Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Giving help Singapore Style!

I'm sure many of you are very worried that our govt's social spending will undermine its fiscal position although it is just a small fraction of what Hong Kong spends on its poor, aged and sick. Don't worry....while our beloved govt has announced that millions will be spent on Comcare & Workfare, only a small fraction has been given out. This is not due to the lack of needy people in our society.

Many of the poor people are illiterate so they can't read the Straits Times to figure out all the goodies given out by our esteemed govt. There is no army of social workers going around to look for these people...it is done by volunteers who are able to cover just a fraction of those in need. Others are hindered by the numerous 'kiasu' fine prints e.g. you have to put money into your CPF first before you can get any Workfare.
Well suppose the low income needy Singaporeans manage to figure out they qualify for some aid overcoming the numerous qualification rules....the next step is to go to the CDC. Here's what actually happens:

Extracts from Straits Times article 7 May 2007 - Help for the poor So close yet so far.

These stories were collected by a group of poly students doing a project by surveying just 30 low income families. ...only 30 families and you can find so many interesting stories that illustrate what it is like to be poor in Singapore. Of course the CDC cannot be too nice to those who needs help because it will undermine the work ethics of the poor.
The result is while the govt sets aside a relatively small amount compared with other countries for the needy in Singapore, it only gives out a small fraction of that amount. To understand their philosophy one just have to read this quote from one of our elite MPs:
"We shouldn't be waving a red flag for this, telling
everyone that there's this help available. It's quite a
process to go through to get the vouchers. A person with
dignity won't do it unless he's in genuine trouble."
- PAP MP Dr Chong Weng Chiew (Tanjong Pagar GRC) on
why SingPower utilities vouchers for the poor were not given out and wasted.
Of course we have to be extremely careful giving out money to the needy for utilities, food and medical care because it does not bring any returns to Singapore Inc and might cause its profit margins to fall. See the wisdom of our esteemed leaders ...we will certainly get to top 1st world statuse fast!


Anonymous said...

Press on Lucky. We need you to speak up for the unspeakable - those who have no voice in our clean Singapore!

Anonymous said...

Thank you all Singapore!!!

If it wasn't for the 66.6% of us voting in the PAP this time round, we wouldn't have the chance to go through such fantastic character building exercises such as "GST hikes to help the needy", "increased ministers' pay", "further 'subsidised' HDB" and "special 'dignified' treatment for those the 2% hike was suppose to help"


Anonymous said...

I am the smart yet unfortunate 33.4%...

Si beh sian...

Anonymous said...

More and more people will need help in years to come. Just wait and see.

In the fifties and sixties, people led simpler lives and the needs of the poor were basically food. Now they have to worry about high service and conservancy charges, high utility bills, high transport costs, high children's schooling expenses, high GST, and HDB instalments if you bought a flat. These are fixed and they have to find the money to pay them every month, besides the basic necessities.

So, in the fifties and sixties it was easier for the poor to get by with lower cost of living, but now it is really difficult and they can forget about savings for old age. If they cannot survive today, why worry about old age. That's going to be a big big problem going forward.

That is why the Government needs to tell you not to retire and to prepare you mentally to work until your last breath.

Anonymous said...

but come on we only protest literally...
but our action???our voice???
All we can do is to complain in silence......
u noe wat we r the safest country in the world with low crime rates....high living standards, pampered or rather "tamed" citizens.
Well, a mass protest in singapore would mean an alien visiting here wearing a g-string......
So a blog is nothin....saying is nothin...feeling is nothing....

Anonymous said...

anon 11:54am

then you dare or not?

end of the day everyone still wants to safeguard our own...

Matt Steinglass said...


I'm the Hanoi stringer for the Boston Globe. I'm coming to Singapore to do a story and would love to get in touch and chat. You can contact me at mattsteinglass@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

its amazing and i think i agree with one of the commentor who says singaporeans are quiet protestors. Totally agree!!!

Shared this story on SG social news network at, http://www.mallr.com/story.php?title=Poverty-in-Singapore

Anonymous said...

Blame the 66.6%. They do not dare to vote opposition, so how credible is it to expect a mass protest.

Wait long long.

Anonymous said...

guys guys...this is not something that can change overnight, even if the 66.6% went the other way.

But what i would like to pose here is - since this is such a problem - i would like to suggest that repairing, finetuning and perfecting how the CDCs work and distributes welfare support as the first KPI i put across to the Ministry of Community Development, and my trusted and beloved Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Its time for him to show his worth and earn his multi-million dollar salary. Let's see how Singapore Inc stands up to some real KPI that affects the people who vote for them.

Anonymous said...

i like to add...

another reason for these problems at CDC, and indeed with many govt depts and govt-linked companies, people are trained to work according to certain Standard Operating Procedures.

"If this kind of person comes in with this problem, this is what you have to do...if that kind of person, do that."

There is no empowerment, no decision making on the ground, and no one will want to take any responsibility for going out of their way to help. These CDC officeers are themselves probably paid the bare minimum.

