Friday, October 25, 2013

Singapore Minister says no to setting a poverty line, because it will unjustly enrich the poor.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore despite the outward appearance of good roads and skyscrapers, in terms of social welfare, it is among the worst developed in the world. For instance the government officially allows racial discrimination as it has no laws prohibiting it. It does not have any minimum wage laws allowing employers to pay a few dollars an hour if they like, and workers have no trade union protection since unions are controlled by employers.

As for the poor who suffer greatly in a Singaporean tiny concrete jungle with no welfare whatsoever to speak of, the government has stated through their Minister for Social and Family Development that it will not legally set a poverty threshold for the poor because, incredibly, such as threshold will enrich them! Please see Singapore state controlled newspaper article of Oct 23 2013 headed "Why setting poverty line may not be helpful: Minister Chan Chun Sing"

What it says is "Singapore is not considering having an official poverty line as it would not fully reflect the severity and complexity of issues faced by the poor and may also lead to those above the  line missing out on assistance"

Other than this being one long piece of long winded verbiage, or should I say garbage, intended to confound the reader without saying anything, what he is trying to say is simply this; that they are simply not interested in giving any assistance to the poor whatsoever.

It is not too difficult to realize that there are people in Singapore who are in abject poverty in the midst of the recently arrived millionaires and that unless the government helps them, they and their children are doomed to suffer in their lives. This will affect the children's performance in school, among other deleterious societal consequences, and this is certainly not in the interests of Singapore. Surely for a tiny island like this, every man woman and child should count, both rich and poor.

It is also not too difficult to realize that it is easy for a supposedly wealthy government to set a poverty line below which people are recognized as needing help and according to their family size, granted monetary assistance to bring them up to a living standard.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that, which is why every developed and some not so developed countries as well have used an official poverty line to identify and help the needy to uplift them and their offspring with a hope towards betterment.

These countries realize that setting official poverty thresholds is the only and best way to clearly identify those in need. Since this is an established nationwide figure applicable to all according to family size, it prevents complaints of bias, favoritism and  misuse of the system.

In Singapore which is adamant not to have such legally defined rules, people who are dissatisfied with government assistance can clearly point a finger at racial preference claiming the ethnic Chinese were paid more than them or because certain beneficiaries received more because of government connections.

From what I understand in Singapore today, there is a myriad of measly arbitrary plans for ad hoc assistance, such as giving bags of rice to some, giving transport allowances to others and giving school fees assistance to some others.

All these different schemes, which most do not even understand, end up not only confusing to those who desperately need help, it is intended to make it so complicated, time consuming and demoralizing, you are better off getting your teeth pulled than going through the torture. The sad truth is that many simply starve rather than be put through this nightmare.

Of course you know why they have to suffer the Byzantine rigmarole. It is simply because they don't want you to ask for help.

Ministers such as this Chan Chun Sun or whoever he is should be ashamed of himself. We all know that he draws as much as $3.7 million a year, which is five times more than President Obama and all he can do is to come up with this nonsense which no one can understand.

The only other reason why they don't want to give the poor anything may probably be because they want all the poor to die leaving Singapore island as the millionaires island, for people like him.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My 2-cent thoughts.

In a family I know, the elderly do not work, one of the working folk give up working full time to care for an intellectually disabled child, but somehow, the working members spread the money around so everyone attain a certain dignified lifestyle and they keep diseases at bay by making sure illnesses are treated, whether the person can afford or not. It is an achievable idea which we in the 21st should easily attain. Eg. On a national level, working Australians pay 1.5% of their income for universal healthcare.

What Singapore Minister Chan is trying to say is no difference from what I see in Africa.

The African continent is the richest in the world because of its resources, yet it is the poorest economically.

It is not just corruption, it is greed. The world's richest 1% holds 40% of the wealth.

To me, it is the greatest crime in the world and the greatest failure of all great people on earth, the failure to help the poor, and instead of helping the poor, the poor are trashed. The poor have problems which a government should solve, and not seen as too complex or complicated.

Someone with an IQ of 72 will not be able to understand why he or she is so unlucky to be borned as a troublemaker for the government's policymakers.