“Singaporeans who think the rainy days are over should think twice” (Beware The False Dawn, Mr. Loh Chee Kong).
Mr. Loh’s article, “Beware The False Dawn” (August 22), provides an excellent summary as to why many Singaporeans have yet to feel the full impact of the ongoing recession despite contractions in our GDP and persisting unemployment. Our supply-side policies of retraining and education has served us well over time; coupled with the Government’s initiatives in stabilisation and enhancement of the labour force, we have managed to stave off the worst of the crisis.
However, when considering macroeconomic goals and plans, the man-on-the-ground is often conveniently left out, even though he is at the forefront of retrenchments and wage cuts. This, accompanied by the gradual rise in the cost of living, makes it more difficult for some households to make ends meet. Upgrading of skills and retraining is certainly a viable methodology; but simultaneously they might require different forms of assistance to help them tide over the worst.
Singapore is not a welfare state, but we should most certainly lend a helping hand to individuals and families who are still struggling despite trying their best. The Resilience Package at the start of the year was a welcome relief, and I believe the CDCs, NGOs, and corresponding grassroots organisations could continue rendering help in every way possible. Recovery per se is not sufficient; we must make sure that as a nation, all Singaporeans should ride out of this fiscal quagmire equally and cohesively.
A version of this article was published in TODAY.