Singapore is an affluent city-state in East Asia and perhaps widely recognised as a well-developed small nation with a growing GDP of 7.2% in 2021. Its substantial opulence allows its citizens and travellers to enjoy a significant high-standard quality of living. Complete with cutting-edge healthcare facilities, exceptional education system and comfortable housing.
Singapore has strict laws in panhandling. Still, one can find the marks of poverty through the minorities that make up every community in Singapore. The stories beyond below the middle-class were unheard, the struggling families living in poverty could only ill-afford to provide anything that the children would need. The elders are also the victims of impoverishment from the insufficient, and restrictions in the retirement funds reduce the support they need for their post-retiral life.
These are only examples of distressing and harrowing realities of the effects of poverty, even in such a wealthy and well-developed nation like Singapore.
On Becoming Conscious About The ‘Hidden’ Poverty
Believe it or not, every person is surrounded by stories of poverty. It might be your story or someone else’s – your friend, your loved ones, or the people you barely know and meet in the streets. Not all can feel the effects of poverty, but we can all at least hear and see it.
Poverty comes in many forms, faces that are somewhat recognisable and distorted as if examining these are only for the academic occupation. The difference between absolute poverty and situational poverty can be so compelling for laymen in the stories about individuals living in poverty that can be heard and shared from their phone screens or the voices of their neighbours.
But as citizens, we must remain not only vigilant against the rampant dishonesties and devious acts of politicians. We almost must exhibit commiseration and the ability to put one’s shoes on the misfortune of others, whether we can identify them with our memories or barely know anything about them at all. All because the effects of poverty can be soul-shattering for anyone who is unable to bear the weight of desperation and deprivation in a society that is moving upwards.
The media consumption and social platforms we indulge in our daily lifestyle can be a vessel for empowering and informing our minds on certain societal issues, from poverty to education inequality, racial discrimination, etc.
The Narratives In Poverty – Shaping The Way We Think About Poverty
Poverty can be seen and heard in the news outlets, your social media feeds, through videos shared by others, a conversation with someone, or a broadcast from your TV or radio. Even politics can touch on a few narratives about the effects of poverty. At least at some form of media consumption, individuals can be aware of the stories of poverty, how they are correlated and how the overarching ideologies can shape societies.
There are stories about poverty – for example, a previous story about how low-income families are struggling to provide enough food to sustain their needs throughout the circuit breaker. Or maybe it can be about how an elderly is facing his everyday life with little pension support or retirement fund he received. Such narratives allow us to develop a strong familiarity with the stories about poverty.
Sometimes we tend to connect the dots on things we heard. How educational inequality leads to or becomes a pattern to poverty, how lack of minimum wages and low-paying jobs affect Singaporeans, etc., and it’s only a sign of the shaping of our thoughts about poverty once we become informed and aware.
The more certain narratives become notable and prominent, the more media will portray them. Regardless of the narrative, the subject is about poverty and education, unemployment, etc. We must remember that the media and society’s narratives can shape and influence our perceptions about poverty – its causes, effects, and who are the people responsible for it. It also permits us to think about what actions we can perform to address and resolve the issue.
Addressing Poverty Through Raising Awareness
Poverty is without a doubt, should be among the top national priority. Addressing poverty comes in many forms where people have their own opinion and thoughts. Some movements or groups opt for changes such as, creating multiple jobs, having a poverty line, implementing minimum wage law or pay equity, to developing policies that will eradicate educational inequality.
However, there can be no such actions without awareness. To solve a problem, one must become aware that the problem exists before a man can put their mind and body to work for resolution. When the collective individuals become aware of a problem, they unify to work on a common solution. There are many different forms to channel awareness about poverty, even other social problems like educational inequality, environmental sustainability, racism, etc.
Here are ways to raise poverty awareness:
- Be active and start talking to people in the community.
- Support charity and other fundraising efforts for local and international poverty missions by donating what you can afford to give
- Be involved in working with humanitarian organisations for helping local poverty through volunteer work.
- Use social media platforms to discuss the effects of poverty, the stories of marginalised groups, etc.
- Start advocacy in your local community or even in your school
- Participate in poverty walks and runs or sporting events for a cause
- Make a personal mission by thinking of ways you can help the poor in your neighbourhood or community
All of us have at least know one or two stories about the effects of poverty or a personal testament from someone. These stories awaken us from the bitter reality of living. We can use these narratives to raise awareness and call for a good cause for all to participate. The step in ending poverty starts with a humble, unheard story of everyday people in the streets, and it takes a person of courage to make an action – you.
If you want to know more about stories about people living in poverty or inspiring stories from everyday people, visit The Best Of You website.