Much Ado over 50k

I’m sure most of you would’ve read about the “measly” 50k that the Singapore government donated to the Haiti relief efforts.  After reading my friend’s blog about it, I felt moved to write down my thoughts. 

Please see my friend’s blog post here:

This is my response:

I agree with the government’s position on the matter, that the amount of donation it gives is not necessarily proportional to the scale of the disaster. That said, I admit I was a teeny bit embarrassed by the 50k – it seemed like pittance.

Re-examining my feelings, however, I concluded that the government probably took the right step after all. This is because monetary donations by the government need to be objective and the most objective, unemotional way, is to weigh our donation against the historical/trade/economic ties we have with the country we donate to.

Most importantly, when I asked myself why did I feel embarrassed, I realised it boiled down to a matter of "face", which in itself is wrong, because we do not help others out of saving "face" for ourselves.

Going back to the last paragraph by the MFA, if any Singaporean feels that the amount is too small, then that individual should make a personal donation. After all, if one can criticise the government for this, then that person should sufficiently convicted to make a personal donation isn’t it?

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January 2010