This is a work of fiction
How much risk would you take, to be able to own a flat at one of the most coveted spot in the country ?
It’s every Singaporean’s dream to own a million-dollar public housing.
My wife Tricia and I are no different.
It’s common sense. Buying a subsidised flat from the government at a low price, stay in it for a few years and flip it for a profit up to almost half a million or more at tax payers expense.
However such flats are far from plenty.
Getting your hands on one is as good as striking lottery.
When Tricia and I saw the new plot of flats available for balloting at the new southern island, we knew we have to try for one.
It’s a huge piece of reclaimed land stretching outwards just beside one of our most famous tourist attraction, Sentosa.
Located right at the tip of that new land, is a plot of coveted public housing site that the government has put up for new couples and families to apply for.
Now, Tricia and I were still dating when the application came out but we were thinking it’s going to take another 4-5 years to build. By then, I’m pretty sure we’re well into our working career and ready for marriage, not to mention starting a family.
So we threw our bid in and see if we would strike the lottery.
To give this development some context, just a few kilometres to it’s right, it’s the place where billionaires pay tens of millions for a house at the tip of Sentosa Cove.
The people who are going to stay here is going to get that same view, much more amenities, public transport, schools, childcare, everything thing under the sun at a subsidised rate.
The 4 room flat Tricia and I are going for cost 600 thousand after subsidies. It’s a lot of money but a similar place in a private development would cost you close to 3 million.
Earlier developments further inland on the same reclaimed land are already fetching 1.5 to 1.7 Million on the resale market.
These are public housing we’re talking about, those folks got it for less than 500 thousand.
So I can already imagine Tricia and I getting a flat for 600, and selling it for 1.7 at least in a few years.
We’ll be millionaires overnight.
Needless to say, the amount of competition for the flats will be massive. Everyone will want a shot at this.
The lottery effect is too tempting to ignore.
It may be 99 years lease but imagine staying at a place like this, en route to become a millionaire and still getting utilities rebates, GST vouchers, estates upgrading, all the frills that comes with public housing.
Of course, priorities will be given to young couples like us.
I mean, the government want more families, more babies, so first timers like Tricia and I, we get additional chance at the ballot.
1 more chance than others.
I remember sitting beside Tricia at the computer when we were filling out the application.
The usual details, income levels, declarations and the what nots and we finally came to the last page.
The last section.
The last paragraph in fine print with a small checkbox.
A small checkbox that has huge implication over the results of the ballot should you choose to check it.
Now, that check box, binds you to an agreement with the government.
It says that upon moving in to your new place, you need to start a family within a year.
That is the agreement.
All is good if you start a family before that, but the latest, and I mean the latest the government is going to give you, is 365 days after key collection to be certified pregnant.
Tricia : should we check it… ?
James : I… I don’t know… it increases our chances greatly. … and the cost savings….
Tricia : I don’t know…. Is it too big a risk to take ?
James ; But we know we want kids for sure right….
Tricia : of course… we agreed on 2 remember…. ?
James : I… I’m not sure.. the pressure is huge….
Tricia : it’s….i don’t know either…. The money we can save… and…. Getting additional chances…..
We deliberated for almost 30 mintues before Tricia checked that box.
It’s not just a simple tick.
Checking that box brings up additional declaration that both parties have to electronically sign and adhere strictly too. Failure which, the flat will be repossessed and all subsidies will be recovered from you.
With the amount of money involved, we will be bankrupt.
We signed it eventually, and we got ourselves bind to the agreement.
Our balloting chances went up 10 times, giving us 20 shots at getting a favourable queue number.
We were the first 50 in line to select a flat at that coveted spot for public housing.
Tricia and I picked out a unit on the 45th floor, just 3 stories before the roof.
It would have cost us almost 650 thousand but that magical check box worked it’s magic.
It brought the price down to 200 thousand.
We were thrilled and over the moon.
We won the lottery.
We’re literally set for life if we stay there for a few years, start a family, let the kids grow up a littler before selling the place and moving inland to a cheaper location.
The profit would be our retirement and travelling fund.
Time flew by and before we realised it, the flat was almost ready.
Tricia and I were married and at 27, we started trying for a kid.
You see, we received notification that the flat will be ready for us in 6 months.
I figured we start trying, my wife would be pregnant and the flat would be ready for us to welcome a new addition to the family.
We really tried.
Upon collecting our keys to our flat, I was starting to feel a little nervous.
It’s not that easy.
I was shaking a little when I took the keys and opened the door to our new place.
It’s beautiful, fully furnished and ready for move in after a bit of light cleaning.
Tricia and I moved in 2 months later, and we kept trying.
We kept trying, and trying, but still, nothing.
We went to a doctor and realised that, my sperms, were of pretty low quality. I could fix it easily with a proper diet and some supplements and that’s that we did.
By the 9th month, I was starting to feel the pressure.
The stress and anxiety made it impossible to get in the mood for sex. My wife is pretty, Tricia is hot and sweet. She has a lot of suitors and even though she’s married, she still gets the occasional proposition from overseas colleagues when they are in town.
By the 11th month, Tricia and I were quarrelling over this.
It’s stressful for the both of us but we managed to work it out and we kept trying.
When her menses came on the 12th month, she sank down on the floor and cried.
I too sat down on the floor of my million dollar flat as I looked at the setting sun outside my flat. A priceless unblocked view of the blue sea.
You see, the checkbox had clauses.
Other clauses other than taking your flat back from you.
It is not the intention of the government to make you homeless.
They just want more babies.
And the agreement clearly states that, if you are not capable of getting pregnant on your own, you’re going to get help.
In simple terms, if your husband is not fertilising your eggs, the government is going to find someone else who can.
And it’s a open secret that the government has very low risk appetite.
When they send in the help, they don’t send just one.
I dropped the drink can in my hand as I looked at Tricia wiped up her tears as she went about doing the laundry.
My cock started getting harder. I was getting an erection.
It was a strange feeling.
I know the inevitable.
And I know because I’m the husband, I get the option of choosing whether I want to watch it happen.
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