Are We Miser or Being Prudent With Cash Donation?

Editor’s Note: You either donate big or please do not donate at all. Unlike donation by individuals where every donation no matter how small helps, the impact to the negative image of Singapore is grave. This is akin to a billionaire donating $100 to charity. Another such example is the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Singapore government pledged S$1M excluding other non-monetary assistance which came to S$27M. Might as well save that money and do more in non monetary assistance to the affected countries. While the Government may argue that it is a prudent use of public money, the Government has got its priority all wrong. We do not hesitate to pour billions of dollars into many mega projects but we are like a miser with purse string when it comes to saving lives and humanitarian causes. Stop pledging money if the amount is small and do more assistance to gain goodwills instead.

[Updated 14 Apr 2011: To put the pittance of the donation in pespective, see a forumer in “Thanks, but spending $4m for S’pore Day is too much“) questioned if the S$4m was well-spent (yearly???) to have a Singapore Day in New York to “connect” with the Singaporeans. In the writer’s words: “No amount of fried carrot cake, 1980s music or (local TV show character) Barbarella’s preening can pull people away from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, top university professorships, or the myriad other reasons why some Singaporeans choose to live abroad. If the aim of the event is merely to remind overseas Singaporeans of their home, it may be even more overpriced.” ]

 

Payback time

Source: The Straits Times Mar 19, 2011

‘Surely, our Govt can afford to give more than $500,000.’

MS JACKIE LAU: ‘Singapore’s economy has benefited much from many Japanese companies’ millions of dollars in investment here. They have been providing jobs for many Singaporeans. Now Japan needs all the help it can get – it is payback time. Surely, our Government can afford to give more than $500,000 if one of the poorer countries in the world, Mongolia, can give US$1 million (S$1.28 million).’

Thanks, but spending $4m for S’pore Day is too much

Source: The Straits Times  14 May 2011

I AM one of thousands of happy Singaporeans based in the United States who will be making their way by plane, car or bus to New York City today for Singapore Day. But I am also embarrassed to discover that the event will cost $4 million (‘New York to draw 4,000 on S’pore Day'; last Saturday).

Much as I am looking forward to stuffing my face with chicken rice at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, I find it bewildering that the Government is prepared to spend such a considerable sum to woo overseas Singaporeans home and boost the local talent pool.

There may be far better ways to spend $4 million of taxpayers’ money than on a bunch of Singaporeans living abroad, many of whom have their eye on lucrative, prestigious opportunities in their adopted countries and have no plans to return to Singapore in the foreseeable future.

No amount of fried carrot cake, 1980s music or (local TV show character) Barbarella’s preening can pull people away from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, top university professorships, or the myriad other reasons why some Singaporeans choose to live abroad.

If the aim of the event is merely to remind overseas Singaporeans of their home, it may be even more overpriced.

I am grateful that the Government has me in its thoughts, but I am also uncomfortable that Singapore Day may inevitably be an expensive exercise in futility.

Liang Kaicheng
Massachusetts, United States

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