a community of singaporeans

Homeless in our twilight years

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 4, 2007

This is a letter from lilydaam which was posted under our “Submission Policy” section. The details of the letter’s content have not been verified by theonlinecitizen. It is posted here for further discussion and not as validation of any claims.

They are sometimes ‘homeless by choice’, said Parliamentary Secretary (National Development) Mohd Maliki Osman on 24th Jan 2007.

Does this elite who takes 1.2 millions of our peasant taxpayers money knows what he is talking about. The anguish we go through trying to find ways and means to get or maintain a roof over our head? People are homeless not by choice but because of screwed up, heartless policies from MAS and HDB. Banks are fair weather friends.

HDB heartless and clueless

We received a reply about our loan from a Ms TANG, (MS) SENIOR EXECUTIVE ESTATES OFFICER, HDB, who obviously think we are dubes, gullible and senile. Her reply is high handed and heartless with no compassion. Her answers are canned and unimaginative, clueless on human plight. Empty on empathy.

Does these attitudes sound familiar. Yes. It pervade the whole of HDB. They foreclosed your homes. Forced families to live in void decks, under the flyover, or in the rubbish damp or on beaches. From 2002 to 2006, some 360 households voluntarily surrendered their flats after defaulting on their mortgage loan repayments. Why would anyone “voluntarily” give up the family home, all the CPF life savings, and maybe continue be in debt to the HDB for any shortfall between the market valuation and loan outstanding? Then the gahmen turn around and remark: “They are sometimes ‘homeless by choice’. If this is a joke, it is in bad taste. He is not in touch with his brain. Where is the “software”? Where is the caring society that PM talks about?

Below is her reply:

We refer to your appeal for an HDB loan.

2 You informed us that you have been working overseas since 2002. You have been retrenched and you will be returning to Singapore.

3 HDB provides housing loan to eligible flat buyers, subject to credit assessment and the prevailing mortgage loan criteria. Flat buyers must not be private property owners (Then why did HDB provide application form to allow us to appeal for the loan? Ironic isn’t it?) and they have to be gainfully employed with regular income to be eligible for a housing loan. (We may not be employed but that doesn’t mean we have no regular income. She assumes too much.)

4 Based on the information you provided, you and your wife are private property owners. Moreover, as you do not have a job after you returned to Singapore, you are not eligible to apply for an HDB loan. (Ms Tang time and time again implied that we are not employable in Singapore. We are not gainfully employed at the moment doesn’t mean we are not employable. Retirement age doesn’t mean we’re useless or is it? Yet they cry for more pay. Are they worth paying millions? Such microscopic, myopic mentality of a civil servant or rather stat board.)

5 You may wish to consider living in the private property for the time being and using the proceeds from the collective sales of your private property to buy a resale flat without taking any loan, subsequently. (She obviously think we are dubes who need to be taught how to suck eggs. If we purchase an apartment, if need be we can sell it and downgrade. If we spent our retirement funds on rent, we cannot recoup the sum.)

We’re not allowed to rent from HDB. Private properties are far too expensive for us to rent. We’re not quitters but we are being forced out. We thought we can go home to retire…… But where is home? We are 3rd class citizen in our own country. PR who don’t serve NS yet get S$30,000 to help them to relocate when they take up citizenship. We pay income tax during our productive years. Our children spent 2½ brainless years digging trenches. Yet during our twilight years we’re grappling straws trying to stay a float in the midst of so call globalization. We’re the group that can die but cannot afford to retire, can die but cannot afford to be hospitalized.

What is the government doing for us? Nothing. Obviously nothing because PAP don’t want us to have ”crutch mentality”. You die your business. They grab as much as they can from the coffers of Singapore Inc. 1.2million not enough. 2.2 million still note enough. Jack Neo said: Money not enough.



7 Responses to “Homeless in our twilight years”

  1. AC said

    The HDB is a bureaucracy, and as such tends to stick to regulations and case precedence.

