11 November 2006

Kopi Tiam Talk Parliamentary Debate

Ask not what your country can do for you ...

MPs decry whinging Singaporeans, call for soul searching

TODAY Friday • November 10, 2006

Leong Wee Keat
weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg

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

"A nation of complainers" and "a society increasingly 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."
How cheeky the PAP government has become. The ministers pay themselves the world's highest ministerial salaries .... and now the government dares to complain that Singaporeans complain about dirty lift landings or mosquitoes.

Mind you, this is the SAME government that will fine you if you're caught littering at your lift landing or with a pail of stagnant, potentially mosquito-breeding water in your home.
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.
Huh? As far as I can see, the government has done absolutely nothing to "strengthen the resilience" in my family. If they have ever done anything of that kind - maybe my MPs secretly prayed for the spiritual and psychological well-being of my children? - I'm really not aware of it.

Can anyone reading my blog please tell me how the government has "strengthened the resilence" of your family?
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.

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. "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. 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.
Just listen to these MPs. They get $8,000 or $10,000 per month, all taxpayers' money, for being Members of Parliament. And when they go to Parliament, they spend their precious time complaining about Singaporeans .... engaging in wiffly-waffly musings on questions like "What makes a country great?" .... and talking about their weekends and their running clubs.

For goodness sakes, please use your time in Parliament more constructively. Where are your constructive suggestions on real, concrete issues? If you have nothing better to say, you'd better hurry off and practise for your hip hop dance performance in February.

+++++++++
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45 comments:

Anonymous said...

What can LKY do for the country: Drop dead in one second.

Wee Shu Min: Get out of my uncaring elite hole?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, you're voicing out my opinions exactly. I think they don't know what is 飲水思源. It was the citizens who voted for them to be there, and yet they are complaining about the citizens for using tax payer's (citizen's) money in calling the authorities for help.

I agree that if we as normal citizens can do something about certain situations, we should, for example seeing litter on the floor and picking it up. But the authorities are the one with the power to fine and catch those people who litter... Not the common people.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the MPs have become complainers themselves.

Well said Mr Wang.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I do not understand the points raised by the MP that we are a nation of complainers, especially when he cited examples such as calling the NEA for mosquito problems and town council for lift issues.

We pay taxes, we pay fees to the town council, so that we can clean the lift ourselves if someone else litters, or change the light bulb along the HDB corridor ourselves instead of calling town council?

If our crime rate is up, is it logical to say stop calling the police, try and change ourselves?

The point is, with the last few General Elections all about upgrading, with so many walkovers around, and so many of these MPs hiding behind Ministers' backs, there is no way we can get to vote out these £13k/mth part-timer earning, complaining MPs, who at the very least, give some respect back to the citizens who voted for the PAP by pretending to be understanding, even if they don't feel it.

Yawning Bread said...

Your point about MPs wasting parliamentary time waffling/whingeing away rather than delve into deeper policy issues is spot-on.

As for what the government has done to strengthen resilience in families, for every family that contains a gay or lesbian child (my conservative estimate is that about one in eight families do), the government has done the exact opposite. By creating/reinforcing a climate of homophobia, by constantly priviledging negative images of gay people over positive ones, it has made it much harder for parents to come to terms with the fact that their children are gay.

This tension in the family often leads the gay or lesbian child to believe that distancing himself from the family is the better solution. That is why emigration is such an attractive option. How families that are split across the globe, that try to minimise communication is considered "reinforced", stumps me.

Anonymous said...

Glad that I'm a quitter & no longer have to listen to such moronic drivel from these "world class" pap mps. I feel for my fellow native Singaporeans.

Wayne said...

While I agree with you that some of the MPs do not have seemingly have concrete ideas and are considered "conservative", however others have argued for more welfare spending, loosening of media restrictions and urging the government to do more to help the lower income earners. So not all of the new MPs are "wasting time", to paraphase you.

To Dr Osman, I ask the following questions in my blog with regards to Singaporeans being mere complainers and not being able to solve these problems independently:

Can Singaporeans, for example, form alternative town councils in Singapore to replace less than competent town councils? Can Singaporeans choose between garbage companies to clear their garbage? Can Singaporeans opt for private bus services instead of SBS if we are not happy with them? Can Singaporeans form lobby groups to urge the government to lower the GST? Are civil society groups welcome in Singapore to solve collective action problems? Can University students stop the rise of tuition fees in a collective arena? Can Singaporeans have a concert with the face of the guy who was hanged to persuade the government to stop death penalty? Or for that matter, can opposition parties MPs even use their CC to do alternative(oxymoronic in this case) grassroot work?

En & Hou said...

Ah, the irony of talk cock sing song. - The elites can. The peasants can't.

Cheers,
Hou

George said...

