Homeless in a ‘First World’ oasis

The Rhetoric

“Singapore’s future lies in maintaining an edge over other countries, so that it can continue being a ‘First World oasis in a Second World region’, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday.”
Straits Times, Jun 03, 2003

The Reality

“Given the absence of unemployment benefits and a lack of welfare aid, and nothing in their wallets, a growing number of Singaporeans are being forced to give up their homes and seek alternative accommodation – in parks, under bridges and vacant areas…Most are among the country’s more than 100,000 residents who are currently unemployed. Also hit are those in the income bracket of S$400 a month. Their numbers, according to government data, stand at 180,650 workers or about nine per cent of the workforce.”
New Straits Times, Oct 11, 2003

“Homeless Singaporeans prefer to stay unseen and unheard…The ministry has a destitute-persons team combing the streets 12 to 16 times a month. An average of 142 vagrants have been found each year in the last four years.”
Straits Times, Oct 6, 2003

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