The Economist really nailed it when they wrote about "The Stingy Nanny", providing the best quote about the (lack of) welfare in Singapore:
"The state's attitude can be simply put: being poor here is your own fault. Citizens are obliged to save for the future, rely on their families and not expect any handouts from the government unless they hit rock bottom. The emphasis on family extends into old age: retired parents can sue children who fail to support them. In government circles “welfare” remains a dirty word, cousin to sloth and waste. Singapore may be a nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny."
The author has obviously done his/her research well, with insights accessible only from the ground level:
"Even among the social workers who work in hard-hit communities there is surprisingly little frustration at the meagreness of the handouts on offer or at the lengthy application process. One explains that Singapore needs to weed out undeserving claimants and shakes his head at the potential cost of a comprehensive welfare service. Yet in his next breath he mentions a number of local families who have been forced to sleep rough since mortgage lenders foreclosed on their flats."
As expected, the government would not allow such views to go unopposed. In challenging so, Michael Eng Cheng Teo, High Commissioner for Singapore in London, added salt to the wound by confirming the cold-hearted approach: "Each generation must earn and save enough for its entire life cycle." Never mind if the individual happened to be born physically or mentally challenged. Or sudden disease has struck down a once healthy bread winner. You die, your problem.
There are exceptions of course, the most glaring example being the nonagenarian who is drawing full MP allowance without performing the minimal of MP duties, piled on top on multiple counts of pension draw downs.
High Commissioner Eng's Parthian shot is typical official response: "The burden of proof is on its critics to demonstrate that their proposals will in fact work". While paying themselves handsomely, they expect others to come up with solutions to problems created by themselves in the first place. The form for welfare that exists in Singapore is spelt differently. It's "Wealth-fare", the buffet spread laid out for high networth individuals welcomed with attractive income tax rates, waiver of estate duty and other goodies like trading in gold without worrying about additional tariffs.