‘It’s not for the rewards’Good job, David. Unfortunately, PAP Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan probably won't agree with you.
Just 19, this teen is no stranger to reaching out to the elderly and poor
Monday • February 9, 2009
By Alicia Wong
HE QUESTIONED if public assistance recipients were getting enough, and discovered, maybe not.
Upon learning that Singapore’s needy received $330 monthly, 19-year-old David Ang was taken aback.
“Even a meal at McDonald’s is well over $5. For food, transport, healthcare and other necessities, I couldn’t imagine that $330 was enough,” he told Today.
So he rounded up his friends, and with grassroots leaders, surveyed nearly 100 needy in Tanjong Pagar GRC over two weekends last November and December.
Struggling with the language barrier, they worked in pairs to conduct the survey.
It turned out that every month, those polled spent all of the $330 and any other money they got. On average, a third of their money went to food alone.
“Some had lost their families, and others their jobs. Some just never settled down and somehow, life landed them in this situation,” said David.
“There is no easy answer on how to help them, but we have to try, regardless.”
David’s initiative so impressed his Member of Parliament (MP) Sam Tan that the latter highlighted him as an example for others during Parliament last week.
You must recall that previously, the PA handout was only $290. This figure was reluctantly raised to $330, only after strenuous, strenuous argument in Parliament.
And in March last year, Dr Vivian had once again gone to great pains to explain to Singaporeans why $330 per month is more than enough for a needy person to live on.
Among other things, Dr Vivian said that a needy person can always try to rely on free hong baos from some charities.
The government shouldn't get too involved, because we need a government that is "lean, efficient, rational, disciplined and competent" (Dr Vivian's words).
Dr Vivian seemed to suggest that if the PAP government gave more than $330, then it would somehow become a bloated, inefficient, irrational, ill-disciplined and incompetent organisation.
How exactly that would happen - I do not know. But then again, Vivian's imagination is probably much more powerful than mine.
Dr Vivian also suggested that if we give more than $330, we might end up destroying Singaporeans' foundation of success by "eroding their work ethic and self-reliance".
So what exactly are you trying to do, David? Act seditiously? Are you trying to ruin the country or what?