The Online Citizen

Will MCYS's posters only fuel society’s prejudice towards the disadvantaged?

March 01
19:08 2012

~by: Ghui~

Catchphrases are often used in advertising campaigns. These are designed to be short and gripping with the intention that the tagline delivers the message the advertisement is trying to promote. Bearing this is mind, I wonder if the recent spate of MCYS advertisements serve their desired purpose?

Upon a closer inspection of the posters, it is evident that MCYS is on a recruitment drive for social workers and is trying to showcase the rewarding nature of the job (http://www.ncss.gov.sg/Career/socialworker.asp). There is nothing wrong with that intention per se and every recruitment advertisement would try to publicise the positive side of the job to attract applicants. However, do these advertisements hit the nail on the head?

Social workers play a very meaningful role in society and I am in no way downplaying their significant contributions but I wonder if the posters could have used more appropriate taglines?

In any given scenario whereby a particular individual is “helped” back into society, both the “helper” and the “helpee” play a role. While the social worker lends his or her much needed assistance, the assisted also strives to better himself or herself. It is a two way street and as the saying goes “it takes two hands to clap”. These posters seem to suggest that it is all down to the efforts of the social worker and negates the efforts made by the “aided” individual. Surely his or her efforts deserve some credit too?

Secondly, the posters seem to imply that if one is handicapped, in gangs, sick and elderly or abused,  his or her life is hopeless, destroyed or ruined. Instead of making the handicapped or individuals who have fallen through the cracks feel more a part of society, this would only serve to make them feel even more apart.

I am aware that this is not the intention of the posters and that they are merely trying to highlight the fulfilling aspects of the job. But words such as “Hopeless” “Destroyed”, “Abandoned” or “Ruined” which are loudly splashed across the posters actually detract from the message they are trying to send. Instead of portraying the enriching experience of a social worker, it highlights the predicament of the handicapped or infirm. One might argue that these achieve the same ends but do the ends always justify the means? Besides, is there a need to focus on the wretchedness of one in order to promote the pros of another?

Might “Bringing Hope” not be a better phrase to “Hopeless”? While “Hopeless” sensationalises disability, “Bringing Hope” connotes the worthwhile nature of the job without riding roughshod over the “helped” person’s own efforts. It also does not assume that a person’s life is devoid of hope and meaning just because he or she is handicapped.

Phrases like “Building a Future” or “Building a community” are also more effective than “Life Ruined”, “Abandoned” or “Future Destroyed”. Not only do they accurately describe the positive role played by social workers but they also highlight the partnership between the social worker and the individual that is “aided”.  After all, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

While MCYS may not have intended it, these posters serve to fuel society’s prejudice towards the handicapped or people who have fallen through the cracks. Instead of positive encouragement, it has reinforced the idea that the handicapped or infirm are somewhat lacking and ought to be pitied. I am not at all suggesting that these individuals do not need help but our assistance should stem from a communal desire of mutual assistance rather than a need to help “objects of pity”.

Many disabled people or individuals on the fringes of society have managed to rebuild their lives and lead very meaningful existences. These posters negate the strength and resilience of those who have overcome adversity by portraying them as victims needing of society’s handouts.

Perhaps MCYS might use a more empowering choice of words next time.

 

  • WP score own goal

    Help also complaint, no help also complaint. That's why Singaporean are the world No 1 complaint king.
     

  • Why like that

    As the article has mentioned, its about promoting the fulfilling aspects of being a social worker. Nobody is labelling anybody here. I believe the large words used in the ads are merely portraying the actual feelings of the underprivileged in our society.   

  • Damn

    It's rather shocking looking at the posters for the first time. Perhaps the department concerned could provide some explanation on the choice of words used. Maybe then the society in general can learn to be more sensitive to the feelings of these group of people, and thus have more empathy instead of just sympathy.

  • son of s

    We need intelligent and compassionate people in the MCYS and indeed in the whole of our society. People staffing such a social welfare organization should have a wide education, good sense of judgment and strong moral and ethical values. Otherwise we are assigning tigers to rescue lambs. How do we find out who is who? That is the question all institutions must face.

