It will not be an exaggeration to say that Singaporeans woke up today to the mind-boggling news of the National Day award of the Distinguished Service Order to the Chairman, PUB Mr. Tan Gee Paw ostensibly for solving Singapore's perennial flood problems. Singaporeans cannot be faulted for not believing that the DSO could be awarded to Mr. Tan at this time for flood taming when the recent deluge disasters in Orchard Road and elsewhere are still fresh in their mind. Can there be a more dense and insensitive Cabinet led by an equally sensitive Prime Minister to bestow this DSO award at this time when Singaporeans are still strongly outraged by the inept handling of the recent floods by the Singapore leaders, in particular the PUB.
There may be merit in awarding the DSO to Mr. Tan but what Singaporeans cannot understand is why at this inauspicious moment? There is in fact no hurry in making the award after Mr. Tan has been able to tackle the flood situation successfully. Mr. Tan will feel more honoured if the award is made at the right time instead of which he is attracting more strictures than honour by this award now. The amount of snide remarks one hears in the public will testify to this. It makes Singapore a laughing-stock.
There was a renowned Chinese Xia Yu (夏禹）in BC 2000 China who became world-renowned for taming the flooding problem of the Yellow River, which was the perennial bane of China. No proper description could be found to portray the immense destructions it had caused to the country. Xia Yu tackled the problem for thirteen years without even entering his house to see his family when he passed by three times. (夏禹治水，三过家门而不入). Such was his single-mindedness and dedication in carrying out his task. For his success in his monumental task in solving the Yellow River flood problem he was subsequently elevated to be the first emperor of the Xia Dynasty. In the Singapore context perhaps Mr. Tan Gee Paw may find himself elevated (or elected) to the post of President by a gullible cabinet if he is successful in taming the flood problem in Singapore.
Singaporeans who have been following political events in Japan will pooh-pooh the highfalutin MM Lee Kuan Yew's ranting that no engineer of international standing will be able to solve the flooding problem of Singapore which he haughtily dismissed as an Act of God. He now puts the blame on God, a very God-loving man. Is the omniscient MM Lee aware of the recent internet posting which highlighted the magnificient engineering feat of the Japanese engineers in defeating the flooding problem in Tokyo? They call it the G-can system. Perhaps the bombastic MM Lee may for once be humble enough to sit at the feet of the Japanese engineers to seek their expertise in tackling the flooding problem in Singapore. When the late David Marshall could humble himself by sitting at the feet of the late Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru to seek political wisdom, surely there can be no lack of humility on the part of M Lee to do the same before the Japanese for a sublime noble cause.