In recent years, inequality has become a hot-button issue in many countries around the world. In Singapore, however, it took a different form—a class discussion about tote bags. Tote bags are an extremely common item in Singapore, and for good reason. They are versatile, stylish, and affordable. However, as with all things in life, there is a downside to tote bags. As students started to discuss the issue of inequality in Singapore, they began to notice that the tote bag industry is one of the most unequal industries in Singapore. The tote bag industry is dominated by a few major brands who can charge high prices for their products. As a result, poorer students are unable to afford to buy a decent tote bag and end up using cheaper alternatives instead. This class discussion sparked a wider conversation about inequality in Singapore and its effects on the population as a whole. By raising awareness about this issue, we hope to encourage greater social activism on behalf of the less fortunate members of society.
Zoe Gabriel, 17, wrote on TikTok earlier this month about her “first luxury bag”: a tote bag from Charles & Keith, which her father bought for the princely sum of S$79.90, which is equivalent to $60; £50).
Zoe Gabriel, 17, wrote on TikTok earlier this month about her “first luxury bag”: a tote bag from Charles & Keith, which her father bought for the princely sum of S$79.90, which is equivalent to $60; £50. In the post, Zoe boasted that the bag was “the best birthday present [she has] ever gotten.”
Zoe’s post sparked a heated class discussion in Singapore about the issue of inequality and its impact on society. Some students argued that the price of the bag was justified due to its high quality and unique design. Others argued that such expensive items are only accessible to a select few and contribute to widespread inequality in Singapore.
Zoe’s father said he was pleased with the reaction his purchase received online. He told The New Paper: “I’m happy that my son’s post can bring some awareness to this issue and spark a conversation among people.”
With its glittering condominiums and towering facades, the city-state, home to some of the highest-paid ministers in the world, is a place of sometimes extreme contrasts.
Singapore has always been known for its high-end luxury condominiums and towering facades. But what few people know is that there is a great deal of inequality in this city-state, home to some of the highest-paid ministers in the world.
In a recent class discussion, one student asked her classmates how much they make per month. According to The Economist, the median monthly income in Singapore is $4,600. However, the top earners can take home up to $205,000. One minister reportedly makes more than $3 million per year.
This disparity has sparked protests in the past. In 2012, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Today, however, things seem to have calmed down somewhat. Some experts say that Singapore’s economic success is partly due to its tight grip on power and its reluctance to let dissent get out of hand.
The median monthly income of graduates in their 20s and 30s was S$4,200, more than twice the salary of those with a secondary or lower education, according to a study conducted by the National University of Singapore last year.
The median monthly income of graduates in their 20s and 30s was S$4,200, more than twice the salary of those with a secondary or lower education, according to a study conducted by the National University of Singapore last year. Researchers attribute this disparity to disparities in post-secondary qualifications and experience.
Almost half (49%) of respondents who earned degrees from tertiary institutions had at least five years of professional experience, compared with just one in five (21%) graduates from polytechnics and institutes of technical education. Moreover, 47% of respondents who earned degrees from tertiary institutions had an annual income above S$80,000, while only one in five (19%) graduates from polytechnics and institutes of technical education did so. These results suggest that there is a significant need for more skilled workers in the Singapore economy.
Despite these disparities, however, many young Singaporeans are optimistic about their future prospects. A majority (59%) of respondents said they believed they would be able to secure a job that matches their skills and interests within two years after completing their undergraduate studies. This optimism may be attributable to the country’s strong job market – unemployment rates for adults aged 25 to 34 years were only 2% as of March 2017 – as well as increasing opportunities for career growth due to technological innovation