Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sacrifice For The Greater Good

I appreciate Dr Lily Neo. I perceive her as an extraordinary PAP MP who works with a heart, caring for the needy and less fortunate. Who could forget Dr Balakrishnan's famously callous remark: “How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?“ to Dr Lily Neo’s calls for the government to increase public assistance to the poorest of the poor. Or Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon gunning her with: “How far you want to cover? You want to cover up to 30 per cent, 40 per cent or 50 per cent (of the population)?”

The other MP who speaks a little different from standard PAP suck-up drivel and fights for the underdog is Ms Denise Phua. It's reported that she's helping Rochor residents affected by the North-South Expressway get higher compensation for the demolition of their homes "after a tense hour during which more than 200 residents aired their grievances at the launch of an exhibition of the new flats they are being offered in Kallang." ST Nov 19.

I sincerely hope that Ms Phua will not get a: "How much you want to pay them for their flats? 30 per cent, 40 per cent or 50 percent more?" from the minister of the "Singapore-is-Shangrila-&-Happier-than-Bhutan" fame, when she asks for more compensation for the Rochor residents.

It is more than money that the Rochor residents lose. They get uprooted. Their lives get disrupted. They lose their way of life. They lose the convenience they now have. They lose their freedom of choice, to be where they want to be, to stay put.

"I hope they understand that their sacrifice is for the greater good," said Ms Phua in Straits Times.

I hope so too. But greater good for what and for who? For more economic activity and better GDP so that ministers (or is it Gerard Ee now?) can justify their million dollar salary and bonuses?

Sacrifice for greater good? While we are at it, how about knocking some houses off the numbered avenues in Bukit Timah to lessen the jam in Bukit Timah/Dunearn Road and PIE? Or make Oxley Rise a more public road?

It is sad that common Singaporeans like Rochor residents serve as sacrificial lambs while gloriously rich and powerful gluttons are served lamb chops!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monopoly No More! Happiness Here To Stay?

It was more than five years ago that this article in New York Times [Link] was written. Time flies! If all the justification for the indecent salary were valid, poor Gerard Ee would not be in such a hard place now. With the crap that's thrown at him as 'the man in charge' of the Ministers' Salary Committee, he's between the devil and the deep blue sea! While on the subject of money and salary, may I ask if Gerard is paid for his effort? Is he just paid an honorarium or do the taxpayers have pay a king's ransom for his unique service? Or is he doing it gratis, for charity?

Braggarts who lamented that there isn't enough talented Singaporean politicians/political leaders must be wondering where did parliamentarians like Chen Show Mao, Pritam Singh and other non-PAP politicians come from. The arrogant notion that only PAP has an inalienable right and monopoly to political talents in Singapore has proven to be false after we hear and see the opposition MPs spoke recently in Parliament and during the hustings in May. The PAP politicians of the LKY kind (who must be paid well) may be good but most Singaporeans must be happy to know that the better and the brave, not tainted by the 'kiasu', 'kiasi' and hubristic PAP, are in other parties!

LKY threatened in May 2011 that should voters of Aljunied voted for WP, they would have 5 years to repent for their 'misplaced' courage and contempt for PAP. With the demise of PAP in Aljunied GRC, Singaporeans are less afraid and more vocal in voicing their unhappiness caused by the policies of PAP. PAP may consider it unnecessary 'noise' but the expensive and inefficient transportation; ongoing changing of goalposts in CPF resulting in members not able to own and use what's rightly theirs; nonsensical 'market subsidised' HDB housing that costs a bomb; tough competition in jobs and low salary caused by the relax immigration and foreign talents policy and the deadly inflation are causing much unhappiness amongst my fellow Singaporeans.

Coincidentally, while the Bhutan King is visiting Singapore, another Bhutanese, Passang Tshering (Pen name: PaSsu) has written a an interesting reply in his face book (read here) to Khaw Boon Wan's retort to Sylvia Lim's take on Bhutan's happiness.

I thank PaSsu for adding several notches up my happiness index with what he wrote! He has taught me some. I hope our ministers can learn some too!

Lesson 101: "Mai keh kiang. Mai how lien. Mai sia sway!" (Hokkien)

. . . translated in English: "Don't act smart. Don't show off. Don't create shame!"