    While there are leeway for appeals depending on circumstances – make no mistakes it’s an appeal – it’s a better start to begin with the willingness to accept compromises and tone down demands.

    Perhaps the author was unduly provoked by the HDB officer, but if the tone and tenor of this article was used in the exchange with the HDB side – then it is no wonder that little sympathy was found.

    Also, while it understandably unfortunate that one have to incur rents or loan charges of a new apartment after selling one’s private property – such circumstances can are hardly be equated to those who are truly poor i.e. those with no private property to sell, no children to turn to, which are then “forced (families) to live in void decks, under the flyover, or in the rubbish damp or on beaches”.

  2. lilydaam said

    Hi AC
    We went back to Singapore to submit our application form. We’ve no exchange be it verbal or written with HDB personnel whatsoever. Neither have we spoken to the officer Ms Tang. She also has not spoken to us to verify any fact in our application. No investigation was done whatsoever. Her name only came to us through email reply from HDB. Does it sound like we antagonised someone at HDB?
    I am writing this out of frustration. Ministers, civil servants want pay rise. Shody work yet demand for pay rise. There has been talks about helping the poor etc etc. These are eyewash. What are they doing for those of us who are caught between the rafts. All we need is a life line, just to get pass this phase. Till we are back on our feet again. Like how the gahmen help PR relocate. Is this too much to ask from HDB? Bureaucracy aside. There is no heartware. Only hardware.

  3. AC said

    Hi Lilydaam,

    My advise will be to call HDB up to talk on the phone first – civil servants tend to be very wary of making any promises direct or implicit on emails. There might be more room for negotiation if you talk to them directly, or better still drop by at HDB to have a face to face chat.

    If you are still unable to get any assistance from HDB, you can then escalate up by contacting your MP for help. If your MP is willing to represent you for negotiations with the HDB, it will put you at a much better position.

  4. No line said

    The problem is more subtle. There is a system but the quality of people or lack of does not support it. The breed is corrupted it is as simple as that! Those who have encountered it will know best.

  5. lilydaam said

    Hi No Line
    I agree with you. There is a deep rooted disregard, disrespect for the ordinary citizen that pervade through the ranks. Rules and laws were formulated mechanically.
    Look at the recent event where total strangers were forced to live under the same roof utimately ending in tragedy. Grandchildren under 35years cannot rent an apartment to live with grandparent. What were the lawmakers thinking??? It eludes me.
    Similarly, they prefer that people end up sleeping on the sidewalks then help them to solve their mortage problem. Their mind set is you die your problem. The easiest solution is to throw the default problem to the banks. Tai-chi master of the highest order like the master they serve. Aged problem… throw it to the families. The Singapore Inc. has no duty towards it’s citizen except the elite.
    The rot is deep rooted. The cancer has spread.

  6. remo said

    Facing same problem with our HDB flat, we sold our flat and now problem getting Home Loan from bank to buy new another flat. i’m earning about 2k monthly, just because of a default and delay payment in my existing flat with Standard Chartered Bank, all the bank rejected our Home Loan applications, now we are homeless.


  7. RaymondChua said

    lilydaam, remo,
    When you agree Singapore is in fact Singapore Incorporated with
    CEO=CFO= Joker Lee,
    CEO Mentor = MM Lee (Mama Lee), so proclaimed “founder of Singapore Inc”,
    CEO Advisor = GCT
    And board of directors and executive include Hojinx, nepotism,

    then Money is the primary reason for Singapore existence (In all business, money is the fundamental and number one priority), everything else remain secondary. And if those secondary thing become a cost, then it will be push to somebody else to do it. That’s why, Singapore gov has reached a stage where only a total revamped gov is needed with no attachment to existing legacy to create a new society for Singapore. Currently, the stage is Singapore is sinking and pretending to float.

    Singapore gov has increasingly becoming a router. When it get problem, it route the problem back to the people to resolve !

    Amazing gov ! The only successful gov in the world that able to rip money off the public without been questioned and contest !

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