#201 a roof over my head

I’m grateful to our Singapore’s first echelon of leaders under the leadership of the then prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew who concertedly provided housing for her citizens.

Not that the government provided cheap-rented housing but they were able to come up with a national scheme known as the central provident fund where we were forced to set aside a sum monthly throughout our working life and we were able to use that saving to buy a housing unit of flats (apartments) built by the Housing Development Board — these were much cheaper than the condominiums in the property market. (Of course, if one considers one’s face more important, then one should consider purchasing a condominium!)

Today about 80%-90% of Singaporeans lived in these housing estates. I recall as I was growing up, I did wonder if I could purchase one when the cost of each unit had escalated as compared to the price that our parents paid. Nonetheless, in our twilight years, we could safely say we do own a home of our own.

Many expatrates, especially those from the West were able to accumulate after a two-year contract working here to purchase a property of their own in their home country.

Sadly with the subprime crisis in the US, I feel sad and bad as I read about many new homeless resort to living in cars to tie over this critical period.

Many in the West who could afford a good spacious home had to forego and now living in smaller and more affordable homes.

Personally I would be most distraught without a roof over my head — if I retired or caught without a job in the subprime and credit crises!

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#196 a new financial world emerging?

It seems the global financial crisis we’re experiencing at the moment is deeper and more serious than anticipated.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers has caused domino effect on many financial institutions creating turmoil, tsunami, hurricane… Is this the true face of credit crunch?

Below a video clip of NY trader Arthur D Cashin Jr with almost 50 years of experience on turbulent times — the fear today is “Who can I trust to trade with?”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7624984.stm.

Will there come a time when there will be no American-based investment banks at Wall Street? A new financial world emerging?

Are we heading towards the Great Depression?

#98 global rice grain crisis

I’m boggled at the escalating increase in the price of grains, especially rice. The poor in countries like Haiti, Philippines, Bangladesh and others took to the streets in protests and violence…

Due to climate change, for instance, drought in Australia but what about other rice growing countries?

An assumption that the rise of India and China economically, people will consume more rice.

I believe the more wealthy a country, the more meat consumed and less rice.

It’s the poor that will consume more rice. Is this a case when the poor can afford to eat a little more that has excerbated the present condition…certainly not!

I can understand the reason for grains like corn due to biofuels…but rice?

I grew up wondering about excess grains produced in the US being dumped rather than feed the poor in parts of the world — and told this was one way to stabilise the price of grain internationally!  

Is this the result of hoarding in some countries that produce such and many nationals hoping for commodity price to increase to make their millions? Will the bubble burst eventually as suggested by some pundits?