Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Singapore not considering poverty line assessment? WTF?

Singapore is not considering having an official poverty line, as it would not fully reflect the severity and complexity of issues faced by the poor, and may also lead to those above the line missing out on assistance.

CHAN CHUN SING: "If we use a single poverty line to assess the family, we also risk a 'cliff effect', where those below the poverty line receive all forms of assistance, while other genuinely needy citizens outside the poverty line are excluded."
- Straits Times. 23 Oct 2013.
Is this where SG is heading?

Poverty line is a hand in hand assessment along with GDP to gauge how well a govt is running the country, you shouldnt have one without the other. For the longest time since 2005, it has become more apparent that Singapore is being run like an institution rather than like a country and with all the fixation about KPI, shouldnt then poverty line should be part of a good governing body's KPI? You keep talking about people falling through the cracks, we know that. However, exactly HOW MANY people are falling through the cracks with your vision? How do we know if the country is truly doing better or worse without any statistics to back your claim? 

Otherwise to give an analogy, it will be like a highly paid self-acclaimed (but rather irresponsible) top surgeon trumpeting his own horns, crowing only about one's success op stories but neglecting to share how many failed ops he has. Given a 100 patients, what's the point of saving 20 patients but failing the other 80? Is that still a desirable doctor? 

So, when I read the extract quote above, my first reaction was.."WTF?"

Honestly, I dont really get this statement. How does establishing a poverty line statistics deprive other genuine citizens outside the line? Hello? Social services are run by man, not robots. Human can be flexible. You mean you cant help genuine cases because they are above a yardstick estimate and you need to stick to the line? You think this is classroom marking system? Where 50 is strictly the passing mark and anything under is failure?  Social services should render help regardless to genuine cases even for borderline cases, no? That's why we have case by case assessment isnt it? The ability to use their discretion and compassion. Otherwise what do you think civil service officers are for? Just to fill up forms and answer emails and voice mails? 

Plus having a poverty line does not translate to govt running amok with all the social benefits. You will still have stringent evaluation and assignment or provision of benefits as per necessary and not "receive ALL forms of assistance" as Mr Chan put it across. While I stand corrected, please also spare a thought of the pride, integrity and dignity of poor people. You sound as if our fellow poor citizens are all out to fleece the govt given every opportunity they get. Do you know that there are many poor old grannies would rather slough picking cardboard than ask govt for money? If I'm the tax payer and given a choice, I would rather helping my own people, the genuine poor citizens, than pouring our money into infuriating free scholarship for foreigners, YOG and meaningless projects (ahem...*sky garden*) that amount to nothing except face value. 

Hong Kong already published its own poverty line this year, and this state doesnt even have their own full fledged elected govt. Yet, they seemed to display a more humane way of running the state.  

It was published about a fifth of its people are living in poverty and I'm VERY SURE the actual figures of poor people above the poverty line goes beyond this. I'm living in HK and I'm telling you, its very very very very hard to imagine living in HK based on the below poverty line criteria. 

Accoding to the 2012 poverty line set By  the number of households, one person household is under HK $3600, two people HK $7700, three people HK $11500, four people HK $14300, five people HK $14800, six or above HK $15800.

HK, a city with a surging number of millionaires and home to some of Asia’s richest people, finds a fifth of its population living in poverty.About 1.3 million people, or 19.6 percent of the population, were below the poverty line last year, according to a report commissioned by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and released on Sept. 28. The benchmark, determined for the first time, was set at half of the city’s median household income, excluding impact of tax and welfare transfer, the report said.
“The poverty line is a useful reference point for knowing whether the situation is improving or deteriorating, ” Willy Lam Wo-Lap, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said by phone

"REFERENCE POINT" Get it Mr Chan CS? A reference point, NOT an unyielding criteria line to implement social benefits upon. 


Anonymous said...

No need for his IQ to be checked. It's confirmed that he is an idiot.

“Singapore is not considering having an official poverty line, as it would not fully reflect the severity and complexity of issues faced by the poor, and may also lead to those above the line missing out on assistance.”
The poverty line will give you can clear indicator on the number of poor in Singapore. Having identified the numbers it is another matter altogether to identify the issues they face. Whether a person slightly above the poverty line receives assistance is yet another call. At the moment there is no distinct quantative evidence on the number of Singaporeans who are poor because the government does creative accounting using home ownership as an indicator. We all know there are many who live in HDB houses bought using their CPF having less than

Anonymous said...

I agree. Kee Chiu!