Govt help is not first port of call

I refer to Mr Sam Tan’s speech in parliament that was reported by Ms Lee Siew Hua on 26 May 2009. In that speech, he likened the current recession cushioning by the Government to a father lining the streets with cushions so that a falling child will not hurt himself.

The analogy is inappropriate as it does not adequately describe the full relationship between father and son. The situation we have here is akin to a son working for his father for little or no pay much like what is happening in rural India where child labour is rampant. So the father enriches himself tremendously with all the child labour that he has been getting but the child remains impoverished. Worse still, the enriched father doesn’t take care that the streets are well paved and that pot holes are filled up. Now we have roads that are but dirt roads filled with rocks and stones that are out to trip a child and make him fall.

That is why the father is now paving the road properly so that the son can ride safely. The father is doing what he is supposed to have done right from the beginning, something he failed to do all along.

To bring the analogy back to reality. The roads are the cost of living that we the citizens of Singapore have to negotiate and overcome everyday. With the influx of immigrants, housing prices have skyrockected. HDB prices have gone up by a at least a hundred thousand dollars overnight. This time round, it does not seem that the price will ever come down again. This permanent increase in housing cost is a real burden to the people of Singapore that weighs heaviliy on them.

So you see, our roads are not that cushiony after all. The increase in housing prices all over Singapore goes ultimately to state coffers. All that we worked for all our lives goes ultimately to state coffers. We the citizens are threading on a very bare line. There is very little cushion we can afford for ourselves. What the government is doing is to give back a little bit of what the child labour deserves in the first place.

Ask yourself, can you even find a handful of nations in this world with more expensive public housing than Singapore? We have the most expensive public housing in this world but we don’t have the world’s highest salaries. Are we being treated fairly?

They say that in times of famine, humans turn cannibals. When the citizens are threading on such a thin line, with barely sufficient resources to support themselves, where to find extra resources to fund others?

Remember everything here is calculated to extract the maximum from each citizen. We have very little left to share and to give.

Teaching core values is good. That means teaching the government too. That the citizens deserve a decent cost of living and not squeezed till they have absolutely nothing to spare.

So don’t blame us for having little to spare. Ask the government why we have little to spare please.


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