The budget surplus is in the main excess of taxation revenues collected from by the state over expenditures meant for the people's welfare, as in defence, health, education, housing, job creation, etc. It is quite obvious the guys in charge are not prepared to share the bumper crop with the peasants. Money which could have been utilised to help people in need - especially lower income earners - have been withheld. All the talk about funds set aside for relief packages are meaningless if the money is not dispensed efficiently. It's the NKF disease all over again, huge accumulations of reserves while profits are raked from "subsidized" social benefits.
All the hoo-hah about a "marathon 5-hour session" to deliberate the minimum wage subject may just have been scripted to give the impression of the parliamentarians' pseudo-angst for a downtrodden group. According to Manpower Ministry's survey, only 1 in 5 economically inactive women have upper secondary education or above, characteristic of the group requiring training in literacy or numeracy to upgrade their earning potential. If they couldn't learn to read or add after 6 years or more of formal education, can miracles be achieved from a few hours of part-time courses?
What is strange is the finality with which Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say draws his line in the sand - the labour movement has no intention to adopt a minimum wage scheme - and damned be the effete orchestration of a parliamentary debate. From whence does a dumb-deaf frog derive such arrogance (as in "Over my dead body") and pugnacity ("Go on, make my day")? One clue is the extract from another SPH publication (actually more door-stop than tome). Queried about the remote possibility of a more generous welfare policy, an irate Lee Kuan Yew is quoted as responding,
"You won't convince me. Whether I convince you or not is irrelevant to me because I know these are the real facts. You're are not going to shift me. And if the ministers believe like you would, then they are going to waste of a lot of time and money, that's all."
Given that this stubborn geriatric, by his own belated twilight-hour confession, was wrong about the learning of Mandarin, what's immutable about his misguided doctrine of welfarism? The title of Daniel Flynn's book, "Intellectual Moron: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas", provides better insight to the problem plaguing Singapore. When ideology is your religion and truth becomes just a matter of opinion, anything goes. "There is great danger when lies are institutionalized as truth."