06 May 2005

How did Singapore celebrate May Day?

This international holiday commemorates and celebrates the achievements of the historical labour movement, such as unionisation, a standardised work day, annual leave, and the minimum wage and unemployment insurance in some countries.

To celebrate May Day, MiniLee gave a speech on restructuring the Singapore economy and improving workers' lives. The government will help vulnerable workers cope with the changes, he declared, but he rejected going "down the welfare route by subsidising those who cannot find jobs".

Declared MiniLee: people will get lazy, and "eventually you're going to make the whole economy go down, talent will leave, investments will not come - and we will be sunk."

Yes, Singapore is as fragile as a Jenga tower.

Do anything (liberalise, have a multi-party democracy, legalise gay rights, let single mothers buy public housing) and everything will go down, we will be sunk, etc.


We are "not" a welfare state and we do not intend to be a welfare state, but we have ridiculously huge and comprehensive subsidies on public housing, education (subsidising even foreign students), transport, and health care.

I repeat: we heavily subsidise all these things, sometimes even to the point of economic unviability (Singapore produces more university graduates than it needs) but we are not a welfare state? HAH!

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