we have arrived differently
We are not that much different from Malaysia. We have taken different route to economic development and organising our societies. Both countries have done quite well economically. Wealth were created and distributed but in different ways. Malaysia distributes wealth using the policy of bumiputra first. Singapore distributes wealth using meritocracy as the guiding principle. In a way, wealth is distributed in a fairly similar pattern. Within the last 3 decades, both countries have a cohort of elite, according to their own definition and interpretations, that are benefitting immensely in this wealth distribution game. Wealth goes to a group of elite while many at the lower end are still living a hand to mouth existence. The apologists of the Singapore system will argue that more wealth have been spread across the board and downwards. That is true. And the bottom line of our bell curve starts at a much higher level. That is also true. But poverty is not simply measured by the physical dollar value. A $500 income may still be bearable in Malaysia but abject poverty in Singapore. For those who would want to argue about poverty in countries where income can be down to a few dollars, that is stretching the argument tangentially off. The latest victim who jumped at the MRT speaks volume of the plight of the bottom feeders in our society. And mind you, this is not going to be an isolated case. Despite the wealth of our nation, if the bottom feeders are left to fight for every piece of crumbs that fell off the table, then we cannot claim to have succeeded in giving the people a better life. There must be empathy for the hardlanders and conscious policies to uplift their meagre existence. The more funds are allocated to provide handouts to these hardup cases, the more serious is the problem. And such funds will never solve their problems. It is like passing $1000 to the widow of the MRT jumper. How good is that and how long is it going to last. We have failed many of these hardlanders. We have left them behind while feeding ourselves crazy with abalone and sharksfin. It is difficult to find empathy in our post 65ers when they were brought up in a life of luxury. Yes some may have gone through a bit of hardship. But they have short memories, after having arrived. They are likely to belong to the peanut generations.