Pro-government blog Independent Sg today (Feb 15) praise Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin for being proven right that cardboard collectors are just “exercising”.
The blog conveniently milked the tragic accident where an 86-year-old elderly woman was killed by a bus while she was collecting cardboard. Quoting The Straits Times, Independent Sg said the elderly woman’s family told the police that she went to collect cardboards as a pastime and was just exercising.
Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world but it’s income inequality and poverty problems have been a shame that the Singapore ruling party refuse to acknowledge. Last year, Minister Chan Chun Sing even denied setting a poverty line because the statistic would be too embarrassing for the first world country.
Poverty is an acute problem in Singapore and the poor has been evasive on their plight. Many refuse handouts and prefer to work 60 hours a week at $4/hr in manual labour jobs as the government welfare agencies are reluctant at giving cash allowance. Currently, 26% of the population take home below S$1,500 – which is less than half of the median salaries and taken as the unofficial poverty line. Singapore rank 4th in the world for being the most expensive country and it’s implicit taxes like GST and lack of government subsidies in healthcare and education made it one of the most tax-intensive countries in the world. The Singapore government’s response to poverty has been censorship and the spread of misinformation, like in this case calling cardboard collecting as exercise.
Minister Tan Chuan Jin who was previously criticized for his out-of-touch comments have refused to apologize, signalling the direction the new ruling party administration continue to head.