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In Singapore, even the poor people are better off

Due mainly to the high cost of living, poverty and homelessness does exist in Singapore. But most low income families still have standards that other Asian poor could only dream of.

  • Rebecca Lim
  • Singapore
  • February 20, 2012
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Wan Zaleha smiles as the smell of freshly-brewed coffee permeates the air at a non-profit centre caring for low-income and needy people in Singapore.

For the last six years, from Mondays to Saturdays, the 72-year-old has served as a volunteer, making tea and coffee for residents living in one-room apartments in the neighbourhood.

She lives in one of the one-room apartments - which average 30 sq.m and cost S$23 ($19, £12) to S$205 ($165, £104) a month to rent from the government depending on household income.

She is not employed and receives groceries worth S$70 from individual donors every month.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos recently that although it was ''no fun'' being poor in Singapore, people were still ''less badly off'' than the poor in other countries, including the US.

The government ensures that ''everybody starts with some chips'' and not at zero, he added, through education, health care and public housing.

He has also promised more help for low-income households in this year's budget, to be delivered at a parliament sitting on Friday.

Full Story: Are Singapore's poor better off?

Source: BBC News
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