Help the hardcore poor

Someone posted this question to me: What is the best way to help the hardcore poor?

DO we need to give wealth to them, say, by giving them a lot of cash?

That comes back to the basic principle which I have used umpteen times. Do we give our children fish, or do we teach our children to fish? Give them a lot of fish without teaching them how to fish will help them over the short period, but once the fish has been eaten or becomes rotten, they are back to square one.

SO the best way to help the hardcore poor is to educate them.

Education does not mean they must be clever enough to be university graduates. No. Not everyone has the aptitude to be good enough to get into universities. Of course, for those who are eligible but are unable to enter tertiary education, scholarship should and must be given, if they are from families of hardcore poor.

But for others from hardcore poor who does not have the aptitude for academic study, education can mean training in the various skills, and this type of training  can go a long way to lift them up from poverty.

Without education, they will remain as odd jobs and manual workers and their children will grow up like them and the cycle will repeat and repeat itself. The cycle needs to be broken through teaching them skills that can earn a higher income and hence towards a better future.

IN principles, teach them certain skills and then help to  start them on their career using these skills.

For example, for those who are almost illiterate, teach them how to drive and them give them individual taxi license. Then give soft loan for them to own a taxi, and then these drivers can slowly pay instalments to own their own taxis , instead of like the present moment, when they are driving for big consortium which holds all the licenses and charge an exorbitant rental rate to literally squeeze these taxi drivers dry…

Let them be their own boss, and then they use the rental money to pay instalments and be their own boss one day.

The one who are good with their hands, train them to be craftsman like carpenters , painters and builders, electricians, or plumbers.. Then provide them help  to start small businesses that  provide these services..

For the rural poor,  a new scheme that is based on the present Felda scheme can be implemented, but instead of only helping one ethnic group, this new scheme is tailored to those below poverty line irrespective of race and religions.

I think the emphasis of future budgets should be tailored  to help the hardcore poor. Get these people up from poverty to middle class, and then will have a bigger group of spenders and economy as a whole can benefit since when these people  become richer, they are going to consume more and more…

The whole mindset must be changed from giving help to a particular race to giving help according to social class.. When help is rendered according to social class,  the poor from all ethnic groups will benefits..

Then we can have true unity …


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Su
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 17:23:19

    Hi Dr Hsu,

    With the many new cases of h1n1 not reported, I am looking for answers to a few questions on H1N1 which our health minister does not seem interested in informing the public. Just wonder if you are able to provide the answer.
    1. Formerly, to check whether a person is positive for H1N1 their blood sample have to be sent to institute research centre and it takes around a week to get the report.
    2. In private hospital you can only check for Influnza A with a mouth swap. The results are out in a few hours.
    3. Now it seems there is a test kit in private hospital costing about RM240.00 that can conclusively confirm h1n1.
    4. Some private hospital said that it takes 3 days to get the result.
    5. Some people went to certain hospital and was able to be conclusively confirmed as h1 n1 positive in a few hours.
    1. Are the above correct?
    2. Which are the hospitals that have the facility to do no 5?

    Hope you will be able to help with the answers to these.



  2. wassup
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 17:46:41

    Yo Doc,

    While we plan to teach them this and that, who is gonna feed their family? And many are poor by choice. Ask them a simple question and see what answer you gonna get eg. “do you want to go to school for a few months?

    Just take their kids away and put these youngster in a hostel meant for the hardcore group for a few years and things will be much better already.


  3. CYC
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 17:48:58

    Dr Yunus the Nobel price winner has started Grameen Bank that offer micro credit to the hard core poor with the noble aim of making them self sustained without depending on handout from govt or third party. Though this does not immediately eradicate poverty level at Bangladesh, it definitely helps. In fact, Dr Yunus already started the 2nd step by collaborating with some establish MNC to form some form of partnership in producing, marketing or any other ways to enhance the livelihood of the poor and at the same time promote domestic trade.

    Similarly some MNC also forge some kind of alliance with rural folks around the world by sourcing raw material /foodstuff etc directly at a slightly higher price in the name of fair trade. Of course a lot of people may argue that we extra income generated by the farmers is far less than the extra profit goes to the MNC. Yet things can be improved once the farmers gain better knowledge and bargaining process could be restarted.

    Though i agree that we should teach them to fish rather than give them fish. However, in order to get dismantle the vicious circle of being marginalised and remained poor, the seed (be it money or in kinds)is very important.

    So, let start be selfless and practice generosity. You need not to be rich to practice it. Generosities can be in form of money or materials, knowledge and skills, or lastly instilling courage and motivation to the needy. May the world become a happy place to millions of people. Michael Jackson’s song “Heal The World” is indeed very relevant.


  4. Dr Hsu
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 18:35:58


    The training groups can varies from those who are in their teens and school dropouts, and those in their 20s..

    Realistically, those in the 40s or 50s will be too late to do so, and help can only be rendered to these older groups through giving study aids to their children and so on..

    For the younger groups, an allowance can be given…if 5000 be given annually as allowance for a person, 1 billion can mean 200,000 people will benefit….

    As for those in rural areas, felda scheme has been there for more than30 yrs, and so many rural people have benefited..While they are waiting for their crops to bear fruits, certain financial aids can be given… Learn from the felda scheme…

    There must be a start somwwhere..otherwise how are things going to get improve? maybe you have better ideas, kindly share with us…


  5. disgusted
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 22:38:03


    There is so much to learn from more progressive countries even in Asia how they help the core poor groups, and not just from budgetary planning.

    Really after so many years after independence, the ruling government is just paying token to help the poor. Look at the states of Sarawak and Sabah for example. Urban poor in the peninsular, the hardest hit, those staying in Pigeon hole flats they call home.

    And of course, “helping” before polling day. And “zero” poverty myths.


  6. Meng
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 01:15:23

    The poor natives in Sarawak begging for food and we are giving donation of over a million RM to Indonesia. Real shit..?


  7. wassup
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 11:00:00

    Ideas everyone has aplenty but whether the gomen wanna get them out of being a hardcore poor is another thing. My brain always said,” don’t make me laugh la…, no poverty = no NEP. You think those hardcore blood suckers wanna help them?”

    Anyway Gomen is 1Problem, the rakyat is another. Seriously, how many times you must have heard people saying “Why should I give to that beggar, he is able body, let him go find work.” Hmmm… the sorry state of the world.


  8. steve
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 11:46:02

    Dr Hsu,

    for your info, there is a poll just launced to vote on change of leadership in Gerakan and calling for a fresh election in Gerakan.

    Please vote by visiting:-


  9. Taikohtai
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 12:31:10


    What you proposed will come to NOUGHT if the government of the day does not have the INTENTION of educating its rakyat. And that’s exactly what BN is all about – keeping the rakyat poor and dependent on their handouts so as to keep getting their votes!
    If you wish to set about bringing to fruition your proposals which are many and often ingenious, you need to do it from a platform that is sincere and genuine to develop Malaysia. BN is only good at shouting rhetorics and blowing own trumpets boasting of 1this and 1that. See you on the other side? 🙂


  10. disgusted
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 17:50:07

    Meng, not only that, many of their children enrolling in local schools and eventually stay on and multiply. So population grows and banana skin population gradually drops by decades. Already decades showed from some 28%, steadily diving down to 25%….22% and still dropping (but luckily during dragon years… suddenly go up and come down again.) Twin brothers Indonesia, so a bridge comes again unless destroy by a mammoth earthquake in future (if built). Good haze from them ….can kill mosquitoes…H1N1. Sometimes rob you a bit mah…to remind you that you are too wealthy.. and bring some extinct diseases…to remind you that life is not forever.


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