1/18/2006

no shame in being poor - speedwing

i fully agree with speedwing that there is no shame is being poor. often in life a person is dealt a poor hand and got to live with it and make the best out of it. for the religious, there are many reasons for life to be this way or that way. society has looked at poverty differently. and there is often the intent to want to help, but just enough for the poor to continue to eke out a living, to extend their life in misery. no poor people can expect society to feed them and cloth them and to live well. but the poor needs help and help will be given, on conditions. this brings to the issue of means testing. my personal view on this is that the poor is already poor. help them if one can. no need to humiliate them more by subjecting them to embarrassing questions. the argument that there will be those who aren't really poor but will take advantage of the help given is valid but not really that serious. this can be dealt with on a case by case basis. the people in authority somehow find it so easy and comfortable to ask for means testing. what is means testing? basically it demands a person to be stripped naked for another person or a group of people to see, to inspect his finances. i have seen some of the questions asked in the forms issued by charitable organisations. many were simply intrusive and out of line with the realities of life. but basically the questions intend to make sure that the person being checked is penniless, totally broke. how many are so desperate when earning $1,200 is now considered poor and needed help. and this is officially acknowledged. many financial checks are way behind time. but that is not the point. the person who thinks that it is acceptable to subject another human beings to this kind of humiliating checks must be prepared to put himself through the same process. many people have asked that the people in authority declare their assets. but it all falls silence. who in his right mind would allow people to peep into their finances and personal matters? if this is objectionable to the rich, then it is objectionable to the poor too. both deserve some respect as a human being. many poor would rather suffer in silence and in poverty that than to lose their pride. the recent case of the 3 children who missed school is only a drop in the ocean. yes, those who have may say, if you are poor, when your stomach is empty, when you needed help, what is pride? should society be so harsh and passionless to treat a person in dire straits in a callous and insensitive way?

4 comments:

Speedwing said...

“ Life is unfair “ I hear many say. In a way this is quite true. Born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you will be destined for a comfortable life with all the trimmings. Born to a family of 3 or 4 children and a total family income of $1200, you will have to be tough to survive. The rich kid will have a smoother and softer time ahead with good opportunities for a comfortable life. Growing up with people of the same rich social background and rubbing shoulders with influential people also has its advantages. On the other side of the coin, the not so fortunate kid from a poorer background will have none of the opportunities afforded to his luckier peer. However, it does not mean that being born to a family with poor financial background, he will not be able to break out of the poverty trap. There are many who have done so and have made good in life. I must admit these “break throughs” are few and far between.

This leads me to the next question. In the society we live in, how easy is it for a person from a poor background to break out from the poverty trap?? I have a feeling that you have to be quite extraordinary to be able to do that. Poverty is not a crime, only an inconvenience. The amount of inconveniences and “hurdles” that one has to encounter in order to break out of this poverty tap will depend on the country and the attitude of society. In certain country the economic situation may render it almost impossible for someone to upgrade his status in life. In other situations, the political atmosphere may be a hindrance. However, the greatest hurdle one may encounter comes from the attitude of people. There are many around us today who are determined on keeping others down. This mentality is very evident in the Singaporean society. It may be the kiasu-ness or jealousy. I have seen people going out of their way to keep others from bettering themselves. It is the, “ if I cannot get it, why should others do better than me?” attitude. Why would people feel that way, one cannot exactly say. Maybe it is just being human.

redbean said...

hi speed,

life is created in such a way that there is variety. some good, some bad, some grey. there will always be the rascals that make life difficult for others. and there will always be the greedy and the selfish.

i was reading the story of how daim was connected to the toll road payout. these type of arseholes, they have so much wealth, (not referring to daim), still stooped so low to grab more. then the palm plantation workers with 10 children without proper shoes and no pocket money to go to school, no money to pay for school fees.

why is the world created in such a way, such perfection they called it. and matilah, the world is so beautiful.

when i was young, it seems that everything is achieveable given the will and effort. but not true. very wrong. what can be achieved will be achieved even without effort. what cannot be achieved will not be achieved no matter how hard you tried.

someone i know, very average, everything average. joined the uniform group and left as a corporal. started a small business with no contact or experience or anything really relevant. picked up some lose discarded furniture for his little cubicle office.

one day a guy walked in, said he like the name of his company and told him all his contracts for a particular job will be given to him. and the rest is history. with those contracts he built a fortune worth $40 mil.

today he lost practically everything again. not really everything as some wealth were stashed here and there. but officially a bankrupt i think.

Elfred said...

I agree with Speed.

There's no need to be so snobbish, especially in politics.

I don't think MM Lee was the richest person leading the richest party when he first started.

Very sorry, my interest is kinda political, so would me examples be most of the time...

In fact, even simple issue hitting me would kinda be expressed in political manner...

redbean said...

agree elfred. speedwing did tell the truth about the realities of life. and there are many aspects of life to be known. and we all learn along the way.