Saturday, October 30, 2010

I don't have clever answers but can you vote for me?

Final year NTU aerospace student Lim Zi Rui 23 asked: Did SM Goh Chok Tong know many young people no longer felt a sense of ownership in Singapore?

"If that is prevalent among young people over here, we've got a real problem," SM Goh said, "If the majority feel that they don't belong here, then we have a fundamental problem. Then I would ask myself: What am I doing here? Why should I be working for people who don't feel they belong over here?"

I thank Zi Rui for waking up the idea of those sleeping in their ivory towers.

I think most people are reluctant to share their ideas or seek answers from MIW especially Million Dollar Ministers. The reason is obvious. When asked a question, more often than not, they twist and turn instead of giving you a straight answer. Trying to act pap-smart, they behave like "lawyer buruk" answering your question with a question. They can also get defensive and act offensive by giving you retorts that makes you appear like a retard. They hope.

Classic examples:
  • "You want to have a home. Who is going to build your flat?"
  • "This is your country. What do you want me to do to make you feel you belong?"
  • "Why should I be working for people who don't feel they belong over here?"
Mr Goh Chok Tong, recounted an exchange he often has: "When we go on house-to-house visit, very often we come to someone who says, "I've never seen you, only at election time."
"My reply has always been, "Yes, how come I've never seen you?" .ST 30 Oct 2010.

7 magnificent answers: You've never seen me because:
  1. You are in your Ivory Tower all the time (except election time)
  2. With all the Gurkha guards, how to visit you?
  3. I do not wish to appear as a sychophantic toady
  4. I don't need your vote
  5. I'm just a lesser mortal
  6. You are way too rich for me
  7. Where got time? Must work to feed myself and family
"Why should I be working for people who don't feel they belong over here?"

Holy $,$$$,$$$! He must be kidding? He is the Senior Minister. I do not know SM's exact job specifications are, but I believe making people feel that they belong should be one of them. If he gives up on them so easily, can you blame them for having lost their sense of belonging? SM's answer betrays the caring cohesiveness and unity that Singapore should have. What happens to "Pledge ourselves as one united people . . . . . " If he quits on them so easily, very soon Singapore will be be a nation of "quitters".

Reported from ST with picture, "Ms Siobhan Lau is the organising chairman for this year's NTU Ministerial forum. Mr Goh noted that the chairmen at his previous two appearances at the forum in 1986 and 1996 - Mr R. Sinnakaruppan and Mr Zaqy Mohamad - both went to become MPs. "Perhap, Siobhan. . .?" he quipped.

Jocular as it may seem, I detect a very subtle PAP recruiting drive in NTU.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

I did not have a $8 Bypass but can vote for me?

He's a millionaire Minister. He pays only $8, yes, a measly $8 and he gets to stay in a top of the table "A" Class Ward when he went for his Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery and the mainstream media made a meal of it. Being the Health Minister, I guess you get different treatment in your Hospital or even from mainstream media. I mean who would want to mess around with Boss?

As a Health Minister, why on earth would he want to tell the whole world of how cheap it is to get serviced for a dreaded disease and potential heart attack?

Is he telling us:
  1. How affordable hospital charges are in Singapore?
  2. How great CPF Medisave is?
  3. The magic that CPF Medishield can do?
  4. Everybody must buy much more health insurance than what Medishield provides or more than one can afford?
  5. He is an expert in his financial planning?
  6. He is so rich he can afford to pay premiums over and above CPF Medishield?
  7. He, like GCT, is trying to get more poor Singaporeans insured so that poorer folks won't have to disturb the Government (MYCS?) for help when things unpleasant like accident, sickness or bereavement happens?
Holy $8! The ivory tower has indeed blinded so many in power. Why on earth brag on how much you saved or how cheap it is to go through a traumatic experience like CABG? Having been given a second chance at life, I would have thought that one would have been humbled and be grateful for a second shot at life. One would live a life of empathy and caring and be sensitive to the sensitivities of others. especially the sick, the down and out, the poor and less fortunate.

