The Online Citizen

No family will be left behind: Really? (updated)

December 26
12:00 2010

by Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “No family will be left behind; with some help from CDC and Koufu” (Today, Dec 21).

Helping 2,000 needy students?

It states that:

Over the next two years, some 2,000 needy primary and secondary students will benefit from the fund of about $235,000, which is made up of Koufu’s donation of $117,558 – raised by staff as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts – and matched dollar for dollar by the CDC.

This works out to about $58.75 per needy student per year ($235,000 divided by 2,000 students), or about 16 cents per day ($58.75 divided by 365 days).

So, with regard to:

Yesterday, Madam Norhana’s children (5 of them) each received a kit of school essentials such as a new bag, book and vouchers for shoes. They will also get daily lunch allowances of $1 to $1.50”, based on the average of 16 cents per day per student calculated above, how many of the 2,000 students get all the items described?

Statistics that are narrated by describing one family, may be quite misleading. Because, clearly, there can’t be many getting the entire list of benefits.

How many helped by how much?

How many of the 2,000 needy students, received daily lunch allowances of $1 or $1.50 and for how long? How many received shoes vouchers, etc?

To illustrate why the sums may not seem right – if just 490 needy students get just a daily allowance of $1 (nobody getting more than $1 or $1.50), the entire $235,000 may already be used up ($235,000 divided by $6 times 80 weeks) – no money left for shoes vouchers, books, bags, stationery!

So, what we need is the break-down of how many received what, and how much did it cost?

Help long overdue?

As to “The CDC identified these students through working closely with the schools”, what was the CDC doing to help these 2,000 needy students in the past, or did it only identify them recently, when the $117,558 donation was available?

How many of these students went hungry, without shoes, stationary, bags, in the previous years?

Since the CDC were given funds to help the needy, why did it not help them in this respect, until now?

GST to help the poor?

When GST was raised from 5 to 7 per cent, it was said that it would fund programmes to help the poor, with an initial estimate of an extra $1.5 billion GST collections a year.

So, why is it that all the CDCs are doing so much to raise funds from the community and corporate sector?

Can we have an accounting of how the extra GST has been used to help the poor?

Without the answers to the above questions, perhaps what every media report about some new CDC fund raising scheme to help the poor, may only give the perception that they are not doing enough now and in the past.

Unless, CDCs do not get enough money to help the poor, such that only now, perhaps some needy students will not have to go hungry!

And what happens, when the $235,000 fund runs out in two years’ time?

Surely, CDCs have to budget and make a commitment to help the poor on a continuing on-going basis.

Are there any countries in the world that plan, budget, and account for welfare in the unique way which we seem to do?

Finally, if “no family will be left behind”, why are we seeing an increasing frequency of media reports, of families that are apparently only being helped more now?

NTUC Education Grant

NTUC informed a union member that her needy child could not qualify for the NTUC Education Grant, because she had not produced a results slip to show a passing grade.

It is hard enough to be poor, and as the statistics show more likely to not do well in school. So, why further de-moralise the child and his or her parents, by denying a grant which is only a one-time off $100 assistance. For this year, only 1,074 students received the Education Grant.

How many union member’s needy children were denied the grant because of their results?

Perhaps what needy children sorely need is more compassion, instead of motivation by denial -

“The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) would like to clarify that the main objective of the NTUC GB Education Grant is to motivate members’ children who are currently schooling to continue to strive for academic excellence”. (Why NTUC requires results slip for education grant)

  • CDC

    Of course not every one will get the same amount of $$$. Depends on many factors such as how destitute the family is, whether got handicap or sickness like kidney failure, whether they bother to look after themselves instead of everyday eating deep fried foods that give them diabetes, heart problems, stroke, cancer, whether the adults want to help themselves with jobs no matter how hard, dangerous, demeaning or lowly paid etc etc. Also whether the kids can get at least 50% for their school marks.
    Hard to get welfare at the beginning of the year, apart from the bare necessities for children schooling, coz the civil servants and staff all want to preserve the $$$ until the middle of the year. So they will be damn stingy and rude to welfare seekers. Merry Xmas & happy new year.

