The island’s rich get richer while its poor get poorer, prompting calls for an official poverty line to be set
(Published by Al Jazeera English, Nov. 9, 2013)
By Tom Benner
Singapore – Begging is illegal here, under the island-nation’s Destitute Persons Act, carrying a fine of up to $3,000 or imprisonment for up to two years for repeat offenders.
But Singapore’s poor still can be found, often selling packets of tissues outside food centres. Or spending the night on benches near their jobs to save the transport fare home – they are commonly called “sleepers”. Or collecting empty soft drink cans out of trash bins.
The poor have no place in Singapore’s vaunted success story, but there are growing calls for one of the wealthiest countries in the world to acknowledge rapidly rising income inequality by setting an official poverty line. Hong Kong’s recent decision to set a poverty line as a way to better identify and assist its poor has prompted a similar debate in Singapore’s parliament. Continue reading …