The PAP have only themselves to blame for fostering a culture of dependency. It's like a mother who always spoils her child, protects him fiercely, monitors him and his friends closely, and imposes strict rules to ensure that the child does not go astray. Then, all of a sudden, she derides her child for being too whiny and reliant on her.

If the PAP wants citizens to be more independent, then they should stop being so patriarchal, stop treating citizens as children who cannot think or decide for themselves, and stop being so conservative and repressive. Without loosening controls on society, how can you expect it to mature?

lawlipop said...

The divide worsens.

The PAP government has foster an environment of political apathy, by means of (1) lack of information and education of such and (2) fierce opposition to the, ahem, any (1) opposition political parties and (2) opposing views contrary to the PAP's own.

Assuming they have succeeded. They now ask the governed (i.e. us) to leave the government (i.e. them) alone. "Stop complaining!", "Stop whining". They just stop short of saying - get out of our faces, and don't expect us to get into yours.

What sort of Governement have we voted in? An aloof, obnoxious, unsympathetic, and worst, an oblivious Government. What a far cry this tone of reproach is, through the mainstream media, as compared to President's Nathan's undertaking that "nobody (puns aside) will be left behind"?

In 4 years time. In 4 years time.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately, the reality is that people don't complain enough. otherwise, would they have stayed or overstayed for 40 yrs?lol.

Layman said...

Maybe the MPs are indirectly asking for a pay rise as the "complaints" are getting too much for them to handle. The $13K per month part-time work cannot do the job of several departments in the government. Seems like the MPs are overworked by the tons of "complaints".

Anonymous said...

An observation; Maybe all the whinny complaining "singaporean" got the "que" from reading the "defacto propaganda papers" and learn the "art of whinning/complaining" from the highly paid "whinners in white"? As the saying goes, whether blessing or anointing, all flow from the "top", in this case, the whinniness and kaisuism, kaisism, the blaming games all from somewhere isn't it?

whybegay said...

I guess this is there constructive suggestions ambassador Ms Bhavani comes in.

at82 said...

MPs complaining that Singaporeans are "a nation of complainers"?

How amusingly ironical! lolz!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

These chiak leow bee MPs are schooled in the GCT soccer school of politics - attack, in order to defend, their MP salaries.

Anonymous said...

It has been a very disappointing start to the new parliament, hasn't it?

You might have hoped that the news MPs, coming from the so-called post-65 generation, would have some understanding of the problems and concerns faced by the lower income groups. But no.

Hey, what do you expect? For $10,000 a month, their job is to sing off the same songsheet.

I was hoping for an MP (whether PAP or opposition) to say things like:
- Could we have a reassessment at the FT policy in terms of its pace and overall impact on Singapore society?
- The real but unacknowledged issue of ageism in the workforce?

Anonymous said...

Really, when will these MPs stop whining and get cracking on their jobs to come up with intelligent, workable and real solutions?

Even the US President gets the shove for not producing results.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, how much do you think these ministers would earn if they were in the private sector? Less than 8-10k?

Anonymous said...

Citizens can take back their town councils.

It was the PAP govt that politicised the running of Town Councils with the introduction of the Town Councils Act. If Dr Osman wants MPs and PAP out of Town Councils, the power is with them, put up a Bill to remove the responsibility of running a town council to the people vide the Management Committee that strata title owners have to handle themselves.

So if the PAP wants citizens to get out of its elite uncaring face, they can also get out of Town Councils by giving the power back to the people.

So far most of the new PAP MPs are just articulating airy fairy motherhood statements - if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

That is what the 66.6% have gotten us into.

We get the Govt we deserve.

Liberation Front

taxpayer said...

Anonymous Saturday, November 11, 2006 8:54:00 PM

How much would you pay a worker who does not deliver and then whines that you are too demanding, that you should do the job yourself?

I will get somebody else to replace him.

Rowen said...

I would like to highlight the responsibilities of town council is to ensure that the public areas are serviceable, the public lights are working, the public lift landings are clean, the rubbish chutes are clean. There should be not rat infestation in the estate.
Town Council’s Service and Conservancy Charges are paid monthly for these services.

Citizens are paying their hard earned money to hire cleaners of the town council, the administration of th town council.

Lets put to mind how much is being collected in 1 block of flats. Lets say a block have about 100 units and each unit is paying S$55.00 per month, that is S$5,500.00 per month per block of flat. For an estate like tampines or Bedok or Toa Payoh with more than 300 blocks of flats, the amount collected a month is considerable.

If there is a problem with these public areas, we do not call on the services of these town councils. Where is our money for services unrendered being channeled to?

Every year we pay taxes in many forms to the government. The money for the taxes goes to the setting up of the various ministries and agencies. When we pay, we expect service. that is why the people working in the civil service are known as civil servants. providing service to the people and public.

