David Tay started this thread on 05/10/19

14 responses


Aloysius Thum posted this at 9:17am, 13/05/19, 9 months ago
As a society,  we are still fixated on individual liberties and outcomes. Even as we feel empathetic on social issues, we seem to view the society and individual as a dichotomy. Giving to society then becomes a zero-sum game - giving more to the society would equate to leaving less for myself. Admittedly, we all aspire to reach a state where we can all believe that 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts'. However, this ideal is not reflected in many of our existing policies, where there is an emphasis on individual responsibility rather than a shared responsibility. CPF retirement savings and healthcare are classic examples. The indoctrination of meritocracy undoubtedly exacerbates this issue. 

We do care about social issues, but if we want to have bold changes to the system, it requires more than just simple acts of giving. We will have to change social mores, paradigms and policies. Are we ready for that? 
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Chan Sylvia posted this at 6:20am, 12/05/19, 9 months ago
I think everyone do want to help and participate in causes. (As seen from the lady in the article joining relevant Facebook groups) Rather than saying they would rather help themselves and they are only paying lip service, I think this shows that EASE & ACCESSIBILITY of joining a movement or cause is very important too. (:


Louis Puah posted this at 12:58am, 13/05/19, 9 months ago
I believe there are underlying mindsets on "what's enough for myself" that need to be examined, if we want to take care of ourselves, and support society's needs. We are often told the narrative (from parents and other seniors) that "money not enough". It gets ingrained in us, even when we do have enough. We may at times aim for things we don't need, that deprives us the opportunity to support society's needs.

For example, aiming for a 5-room flat when there is no intention of having a child. Regular holiday-ing that is viewed as a basic need. It's completely fair to enjoy the occasional luxury when we can, but it's often a case that we subconsciously live for luxury. 

If we can re-evaluate this narrative of "money not enough", we may find that we actually have plenty to give. Whether it's money, or time. 

Supporting society's needs could be something as simple as committing one evening every month to support some cause, as a mentor to some youth, or cooking at a soup kitchen. It really is very possible for most people!
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Jan Chan posted this at 11:27pm, 16/06/19, 8 months ago
Cost of living here is indeed high. It is difficult to feel financially secure about giving to others when there is massive housing loan to pay off at the back of your mind.

Time and effort is another thing altogether. I do not doubt that many would be perfectly fine spending them on things they are passionate about. However this is limited by 2 factors. First is that many have committed too much time to work and have little time left for themselves. Second is the availability of low commitment causes that doesn't turn their passion into additional work (eg. administrative and logistical nightmares).
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Yuvan posted this at 11:31am, 12/05/19, 9 months ago
I am not surprised that Singaporeans have concerns pertaining to cost of living and jobs. Only by securing your needs can you care for the community. Perhaps the question is how much of our individual resources (time, money, advocacy) will a young person invest in for the community.


Junzhe posted this at 12:04am, 14/05/19, 9 months ago
Referring to the concept of maslow's hierarchy of needs will probably answer this. Youths might care about these issues and give their opinions online. But when it boils down to it, do they have the ability in terms of money and time? Probably not, if there are more pressing concerns that they have to deal with


Rason Lee posted this at 5:10pm, 19/05/19, 9 months ago
With regards to “Do we really care about broader social issues? Or is it just lip service?”, my practical concern is not so much on the man in the street whom are not in the position to institutionalise changes, but whether our public servants and their collaborators possess the right attitude and aptitude towards researching and developing solutions that can induce participation of the citizenry without friction and scale in a sustainable manner. Note: right attitude being to undertake heavy lifting work that promises no networking opportunities to get them to places (like many a fund manager would conveniently roll on innovation grants these days, and at this rate of ROI, bleed the country dry in no time); right aptitude being proficient in technical reporting, making systems resilient to human resource turnover. We can definitely be frank about our personal commitment and goals here on this platform. The older of us would already have plate-full of other responsibilities to tend to, and so will leave the freshmen and career switchers to attend Civil Service College - I emphasise - to uplift our standard of Technocracy. The rest can contribute ideas as presumably planned, and review reports, I may add.
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Rason Lee posted this at 11:25am, 27/05/19, 9 months ago
Re: Official Weekly Response 05/27/19, "Can we exercise individual responsibility within society and yet have the community at heart at the same time? Is there a trade-off?"

