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“I am frustrated with those who have fortunes but turn a blind eye”
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“I am frustrated with those who have fortunes but turn a blind eye”

With queues for welfare centres all too often snaking around street corners, it is shocking that so many people still fail to help the poor and disadvantaged, according to Aristle Tay, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Singapore.

I saw it on a rather isolated corner of The Telegraph newspaper. But it struck me deeply. Apparently, Trish Vickers, blinded due to diabetics, did not realise the novel she was writing was blank after her pen ran out.

Thankfully, forensic experts from the nearby police HQ were willing to put in five months of painstaking work, using only their spare time, to help Mrs Vickers to recover the entire 26 pages of her novel.

It struck me that, frequently in life, we are faced with physical and mental obstacles. I will not talk about the widespread corruption in some governmental structures that has continue to cripple locals from pursuing a better life this time. I will not talk about the various beliefs that some extremists hold that has caused much pain and grief to our world either.

Instead, I am only going to cover one issue, albeit a substantial one: That is prejudice and disadvantage.

There are some of us that have to go the longer way in life. In the eyes of the disadvantaged, the way things work is, arguably, unjustified. The capitalistic economy, in most regions of the world, only allocates resources to those that are able to pay the most. Wealth does not go to those that need it the most.

This is an undeniable fact. Restrictions on resources have caused countless disadvantages ones in my community in Singapore. I see them on the newspapers, the television, the radio and, I won’t deny it, in the streets that I have walked. And yet somehow, I believe that in the minds of my community, there is this problematic belief that one man cannot make a difference that causes us to be apathetic to the disadvantaged ones.

I am sure my community sees them, but at the same time it doesn’t really see them. To put it bluntly: the various prejudices have already been imprinted in their mind as as the “way of life”. It has been recognised as the norm to them – a fact – just as the Bible states that “the poor will always be with us”. However, does that justify my community turning a blind eye to the disadvantaged?

It is really horrifying when some of us just fail to have the smallest iota of caring for our own people. Governments of today’s world have managed to cast a bigger social net than before on those that are disadvantaged. However, such structures have usually been costly and ineffective.

An example is found in trend of endless, snaking queues from national welfare centres in my community that could be deemed “too little and too late”. But the disadvantaged ones still require support. I am not claiming that my entire community is apathetic. There are some noble souls out there pushing through the wee hours of the morning to provide a much needed sanctuary to the disadvantaged.

But I am frustrated. Not with those that are ignorant (forgive them because in time, they will come to see the light). I am frustrated with those who have fortunes and are fully aware of the existence of such ‘minority groups’ but chose to turn a blind eye.

Why are there not more people like those who helped Mrs. Vickers, who could assist her needs and ask little in return? For the sake of generations to come, I pray that those with the knowledge and power will assist in establishing an all-round safety net for the disadvantaged. The current safety net has proven itself too small and at the same time, full of huge ‘loopholes’. I hope they can see it too.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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