Monday, September 05, 2011
"The people demand social justice. Among the issues raised were the cost of housing, transport, childcare, food and fuel; the low salaries paid to many professionals, including doctors and teachers; tax reform; and welfare payments." - The Guardian[Link]
The Israelis were protesting stagnant income, high cost of livin, unfair taxation that favor the rich & corporations, income inequality and lack of social welfare. A society like Israeli with a population that has fought wars and where both men and women serve national service has very strong bonds - yet these issues threaten to tear this very cohesive society apart. The thing is Singapore is just as bad or worse when it comes to the issues the Israelis were protesting about - our income gap is higher, we have less welfare for the unfortunate, tax code is even more unbalanced favoring corporations and burdening our poor with regressive taxes such as GST, our housing cost is high, our cars are the most expensive in the world, public transport is overcrowded, and a large segment of our population has not just stagnant but very low wages far lower than what they minimally pay working people in Israeli. Singaporeans have many more reasons to be angry... more reasons to protest....but we don't. We won't and don't know how. But it is a mistake to interpret this obedience as a lack of anger.
The PAP has won the 2011 and has some time to get reforms on the way. It is a great mistake for them to dither and try to get by with small tweaks here and there believing that they have some kind of successful formula that has to be preserved. The electorate sent a clear signal in the GE and another one in the PE with a majority voting against the PAP-endorsed candidate. You look at Israel superficially and you think they have it made with numerous thriving high-tech companies, low unemployment, high GDP growth, and what looks like rising prosperty - a buiding boom that put nice fancy buildings all over Tel Aviv. But the heart of the problem in Israel is the income inequality ....and this problem is even bigger in Singapore. Resentment has risen but because Singaporeans will never protest, its festers beneath what appears to be a peaceful facade. Surely the PAP knows it has implemented very extreme policies that caused our income inequality to be the highest among developed nations.....
Posting Time 12:14 AM
Posted by Lucky Tan