Why people are not volunteering

I would like to share my views on why people are not volunteering ("To get our politics right, get the people sector right"; last Sunday).

First, there is a sense of "if my soul is broken, how can I help others?" People are weary because of poor work-life balance. Whatever time is left after work is spent on recuperation.

Second, we have been taught to depend on ourselves.

We think that those who fall through the cracks are not smart enough, don't know how to play the game, or are just plain unlucky. It's every man for himself.

Third, the so-called "new rich" do not consider themselves as such as they tend to compare themselves to the "super rich".

In that sense, they would give only token sums of money to charities to assuage their conscience.

Fourth, there is a false sense of "everything is going well for everyone", perpetuated by the high international rankings for our economy, health and education. How do we overcome these issues?

One way is to better involve corporations - from large foreign multinational corporations to Government-linked companies to small and medium-sized enterprises.

If a law has to be passed on community giving, so be it. Companies can earn credits in this way.

When people volunteer as a corporate group, it lessens their initial discomfort.

If all companies have this philosophy of giving back to the community, I am sure their staff will soon influence their own families to do the same, starting a trend of volunteerism.

Josephine Koh Ai Ling (Ms)

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