IT IS not easy to have a truly equal society where meritocracy rewards ingenuity and grit ("Rags to rags, riches to riches"; May 13).
Statistics show that a parent's economic advantages tend to be transferred to his child in varying degrees, depending on the income equality of the society.
On the other hand, we have also seen numerous examples of successful people who were born into families that did not have such economic advantages.
One of these is Mr Jack Ma (right), chairman of Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world.
He was born into a poor family; his parents were traditional musician-storytellers. He failed his college entrance exams twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, before finding success with his third venture - Alibaba.
The ideal environment would be a level playing field, so that everyone, regardless of the lottery of birth, has a fairer shot at success.
We can work towards this goal. However, in the meantime, we can also create our own chances by taking the necessary steps to move out of our comfort zones, and continually learn and upgrade ourselves.
After all, these are the things in life that we can, and should, control.
The Straits Times/ Forum Published on Tuesday, 2 June 2015