Forum: Bigger flats are a want, not a need

Straits Times senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan mentioned, among other things, the need for the authorities to build bigger HDB flats that will put Singaporeans in a better position to prevent disease transmission (Ponder housing affordability, land cost issues in future S'pore plans, Aug 23). It is a tall order.

Singaporeans must differentiate between what they need and what they want.

To begin with, we just need a roof over our heads. Therefore, the size of a three-room HDB flat is good enough, compared with land-scarce places like Hong Kong and Japan where the flats are much smaller in size.

The current price of a three-room flat is affordable for most Singaporeans.

Whether or not a person gets to satisfy his want for a bigger flat would depend on his income. Singaporeans cannot expect the authorities to suppress the price of bigger flats so that individual aspirations can be met.

The authorities have been very accommodating in trying their best to build different-sized flats. We are fortunate to have a Government that encourages its citizens to own homes.

Singaporeans should not be too dependent on the Government for everything from self-development to recreation. We should learn to swim on our own so that our chances of survival are greater in this uncertain world.

Harry Ong Heng Poh

Reporter's note: The piece does not call for policies to suppress property prices. It merely highlights the trajectory of income and property price curves, which, left unchecked, is likely to be unsustainable for future generations.

We certainly do not aspire to be like cities where shoebox apartments are the norm. As Singapore looks ahead with the pandemic in its side mirrors, it should examine if there are ways for its people to have a different quality of life, and if we need to hit a reset button to do so.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.