So, you Malaysians, do be grateful for the life, livelihood and the current harmonious state that took 50-60 years to reach this far, after we achieved Independence in 1957.
"THERE IS THIS MYTH that Singapore is a rich country and its citizens are well-taken care of.
The elderly poor in Singapore lead just as tragic lives. Many have to, literally, work until they die:
In 1999 monthly wages for low-skilled workers decreased by as much as 34 percent.
- Nearly 30 percent of households were not earning enough to afford the minimum standard of living. The Government estimates that the subsistence level in Singapore is US$600 for a household of four people—a conservative figure for a country that is consistently ranked among the most expensive cities in the world to live in.
- Between 1998 and 1999, the average household monthly income of the poorest 10 percent of the population decreased by nearly 50 percent. The following year, the figure nose-dived by another 54 percent.
- In 1990, the richest 10 percent of households earned 15.6 times more than the poorest 10 percent. (Households with no income-earners are excluded from this category.) By 2000, the gap widened: the richest 10 percent earned 36 times more than the poorest 10 percent.
- The number of households with monthly incomes of less than $3,000 was 40 percent in 1998 but increased to 42 percent in 1999.
"Visitors often remark about the tidiness and orderliness of Singapore. It is because of such an impression that makes the cases of poverty described in the earlier paragraphs so hard to believe.
The reason why the poor in Singapore are not more visible is that the Ministry of Community Development and Sports conduct frequent raids through its Destitute Persons Service, looking for and picking up vagrants.
If Singapore seems to have less destitute, it is not because the numbers are not present. The real reason is that the PAP Government is just much more efficient in clearing the streets of homeless people.
For all the hype claiming that Singapore is a near-paradise, 20 percent of its citizens indicated that they want to leave the country, predominantly because of the stressful lifestyle and high cost of living. These would-be émigrés are mainly from the strata of younger, higher-income professionals."