Stupid Genius

- Making mistakes is our rights, learning from them is our responsibilty.

- "I have no choice" is another way of saying "I've have chosen the easier option"

- Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Thomas A Edison

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Location: Singapore

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Recently, my friend show me this article. It's about Dr Lily Neo trying to increase the assistance given to certain group of poor people in Singapore. I agree that we don't want to be a welfare state. We want able people to try as hard as possible to support themselves and their family. We also want people to support their own family and not rely on the government to do it.

So I was quite glad to hear of this Public Assistance scheme. It has a stringent selection criteria. There are only about 3,000 households are on it. Only Singapore citizens who are unable to work owing to old age, illness or unfavourable family circumstances; AND have no means of subsistence and no family members to depend on, are eligible. This is all reasonable requirements. However, for a single-adult household, only $290 per month is given to them. $100 will go to rental, power supply and S&C, leaving them with only $6 a day to live on. Tell me if that is enough for subsistence living. Many of them are skipping 1 meal to get by.

When Dr Lily Neo asked that more be given to them, she proposed $400 as a more reasonable figure, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said that the current amount is enough. He say that for a household of 3, they already give an amount that exceeds $900. "At that level, you are getting dangerously close to the earnings of a low-wage worker" He said. I don't have the figures to make the calculations, but $900 looks like a reasonable amount to me. Bear in mind that it's for a 3-person household who do not have the capacity to earn money. So what about the $290 given to the single-adult households?

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan also mention a lot of times that the selection criteria has to be stringent so that we can give more. We agree with that. But I thought Dr Lily Neo is asking for more to be given to them and not ask for a relaxation of the selection criteria? The selection criteria is now stringent, but why aren't more given?

After refusing to pay a $110 increase to those poor people, they started arguing for a increase in their salary.

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