Jan 21, 2011

Possible New World Record for Singapore?

Floods have caused hundreds of thousands of people in Sri Lanka to become homeless. As many as one million people - including 400,000 children - may experience food shortage.

And the Singapore government is donating ..... $25,600?

That's less than the price of one C.O.E.

Surely this must set some kind of international record. For stingy-ness. This could be the smallest sum ever donated by one sovereign nation, to another sovereign nation, for a humanitarian cause.

I wonder if the government of Sri Lanka feels insulted.

One single primary school like Anglo-Chinese School could probably raise three times that amount in a week, just by asking parents for donations.

$25,600 flood aid for Sri Lanka
TODAY 05:55 AM Jan 21, 2011

SINGAPORE - The Government is contributing US$20,000 ($25,600) in aid to flood-stricken Sri Lanka, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement yesterday.

Floods and mudslides in Sri Lanka over the past several days have reportedly killed 40 people and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

The MFA said the money will go towards post-flood rehabilitation efforts undertaken by Mercy Relief.

The humanitarian organisation will be distributing water filtration units for fresh drinking water to those affected by the floods.

President S R Nathan had earlier sent a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to express his sympathies to the people and government of Sri Lanka over the loss of life and destruction caused by the floods, the MFA said.

Meanwhile, international humanitarian group Save the Children warned that the damage to agricultural land and loss of livestock is so serious that it could leave up to a million people - including 400,000 children - without enough food.


mr.udders said...

I'd much rather the government gives help to the people at home. But I guess that's wishful thinking...

Anonymous said...

Maybe because Singapore is a very small country so donation also equally small lah.

Don't say other countries, but is our government even generous to our own poor and distressed?

But of course this does not apply to our Ministers' salaries. Although we are very small, our ministers' salaries are the super highest in the whole world.

Don't ask me why like that lah. Too cheem (deep in Hokien) for me.

Anonymous said...

'..Singapore is a very small country so donation also equally small lah'

Hahaha. A small country that our neighbours always look upon as trying to wear big shoes.

And by the way, since it is a small country, so ministers' salaries by right should also be equally small lah!

Anonymous said...

Sri Lanka is not as important as our imported talents. They can spend S$10 million to get them integrated into our society.

The voice that explains the token donation says "Look, at least we did our part to donate, this is so much we can give."

SG Girl Next Door said...

Maybe they're afraid the money donated may not actually reach the needy? They must be prudent with our money you know?

Amused said...

Is it a surprise to anyone?

gabriel said...

i would think the government's reason is simple - "singapore not much vested interests in sri lanka, help for what".

whether that is right or not is another argument altogether.

Jolly Jester said...

Actually to put things into perspective, it seems to be far from a world record.

The US pledged US$300,000 (much larger than sg yes, but i doubt it is proportionally larger), while Canada pledged US$20,000 - the same as SG.

I leave the facts to speak for themselves.



Anonymous said...

These are tax payers money, you know? I would prefer it spent on topping up my CPF or bank account.

j said...

so how much do you think singapore should have given?

Anonymous said...

Corruption in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance is common lar. Whether 25k or 25m, it is likely that the people would not feel the difference.

Moreover, aid typically flows in during the onset of a disaster but dries up during the re-building. So rather than sending half a million or 2, I'd rather they send medical teams from SAF or fund organisations like mercy relief to look into rebuilding efforts once the flood subside. In this way, SAF medical team gets more field experience or it could create more jobs in social work sector. Win-win situation.

So my opinion is, not the quantum but the form of assistance should be given more thought lar.

Kaffein said...

Heh, Mr Wang, when did your blog start to get infestations with white termites? I'm sure you get my drift.

It's amazing how the top paid 30 ministers in the world come from a tiny dot about 700km2 in land size. I think that is a record achievement that will be hard to beat too for many years to come.

And I agree for all the developed thinking we have, we are far behind in humane efforts and social outreach.


Anonymous said...

Think about how much is donated to China during the earthquake and the flood...

Anonymous said...

Sadly many of the commentors are right. If the govt donates a lot of money folks here will complain, and it's hard to ascertain if the money gets into the right hands.

debait said...

Do you all stay in a relatively safe, successfully, and economically sound nation? Is the government really doing that bad a job to help (be it overseas or locally)?

apples need to be compared with apples.

if every change was made according to the forums, would we really be better off? in any case, for every one who disagrees, there probably is another one person who agrees.

Anonymous said...

Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones and unless one is undertaking relief efforts themselves, silence is infinitely golden.

Anonymous said...

Because our "smart" government knows only a small percentage of the donated money will go to the actual needy. Huge portion of the donated money will probably go into the pockets of corrupted policitians and officers first just like any other recent natural diasters in the 3rd world countries (e.g.tsunami). Like mr.udders, personally I'll rather our gov uses the money to help our people at home....

Anonymous said...

.. then again they probably save the money to prepare for their bonuses. *patting themselves on their back saying "well done" to themselves for another "good year".

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is more meaningful to send medical teams and directly fund rebuilding efforts but if u r to donate a sum of money please don't give such an embarrassingly small amount. Yes not all of it will go to the intended beneficiaries but beyond that, the sum donated says something about us and in this case it says that we r stingy. $26,500 is like small change that dropped out of LHL's pocket when he pulls down his pants in the jamban.

Anonymous said...


If you do the maths, you will see that PM Lee has to work two entire days to earn that much money.

($3.5 million per year divided by 12 months divided by 22 working days gives you his daily earnings).

SMS said...

You see when a big country pledge a large sum - some of that amount includes the cost for providing aides / advisers.

No actual money is involve or maybe a small amount is hard cash.

Singapore can provide hard cash. So it is $25k from the taxpayers?