Like most Singaporeans, I read Dr Lee Wei Ling’s articles which appear in the Straits and Sunday Times mainly out of kay-pohness.
She’s the daughter of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the sister of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the sister-in-law of Ho Ching, boss of Temasek Holdings. So one reads with the hope of getting insider nuggets about her politically powerful family.
Beyond that, I’ve not given her views on this, that or other much thought other than her fierce advocacy for women to try to have children, seemingly regardless of the consequences, if not to themselves, then at least to their unborn child, an advocacy which I thought reckless and have said so.
But today, I found myself nodding in agreement to her piece in the Sunday Times castigating the way some people raise money for charity and the way some people donate money to these people’s causes, when it might be neater and more effective to donate to the actual beneficiaries directly.
Fact is such a thought comes to mind every time I see fund raisers go through gymnastics, sometimes death defying acts, to elicit the charity dollar. It’s particularly ridiculous too that charities are allowed by law to spend up to 30% of every dollar raised on the cost of the fund raising!
It’s for reasons like this that increasingly I prefer to give directly to needies that I come across, rather than give to organised charities, where the top layer of the $ raised goes to the activities for fund raising.
This week-end I have this reaction again on reading about a new fund raising tactic being used by the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund — a coin bank sold at $5 with the proceeds going fully to the fund.
Singapore Press Holdings, NTUC FairPrice and OCBC together have bought 13,000 coin banks to be given to their staff while OCBC is also giving another 5,000 to children who top-up or open a savings account with a minimum $20 deposit.
I have a few problems with this charity drive:
2) Why can’t the same encouragement to savings and charity be done without adding more clutter to the planet, when alternatives abound that could achieve the same end without adding 50,000 plastic coin banks to the rubbish heap some time in the future?
3) Why not encourage the same saving and giving by asking children to use empty jam or coffee jars, biscuit tins, soft drink cans etc to stash their spare coins and when they are full, do what they want to do — donate to the Pocket Money fund or open an account with OCBC?
4) Since the proceeds from selling the coin banks will go fully to the Pocket Money fund, someone must have sponsored their production. Why not get this sponsor to donate the equivalent amount to the fund?
5) Oh sure, $250, 000 would have been raised by selling the coin banks and if there are no banks, there won’t be this sum. If those behind the ST Pocket Money Fund raising die-die must go with their coin bank idea, then why not make use of the Internet? Why not have virtual coin banks for Internet donors to adopt? Create a link page on the ST platform and for every blogger who donates $5 for a virtual coin bank, reciprocate with a one-year link?