I will tell you where Singapore is later...after you listen to all my stories.
When I was young, there were many Hong Kong soap operas showing on Media Corp and Hong Kong movies showing at the cinema that I enjoyed watching. They all portrayed Hong Kong as a capitalistic selfish society a place where some people would sell their friends for money - an "every man for himself" society where the love for money overwhelms the humanity in people. It turned out those movies and dramas were not so accurate and the ugly side of people were played up for dramatic effect. The Hong Kong people are big donors and many volunteer to social work. Their billionaires leave their fortunes not to relatives or children but to foundations. Li Ka-Shing pledge half his wealth to charity and will leave behind the biggest charity in Hong Kong. Nina Wang, once the Asain\s richest woman, left her fortune to a charity in her will. Even Jackie Chan will leave his entire fortune to charity[Link]. Chow Yun-Fat will leave his entire fortune to charity [Link]. It turned out people in Hong Kong are big givers and rank 18 on the Giving Index ahead of Germany and Denmark.
The people in US are also big givers (rank 5). The richest man in the world, Warren Buffett, will give away his entire fortune. Together with his good friend Bill Gates, Buffett formed an organisation that persuades the richest Americans (billionaires) to pledge half their wealth to charity. Facebook billionaire Zackerberg signed up so did many others. Buffett is also the proponent of the Buffett Rule for proper progressive taxation to narrow the inequalities that has emerged in American society. Buffett known to some as the greatest American capitalist knows that a system based on capitalisam cannot work well if people hoard money and exacerbate the rising inequality. When Buffett and Gates appeared in China and hosted a dinner for The Giving Pledge organisation in China, not a single Chinese billionaire turned up out of fear they will be asked to donate their money :
" Strikingly India ranked at 134 and China at 147 - with Chinese people among the least likely on the planet to volunteer" - [Link]
A few years ago, when Goh Chok Tong was promoting philanthropy in Singapore, he urged the wealthiest Singaporeans to consider giving away 0.5% of their annual income to charity[Link] - a very modest goal compared with the The Giving Pledge.
So where does Singapore stand in area of giving?
Right in the doldrums with a rank of 91 (compared with Malaysia ranked 76 and Hong Kong ranked 18) [Extracted from Charities Aid Foundation Report].
I wonder if this dismal performance has something to do with the PAP turning welfare into a dirty word in Singapore. Charity and giving is after all about welfare - giving to the needy, helping the poor, treating the sick. The PAP approach of making the sick shoulder as much financial burden as possible, giving as little as possible to the needy to keep taxes for the richest Singaporeans low and insistence that the inequality in our society is acceptable (as long as there is social mobility?). The PAP leaders themselves too set the wrong example - taking as much salaries as they could justify (and sometimes couldn't) when they are in public service. It could also be elitism where the belief that "some are more equal than others" dominates the upper echelons of our society - remember what Wee Shu Min was brought up to believe?
Are we turning in the Hong Kong portrayed in the dramas and movies? A society in a never ending pursuit of wealth and GDP growth at all cost where social cohesion and values are traded away for money?