I read an article on the plight of homeless families in dismay. While I was aware that there might be some people who sleep rough, I never thought that there were entire families with children sleeping rough. Singapore prides itself on its stellar economic success and prosperity. Surely there is enough in the coffers to provide these vulnerable people some shelter?
There have been recent debates both on the alternative news networks and the mainstream media in relation to what our country has done and will do going forward for those that fall through the cracks. However, while those discussions were meaningful, they centred around people who were at least in the system so to speak. These people who are sleeping rough in Sembawang Park seem to have not just fallen through the cracks but have become invisible. Mainstream society does not even know that they exist. It is a travesty that in our first world nation, there exist this subclass of invisible people.
Singapore is keen to showcase its wealth and success. It offers to send help to other countries in need, most recently offering assistance to the boys that were trapped in a Thai cave. While these are all laudable things, has the government heard that charity begins at home?
I am all for Singapore offering aid to other countries. Indeed, we have so much, so of course, we should share. But what about these forgotten people who are trying to make ends meet, rear school going children and get on but without even a permanent address of brick and mortar?
Could it be construed that the authorities are not interested in helping these people because they are not considered a priority? Sending help to other countries on the other hand, could garner headlines and foster trade ties with other countries. These people on the other hand could be hidden away, out of sight, out of mind. Why help if you can pretend they don’t exist?
Perhaps I am being too much of a cynic and I deeply hope that I am wrong.
Also, why is it that our mainstream media have never reported on the existence of these people. I am sure that many Singaporeans would love to be enlightened so as to be able to help. Isn’t it their job to report on the things that matter? The issues that people would be interested to know about? I dare say that most Singaporeans would have definitely wanted to know about this.
I know I would have!