Congratulations, S’pore Island Country Club members can now undergo ‘poverty simulation’ programme

Not satire.

By Belmont Lay | February 4, 2016

Singapore Island Country Club members have been offered a chance to undergo a DNA-altering experience: They will get to see how and what life is like from the perspective of those living on the poverty line.

Set to be held next month, the poverty simulation exercise workshop was advertised in the SICC members magazine, reported Today on Feb. 4, 2016.

The Methodist Welfare Services (MWS), a voluntary welfare organisation, is holding the workshop, which is typically conducted for schools and volunteers, and it will be the first time it is held for the country club.

Participants will role-play and manage challenging scenarios, such as supporting a family and making ends meet on a meagre income, while juggling health issues.

According to Today:

For example, they could be “Casey”, a 45-year-old technician working in a small company who has to pay S$200 a week to cover his renovation loan from a bank, while providing for his hearing-impaired wife and two children.

Apparently, MWS has been conducting the programme since 2011 for its church members, other VWOs, and schools.

Participants are given roles, such as a single parent, or a person living alone.

They then spend “four weeks” in that person’s shoes. How? Well, by spending 15 minutes on each “week” during the exercise simulating various scenarios that crop up, such as getting their children to school, seeking medical attention and keeping up with bills.

How immersive.

Whether such an exercise can be viewed to be offensive or patronising is still debatable, as there can perhaps be a smidgen of positive takeaway points for the relative high net worth participants to bring home with them or think about while cruising in their four-wheel drive.

But is it socio-politically tone-deaf? You can bet your last S$2 on it.


H/T Today


Top photo via

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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