I refer to the article “Singapore a good policy laboratory for other countries: Expert” (Straits Times, 19 Jan).
The article states that “Singapore is a “policy laboratory” that both developed and developing countries can look to in crafting their policies. ..In his book, he examines the Republic’s domestic policies in areas such as education, post-retirement savings, housing, ethnicity and transport.”
The comments were made by Dr Kent Carlder, an American expert on East Asia and author of a new book on Singapore, “Singapore – Smart City, Smart State”
I was in Hong Kong when I read the above.
So, I checked out the statistics on government social welfare spending in Hong Kong.
Social welfare spending: $2.5b vs $130m?
Perhaps arguably, the biggest difference between Hong Kong and Singapore on its social welfare expenditure may be that whilst Hong Kong’s social welfare spending was HK$13.4 billion (S$2.5 billion) – Singapore’s equivalent (ComCare) spending was only S$130 million.
Rats in a laboratory?
If I may borrow the writer’s words – don’t you think Singaporeans, especially the needy and lower income, may in a sense be like rats in a laboratory, testing policies on how little can the government spend on its citizens before they cry enough is enough?
In this connection, we should applaud and support initiatives like “Chiam, Peng Siong team up for new charity foundation” (Today, 19 Jan) – “Two Singapore icons, veteran politician Mr Chiam See Tong and former star swimmer Mr Ang Peng Siong, have come together to set up a foundation that will provide financial aid to people who need it to pursue their goals, but fall outside the current systems that provide such help.”