Managing Diversities
Including the Disadvantaged in A Meritocratic Singapore

By Denise Phua. –

The path of forging a more inclusive Singapore is one of no return. As expectations rise in an increasingly progressive and affluent Singapore, the voices of different interest groups will only grow louder.

When I shared on Facebook that I would be speaking at this seminar, a passionate animal rights advocate reminded me to lobby for the interests of animals and ensure that evil animal abusers, including any relevant government agencies, would be taken to task.

One only has to scan the Internet to hear the voices of many groups who seek inclusion, state’s attention and resources. These include the low-income earners, the disabled, human rights activists, animal rights activists, the elderly, same-sex couples, religious groups, atheists, performance artists, as well as political parties. There is also the notion of an “e-inclusive society,” where everybody is able to reap the benefits brought about by information and communications technologies. Advocates for this ideology want technology to be accessible and affordable for all, regardless of age, language, social background or ability.

But who should be prioritized for inclusion and provision, in the face of finite time and resources, especially if each group feels it deserves priority? We may never agree on the answer. But most of us will agree that the real wealth of a nation is reflected not only by the size of its coffers, but also in the way it includes and cares for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loses his own soul?

The above excerpts are from the article by Ms Denise Phua, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, for Singapore Perspectives 2011.

To purchase Singapore Perspectives 2010, click here.

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