Saturday, October 15, 2011

World Charity Index - Where we stand....


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?

41 comments:

Lye Khuen Way said...

Not too surprised with the findings. Sad, but that is the Hard Truth which I am not proud of. Guess not too many Singaporeans should be.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, we may not have much charity or welfare compared to other countries.

But like many other "not so good" things, does it really matter?

Does it affect at least 60% votes and over 90% seats for the PAP at every election? Despite that the needy, the poor are a larger group (assuming correctly) than the rich and well off?

And isn't our country also very peaceful?

As a government, no matter which country, they must ensure what really matters.

Their governments can be kinder, more charitable than Singapore but what's the use if there still protests on the streets, lost 2/3 majority or voted out in elections, right or not?

Anonymous said...

anon 08:20,

You said, "And isn't our country also very peaceful?"

Aiyah N. Korea even more peaceful. The people there even more supportive of govt more than 60% maybe 100%.....so N. Korea win us lah we are not the best.

Anonymous said...

It's all about GDP. Read today's shit times.

Just Mumbling To Myself said...

Hong Kong's vastly improved standard compared to ours may be due to the fact that their organized charities are well run with checks and balances by the authorities so more people are comfortable in giving.

As for ours, there is now a skepticism, nay, cynicism that the money you gave may end up doing what you didn't intend it to, from some high profile recent cases.

In general, Singaporeans are a charitable lot, giving to supposedly worthy causes of individuals or organizations but alas, we've been played out again and again.

Giving to organized charities or media hype individuals? I'll rather toss some money into the hat of a cripple that I see on the streets.

Anonymous said...

When dead heroes are only remembered as tourist attractions, when people who worked for the Kempeitai during the Jap Occupation are richly rewarded and rise to the top public offices later on in their lives, it does send a very strong message about what sort of values we should embrace.

Anonymous said...

In a democratic country with free and fair elections, no elected persons in top public office can embrace values which are not supported by the majority of voters. No way, right?

If these top people have bad values but yet got elected, this means that the majority voters are at fault and so also partly to blame.

Ok lah, but who is perfect?

Anonymous said...

But We have the most charitable government in the world !

See how much charity we do to USA by investing (and losing hundred of billions) in dubious US financial investment when the timing is poor and due to the the old fart's stupidity, twisted logic and nepotism.

And for that we are ranked world number 1 , not even Hong Kong comes close !

Anonymous said...

For some reason, the report matches, at least, my personal experience, that Japan is a selfish nation. Japanese people do not readily give. They give because of the occasion as part of their ettiquette, nor from the heart. And you could witness that clearly too in their foreign policies and immigration laws. It is no wonder why my japanese counterparts find Singaporeans kind and warm people. It's hilarious how relativity works.

It seems to me Singapore works on a "lesser of two evils" ethical system in leadership and management. The government runs on utilitarianism.

The problem with Singapore is that it doesn't know what it means to be a human being. Hence, it's polcies have not caught up with international stnadards.

Amused said...

Lucky, you are right. The PAP government response to natural disasters in other countries tells you as much. Charity is a vocabulary that they don’t teach in schools.

Anonymous said...

I suspect gahmen used elitism to ring fence themselvers against the competition for high office, much against the spirit of meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are more charitable to others than to our own needy. You name it, disasters in Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, India, even China. We are always a-ready. But our poor and needy are expected to pull themselves up from their own bootstraps.

Anonymous said...

PAP always promoting every man for himself and welfare is a dirty word...not surprising that singapore turns into an ungracious society.

Anonymous said...

Why should we give when the govt re-assures us that the old, sick and poor pple are well taken care off and there are no problems in Singapore. Nobody is too poor to afford medical care, no child is too poor to afford good education.

All we need to do is listen to Tin Pei Lin and be re-assured everything is fine in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

As a Singapore Towkay, my aim is to maximize my business profit by hiring the cheapest foreigners. With more wealth accumulation, my aim is to pamper myself. Ah le mak! who care donation, this is not what me as a Towkay care for. So what?

Missionary said...

we already pay taxes what, government should do more.

Anonymous said...

I think our ranking reflects the value system of the majority so what can one say? It may be due to policies that nurtured the majority that adopt the current value system of u die your business mah

Anonymous said...

人在江湖身不由己

Meaning if you live in Singapore, you will become like a kiasu(scared lose), kiasi(scared die) kiabo (scared don't have) Singaporean. This cannot avoid one.

Anonymous said...

It is a mistake to say that Singapore is not charitable.
Charity is redefined (among other things).

Charity@SG is
- giving everyone the dignity of employment.
- allowing everyone to opportunity to work until they can't.

Then again, SG is different and should not be benchmarked against other countries...

Anonymous said...

Absolute RUBBISH! Singapore is extremely charitable and should be ranked RIGHT AT THE TOP. Just ask all those foreign students who come here for FREE education and how our GENEROUS PAP throw our tax dollars to entice them to come here enjoy the free buffet!

Anonymous said...

and free condoms too.

Anonymous said...

Another article that sounded so righteous and yet so wrong.

Why?

Lucky is another elite :)

Anonymous said...

