Who will help needy Singaporeans if not the government?
Posted by temasektimes on October 1, 2012
We want a robust society that every man can fend for himself. We want a man to fight for his own living, to earn according to his talent (as valued by an open market economy). We put on the pedestal the parents who work 12 hours shift to put their children through University. The children in turn take care of the parents in their old age.
And finally, we abhor the notion of the dependent citizen being a leech onto society, lazy and being a bum. If he is old and destitute, it is his fault, since he did not bother or was not wise enough to save for his old age. He has no claim on society’s benevolence, no claim as a citizen, he has no claim for health care or fear from hunger, he has no right to even ask, he was told to be tough and wise, but he was foolish and feeble.And since he is unable to be part of the more “upright”, “capable”, “talented” and “dependent free” Singaporeans, he deserved to be where he is, in need and without help or hope.
I think there is an existential belief in our elites that they are appointed by God; a Darwinism that is raw and coarse, stripped of graces, humility and Noblesse oblige. And what is even more troubling is that they have greater affinity to the global elites than they have with fellow Singaporeans. Is it a wonder that many rich people (US and Europe) descend upon Singapore? They too believe in low taxes, minimal social spending, no inheritance tax, no capital tax, because sharing in a Darwinian society is a cataclysmic paradox; it at once takes away the reason why some should be rich and others poor, it takes legitimacy away from opulence and taints it with guilt, and more importantly it bares the truth that humanity is equality, not a progressive apex where X men appear. As Ecclesiastes showed, the rich man, the poor man, the wise man and the fool, they all die. Yes, I understand that LKY did say that he will get up even when he is six feet underground if Singapore is in trouble, but I rather think that is rhetorical.
Least I am accused of a being Marxist or Communist, lets say I have no illusions with the pomposity of Communists elites; there are enough corruption cases on either end of the cold war spectrum, that elites whether Capitalists or Communists are not that different.
But least I am accused of being emotional and not level headed. Let me show some numbers with regards to how the richest nation on Earth treats its “wayward” citizens. Among Advanced Economies (which include, Iceland, Israel), we spend the least on healthcare at 4% of GDP, almost all other Advanced countries spending is more than double ours. Again, among Advanced countries only Singapore has no unemployment benefits. While, the logic is that the Government will help the unemployed seek employment, the fact is, low unemployment does not mean no unemployment. And more elderly are working, not because they are saving to buy the BMW, but they cannot afford to retire, and about 40% as menial workers competing with the FTs.
When the Government talk about the silent majority, these are the ones they neglect talking about. They are not ones clamoring for benefits, they are not ones going online asserting their rights, they just silently go about their lives in full acceptance of their position in life. But how can we as members of this community called Singapore just keep quiet?
“Help is not something they are absolutely entitled to?” Sigh. If they are not entitled to be helped then who is? If no one needs to be helped then are we already in Heaven?
*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.