Hardships

Forum: People should stop always relying on Govt for help

A view of the Singapore skyline on Aug 11, 2020.
A view of the Singapore skyline on Aug 11, 2020.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Forum contributor Jasmine Tay describes a very common recurring situation among young parents who have no network of relatives or friends to call on for help when a young child falls ill (Biggest headache in parenting is when a child falls ill, Nov 19).

But her plight seems to reflect an aspect of Singaporeans, who tend to feel helpless when confronted with situations that tax their resources to cope.

I wonder why and how we have become a people so accustomed to asking the Government for help.

In places where the authorities and government infrastructures are dysfunctional or virtually non-existent, how do people cope with plights similar to those Singaporeans face?

Do they have more resources or a better network of help available? Maybe.

We tend to see problems as caused by others rather than seeing our predicaments as situations we can tackle and solve, when we are left stranded.

This sense of helplessness is real and eats into our mental well-being, and should not be trivialised or ignored.

Sad to say, I have observed that over the years, more younger people tend to become helpless more easily, and they seem to have less personal confidence that they can overcome problems in life.

Those of us who provide care need to restore people's sense of self-efficacy, and the belief that they can face life's challenges with competence and confidence.

In other words, people have to learn not to depend on the Government for every conceivable needful situation.

Rather, people have to try to tackle problems believing they can do it.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2020, with the headline 'People should stop always relying on Govt for help'. Print Edition | Subscribe