  • Gladys

    I don't believe so "Why like that". In my volunteer sessions, many handicapped people actually do not want pity. They may wish for sympathy or empathy but they certainly do not want people to view them as "hopeless" or "ruined". One should not assume that they are "less" equal and this ad without intending to do so, does imply that. MCYS is relatively new which is perhaps why this innocent faux pas was made but if these posters appeared in say Australia, the UK or the US, there would be uproar. In seeking to help the underprivileged, our mentality should be a desire to serve our fellow humans as equals. We should not be viewing them as "oh we are helping them because we are "better" than them. Unconsiciously, the choice of wording here is promoting pity rather than a healthy understanding of disability.

  • Sgcynic

    Instead of bringing out positives like hope, resilience, the poster focuses people's minds on the negatives. Posters would be apt if we add the phrase "Under PAP". Photoshop faces of a few infamous MIW. That will do the trick.

  • everlastingz

    ok whatever? this kind of thing also cannot… let's all live in a boring world k.

    if not for the catchphrase i wouldn't even have bothered to read the whole poster, srsly.

  • Sad

    Well everlastingz, in that case, it is evident that you have no knowledge or interection with the less fortunate. How can you trivialise this with "boredom"? Perhaps you fail to understand how important the choice of words are when it comes to rebuilding a society. It is sad to read your comments.

  • DISABLED PEOPLE ARE NOT HOPELESS PEOPLE

    Lots disabled people live meaningful life and have family and children and thus are not HOPELESS as labelled by MCYS.

  • Why like that

    Sorry "Gladys" I disagree. According to the ad, the man involved was dejected after he lost his leg and his job. Who is saying that society views them as hopeless? The large bold words are just a summary of how these underprivileged people feel, and how the social worker helped them out of it. 

  • WHY DOES MCYS LABEL DISABLED PEOPLE AS HOPELESS ?

    Why does MCYS needs to do so? VERY DEMEANING.

  • Gladys

    Hi Why like that. I agree that MCYS did not intend to label anyone. But their choice of words and the way such words were displayed sends that message that these people ought to be pitied and that we are in some way "above" them that but for us, they woultd be in the pits. In reality, yes fate has dealt them a bad card, but is that the end? No it isn't and MCYS as the body that looks after these issues should be mindful of that and choose more appropriate words. They are not just the lay public. It is their job to look after the less privileged and so more thought should be given to the word choices in future. Thanks.

  • civ serv

    Gotta admit, RIGHT NOW bro.
    civil servants got a big disparity in intelligence one la. The fries who made these, like a lot of civil servants…just cannot make it. the work they do and produce is like sec 2 technical. Can you imagine study until degree, work in Civil Service getting not bad starting pay…then results are like these MCYS poster? Or a bomb among soccer balls (MHA on SMRT), or one standard primary school video of different races walking around smiling then say Total Defence….that is like the 6 month project these servants do and get promoted for.
    really jiat sai!

  • Elitist duds

    How paradoxical! The theme of this year's budget is about building an "inclusive" society, yet these ads reflect an entirely dismissive attitude of the people the Ministry is supposed to help. They provide a very troubling insight on just how judgmental some officers at MCYS are. They got their basic premise wrong and worse, they infer that social workers share the same stereotypes as they do – I think that is another insult. I would like our potential PM designate MG Chan to fully explain this – preferably in proper English please.

  • JIAK SAI CIVIL SERVANTS AT MCYS

    Why is MCYS labelling people who are down on their luck?
    IS MCYS NOW TAKING TO LABELLING SUCH SINGAPORE CITIZENS?
    And '' Hopeless '' is the worst.
    IS IT APPROVED BY AG. MINISTER MCYS?

  • Pong

    The labelling must be what MCYS thinks of these people.
     
    This is just terrible plus horrible , coming from MCYS.