If these civil servants are not working, who are the citizens to raise these issues to? our MPs. Remember the passonate speeches these individuals gave in their rallies in the weeks before 6 May just about half a year ago. Or have these speeches and promises been forgotten due to the S$12,000.00 salaries which are given for the pass 5 months. We paid each MP S$60,000.00 already.

For the 66.6% mandate, we are receiving these broken promises.

Promises are meant to be broken or is it a politically correct way of say Get out of my uncaring elite face?

YCK said...

I am quite shocked by the speech made by Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman. I wonder if that reflect a deeper problem the ruling party has in recruiting new MPs. Being able to pay competitively may not have gotten them people with their hearts in the right places.

I wonder why I have not heard countries with two dominant parties like the UK and USA having problems with party rejuvenation? Though we should be wary to assume that the elected politicians have bona fide alturistic intention to serve.

Liberation Front's point on the Town Councils Act was a good one. :)

Anonymous said...

Just shut the heck up Sinkies.

You lot are truly complainers. 66.6% of Sinkies voted for this Govt so just get on with life and take it up the ass.

Jack said...

When the MP talked about having "strengthened the resilence", he meant the uncanny ability of the average Singaporean to tolerate the shit dished out by the overpaid underpeforming shits in the MIW ranks, increasing transport charges, health costs, utility rates, etc. Yet, as the PM put it, "The people accept the CPF cuts because there are no protestors outside parliament house."

Anonymous said...

"66.6% of Sinkies voted for this Govt so just get on with life and take it up the ass."

Oh come on, ask yourself why the boundaries were redrawn before the elections.

If you were to do it, won't you try to make sure as much as possible that people who are against your party will not get to vote?

Anonymous 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."

He meant we ought to clean the lift landings and smoke out the mosquitoes ourselves?! For fuck! At most you get a fucking medal or worthless plague for that! Those fucking MPs get $15,000!! And they don't even need to exert a muscle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you only to a certain extent mr wang. The gist of what being said does make sense - singaporeans need to be responsible for their own problems. That being said, it does not mean that it is not the government's job to help the people.

The key to this (as with everything) is balance. It is true that the members of parliament are a bunch of elites who do not truly emphatize with the common man on the street. But it is also true that a lot of singaporeans are used to blaming all their problems on the government as they wait for manna from heaven. I think that is a bigger problem than a bunch of elite spouting hot air.

- jo

simplesandra said...

George wrote: "If the PAP wants citizens to be more independent, then they should stop being so patriarchal, stop treating citizens as children who cannot think or decide for themselves, and stop being so conservative and repressive."

Not to mention, give me back my CPF, so I can decide myself how I should invest in my own future, whether to further my education or start my own business. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Complaining about the complainers.. LOL I thought such things only happens in childish ZOMG gaming forums...

Uniquely Singapore indeed!

Farmercee said...

Oops, they did it again!!! Yeah, by complaining that their constituents are complaining, they sure show they are as caring as the Elite Girl. If they ask me (and i love conspiracies), i think our dear oman was tasked to bring this up, kinda to show that the entire pap agrees with Elite Girl and her PAPa. You know, it's like "damage control" thingy at the gahment level.

Luther Blissett said...

imagine in a company with 60 executives asked to make a speech and be in line with company's policies and directions.. after months of preparing and realise that quite a few colleagues are doing the same topic..

out of panic and with limited knowledge on ground issue and still want to look "original".. this is the shit that we gets..

Anonymous said...

1 in 8 families have a homosexual child? Come on, cut the crap yawning bread. Even the 1 in 10 estimate that has been mindlessly proferred in the USA has been largely discredited as being too wildly high. From a statistical perspective, what is the probability that Singapore's distribution would be so significantly different from the US estimates?

Mr Wang Says So said...

I've often wondered about that statistic. Or rather, the relevance of that statistic.

It seems strange to say that whether homosexuality should be a crime depends on whether it is relatively more or less common.

Eg suppose that indeed one in 8 families has a homosexual child. Then consider another scenario - that only one in 80,000 families has a homosexual child.

Either way, why should homosexual acts therefore be considered criminal? It seems puzzling to me.

I guess one might argue that if homosexuality is relatively common (the "1-in-8-families") scenario, then it is therefore normal (or at least not abnormal) and therefore homosexual acts should not be criminalised.

Again this argument does not sound logical to me. The prevalence of anything (and the corresponding assumed "normal-ness") does not in itself suggest to me whether a thing should or should not be criminalised. The rarity of anything (and the corresponding assumed "abnormal-ness") also does not in itself suggtes to me whether a thing should or should not be criminalised.

For example, many people drink and drive. In that sense, drink driving can be regarded as "normal". But I think that there is still a strong case for criminalising it.

Flip the example. Very few people have an IQ above 160. Thus in a sense, it is abnormal to have an IQ above 160. Nevertheless I don't see any reason why a high IQ should be criminalised.

