Poverty not a clear-cut issue

Poverty not a clear-cut issue

SINGAPORE - I am glad the Government is ramping up the effort to help the poor in Singapore ("Handouts for the poor top $100m"; last Sunday). However, the poverty issue is complex and by no means definitive.

A person earning $2,000 with a small family and little expenses can live more comfortably than someone earning $5,000 with many mouths to feed. The latter can be classified as poor if he has to borrow money to fund his expenses.

Although the Government can assist such people, it is also the individual's responsibility to live within his means and help himself.

The poor in Singapore are not as visible as those in other countries. Many poor people in other countries live on the streets while those here usually have a roof over their heads and may possess items such as a TV set, fridge, telephone and even computers.

Notwithstanding this, the Government should make every effort to target those who really need help. There are many aid schemes for the less privileged but many of those who need help do not know about them. Residents' committee and grassroots members are in a better position to know who may need help in their estates.

I hope to see the Government easing the plight of the poor and making Singapore a truly inclusive country.

Goh Geok Teck, Reader

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