Of late there has been considerable hype about the CPIB's prowess whether for the right or wrong reason which may be subjective. As a climax to its distinctive accomplishments, the CPIB held its 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Istana on 18 September and the guests of honour included PM Lee Hsien Loong, ESM Goh Chok Tong and former MM Lee Kuan Yew. Invited guests included former CPIB directors but for some strange reason the current director Eric Tan saw it as "prudent" to withhold invitation to me probably because of the likely presence of Lee Kuan Yew at the celebration, although I was a former director, the first non expatriat after independence. I only read about my exclusion from the celebration from the Straits Times report on 10 September on the celebration.
I was not at all surprised at my exclusion but I was particularly angry that the insensitive Director Eric Tan had not the courtesy to inform me beforehand that I could not be invited to the celebration and that I had to learn of it from the press.True my disgust of the hubristic Lee Kuan Yew could make my presence at the celebration a big embarrassment to him. So I wrote to the uncouth Director Eric Tan on 19 September, which is reproduced below for easy reference,to voice my resentment at his lack of civility in dealing with the matter:
"Dear Mr. Tan,
First, congratulations on a successful 60th Anniversary celebration of CPIB.
I was not surprised but extremely disappointed that you had, whether wittingly or unwittingly, excluded me from your invitation of former CPIB directors to your glitteringly celebration. I was CPIB director from 1968 to 1971.You may have been put in an invidious position, and I symphatised with you, to have to make that unkind decision because of your awareness of my not infrequent castigations of the highfalutin Lee Kuan Yew in my blog. My presence at the anniversary celebration would have caused not inconsiderable embarrassment to that demigod. Ido not wish to discuss my reasons for my utter disgust of this man.
Instead of reading it in the press, would it not have been more gracious of you to have the courtesy to inform me beforehand of your well-advised decision of not inviting me to the celebration because of possible embarrassment to Lee Kuan Yew? As my health condition would not have allowed me, I would have politely declined the invitation.Do you think you are doing me justice by having the press reproting my exclusion from the celebration.?
I do not have any grudge with you. I only hope that you will show more consideration to me if there is any such misunderstanding in future."
Any right-thinking person will agree that my aggrieved letter calls for an explanation from the enlightened CPIB director. Is it arrogance or lack of civility or a combination of both that prompted the intransigent behaviour of Director Eric Tan in not replying to a former director and a former colleague? Could recent publicity about the CPIB have gone into his head? By extension, could this arrogant behaviour be extended to the general public? The answer will be an eye-opener.