Saturday, November 24, 2007

Singapore. The plight of the poor.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I had in my post "The shameful 2 faced lives that Singaporeans lead" of Nov 15, 2007 I had narrated some observations on the aged, elderly and infirm having to work to survive because they get no help from the government.

No this is not entirely true. They get some help. Help in the form of cooking oil, rice etc. They may get also a few hundred dollars. But this is no help at all. No one with any human self dignity and self respect can live on this. So we come back to reality. Which is what I saw. People having to work despite having medical problems, despite being over 55 and so on.

And what is worse is that companies routinely terminated the employment of people who reach the age of 50 or so despite being perfectly healthy! As they are terminated from skilled jobs where the worker has the skill and experience; these skilled workers are forced to take on unskilled work such as security guard at lower pay! A friend of mine was a highly skilled and experienced storekeeper, a trade he learned in the army. When he reached 50 years, his company retrenched him. He tried to find work as a storeman for 2 years but was always rejected because of his age. For the last few years he has had no choice but to find work as a security guard at much lower pay. And while all this injustice is happening; the government has no care or concern whatever. The answer of the million dollar ministers is that Singapore is run on the principle of "free market" which means in this case that Singaporeans can go to Hell for all they care!

The situation in Singapore is like this. And it is bad. Multiple forces work against the poor and unskilled which will make life for them a living Hell.

First it is the heartless attitude, the complete and utter lack of social responsibility on the part of Lee Kuan Yew. His policy, which we have repeatedly heard is this. According to him, Singapore should not become a welfare state like Western Europeans are. Government, he says, should make sure not to provide too much assistance to the needy, because he says this will make them lazy, and when they become lazy, they will lose the competitive edge etc etc. Therefore he is not prepared to help. The only help he will give the needy is such things like cooking oil and a couple of hundred dollars which is really not enough. This means in essence, no help at all.

Second, the foreigners bring wages down. There is no law that restricts unskilled or skilled labor entering Singapore. Immigrant workers from China and India are prepared to work for much less. Therefore either the Singaporean worker accepts a pay cut to compete with the migrant worker or he goes hungry. Rather than go hungry, he takes a pay cut. Less food on the table.

Third, government fines fees and expenses go up, not down. With $100.00 US a barrel of crude oil, the government has no choice but to up the cost of everything. I read that the fine for not having a dog licence in Singapore is $5,000.00. As a result pet owners are abandoning their dogs and cats at malls, and even worse, at freeways. I hope it is not because they want their dogs run over by a car and killed!

And while all this hardship goes on, the Ministers have not too long ago raised their salaries in spite of the objections of the entire population to $3 million dollars a year. They have not told us, as to how much unofficially they siphon off corruptly, which we can be sure they do.

Tourists and visitors having a fleeting holiday in Singapore see only the crystal towers at Raffles Place and Collyer Quay and they think people are fat and eating. They do not know and have not been to the one room flats with a common corridor, one flat facing the other, with humans in those cubicles suffering untold misery, poverty in silence.

But Lee Kuan Yew is riding comfortably. He is not afraid of what his people can do. He knows they can do nothing, as for the last 40 years, they have suffered in silence. Not even a whimper. He has a rubber stamp Parliament which will jump and dance the jig whenever he wants them. He has a police force which will arrest anyone he wants arrested for no rhyme or reason. A media which he will order to say and write anything he wants.

So Singaporeans should know that this injustice to a large segment of citizens of the country goes on unabated. It is time you took up the cudgels, your spanners, your tools and said this will go on no more.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914


Anonymous said...

All the education system requirements and regulations, the media, the various government departments in Singapore are all fake and nothing more than a cover-up.

If anything goes wrong, the government has only two options left:

Attack or surrender.

War is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Hmm I just want to applaud you for your nascent post of "Singapore. The plight of the poor. " on your blog. Having a single mother over 50 yet having to eke out my education expense, I fully understand the topic at hand. Its more then true that the government is firmly unwilling to implant a "minimum wage" bill as Australia has done, despite being emphatically on "competition" - if they say they deserve their pay, shouldn't they be able to implant it and circumvent it's drawbacks?. Besides the "singaporean mindset" or "asian inferiority mindset" is working against us as expats seem to be getting better jobs and nothing is being done to protect Singaporeans.


Anonymous said...

2007 popn lineup:
China (1.3b); US (0.3b); Sin (4.5m).
China/Sin: 286x; China/US: 4.33x; US/Sin: 65.9x;
PM Sin pay $2.5m US; $percap: 0.5
US President pay $0.4 m US; $percap: 0.0013
US/Sin: 6.26 pay
US/Sin: pay per capita: 37500%; Sin at 100%;
China GIC per cap: $1000 US;
Sin GIC per cap: $28552;
China/Sin GIC per cap: 22855%; Sin at 100%!
GIC: Govt invested company

Anonymous said...

pap is in effect practising economic darwinism by offering minimal help for the poor and refusing to implement minimal wage. their logic is lower skilled singaporeans are of lower iq and should not breed. so by not helping , pap hopes they will produce less and the population will be smarter.treating citzens who have contributed to singapore so ruthlessly wil simply cause singaporeans to feel no loyalty to singapore, even the well to do singaporeans. singaporeans esp the chinese will simply go where the money is. singapore is small cramped and humid with no natural scenic beauty like other countries. i for one will leave once i have accumulated enough money.