Monday, June 14, 2010

Town council management report

Just a few days ago, the government released the inaugural town council management report. The report grades and as a result of the grading, ranks town council in areas like maintenance and facilities.

As a layman living in a housing estate managed by the town council, the town council management report and its result does not really interest me a lot. In fact, though I am an avid reader of the daily newspapers, I did not even check the ranking and results of the town council managing my estate.

Like me, I think most Singaporeans are quite apathetic to the results of the town council management report as generally, the facilities, hygience and upkeeping standard of town councils do not differ much from one to another. There will bound to be times where facilities are dirty and hygience problems arise but if these problems were to persist for a prolonged period of time, they will be reported in the daily newspapers already in the form of letters to the forums or even a special feature!

Instead of a town council management report, the authorities should comission a report on the "Happiness Index of Singapore constituencies": how happy are residents living in their consitituencies.

There is a "Happiest country in the world" ranking by some authorities, hence we can also have a "Happiest Estate in Singapore" form of ranking. Residents can be surveyed on how happy they are living in the estates. This report will definitely be more useful than the town management council report which, in my opinion measures just the tangible aspect and not the qualitative parts of Singapore living.

If an estate scores the poorest in this "Happiest Estate" ranking, the town councils, residents committees, CDC or CCC can immediately follow up to find out the root causes. Some reasons that may cause unhappy estate living could be due to overcrowding, congestion, increase of foreigners in the estate, increase of rodents, insufficient community engagement and so on and so forth.

Like the town council management report, if this "Happiest Estate" ranking were to be implemented, definitely I do not want them to be used to the housing agents' advantage. Can you imagine a housing agent telling a buyer to pay more for a flat in Tanjong Pagar because it is No.1 or Happiest town council in ranking? Luckily, Singapore now have the Council of Estate Agents to rein in errant agents.

I hope the government can look into implementing the "Happiest Estate in Singapore" ranking. The survey or means of collating the responses from residents can be coordinated by the Citizens' Consultative Committees from each consitituency.

Some people may say such a "Happiest Estate" ranking is irrelevant as the results will show up every 5 years when it comes to General Election. However, the happiness of residents when come to polling day hinge on the which political party he or she would like to bring Singapore forward.

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