Government fights lonely battle for eldercare centres

The cynic will say, “See, I knew the government would ram it through, regardless of public opinion.”

Saturday’s Straits Times carried the news that the go-ahead has been given for building a day-care centre for the elderly within the void decks of Blocks 860 and 861 in Woodlands  (Straits Times, 11 Feb 2012: Plans for Woodlands eldercare centre to proceed, by Janice Tai). Two weeks ago, news had erupted that residents in the area vociferously objected to the plan. Reported objections ranged from the loss of communal space, to fears of traffic congestion and the inauspiciousness of having the old and dying in the area.

A similar tussle is happening in Toh Yi Estate, off Jalan Jurong Kechil. There, plans have been announced by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to build a block of 130 studio apartments at the corner of Toh Yi Road and Toh Yi Drive. Studio apartments are meant for people aged 55 and above, and will be equipped with grab bars, anti-slip tiles and other elderly-friendly features.

Residents of Toh Yi estate in Bukit Timah said HDB’s plans to build studio apartments for the elderly will ‘rob’ them of their common space and the estate’s main recreational facility.

A handful of the residents also likened the apartments to ‘death houses’ for the elderly to wait out their last days.

The apartments will probably be housed in one block. It will be sited on a plot of land at the junction of Toh Yi Road and Toh Yi Drive.

This site is currently occupied by a basketball court, jogging track and a small garden.

On Wednesday, the residents submitted a petition with some 230 signatures to their MP, Ms Sim Ann.

Residents who signed the petition include those from the 19 HDB blocks in the area, as well as those living in the private landed estate opposite, and a nearby condominium.

Last night, HDB officials held a closed-door meeting with more than 100 residents to address their concerns.

– Straits Times, 9 Feb 2012: Facilities for elderly not welcome in Toh Yi estate either, by Janice Tai

You can bet that this plan will also go through.

I am waiting for the third one to make the headlines: a nursing home to be built at Jurong East, next to a block of five-room flats.

* * * * *

Let me make my position clear: the need to increase facilities for the elderly is a no-brainer. Our population is aging rapidly; these facilities have to be built. But two things have struck me about the debate so far:

  • the strong “not in my back yard” tone, acronymed “Nimby”;
  • the way the debate devolved into the form of people versus government.

This is not to dismiss some valid concerns, such as the loss of recreational space and possible congestion, for which I have quite a lot of sympathy, but where these should have been front and centre of the debate, it seemed to me that they’ve been overshadowed by the above two characteristics. Recreational space and congestion concerns can be tackled by refining the planning, but the loud, truculent “No” from residents suggests that nimby was the primary motive for a significant number of objectors.

A letter by Dennis Lee to the Straits Times Forum says it well:

Genuine social care and concern for improving the lives of fellow citizens are sorely missing.

Not only is the wealth gap widening between the rich few and the rest in Singapore, but there also appears to be much deterioration in the level of tolerance, patience and fellow feeling.

Self-centredness seems to be the underlying attitude towards government projects.

If it profits a person, accept it – if not, watch us scream ‘no’.

– Straits Times Print Forum, 10 Feb 2012: Letter by Dennis Lee

Property values

Almost surely, property values lie at the root of nimbyism, nor is it unique to Singapore — lots of other countries have nimby debates every time somebody (not only the authorities) wants to build something in a neighbourhood, from airports to prisons to mosques or temples. What I find a little ironic is that in our case, the debate is coming out of people who live in public housing, people who have benefitted from the kind of large-scale town-planning the HDB has done over the years.

As Dennis Lee wrote in his letter,

It is really much harder these days for politicians to get things done, what with so many demands from the people. I sympathise with their plight.

– ibid.

However, I will argue here that in a way, the government shot itself in the foot, with its own past actions heightening its present difficulty. Since the 1990s, it has kept up the mantra that rising property values are the proof of the worth and success of the People’s Action Party. Vote for us, the PAP says at each general election, and we will upgrade and beautify your estate, and manage the economy so wonderfully, that the values of your homes will go up and up.

Secondly, the liberalisation of Central Provident Fund (CPF) rules, allowing huge chunks of personal pension fund savings to be shunted into property, has only made protecting the value of flats so much more acute.

Thirdly, this government, by its market-fundamentalist mentality, has created a society where conspicuous consumption and the flaunting of wealth and social exclusion have become indicators of social status. Living in a well-provided, socially rounded, “authentic” neighbourhood is considered low-class; living in a pretentious, environmentally irresponsible (you have to drive to get to your kids to pre-school or to your nearest convenience store!) , and demographically sanitised bubble is the aspirational good.

