Feb 6, 2013

Shocking Statistics About the Poor in Singapore

Holy cow. Singapore is doing much worse than I thought. An excerpt from the TODAY newspaper:
Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing gave figures to show that incomes at the bottom continue to rise but said the Government will do more to help low-income Singaporeans. 
He was responding to Nominated MP Tan Su Shan's question on social mobility. 
The real median gross monthly income for employed residents increased 1.3 per cent a year from 2002 to 2012, after rising 2.7 per cent a year from 1996 to 2002, Mr Chan said. 
For the lowest 20th percentile of employed residents, their real gross monthly income rose 0.1 per cent each year from 2002 to 2012 and 2.2 per cent a year from 1996 to 2002.
0.1 per cent? That's effectively zero. Especially if you are in the bottom 20 percentile.

Imagine if your real gross monthly income was $1,000 in 2002. Ten years later, your real gross monthly income would have risen to about $1,010 in 2012.

 So after one full decade of "national progress" under the PAP government, your quality of living has increased by the value of 2 packs of toilet paper at NTUC Fairprice.

 I wonder if Chan Chun Sing managed to keep a straight face, when he said in Parliament that "incomes at the bottom continue to rise".


Anonymous said...

This is in line with the PAP's vision of them moving ahead, and *them* staying together.

Kevin Jang said...

Call this "white"-washing the truth, since they are literally always touting their 'white-ness' and moral purity.....

Anonymous said...

Its sad but the vast majority of middle class folk dont care for the poorer class in Spore. We are quite a selfish lot.

Well done Mr Wang... for this post

Anonymous said...

do these figs take into account inflation?

in another piece I read, based on dept of stats figs, these pple's incomes had fallen after one took inflation into account.

all I know is that cleaners' salaries have dropped quite a bit. I ask myself, will this country fall apart without a PM? answer: No.

will this country fall apart without cleaners? answer: Yes.

so who should be paid more?

hugewhaleshark said...

Oh my, all that GDP growth did not have much beneficial impact did it? Not even enough to cover inflation.

Anonymous said...

Stopping at 2 is worrying about feeding and the overpopulation?

As at that time the populations is around 2 millions.

Now the old was blamed and excuses to import more new citizen to support them as they had earlier contributed to Singapore success?

Then how much is enough? Some of the more successful countries offer huge incentive for innovation, not through growing the economy through importing citizen.

And they are the advanced countries with high birthrate and high standard of living and high quality of life, see how they treat their senior citizens?

Now the population 5.3m, not enough babies, what was the factors caused not enough babies, is it job security or cost of living, completing for jobs?

The new citizen they are cheaper? The question is were they add in to more problem to solve if they don’t born enough babies, if Singapore reach 7 millions.

And when the new citizens grow old, importing more people to support them? Singapore is a small island and had no resources? What is the negative effects?

Why well developed countries don’t use this methods? Is it more difficult to feed a population of 7 millions then the population of 2 millions? This methods might has the side effects which more difficult to overcome later?

Anonymous said...

I remember that the 0.1% rise already took into account inflation. But again, that is not something to be proud about. Essentially, it means the poorest has not seen any increase in quality of life...

Xmen said...

Mr Wang,

In 2012, the monthly income should have been more than $1,010. $1,010 would have been correct in 2002 dollars.

That said, if you compare the pitiful gain at 0.1% for the bottom 20 percentile to that of top 20 percentile, you will see the glaring injustice in the system. The wealth generated by the growth in GDP has solely benefited the wealthy. This is not "trickle-down" economics, it is fascism!

Also, inflation for the poor tends to be higher than published inflation numbers. This is due to the fact that the poor consumes all income on daily necessities which tend to have higher inflation. For example, they don't buy expensive electronics which have little or no inflation but is included in the computation of official inflation number.

The liberal immigration policy of the past 2 decades has contributed to the current sad state of affairs. Yet PAP wants to continue the same and refuses to address the social injustice in the whitepaper. How can they have no conscience?

Mr Wang said...

Real gross income is already adjusted for inflation, I think. Basically the way to compare the two figures $1,000 and $1,010 is to assume no inflation for 10 years.

If you assume that there is, say, 3% inflation, then $1,000 jumps to roughly $1,310 after 10 years. Still extremely pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Er, isn't it 0.1% each year (not that that's significantly more I suppose).

mr wang said...

