Mixed housing model benefits the poor

Mixed housing model benefits the poor

ECONOMIST Yeoh Lam Keong's view about public housing in Kampong Bugis and Marina South does not represent "socialist idealism at its extreme" or "tokenism of the worst kind" ("Way forward for inclusiveness" by Mr Toh Cheng Seong; Tuesday).

Instead, such a housing model is a symbolic and practical way of showing and sharing Singapore's economic progress.

Mr Toh cited Jalan Kukoh as an example of how the poor will not "feel comfortable living cheek by jowl with the rich - and vice-versa".

The poor are rational economic beings too.

The residents of Jalan Kukoh, which is right smack in the middle of the city with access to transportation nodes, save on transport costs and have access to social and other amenities in nearby Chinatown.

Marina South will be a transportation and business hub. Having HDB flats there will give some low-and middle-income earners the chance to enjoy a better quality of life as well as compete for better jobs in the city.

Signs of the income gap are everywhere in Singapore. Moving the poor out of the city area will not shield them from the reality, nor should we do so.

Instead, we should inspire them by giving them the chance to live among the rich in the city.

I agree that a holistic approach based on the individual's responsibilities, innovation and enterprise should be adopted to level everyone up.

However, progress will be made only when the weakest members of society are given a fair chance to succeed, and the rich realise that society has played a part in their success.

Singapore society is at a turning point now. We have to decide what kind of society we want to create and, more importantly, sustain.

How we decide to allocate our limited land and financial resources now will have an impact on not only our generation, but also many generations to come.

Alvin Ang Han Cheang, Reader

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