Take these histories into consideration and you’ll see that if the government is facing an uphill task today over these plans for the elderly, they are to an extent just reaping what they have sown.

A bully’s loneliness

Another, perhaps less obvious, feature of the present debate is the silence of those citizens who agree that eldercare centres are needed and that there is no perfect answer as to where to locate them. I am pretty sure there are plenty of Singaporeans who can see the issue in this light. Absent their mediating voices, the debate easily becomes a tug-of-war between two implacable sides that has the same contours as a government-people divide. It should not be so. The question of social attitudes should be a subject of self-criticism among the people themselves, it should not be a matter of government telling voters that they are self-centred, intolerant, boors.

But why don’t people speak up if they believe the complainants are wrong?

Again, it’s our history. Again, it can be traced to decades of the government reserving to itself the determination of right and wrong, and their habit of repressing civil society and censoring independent voices. “We know best,” the government has long said, treating all citizens as children.

Two things then naturally followed. Moderate-thinking civil society lost its vitality, and the PAP government gained such a reputation as a bully that no one is keen on speaking up to defend its plans. And so on this and many other issues, the government is left to fight its own battles, and every argument quickly morphs into a PAP-versus-the-people contest.

This is not the first time and won’t be the last. Remember the issue of foreign workers being housed in Serangoon Gardens?  Remember the vociferous objection of residents of Maplewoods Condominium to the siting of a metro station close by?

Counter petition

I am aware that a counter petition has been started.

The decision to go ahead came even as a voluntary welfare organisation launched an online petition to make people aware of the need for elder-care services and garner support for such centres.

The petition – ‘Say yes to eldercare services’ – was started by the Marine Parade Family Service Centre and urges Singaporeans to speak out against those who oppose having elder-care facilities in their neighbourhood.

– Straits Times, 11 Feb 2012: Plans for Woodlands eldercare centre to proceed, by Janice Tai

But family service centres are quasi-government bodies. They may be set up as voluntary welfare organisations, but my understanding is that most, if not all, their funding comes from the government. It’s not clear that this little action by the Marine Parade Family Service Centre takes anything away from my main argument.

* * * * *

Nonetheless, there are some aspects of both the Woodlands proposal to wall up void decks as eldercare centres and the Toh Yi proposal to eliminate green space that I think can do with some rethinking.

I have previously spoken out against the creeping requisition of void decks for all sorts of purposes. Others have too. The Straits Times, for example, quoted William Lau, president of the Singapore Institute of Planners as saying:

As urban planners, we wish to encourage the Housing Board to continue providing void decks in their new township developments, as there are many planning merits. . . Void decks are effective in creating airiness and good cross ventilation, which is much desired for our hot and humid tropical weather. Their presence also alleviates congestion at the ground level of HDB housing precincts.

– Straits Times, 10 Feb 2012: When residents want to have cake and eat it too

I would have much preferred the HDB to convert some of the neighbourhood shops instead if they needed space for day-care centres. Many of these shops are losing out to supermarkets and airconditioned shopping malls anyway; they do not represent effective use of the space.  Alternatively, the HDB could have considered acquiring the second-floor flats and converting them into day-care centres. That way, those who have objected to the loss of void decks can be mollified (and those who used the void deck argument to mask their nimbyism can be shown up).

But the shops and second-floor flats have been sold and their prices have all gone up — goes the objection. How can the government take them back? Here again, we are looking at a consequence of the government’s aggressive sales and price-boosting schemes.

At Toh Yi, the little green space appears quite precious. Whether another green space can be found to replace it when the block of studio apartments has to be built is a question I, not being familiar with the neighbourhood, cannot answer. It seems to me though that in principle, the HDB needs to tell us where they are going to finally draw the line. What is the ratio of green space we will eventually keep? Or do we keep biting off more and more as new uses come to mind?

Could not another plot be found for the studio apartments? Perhaps where the Bukit Timah market is?

Basically, what is disappointing about this debate is that serious objections are mixed up with nimby-type objections. My guess (though I could well be wrong) is that if more people spoke up accepting in principle the idea that eldercare and elder-friendly facilities are needed (and within our neighbourhoods), we might be able to have a more productive debate.  But the issue is harder than it need be because of our politics. If the government is feeling lonely and besieged because naysayers are so adamant and because few citizens would speak out to criticise their fellow citizens for materialism and selfishness, and in defence of the government’s plans (at least in principle), it’s really the PAP’s chickens coming home to roost.

