Singapore Budget 2020: Should We Give Singaporeans Exactly What They Asked For?

By February 21, 2020Current, Perspectives, Work

TL;DR – Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Like the seasons we go through each year, there are a few major public speeches that usually get Singaporeans all riled up.

  1. Budget Day
  2. The May Day Rally
  3. The National Day Rally

Singaporeans are actually a very apathetic bunch of people in general. It is not an everyday affair that we can get everyone to sit in front of the TV or computer to get an update of what is happening around the world.

Many of us see the Singapore Budget as a kind of hongbao (red packet) we receive during or after Lunar New Year.Do you…

Posted by on Thursday, 13 February 2020


Why do people bother listening to these speeches? This might not come as a surprise for you. The reason behind the popularity of such public speeches is not because we are a nation of fanboys and fangirls looking forward to seeing our politicians on TV, but more likely because we are eagerly awaiting some hot deal “giveaways” from our government.

The ironic part of this whole situation is that regardless of what’s announced (even hundreds of dollars of cash), Singaporeans will still complain anyway. So what do Singaporeans really want?

I might not exactly be the person that the government will invite onto a radio show to explain the Budget, but here is my attempt to answer some unhappy questions and complaints by netizens. That is the good thing about contributing writing right?

Instant Gratification

We want it now! We want it quick! We want everything!

Not sure if we were tuning into the same Budget speech.

The one I watched did mention about this Stabilisation & Support Package which offers things like:

  • bridging loan programme for cash flow support,
  • property tax rebate,
  • jobs support scheme,
  • enhanced wage credit scheme,
  • corporate income tax rebate that are all targetted at helping businesses and individuals. To ensure that businesses can tide over this period.

Unless what Steven is trying to say is literally immediately after the budget out bank account gets credited with some money? #magic

The only thing I am proud of comments like these is the fact that our education system has taught them how to count.

I mean what is with the expectation of such government payout has to be of a certain sum that is above a dollar and enough to buy you tissue paper? What is the point of giving you an instant amount of cash if you might just end up spending all of them on coconuts?

The whole idea of the budget is not about giving you a one-time angbao (red packet) and calling it a day. Their job would have been so much easier if this is the case.

I suppose $100 – $300 dollars is really not enough for some people ☝️ to buy some manners.

Pretty good primary school math there Jason!

But don’t forget the government has also topped-up our SkillsFuture credits.

Your 101 to the SkillsFuture angbao

I would like to recommend you to take up economics 101 and learn about the multiplier effect on how government spending helps not just “their own people” but also the companies, the workers, their families, fellow citizens, and effectively the whole country.

This is exactly what I meant. The expectation of the Singapore Budget day being a nationwide giveaway.

By the way, as the Budget builds on past Budgets, whatever existing benefits Singaporeans get this year (that was already announced in previous years like tax reliefs for parents, Baby Bonus etc) is also part of Budget 2020. Conveniently forgotten tsk tsk.

(Screenshots are taken from various posts online commenting about our recent Budget 2020)

Should We Give Singaporeans Exactly What They Asked For?

Let’s say we take the entire $83.6 billion Budget, forget everything it has been designated for, and divide the pot of cash amongst all 3.5 million Singaporeans.

That’s how Singaporeans see the Budget right?


Every Singaporean would get almost $24,000. Wow that’s great!

But then no one would:

  • patrol our shores,
  • police the country,
  • teach your children,
    work in government hospitals,
  • subsidise your medical bills,
  • provide your home with water,
  • fix your spoilt HDB lifts (no money to pay outsourced vendors)
  • maintain Wireless@SG
  • build your new MRT lines and stations
  • so on and so forth

You can say goodbye immediately to:

  • any leftover Parenthood Tax Rebate
  • tax reliefs
  • SkillsFuture credits
  • career advisors at e2i and WSG
  • Workfare
    startup and SME grants
  • negotiating free trade agreements that help our local companies expand overseas
  • programmes that help Singaporeans get jobs
  • programmes that help Singaporeans stay in jobs

Isn’t this what Singaporeans want? Just to see the money immediately in their bank account? $300 not enough?

Should we really give Singaporeans exactly what they asked for? Especially when no one was specific enough to state an exact quantum or share comprehensively what the Budget 2020 should be used for besides giving more angbao?


(Featured Image via)

The Dive: Everyone misses the point when it comes to the Budget – here’s why! 



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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

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