Maybe - just maybe - like what the ministers say - we raise their salaries, empower them, maybe we get better CDC officers who are trained properly to serve this sector of our society.

Anonymous said...

Do they know if they want to help the needy, they must know their help is never enough, and that humility is the pillar value of a geniue social worker, fit and qualified on contacting the needy. And actions must be converted from this pillar value.

But our leaders stop short of helping more, and say, Look ! crutched mentality !

Because of lacking of this pillar value, no matter how important the leaders claim themselves to be, their place in people's heart is always half-hearted, hypocritical, and like kids.

Anonymous said...

i hope to see a permanent blog with new articles about how lives are affected, after voting for the non-PAP during election. I guess becos many are afraid to voice out or speak up without knowing the consequence fully. Can anyone help ?

Anonymous said...

Quote from animal farm:

...As for the others, their life, so far as they knew, was as it
had always been. They were generally hungry, they slept on
straw, they drank from the pool, they laboured in the fields; in winter they were troubled by the cold, and in summer by the flies. Sometimes the older ones among them racked their dim memories and tried to determine whether in the early
days of the Rebellion, when Jones’s expulsion was still recent, things had been better or worse than now. They could not remember. There was nothing with which they could compare their present lives: they had nothing to go upon except
Squealer’s lists of figures, which invariably demonstrated that
everything was getting better and better. The animals found the problem insoluble; in any case, they had little time for speculating on such things now. Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse-hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life...

Capt_Canuck said...

So, a person with dignity wouldnt go through these hoops to get the aide, then why not advertise that there is aide available? I mean, does the singaporean gov't assume that all of Singapore has no dignity so therefore if they actual advertise "gov't money aide if you apply and need it" then everyone will apply for it since Singaporeans have no dignity and are lazy? wow, that is a pretty low opinion of the population the PAP has for it's citizens. Worst part is that 66.6% keep voting them in.

Also makes good business sense since if you arent going to sell a product, why advertise? People obviously dont want the gov't money aide, so therefore the gov't actually making it known that it exists is a waste of money that could be put towards greater things, like PAP ministerial salaries and all.

Anonymous said...

We should build more dark corners for our broken Singaporeans to hide in.

This way we only see nice and soothing sights.

I hope the papers dont give this issue too much publicity, its a major eyesore!

Best of all, eventually all this will fade away (weak and frail will fade with time!) and Singapore will be the island for the rich !

I'm loving it already!

Just imagine Singapore , our home!

Our dream and our paradise!

Best regards
Wool over my eyes :)

Anonymous said...

goodnews today. the movers and shakers are smiling down on us from california raisins. this has raised our self esteem and stiffen our pride by a few inches. the positive strokes have also affirmed our status as an extraordinary island of 3m that need not queue, unlike ordinary and lesser cities, to have an audience with the rich and powerful. this is because we have ideas, views and perspectives to justify mutual benefits and common objectives.
and when queried on raise for a scintillating report, they were reminded to look forward to greater bonuses of not 6 months but a glorious 7 months - this is on conditon they share a united interests of course. however, this sweet spot that enables them to smile from tuas to tampines requires continue support and alignment of global and Central Purging Funds, so said an expert of a former colonialist.

lastly, to maintain an untarnished report, the consistently jaw dropping, pursed lips and slanted glances on the faces of the movers and shakers that accompany the entire tour and in every meetings were dutifully omitted. we believe the physiological registration on their faces was partly due to an extraordinary account extracted from taxes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story. That comment from Dr Ong is a clear indication about the rich divide between our politicians and the people.

I never knew that there more than 3000 homes cut off of electricity by SingPower because of arrears. So much for first world!

I hope some ministers are reading this blog. Can someone forward them this link?

KIN said...

i think it's a matter of time all these ppl will be sent overseas as maids. Do you love our govt...our Singapore?

Anonymous said...

Senior citizen was previously known as the Golden Year, le ling nian/ren

Now it shall be know as: Ku ling nian/ren.

Capt_Canuck said...

How can there be needy people in Singapore. I mean, the news is reporting Singaporeans have money to travel to far destinations for their holidays

The booming economy and higher salaries and bonuses mean people can spend more on their holidays too, with people willing to spend up to S$2000 dollars each on their trips.

"…anything below $2000 nowadays is easily affordable for Singaporeans," says Khoo.


with a booming economy, higher salaries, big bonuses and anything below $2000 is easily affordable, how can anyone possibly suggest that there are poor people in Singapore. Obviously, those poor people that might require any form of monetary aide is because they are just poor money handlers. Wanting to spend their money on trips to far off destinations and luxury items and just let the bills for health, food, electricty and water go unpaid for a long time. tsk tsk tsk...MM Lee can only tell Singaporeans what to do only so far and give them a good economy to make money off of..the rest is up to them to be mature in their spending

khlui11@gmail said...

Hi Lucky,

There is one thing I don't understand. Why would the gov ask us to deposit 50 bucks into CPF, and in a month's time, give us 300bucks back in cash? Why wouldn't they give $250 directly? Wouldn't that be easier n less troublesome?