Friday, July 20, 2012

Donate to Locals or Foreigners?

Recently, there was the sad MRT accident at the Downtown Line Bugis station work site and 2 PRC workers unfortunately died. Condolences.They are foreign workers working at MRT and other construction sites as Singaporeans like me don't want to do such hard jobs. Even if one day manual workers are really unionised and have minimum wages, not the NTUC-type of union, raise the pay to $5000 a month also I might not take it up - injuries, short shelf life since I get too old for the job fast as it is a physically demanding job, stigma of being a construction worker in white-collar economy Singapore.

Some do-gooders want to start a donation drive for the dead. Score karma points, go ahead, whatever makes you feel tingly and good. Whatever, but these workers get compensation as the company bought insurance which is compulsory. In the event of unfortunate uplorry, the compensation is $111,00 maximum if those workers earn less than $1,600 a month under the Workmen's Compensation Act by MOM.Just so that you know the context of your donation and whether you should donate now or after the compensation is given so that you can adjust how much to give.

Then the sensible question most cynics would ask. Donate is good, even donate to foreigners, as they are humans too. However, those who donated or worse, ask people to donate but don't donate themselves, have they ever donated to people in Singapore, fellow Singaporeans? They have, good! They don't, errr ok. Facepalm. So many uncles and aunties living on streets, who look shit poor. Any big calls for donations to these locals?  Furthermore, some do-gooders were mortified by Singaporeans' triage mentality over donations arising from dramatic events and accidents!

They have compensation. It is never enough compensation one. It is harsh reality of workers, migrant or not, manual or not.

Cynics like me have the right to be selfishly selective in how we want to be selfless what. LOL  I donate to temple or my alma mater building fund or some kids charity, I buy overpriced tissue packets from the tissue aunty at hawker centres as I support her for not depending on a handout, I donate to the blind lady singer at Tampines MRT when I see her for the same reasons and more since she really can sing not like some other baskers, and I don't feel bad at all not donating to the families of the PRC workers who died in the sad accident. I'm outright discriminatory on this form of charity.

Why? Because there is a priority in who I donate to and who I want to feel good about. $2, $20, $200 donate to the PRC families who can get compensation from insurance anyway? I would rather give that $2, $20, $200 to someone local who needs it just as much. Zero-sum games in life is a bitch, and we prioritise. It is right and our right to express on prioritising who to donate, not based on xenophobia as I don't hate foreigners at all, but I sympathise with the plight of locals more and have a kindred bond with them especially in charity.

LOL sounds like the government telling the people - Complain so much, you come up with better suggestions and do it! We so unappreciated boohoohoo!


  1. Spot on! My own folks are struggling, living from hand to mouth. If there is anyone I should help, it is my own folks first.

  2. You sir are the most enlightened person I have read about this incident so far

    It is sad that some self righteous high horse bloggers like to condemn others of "xenophobia" when they simply have their perspectives and priorities all screwed up.

    Why are there no calls for donation for the taxi driver who died due to a drunk driver from PRC? Yet I see so many outpouring of donations to PRCs (no matter how justified or sympathetic they are)? Huang Na's case, the case of the prostitute who died in some rich man's pool etc...

  3. It's your prerogative to use your money however you want. And if this is a cause you don't want to donate to, then don't donate.

    But just because there are other needs "greater" than this case doesn't make this any less important. If a woman speaks up about being discriminated at work, will you tell her to shut up and compare her privileges to places where women can't even study? No. A greater evil doesn't make a lesser evil GOOD.

    Likewise, you see other needs, and these bloggers decide to use their position to highlight THIS need. You don't have to contribute, but there's no need to bring it down.

    1. Finally an intelligent view. Kudos.

  4. Just wondering, if people are setting up donation funds for these two PRC workers, why wasn't there any set up for those maids who fell to their deaths in the line of 'duty'? I mean, you could say, the family who hired them was responsible for their plight/deaths, but essentially, they are still foreign workers who came here to provide a service that Singaporeans don't want to do and also to provide for a better home/life for their families. Don't they too deserve some donations?

    1. Shhhh they already said they can't do everything, and helping maids not as glam as helping those workers. These type of donations are knee-jerk media driven. Maids fall off buildings is not news anymore. But MRT cave in and workers die is, so easier to get donations.

    2. Totally a media frenzy by attention grabbing bloggers and do-gooders. Bloggers are a cheap bunch with some very good ones but the majority of them are attention whores, fighting each other for internet eyeballs and advertising dollars.

      Who are they to tell others what to do with their own hard earned money and to who they should donate to. Personally I'd donate $20 to pack up each PRC worker home.

  5. Why is it that we must always look charitable, welcoming, warm, helphful et al to PRCs. Yes, I absolutely agree that these donation drives are knee-jerk media, social or mainstream, driven exercises more of hype and publicity than heart.

    Charity begins at home. Put our own house in order first. Donate to worthy causes such as to those old and destitute living in dank apartments in our poorest districts. They are a neglected lot, less glamorously portrayed but nonetheless needing more help than is currently given.

    These PRCs, according to reports were in a place where even their employers were not sure what they were doing inside the scaffolding. In any case, their next of kin will be adequately compensated by PRC standards. If this incident had happened back home, financially, things could be a lot worst. This is a blue collar occupational hazard that they were fully cognizant of before living their homes to work here. They didn't come here because they had a great big urge to help Singapore build infrastructures out of brotherly love.

    Those who wants to donate however are encouraged to go ahead. After all, it's their hard earned money and they can jolly well do whatever they like with it.

  6. prefer to donate to local causes and organisations. personally, i am careful when donating directly to individuals because esp when it has media coverage. +1.

  7. Thanks for all the comments! LOL so the bottom line, want to donate to whom and how much, up to you. I think priorities are misplaced for those who want to have holier-than-thou bleeding heart knee jerk donation to the families of these dead in this drama donation, but to each his own.

    What is tickling in this whole debate is that those who support donation to the dead's families say to those of us who have a Singaporeans First charity mindset - if there is nothing good to say, or if don't agree, keep quiet. ROFL

    Imagine if the PAP tells us this. "You in the internet, if you have nothing good or constructive to add to the debate or to the cause, keep quiet and don't make us look bad!"

    We sure turn around and point our backside to them.

  8. How naive we are!

    I recalled the wholesale centre incident in which a child (PRC Native) was 'killed'. At the end, the recipient of our donations laughed all the way to the bank. You Singaporeans, stupid!