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11 Oct 2019
Movement for change
Suggestion View - 216
Singaporeans should be more socially minded

In a panel discussion, Prof Tommy Koh said that many Singaporeans behave like citizens of third world countries. 

This remark attracted criticism from several sources. Some people said that he was being unfairly critical of Singaporeans.

A letter published in the Straits Times criticized him for being unfair to third world countries, which include many ASEAN countries. 

I wish to give my views on this issue.

I largely agree with Prof Koh.  This is how I see the issue. 

Many Singaporeans are too stressed up with the high cost of living in Singapore and the need to earn enough to pay the bills. This caused them to pay less attention to being considerate to other people. It breeds a selfish character of looking after their own interest.

Indeed, most Singaporeans do not care about what happens to other people in Singapore, if they are not personally affected. They do not spend time to understand the issue or to express their support for people who are unfairly treated. 

This is unlike the character of people in civilized advanced countries. Many are willing to speak out in support of the oppressed people and those who are unfairly treated. 

What about the people in "third world countries"? Prof Koh is not referring to the ASEAN countries, which are making good progress in raising the living standards of their people. 

He was referring to the countries that are still struggling with extreme poverty, where many people have to resort to make ends meet. There are still many countries in this category. I shall not name them. 

I agree with his statement. Singaporeans need to be willing to pay attention to issues that affect society as a whole. They should not be thinking only of issues that affect them directly.

Tan Kin Lian 

Vote - do you agree with Prof Koh's statement?

 


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