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Sunday, June 21, 2009
; 3:34 AM

Hey Guys so this is an article i found extracted from the online citizen. Reporting on our forum last week at RCLF 2009.OUR SIG haha..

Report: Mooting a social assistance scheme search engine

Saturday, 20 June 2009, 10:31 am | 302 views

Cerelia Lim / Reporter

This idea, along with a new mentoring programme for kids, were some of the things discussed at a workshop on urban poverty.

11 JUNE 2009 — A SEARCH engine to plug gaps in the current social assistance schemes was proposed at a forum for social change last week.

“The list of current assistance schemes is too thick and social workers have no time to peruse through the whole list to see which schemes the family qualifies for,” said Mrs Sally Sim, a senior social worker with Care Community Services Centre.

(Photo: Poverty Banquet – Forum Participants role played the different types of food each income group consumes for their daily meals. Courtesy of RCLF)

She also reflected during the panel discussion that as social workers, they want to spend more time counseling their clients and help in simplifying the process of finding suitable assistance schemes for their clients would be greatly appreciated.

The Raffles Community Leaders Forum, held this year from 8th to 11th June at Raffles Junior College, attracted more than 140 participants from various educational institutions.

As part of the forum, the Urban Poverty Special Interest Group (SIG) organized a panel discussion which hosted representatives from the different Voluntary Welfare Organizations and the North East Community Department Council.

The proposed idea of the search engine aims to reduce the amount of paperwork each social worker has to sieve through before finding a scheme that a recipient would qualify. Social workers will enter key qualification criteria’s of the recipient such as HDB flat size, income level, number of children and the search engine will sieve out the aid schemes that they qualify for.

Currently, aid schemes from the public sectors are listed on Community Development Council (CDC) homepages with minimal explanation. Hence, the proposed database will not only include relief schemes from the public sector but also schemes from voluntary welfare organizations and private enterprises.

However, Ms Patricia Wee, a senior social worker with the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre felt that due to the fluid nature of the schemes, there will be a need for frequent updates and questioned the availability of manpower and financial resources to maintain the database.

“With the database in place, it serves to limit the resources rather than expand the creativity or motivation of social workers to actively source for other resources out there.” added Ms Wee.

Centre manager of New Hope Community Services, Mr Ravi Philemon, also commented that the database would not be feasible as the needs of an individual should not be determined by a computer program. He reiterated that the complexities with the various schemes lay in their overlapping criteria’s and its administration by different parties.

Mentoring programme for kids

The second idea proposed was the implementation of a mentoring program. Children from urban poverished families often face financial insecurities and a lack of motivation to improve one’s living standards. A lack of suitable figures of guidance further excebates the problem as they will not be able to make informed lifestyle choices.

The target group for this programme is children aged from nine to thirteen as this are the ages where they are most impressionable. The participants hope to implement this progamme over a period of six months to one year depending on the child’s progress and needs. They hope to start the pilot project with New Hope Community Services before evaluating the effectiveness’ of this programme.

When asked, Ms Wee agreed that mentoring program is something that youths today can do and it is realistic to implement.

There is no official poverty line in Singapore, but the national benchmark of ‘poor’ is a monthly gross total household income of $1500 and below. In 2001, the number of people requiring financial assistance was 14 300 and in 2003, the number rose to 31 570.

According to the Occasional Paper on Income Statistics – 2008, the Gini coefficient increased from 9.99 in 2000 to 12.90 in 2007.

The Gini Coefficient calculates the income distribution across the workforce and it is based on household income from work per household member. The more unequal the income distribution, the larger the Gini Coefficient.

Many still fall through the cracks

Despite the panelists agreeing that there are many more assistance schemes available now to help the urban poor, many are still left out.

Mr Ravi gave a personal example to the participants of his mother holding down three jobs to keep the family going while their relatives took care of him and his siblings. This scenario which was prevalent thirty to forty years ago is hardly observed in Singapore today as the family unit became more nuclear centered.

Said Ms Wee: “One loophole in the schemes is the unwed mothers. They do not qualify for baby bonus and other assistance schemes.”

Mrs Sim gave a case example of a 72 year old cleaner who did not qualify for any assistance even though he is in arrears with the Housing Development Board. This was because he is employed and has no medical problems. She further mentioned that this example shows that more flexibility and consideration needs to be exercised when implementing the criteria’s for social assistance schemes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
; 4:51 AM

Just earned some cash from investing... haha...

Saturday, June 13, 2009
; 1:08 AM

The past week was ummm how should i put this. Fun yet tired yet enriching. Yup i've been to Raffles Community Leaders Forum. My topic was on Urban Poverty, Yes its real. Though you don't see them usually, because the government hides them literally. Putting their blocks in the middle of the estate so as not to been seen easily. Most of this people are elderly, families with no income. families that are huge, and many more. Its really difficult to see people living in this conditions. My family is the middle income range, living in a 5 rm flat. We have everything that we need, computer, Television, our own bedrooms and so much more that are so difficult to describe in words.

