Singapore is a not a clean city. It’s a cleaned city.

So what we may ask?

More than S$120m a year is spent on cleaning public spaces. And PAPpies not happy that the PAP administration has to this amount to keep S’pore clean. (Perhaps they hope that this money can be diverted to millionaire ministers?).

The PAPpy unhappiness

At first, the policy [LKY’s Clean and Green policy of which the anti-littering campaign was part of ] worked, according to Liak Teng Lit, chairman of the National Environment Agency. A combination of public awareness campaigning and punitive measures made a difference. More people picked up after themselves. The city became cleaner.


Green S’pore

LKY & greenery

My S’pore: A greener & more pleasant land

Urban planning: a constrasting tale of UK cities & S’pore

2025: LKY’s memorial unveiled

Uniquely global: Rainforest in a global city


In 1961, Singapore had a “broom brigade” of 7,000 day labourers who were directly employed by the department of health. By 1989, there were only 2,100.

But things changed. The city became wealthier, and it became easier to use low-cost labour to clean up. Nowadays, says Liak, Singapore isn’t clean because locals fear fines. It’s clean because there’s an army of workers scrubbing it. They do the heavy lifting. More than anyone else, they keep Singapore clean.

“Singapore is a not a clean city. It’s a cleaned city,” Liak declares.

There are 56,000 cleaners registered with the National Environment Agency. There are likely thousands of independent contractors who aren’t registered. Mostly they’re low-paid foreign workers or elderly workers. Taipei, by contrast, has maybe 5,000 cleaners, Liak adds.

One reason they give for wanting us to pick up litter: good for our souls i.e. civic consciousness the PAPpy way

Edward D’Silva [chairman of the Public Hygiene Council] is frustrated about the way the rise of this army of cleaners has changed the culture in Singapore. With so many cleaners, Singaporeans came to regard cleaning up as someone else’s job. Today, Singaporeans often leave their tray on the table at hawker centres after eating a meal, because they don’t consider it littering, or they think it’s the cleaners’ job to clean up after them. (In fairness, tray return facilities were only installed in 2013.)

D’Silva says students don’t pick up after themselves either, because they’ve always had a cleaner to do it for them. It’s something the Public Hygiene Council is trying to address at local schools. Simply put, he thinks Singaporeans have had it too easy for too long, and they need to change. Liak agrees.

“The government cleans the apartment [building], right up to your corridor, typically twice a day. When you have a very efficient cleaning service, and your neighbour messes up the place, you don’t blame the neighbour, you blame the cleaner for not picking it up,” he says.

BBC report

The real reason, want to save $:

In Singapore, cleaners are mostly drawn from a pool of roughly a million foreign workers as well as local aged workers. But as Singapore’s population grows and labour becomes more expensive, it simply won’t be affordable to employ so many cleaners.

Edward D’Silva says part of the original push for a cleaner Singapore was economic. Cleaning public spaces is expensive and it takes money away from more valuable pursuits. He says that’s still the case, and Singapore needs to change its behaviour fast. Singapore spends at least SGD$120m (US$87m) a year on cleaning public spaces.

“If you are able to instill and cultivate a habit whereby people don’t throw their litter anywhere and anyhow, then the money you would have otherwise spent to employ those cleaners, well, millions of dollars could have been better spent on health and education,” he said.

BBC report

As usual with the PAP, it’s all about money.




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11 Responses to “Singapore is a not a clean city. It’s a cleaned city.”

  • Malaysia boleh Singapore bodoh:

    Yep, my CPF account got “cleaned” after paying for “subsidized and affordable” public housing (HDB).

    GD Star Rating
  • Harder Truths:

    Ok all you pappy clowns

    Get rid of all your cleaners and do your own work.
    Get rid of your elitist and privileged mentality – lead by example.

    Your cleaners are paid using our tax money by the way.
    Whereas the cleaners in the foodcourts are paid with our money anyway.

    Plus cleaners are not there for fun – they have to work to support themselves since you f**ks have left them no way to look after themselves in their old age. Even that small way of earning a living you are trying to destroy.

    All kinds of advice and demands but always for others – never for your own kind.

    GD Star Rating
  • article no author name, ci?:


    left out by accident?

    GD Star Rating
  • StopPointingFingers:

    Clean city or cleaned city, so?
    Who brought in the millions of foreigners mostly from 3rd worlds.
    Before that happened the whole world recognised our sg as a clean and green city . We were proud of our SG then and we all did our part.
    A case of pointing a finger n saying”sgs commit more crimes huh?