31 Responses to “Government fights lonely battle for eldercare centres”


  1. 1 Vote for Change 12 February 2012 at 16:49

    The PAP government deserve it! Nobody will pity them. The public housing policy has gone wrong. The government just want to make money out of its own people by pricing land above the cost of construction for public housing.

  2. 2 yuen 12 February 2012 at 17:39

    > few citizens would speak out to criticise their fellow citizens for materialism and selfishness,

    why dont you ask the opposition parties to spearhead this? surely they are against materialism and selfishness?

    in the mean time, you need not feel sorry for the government’s lonely struggle; they are well paid to to do just that.

  3. 8 Sgcynic 12 February 2012 at 19:07

    Guess that the people are conversing with the PAP government in their lingua Franca – $. Years ago, I have argued that this government is detrimental to the growth of our nation, even as they claim to bring the country forward. They sowed the seeds of nimby with their policy of arguing for and justifying that every government scheme must be self-funding and every citizen pays his/her own share. An example would be the higher fares one pays for the Northeast MRT line. Other examples abound – upgrading of HDB flats. Even worse is when the government pushes its own responsibility to the people – the aluminum window lever bolts that were approved by HDB and which were subsequently found to be in need of replacing. Everything boils down to $ and intangible costs and benefits are sidelined or ignored. Indeed, the chickens have come home to roost.

  4. 9 anon 12 February 2012 at 21:44

    Another example of govt high-handedness which simply alienate people, even its supporter more and more: The abrupt (and without notice) rescinding of the free parking scheme on Sundays and public holidays in HDB estates WITHOUT an iota of consideration of providing residents an alternative ostensible to ‘protect’ resident’s parking space from visitors to new Shopping Malls built in the vicinity of HDB estates. As an example at Serangoon Central, at least a half dozens resident carparks all implementing the free parking scheme have entry barriers built allowing free entry and free exit of 10 minutes on all days. Free parking was removed WITHOUT any consultation with residents. While the HDB may see it as its’ right to do as it pleases, such unilateral actions leave a very bad taste in residents’ mouths of such ‘bullying’ action. Has the HDB even considered alternatives like providing residents with at least an free entry pass each to facilitate visits by relatives and friends on week ends and public holidays?

    You are right that govt itself creates the alienation of Singaporeans by its high handed and bureaucratic bullying behaviour.

    On this issue of old folks home. The issue to me is one of once again govt taking advantage of residents because it is far cheaper to the govt to plant such projects in existing HDB estates as all basic infrastructures are already in existence, as compared to building an estate in a new piece of land which would require a total development from roads to street lights to car parks to physical facilities and food and other retail outlets.

    That’s the typical PAP govt thinking – forever taking advantage of Singaporeans to suit its thinking and plans.

  5. 10 Anon 12 February 2012 at 22:35

    Spot on analysis, and comments by your readers!!

  6. 11 tigerholmes@yahoo.com 13 February 2012 at 05:45

    chickens coming home to roost – u’r darn right! and yes, the govt totally deserves the flak its getting for the reasons u give!! TOTALLY. this’ll teach them to promote the worship of money and boast about their ability to push up home prices. it’s just another eg of the govt’s impeccable ability to be “far-sighted”.

    i for one am all for eldercare services and flats. its absurd to say these’ll lower the value of one’s home. in fact, they’re more than likely to enhance them. after all, anyone can use whatever facilities for the old which r part of the package. on top of that, these are extras not found commonly.

    there were lots of protests in my old private condo over the bldg of ramps – purpotedly for just the elderly. however, Everyone uses them – pple with shopping and shopping carts, luggage, baby pushchairs n prams, skateboarders, rollerbladers…

    one day soon, hopefully, we’ll have blocks made up of mixed-size flats, including ones sprinkled with studios for the elderly. no doubt all the social climbers will sniff and protest about how the 2-and 3-roomers in the block will drag down the class and social levels of the 5-roomers and exec apartment occupants.

    when one has been preaching all the wrong values for 46 years, one can hardly expect any other sort of reaction.

  7. 12 wonderpeace777@yahoo.com.sg 13 February 2012 at 12:40

    Thanks for your analysis. Enlightening. Yeah, PAP is reaping the bad seeds it has sown over the decades. We are seeing a generation of self center society. Plenty of examples around. Just the other day, some students boarded a bus. They are in their teens. They parked themselves near the alighting exit, blocking the passageway and the exit door. They seems oblivious to the obstruction they have caused and continued happily with their chit chat. Sigh. As more folks boarded the bus, it was jammed pack near the front and ‘empty’ at the back. They don’t seems even to realize they are causing a bottleneck.

