Don't fall into 'long-term dependency' trap

I refer to the recent call by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on how imperative it is to have a new social compact for Singapore (New social compact needed to help all keep pace, says Chan; Nov 29).

In developing a sense of collective responsibility to help the "slow", we must also be mindful that such initiatives do not lead to a culture of long-term dependency by the less privileged and cultivate a sense of entitlement for various forms of assistance.

Hitherto, the success of Singapore has been built on the ethos of hard work and self-dependency.

In expanding the social safety net, we must ensure that the objective does not undermine what has worked for us thus far.

As much as average Singaporeans should not milk the system to the maximum for our benefit and should leave something for those who need it more, we should also ensure that we do not encourage a mindset of self-entitlement and dependency among the "slow" when rendering assistance.

We would not want this to be the cause for Singapore's downfall.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2018, with the headline 'Don't fall into 'long-term dependency' trap'. Print Edition | Subscribe