  • mice is nice

    there is a good reason why leaders of other countries volunteerily step down for making public gaffs. if eyes are the windows to the soul, words are a glimpse into the mind.
     
    for uttering insensitive remarks, even a very famous designer (Jon Galliano) can no longer stay with the company (Christian Dior), he is not even a public servant dealing with the disadvantaged.
     
    what i found poignant was the sentence, 4th paragraph from the top of the article, "if i must choose sides, i might defend him, but i will do so with sadness."
    link: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2011/06/20/john-galliano-arrested-in-paris-for-assault

  • Lee Kim Chew

    Hey, what's happening to TOC? With so many Budget issues being debated on Parliament, why are there no discussions in TOC? All these problems you are now posting  - MCYS and creation of wrong impressions, Big Brother is watching, death penalty etc etc – are important.  But there is a time and place for each of them. Not now lah. Let us talk about all these vital Budget topics whc affect so many Singaporeans. I only wish TOC the best and hope it does not become totally irrelevant.

  • ScrewUp

    I think if the catchphrase ending with '?' then it will be meaningful HOPELESS?

  • beansprouts

    Wah lao. TOC…*shakes head*
    This is a damn stupid article lah.
    I am sorry the writer who wrote this bo liao article cannot get those minutes of his life back. TOC's Cannot-Make-It-Writers/Editors, please go do something more constructive with your lives lah rather than talk cock for the sake of talking. Go help your mother do laundry or clean toilet.

  • Gladys

    Beansprouts, others evidently care about this. Please see comments above. Society's perception of the underprivileged is a social issue that merits discussion. Unless you are suggesting that the welfare of the underprivileged is a nonsense or "waste of time"? That can't be the right attitude

  • Civil Society

    Oh dear! I can see that some posters really do take things too far. It is one thing to disagree. Another to insult and hurl abuse under the guise of annonymity. Perhaps there is merit in censoring irrelevant comments after all. The whole idea of the comments system to to facilitate robust debate and intellectual discourse. This would be substantiating claims with reasoning. Beansprouts, you seem to have a personal hatred or bias with TOC of the writer.

  • Civil Society

    "or the writer" I mean. Of my own 2 cents worth, Singapore has a long way to go towards understanding disability so it is a fair point for TOC to make and a worthy cause to pick up. If TOC doesn't fight for these causes, they will fall my the wayside and that would be too bad. I for one, am glad that this is highlighted. Whatever the reasoning behind the posters, the point is that it is not helpful to correcting prejudices and Singaporeans myself included should take an interest in what affects society as a whole and not just what affects us directly as some commentators insinuate.

  • Gladys

    Having done social work actively as a volunteer, I do feel quite strongly against these posters and it is disappointing to read comments posted by commentators such as Beansprouts

  • Fiona

    Such comments by certain posters who proclaim that these issues are "bo liao" or "cock" or "nonsense" or "nothing better to do" "better go help your mother do laundry" simply belies logic. Perhaps they have never come into contact with people who are disadvantaged and are hence so dismissive. Whatever the case, TOC is for everyone and for everyone to get info on issues that don't get airtime. This should be respected by all. Disagree by all means but disagree with reason. Not a blanket insult which serves no purpose apart from displaying one's ignorance.

  • Seng

    wah Beansprouts, I feel quite sorry for u leh. U say this is a waste of time then tell grandmother story about how this is so boliao but yet you still devote your time to write one paragraph grandmother story. You are even more bo liao can! I don't know much about handicap welfare but I think if something bad happens to me, I wouldn't want people to have attitude like u.

  • Fisherman

    Hi Gladys,
    I would like to disagree with your statement "Having done social work actively as a volunteer". I am currently an undergraduate majoring in social work. In my opinion, social work cannot and should not be lumped together with volunteerism, as a social worker has to be trained in specific and unique theoretical knowledge, values, skills and perspectives before he or she is qualified to practice. Volunteering is a rather generic term which in my view describes actions motivated by personal altruism and moral values that benefit others more than the self (e.g. community service). However, personal altruism and morality alone do not make a social worker; as mentioned above, he/she embodies much more than these aspects!