"I think our ranking reflects the value system of the majority so what can one say?"

true and the reason why we need foreigners so that we can learn from them and adopt a little of their "good" behaviours so that we can be as talented like them and not be so kiasu and kaisi.

it also reflects the nice excuse : "we do not want them to develop crutch mentality".

Anonymous said...

"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?" Lucky Tan

Maybe should also ask if there is no wealth or GDP growth, social cohesion and values got use or not?

Just like can a couple survive only on love and fresh air?

Anonymous said...

"Just like can a couple survive only on love and fresh air?"

Perhaps, we are sucked into a situation (having difficulty of doing a u-turn) where the "rats" have to keep on running faster and faster on the treadmill.

Maybe you would understand why we are into a situation that a couple cannot survive only on love and fresh air here after viewing the following clip :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXJwNSkdTH0

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhRZjnF5uJk&feature=related

We all seize openings to reassure ourselves that we're not bias.

Meritocracy?

Anonymous said...

News from Today published on 3 May 2010, Page 3
reported by Esther Ng

They get others to do their discriminatory hiring

SINGAPORE — It is an open secret in the recruitment industry that employers do not want to hire those aged 35 and above. They also have other biases, like wanting to hire only young, pretty women, or the perception that some ethnic groups are more prone to absenteeism.
These employers know that placing prejudicial job advertisements will land them in trouble.
So they hire others, like staffing consultants, to do their dirty work
— the filtering of “unsuitable” candidates
— for them.


While some consultants MediaCorp spoke to deny such practices, others admit they usually accede to their clients’ requests. Clients come from all industries, from small and medium enterprises to multinational companies.
Can more be done to do away with such discriminatory practices?
In the last three-and-a-half years, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment (Tafep) — made up of the Singapore National Employers Federation, the National
Trades Union Congress and the Ministry of Manpower — have been urging employers to look beyond age, gender and race when hiring.
Tafep said it has been instrumental in reducing discriminatory job advertisements in the print media from 20 per cent to just 1 per cent. But there is only so much an official body can do.

The reality is some employers remain biased, and it is not in the interest of recruitment consultants to change such mindsets when they face stiff competition from rivals for business.
A recruitment consultant who only wanted to be known as Alvin, said: “If all four candidates from four different agencies are equally good, the client will take the candidate from the agency which charges the lowest commission.” Staffing firm Adecco Southeast Asia’s regional director Lynne Ng and Mr David Ang, executive director of Singapore Human Resource Institute, told MediaCorp that companies that turn down discriminatory clients will lose business.
However, Mr Ang said: “It might be tough in the beginning but over time, the staffing company will build itself an honourable name and get more business.”
Ms Ng noted that discrimination
in recruitment is becoming “less” of a problem, although it is still “evident in places”, often through ignorance.

“Companies may request for someone of a particular ethnicity or age group — without clearly thinking through if this makes sense or whether it is ethical,” she said.
Ms Ng suggested heavy fines for companies making discriminatory requests, on top of measures to educate employers.
Kelly Services Asia-Pacific’s
senior vice-president, Mr Dhirendra Shantilal, said consultants should clarify the rationale behind any preferences that may appear discriminatory, and provide alternative solutions to the employer.
Some consultants do try to convince clients to be a bit more “flexible” in their selection criteria, especially when a candidate is suitably qualified. Mr Lim, a recruitment consultant
who spoke to MediaCorp on the condition that his full name and company are not revealed, said some clients may then agree to interview the applicant, but others may not.
“Or some tell me, ‘Alright, I’ll interview him, but if he gets the job, I’ll pay him a lower salary,” he said.

continue below..........

Anonymous said...

.......... continue from above

Some tell the consultants that they only want to hire young, pretty Chinese females as receptionists or administrative assistants.
“There’s a perception that only females are suitable. This is rather sexist becauseway back in the past, clerks or receptionists were men,” said Mr Lim.
Last year, 35 per cent of applications he got for these jobs were from men.
Tafep told MediaCorp that the screening of candidates based on biases were “not acceptable and unfair” to qualified candidates.
Tafep’s co-chair Halimah Yacob said:
“If such practices persist or become more widespread, they undermine national efforts at building an inclusive workforce and result in a lose-lose situation for employers as well as employees.”
If such practices persist or become more widespread, they ... result in a lose-lose situation for employers as well as employees.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:20 must be a PAP stooge. Maybe is Baey himself.

//And isn't our country also very peaceful? //

Reminds me of a famous quote by PM Lee "There're no protests outside embassy so shows that singaporeans accept it"..LMAF. Why don't you try removing the ISD threats and laws and rights to assemble, then see for yourself before you speak so soon.

//As a government, no matter which country, they must ensure what really matters.//

What really matters is People over Profits.

