Greece’s doomed generation and the good fortunes of Singaporeans

May 12, 11 Greece’s doomed generation and the good fortunes of Singaporeans

Read an article on The Guardian recently about ‘Greece’s doomed generation‘. It basically talks about how Greece is hit with all the Austerity measures imposed by IMF after they  hit the economic crisis in 2009/2010.

Somehow, the more ‘developed’ you become as a nation, the less you are willing to give up. This seems to resonate with me in the recent Singapore GE, and this article. In the 1996-1998 asian economic crisis, the Thai, Indonesian, Vietnam, even Malaysia and Singapore got hit by a sudden crash in the currencies. Thailand and Indonesian were the worst hit. IMF imposed measures and controls on the Government then in order to rein in spending. Essentially, that means they gave the reins of the economy to an external party, who’s job is just to cut your spending. The citizens of these country then went through pain, because budgets were cut, non-essential services were restrained. Now we see the same in Greece because they have fallen hard from grace. The difference is that because of a higher education level, and that they are used to the material comforts in life, there is massive protests.

I went to my favourite site, wikipedia, to look up on Greece and Singapore. It’s amazing how similar they are in terms of economy!

Greece Singapore
GDP $302 billion $235 bilion
GDP per capita $29,240.00 $50,300.00
GDP by sector 4% agriculture 17.6% industry 78.5% services 0% agriculture 26.8% industry 73.2% services
Labour force 5.05 million 3.03 million
Public Debt 142.8% of GDP 117.6% of GDP
Foreign Reserves $5.546 billion $187.8 billion


Their demise came out simply because of falling state revenue and increasing government expenditures. How fast the ball changes.
The  Singapore GE that just ended made me wonder. We are like Greece, with no natural resources (typically), relying on a few economic engines and largely the services industry, but otherwise, essentially nothing to fall back on. I hope I would never have to see the day that Singapore falls from grace. Before 2008, who would have thought that Greece, such a beautiful country, would fall so hard? 40% unemployment for the working class at the peak of their lives (18-24 years old) is no joke!

It has been less than 12 months since this crisis began, but little stories that illustrate the change keep bubbling up: homeless people looking for food in dustbins; friends fired without compensation, or accepting wage cuts; police officers beating up citizens who protest; schools and hospitals shutting; teachers and doctors losing their jobs; journalists censored; trade unionists persecuted; racist attacks downtown. Legality, majority, democracy and equality start to seem like odd little words.

All of a sudden, things that only a year ago happened in remote, underdeveloped places – as if to prove how lucky we were to belong in civilised Europe – are now happening here in Greece. But Greeks cannot complain, cannot react, because they are told that the crisis is their fault – even if everyone knows it cannot be just their fault.

Do spend some time to read the article here!




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