  • iamlookinforBABYmaker

    Madam Norhana’s children (5 of them) each received a kit of school essentials such as a new bag, book and vouchers for shoes. They will also get daily lunch allowances of $1 to $1.50”, based on the average of 16 cents per day per student calculated above, how many of the 2,000 students get all the items described?
    wah! 5 of her childrens? she 1 big baby maker..good for our prince in his headcounts statical digits…
    if onLEE..IF the chinese could hav copulated and every1 produced TWO..leekingyou would had retired in his aircon showcase for all enternity…

  • Denial Tan

    ‘No family will be left behind’

    It actually means cronies families of the DynastLEE will not be left behind. They will be rewarded with scholarships, multiple directorships of GLCs and historical payout of salaries, remunerations, bonus and perks.

    Yes, Singapore had NO CORRUPTION, but they had learn how to legalized it.

  • Marc

    The GST was raised to fund the pay hike of the PAP ministers. What was leftover, was chump change for Ho Ching to fool around with.

  • David

    I am afraid if PAP is elected again, they will raise GST to 10% or even more claiming the last GST hike was not enough to “help” the poor because of inflations….and all sort of nonsences they plucked from the air and than announce soon after that their deferred salary increment is long overdue and time to get another 20% more into their own minion’s pockets. Gosh!! I don’t want them to have another chance of self serving without any accountability or open up the accounts book for all to see how they spend our tax monies.

  • Daniel

    GST needs to be raised further so they can continue to help the poor.

  • georgia tong

    No amount of public fund or GST increase will be enough if Temasek and GIC keep making bad investment decisions and losing billions. Get rid of those scholars and fools, especially Temasek CEO.

  • Fugazzi

    Hope Singaporeans dont overlook this anomalous policy: GST hikes to help the needy. Anomalous is too mild a word lah, in fact, it is a sham; it was a lie sold to the citizens to part with extra $$$ and today it is for all to see. What is actually happening?
    With the impending elections, now this patronizing, hypocritical stance n propaganda to hoodwink us again and who knows maybe there might be other forms of increases in … ?
    Beware: when they give out a dollar they are already scheming to get back ten fold.
    The undoing is not them but apathy and stupidity of voters that us all of us today whining, complaining and venting frustrations.
    The political landscape needs BIG changes and if voters can vote on the basis of transparency, accountability and responsible governance that transcends partisan or vested interests (usually a few)things might not get worse and it is not a question of which party but a question of the system. A two-party or multi-party system would force governing party to govern responsibly. One-party rule is the nemesis and to elaborate further is redundancy.

  • nick la

    i will never leave my family behind. where ever they are…

    nick la.

  • Cynical Investor
  • yamamoto

    GST is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. Supposed to be use to aid the poor, but do we see it been use? does the needies get an increase in their aid? no, all thanks to Vivi Bala. So where did the money goes to?

    And all those MPs and croonies who sing praises for the increase in GST, saying that it will aid the needies….sorry empty vessels, but your talk is really way louder than the action

  • FG

    GST is never use as a noble intention to help the Singaporean poor. It is meant as a get rich coffers scheme for the gov. It would have been prudent of not overspending on welfare if not for GIC and TH to lose a combined $100 Billion dollars in investment. What moral ground is the PAP gov on? Spending peanuts on the poor but willing to throw good money into US banks at lightning speed? Were they even bothered to think about those people left behind before investing in failing banks? This gov has lost every ounce of morality and unfit to govern us for even another year.

  • Prophet

    GST raises the cost of living(which is already pretty high) by more than 7% because of the multiplier effect. When asked to narrow the income gap between the rich and the poor, the gov. raises the cost of living?! How cruel can they get?

  • wipe-out!

    ya,no (poor) family will be left behind.

    they will be completely wiped out!
    they will be made extinct.

    they will perish one by one…

  • What?.

    You think I believe “no family will be left behind?” Fat hope.


    For decades,this has been the sorry state of affairs.We’re being treated as dafts and morons partly due to our apathy,self-centredness and not daring to take change as an alternative for our future and our loved ones.Complementing this sorry state of affairs,is the demonish,crafty and orchestrating of the people through their massive propaganda machineries by the regime.With the advent of 2011,I perceive hope of change to come and together we can make it a reality soon.

  • wtf

    another half hearted effort to be “seen” as caring for the poor. What the heck- if our gahmen is relying on charity organisation to help these students who will be the our future, that is pathetic!

    Even worse, if these students are deemed ineligible for more significant financial assistance from other charities because they have received this assistance- then the gahmen is really making their situation worse.