Big Lesson For Singapore And Singaporeans

by Patrick Liew on August 19, 2019

Big Lesson For Singapore And Singaporeans

Venezuela is blessed with arguably the world’s largest known oil reserves and had been considered as one of the richest countries in the world.

Currently, it’s suffering from social unrest, economic instability, hyperinflation, emigration, and even high child mortality, malnutrition and crime rate.

How did a resource-rich country end up in such a pathetic state?

There are many factors that have contributed to the steep decline of the Venezuelan economy and gradual implosion of its society, one of which is its reckless pursuit in developing a welfare state.

In the past, Venezuela’s politicians launched a series of populist measures to win votes.

They enacted generous social welfare policies and increased social spendings, including a uniquely heavy subsidy of fossil fuel to please the masses.

Excessive spendings temporarily resolved income inequality and poverty, and boosted the economy.

Over time, with higher expectations and demands, spendings kept increasing, and it eventually contributed to a collapse of the economy.

Is there a lesson in this tragic episode for Singapore and Singaporeans?

While I believe that the Singapore government can do more to help the poor, needy and disadvantaged, I trust that our political leaders will never bow to populism and bend to unwise pursuits to stay in power.

They’ll have enough guts, grit and gumption to even administer bitter medicine to strengthen our culture for personal responsibility, sound work ethos, self-reliance, family and community support, good habits and lifestyles, and pursuit of excellence.

Please heed the words of Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the
University of Edinburgh.

He was quoted to have said the following:

“A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

“From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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