    • 13 Poker Player 13 February 2012 at 13:42

      “We are seeing a generation of self center society. ”

      I don’t think our senior citizens (or any other age group) are any better behaved.

  8. 14 David Teo 13 February 2012 at 12:48

    The obvious cause is “nimbyism”. How people can end up being so selfish, I can’t pin it down on the PAP completely. Some are naturally selfish with or without the PAP factor. But if wea re to read carefully what this facilities are, then perhaps we will not be so negative. Of course, we’ll have many converts if our country’s politicians offer to have one build in their backyard.

  9. 15 DetachedObserver 13 February 2012 at 13:59

    NIMBY in Singapore is the same as NIMBY in other locales – i.e. distrust for authority, even though ostensibly its for the public good.

    As for accusations of self centredness, well, you reap what you sow.

  10. 16 Chanel 13 February 2012 at 14:03

    Alex,

    A few disparate points:

    1) Who loudly and publicly proclaim that S’pore can accommodate 6.5m people just a few years ago? Did the need for more eldercare centres (not to mention more roads, more train lines, more bus services, etc) enter into the equation before the proclamation was made?

    2) S’poreans may be self-centred, but all of us learn this from our ministers who demand no less than top private sector pay to lead the nation. The starting point is invariably: What is in it for me?

    3) It is easy for those unaffected to adopt the high moral stance. The potential problems (or inconvenience) faced by those residents are real. Now the entire MSM machinery rolled into full action to condemn those residents or make them feel ashame. This is unfair.

    4) Perhaps any one of our ministers can allow a eldercare centre (or foreign workers’ dorm) to be built next to his bungalow? Lead by example. Show S’poreans how to be more accommondate and tolerant. We have enough of PAP’s motto: Do as I say, Not do as I do.

  11. 17 Hazeymoxy 13 February 2012 at 16:09

    Absolutely right.

    Here’s what I don’t understand (and it’s prob ‘cos I haven’t read into the details what an eldercare centre is.):
    1. The government saw this aging problem years back surely. Why didn’t they plan it such that every new block of flats would have 1 floor for an eldercare centre? If that’s excessive, every few blocks then.
    2. Can’t the eldercare centre be a mixed used space for young and old? This way every one benefits and the value of flats is not compromised. When I visit some elderly centres (I don’t know if it’s eldercare) in HDB blocks, there are always kids running around too. So why keep it strictly to the elderly?

  12. 18 Alfred 13 February 2012 at 16:16

    The mainstream media has painted Toh Yi residents in a bad light by emphasizing the views of a minority (concerned with property values and “death houses”) while neglecting the primary concern. This letter from Today clearly explains our unhappiness with the HDB and the crux of the matter – poor urban planning and decision making.

    http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC120213-0000039/Will-Toh-Yi-studio-apartments-benefit-the-older-generation

    I REFER to the report “Residents move against studio apartments” (Feb 9). While the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has planned for studio apartments in Toh Yi with good intentions, I doubt that these would benefit the elderly.

    My in-laws, aged 65, live in Toh Yi, an estate of 19 blocks built on hilly terrain. It is an uphill climb for them to reach home.There is no shelter from the blocks linking the bus stops or amenities at ground level, and there are many staircases.

    The nearest supermarket at Beauty World or Bukit Timah Plaza is 20 minutes away and my in-laws say they reach home panting from carrying groceries uphill.

    I understand why the elderly residents are upset with the Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise. Their current needs for sheltered walkways are not met, and there is no simple way to address the mobility struggle the terrain poses.

    Now their only park, with its much-loved community garden, green space for exercise and jogging track, which they had petitioned for and got only about a year ago, is to go. It is a pity as the space is used by all, from toddlers to teenagers and the elderly.

    Is stripping away this last plot of greenery in the estate the best and only choice left? Was land not recently tendered for condominiums nearby? There is also an empty plot next to Bukit Timah Plaza, which would better serve the elderly since it is on level ground and closer to food and transportation.

    Could the HDB clarify with whom and how the needs analysis was conducted? Did they take into account the suitability of the site for elderly residents?

    It is the elderly residents who object to the BTO. Hear them out to avoid executing plans that do not meet their needs.

  13. 19 Alfred 13 February 2012 at 16:23

    Toh Yi residents are not averse to building an eldercare facility in our estate, we just want it to be located in a place that makes sense. Practically all social media sites and blogs have painted us as selfish NIMBY people, but that’s just not true.

    There’s a temple and a church situated at lower ground in the estate, why not remove those instead of the recreation facilities situated at the very top of a steep climb?

  14. 20 Cheryl 14 February 2012 at 01:41

    Alfred, do you know that land area gazetted to religious sites in Singapore is not only closely regulated, it’s even controlled to ensure sensitivity?

    Religious buildings are not allowed to be take over more than a certain land area in any given zone, which is why the mega churches that have grown very huge have to divest commercial arms, just so they can register their subsidiaries as commercial entities to tender for land. Some even have to tie up with commercial organisations like Capitaland to build spaces meant for MICE and commercial use, because it cannot build a building that big and call it a ‘church’.

    So its not as easy as just tearing down the temple and church to build something new. You’re just looking at a small part of the picture and you think this is your whole world, while the policy makers have the big picture to look at, and various considerations and different groups who are all citizens to look after.

    • 21 Desmond 14 February 2012 at 17:25

      You know, this is unfair of you to say Alfred lives in his own world. The big picture is that, when that land is used, there will be hardly any real green space in that area.

      Nobody likes to live in an area where it is just concrete.

  15. 23 Chee Wai Lee 14 February 2012 at 03:54

    What strikes me about this discussion is the lack of compromise as the first item on the agenda. I sympathize with the loss of recreational facilities based on those plans as Alex does. I wonder if this issue was raised and a compromise suggested?

    One could easily imagine the same facilities (except perhaps the basketball court) built on the top or mid-levels of the new building just like they did with the Pinnacle. What better way of getting the young and old to interact? And why should we paint all elderly as frail? Why can’t healthier members of the intended 55+ residents of the new block also benefit from those recreation facilities?

    As to the rather unkind tagging of the term “nimby” to residents, it *might* be true. It might also be true that the feeling is subconscious and after some reflection might make people feel more amenable to a spirit of compromise. I am stereotyping of course, but I feel more and more that Singaporeans in general have started to view public policy and decision-making as black-and-white, right-or-wrong issues. So I say this – if you wish to have a right-or-wrong issue on your hands, go ahead and ostracize all Toh Yi residents and push them against the wall. At the same time, Toh Yi residents could stick to their guns and insist on an uncompromising “no”.

    Or you could both choose to stop the delusion that everything in this world are monoliths readily tagged with some label. Start to see the shades of gray and work something out that people could (mostly) live with. It is a litmus test of our society and our democracy. Sadly, I’m not going to hold my breath … I am frankly not optimistic given our “track record” in this department.

  16. 24 Rabbit 14 February 2012 at 05:02

    The problem is also due to the government not willing to disclose more than just telling the residents there will be an elderly care center in their void deck. The immediate impression in people’s mind about having an elderly care center is cleanliness (hygiene), medical smell, noise and death. To negate such negative impression, the govt need to do more than just saying elderly care center is necessary, but who doesn’t know as our population aged?

    One example is to charter affected residents to place with similar setup, provide visual elderly care “showroom” as assurance that the place is going to be bright and clean and not all gloom or doom looking, avoid design that look too clinical for taste, but more cozy, cheery and colorful instead. OK, I know it may sound a little gay on the design expectation, but who cares if any ideas can warm a cold heart and provided that our govt is sincere to spend on promoting positive image for the elderly care center? The govt choose to be lonely on this battle because they have the ultimate authority to push through the project that being a good salesman to the residents is really a time-waster.

    If first incident is not handled convincingly, future unpopular project will meet similar uphill task as people voices get louder.

  17. 25 kitty 14 February 2012 at 11:46

    I live in the Toh Yi neighborhood and I was extremely upset after reading the article in The Straits Times. I am totally for taking care of the elderly here in Singapore. I mean, hey, I live with a senior citizen. What really pissed me off was the biased reporting from The Straits Times.

    For the past 10 years, I have been walking up and down the steep hill to go to work etc. Every time I come home from work, after a long day, I get even more worn out having to hike uphill back to my apartment. It’s worse if I have to carry my work laptop home for night calls. I can’t take a taxi all the time. I’ll be broke.

