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Ups and Downs

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I were earning 1.9 million a year in a cushy government job which I know for sure I am not going to get voted out of, I would hardly be tempted by offers from the private sector which may promise higher pay but longer hours, more stress and way less job security. And I would also think that if you are already earning that much per year, then a few additional hundred thousand dollars wouldn’t make much of a difference in making you stay, unless in deciding whether you are going to buy that extra Mercedes Benz for your daughter who’s barely got a driving license.

You know what would make a difference? Supplementing the income for over-worked and under-paid social workers, topping up the CPF for old folks who barely have enough to buy a new pair of clothes, giving kids who have drug-addict or alchoholic parents a few pennies for lunch money.

What’s that you say? No poverty in Singapore? Barely 100 metres away from where I live in my comfortable condominium, are the blocks of flats with one of the poorest families in Singapore. Even if they have enough to eat, they certainly don’t have enough to keep up with their mortgage payments. Their children grow up without education, or drop out and get a baby as birthday present. And the vicious cycle continues.

I’ve a feeling no one in the upper echelons of the government has actually spent a few minutes with social workers. It is a depressing exercise, to hear the stories the counselors and home-workers tell, to hear about the crushing poverty and accompanying dysfunctionality. About the students who don’t attend school because they don’t have recess money. About how they fall by the wayside, because they can’t make it in the fast-paced education system. About the student who is forced to work in KFC just to make sure her family can pay the rent, and then having a drug-addict mother who steals that money.

Before you tell me about how 1.2 million isn’t enough, and you are completely entitled to 2.2 million per year, please, I beg you, go talk to these social workers. Just a few minutes of your 1.9-million-a-year time.

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November 27, 2007 - Posted by | Politics, singapore | , , ,

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