We too must be responsible for ourselves

We too must be responsible for ourselves

SINGAPORE - A day after the National Day Rally, a friend railed to me about the inadequacy of the additional housing grants Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced.

On Sunday, PM Lee declared "let me be your housing agent" and ran through a bunch of numbers to show that Singaporeans could buy a flat with cash payments as low as $2 a day.

The retort I was listening to on Monday went like this: "You give all these grants, cash outlay can be zero, but what if you have a bigger family and need to buy a bigger place? You get a three-room flat but you need to store a family of five, then how?"

She explained that it was the Government's responsibility to ensure Singaporeans could afford flats large enough to contain their family. After all, citizens of a developed nation should not have to go through the pain of having to squeeze two children and one grandparent into the same room.

"But in that case, what is your responsibility?" I asked.

"If you want to be a nanny state, you have got to nanny all the way," came the snappy reply.

The precise content of the conversation might be on the extreme side, but there is cause for concern if it is reflective of the general sentiment of Singaporeans.

The fear is that many might be taking the wrong message away from PM Lee's pledge to shift away from the long-held "tough love" approach.

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