Living within a Hair's Breath Apart

During social gatherings, I can't help to notice how misinformed Singaporeans/ex-Singaporeans can be. 

But it's fun, even comical, to observe "newer" Singaporeans explaining things to the "older" ones. I would also wait and see if Lynus makes an outdated remark about Singapore and anyone will suan siao him for it. You see, Lynus left Singapore in the 80s. Back in his youth (late 60s), according to him, policemen were as tougher than thugs such that even thugs shook whenever they landed themselves in the hands of a policeman. "Nowadays police are like ah gua," he said.

For the others, many of us including myself, can find ourselves alienated gradually. The prices and size of a HDB flat for example, can never be agreed upon among Singaporeans who came here at different eras. Some of them will be in disbelief when being told the latest price and look around for a few nodding faces affirming it. Well, that is because land prices has been soaring in Perth over the past decade. Land parcels allocated for home building is also shrinking. A decade back, buiding a house on a 700mplot of land was common in many suburbs. Some years back, it was reduced to 500m2. Back then small houses on 100-200m2 were almost non-existence. Apartments yes but not houses. Today, we can find such houses easily in the new suburbs.

Singaporeans who left long ago find the trend distasteful. "Times are bad and it isn't as good as the past anymore," they said. True. No one can deny that. "Singapore may be a better place than Perth now," they reasoned. That's when they need to be shown some pictures here of DBSS Pasir Ris One, where 3 room flats were selling from S$390,000 to S$470,000, 4 room flats going for S$550,000 to S$670,000 and 5 rooms going for S$650,000 to S$770,000. Woah, with $770k, I can still build a lot of shit here in Perth. Times may not be that bad in Perth after all.

I can't even understand why they call it Design, Build and Sell Scheme. What difference of that from a Build-to-Order scheme? You mean to say a buyer can design his own house or construction can commence without achieving 90% sales? No. So what fucking difference does that make? From HDB website, DBSS is explained this way,

"The Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was introduced in 2005 to offer greater choice and wider variety to meet the housing aspirations of higher income flat buyers for better design and finishes. The involvement of the private sector enables public housing to be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans."

Okay. Higher income flat buyers. They meant suckers. Better designs and finishes. More responsive to the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans. Ok, let's see.

From my old friend Alan Ong, who lived in Pasir Ris all his life and helped me take a walk up to mentioned DBSS to take some photographs of top finishes and allow us to sneak a peek at the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans.

Width of corridor

Ground level

The front doors

Steel grills
More steel grills
Better designs and finishes

From the pics I was provided: Tiled skirtings, lackluster tiles, inconsistent grouting, steel gates complete with welded base plate, protruding door joints, square hollow steel gratings welded with flat bars at an angle, exposed galvanised cable support system, basic white wash, standard doorbells. Better design and finishes? Didn't expect to hear that during SG50 era. Don't let me see what's inside. I'm having early dinner now.

Needs and aspirations

Do Singaporeans need grills? I'm sure we do because the builder was responding to our needs. I suppose we jump off a building too often. Then we complain about increasing council rates and do not realise costs are increasing clean-ups below. So installing grills is "win-win." But why grey grills? Why not blue, which has a calming effect. Why not green, which gives a fresh feel? Grey symbolises indecisiveness, fence sitting, detachment. Is it the builder's way to describe Singaporeans? Or is that something to do with Singaporeans' aspirations? Do we aspire to be prisoners or prison wardens? Or caged birds? Or factory workers? I thought some Singaporeans are laughing at me for working in a factory in Perth. Fair go but not when you are living in a fucking factory, please.

Why are corridors designed to be that narrow? Is it because being slim is the aspiration of all Singaporeans, given the incredulous amount of slimming advertisement going around? Or is this the designer's response to our wish to get "closer to one another" or to "recreate the kampong feel?" Is this done to encourage neighbours to finally talk to one another again? It definitely works because the first thing you will tell your neighbour in the morning is, "Close your bloody door and let me through," or "Get the fuck out of my way, I'm late."

More needs

Is there some kind of new perverted fetish or fantasy going on that Singaporeans will now like to die as a BBQ product that failed the QC? Where do you jump if the fire escape is blocked or on fire itself with all those grills around? Can we be left with some pride instead of looking like a piece of meat with grilled marks on our faces when our friends visit us during our funerals?

More aspiration

Is there an ambition to break Guinness World Records somewhere? Did buyers tell the builder that they are planning to go for the "Longest time staying sane in confined space" record? Perhaps they are trying to win another global award after someone won something for designing a building that looks like a vertical computer motherboard. This one will definitely win the "Best Defence Against Zombies without Usage of Plants" award because there is simply no space for plants and zombies claustrophobic.


Why on earth anyone will choose DBSS over BTO? I heard somebody mentioned living in DBSS is certainly different because people are higher class and less crass than their BTO counterparts. I can't stop laughing when I heard that. And other nationalities are saying Singaporeans have no sense of humor?


  1. Is it worth the money?
    If one still dreams of cashing out its home, then dream on.

  2. Did you not read recently that some residents were up in arms in a DOSS over shoddy workmanship and many defects such as uneven tiles n broken shower screen etc. They paid a fortune and that's what they got! It's reported in the press.

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  4. Wah nix

    You sure you got the right pix? All these look like the latest high security prison they have in Oz.

    You sure people pay to live in this, cannot even jump out of corridor to commit suicide if cannot keep up with mortgage payment