Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Comic Utterrance of a Senior Minister

SM Goh Chok Tong had asked, quite comically, how many had followed the tragic events in Japan with the tsunami ... and then put into context our floods in Singapore against that kind of disaster. He said:"I am not saying we shouldn't do anything about the flood. But the amount of noise you made with just sporadic flood compared to the Japanese. I saw them on TV. Very stoic looking. You don't see them crying. This has happened, just get on, that's the kind of spirit you want to have and you call it nation building."

Bravo SM Goh, coming from a minister drawing millions of dollars of obscene pay, about five times the modest pay of a Japanese minister. The Japanese are stoic looking in such a gigantic disaster because they have decent ministers who do not pay themselves outrageously from taxpayers' money, and yet are efficient in solving the people's problems. The way the Japanese ministers, led by their prime minister, in bringing succour to the devastated population in this tsunami disaster against colossal logistical odds can engender the kind of stoic look extolled by SM Goh.

Any why cannot the fastidious Singaporeans exibit that kind of spirit? Take the Enviroment Minister, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, for example. He draws a salary four to five times that of a Japanese minister and during the Orchard Road deluge, he made himself scarce leaving the flustered shop-keepers and traders to fend for themselves fighting the flood resulting in thousands, if not millions, of dollars in loss or damage to property. Dr Yaacob was also the prophet to say that such flood occurred once in fifty years. So how can Singaporeans be stoic looking like the Japanese when our ministers' dedication is seen to be so inferior to the Japanese, in spite of our ministers' astronomical pay. So it is necessary for Singaporeans to make appropriate noises from time to time to jolt our ministers out of their apparent lethargy or complacency.

The ministers' astronomical pay should be a sore point with Singaporeans and opposition parties should exploit it in their election campaigns. To add to the insult, the ministers are paying themselves eight months' bonus. Singaporeans should be made aware of the preposterous situation where the PAP government pay their ministers outrageous increases or bonuses whenever they feel that they could justify such largesse to themselves. However hard they try to justify their astronomical pay, not all Singaporeans are convinced of their fallacious arguments. So opposition parties must not fall into the trap that this is a fait accompli and not worthy of highlighting in their hustings.

Talking of opposition unity, the proposed slate of candidates of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) for the Moulmein-Kallang GRC could be said to be of excellent material capable of capturing this GRC, nothwithstanding whatever calibre of the candidates that the PAP will put up. Workers' Party (WP) which is also keenly eyeing this GRC, should, in the bigger interest of opposition unity, give way in a gentlemenly manner to the NSP to contest this GRC. If NSP captures this GRC, it will reflect sublimely to the camaraderie spirit of the WP which will win it the respect of the electorate.


jes said...

Really laughable when a massive natural disaster is compared with simple drainage engineering cock-ups !

james said...

The last major drainage review was done in the 70s. That resulted in the 80s works on Bukit Timah canal.

After that, there was no major drainage review.

Similarly, we assume that Singapore is not immune to earthquakes. Think how much reclaimed land could be vulnerable to liquefaction.

Anonymous said...

The SM does not seem to understand that the Japanese PM is one with the people, heart soul and mind whereas ours are different. Our leaders are not one with the people who are in ivory towers couldn't care less when the people are suffering. They are immuned by the high salary they are drawing which is tatamount to sucking blood from the people.

Benjamin said...

The 8 months is just the GDP bonus. This forms up to 25% of their total pay package. This means that in the cases of the top performers, the total bonus could be as much as 20 months.

C said...

If such flooding happened in Japan, the minister in charge would have resigned to take responsibility for the incompetence of the staff.

chandran said...

Either he has memory loss, senile or arrogant. Poor chap forgot that we are first world.

The Pariah said...

Isn't this paradoxical for a Govt that purportedly advocates Transparency and Accountability as part of its Governance?

Not only do they proclaim in Parliament on 3 Mar 2010 that the PAP is "deaf to all criticisms" but SM Goh in the wake of the Japanese earthquake tsunami lamblasts Singaporeans a year later (13 Mar 2011) for "the amount of noise you made with just sporadic flood compared to the Japanese". So are we supposed to keep quiet?

How can we have "Transparency and Accountability" when the PAP Govt opt for "Deaf and Dumb" approach?

2011 will be the first instance in a long, long time when likely all Singaporeans will get to vote. It may be the last time if voters are BLIND to PAP's DEAF AND DUMB approach.

Then we will be truly DAFT, as MM Lee labelled us.

Dim-sighted, Deaf, Dumb and Daft - Then we might as well be Dead!

5Ds - I hope these are not the values represented by the 5 stars on our country's flag!

The Pariah