Thursday, December 23, 2010

You have to be poor and smart to get help from NTUC

Here is a response from NTUC to a letter by a certain Mdm Lui who asked why is it necessary for low income family to produce result slips when they apply for education grants. These grants to low income families amount to $8.3M per year - less than 1% of what the govt collects in COE revenue[COE revenue projected to rise by 50% to $900m]. I brought up COE just to give a sense of proportion of how much help we are talking about relative to what the govt collects. These are grants from NTUC and not the govt (unless you see NTUC as part of the govt) that have often been reported in the newspapers as an important source of help for children of low income families. Not everyone gets it - you have to score a "minimum pass" to get it. How does denying grants to poor students who are academically weak help them? According to the NTUC, the grants also serve as a form of motivation to do well. I thought just being poor in Singapore is painful enough to serve as motivation but NTUC thinks that denying help to the poor can motivate them even more.

Why NTUC requires results slip for education grants [Link]

WE THANK Madam Lui Bee Gek for her feedback ('Education grant denied for want of results slip'; Monday).

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) would like to clarify that the main objective of the NTUC GB Education Grant is to motivate members' children who are currently schooling to continue to strive for academic excellence.

It is necessary to produce the results slip of the preceding year of studies so as to allow us to ensure that the child scored a minimum pass, that is, 50 per cent.

At the same time, the grant serves to help low-income families cope with the educational expenses of their children.

This year, the NTUC U Care Fund disbursed over $8.3 million to low-income union members and their families through six assistance programmes - U Stretch vouchers, Family Recreation & Fun Carnivals, U Care Scholarship/ Bursary Top-Up scheme, U Care Back to School vouchers, and donations to NTUC Eldercare Trust and NTUC First Campus Bright Horizons Fund.

Out of the $8.3 million from the U Care Fund, over $5 million went towards supporting educational needs of children from low-income families.

We are happy to note from our records that one of Madam Lui's children was a beneficiary of the U Care Back to School vouchers last year. We would also like to invite Madam Lui to apply for the NTUC GB Education Grant for her child next year when her first year's results slip becomes available.

We will continue to monitor our members' needs and enhance our programmes along the way.

Vivek Kumar
Director, Membership
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)


Anonymous said...

50% pass mark quite low requirement what. Quite reasonable what.

If not, people score 0 marks also can get help. Meaning if they don't bother to study or help themselves, also can get help. Like that can or not? You say lah.

Anonymous said...

I feel it is necessary to establish some standards. The poor should be helped, but they also should display a willingness to help themselves.

I had once given free rice to a low income family. Instead of being grateful, the family actually expected me to drive the rice to their place, and carry the 10 kg sack up to their door step. Never once did they offer to help me unload it from my car boot.

It made me wonder if their poor attitude had something to do with their circumstances. Or maybe vice versa. Or it is just a self-perpertuating vicious cycle.

Lucky Tan said...

Many places (other countries) where such grants are give, what is required is for the children to attend school hence the attendence record is used.

Their inablility to perform may be tied to the lack of proper pre-school which is quite common among children of the poor in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lucky. There could be many reasons for poor grades - lack of good study environment, working part-time hence no time to study after school, or not academically inclined. This doesn't mean the child should be denied a basic education. Denying the study grant to a child who have poor grades will only make things worse.

Anonymous said...

Anoy 23/12/10 11:39

I can't believe you are using an example of a bad apple to deduce that all apples are bad.

Moreover, you sound like a petty person. If you are not prepared to help all the way, including carrying the rice to the poor family's doorstep, don't even start in the first place.

Wang said...


Of course, more can be given.

However, would still regard that there should be minimum standards
which is just a passing mark 50%.

At the end of day, some self effort is required.


Anonymous said...

that is singapore for you.

if you're weak, you don't deserve assistance.

if you're good, you will be pumped with even more assistance. eventually of course, that's how fat cats come about.

vote RP!

Anonymous said...