    GD Star Rating
  • Change We Must:

    After so many years Singaporeans are still not educated on the consequences of littering. They still don’t understand the impact it can cause to our environment. It becomes worst when are importing third world migrant workers to our country. Saw them throwing rubbish as they wish and spitting anywhere they wanted to. We have to do something to these foreigners as well.

    GD Star Rating
  • Rabble-rouser:

    Been to Developed Economies like Japan, Australia, the US, etc. The basic standard of cleanliness is the food courts & the public toilets in heavy footfall areas. S’pore’s level of hygiene & cleanliness is absolutely bad except for the high-end areas like top-end shopping malls, hotels & posh buildings.
    In the HDB housing estates, the greater the proportion of foreigners living there, the dirtier the estate. Somehow, the mentality of 3rd world migrants can’t change!
    And Hawker Centres are the yuckiest of them all. table strewn with scraps of tissue paper, regurgitated food remains & messy situation after eating. People in S’pore have very bad eating habits – they don’t keep the table clean after eating & ensure the next patrons enjoy the benefit of their tidiness. They messed the table up as if they don’t want people to use the table after them. Just like feral dogs marking their territory with their sh**!
    Don’t understand why S’pore were still so labour dependent after so many years? The PAP Ministers pay themselves millions of dollars for governance but their performance is terrible for the money’s worth! All one needs is to go to Japan ie. Tokyo or Osaka! Most eateries like Ramen Joints, no waiters taking your order, you just punch your order & pay into a cash vending machine & hand your ticket over the counter.
    After eating, you place your bowls & tray back to a return counter. No one messes up their eating space. They even used their own wet towels to clean up after themselves & throw their wet towel themselves, not leaving it behind like S’porean do for others to clean up. There is a level of civic consciousness with Japanese people. Why can’t S’poreans or people in S’pore do the same?
    In Japan, most utensils are washed in dish washers, no manual labour! And the toilets in Japan are the most advanced & automated in the world. You can get your arse washed with a jetstream of water.
    And S’pore is really way behind in the recycling effort. In most developed economies, household sort out their own waste into burnable or organic waster, recyclable wastes like paper packaging, cans & PET bottles, etc.
    There are 3 things lacking in S’pore & that is PAP govt’s fault:
    * Lack of education in civic consciousness in looking after the environment & in tidiness;
    * Use of Manpower instead of using technology in cleaning up after people’s untidy habits;
    * Lack of recyclable waste initiatives & management – everything simply goes down the chute!

    GD Star Rating
  • LIONS:

    Clean n Green?
    More like CREAM N GRIN?

    GD Star Rating
  • John Lim:

    In the mid 1960s we were constantly reminded not to litter. We even had inspectors who would haul up even those who flick cigarette ash on the street. You don’t find these inspectors anymore! It was a culture ingrained in us. Now we have almost 50% foreigners – how many of them care about NOT littering??

    GD Star Rating
  • Yoda:

    John Lim:
    In the mid 1960s we were constantly reminded not to litter. We even had inspectors who would haul up even those who flick cigarette ash on the street. You don’t find these inspectors anymore! It was a culture ingrained in us. Now we have almost 50% foreigners – how many of them care about NOT littering??


    Taipei, by contrast, has maybe 5,000 cleaners”
    What is the percentage of foreigners in Taipei?

    GD Star Rating
  • Look who's talking:

    Bring in more n more foreign trash , so naturally will generate more rubbish.
    Why complain?
    Its the root of all evil= overpopulation..not money.

    GD Star Rating
  • patriot of Temesak:

    Figure this OUT???… Foreign Cleaners…50,000 of the LEEGALLY employed by well-connected Cleaning contractors…exclude the +-6,000 Singaporeans doing it as a Form of Exercise…

    Going rate used to be $8000 PER HEAD but owing to competition and regulations let’s reduce it by 50% to $4000 per head

    MULTIPLY…50,000 Leegal FC with $4,000 up front payment…

    VOILA!!! $200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million) to be shared by the LeeGally Corrupted Connected

    AND…this does NOT include the Maids and Pass Holders all MUST PAY this LEEgal Corrupted FEE…and there at least 500,000 falling into this category

    NOW…tell me am I stoopid or am I envious of the 5-10% making this Multi-Million maybe Billion LeeGally Corrupted BUSINESSS???

    GD Star Rating
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