//Their governments can be kinder, more charitable than Singapore but what's the use if there still protests on the streets, lost 2/3 majority or voted out in elections, right or not?//

His last sentence gave him away. He's clearly a PAP men who wants to stay in hegemony forever. So his justification is why bother with kinder more charitable becos you're not guaranteed to keep your seats despite that. Tsk tsk..Here's the NEW news for you Papist : -

A government or Party can come and go. But it's people stay. So it didn't matter who governs it as long as a robust check/balance system is in place. Unless you have set it up with all cronyism ties and your party or civil service are not up to scrutiny by free press and its people, then you worry and wants to stay in power.
Unfortunately at the way we are governed now..
'This PAP Party stays, and the people leaves (or come/go as per the immigration fig).

Dumb & Dumber!

Anonymous said...

//They get others to do their discriminatory hiring//

Tell that to your current President who always believe that Singapore is a Price-takers.

Then tell that to Lim Swee Say who can't even convince Employers to hire/retain Singaporeans over cheaper, younger expatriates who take over your jobs. The only "redesigned jobs" or "productivity" cases studies he has to show every year is the same . They are all the 'cleaning jobs" by NEA and Mcdonalds. That's all. Very easy to look at his CPF statement every month and feel shiok. In fact, China & India govts should hire him to manage their billions 'cheaper, better, faster" labors. He doesn't belong here.

Anonymous said...

Here's the mentality on Charity.

If I have money, I'd rather go and donate or help other more needy charities/groups in India , Nepal or other less developed countries. Why? Becos their govt are corrupted, and their countries are really poor. So they need more help on relative terms.

Why not help poor Singaporeans? Why should I? When the country is touted as first world. And the SWF is so rich with obscene profits and gambling. And your 15% of wealthy millionaires are all here. What are THEY doing to help the locals before asking me (a middle class) to help? When you see someone like Peter trader who will spend hundred millions to buy a english football club instead of spending to groom/start a local football club, or give to poor, you have to agree that, when the rich are rich, they still aspire to be richer and richest given our liberalization as private wealth haven now.

The best part. When you have a PM who praised mr Nathan for raising $100m over 10yrs to help with 500 charities, and the real breakdown is actually a pathetic $1000+ per mth, you must realize - that's already the "gold" standard of Charity achievements or KPI in this island. Explains why President is paid $4m a year!

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky

Traditionally it is the middle class and the religious who gives the most and in SG, they simply have nothing to give.

Btw, in the real world, Mr Buffett is fighting IRS to pay LESS taxes. And the pledges are ... Pledges... Maybe u want to stop scoring own goals.

Hey about the occupy Raffles Place thing ...

Anonymous said...

You want to depend on charity in Singapore?

Anonymous said...

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/10/16/idINIndia-59914720111016

This is a timely post. After the no show at #occupyrafflesplace, it only goes to show that Singaporeans condone greed. Congratulations, we are #1 in ranking for not denouncing it, but actually supporting it. When you have greed (whether in the form of

1) Politicians salaries
2) power/wealth in concentrated hands of SWF with no accountability & transparency
3) low charity rate becos they want to hoard more wealth

that's explains the low turn up and 'bo-chap' ness of people. So people who are whinging non-stop about their CPF and do nothing about it, only have themselves to blame. It took Singaporeans 10yrs after GCT approved the salary increase for them to feel the effects and see the harm done. And they only took 10yrs to wake up this 2011. Wait till the reality will hit like a tons of bricks coming down on them, matter of time.

What the organizers of #occupy failed to do , is to clearly articulate and connect the dots to the people.

Anonymous said...

hahaha..so ShitTimes can gloat now on their headlines "What's missing from this pictures?"..SPF must be patting themselves no their back. Do you think if the attendance rate was in the hundreds/thousands, that MSM will publicize it? LOL doubt so...they will just go silent.

Sinkies too occupied with fear to occupy singapore lah..and that's something they woot woot about!! Not being caught..LMFAO.

Xuhao said...

do any of you volunteer your time and donate on a monthly basis?

Anonymous said...

I think ordinary Singaporeans give more to charity than many other countries. I remember during the China Szechuan earthquake, Singaporeans are the #1 givers - I know this because I was in China at that time and many of the PRCs were very grateful to Singaporeans. Even NKF and other President Star Charity shows, the amount of giving in not insigificant. The index I believe is highly skewed by the billionaires in HK and US. First, there aint that many billionaires in Singapore and our billionaires are not 5% as rich as the ones in US or HK.

So I don't think is it fair for you to say that ordinary Singaporeans do NOT help the needy. I believe many of us do contribute siginificantly to charities. Maybe our billionaires don't contribute as much - but then bear in mind our billionaires are not up there on the league table.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, dont you know that much of the so called donation does not reach the recipients. Singapore gahment knows that!!

How much did of our indonesia tsunami donation reached the victims? Well, Singapore can be No.1 on the chart if gahment decides to donate 400 billion of our reserves to Africa!

Anonymous said...

What's the point of having freedom in this country if you can't exercise it?

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much do those ministar contribute to those needy? It will be nice if we have some figures.

Anonymous said...

With green eyes monsters in leadership position, you expect us to be a giving nation.

Look at this this way, after 50 years of enriching himself (with million dollar salary plus pension) it is perfecetly normal for retired Ministers to milk the country for freebies (Admin Support, Body Guards and Travel). Do do give alright...to our political leaders