Taking a leaf out of my list posted in this thread: #19. "To deliberate with IRAS an open API for charities to report donors' contributions, automatically prefiling tax deductibles on donors' e-File. To also allow tax-filers to indicate their supported areas of government spending, and to grant provisionary charity status to exigent causes taking to raise funds on crowdfunding platforms, where said crowdfunding platforms have incorporated the API."

Because "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes".

There are no qualms that NGOs can promote volunteerism as a leisure activity in place of remuneration that is predicated by (the lack of) government social spending. Still, any spending must be audited and proliferated for public awareness as a best practice against wastage.

I hereby further propose to organise volunteerism around more emotionally enriching activities such as https://www.facebook.com/bothsidesnowsg/ that would be worth spending additional funds to promote through a government (MSF) newsletter.

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Rason Lee posted this at 11:51am, 27/05/19, 9 months ago
N.B. (because hidden by "Show more"): propose to organise volunteerism around more emotionally enriching activities that would be worth spending additional funds to promote through a government (MSF) newsletter.

> Just to emphasise that it should be an electronic newsletter; perhaps not limited to just social but spending outcomes in all areas. Can consider developing a content template with GovTech Singpass mobile app.


Rason Lee posted this at 6:03am, 28/05/19, 9 months ago
Btw this discussion on financing social spending will eventually lead to the debate on the balance between tax rate and government investments payout, thus my above replies prelude to address concerns on tax hike, specifically how the higher income earners might be assured about their increased contributions being well-spent.


Rason Lee posted this at 10:57pm, 16/06/19, 8 months ago
I suppose the debate has already started - https://www.facebook.com/philosophylife/posts/2233798446737046

Hopefully from the above dialectic our government officials can have a renewed sense of urgency at deliberating solutions.


Rason Lee posted this at 9:51am, 06/06/19, 9 months ago
In case the inferences to tax-hike didn't fully answer the question of "trade-offs" here, let me wrap up by posting an excerpt of my Facebook musings this week, referencing PM Lee's speech on trade protectionism and the US putting SG on currency manipulation watchlist. I should preface this by saying that the classical economy of physical global trading is failing humanity because social and environmental costs are being underestimated or even ignored by the collective world leadership (ever-dire reports on climate change being the case in point), i.e.

"...the truly long term sustainability programme is an environment-friendly one relying on domestic self-sufficiency (less energy burnt on shipment), whereby the state corporate can easily render market intervention - not just to stabilise prices, but also improve consumer (civic) experience towards perceiving higher standard of living...

...our lot is not to doubt whether the superpowers can recalibrate their production to avoid an economic recession, but rather to look harder into our own post-globalisation restructuring."

People are always looking to trade material excesses for happiness, so the state need only to offer the way beyond topping superficial world indexes (classical economic ranking to begin with).
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Rason Lee posted this at 9:56am, 06/06/19, 9 months ago
> People are always looking to trade material excesses for happiness, so the state need only to offer the way beyond topping superficial world indexes (classical economic ranking to begin with).


Rason Lee posted this at 11:55am, 07/06/19, 8 months ago
Footnote: navigating along the philosophical thought progression from classical (self-centred rationalism) to neoclassical (utilitarian state intervention), to modern (anti-capitalism) to post-modern (egalitarianism), we should be able to observe the good bits and arrive at a "post-global" socioeconomic model resilient to the worst of plausible impacts in our lifetime.
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Posted on Details  
6:00am, 05/27/19 Hi everyone! This inaugural discussion on YoCo saw some substantial comments which helped to address many aspects of the issue at hand. Thanks to the contributors and keep the comments coming! One comment suggested that Singapore society's focus on individual responsibility may be the cause of the "taking care of myself first" mentality. This view was reinforced by other comments that there are genuine practical concerns that young people in Singapore are facing. This interesting perspective indeed calls on us to explore deeper. Can we exercise individual responsibility within society and yet have the community at heart at the same time? Is there a trade-off? Nevertheless, the majority agreed that despite the challenges that may seemingly prevent youth from contributing to society, there are many opportunities to do so. Some posts also point to the fact that contribution to society can happen in many forms, and that many people are already doing so in their own ways. If this is the case, how can we enable more people to both contribute to society while taking care of their individual needs? -