There are kindergarten subsidies for those who can't afford it. Details are usually pasted on the window of the PAP kindergartens. I think the subsidy makes kindergarten more or less free for those who can't afford it. If the poor want help, it is available. But they do have to apply for it. I think Singapore's public school system is quite good. Some countries like US and Brazil, the difference between private and public schools is very big. My aunt in US told me that the public school teacher said "if you love your kids and can afford it, send your kids to private school". In Singapore, at least that is not the case. In Singapore the schools are well funded and have well trained teachers. Singapore teachers are also very hardworking, working OT to drill the P6 students. Perhaps the only thing is school should start at an earlier age. Even then, from what I see from my Pri 1 son's progress, the teachers spend the first half a year of P1 actively helping the weaker students to be on par with the average student.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify my post above. The public school system in certain parts of US (not all) can be quite bad. Budget cuts, bad teachers (overly protected by teacher's unions) etc.

Anonymous said...

All systems need to be seen in their entirety. The current policy of making the place as employment / business friendly has worked pretty well if not for the brazen opening of the labor floodgates in the name of globalisation.

Pointing out the shortcomings of the system is good as it provokes reflection about improvement. What should be avoided is excessive negativity.

And if you do see something that's not right, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I know that it's easier said than done (you can look at the life of Mahatma Ghandi), but it's far better than armchair grumbling.

Kaffein said...

@Anon 23/12/10 11:39
"The poor should be helped, but they also should display a willingness to help themselves."

This made me laugh so hard that I started tearing.

How do you establish a 'willingness' to help themselves? If the poor can help themselves, would they even need the bursary?

Heh... cracked me up!


Anonymous said...

Yeah great...the kid from a poor family scores below 50%. Let's HELP him by denying his study grant.

Some of you guys deserve the PAP. You are made for each other.

Anonymous said...

Well lets motivate the PAP by denying them our votes. Same theory.

singapore man said...

Agreed Lucky, if being poor is a disease, having poor grade is also a symptom of that disease. Denying help to people who needs it most is equals to genocide except that people don't die; they are only condemned to the dark corner of sociality. Stop denying the poor the only way to move up the social ladder by having a good education. If the person is poor and have bad grade, it could just meant that they need more help.

Anonymous said...


Anon 23/12/10 12:43 wrote:

Moreover, you sound like a petty person. If you are not prepared to help all the way, including carrying the rice to the poor family's doorstep, don't even start in the first place.


How far should I help all the way? Do I need to offer them my wife for a free f***?? Is that going "all the way" enough for you?

Help poor people, but poor people show you bloody attitude. Sit there with an attitude bigger than Justice Bao.

You are right. After that incident, I focused my energy on helping poor people who show interest in getting out of their bad situation.

Anonymous said...

Anoy 23/12/10 20:37

Yeah right, as if i believe u r helping people. U r just a petty person who pretend to be generous and magnanimous just like the PAP.

Anonymous said...

sucess has many fathers and failure is an orphan.

DanielXX said...

being poor and stupid is a disease in singapore. it is better to let darwin take over from there.

Anonymous said...

Why is there so much money to pay these peoples (who approve the handouts) with huge salary and bonus faithfully every years?


The poor has to go through many obstacles yet not getting a little bit of help just to led a decent life.

Anonymous said...

While poor Singaporeans are denied to received help, permanent residents and foreigners are heavily subsidised in local education from primary school all the way to university.

Some of the permanent residents and foreigners are awarded with bond free scholarships with a total worth of multi-million dollars.

Anonymous said...

If genocide is legal, I bet you PAP will ensure no poor people exists in SG within a year.

North Koreans should be thankful Kim Jong II is their leader. At least he just let his people starve to death. If it was somebody else, he would have made them die.

Anonymous said...

is part of pap's eugenics programme lol

pap, the modern nazis

Anonymous said...


Spent so much time, effort and money to attract the FTs, but ignore many locals people who are still jobless or under-employment.

sierra club said...

I read about the "rice to doorsteps" posts and you ahve my empathy.

