‘Many developed countries are paying increasing attention to the needs of the disadvantaged.’ How far is this true in Singapore?

YES: Like many developed countries, Singapore pays increasing attention to the disadvantaged through developing a comprehensive range of societal conditions, policies and initiatives aimed at identifying and addressing their needs.

  1. The welfare of the economically disadvantaged is increasingly discussed and addressed at the national level through a comprehensive set of government and community initiated programs emphasizing skills-upgrading, financial subsidies and assistance-in-kind.

  2. The expansion of civic society organizations and movements provide an increasing range of services and help programs for a wide range of disadvantaged or marginalized communities including the physically handicapped, migrant workers and the mentally ill.

  3. More businesses, corporations and employers have taken favorably to corporate social responsibility and develop either ad-hoc initiatives or sustained programs to meet the needs of the disadvantaged. 

NO: Unlike many developed countries, societal conditions, policies and initiatives aimed at identifying and addressing the needs of the disadvantaged are largely absent or underrepresented, thereby leaving their plight unaddressed.

  1. The roots of economic hardship, such as escalating costs of living and widening wage gaps, remain largely unaddressed and reduce the effectiveness of our many social welfare policies aimed at helping the economically disadvantaged.

  2. While civic society has expanded in recent years and provided more help to the disadvantaged, societal attitudes towards them remains unchanged or misinformed in various ways, making their integration into mainstream society a difficult challenge.

  3. The growth in corporate social responsibility deserves our praise but its effects are questionable as such programs presently aim at assisting the disadvantaged, such as through donations, rather than empowering them, such as providing suitable employment.