What do they know from so high up? Or is it their refusal to know?
  1. Does he know that most Singaporean are not as rich or as clever or as lucky as he?
  2. Does he know of those who are too poor to see a neighborhood GP and have to queue for hours to see a doctor at Polyclinic long before the Polyclinic opens its doors for business?
  3. Does he know some have to wait for weeks even months before they can have an appointment (through Polyclinic) to see a Specialist about their suspected serious illness?
  4. Does he know about the additional cost patients have to cough up to use their Medisave to pay for medicines for chronic diseases. To pay an Admin Fee to use one's own Medisave is the most cruel joke on hapless patients. It's just like paying an extortioner to have the key to your own piggy bank?
  5. Does he know of those who can only survive from hand to mouth. If you cannot afford food to fill your tummy, what insurance are we talking about? Before getting swell headed by his own savings and get carried away about higher payout by insurance companies, think, please think carefully of the hike in premiums. We are tired, very sick and tired of them messing around with our CPF without our permission.
  6. Does he know about "Chiak pa, mai bway kee yau" = "When your tummy is full, do not forget the hungry years" or "Remember the goodbyes that were said before entering the cold operating theatre"?
  7. Does he know that showing off may win some senseless toadies but decent blokes abhor braggarts?
If I were a Health Minister, I would not tell my countrymen and women of how cheap it is to pay for hospital procedures. I would ask them:
  1. To be healthy, to stay healthy.
  2. To eat carefully with good health in mind.
  3. To avoid sedentary lifestyle and do regular exercise to stay fit.
  4. To avoid stress by not mindlessly chasing after Cash, Condo, Credit Card, Car and Casino.
  5. To learn to be Confident, Creative, Competent and most important to be Content and not to be rats in this crazy rat race where the creed is to 'fix and buy' power, pay yourself and yours obscenely well and suck the rest dry.
  6. To understand that the greatest gift we can give those we love is to stay healthy.
No, I would not tell them how cheap it is to get sick but I'd encourage them to avoid sickness by living a healthy lifestyle. It should be health promotion and sickness prevention and not about how money-smart one is to pay only $8 for a CABG surgery!

It's crazy. It makes a mockery of what health is about.

So, can vote for me?

feedmetothefish :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Not An Elite But Can You Vote For Me?

Aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, my future bosses, I stand before you for you examine me, for you to decide if I qualify for this job. I'm applying to represent you in parliament and I thank you for your kind attention and consideration.


The reason I did not die from my heart attack is because my job ain't done. I need to make a difference before I die. A difference for the better before bitterness sets in. I need to stop the madness, the plasticity that's engulfed Singapore. I need to add meaning to the lives of those I can touch, the constituents I live with.

Truth be told, I need to survive. Last I heard, the salary of a MP is almost $17,000 a month. I have been out of work for a few years now and I need a job badly. As most employers do not want to employ near-60-year-olds like me and as I do not wish to compete with other carton and aluminium can collectors to survive, I have just dug into my meager savings and borrowed the rest of $13,500 (deposit to contest) from my dear friends and relatives to apply for this MP position. I'm just like a foreign domestic help or foreign worker who borrow much to get a job here! As nothing ventured nothing gained, I hope you can understand my sense of adventurism.

I have considered my personal qualification and I know I may not have the political experience required for the job. However, neither did the MIW in 1959 nor the current batch of ministers who came into politics through the back-door-walked-over GRCs. I hope you will give me a break and cut me some slack. Honestly, I do not know what kind of MP I would be when you vote me in. But for sure,
  • I'll stick by my national pledge "to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress" for you and me.
  • I know I'm not powerful enough to "fix" my opposition or rich enough to "buy your votes".
  • I won't be insulting you with derogatory remarks like, "daft" and "complacent" and have "spurs stuck in your hinds".
  • I will not make a mockery of nation building and national service by rubber stamping "aye" in parliament to pay minsters the obscene million dollar salary to prevent them from being corrupted.
  • As I'm not your pimp, I will not urge you to work "Cheaper, Better and Faster".
  • As much as I need your support as my boss, I will not degrade myself by saying something sycophantic like "the world will be heaven if everybody's wife/mother is like yours" when it's time for her to go to heaven.
  • As I will be serving you, you will be my Boss. Rest assured that I won't be calling you "lesser mortals".
I have no party manifesto as manifesto is not worth the toilet paper it is written on when it's just plain hype. (Unless the toilet paper is of the same quality used by Mas Selamat for his great escape). I mean how can we "stay ahead and move together" when a request for an increase for public assistance for the poorest of the poor is answered with, "How much do you want? You want them to have three meals in restaurant, food court or hawker centre?" (But, but much to our surprise and disbelief, overspending hundreds of millions on YOG is money well spent!). Just where is the sense of proportion?

Does the last increase in GST meant to help the poor ended up helping ministers to become millionaires contribute to "Staying Together Moving Ahead"?

