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S’poreans like rats in a laboratory?

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By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Singapore a good policy laboratory for other countries: Expert”.

“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.”

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?

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Perhaps arguably, the biggest difference between Hong Kong and Singapore 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?

In this connection, we should applaud and support initiatives like “Chiam, Peng Siong team up for new charity foundation” (Today, Jan 19) – “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.”

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