Don't look to Govt alone to help those left behind

I am cautiously optimistic that the discourse on inequality is only just beginning and there will be more robust debates on this topic (Let's talk about meeting needs, not just equality of opportunity; and Meritocracy and the strange failure of the educated elite; both published on May 30).

I agree with Associate Professor Teo You Yenn that meritocracy has inadvertently led to some unequal outcomes, and it seems as if we have accepted these outcomes as being inevitable.

We may wish to study if, besides those who are clearly struggling, there is a stagnant middle class emerging due to lack of access to educational resources and community support for those who face a myriad of life's challenges, including unemployed or under-employed parents or single parents.

Children of these parents cannot benefit from tuition due to the lack of viable and affordable choices, unlike more privileged children whose extra lessons provide the much-needed boost to excel in a competitive environment.

To address the needs of those who may have been left behind, we must not look only to the state for solutions.

Those who have done well must step forward and give back to society in a way that inspires others to do so.

Perhaps, instead of always trying to outdo each other, we may consider lifting up one another so that we can build social cohesiveness rather than deepen the social divide.

Low Poh Lyn (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Don't look to Govt alone to help those left behind'. Print Edition | Subscribe