What’s Happening to Singapore?

Usually my posts are about positive things that help in self development. However, I just wanna take to time to rant about the burden I feel for Singapore and its people, my home country that I love so much. To take this opportunity to stir some social consciousness.

I just watched a video that moved me deeply and at the same time stirred a deep sense of despair towards my home country. Why is our country that is SOOOOOOOOO prosperous still having such people living in poverty? It pains me to see such old folks needing to work so hard to earn such meager wages! I know I explicitly appreciate those aunties and uncles who clean my table at the food courts and hawker centres, whom I think deserve a “Thank You” from every Singaporean, unfortunately I still don’t see such appreciation for them from many Singaporeans.

Anyway, why is there still no minimal wage guidelines? Is it a problem with the system? Even the price of public transport is going to increase for the 4th time in 5 years but has our wages increased 4 times in the last 5 years? With our nation’s leader saying in his national day message (ref: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ndp07/message_english.htm)

My fellow Singaporeans,

We celebrate National Day in a happy mood. It has been another good year for Singapore. Altogether now, we have had four good years of growth.

We have many things to cheer about:

a. Our athletes are winning medals

b. Our chefs are winning culinary contests

c. Our entrepreneurs are launching new businesses

d. Our students are excelling at all kinds of international events – robotic championships, choir festivals, debates, creative problem solving contests, and mathematics and science Olympiads

e. We are gearing up for new and exciting projects, like the Formula One Grand Prix and the Integrated Resorts

Economic growth in the first half of this year was 7.6%, higher than we had expected. For the whole year, MTI has raised its growth forecast to between 7 and 8%. The good news is that we have added 111,000 jobs in the first half – the highest number ever. Unemployment is very low, at 2.4%. Workers are enjoying good wage increases and higher bonuses because businesses are doing well.

Singapore is growing not just because of more investments or more workers. Our people are adapting and working smarter. We are organising ourselves more efficiently, and making better use of our resources. In short, we have increased our productivity. Our efforts to transform our economy are paying off. The global economy is continuing to change. If we keep on adapting and readapting to it, we can keep growing strongly for many more years…….

I just wanna ask again. What is happening to Singapore? If the country is soooooo developed and prosperous, why is there still poverty? Perhaps the world needs to know what poverty looks like in Singapore.

What needs to happen?

The video on this post entitled “Nation Builders of Singapore” is created by Martyn See (http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/). Just wanna appreciate him here.

Please visit www.theonlinecitizen.com for more discussions about Singapore related issues.

10 Responses to “Poverty in Singapore? Who’s responsible?”

  1. cs2 says:

    Poverty can be found but the govt provides these people one-room flats to stay in. Another place where they might be, is in polyclinics. I was in geylang east polyclinic for an appointment and while waiting, i decided to explore the area. I found a HUGE number of old man and old women locked up behind a gate in the top most floor. Although they were locked-in, there were exercising machines and tables for these people… that was their only other choice.
    People who are poor, tend to be mentally challenged. I think what the govt has done is to associate mental illness with the mentally challenged to justify the segregation of these people from the rest of society.

  2. Andrew Choong says:

    Great Post on this awareness. Originally I wanted to write some comments but I wrote it so long that I decided that it will be a blog post on my http://www.businesspeanuts.com posting. Hopefully you do not mind.

  3. OysTeR says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the link back to my site. I do agree with you that choices made earlier in one’s life manifest into results in the latter part of one’s life. Law of Cause and Effect.

    Poverty is a world wide issue and there is no straight right or wrong answer… or straight solution to the problem. Perhaps because we are both still young, we can’t truly empathize with the elderly who live to perhaps regret the choices they made earlier in their lives.

    We have the saying that “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and even the movie “The Matrix” mentioned that they do not pull out the elderly from “the illusion” because it is tough for them to “handle” the reality. Coming back to the point of discussion, it is tough for the aged to “do something” about their situation and therefore I believe the system needs to be set up well to help these people. Albeit through the government, through family or community.

    I guess what we can do as younger people who are more aware is to become whole, independent and self subsistent to the point that we become empowered to help those in need. Of course a caring, fair and responsible government makes it easier… Still no straight answer… Guess in the end it still comes back to the choices we make and the consequences we have to live with. Cheers.

  4. Jack says:

    Great comment, and thanks for reminding be about the law of cause and effect. The government can be an enabler as well as a restrickor. But it comes down to how well we use our time towards our goals.

    I wonder if our parent’s goals were the same as ours are now? I don’t think so. Can we show appreciation for what they had to go through. Can our individual goals also support them in some way? Yes I think so.

    Looking forward to visiting again.


  5. donald says:

    hi andrew
    i think you should see this:

    Shame on those Ang Mos bullying an old man who just want to earn a living using his sweat!

  6. George says:

    Poverty exist all over the world but many in countries the elected government offer some kind of assistence in the form of cheaper medical care and transport for the over 60s. Malaysia is not a particularly rich country and yet they offer sibsidised medine for the over 65s. Singapore is rich enough to offer some assistence for the homeless without breaking the bank. After all, the state owned all the housing stock on the island including the land. Sadly its boiled down to government policy whether they wished to have a compassional and caring society or one that prastices the philiosopy of ” winner take all”.The ruling regime is so confidence that Sinkaporean will take anything thrown at them and will duly elect them back to power. It is time NOW to show them that Singaporean do care about their aged citizen. A little compassion will not bankrupt Singapore nor make Sinkaporean lazy and create a dependence culture. One had to ask one simple question – why is minister receive million dollar salary? while the poor and homeless receive nothing? Is that a society we want?

  7. Time for change says:

    You have seven years of teenage life. After that, you are thrusted into adulthood of career,marriage and kids with a short period of 10 years and before you know it, you are into your old age.
    How long is your old or “older” age? At the age you really start to degenerate physically which is in your thirties. When someone is in their 40s, we call them uncles and aunties – that’s kind of old already. From 40 to 80s is 5 times longer than being a teenager.
    Therefore putting things in perspective, you will be “old” much much longer than being young in life.
    We need to plan around our older folks more.

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