The TRUTH! Can you handle the TRUTH?
You know after reading the forums and blogs and internet for 3 years. Having had my revelation about the true nature of Singapore 6 years ago. I've come to realise one very very sad thing.
For all the complaining and talk that we have, the truth is that for many Singaporeans all they are running down and condemning are people like themselves/ourselves/myself.
Put it this way. It's not as if 90% of the nation goes out of its way to help the poor, are involved in charity work, involved in community work etc. If they did, you think the government would be so bold as to marginalize the lower income groups?
All the talk about actually helping the poor is it reflective of what the majority of Singaporeans think? Or is the unwillingness to help due to a national philosophy and not just the government's initiative?
Some would argue that Singaporeans have become like that because of the government (ie blame the government again). Well the government has to take some responsibility for that as they are our leaders. The old guard were against welfare for reasons, and they succeeded in transforming Singapore economically. Hence an entire generation were brought up thinking welfare is a dirty word. But the people made their choice too. So the people are also accountable for this mindset. When we go to the polls we vote for various issues. As Mr Wang (of Bakes Good Karma fame) mentioned before, although the PAP won 66.66% of votes it does not mean that all 66.66% support ALL of PAP's initiatives and philosophies. They might like the economic policies but what about the rest? It's a matter of priority. And frankly helping the poor is not a priority in the majority of voter's minds.
I once remember someone telling me that the easiest and laziest way to help the poor is to give money. What is far more valuable and what few people would donate is their TIME.
Personally I must admit that I'm not someone who would actively go out and spend time helping the poor outside of my current work interaction with some of the poor. Granted I do my part to help them medically and financially while at work, but I spend far more time working for a fee than volunteering. Somehow I feel that in Singapore, volunteerism is just not the way we live life. We're supposed to work as hard as we can to better ourselves and OUR lives. Not other's lives. If we do well, it's our effort. If we do badly it's our fault. Someone tell me this is not what Singapore's society preaches?
Having said that, I am free to make a choice and help. But I don't. I could choose to go against the majority trend and be a minority. But I don't. So I am also just as guilty. I make no excuses for myself.
Hence if you read my first post. I'm not criticizing the government because they are not helping the poor. But what I don't like is people PRETENDING that they are helping the poor when their true intentions lie elsewhere. ( The GST rise is PRIMARILY because of the need to lower income/corporate taxes, the "help the poor" bit is incidental due to current hot topics)
The government can only do so much. Even with welfare (ie money) there's only so much it would achieve. What we need is for the nation and the people to get involved. And frankly I don't see that happening. And it's both the government's and the people's fault. Singapore and Singaporeans choose the pursuit of personal and individual glory and wealth over all else. It's a very Asian mindset and that's no surprise bearing in mind where we are and where we came from. (Much of the complaints about GST increase are complaints by individuals because it would increase their living costs, the impact on the poor is just a veiled attempt at increasing emotional and sympathy support for a protest)
If we want to help the poor and be a truly inclusive society (incidentally everyone is happy to say yes to an inclusive society except that the "people" included should not be in THEIR OWN lives), what we need is a cultural and mindset change. An overhaul of the way we think and grow as a nation. Perhaps this is where the leadership failed despite its economic successes.