

Peppering realism with a healthy dose of idealism and experimentation to stretch the boundaries of any project is par for the course in some of the most brilliant companies.

Perhaps that is why the best Japanese and American developers are capable of delivering profitable and inspiring mixed-development projects that offer a range and depth of experiences, whereas CapitaLand seems to be capable of only rehashing another tried and tested "convenience bazaar".

Why should Singaporeans remain as apathetic bystanders when so-called experts do not seem to know any better?

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'Pepper realism with idealism and experimentation'. Print Edition | Subscribe