    Hence, it would be unfair and misleading to state that volunteer work = social work as it would simply not do justice to the many qualified professionals out there who have spent much time and effort in studies and training to become social workers. To me, that statement is akin to saying that I am a qualified doctor just because I have learnt to pick out flu symptoms and chance upon succesful curing methods through years of interacting with people. Or rather, anyone can be called a qualified doctor as long as he/she can spot and treat flu! As a current major, I have seen many peers putting in tremendous effort to build up their social work competencies in school and during attachments, and they continue to do so in the field.
    I am not dismissing the value of volunteering and the important role it plays in improving peoples' lives (nor am I belittling your volunteering experience!). But I would like to correct this common misconception/stereotype about social workers. Too often have we students heard comments like "Oh you study social work? So kind of you to volunteer", or "Social work need degree meh? Just serve the community only what", comments which give a really negative and incorrect perception of the profession called social work.
    In your earlier posts, you mentioned that the wrong choice of taglines in the MCYS posters sends a wrong message to the public. In this case, I hope I have clarified the difference between social work and volunteering, and I would appreciate it if you could avoid making "social work = volunteer" statements in future as it is misleading. Perhaps in your years of volunteering, you have actually picked up some of the skills, knowledge and values that social workers are trained in, and I do acknowlege and appreciate your work. However, people unfamiliar with the social service sector might have the wrong idea of social workers if the wrong terms are accidentally used, and just as MCYS is trying to educate the public on the merits of social work, we have to clarify and correct misconceptions for our profession to truly grow.
    Thank you, and no offense meant! :) 
     

  • Eh Dao Gey

    Please go and do something more meaningful with your life than read and comment on a website which in your words is "cannot make it". If so cannot make it, u still read and comment for what? U still can call people bo liao ah? My goodness talk about pot calling kettle black! hahaha

  • Eh Dao Gey

    If this is bo liao and u still read and comment, what does that make you? EVEN MORE BOLIAO SIAH! What is more bo liao? Someone trying to make a difference (TOC) or someone who comments for the sake of it without even citing reasons (ie Dao Gey)? I think the answer is DAO GEY is the most bo liao!

  • Tong

    This exchange is so funny! I laugh until stomachache

  • Elitist duds

    Lee Kim Chew, a focus of this year's budget is building an "inclusive" society. A number of MPs have spoke about doing more for the our fellow citizens living on the fringe. Are you not following or do you not understand what "inclusive" means?

  • LOL

    There have also been lots of articles analysing the budget already published by the TOC. Leong Sze Hiang did a few. It was published way before the msm started discussing too. SO TOC was actually ahead…..

  • Article moronic

    The author is just being cynical. The posters definitely convey sense of empathy and the cretin author must have been blinded by his mis-guided faith and devotion in the opposition politics.

  • human

    i am an artist, an image says a thousand words. i am ok with the words and the image individually, but when we put the image with the word…(like what you see here), it is clearly a confusing message. 
    MCYS! they claim that they have many scholars in the ministry? why are they not sensitive to such 'possilble confused' message???  
    If they not sure, they should consult professionals outside the social sector.  What is going on here???

  • human

    Ok it is me again. The facial expression and holding the ball in her hands looking up is such a wrong message….  are people aware the poster is for people to interpret, not for the view to analize…. we feel when we look at the image but the feeling is coming from interpretation!!!  
    this have proven  how we have failed in our school public education about art, in general.  we did not pay attention to the impact of images on us(as a human being)…. the creator of this poster really need to study art and art history in dept and not what hear say knowledge…  a very simple example, Cocacola ads flashes before the movie starts rolling boosted the sales of coke at the cinema… and this is what i mean by the power of image… 

  • The Cavalry!

    @human
    I suppose in the land of the remaining 20% blind, artists have to be blind…I understand where you are coming from..

  • Pong

    I GUESS IT'S MCYS CORPORATE THINKING OF THE DISABLED N DISADVANTAGED IN SINGAPORE.
    <b>I fail to understand how the so many scholars in MCYS from Ag Minister MCYS to the last scholar in MCYS can agree to it.</b>
    EPIC FAILURE BY MCYS AS A WHOLE.
     

  • kalyani

    For A Minute There, I thought the posters describing our MCYS Minister, CCS (as now Ministers,MPs,CEOS open for tongue in cheek Dinner & Dance routine & jokes) as reaching out.
    Anyway quite close but not right for disabled and roubled community already feeling low-negative and bad light overall.
     