    If you look around the area, the proposed site by HDB is the least suitable to build a block of flats for the elderly. It is at least 300m away from the coffee shops and at least 1km to the Bukit Timah Market. Most of the senior citizens who live in the Toh Yi neighborhood have access to cars, one way or another; whether they still drive or they have their children to ferry them around. Some of the elderly even live on the lower terrain of the HDB estate in Toh Yi, near the main road and bus-top. Taking the basketball courts, jogging track and garden aside, it lacks common sense to build a block of flats on high ground which is inaccessible. Leveling the terrain is not an option because that would take out 45% of the HDB estate and 90% of the private residences.

    My senior citizen parent is all for initiative to build facilities for the elderly. But the comment she made was, “There is plenty of land around on the ground level, near the bus-stop and coffee shops. Why don’t they choose those instead?”

    If I had the financial means, I would move to lower ground. But I don’t. Heck, if I had the financial means, I would leave Singapore all together and ditch my citizenship. Common sense, people. This is what HDB and other government stat boards lack. Plus poor communication and implementation skills. Why would I want to stay in a country whose government lacks even the most commonest of common sense?

  18. 27 ttt 14 February 2012 at 23:46

    I doubt that building a senior block will affect the property price much. Directly in front of my flat is a senior block. And i don’t see the resale value of my flat being eroded.

  19. 28 The Pariah 15 February 2012 at 16:15

    Like father, like son.
    Like goverment, like citizens.

    Property values? What about human values?

    Suggestion: The PAP Govt should apply HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act) equivalent policy where Muslims enjoy the privilege of opt-in but they are also have lower priority in receiving organ transplants unless they have opted-in previously) –

    Toh Yi and Woodlands petitioners + their parents + grandparents have last priority to eldercare facilities and granny flats. Just tag their NRIC numbers and the data will be captured when they apply for access to such facilities and such flats.

  20. 29 SC 15 February 2012 at 16:50

    The objecting points from the Woodlands residents, I feel for some are pretty reasonable. For example, the possible traffic congestion, lost of public spaces & the clutter of the other existing void deck premises. If we are not staying there, we really do not know the living condition of that area, how then can we comment about their intentions?

    The perspective that this is a strong NIMBY objection in this scenario, really, how did we come to establish this point of view in the first place?

    While objecting the eldercare centre to be located at the void decks, the opposing residents did volunteer a level of their multistory car park as an alternative as I read from the papers. Isn’t this a display that they care? Instead of receiving praises for that, a campaign of ‘Say yes to eldercare services’ kick started and put them in a shameful light. Does it make sense to you ?

    I feel very strongly when someone who supports the campaign of ‘Say yes to eldercare services’ not for the true goodness of the elderly but thinking that they are in the movement to the moral betterment of Singaporeans. This is just wrong.

    I stay in Woodlands as well. Along avenue 6, there is a large empty field that serve recreational activities to the likes to field soccer, cricket, flying kites, jogging, etc. Why can’t we use partial of the field for the eldercare centre instead of argue over a small void deck space? The spacious field and the activities it serve will even benefit the elders.

    But just a week ago, a portion of the same field has been fenced up for another industrial development when there is already 2 other new industrial development work-in-progress. This is just how sad things are when resources are always prioritized for businesses and not to the best interest of our welfare.

  21. 30 Rabbit 16 February 2012 at 18:02

    @SC

    Based on your observation, it is obvious that the government view an empty piece of land more valuable than giving it to build elderly care center which has no investment returns to the state. Now who is more calculative than the residents? If money take center stage on every issue that concerned taking care of our elderly residents, than I am afraid to say this govt is leading a very bad example which turned Singapore into an uncaring, unforgivable and selfish society we witnessed today – indeed the PAP’s chickens has finally come home to roost.

  22. 31 Joee 20 February 2012 at 13:33

    I live in the Toh Yi neighborhood too and I am puzzled why that piece of land was chosen to built the studio apartments. The garden, jogging track and basketball courts were just built not too long ago, why waste the money to do such a good job if the site for the studio apartment had already been decided? It’s right at the top of the hill and just looking at the long steep slope you have to climb up to reach home after every outing will surely deter you from stepping out of your home, especially if you are elderly and living alone.

    Right at the bottom of the hill is a temporary car-park (not sure why it’s temp only). Why not built the studio apartments there? It’s beside the bus-stop, the CC and shop-houses. The plot is bigger so no need to built too high up (the flats blocked by it won’t be too affected then). It can include a car-park so that visitors to the CC and shops beside the proposed apartments still have their parking space. They can also allocate space for a community library, a much-loved facility which they had taken from us a few years ago….


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