Monday, August 27, 2007

Corruption of Values
Kelvin Ng. Sg_Review
Aug 21, 2007

Now that most of the dust from the NKF debacle has settled, most think it is time to forget the whole episode. I think not.

The issue at the heart of the whole matter has scarcely been dealt with, and now with our fast-paced mindset, we are thinking of putting it behind us.

The case has been dealt with legally, but the heart of the matter has little to do with law, but with what is right.

The former is the letter of the law but the latter is the spirit of the law. The heart of the matter has to do with values.

Values drive behaviour, and behavior can be judged legally, but the source and crux of the trouble is not behavior but values.

Therefore, I propose a mindset change in the way we perceive corruption. Corruption is now being rigidly defined as a matter of bribes and misuse of public funds.

However, the fact that we were outraged by the NFK has little to do with the legalities of corruption but with the corruption of values in an institution using public funds.

If we don't call this perversion of values corruption we can call it decadence, and it is no less reprehensible, and all institutions of public character must be under scrutiny for it.

It is an affront to common human decency for public institutions to subvert their values, such that they become bureaucratic self-serving places of decadence.

We need an active vigilant citizenry not afraid to speak up, a mass media not afraid to publish wrong-doing and a government that does care and listen and which investigates all credible reports and not sweep things under the carpet when it is convenient.

We have a long way to go on all three aspects.
Kelvin Ng

well said, well said!

ok let me do my part of an active vigilant citizenry.

Taking the previous NKF directors to court only distract the public from the failure of the various top government officials to perform their duty much less to justify their big fat pay.

The people need to know what kind of investigations were carried out or was there any investigation done at all when allegation after allegation of suspected impropriety were directed at NKF over the years.

With the government keeping mum and no high-ranking officials taking responsibility, criminal proceedings against former NKF directors merely allow the government to claim for the illusionary first world governance. It also perpetuates the culture that our top government officials run no risk of being blamed for anything that happens no matter how egregious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

City of Possibilities

I just realized that the theme of this year National Day celebrations is "city of possibilities". A city of possibilities indeed, and I think it includes possibilities for absurdities and paradoxes.

Don't we allow the public transport companies which are making handsome profits to increase their fares almost annually while we persistently refuse to have a minimum wage? Wages of some of our low wage earners, like cleaners and laborers, have dropped to lower than what they were ten years ago.

Our labor chief said that to have a minimum wage was an "easy solution" that might not work and it was better for the workers to improve their productivity.

By offering the public transport companies a provision to adjust fares yearly are we not giving them an "easy solution" to increase their revenue?

With such an "easy solution" in place would the public transport companies have the motivation to improve their productivity or to scour for other avenues or ways to increase their revenue?

When Public Transport Council invites the public transport companies to submit their applications for adjustment of bus and train fares why are taxi fares not included? Isn't taxi part of the public transport system?

But of course the most unconscionable paradox is the 60% hike to the already gargantuan salary of our ministers while the government begrudged the elderly sick of three square meals a day.

Ours is a city of paradoxes!