Another sign Singapore is bursting at the seams?


In yet another worrying sign that Singapore is fraying at the edges, an elderly retiree was left with a fractured eye socket after a parking scuffle at Serangoon Gardens turned ugly.

Retired businessman Goh Poh Ket, 65, claimed he was punched and assaulted by a man and his two sons after he parked his car outside their home along Jalan Chulek, reported The Straits Times.

What began as a shouting match between all four ended up in Goh being viciously hit by a remote control, a plastic bottle and a sock filled with a hard substance, no less.

Madam Lee, a resident and housewife in her 50s, told the paper, "Their sons even said, 'old man still want to fight with us,' and I told them to make sure they don't grow old."

All four men in the ugly brawl have since been arrested by police.

Frustration, anger, rage, incivility -- increasingly, these are the ugly emotions bubbling forth, online and offline, as an increasingly fractious Singapore copes with its burgeoning 5.1 million population.

The current Singapore Kindness Movement campaign to inculcate social graces among all living on this island is proving to be an uphill battle.

Just last month, a spat caught on video between a young lady and an auntie -- both Singaporean -- over an MRT seat went viral. A few days later, two uncles were caught on tape again in a vicious public brawl on a bus.

Is this the kind of Singapore we want our kids to grow up in?

Latest statistics from SBS Transit revealed that disputes between passengers on SBS buses have risen by 68 per cent in the last two years.

In a thought-provoking opinion piece back in May, Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez challenged the government and public policy-makers to come out and say just how many people it thought can live on this island.

6.5 million? Or how about 8 million?

And he is right.

Because no matter how many open spaces or sprawling "green gardens" you plant, Singapore will always be limited by its size.

Build and reclaim all you want, but that fact cannot be changed.

Singapore's infrastructure -- roads, public and private housing, public transport, education system -- is already straining under the current load. Just how many more people can we afford to have cramped into this island?

Add to that the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots, and I fear for Singapore.

For unless a solution is found quickly and our course altered, this little red dot is going to be an uglier, nastier place in time to come.