  • BillyMa

    These posters are what they are – just words & pictures.
    The real meaningful thing is the actual outcomes & results of the helps & assistance given to those in difficult situations.
    So what is the posters come with the right & appreciate words.
    So lets judge the actual contributions rather just some words & pictures.
     

  • Low

    Why not call a spade a spade? If society is really prejudiced against the disabled and disadvantaged, then it's fact, not fiction. Perhaps it provides a wake-up call! Can everyone of us put up our hands and say we do not hold any prejudice? Do we not think twice about giving a job to a disabled persons or an ex-prisoner? if an old person wearing torn and tattered clothes baords a bus, do we not hope that he does not take the seat beside us? Is it not true that the disabled have less hope and fewer opportunities? Do we not read about all those people who protest and petition against the building of centres for the elderly near their homes? Yes, prejudice is a fact of life. Especially for Singaporeans. We empower the disabled, the disadvantaged, the lonely, frail and elderly by changing our mindset, not by using sensitive and kind words. I met a blind person once, and referred to him as visually challenged. He replied, "No, call me blind!! What does visually challenged mean?"

  • son of s

    The staff of the MCYS who put up the posters have no sensitivityat all. They depict the various human shortcomings as if the sufferers are committing crimes and the photograph is a snap short of their retribution. Admittedly there is no formular for depicting suffering humanity. Just like there is no formular to tell an artist how to paint. Yet some paintings strike people as superior and some as bad. There is something lacking or too  much too hard in these MCYS illustrations that send the blood of the onlooker curdling. MCYS I suggest you get the assistance of some creative people and perhaps compassionate people.

  • eremarf

    Great analysis – I concur with you.

    (A parallel would be to recruit teachers with scenes of students failing exams, being juvenile delinquents, labelled with words like "Failure" perhaps, or recruiting soldiers with scenes of wartorn cityscapes strewn with corpses etc)

    I'm a bit of an Orwellian and I do believe our words betray our thoughts – and you can see how the people making these posters think.

    VWOs and social workers should protest these advertisements…

  • eremarf

    And you have pointed out the alternative ways of how it could be done – highlight positive actions of the protagonist, etc. Instead of further victimising the needy, making them a spectacle.

    Put the social worker as the subject, e.g. "Building our community" – who is doing the building? The social worker.

    "Hopeless" – who is hopeless? The poor and needy. "Ruined" – who is ruined?

    Just like how teaching does it: "Mould the future of the nation" – who is doing the moulding? The subject – the teacher. (Teaching has its own problems – but not advertising – I do feel that teachers play a part in moulding the future. For the better or worse, however, is hard to tell…)

  • RiceIsGood

    In their defence, MCYS definitely harboured no intention to degrade any group of people. However, such imaging and stereotyping in advertisements undoubtedly provides subtle messages to the public, if not the stereotyped themselves.
    Thank you Ghui for pointing out what many people know, but may not have ingrained in them, and raising awareness that MCYS needs to be more sensitive. More sensitive not to the supposedly less fortunate, but more sensitive to scupting people's conceptions. For many of the 'less-abled' people I know, the main struggle with daily life is sometimes not the physical afliction itself, but having to deal with sympathy. Don't sympathise, emphatise. Do taglines such as 'Ruined' really reflect their true situation? When one door closes, others open. One is never truly ruined. Negative images only 'ruin' hope and closes opened doors. 
    Don't lead me, walk with me. Personally, I feel the overall theme of volunteerism should be as such. No volunteer is a superhero, do-all-cure-all. An over-emphasis on volunteers also give them undue pressure, leading to many suffering burnouts when their efforts come to naught. So for the sake of volunteers and their voluntees, maybe talk to them in future first.
    For the skeptics, ask yourself. What is the first thing that crosses your mind when you see someone who has lost his leg for instance? Is it 'Oh, poor thing', or is it 'Wow, what an awesome, brave soul'. Kudos to you if it's the latter :)   

  • To Article Moronic

    Erm – have u read the article? How is it about opposition politics? If you wanna label others as moronic, u better read the article properly or not u are the one that looks moronic. Look, its a legit comment and well argued. Whether one agrees or not is a separate issue but it is definitely not moronic. I any case, pray tell how this is about opposition politics? Your reasoning is far fetch my dear.

