Singapore can become that Greater Society
This is the title of an article in Today written by a young doctor. His message is clear. Taxation must be progressive and not regressive. He did not say it, but GST is a regressive taxation where the tax burden falls heavily on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Do not be deceived by whatever clever talks that GST is good for the poor. It is not. And abolishing of estate duties to allow the super rich to keep their wealth intact is anything but progressive.
Though the young doctor, Tan Wu Meng, commented about many issues, the main crux of his article can be summarized in the following quotes, ‘When all is reduced to price(money), we lose track of the priceless. When a mentality of winner takes all takes root, it takes away something from our society.’ The brackets are mine.
Some may comment that the young doctor’s view is full of youthful idealism. Some may call him stupid as the real world is all about how much to grab, and corruption can be eradicated by paying upfront, legally. These are the hard truths that young people cannot understand. They are not greedy yet.
I would like to disagree, and I believe that life must be filled with youthful idealism to achieve that greater goal of a better people and a Greater Society. The fact that Tan Wu Meng said that Singapore can become that Greater Society is as good as saying we are not there. He also made several pertinent points that I would like to reproduce here to give credit to him.
‘Inequality becomes particularly corrosive to society when people no longer see a path upwards; when those on top do not give a helping hand – or worst, having climbed to the next level, pull the ladder up after themselves and pretend the ladder was never needed in the first place. The meritocratic system begins to fray when great success breeds a sense of great entitlement, rather than the calling of great responsibility to others….A nation’s defence is incomplete unless each citizen feels he has a stake in the future, that he is part of something greater, that he is fighting for more than just another person’s possessions.’
I could not have said it better. This is part of the bigger stirring that is going on. Those who can think are not happy with a situation that looks perfect on the surface, but the truth is further than you think. This young doctor is saying it in a less than subtle way and representative of the polite elite who wanted change but not pushing their points too hard, not wanting to ruffle feathers.
Would his message get through? Would this be picked up in the Natcon as a vital issue to be addressed?