Did the government use the reserves during this time?
I was listening to the radio this morning. They had one of those "this time in history" sort of segments.
And they mentioned SARS. "Singapore was hit by a mystery virus which plunged the country into a crisis....."
All those memories came flooding back to me. It was one of those periods where we did not know whether to rejoice (because suddenly the work load at the govt hospitals dropped to all time lows. I'm still thinking where did those people go and why was it there was no rise in death rates despite people staying away from the hospitals?) or to be terrified that we could be the next victim? (I was admitted for suspected SARS myself and my colleagues did die after being infected, but that is another story)
Somehow the phrase "plunged Singapore into a crisis..." struck a cord with me. All this talk about raising GST, to raise the money to help the poor and how we "must not ever touch the reserves unless there is a crisis...."
Well did the Singapore government touch the reserves during the SARS CRISIS? As I recall businesses were hard hit. Many lost their jobs. But I don't recall talk about using the reserves.
In fact, they had ANOTHER one of those donating charity drives. And people donated. As a matter of fact, they donated so much there was a surplus! And we still don't know what happened to that surplus money!
The point I'm trying to make is this. If the Singapore government didn't touch the reserves even when the country was indeed in a crisis from SARS, then when will they ever touch the reserves? So dream on guys. I'm beginning to wonder whether the reserves are really "national reserves" at all? Do they exist? Or is it another one of those "terminology", "definition" games that politicians play?