Welfare a 'dirty word' in Singapore: Is it time to stop being coy about using it?

Welfare a 'dirty word' in Singapore: Is it time to stop being coy about using it?
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attending the Jalan Kayu ‘Care and Share’ Day 2013 held at Hwi Yoh Community Centre.

There will be social service centres all over to help those who need it.

Just do not call them welfare centres.

There is a list of comprehensive help programmes too, as illustrated by Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing in a chart he handed out to Members of Parliament on Monday.

Just do not call them welfare programmes.

For years, welfare has been a dirty word here. We pride ourselves on hard work, living within our means and saving enough for a rainy day.

And for those opposed, welfare is a drain on resources and a recipe for high taxes and overdependence. Just look at present day Europe.

For the longest time, the Government emphasised personal responsibility.

Then there are those who adopt the hardline belief: If you need help, it is because you did not do enough to help yourself.

So welfare is translated to a politically more correct phrase or word. But would those who need it most understand they can be helped?

There was no doubt the issue of getting help to those who need it most weighed heavily on the minds of MPs.

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