Thursday, May 1, 2008

The case of the 'Social Plateau'

I read with interest the observations of one Straits Times reader in the Forum Page of the papers yesterday (Wednesday), regarding the less than sterling developments made by the Malay/Muslim middle and upper classes, vis-a-vis the widening income gap observed between the various races in Singapore over the years! Kudos to the astute observations made by the reader, a quiet thinker I must say, a point supported by my significant other, since she actually know him from a previous working place.

Anyway, in a nutshell, the observations pointed out by the reader is that whilst great efforts and resources have been put in place by the local Malay/Muslim bodies and organisations to address the widening income disparity between the Malay and other races in the lower income groups of the community, what seens to be more of an issue here is the 'social plateau' (a term that i coined myself, :) ) that are observed within the upper strata levels! Facts and figures don't usually lie, and have in fact been a validating indicator of this. While gaps have been addressed at the lower economic levels of the community, these have sadly been an creeping issue and have in fact been a plateau'ing phenomenon for the middle- and upper-classes of the community. But the reader is quick to point out that short of extending the latter a handout of sorts, or for that matter, ANY handout at all, the community should look at equipping them with the necessary tools to at least enable them to move up the economic ladder and value chain! A point of which I am totally in agreement upon.

Which does bring me back to the recent findings by the Malay Chamber of Commerce regarding the significantly large majority of Malay-Muslim-based local businesses who seems to be happy at making only between $100k to $500k a year, even after years of having established themselves. The fault? Well I am not a businessman myself, although I do have plans of my own, and neither am I fit enough to criticize, but for the sake of my 2 cents worth in the blogsphere, I do think that one should start to think of going just beyond the local Malay-Muslim market for a start, and offering services that also goes beyond the 'traditional' ones, like wedding, catering and stuffs like that! Perhaps a business model that transcends beyond just a 'traditional Malay-Muslim-based' feel and even practices, but then this is another entire matter that perhaps I can elaborate further once i am more, hmmm, established?

Back to my earlier point then, I do feel strongly for a dose of 'Revolusi Mental' (Mental Revolution) of sorts, a little something that the community really need to have a shot of, regardless of whether they have made it, or not, in the economic ladder! Satu 'anjakan paradigma' (paradigm shift), of helping others so that you can help yourselves, of the community looking at issues from a systemic rather than a systematic view, working across silos rather than in silos, of contributing to liberate the thinking that 'I have made it when my annual pay is beyond the average pay of my fellow community members'! It is not easy to tell people who seems, or have actually made it, that they still need to constantly improve themselves with skills and knowledgeware, but then, isn't the first revelation asking us to 'READ!'?


For the full article of the above, use the URL below:

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