Sharing more about Singapore with Chance Wilson

Dear Chance,

I refer to the 20 Jul 2014 Straits Times report of your noble initiative.


A picture tells a thousand words. The following are pictures of poor people in Singapore picking up bits and pieces of rubbish to sell for a living:

The following are some news about Singapore’s hidden poverty problem:

• Straits Times, More poor people in Singapore than figures show, 25 Sept 2013

• Straits Times, The invisible poor?, 26 Oct 2013

• BBC News Singapore, How do Singapore’s poor families get by?, 27 Feb 2014

• BBC News Singapore, Are Singapore’s poor better off? 17 Feb 2012

• Methodist Welfare Services, The face of poverty in Singapore,

• Diary of a Singaporean Cabby, The poor of Singapore, 4 Sept 2011

• Singapore poverty in the spot light, 9 Nov 2013

• The Lien Centre for Social Innovation and SMU School of Social Sciences, Measuring poverty in Singapore

Most expensive city in the world

A number of global indexes place Singapore amongst the most expensive in the world:

• Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living 2014 puts Singapore in No. 1 position as world’s most expensive city

• Mercer Cost of Living 2014 puts Singapore as 4th most expensive in the world. Singapore was 5th most expensive in 2013

The expensiveness of this country means that you don’t have to be African poor to be poor in Singapore.


The chart below shows that from 1980 onwards, Singapore’s GINI inequality index has always been amongst the highest of First World nations (United Nations University data


Our high income inequality exacerbates our poverty problems.

No press freedom, no democracy

There are other not so flattering facets about Singapore you might want to know:

• Singapore is ranked 150th in the world for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders in 2014

• Singapore was ranked 81st by Economist Intelligence Unit for Democracy Index in 2012

Thus, Singapore may not be as amazing as have been reported by our world No. 150th press.


Singapore’s strong education performance mirrors those of other East Asian cities / nations like Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Shanghai and reflects the East Asian society’s emphasis on education. Although East Asian competitiveness in education extends to our work places, when it comes to innovation and the creation of revolutionary new products, services, concepts or brands, America is still the country to beat.


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