The Singapore Poor

Something I posted in response to some dude’s assertion that our Singaporean government is failing at caring for our poor…

Let me begin by stating a few assumptions:
1. There will always be the poor in any society.
2. The reasons why the poor exist are multi-faceted and therefore the approach as to how to help them must reflect this.
3. No one government can realistically be expected to take care of all the poor; society at large (via NGOs or individuals must necessarily play their role).

If the 3 premises above are acceptable then I would say considering what the Singapore government has done and is doing (especially if you compare us with countries around the world) are substantial. Just have a look at what Minister Chan Chun Sing recently shared.

Will there be people who fall in between the cracks? Of course there will, even in a good system. And the onus is on us as ‘ordinary’ citizens to play our role, either directing them to the assistance needed, or even providing for their needs ourselves.

If you take an extreme position and take every single anecdote as symbolic of systemic failure, then there really is nothing that can 1) change your mind about how good we have it 2) prompt you to positive individual action. And that is fatalistic.

While I don’t think any Singaporean doesn’t acknowledge the existence of I’ll use this term loosely, ‘legitimate poor’, who fall in between the cracks, one cannot deny there are those who remain so for not-so-legitimate reasons.

Laziness. Lack of wise decisions (gambling, over-spending etc). Refusal to upgrade their skills. Demanding being taken care of by their government (haha, joke ah, joke). This group, no system can (and I’d argue should), address their poverty issue.

Bottom-line. I think our government has provided well-thought out, sustainable, adequate assistance for the lower-income and the poor. Even as they ramp up their efforts, we as citizens can do so likewise.

Let me show you a glimpse of how that can look like.


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