  • Wah Article moronic

    How do the posters convey empathy? More like pity. If one is suffering, they want to be respected and to retain dignity ok. They definitely don't want pity. They are not beggars. The posters lack dignity

  • Flora T

    This article is not about opposition politics la! HELLO! My goodness! Some of the comments are jokes! Read between the lines until this become opposition politics?

  • Gladys

    Hey Fisherman, u misunderstand me. I am not at all equating social work as a profession to volunteerism. I was a full time social worker myself. I have only quit to become a homemaker but I still do volunteer work to keep some of my skills alive and to also ensure that I contribute to society.

  • To Fisherman

    I think my comments have been misunderstood and I am sorry if its not clear but  I am not at all equating social work as a profession to volunteerism. I was a full time social worker myself. I have only quit to become a homemaker but I still do volunteer work to keep some of my skills alive and to also ensure that I contribute to society

  • To Fisherman

    I think my comments have been misunderstood and I am sorry if its not clear but  I am not at all equating social work as a profession to volunteerism. I was a full time social worker myself.

  • To Fisherman

    I simply glossed over the point because I was more keen to defend the article and I am using my recent experience as a volunteer with the spd as an example. Certainly no intention to confuse the 2 and I am clear of the differences too. but in any case, thanks for raising it. The more knowledge is out there, the better:)

  • To Fisherman

    Yes I take that point about it being misleading possibly. i have just reread my comment. I have to confess that I responded very quickly in the heat of the moment. but my criticism of MCYS still stands. I am a lay person without the benefit of an entire ministry behind me. I made a mistake but I still think that MCYS with all their funding, expertise etc, should have known better. What are your thoughts? As a student who is keen to join this profession, what are your thoughts on the poster? I would be glad to hear your views.

  • sad

    MCYS has no right to advertise using ugly words all of us born equal and 1 day we will all die regardless of elite or uneducated

  • My 2 cents

    Apologies for being Pendantic but is what Glady's said wrong? I can see that it is potentially misleading and I can understand why a poster saw the need to correct it. But a volunteer can do some aspects of social work. A volunteer is not a professional social worker but he or she can do some social work so to say that a volunteer has done social work is not wrong if one really thinks about it. :)

  • Giraffe

    Apologies but is what Glady's said wrong? I can see that it is potentially misleading and I can understand why a poster saw the need to correct it. But a volunteer can do some aspects of social work. A volunteer is not a professional social worker but he or she can do some social work so to say that a volunteer has done social work is not wrong if one really thinks about it. Thanks.

  • Giraffe

    A volunteer can do some social work. He is not a professional social worker . to say that a volunteer does some social work is not wrong. It would only be wrong if they are equated with each other. Dont think the comments above did that. Let's not trivailise the very valid article over semantics. Thanks!

  • huh

    a volunteer can so some social work what. he is not a professional social worker and may not have the same skills but to say that a volunteer can do some social work is not wrong. Only if u say that a volunteer is a social worker then its wrong ma

  • Statement

    A volunteer is not a social worker but  can perform some aspects of social work.

  • Sean

    WP score own goal: it's called help also know how to help wisely, not stupidly. not that someone stupid like you would understand the concept.

  • son of s

    Insensitive social organizations like the MCYS is a menace to the less fortunate who happen to fall within their grip. The mind of the MCYS is a microcosm of the mind of the Rulers of the State. Bad luck  if ever we fall into its clutches as when we need social services. I have had once the misfortunate to seek the services of the MCYS and I am astounded as to how such a group of people gravitate towards of all places, the key social body in Singapore, the MCYS. Look at how MCYS dealt with the stateless boy Mohamed, the supposedly stateless Malay woman and you will know what  I mean.All these cases are covered with arrogant silence. The illustrative pictures depict a sadistic mind, compassionateless, bureaucratic insensitivity at its worse. 

  • Not Biased

    Adverts must draw your attention and make you ponder,or they fail.This is what MCYS had in mind when it crafted them this way.One has to read all the words,not just single words.
    If MCYS came up with dull posters,will we then say that they are dumb and ineffective,and waste taxpayers' dollars?
    What's key is the message that it tries drill into us,that there are people who have compassion and will stand up to render help to others.
     

