Friday, May 30, 2008

Easy come easy go

Singapore is a place of ironies. Or is it just being Singaporeans? We have been experiencing real inflation of late. Our money would have shrunk more if the government had not kept the value of the Singapore dollar high against other countries' currencies to stanch the further importation of inflation. And don't say that the Singapore government is all talk only. In response to the National Wages Council's recent recommendation to pay an inflation-fighting lump sum of money to all employees, the government civil service has taken the lead. It isn't all good news for me as this time, as always, I will get the least amount - $100 while the lower wage earners will get up to $300 - on top of the half year bonus. One cannot really argue against that. The poorer should be helped more - or should they?

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) found that 8 out of 10 people who earn less than S$1000 per month spend up to S$100 gambling in the State-run lotteries - 4-D, Toto, etc. Now, with the extra $300, they can afford to spend more. The reasoning is statistically correct - the more you buy, the greater the chance of winning. And any gambler wants to win. So if there is extra money, what better way to spend it? The problem is if everyone else is doing the same, the odds of winning never improves. The irony is that the government collects back what they give out since they have a share in the lottery system.

So why give the money in the first place when we know that it really isn't necessary? Don't ask me, I don't have the answer. But one thing you can be assured - in Singapore, you may starve, but you certainly won't be of deprived of a chance to gamble on your empty stomach. And what is so good about the system is that the State will sponsor that gambling habit, no questions asked.


Image source: Author: Nicolas Raymond

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