Monday, August 24, 2015

Sing Dollar vs. Ringgit Malaysia

By the time I clicked for a new posting Ringgit Malaysia had fallen from 2.99 to 3.01 to the Sing dollar. It was only 2.69 to 1SGD 3 months ago. I have reached my limits. It has gone beyond my comfort levels. I was half joking to my friends one month ago that should the US dollar reach 4MYR to the 1USD or 1 Sing dollar to 2.9MYR I will seriously consider returning to Singapore.  I did not plan to watch PM Lee's NDR speech last night but when I checked today online,  PM Lee was about 15 mins into his speech and I listened to the end. It was one of his better speeches in recent years. Less policy details and minutaes but more statesman-like, visionary, broad strokes and historical high points that connected with the audience, at least I was inspired. I had watched all NDR speeches live since 2008. Certain details caught my attention. By 2017, retirement age will rise to 67.
I thought to myself I will have some 15 years of good work left. Perhaps by the time I reach 60, Singapore's retirement age will be 70 years old. I will start to pray seriously and it is very likely I will decide by year's end where I will spend most of 2016 and beyond. But I am not taking my foot off the accelerator just yet. As I have finished Colossians, I will commence preaching through Nehemiah in the mid week services, seeing that most who attend the Wednesday night services are leaders and committed church members. It will probably last longer than 6 months with 13 chapters but I will try to get it done by January 2016, so that I am free to move on if the call comes.

It will be sad to leave Malaysia as I am planning a discipleship programme to commence early 2016 for about 100 secondary school students and youths who attend our Sunday services. But sometimes circumstances are just insurmountable and by the rate it is going, the Ringgit can fall further to 4.5 to the 1USD and 3.3 to 1SGD by the end of the year. Capital controls and pegging of the Ringgit will probably be introduced then and the economy could take 3 or 4 years to recover.  With global uncertainty as a result of China's stock market crash, US federal reserve likely interest rate hike, low oil prices - a convergence of economic indicators all point to economic recession in 2016 and 2017 for most emerging economies especially those reliant on oil production and export. Coupled with political upheaval in Malaysia, the country finds itself caught in a perfect storm. In contrast, Singapore's political stability, good governance and large foreign reserves will weather the storm better than most countries in the region.

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