The numbers approach to homosexuality only suggests to me that we are oppressing a minority because they are a minority ("the fewer of them there are, the more abnormal they must be, therefore let's destroy them"). That feels very wrong to me.

40+ Singaporean said...

Mr Wang,

Good post which generated some good comments and some not so good ones.

I have been to a 'meet your MP session' once. There are some who goes with what I may consider trivial problems but generally, most who goes have exhausted the normal channels for the matters they bring up to their MP. I chanced upon a PAP magazine while awaiting my turn. In that magazine, Teo Chee Hean was quoted as saying that these sessions are like doctors attending to wounded patients, patients who are victims of government policies. (Why? because Singapore government policies do not make provisions for exceptions. What is good for majority must be good for all is how the thinking goes) So perhaps, Dr Osman should go read the past issues of PAP's PETIR magazine.

Whether their problems are major or minor, whether it warrants the attention of the MP or not, depends on the perspective one takes. In the eyes of the citizens who brings up the problems, it is probably very serious and they have not been able to have it addressed through the normal channel or they are not aware of the the procedures to pursue the matters. If the MP in question thinks this is a waste of his or her time, I think the particular MP need to rethink if he/she should quit. The role of the MP is to represent and help the constituents, the people. If the MPs treat their roles as MPs much like their roles on boards of companies, then I am really really afraid.

My message to MPs is simply this - If you think your time is too precious and that the allowance you get as MPs do not commensurate with the time you spent helping your consituents with their 'trivial' problems, go sit on more boards and make more $$$$, don't be an MP. You have a choice. Your constituent do not have a choice because other MPs in other GRCs will not even entertain your constituents.

For the record, my MP did write a letter to the relevant authorities, appealing on my behalf. No, it did not solve my problem with the particular government department.

YCK said...

Hi 40+ singaporean,

weren't these same the MP attracted with high pays to make them incorruptible, and I guess, need to moonlight? Of couse that is still less than the Ministers who have vastly bigger responsibilities.

Glad to know you have a helpful MP. :)

Anonymous said...

-SINGAPORE: The Goods and Services Tax will be increased to 7 percent, from the current 5 percent. This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament on Monday.-

I just love it when Sinkies get more and more stuff up their ass.

Thanks for that, 66.6% Sinkies!

Anonymous said...

Reduce Dr Osman's salary to a 4 digit figure like most of us are earning and take the atrocious mrt systems which always seems to reflect 3 minutes on the board when in actual fact it takes 5-7 minutes, let's see whether he starts whining.

Citizen Pte Ltd Co said...

What soul searching are we talking about? Most Singaporeans, willingly or otherwise, have sold their souls to the system. You will never find your soul in Singapore INC. In any case, a corporation has no soul.

Since Singapore is being run like a corporation, all these talks about what you can do for your 'country' thing is irrelevent. It therefore also follows that NS,loyalty etc are also irrelevant.

Since PAP runs Singapore like a corporation. It ought to be treated as such.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather migrate to a country that is not as 'rich' but where the spirit is strong amongst the people, there is a sense of identity.

Here, the media is self-congratulatory of its success (where is the competition? looks more like a monopoly! the #1 tag is a bloody joke) and so does the govt.

They pronounce the nation rich and successful, people would think these damned singaporeans must be pretty darn happy..
But I see soul-less zombies everywhere, every day..In the morning, they march like the death army to work and then home..

There is no life in this place at all

Kaffein said...

No apologies, there will always be winners and losers. And whiners.

You are the latter.Life will kick you in the balls.

Now get out of my elite uncaring face.
---
Yeah so the government thinks they are high and mighty. They seem to forget it is the people who are paying their high salaries. Just sitting there sprouting nonsense and no 'value-added words'.

This is what happens when you don't get to vote your mouthpiece in Parliament.

You spoke my heart out, Mr Wang. I just call it YAI speech/article.

PS. They are not better than:
http://kaffein-nated.blogspot.com/2006/10/yai-yet-another-idiotic-bitter.html

Kaffein.

Kaffein said...

Btw, I'm a quitter by end Mar 2007.

So I get to tell the government - get out of my quitter uncaring face.

Kaffein.

Hermes said...

Folks,

Hah.

Just wanted to share, I think you pay conservancy charges per month for your HDB flat, right? Supposedly that money's to be used to make sure your estate is 'clean and tidy'. So can someone tell me why the heck I can't call the town council to complain when my bloody lift is dirty?

Wah, I pay money and still get labeled as 'complainer'.

Anonymous said...

When citizens are facing hardship and bring matters to their leaders - they are labeled as "complainers".

What do you call a leader who criticise against these citizens who bring out their hardship to their leaders?.... "avoider", "a leader who is out of touch", "an ostrich with its head in the hole", "a don't tell me your problems leader".....

Ask yourself Dr Osman what have you done today to elevate the hardship of a poor family today.

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