Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) will offer a “poverty simulation” workshop programme for their club members to help them understand the meaning of poverty.

The workshop was advertised on the club’s magazine, and will be conducted by volunteer welfare organisation (VWO), Methodist Welfare Services, next month. In the workshop, participants will role-play as poor people and manage “poverty scenarios” like juggling with low income, family and medical costs.

As Singapore’s income gap continue to widen, rich people like business owners and members of the ruling party have grown out of touch with the poor. Poverty is perceived as a shame in Singapore and as a result, many poor people do not seek help while the rich believe it is fair for the poor to be poor because of meritocracy.

Social mobility is non-existent in Singapore as those with a network of rich people tend to have better opportunities. In Singapore, most scholarship holders come from rich and powerful families while the poor are advised by the government to have lesser aspirations and not opt for higher studies.

The Singapore tax system benefits only the rich, often showering businesses and high-income individuals with generous tax rebates and minimal taxes (no capital gains tax, no estate duties and no dividends tax) compared to other first world countries. As a compensation to these generous tax rebates given to the rich, the Singapore government taxes the poor and middle income through GST, COE and property taxes.