Yeah. So at a rate of 0.1% per year and starting from $1000,

after Year 1, you get $1,001
after Year 2, you get $1,002


after Year 10, you get $1,010, and a few cents (compounding).

Anonymous said...

There is an auntie,looks to be in her 60s, who speak good English, looks smart and always serves with a great smile. She says her pay is $7 an hour and she works about 10 hours a day. Her "boss" is a young Filipino chap who looks to be in his 30s.
This is how BAD our own people are treated!

Anonymous said...

In Subway, Tiong Bahru Plaza, there is an auntie,looks to be in her 60s, who speak good English, looks smart and always serves with a great smile. She says her pay is $7 an hour and she works about 10 hours a day. Her "boss" is a young Filipino chap who looks to be in his 30s.
This is how BAD our own people are treated!

Anonymous said...

Will overpopulations and overcrowding causes:

1 Hasten the outflow of young talented Singaporean?

2 Worsen the fertility rate of new and old citizens, due to overwork and stress? Which worsen the old age problems?

3 Widening of incomes gap, due to displacement of older workers, which more difficult to find jobs.

4 Unusual heavy competition of resources and infrastuctures - Transports, Heath care & Educations etc?

Anonymous said...

"Thus seen, there is no reason to presume that upward income distribution will accelerate investment and growth. This has not happened in general. Even where there is more growth, the trickle down that occurs through the market mechanism is very limited, as seen in the above comparison of the US with other rich countries with a good welfare state.

Simply making the rich richer does not make the rest of us richer. If giving more to the rich is going to benefit the rest of society, the rich have to be MADE to deliver higher investment and thus higher growth through policy measures (e.g., tax cuts for the rich individuals and corporations, conditional on investment), and then share the fruits of such growth through a mechanism such as the welfare state"

-page 147 of "23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism" an international bestseller (Penguin Books) by Cambridge professor Ha-Jon Chang.

The prof's words is highly instructive of the Singapore govt's policies to encourage business growth and have also highlighted how the govt have NOT been sharing 'the fruits of such growth through a mechanism such as the welfare state'.

We all are too painfully aware of how anti-welfare the PAP govt have always been to the people. Preferring to keep all the growth (profits made through the sacrifices of Singaporeans) in its coffers, and to use it in speculative financial investments that have resulted in spectacular losses of the country's national reserve rather than to improve the average lot of Singaporeans, in particular the aged poor and sick.

Anonymous said...

By the way the book ""23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism" is available at:

foc 49for download and/or reading

Anonymous said...

If the PAP can tell us that GST is to help the poor, I think we can understand why poor people are skeptical and fearful when the government talks about more help to be given to them.

Anonymous said...

Can it be reverted back to 5.5m, if the assumptions and projections were found to be errors, as in the past?

And bringing more citizens could have add to the low birthrates, and add in to the old age problems?

What are other better methods?

Anonymous said...

Could competitions make a multi-parties system more effciency?

Heavy competitions from different brands like Nokia, Apple, Samsung etc in technology like Cell phones getting cheaper, lighter and more functions?

More competition leads to reduce in wastages?

More difference parties generate much more ideas which lead to much more innovations?

As in some successful western countries?

Haas Blog.CripperZ.SG said...

thats why we need people like Obama who oppress the rich and give it to the poor to be a leader in Singapore. People can never have enough.

Haas Blog.CripperZ.SG said...

thats why we need people like Obama who oppress the rich and give it to the poor to be a leader in Singapore. People can never have enough.

marrythaigirlsingapore said...

I think $1000 a month is very optimistic, from what I know, some people are earning between $500-$800 today. I know my second uncle was earning $500 a month before he passed away recently, he was a cleaner, not sure what kind of cleaner though. He and his wife lives in a rented flat in commonwealth, I heard from my mom that he pays about $70+ a month, his wife is not working.

He had a heart condition, only when he passed away then I heard from my father that he refused to take medication because he was afraid he cannot afford to continue taking it, and also afraid to become reliant on it. He passed away while sleeping. I asked why he didn't ask for our help, my father said how to ask, some people would rather die than to let people know they are struggling.

I think the most fragile are the old and low or uneducated group, when they need help, either they don't know where to get it or they are afraid of losing face, I think we should try to reach out to them. If I visit my second uncle often, then maybe he would have access to medication that he needed. Sometimes when I think about it, I can't help feeling that more can be done for him.