You will get your money's worth when you vote me in. As I have no other high-flying job or directorship like most current MPs, I'll be working full time for you.
  • I will be your MP and not a rubber stamp. That means I'll speak out for you.
  • Working full-time, I'll spend more time with you. I'll be meeting you more often than the Once-A-Month-See-My Subordinate-First-Meet-The-People-Session that's currently practiced because my office is situated in your constituency and I'm working full-time.
  • Telling it like it is, because I BTC (Bo Tak Chek=No Read Book), I may be lacking in certain areas but I will get help. Examples:
  • If you have financial or economic query that is beyond me, I'll ask Kenneth Jeyaratnam or Leong Sze Hian to help.
  • If you have legal problem which I cannot help, I'll ask my ex-NMP Botak or Ravi to help.
  • If you want to practice democracy and human rights, I can get advice from the Chee siblings.
  • If you have insurance or investment issues, we can get in touch with Tan Kin Lian.
You may be asking what I'm good for then as your MP? Not much I guess. But are you getting as much value from your current MIW MPs?

The difference is I am working full time and I'm not another rubber stamp in parliament :)

Oh, knowing their style, before I get demonised by my opposition, I'd like to confess that I was a slippers stealer when I was a kid. I was also charged a couple of times for not following stupid orders during my NS days in late 60's.

Now that I have come clean, can you please vote for me?

My friends, I need the job badly and I hope you will give me a majority when election comes. But if you think I'm not good enough to be your MP, I can understand. I can be a "cheaper, better and faster" collector of paper cartons and aluminium cans.

But at least give me one-eighth of the votes so that my deposit of $13,500 won't be forfeited. I do not wish to jump MRT track due to my $13,500 indebtedness.

Thank you.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Nasty As Nasty Is

What does it take change the essence of a man? Can a leopard change its spots?

In the eulogy at Goh Keng Swee's funeral, MM Lee said, "After we had joined Malaysia, he stood up for our rights to protect Singapore's interests against the Federal Finance Ministry, whose Finance Minister was his cousin, Tan Siew Sin, who was out to spite Singapore" [Link].

With respect to Goh Keng Swee, Tan Siew Sin's daughter, Tan Siok Choo waited for 100 days after her uncle's death to respond through Straits Times, "I'm sad that Minister Mentor still harbours ill will against a man who has been dead for 22 years" [Link].

At his wife's private funeral, MM said, "She warned me that I could not trust my new found associates, the left wing trade unionists led by Lim Chin Siong." Honestly, it'll be a crying shame if one of Lim Chin Siong's relative responds with, "I'm sad that MM still denigrates a man who died 14 years ago."

He went on to say, "When we were about to join Malaysia, she told me that we would not succeed because the UMNO Malay leaders had such different lifestyles and because their politics were communally based, on race and religion." [Link]. I hope this is not going to create another ruckus with our Malaysian neighbours upstairs.

The sensitivity and perception of an individual cannot be fathomed. Neither is the sense of power and self-righteousness.

Does one need to extinguish another's candle just to make one's burn brighter?

In an interview recently, MM Lee said, "I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, like locking fellow up without trial"[Link].

With regards to his 'honourable nasty'ness, Chee Soon Juan wrote a letter to him regarding the grief of separation. [Below]

Singapore Democrats

Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Minister Mentor

Dear Mr Lee,

As you grieve over the loss of Mdm Kwa Geok Choo, many Singaporeans grieve with you. Everytime someone dear to us passes away, the pain is deep. Losing a loved one is the cruelest act that life can inflict on humans.

Even as you mourn the loss of Mdm Kwa, I am certain that you think of the happier moments that the both of you shared and that you, of all the people in this world, were the one to have had the pleasure of spending a lifetime with her. That, at least, is to be celebrated.

But while you had Mdm Kwa on whom you cultivated your affection, there were others who were deprived of that very same joy. They were not separated from their loved ones by that surly grasp of death, but by political power with which you wielded, and wielded so ruthlessly and unjustly.

You had Mr Chia Thye Poh locked up for most of his adult life. He was incarcerated when he was only 25 and regained his freedom only when he turned 57. Even Nelson Mandela spent less years under detention. The best years of Mr Chia's life was so inhumanely taken away. He had a girlfriend who could not wait for him and who left him when he was still in prison.

Dr Lim Hock Siew married Dr Beatrice Chia. When I met them recently, I saw the love - unspoken but abiding - that they had for each other despite the fact that you had kept them apart for 20 years.

Then there is Mr Said Zahari whom you also imprisoned for years, 17 years to be exact. He spoke lovingly of his late wife, Salamah, whom he adored. She faithfully and lovingly tended home while waiting for her soulmate to return and to hold her and to talk with her. She struggled with their four children, running a foodstall to eke out a living while Said languished in prison. Their children often had no money to go to school.

