2017年4月3日星期一,「香港考試及評核局」(Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority;HKEAA) 舉辦「2017年香港中學文憑考試」(Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination 2017;DSE2017),其核心科目之一的「通識教育科」(Liberal Studies) 當天開考,共有約六萬二千名考生應考。試卷一為資料回應題,共有三條全部為必答考題,於兩小時完卷,必須以中文作答。

第1題摘錄一份有關香港華裔人士對不同少數族裔群體接受程度的調查報告、期刊及報刊評論文章,並問及考生多大程度上認同香港是個族裔共融的社會。

第2題節錄中國家庭年均收入的數據、一幅漫畫及一篇有關國家主席習近平出席滅貧論壇的新聞報道,要求考生就「搬遷貧困人口能否使中國顯著地減貧」提出及解釋一個支持和反對的論據。

第3題則要求考生比較新加坡和香港的開心程度,及建議應先解決哪兩項生活質素,從而提升香港對生活質素的滿意度。

長久以來,不論在本土和國際,許多媒體和社會人士都經常將新加坡和香港從各方面作比對,雅帆對第3題也特別感興趣,現首先將此試題引述如下,之後並邀請好友「祖兄」根據他所熟悉新加坡和香港兩地的社會狀況和生活模式,再做詳細分析。

【試題引述開始】

“3. 細閱以下資料:
圖A及B顯示2015年新加坡和香港的開心程度及對生活素質的滿意度的調查結果。該調查要求受訪者以1至10的等級評定其個人感覺的開心程度及對六個生活素質向度的滿意度。

圖A:新加坡與香港的開心程度﹡
(﹡受訪者以1至10的等級評定其個人感覺的開心程度:10=最高開心程度,1=最低開心程度)
新加坡:7.56;
香港:6.98。

圖B:新加坡和香港對生活素質的滿意度﹡
(﹡受訪者以1至10的等級評定其對每個生活素質向度的滿意度:10=最高滿意度,1=最低滿意度)
(1) 政治及社會狀況–新加坡:7.11;香港:4.41。
(2) 經濟狀況–新加坡:7.40;香港:5.66。
(3) 環境狀況–新加坡:7.85;香港:4.90。
(4) 醫療及保健狀況–新加坡:7.45;香港:5.88。
(5) 娛樂消閒狀況–新加坡:7.62;香港:6.70。
(6) 住屋狀況–新加坡:7.27;香港:4.22。

(a) 根據資料,比較新加坡和香港的開心程度,並比較這兩地對生活素質滿意度的模式。(5分)
(b) 根據資料,解釋哪兩個香港生活素質的向度應優先獲得改善,以提升香港的開心程度,就你提出的每一個向度,建議並解釋在香港可改善這向度的生活素質滿意度的一個方法。(8分)”

【試題引述完畢】

在回答副題a時,考生或許祇需簡單、清楚比較數值,再從數據中分類和指出一些現象便可。至於在回答副題b時,或許完全對新加坡的狀況毫無認識,全不引述,也可回答試題。然而,從學問求知的角度,雅帆卻期望能更深入去理解這項議題,於是誠邀「祖兄」拔刀相助,提攜後進。「祖兄」不辭勞苦,搜集一些數據,整理連串資料,撰寫幾篇文章,分別從不同範疇比較及闡釋新加坡和香港的生活質素。本篇首先從房屋和公積金說起。

Housing Landscape and Central Provident Fund Scheme of Singapore

There is a great difference in the housing landscape of Hong Kong (HKG) and Singapore and most HKG people are not satisfied with the government in this area.

The housing markets in Singapore are carefully segmented and regulated by the government who has intensive control over land and housing supply. More than 80% of the Singapore population lives in housing units which are built and sold/rent by the state owned Housing Development Board (HDB). The government has actively intervened in the housing market to curb speculative demand and the foreign investor’s demand by using HDB (with its strong housing supply and pricing muscles) and other fiscal tools to cool down the market when they think that the property price increase may develop into an asset bubble. The private property developers would also follow the rules and prevailing market directions set by the authorities and they do not have the capability of influencing the government’s decision like the HKG property tycoons. Any way the largest private property group is also owned by the Singapore government.

