Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rest in peace, Mr Tan Jee Suan.

The helpless man jumped down the MRT track on Wednesday night.
Brought about this qn: IS there poverty in Singapore?

When many Singaporeans are guilty of splurging hundreds on a meal, this family here could only afford a bed after 15 years of marriage. Yes.. married for 15 years without a bed, they could finally afford it after the Progressive Package. All thanks to the govt for giving out e election freebies, some might say. Lets look at the bigger picture. What is starking is the income inequality in Singapore. I can assure you the index here is higher than in many developing world. No doubt inequality in wealth is a fixture of capitalist societies, and globalization widen the gap at a even shorter period of time, with devastating effect only for the poor. This is something the authorities have to address.

Some will say "aiya those who are really poor are lazy la, surely if u are willing to work you wont starve in Singapore". Why are we always shifting the blame to the disadvantaged? Even people with degrees are finding it hard to get an ideal job, how about these people, without much education, left fending in a materialistic and, to borrow the idea from Darwin, "survival of the fittest" world? They need help dun they?

As much as we want to avoid creating a welfare state, we should not allow anybody to be left behind so drastically. If so I would say economic growth is useless. So what if we can hold a world meeting so successfully, high GDP, beautiful IRs, when ppl back home are struggling even to feed their family.

The man's MP mentioned that the family has been seeking help from CDC since 1999, but suddenly stopped asking for help. My point is, why din the authorities find out earlier why the family stopped asking for help? Some might say its not their responsiblity to do so. But is it really that difficult for an admin staff to make a call to the family or do a house visit. Lets say the family has strucked it rich and decided not to seek financial help, as a welfare organization you will feel happy for them. And if the reason they stopped asking for help has nothing to do with their improved economic status, then the organization has to find out whats bothering them. If they had done so, maybe this tragedy wouldn't have happened.

Credit to Singaporeans for the $300 000 donation to the family. what an irony. I believed if Mr Tan was still alive he would not have imagined having $300 000. However a statement made by their MP disturbed me.

"We are going to suggest that the money be kept in trust for the family. If they are getting so much money and, with the wife being uneducated and simple, we don't know what kind of attention the money will attract"

That was the exact statement MP Mdm Ho Geok Choo made. Very good intention isn't it? Familiar ring? Can imagine a leader in a press conference 'I know what is best for Singaporeans, and you Singaporeans have to listen to me, accept the polcies, take the bitter pills for the nation to progress'. and it means, 'I have the power and the brains, I cannot trust you to make decisions for yourself, so you better follow what i ask you to do'. It is their money, why should you worry so much? You should be providing emotional support for the poor wife and look for ways to help the traumatised kids. Yet the onlything you are worried about is the money.

Why do you have to label the poor woman uneducated and simple minded? Uneducated does not only mean the woman is without education, it has a strong negative connatation to how cultured the woman is. And how do you measure simple minded-ness? You did a test with her? Or a research on her? Does it mean that you cannot manage your finance if u r uneducated or simple minded? Thats how materialistic society function, or rather materialistic govt does. That wont give you the right to keep ppl's money. You can suggest a financial adviser or equivalent, why keep their money?

How i wish Marx's wish can be fulfilled, for this society is cruel to the poor.


Anonymous said...

what is marx's wish har?

Low speaking for Marx said...

my wish is for the oppressed to be class conscious and to unite and rebel against the oppressor

switch side said...

For once i agree, i too was terribly disturbed by his death. I think the govt should start a unit to track the poor and help them. It sort of blame the poor for not coming to receive help, forgetting that most poor are uneducated.


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