Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lame Duck Parliament


SINGAPORE: Instead of harping on what the Government can do to bridge the social divide, the spotlight in Parliament on Thursday fell on Singaporeans. And there were some home truths told, too.

"A nation of complainers" and "a society increasing reliant on the Government for help" were among the sadder - and harsher - labels mentioned. Member of Parliament for Sembawang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman started the ball rolling when he called for "reflection and soul searching" among Singaporeans. Dr Maliki noted Singaporeans had become increasing reliant on an "efficient system" that handles issues on the municipal and national level. He said: "When the lift landing of our flat is not clean … we call the town council; when there are mosquitoes in the neighbourhood, we call the NEA (National Environment Agency) … if things don't improve, we go to our MPs or tell the media."

While not advocating that the Government be taken out of the "equation", Dr Maliki hopes to see that the "responsibility to make the society work rests not only on those in the chamber", but also on "the collective interlocking hands of four million Singaporeans". For example, he wanted Singaporeans to reflect on what they, and not the Government, had done to strengthen resilience within their own families.

Isn't this rich? After 40 years of micro-managing us now the government expects us to solve our own problems!

MP for Marine Parade GRC Lim Biow Chuan called on Singaporeans to be more gracious and compassionate and said Singapore is fast becoming a nation of complainers. While the Government can set the tone, he urged Singaporeans to be "encouragers" - not only in encouraging fellow citizens, but also pushing the society to be an inclusive and cohesive one.

Singaporeans not compassionate enough? Didn't we donate about $500,000 to Mr Tan's family after he committed suicide. Didn't one out of three Singaporeans donate to NKF before the scandal broke out?

Singaporeans may be gullible but we never hesitate to help anyone, fellow citizens or foreigners(example victims of2004 Boxing Day Tsunami), afflicted by tragedy.

"What makes a country great? It is not just the laws … the efficiency or the beautiful buildings but the people that make it great," Mr Lim said.

Yes the laws and efficiency were indeed not great but ugly as showed in Mr Tan case. He was disqualified from social welfare and subsequently driven to suicide. Laws and efficiency are sterile without compassion.

East Coast GRC MP Ms Jessica Tan urged Singaporeans and the Government to also provide an environment where "people can run their own race". Using the example of a weekend running club, which she is a member of, Ms Tan said the encouragement from each other helps members to complete their runs. Likewise, she hoped that such encouragement would make "the journey much better" for all Singaporeans.

Our MPs should be reminded that Singaporeans pay each of them some $10,000 per month and in most cases lifelong pension, something which the majority of us don't enjoy, to solve problems and not to play the blame game. Moreover, in this era of daunting economic challenges we can ill afford a lame duck parliament!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Thank You Note to Shu Min

Thank you Shu Min for showing us what kind of MP we have in Parliament.

In trying to defend your uncultured rant, MP Wee has shown that he is not only out of sync with reality but also has no inclination to serve the people, which is the primary function of MP.

In his two so-called public apologies, MP Wee merely apologized for the insensitive words both of you used and displayed no signs of empathy, not to talk about compassion, for the people.

Age discrimination is a true fact, at least for the non elite, in Singapore. It is not an unsurmountable problem for the government to solve and MP can play a role here.

Shu Min, you can choose to be an uncaring elite for all we care, but as MP, Mr Wee does not have that luxury. He is first and foremost a representative of the people and has the duty to make things better for us. If he is not interested in helping people then he is not suitable to be an MP.

Also, Shu Min thank you for reminding us of the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, ' .... to educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.'