On 20 June (Thursday), a local man who migrated to Canada lashed out at a Canadian named Eric J. Brooks on a Facebook post after the latter went all out to point out the reasons why Singaporeans should be grateful of the Government in his letter, which was published in the Straits Times Forum Page on 31 July 2009.
In Mr Brooks’ letter, he wrote that thanks to the years of budget surpluses, Singapore managed to bounce back quickly after global financial collapse hit, as opposed to other countries. Drawing a comparison with Canada, Mr Brooks also said that rubbishes are collected daily in the city-state, whereas in Toronto it’s only done once a week.
“For a $40 conservancy fee, we get a clean-up that would costs hundreds of dollars a month in the United States or Canada,” he wrote.
Besides that, buildings in Canada and the US come with no sheltered walkways, unlike most HDB blocks, he noted.
Other points that he highlighted include creation of more MRT lines, upgradation of stairs and lifts in HDB as well as offering a moratorium payment from community development council in case one can’t pay his house mortgage after losing his job.
Upon reading his praise for the Government and calling locals to be grateful of what they have, Facebook user named Manfred Man slammed the Canadian for not knowing the reality of the country and the suffering of its people.
In his post, he said Singapore is in the position today solely because “Singaporeans are always complaining and always pushing the govt to keep improving” and added that since the Singapore politicians are the highest paid in the world, it is natural for the people to demand that they keep up to their worth.
“While yes, everything you said is true..you probably didn’t feel the pain of many Singaporeans because you were privileged to be on the receiving end of the rope enjoying and reaping the benefits contributed by those on the other end of the rope that are exploited with suppressed wages while businesses (and you) profiting and benefiting from it,” Manfred explained.
He also said that although it’s true that one only needs to pay S$40 a month to clean rubbish in Singapore, but it comes at the “expense of those lowly paid hardworking blokes that work like slaves”.
“You are grateful for the benefits that you enjoy that was provided by the same people that you are now calling them ‘ungrateful’..the same people that you didn’t think deserved a decent wage..the same people that you think that it is ok to exploit so YOU can get your rubbish cleared for $40 a month,” he noted.
Although he agrees that both Mr Brooks’ and he migrated to different countries to seek for a better life, but the difference here is that the Canadian got a good life in Singapore by exploiting on those less-privileged individuals, whereas Manfred brought his business to Canada to add value and contribute to their economy in order for the less-fortunate to earn a decent income.
“I don’t complain about the high cost because I know it goes towards someone’s decent wage… I don’t complain paying high taxes because I know (and feel assured) that should there be a day where I become incapable of earning an income, there will be social safety nets that I can fall back upon,” he expressed.
As such, he ended his post by saying that Canada does care for its people, and urges Mr Brooks’ to “BE GRATEFUL”.
Upon reading his post, many netizens thanked him for voicing out his opinion and teaching Mr Brooks’ the real situation in Singapore and how badly people are affected with their low wage and high cost of living. They also lashed out at Mr Brooks for asking locals to be grateful because he probably received a hefty paycheck and did not live in the country long enough to know the suffering of local Singaporeans.
Others pointed out that Mr Brooks himself is ungrateful for leaving his own country to seek a better living in a foreign land.
Ed Nolan said that Singaporeans also do a lot for the country by paying CPF, Medisave, COE, ERP and more, but they receive so little back in return. However, many people think that the Government collects very small amount from its people, but that is not the truth.
On the other hand, Chuen-Seah Chua said that although taxes may be low here, but the hidden costs like shop rental, maid levy are high, causing retail prices to increase. Therefore, buying goods online become cheaper compared to buying in-store, and the Government is not actively doing much to reduce the cost of living.
As for Claire Chung, who moved to Melbourne for better wages and opportunities, said that although things are expensive in Australia, but she earns an average wage and it allows her to have decent savings. Sadly, this is not the case in Singapore because if someone earns an average wage here, they can only get by with it, and not have any surpluses that could be put into their savings.