What rich Singaporeans should do

While the Government has taken steps to close the income gap, it does not help that a survey by WealthInsight has publicly revealed how the high-net-worth individuals splurge on luxurious items ("What rich Singaporeans want"; Nov 24).

The survey sent a wrong signal about the widening gap between the haves and have-nots here, without considering the effect of resentment among the poor and lower-income earners.

While we are not envious of the super-rich, surely it would have been more sensitive to keep the survey results private.

The poor and needy outnumber the super-rich.

Materialism, a trait that can afflict both the rich and the poor, is both socially destructive and self-destructive. There is usually a correlation between being materialistic and having a lack of empathy for others.

Materialism compels us to compare our possessions with those of others - this is a race for which there is no end.

It is not a sin to become wealthy from hard work but we must think of the unfortunate and disadvantaged people who are struggling to make ends meet.

The rich, who have benefited from meritocracy and our education system, should instead keep a low profile while donating to charities.

This is how an equitable society should behave, where those who are affluent look after the less well-off and the Government acts as a major player in promoting the fair distribution of wealth.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'What rich Singaporeans should do'. Print Edition | Subscribe