Soon after, Parliament enacted rapid changes. CPF Life was done away with, and all citizens could withdraw their CPF upon reaching age 55. Foreign worker quota was capped and drawn down. Minimum wage was introduced.
The citizens were jubilant. However, soon after these changes, things started going awry. With the introduction of minimum wage, productivity dropped. The higher wage resulted in the cost being passed back to the consumer. Without the augmentation of lower wage foreign workers, cost had risen. As a result, food courts and coffee shops raised their prices. Workers lament the increasing cost of living.
Some companies started learning from the Japanese and introduced automation to overcome the manpower crunch and increase productivity. The pace of machines replacing people accelerated. At supermarkets, there were no longer any cashiers. Automated self service had taken over fully. The only staff was a security guard. Restaurants no longer needed waiters and waitresses as all orders were placed by patrons via tablet computers. Servers were automated delivery belts that moved the food from the kitchen directly to the table. Within the kitchen, cooks were gradually been replaced with machines that heated up pre-packaged food. The quality of food went downhill and became increasingly bland and unexciting. Patrons gradually stayed away from restaurants, except the few that served steamboat and BBQ buffets. Petrol kiosks were fully self-service. The traditional lower skilled jobs were no longer available to the citizens.
As the workforce aspired to move up the curve, degree holders soon reached 80% of the population. Without the lower skilled workforce, basic household repairs like electrical and water pipe repairs became expensive affairs. Many households gritted their teeth and allowed their home to become increasingly degraded. Housing estates soon looked worn, aged and derelict. Cars had to be towed across the Causeway for even basic maintenance.
MRT line breakdowns worsened. Frequent breakdowns at HDB blocks became a common sight. The SCDF was fully taxed carrying out rescue operations everyday across the island.
A generation of 55 year old started withdrawing their CPF with much excitement. After all, without a CPF Life annuity, there was little motivation to keep the money in CPF. The money was soon squandered away as the citizens spent their sudden windfall in expensive holidays, 'helping' other family members, starting businesses that failed and buying expensive cars. 90% of the cohort had to continue working till their health fell apart, yet with no end in sight as they no longer had a longer term income to support them otherwise.
With an increasingly ageing population without the influx of foreigners, 50% of the population were over 55 years of age. Medical costs rose. The government coffers were running dry and unsustainable, and could no longer continue to subsidise the high costs of national healthcare. Increasingly, more people could not afford the healthcare. Lifespan started to drop.
Personal income tax went up to 50% across the board, borrowing from the European model. The government started leaching on the investment holdings in GIC and Temasek Holdings. Soon, that was also used up. National Service was abolished as the government could no longer support the hefty defence budget. Only a small regular force remained.
Singapore was invaded! Not having any significant defence force to speak of, it could only muster a dozen aged F15 and F16 that suffered from spares shortfall, and only five Leopard tanks and 8 Bionix infantry fighting vehicles that could still move. Half of which broke down soon after. The country was rapidly overrun. The triumphant victor smirked, "Little Red Dot, you are erased!"
"Oi, wake up! Time for our morning exercise!"
"Mmm. Huh?" Oh, damn. Post-election nightmare. WTF. Looks like it's still Pay-And-Pay. Mumble, mumble, grumble.
Life goes on. Thankful that my investment portfolio and CPF remain intact, and I can still look forward to retirement one day.