I've been in acts 29 for over 4 years and i really didn't understand how should we help them. We just gave rations, and the occasional visit to speak to them. My Group came up with this idea, to target the youths, because of generational poverty. This youths might think that it is alright to stay and live in this conditions. That's why we have come to realise that we must start a program in Singapore. It has already been used in Australia. Its called the big brother, where youths who are capable to mentor this youths, to guide them to the right track. Though tutoring is important, building their financial literacy and character development is as important as well. This program will last from 6 months to a year and through this we hope to break the poverty cycle in them. To make them understand that a comfortable life is waiting for them.


It seems like all ITE students have the same mindset, that higher educated people look down on us and treat us as underdogs. I had the same mindset too. But through this forum, i have manage to break away from this mindset. Seriously, i used to call RI the retarded institute because since they look down on us we should just do the same, probably those are the minority's. Ok probably you can call me a hypocrite, i don't care. Well the majority's are real cool people, though their english might be a little too profound at times, that's how the way it is. Yup and we can get along really well. RCLF 2009 rocks...

I just read a book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", ok i admit its a damm old book, but what it is trying to say is really true. Talk about fiancial literacy, i used to spend all my hard earned money on stuff that are really liablities. Never thought bout the difference between assets and liabilities because thats how singaporeans are born to be. To earn, shop and probably fall into a big debt. So there comes this term called "Chicken Little" if you remember the movie. It talks about this chick thinking that the sky is falling. turning income into assets and therefore going back to your income. Thats how the rich do it. I wanna get out of the rat race.

Sunday, May 31, 2009
; 6:39 AM

Hahaha, i'm so proud of myself. Well only got to update now because i slept till now.

So gonna give details bout my race.

start point, Everyone is perk up and ready to run.
We pace quite a few people that i thought we could handle their pace.
We climb lots of overhead bridges,
Siglap park connector was a killer, cause of up and downs.
Thigh muscles had stitch,
walk from 10 km mark till 13km cause they got no freaking counter pain left, Darnn..
Ran all the way till 19 mark, Bear with the freaking pain. thats because if i walk it will be much painful.
at the 27 km mark at bedok reservoir my soles came off. GREAT!!!
couldnt find a scissors had till walk till 29 km mark then theres medic, which i could borrow a scissors. Got a ice pack for my legs, and boy it felt good, ran all the way till 31 km mark followed by lots of walking, It just goes on and on, walk, jog, sprint, walk, jog.. Needed the toliet at 35 mark, and there wasnt any. Darn... rush to koufu to get my bladder empty and continue to pace.
At the commandos barrack was a killer too, 300m slope, and i sprint up. Get over with the pain fast.and finally the sun came up. at 40 km. walk and jog again till the end, completed in 7.50 hours. PHEW... Glad its over.

Hmm i guess no more marathon's for me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009
; 1:37 AM

Hey just to update my current status. I'm still alive. Yes, i'm alive cause i've not yet run but my legs are crampping up. Its as if they know today is the big day, to run the big run. Last night was a blast, had my buddy and his sister at my hse for carbo loading night, Haha and we couldnt finish the pasta.

on the menu was
Pasta with tomato base
Cambell Chunk soup
Vegetables(corn, brocilli, Carrots)
Blueberry muffins.
Baked chicken thigh.

And we finish everything except the pasta.
two packets cooked only one packet or less eaten.
Pasta rocks.

haha, i will be heading for bed soon. so tata...

update if i'm awake tmr.


Thursday, May 28, 2009
; 8:10 AM



The result for IMAGINE CUP 2009 is not out yet, and i'm damm nervous. All the months of hard work. Oh well, if i ever get to go there. I'm gonna look for MUMMY!!!

ITS countdown to monday 8am...

Upcoming. HOLIDAYS.. gonna work Work WORK.. Running out of cash..
What else.. Imagine cup...
Sarah's bdae. haizz if i got the $$$ then we go out, otherwise you can come to my house, I'll prepare a full course meal for you... HAHA


Driving lessons a must!
Had a Goals planning session last week. To come to think about it. Its kinda impossible..

Get a car in 5 years.
Save up to 3000 (probably possible)
Tour europe in 10 years. after graduation from poly.
Oh welll. Leave it to the big guy up there.^^^

Friday, May 22, 2009
; 8:12 AM

Some random pics over the past months... Well, the thing i've learn during the past months.
Life can hit us as hard as you thought. Winning is bout getting hit and learning how to stand back. All I could say is live life without fear, and you will be in control of your life.

ITE College East
[extreme sports]

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yan yan
branda[ben sis]
hui ling ^agent.dj
jing ling ^agent.jl^
sophia ^agent.s^
cindy ^agent.c^
jee chin ^agent.jc^


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