Income Inequality

This tag is associated with 17 posts

Focus On Access – Not Just Affordability – And Broaden Definitions Of Success

Absent from the recent efforts to increase the diversity of students at Singapore’s independent schools – through which students from low- or middle-income families will enjoy fee subsidies and could qualify for a scholarship for out-of-pocket expenses (ST, Dec. 29) – is a focus on access as well as broadened definitions of success. Put otherwise: In addition to improving the affordability of these schools for academically gifted students from low- or middle-income families, there are outstanding questions on the proportion of students who gain access to these schools in the first place, and on students from these families who may not demonstrate the same scholastic aptitudes, and yet have other talents or abilities which ought to be nurtured. Continue reading

The Inequality Debate: More Research And Narratives Needed To Advance Discourse On Solutions

Despite the anxiety to moot solutions so as to advance the inequality debate (and I am guilty as charged), what has instead emerged in the past few months is a research and narrative gap, across which interlocutors draw from their own work, personal experiences, or even anecdotes, without necessarily engaging one another substantively or agreeing on the fundamental questions or problems. The research gap persists, because beyond broad statistical indicators such as the Gini coefficient or intergenerational mobility, we still do not know enough about the needs and challenges of low-income Singaporeans. And the narrative gap emerges, because the low-income are rarely directly involved in the face-to-face discussions, discursive forums, and opinion pieces. Instead, they are represented through proxies: Researchers, politicians, and journalists. Continue reading

Singapore’s Narrative Deficit, And Our Challenge Of Broadening Singapore’s Inequality Discourse

In fact, it can be argued that the ongoing discourse over personal social services and social welfare is also a contestation of narratives: What does it mean to be poor or disadvantaged in Singapore, and what is the lived experience of applying for and receiving government assistance or financial aid? When we turn to our own stories – or familiar anecdotes – for comparison, how do we discern between perceived hard work and good fortune (and where do we get our stories from)? And why has the state characterised its approach through terms like “self-reliance” and “many helping hands”, and what then are the implications? Continue reading

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