You all ah, stop blaming the gahmen for their Haiti donation lah. They give 50k, already very kind liao.
As this letter from the MFA points out, "the amount or type of humanitarian assistance given by the Singapore Government is not intended to match the scale of a disaster".
A responsible gahmen, according to this letter, has to "consider the nature of our relations with the affected country".
Haiti so far away and not our friend or trading partner, so their massive disaster we can only send a token "white gold", you see.
But if some neighbour like Indonesia or, God forbid, China, has a disaster — maybe someone falls down and sprains his ankle — of course our gahmen will send a Super Puma and a big donation to help with relief efforts. Friend and neighbour mah!
Compassion must be based on guanxi one! Not say our gahmen no heart. They are just very pragmatic and responsible.
MFA Letter to ST:
Disaster relief - the S'pore way
I REFER to last Saturday's commentary, 'Is Singapore doing too little for Haiti?' by Ms Chua Mui Hoong. She criticised the Singapore Government for not making a bigger contribution to Haiti after the earthquake when we had contributed far more to disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts after the 2004 tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
As a responsible member of the international community, the Singapore Government has consistently made contributions to international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in our region and beyond. Singaporeans are familiar with the contributions we have made over the years, especially to the many countries hit by the tsunami in 2004, and after the Sichuan earthquake.
Last year, we provided humanitarian assistance in the form of cash, supplies and equipment after Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan; Cyclone Aila in Bhutan; Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; the Padang earthquake in Indonesia; the cyclone in Fiji; the earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and Tonga; as well as for victims of the civil war in Sri Lanka; and food aid for internally displaced people in Pakistan.
As a responsible government, we have to examine the considerations and priorities when deciding how much and what type of assistance Singapore can provide after each disaster. Singapore is not in the league of major donor countries, nor do we aspire to be one. Among other things, we have to consider the nature of our relations with the affected country and whether we can provide aid which will add value to the relief efforts when deciding what to contribute, as we have limited resources and cannot respond to every disaster in the same way.
Hence, we had responded with more significant contributions when Indonesia suffered the devastation of the tsunami and various earthquakes - because it is a neighbour with longstanding and close ties and we were in the position to deploy our military and civil defence assets so that they could carry out effective missions.
The amount or type of humanitarian assistance given by the Singapore Government is not intended to match the scale of a disaster. In the case of massive disasters in countries beyond our own region, our contributions often cannot be more than a show of moral support and a gesture of sympathy to the affected country.
The support from Singapore for Haiti need not be demonstrated just by the Government. Singaporeans who want to make a contribution can do so through the Red Cross and other groups, and indeed many have. The Singaporeans who have gone to Haiti on relief missions amply demonstrate their compassion for the victims of the earthquake.
Director, Public Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs