Amidst the myriads of news that made the headlines in recent weeks, with Malaysia losing another aircraft, volatile movements on currencies, and plummeting oil prices, another piece of news that caught my attention was, the uproar and outcry of residents in a particular district closer to home.
Apparently, there’s a plot of land within proximity of a residential area that’s been gazette for religious use, and it seems there’s a clause that allows the religious organization to use up to 20% of the land for columbarium. Evidently, the residents are not quite pleased with this piece of news, because the entities seemed to be corporate and is quite bewildering. Some cited tangible reasons, of fear that their home prices would be affected, some don’t welcome the notion of cremating services etc.
I’m not going to agree with the relevant authorities and agencies, nor, the residents’ reaction. It’s quite obvious that whoever responsible for these decisions, are not quite handling the situation amicably, but as we all know, it’s not possible to please everyone as well.
I’m not going to dwell much on the politics or technicalities of the entities, but I’m more concerned about the meta perspective of things for the island, for the country as an entirety and for the future.
Singapore is a tiny island, land is becoming scarce. Hence, situation warrants more high-rise developments. With the population growth, it is fast becoming a norm for residential developments to clock 20-30 floors high, and in some areas, averaging 40 floors or more. Not to mention, the population density against land mass continues to stretch the threshold for almost every infrastructure as we speak.
On one hand, dense population may promote closer human interaction & cohesion, but the flip-side is, it gets claustrophobic. And because human by nature, need their radius of personal space, people feel intruded when that radius is shrunken or breached.
Though it may seem quite taboo, but in some other cities, it’s a norm for people to be literally living among the dead, or vice versa.
Within the next decade or so, it’s foreseeable that, some of the frowned upon facilities, amenities or services may eventually be located at one’s doorsteps. Are we mentally & emotionally prepared to be living right next to a sanitation facility? Will we welcome mourners weeping daily when a funeral parlor is next door? Will we be able to appreciate a view from the balcony overlooking a scrap yard?
So, unless the relevant authorities and decision makers start planning for celebrations towards the nation’s next jubilee, in having more subterranean, submarine, or off-shore developments to accommodate the sky rocketing demands (between now till then); things will only continue to get a little more crowded.
Off the cuff, a new crematorium or columbarium weighs almost the least of development problems for the country presently. There’s need for some serious catching up on medical facilities, day care, elder care, facilities for any form of impairment etc. And penitentiary facilities should all be relocated offshore in the likes of Alcatraz, so more land can be freed for development.
We don’t know if these ideas will only fall upon deaf ears for the next decade or 2, but the spike in land prices is perceived to be an economical merit that makes some people look good; at the expense of those who put them in the position to do so.