The Understandably Xenophobic Mob
Sinha Shekhar angered the mob when the whined that he paid really high for his resale HDB flat and the low rental could not cover his property tax. The mob, personified by the tabloid Temasek Reivew, was furious that he was showing off that he had a HDB flat for rental and a private property for occupation. They also wanted HDB to evict the naturalised citizen and repossess his flat, confident that he had flouted HDB rules for renting out his HDB flat.
Sinha represents the bane of the mob. Firstly he is still seen as a foreigner notwithstanding that he converted to being a citizen on paper. Secondly, he is from the PAP. Thirdly, he is a showing off his supposed wealth i.e. he has rental property. Whether that rage is envious xenophobia or not, perhaps, as Singaporeans are generally frustrated that they are being apparently marginalised by the cheaper workers from outside Singapore.
HDB has since clarified that Sinha had occupied the HDB property for more than 5 years and therefore could rent it out, a policy that has benefited other Singapore landlords. Furthermore, that he bought his HDB flat probably from a Singaporean at a high price in 1997 when the property bubble was at its peak was lost to the mob i.e. he was screwed by a Singaporean seller if one wanted to see it that way. Besides, the foreigners who are renting and buying Singapore property now are foreigners, and the property sellers and landlords are usually Singaporeans. So while some Singaporeans feel they are being short changed by the foreign talent-trash policy, others are reaping the rewards.
Ironically, Sinha by his whining about HDB rental income being so low and missing the big picture that he at least has a second property, is more Singaporean than people think. He is complaining and that is already one of many signs that he is becoming one of those ranting Singaporeans (of which I’m somewhat proudly one of them).
Activist’s comments draw flak online
Young PAP member said that he rents out his HDB flat, lives in a private property
05:55 AM Jun 26, 2010
by Alicia Wong
SINGAPORE – For the second time in less than six months, a Young People’s Action Party (YPAP) activist has angered some netizens when he posted on the Reach Facebook page last week that he rents out his HDB flat and lives in a private property.
Earlier this year, Mr Shekar Sinha, 41, was accused of calling PAP critics “dogs” after he posted a message on Facebook.
He said he had been misunderstood then.
Realising that he could have been “insensitive” over his latest remarks on the government feedback agency’s Facebook, Mr Sinha removed the property comments not long after he had posted it.
However, speculation continued in various online forums on whether he had illegally sublet his flat.
A Facebook group and an online petition have been created to demand that the Housing Development Board (HDB) repossess the flat.
Mr Sinha, a healthcare worker who became a Singapore citizen in 1994, told MediaCorp he had the HDB’s approval. He bought the flat in 1997 and lived in it for almost nine years. He wanted to sell the flat after buying his condominium, but prices at the time were too low, he added.
After keeping the flat empty for two years, he and his wife decided to rent it out.
The HDB confirmed that it had checked Mr Sinha’s case “and found it to be in order”.
“He has met the minimum occupation period for the subletting of the flat and approval has been given,” said the HDB, noting it may impose a financial penalty or take compulsory acquisition action against those who flout the rules.
On why he removed his comments, Mr Sinha, who was writing in his personal capacity, said: “I thought it’s kind of insensitive of me, it’s like I’m trying to show off I own (two properties). … It’s not that I’m scared or hiding something.”
Mr Sinha said he will be putting up a clarification early next week.
The episode has “upset” him and distracted him from work. But Mr Sinha, a Reach Outstanding Contributors Award winner, said: “I am more determined to contribute online. I stand by truth, discipline and professionalism. But I’ll be more careful with what I say. I can be blunt … some may not understand.”