Once must understand that poor people does not equal Nice, friendly people. Most of the poor have no urge to help themself, have a lousy attitude, does not have the drive and hardworking attitude employers want and most of all, the whole lot is ungrateful.

It seems they have wiring problems intheir brain because they fail to understand the most simple of instructions and advice. I beleive we should let evolution take care of them. By giving help to the undeserved, we are simply prolonging their suffering. Evolution will filter them off or kickstart them into action.

Help the animals instead, they are the victims of our selfish development. fuck those poor people!

Anonymous said...

"Spent so much time, effort and money to attract the FTs, but ignore many locals people who are still jobless or under-employment."

Anon 24/12/10 12:13


Then how come PAP can get 66% mandate every election?

How come the opposition can only win 2 seats?

Godwin said...

"Then how come PAP can get 66% mandate every election?"

Because the "oppo supporters" here are really just a vocal minority.

The majority of people realise that they are better off with the PAP in charge rather than a socialist party eager to "punish" the rich and "help the poor" by raising taxes (40% income tax for people who make $10,000 a month? Are you serious?) and draining our reserves, but have no real idea on how businesses should make money.

The poor are just an excuse for them to cling on to their sense of subsidy entitlement - ask them if they will give up their entitlement to subsidised healthcare/education so that the poor can get more subsidy, and see what their answer is; the only reason why they want more subsidy is so that they too stand to benefit. Who cares as long as the rich pay more taxes than they do?

Good thing is with blogs like this one more people will realise how dangerous voting the various "socialist" and "democratic" parties will be, and will vote PAP instead of spoiling their votes next GE.

Well, we'll only have to wait a year or so before we see if I am right...

Anonymous said...

People are very put off when they read of opposition parties fight each other. Such news is often enough to persuade them that despite how widely hated PAP is, the people might be better off under a united PAP than a bitterly divided opposition.

Anonymous said...

I agree with godwin and few others.

I share my sympathy with the anon who give free rice to the low income family but they expect you to bring all the way to their door step. This kind of people do not deserve to be help. Let them starve to death.

Most comment I read over here remind me of socialist/communist scum who expect the rich to be punish.

What happen if you initiate robin hood and his crook man style? "rob from the rich and give it to the poor?"
T poor will be in a fucked up situation than ever before.

Good luck... I've decided to change my mind after reading tons of socialist comment.

Anonymous said...

I feel the rich should help the poor, lest we get a case of hungry men turning into angry men, which will lead to a lose-lose situation for all.

But I also think we should not go to extremes to rob the rich to help the poor. In such extreme measures, all we end up doing is making everyone poor, which is what Communism did. But the Party members still had caviar to eat while the peasants had to make do with cabbage soup, if they were lucky.

Anonymous said...

i think lucky just wants more help for the poor not just 1% of coe revenue. is 5% enough? btw, who should decide how much is enough?

Godwin said...

"btw, who should decide how much is enough?"

Obviously the internet heroes on this blog who neither give nor receive, but nevertheless feel entitled to decide for the rest! Or do Robin Hood and his men take a cut when they "redistribute" money from the rich to the poor?

NTUC money not your money you also want to tell them how to use?

Want to help the poor so much use your own money lah! Set up a fund where only students who score less than 50% can receive help - that way you can be sure those we need the most help will get the help, right? I can assure you students will be working very hard to qualify for your fund than.

Anonymous said...

I could not imagine there are people who are so apathy towards the poor!

Put yourself in their situation (the children I'm talking about)what would you expect the society do help you?

To assist them through education is the only way to eradicate poverty, mocking at the poor does not help, you need to be in their shoes to feel the heat!

Godwin said...

You don't seem to understand our position.

There is a difference between saying no one should help the poor, and saying we don't want to be forced into "helping" the poor through taxes.

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Rivera said...

You don't seem to understand our position. There is a difference between saying no one should help the poor, and saying we don't want to be forced into "helping" the poor through taxes.