Casa Raudha home in Jurong.
Casa Ruadha share premises with the Missionaries of Charity - the Mother Teresa organization. I thought to myself, what a wonderful example of religious harmony without even being ecumenical.
I doubt Leo Tolstoy was right. Look around you, the poor, suffering and disenfranchised across slums of the world are alike. They have no time to fight over doctrines or religious practice. They help each other. I admire the views of Desmond Tutu on such matters.
I come quickly to the sacrilege. Perhaps we shouldn't be thinking of narrowing the wealth gap. What we need to do is keep applying ourselves to give poverty a human face to the point that to borrow from Mother Teresa until we do not have the poverty of love.
Love or charity begins among the poor and spread to the rich even as the wealthy offer the material to make poverty bearable.
Make the wealth gap irrelevant by increasing the likelihood and velocity which the poor break through into the ranks of the rich even as the well to do must not be allowed to make their privileged position sticky. They must go down the slippery snake after they have climbed the ladder of success if they are unlucky or stupid. Easy come, easy go, climb the ladder again after the fall. I suspect we are much better off with a society like this than one that is more egalitarian where people become lazy and live the damaging buffet attitude.
Therefore we mustn't try to recreate Eden by copying or adapting the Swedish model. Instead we must cultivate a new arrangement where membership at both ends of the income divide is highly porous and movement fairly rapid. In this way, at least half of the elites at any time must have humble roots; and half of them expect to lose their position in "fair competition". If needed taxes and regulations may have to be enacted to make this happen as the successful often try to pull up the ladder after they have climbed it.
The wealth gap destroys the proper functioning of meritocracy. There may be no other way to reinstate meritocracy. We can achieve this with the cultural genes that gave birth to our young nation before we are too over run by the ways of recently arrived foreign talent creating their own enclaves that is hard to assimilate. What is missing is the character leadership to get us organized and acting in concert.
Singapore wealthy class used to have a sense of noblesse oblige from which we can build the new social compact. The foreign arrived and parvenu carried themselves with a vulgar sense of entitlement most easily recognized with their flashy and speeding marques on our roads.
Our leaders think too much in the box and confuse expanding that box with thinking out of the box. Why are we in this fix? The lack of courage preventing them from being more imaginative. It is safer and seemingly surer to try to be another global city. They conveniently forget that such a strategy only serve the elites and they have to keep paying off the underclass and eventually even the middle class to continue supporting it together with a regime of threats and fear preying on their insecurities to make it affordable. They are recreating Singapore into a Dystopia.
You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it - Albert Einstein