  • mice is nice

    Not Biased,
     
    there is a line between getting attention for the right reasons & getting others to react in disgust. even standing up to help others, one should not do so with a demeaning attitude.
     
    the posters with those words in bold adds an unwelcomed stigma to the disadvantaged or downtroddened. the images may play up stereotypes that may invite discrimination, prejudice & radicule. while discriminations & prejudices are easier to weed out, radicule isn't. its an attitude thingy.

  • rover2sg

    The posters seems intending to promote the status of the social workers at the expense of the disabled.

  • Nigerian scam..

    remember… "investing" is these kind of people is a hugh nigarian scam!
     
    that's why they are "hopeless", "ruined", "destroyed" and "abondoned"…

  • Alverya

    But question, if they didn't use such bold words, would TOC even being writing a commentary on this and would most of us be even talking about it? 

    Oh and why do we automatically jump to the definition of Hopeless as a negative and mean word? Isn't hopeless also an emotion we all go through? 

    Oh and just read this article online (someone shared it on my FB). in it, it says that some welfare grps feel that hopeless was accurate. "This is because the disabled whom they work with often feel hopeless about their plight, they said."

  • Gaden

    Come on, with so many things to critise on the gahmen. You want to pick on MCYS. For my thinking it is one of the best ministries that is actually made up of people that care. Gahmen got so many screw ups, you all go attack their screw up when they trying to help. Come on so many other ministries to pick on that actually deserve it.
    Some more, these are social workers here. They give their lives to do the work that others do not want to do. If Singaporeans all so good, then why we need social workers. The fact that SG always lack social workers says alot of our society. Then now want to whack MCYS while they try to promote social workers and their work with the disabled. This attack. Makes no logical.

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  • HOPEFUL

    These ads are disturbing to many social workers and counsellors because they come from MCYS/NCSS who are supposed to provide leadership and spearhead the helping professions.
    I completely appreciate their intention to promote the work we do, but unfortunately I feel totally misrepresented.

    1. In SW and Counselling, Course 101 reiterates and drills into us the DIGNITY of all people. It is so important that in order to work with any population, we must RESPECT the dignity of the person/s. 
    2. These ads reflect that MCYS does not understand the core principle of the kind of work the helping profession does. Our work involves unearthing in our clients their buried, forgotten, neglected, ignored, denied treasure of RESOURCEFULNESS, STRENGTH, and RESILIENCE, and persistently, endlessly, repeatedly, creatively, supportively remind them of these so that whatever little glimmer of HOPE that is in them is rediscovered, and allowed to grow into a roaring flame. 
    3. These ads show a fundamental top-down attitude. This is not the kind of attitude in "social work" that should be propagated. Unfortunately, the message that it sends is: "You who need help, are such sad souls who are RUINED, DESTROYED and HOPELESS, so here we, the saviours, the nice and kind and sacrificial people and heroes will come and save you." I am afraid I react to such humiliating messages of the people I work with – and I feel that is what is fundamentally wrong, it has got nothing to do with the work I do. They are certainly not hopeless, ruined nor destroyed.
    4. These kinds of ads propagate a disturbingly patronising attitude. 
    In our work, much training is done to get people  who start off with a desire to help (which is commendable) to become aware of this superior attitude within ourselves. Normally through many different exercises we begin to realise what harm this attitude does to people we purportedly want to help. For those who have stayed and stay the course we will eventually realise that we are the ones who need to change and, are changed. We discover that we are the ones who have to dig deep and discover our own strengths, limitations, and weaknesses. Unless we are able to do so we will in time be disappointed and disillusioned and end up blaming the people whom we started off wanting to help. 
    5. That is why social work is hard, very hard work; counselling too, is very hard – it is hard because it is not the people out there we are transforming, it is hard because to be effective, it is we who need to learn and transform first. 
    RESILIENCE, STRENGTH, COURAGE, RESPECT, HOPE are the mantras for those of us in the industry. To be of use to others as a social worker or counsellor or any change agent, we have to focus on these qualities in the people we work with and remind ourselves of the fundamental principles of the change process. 
     

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