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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fabulous SIA and super fab Singapore

The above heading is now history. SIA is now an airline that is struggling to make a decent profit compared to the days when I was with the airlines. It is facing great challenges from low cost carriers as well as the Middle Eastern airlines. Over capacity and high fuel prices are the other reasons it is making less money.
During my days with SIA, it used to make anywhere from a billion $ to two billions. Nowadays, it would be fortunate not to incur a loss let alone make a profit.
We used to get 3 to 6 month bonus almost every year but now the staff will be lucky to get a  month bonus.
The share price has dropped significantly from a high $20 in January 2000 to a low of $9 in recent months (2014).

Not to mention other departments/divisions in SIA, cabin crew has been cutting cost till it hurts it staff's morale. Night stop durations are being reduced drastically and meal and other crew allowances are also being slashed. Working hours are longer and crew's off-days are reduced.

During my days, we had the luxury of staying longer at our night stop points. Take for example, we used to stay in London for 3 days on a SIN/LON flight whereas it is now 1 1/2 days. I am not talking about the 1970s or 80s. Those days we had a even longer stay in London. I am just comparing it to the 1990s and the early 2000s.
So much for SIA. I can just go on and on but it should suffice for now.

Now we turn our focus to our beloved country...SINGAPORE!

When I joined MSA in 1968 the population was a mere 2 million. The government policy of a 2 child family worked very well. The Singapore government did not want an overcrowded Singapore and it succeeded in its plan.
Singapore was an island full of greenery. There were almost zero lowly paid foreign workers. Our HDB flats were built by Singaporeans and the national service boys. The quality of the flats were far superior compared to the current ones built by foreign workers.
Cost of living was low even as salaries were low. I bought my first car, a Morris Mini that cost only $5,500 which was 5.5 months of my take home pay. My take home pay was around $1,000.
Today a small car like the Mini would cost $90,000 (COE average is $70,000) and that's 30 months of the average Singapore monthly salary of $3,000 (perhaps the average is lower). How ridiculous!
There was no ERPs or COEs because there were relatively few cars on the roads.
Driving was smooth even though we did not have an expressway. Road diggings and road construction works which often caused traffic jams these days was almost unheard of.
I did not have air-conditioning in my car because the weather was not as humid and hot as it is now. Off course there was no such a thing as HAZE!

Today our population is 5.6 million and it is going up to 6.9 million by 2030. I just wonder how this tiny island of 716 sq km could be able to house so many people.
To make matter worse, by then more than 50% of the population would made up of people from China,India, Philippines and other countries.

I feel sad and sympathise with the younger generation of Singaporeans. Their future may not be as bright as ours, the pioneer generation who have had the wonderful years in which Mr. Lee Kuan Yew ruled Singapore.


Anonymous said...

Actually, for the present young generation, as long as they have the latest smart phone, they are happy as a is good !

Jacky said...

Aiya, if things get worse in Singapore, there is no point staying here. I know of many Singaporeans who plan to retire elsewhere and not in Singapore. Every time I travel in MRT or shop in town, I see so many foreigners.

Anonymous said...

Your mini could be kept as long as you wanted too is not it?
Today's cars are not allowed to keep beyond 10 years unless you are willing to pay a hefty penalty to keep for another 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Last time, own car and drive over to JB for respray, rewiring, reupholster all less than S$1,000.

Then, drive back after 2 weeks and sell car and make profit. Buy another, and repeat... morris minor, MGB sports, Alpha Spyder, Capri, Mini-cooper.

In between, just fly to LON and get spare parts, have sex with farmer's daughter and spin zero and the neighbours.

Anonymous said...

Dont have to feel sorry for the younger gen I think they are pretty gung ho and adaptable. Of cos there are some who like to complain but most are resilient n ok de lah

Anonymous said...

I'm at my mid 20s n I'm worried about my future, even started to plan for retirement already... :(

Cabin crew wannabe next year

Anonymous said...

Just saw an advertisement. Air France is flying SIN to CGK, two way at sgd190 nett. There are at least 6 airlinea flying the route (OZ, TR, 3K, SQ, GA, JT), means 6 choices for passengers, the addition of AF will bring stiffer competition.

Anonymous said...

Being cabin crew is not a career lah.

Why you think 5 year contract?

Why no 5 year contract for policeman, bank teller, event planner?

Becos they want to get rid of you after 5 years.. you become too smart by then. Game the system.

Promotion?.. its an appointment.
There is a difference you know?