What’s this game for?

We made PING (Poverty Is Not a Game) to help Singaporeans understand the situation of the poor and the difficult choices they face. Many well-meaning donors still think that we can solve their problems just by giving them money or rice and canned food. But social workers tell a different story. Today’s poor face complex and interconnected problems ranging from income to nutrition, social isolation and mental health. We believe that such problems can only be solved if we step forward as a community to help each other, in partnership with the government and social service sector. Play the game to find out more!


Why Ah Ma?

As our population ages, we are seeing more and more elderly Singaporeans living alone, some of whom struggle to get support from their children or other agencies. Ah Ma’s story was pieced together from many interviews we collected from elderly households and social workers. We plan to make more characters representing various marginalized groups, like ex-convicts, migrants, single mums and persons struggling with mental issues. But this depends on your feedback and support, and our resources. Ultimately, we hope that Singaporeans will gain a better understanding of these marginalized persons and how to integrate them into society with dignity.


How was the research done?

Back in 2010, Caritas Singapore and our affiliates conducted interviews with 80 of our beneficiaries as well as many of our social workers to better understand the situation on the ground.

Since then, we have been collecting and updating the data and statistics as and when they become available. We collect data from government reports and consulted other social service agencies including Lions Befrienders and Touch Community Services to tap their experience. We’d like to thank the many volunteers who helped to conduct the interviews and compile the research.

All the statistics shown in the game are referenced on our “Ah Ma’s True Story” page.


What is the focus of the game? The outcome we hope to have?

Our focus for the game is Ah Ma’s daily choices and lifestyle, and the effect on her financial, physical and emotional health. The outcome we really hope for is your empathy for Ah Ma and elderly aunties and uncles who need company, understanding, joy and laughter.

Ah Ma’s situation is not unrealistic as many of the elderly are not familiar with the financial aid that is available to them, and don’t know where to get it. Others treasure their dignity and prefer to struggle for self-sufficiency.

Nevertheless, Ah Ma begins the month with $300 and this could reflect the real situation of an elderly Singaporean who is receiving Public Assistance or handouts from a social service agency.


What government agencies and assistance schemes are there for elderly in Singapore?

There are hundreds of financial support options available from government and social service agencies. Many of them have different eligibility requirements, such that financial aid is a complex issue on its own. So this is something you can do – help the elderly access the assistance they need!

Healthcare is a major concern for the elderly. The good news for the pioneer generation – those who turned 65 before the end of 2014 and became citizens before end of 1986 – is the healthcare subsidy package. For example, the elderly poor now receive a 70% subsidy for services at polyclinic and specialist outpatient clinics and 75% subsidy for medication. The pioneers will receive an additional 50% subsidy on top of the respective subsidy. Check out the link below for more information to assist your elderly friends:
Pioneer Generation Package and Medical Care Subsidies

CHAS Subsidies for Pioneers

Transport Subsidies and other Assistance Schemes, NCSS

Transport Subsidies, Seniors Mobility and Enabling Fund

Head for the nearest Social Service Office if your elderly friend need financial and other support:
Social Service Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development


What else can I do?

At Singaporeans Against Poverty, our focus is to raise awareness and encourage and facilitate ground-up action. While we don’t directly organise activities, we’ve tied up with several partner agencies to list some volunteering opportunities for you here. We’d also like to encourage you to reach out to fellow Singaporeans in your block, neighbourhood or workplace, and share your experiences on our Facebook page.

No one is so poor that they have nothing to give, and no one is so rich that they cannot receive. We dream of a Singapore where the community acts together with the government and social service sector to ensure that no one is left behind.