On Sunday, 20 May, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that it is possible for a child to succeed in Singapore regardless of his family background.
During his dialogue session at Nee Soon GRC, of which he is a Member of Parliament for, he emphasised upon individual responsibility in society.
He said, “Whoever your parents are, whatever your situation is, if you work hard, you can succeed, even (for children of) single parents, it depends on your determination”.
When speaking about the forms of support that can be given to single mothers, Shanmugam said that the authorities can provide help, but that an individual’s responsibility towards improving the lives of themselves and their children still plays a big part.
He added, “We can keep (the children) occupied, we can give them food but we can’t look after the mother psychologically, 30 days a month because we don’t have that kind of people and resources, it’s not easy”.
As an example, he cited Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung who have been said to be frontrunners to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He said that they overcame the odds of their family backgrounds in order to succeed.
Netizens completely disagreed with Shanmugam’s sentiments and were rather bitter, making comparisons between locals and foreign talents.