Thoughts : Poverty

Poverty and the Moral Responsibility of the Rich to the Poor: The writings of Princeton University philosopher, Peter Singer, inspired me to write this article. I know no other author who has written as much as him (or has come even close to doing that) about the very important issue of our responsibility to the poor. See especially his classic Famine, Affluence and Morality article written in the Philosophy & Public Affairs journal in 1972. For a quicker and easier read, check out The Singer Solution to World Poverty written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine in 1999. (This article was written in 2003 for a campus magazine / website).

Encountering Peter Singer: My thoughts on Peter Singer’s view of poverty in comparison to the Bible’s view. (2003)

To Alla in Ukraine – with Love…: About an encounter in 2003 with a friend from Ukraine.

Nearly Quitting my Studies – to Immediately Serve the Poor!: About an event in July 2002 that nearly got me to quit my studies to go to serve the poor in the Third World.

Response Letter to Wheaton College: After gaining acceptance to Wheaton College and carefully thinking over whether I should attend there, I eventually wrote this response letter to them in 2002, stating that I would not accept the place because I could not justify spending so much on myself just for an education in America when my heart’s desire is to help the poor. On more of the reasons for my rejection of the place at Wheaton, you can also read this Life entry: University Studies in Australia.

Why am I so blessed?: This is an abridged version of an email I sent to a friend, containing some personal reflections on having a life so blessed in comparison to the poor in the world. (2002)

When Nothing Else Matters…: Commenting on Thomas Hobbes’ famous passage on the state of nature in which war occurs and people do not concern themselves with anything else – e.g. industry, the economy, culture – but mere survival, I ponder how adopting such a “when nothing else matters” attitude – i.e. that of not being concerned about becoming richer or enjoying sports…etc because nothing else would matter or be important any longer as long as there are poor people dying – is necessary in order to eradicate poverty. (2002)

Now to Live the Life: A short reflection about my discomfort with charity balls and other formal charity events that draw celebrities and stars to raise money. (2001)

Overabundance and Deprivation: This is a reflection of the poverty I saw in Johor Bahru contrasted with the ostentatious and wasteful displays of food during big wedding dinners. (2001)

The Christian, Ramadan and Fasting: Some thoughts about how Christians could perhaps learn from partaking in the fast of Ramadan as it would make us more sensitive to the hungry and poor in this world (2001). One thing I should add is that the idea of fasting to feel the hunger of the hungry in order to increase our sympathy and compassion for them is quite similar to what Bill Wilson speaks of when he spends time in the center of urgency (the place where there is an urgent need for help because of extreme poverty and suffering) by regularly eating and staying with the poor street kids in order to cultivate a compassionate heart (see this Life entry at Bill Wilson, Beggars and being in the ‘Center of Urgency’).