To this day, he asks for God's forgiveness for breaking the oath he made with Salamah to be together when they married each other. When she died in 2004, his heart must have broken into a thousand pieces, just like yours is breaking into a thousand pieces.

While you loved your wife, they loved theirs too.

There are scores of others who cannot be reunited with their families because you have made it so. Ms Tang Fong Har, who was detained in 1987 and who subsequently fled to Hong Kong, has been wanting to return to Singapore to see her ailing mother. But she cannot because there is still the threat of her being re-arrested if she returns.

Others like Mr Tang Liang Hong are also separated from their families because they cannot return to Singapore without facing incarceration.

I, too, have family. My wife wishes for me to return to Taiwan with her to be with her family. I cannot fulfill that obligation because you have made it so. I did go to Taiwan last year, but only to attend my father-in-law's funeral. He had asked about me before he died but by the time I got to his bedside after I managed to get the Official Assignee's approval to leave the country, he had lost consciousness. I never got to say goodbye.

It pains me to think that the only time I can be with my wife and children in Taiwan is when someone in the family dies.

You have taken away much of what I have but despite all that you have done to me and mine, I bear you no ill-will. As I said to you during our trial in 2008, you are an intelligent man, I only hope that you will become a wise one. I meant it then and I mean it now. Love and the relationships we have with family and friends are what matter most. Riches and power mean little when those dearest to us leave us.

I extend to you my deepest sympathies on the demise of Mdm Kwa. I want to express my condolence in the sincerest manner I know how. But while I commiserate with you on your loss, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportuinity to tell you, if you don't already know, how much pain you have inflicted on your political opponents and whose families you have torn apart, the same kind of pain that you presently feel.

In the remaining time while you still walk this earth with us, turn from your ways. Free yourself from the prison of wealth and power that keeps you from cherishing that most precious of life's qualities - humanity. It is still not too late.


Chee Soon Juan

And this comes from a man who is claimed to be "anti-social and "near-psycho"? [Link] and [Link].

With what he went through, can we blame Chee Soon Juan for not waiting 100 days?

Here's a young lady's blog you may want to read too. [Link]


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Adulation and Vitriol

I read Chua Lee Hoong's Sunday Times' front page piece on the death of Mdm Kwa Geok Choo, "In death, she leaves behind a void not only her husband, but also the entire nation, will feel." [Link].

A little over the top, I thought. She makes it sounds like a 9.8 Richter scale earthquake has hit Sinkapoor.

The hundreds of comments written here [Link] confirms my thought.

The extreme ways that bloggers and msm and MIW's [Link] & [Link] go about the death of Mdm Kwa simply show that one man's meat is another man's poison. Be it genuine admiration, servile flattery, hypocritical praise or abusive vitriol, each must have his/her personal reason (graciousness, love, support, fear, expectation, hatred, angst, vengeance, frustration, bitterness, etc.) to do so.

I thank the reader who commented on my previous blog, [Link]

The rich, the poor,
The powerful, the meek
The rulers, the ruled
The conquerors, the vanquished

Everyone must fall.

And who makes the final decisions about when their time is up? Not men himself.

But some forget that the richest man, the most powerful man, the greatest conqueror, their destiny is still decided by the unknown power called death

To every life a little rain must fall.

Ultimately, we die.



Saturday, October 2, 2010

Death Wish

With the latest news of death in Singapore, I'm reminded of the blues.

Last Breath

Translated line by line in Singlish, it goes like this:

Verse 1:
Got sick , got pain, very tough
Out out, in in, general hospital
Injection makes you lose hair, eat medicine, vomit
Whole day lie in bed

Beg Heaven, beg Buddha
Let me walk good good (go in peace)
Call father call mother, you must bring me along
To be together with you

Verse 2:
This year only 40 plus
Why get close to me
Die cannot die, live cannot live
Left with half life to drag

Chorus: (2x)
Beg Heaven, beg Buddha
Let me walk good good (go in peace)
Call father call mother, you must bring me along
To be together with you

Life, I already 'see broken' (accept as it is)


This song tugs at my heartstrings because my dear friend died of cancer in his 40's. During the final stage, he told me, "Chiak pah, tahn si" meaning "eat and wait to die". Fortunately, he was bedridden for only a few days before he passed on. We still shared jokes and had our laughs during his final days.

Man, woman, birth, death, infinity.

The art of living is to die young... as late as possible.
If only we could.

And to every life, a little rain must fall.