Just let me gloat before I get started. After one year of honeymoon following a Singapore GE, hikes always happens during the 2nd and 3rd year. Be it in the form of a GST increase, transportation fare hikes or price increase of essential good and services, one thing is dead sure, it will happen. Always. Brace for more in the coming year. I hope the 70% of you saw this coming. I have no doubt the majority of the 70% agree with whatever the chosen spokesperson of the government said to justify the 30% increase in tap water price anyway. After all, "if the opposition is the government, the increase is probably 50%, or worse dry the taps and bring forth drought hardships!" If I may be honest, I don't think an increase of 30% in tap water price is necessarily a bad thing if the motive behind is carefully structured for greater things for the country. However, if it is done so "for Singaporeans to understand the importance of saving water," I say, Singaporeans get what they deserve.
I'll get started. This shall be such a rare moment I have good words for the Singapore government. All my 5 readers may want to bookmark this post, lest one day I die famous and you can print this out for a handsome sale as the fastest first movers. The government has done exceptionally well in tackling our water shortage problem. Though it is common knowledge that many countries in the world struggle with water shortage issues, not many are aware of the severity of the problem. Some companies are even trying to buy up reserves of water to position themselves for imminent windfalls. I've always been a critic on Singapore's over reliance on import for food. However, Singapore has been addressing its over reliance on Johor for our water supply well by building competency in the water treatment field.
It brings us back to an earlier comment I made. The 30% increase may not necessarily be a bad thing if the motives are good. That is a very big if. If the government decides to use the extra revenue to help local businesses acquire grandmastery in the arcane arts of turning shit into water, it may well be Singapore's version of the Midas touch. However by grandmastery, I meant by developing highly intellectual capital that will be well sought after by the rest of the world. By being the Apple or Samsung of the water treatment arena. By being at the top of the class - where it really matter. Mind you, that was the original plan. We were supposed to prolong our survival by being good, not by being cheap.
When I mean help local businesses, I don't mean funding the GLCs. There has to be a solid base of SMEs intermediaries that benefit from the big boys. The maintenance specialists, the parts suppliers, the logistic support, the experts who can help build top notch treatment plants for whoever with deep pockets, the retailers who are able to sell scaled down models of water treatment technologies to anyone beyond our horizons. The jobs created by a chain of beneficiaries can only benefit the locals.
Sorry to burst the bubble, but this extra revenue will go straight into the government's coffers yet again. I see the increase as a mere badly veiled form of consumption tax. You know how I think when Singaporeans tell me how good life is in Singapore because "low income tax?" Singapore is in a real demand for optometrists - to help Singaporeans read between the lines and the fine prints. Meanwhile, you should be prepared for further price increase down the road since you are most likely not to learn the importance of saving water with just a 30% increase this time.