Central provident fund (CPF) contribution is mandatory for each Singapore citizen and permanent resident (PR). 20% of the worker’s monthly pay is deducted at source as their CPF contribution and the employer also contributes 17 % for the worker who is below 55 years of age, so a total of 37% of the wage is transferred to their CPF account which is managed by the government with guaranteed future payments when they retire. However, the retirement income is based purely on the CPF contributions made before the worker’s retirement (currently at the age of 65), the retirement income may not be sufficient for the low income group. Facing an aging population like HKG, they are now looking into the possibility of setting up a basic pension amount for the needed group in future.

A large part of the CPF account balance can be used to pay mortgage loan when they buy government/private housing units. The mortgage period for HDB flats can be up to 25 years and a cash grant would be given by the government to the first-time home buyers, therefore it is easier for a young working couple to buy their own home in the newly developed areas with lower sales price. The mortgage loan default risk to the bank or HDB is much lower when property prices fall during the property market recession cycle.

As of today this housing planning and regulation system works for Singapore as the public administration is competent. The pay of civil servants is benchmarked against private sector salaries to attract talents and there is zero tolerance for corruption. When a government is weak or corrupt, the intensive control and intervention exercised by the authorities can lead to corruption or great disaster in its resource allocation.

In the case of HKG, the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) is not managed and guaranteed by the government. The maximum monthly contribution of HK$3,000 is also too low to enable the worker to use MPF for home mortgage payment at the current property prices. As strong legislative power would be required to enable the government to collect a larger part of the worker’s wage as MPF contribution, it is difficult to do so in HKG under the current political scene with a lack of trust between the pro-democratic parties and the government.

【後記:
Singapore’s Housing Policy
There was an accute housing shortage in the 1950’s and private sector resources were insufficient to satisfy the housing needs of the people. HDB started its operation in 1960 under the Home Ownership for the People scheme launched by the government. All the land was acquired by the government and squatter settlement areas were cleared. The housing market is segmented according to the regulations on the household’s eligibility. Each citizen household is eligible to purchase one flat directly from HDB at a discounted price (when compared to the second hand market price when the HDB flat is sold by the original buyer) if the household gross monthly income is less than the threshold set by the government (SGS12,000 p.m at the moment). The HDB flats re-sale sector is open to both citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners can only buy private housing and condominium units. A citizen can buy one or more private housing unit so long as they still live in their HDB flats.

Singapore is a multi-racial country with 74% of the resident population being Chinese, 13% Malay and 10% Indian. The government believed that the public housing program should not allow the development of low income or ethnic enclaves to maintain social harmony on a long term basis. HDB has implemented Ethnic Integration policy whereby racial ownership limits were set for HDB housing blocks/estates. When the pre-set racial limit is reached for a HDB block, the owners who want to sell their flats in that estate/block can only sell it to another household of the same ethnic group.

It is fair to say that improvement in the country’s living environment and standard of government housing in the last 50 years have provided a visible evidence of the successful economic development of Singapore to her people. About 87% of the Singapore residents own their houses by 2010 and 82% of them are living in HDB flats. In the 1960s Lee Kuan Yew said that every citizen must be given a stake in the country and its future. He wanted to see a home-owning society in order to gain political stability as he believed that the sense of ownership was vital for the newly established country. The other motive was to give all the parents whose sons have to do national service a stake in the Singapore nation. If the soldier’s family did not own their house, the soldier would soon conclude that he is only fighting for the properties of the rich and elite class. Similar issue of inequality has surfaced recently in US and certain European countries which had affected their general election outcome.

I think the Chief Executive of Hong Kong can learn from the Singapore’s experience and allocate more resource to address the housing problem in order to win back the heart of the younger generation. The cooling measures of increasing the cash down payment and reducing the bank’s mortgage loan percentage won’t work for long if the China investors are not impacted by such measures.
2017年6月10日。】

有關其他範疇的比較及闡釋,且聽下回分解。

備註:本文部分資料,引述自香港考試及評核局,謹此鳴謝。

這篇文章發表 於 星期三, 六月 7th, 2017 4:22 上午 在 邁向現代 Road to Modernity. 你可以回應這篇文章透過 RSS 2.0 feed. 你可以 留下回覆, 或 引用 從你的個人網站.

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