Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Top 5 Gahmen Boo Boos

I have always had strong faith in the effectiveness of our government. I have always felt proud when I hear foreigners sing praises of how well Singapore is governed (Example here). I even support, in principle at least, the high salaries of our top civil servants and ministers.

But lately, that faith has been shaken by some events which I never expect to happen in a small and first-world country like ours.

1) The drowning of 2SG Hu Enhuai during so-called Combat Survival Training in August, 2003. (Tortured to death would be a more accurate description)

2) The Nicoll Highway Collapse of April 2004.

3) The NKF (National Kidney Foundation) fiasco of 2005.

4) The great Budget Surplus of 2007. After forecasting a deficit $0.7 billion and increasing the GST by 2% points, they tell us we actually had a surplus of $6.47 billion.

5) ‘The Great Escape’ of the suspected Jemaah Islamiah terrorist, Mas Selamat Kastari from police custody yesterday.

Which would you vote as the biggest blunder of all?

I would vote No. 2 because human lives were lost and destroyed; and ample signs of the impending disaster were ignored by those in charge.

But No.1 is the one that makes me most angry because of the sheer negligence and arrogance of the leaders involved.

Thus I am deeply disappointed to read remarks like these being made in parliament a couple of days ago.

“It is this far-sightedness and prudence, as well as the many timely and astute policies implemented, that have played a major role in bringing about such a large surplus.” Hong Kah MP Amy Khor


Anonymous said...

Apart from your list of 5 major public concerns, there is something that bothers me. When a person is caught shoplifting in a departmental store, say for example a packet of snacks, he or she may be jailed for a short period of time. Then we come to the big item - a guy involved in millions of dollars controversy (in a charitable organisation) is allowed to move freely oversea for quite sometime (doing business), when the court case is apparently not fully resolved (in my opinion). Would he be eventually jailed that is another big question, but I still believe in the Singapore justice system that would take its rightful course.

Sleepless in Singapore said...

I just remembered another case where this poor chap was given 3 extra strokes of the rottan by mistake. Article here

Anonymous said...

The latest 'houdini'act by JI Mas S is indeed a great embarassment to our country which possesses the most advance high tech. surveillance equipment coupled with a sizeable security force among the ten ASEAN countries. Furthermore we are a small island with no difficult terrain for a fugitive to hide in. This incident will be a crucial test to the effectiveness of our security people.

Alan Wong said...

Maybe our great leaders will next say that these are honest mistakes beyond the Gahmen's control.

And that they have already factored in discounts to allow for these mistakes to be made in their salaries. So no one should be held accountable. Otherwise we would have to pay for much higher salaries for all these talent in the first place.

That's the logic of our world class leaders!

Anonymous said...

Ministers elsewhere are paid much much less to make 'dishonest mistakes' while are million dollars ministers can only make 'honest mistakes'. That's the difference.

Anonymous said...

The so-called 'accidental death' through the 'dunking treatment' by professional instructors/trainers on a hapless NS man is highly questionable, though no evidence of foul play has been proven. Religiously speaking there is such a strict law called cause and effect. If the victim died through s deliberate act caused by others - it could be termed as he died 'without his eyes fully closed' so to speak. If that is true, a seed of evil has been sowed and a corresponding effect would definitely take place in the future.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day we are the ones who allowed and tolerated such honest mistakes. It is us who gave them the mandate to rule with impunity and enrich themselves without shame and moral authority. Note how everyone was fast to defend their own salary increase, not one stood up to say that he was against it. And yet again everyone is full of praise for a glaring blunder in budget forecasting and no one is being held accountable for what ever happens. So much accountability. it just makes me wonder what else has gone accounted. Look at HK, people there know that the politicians are elected to take care of the people and not themselves unlike here. So its no point complaining and complianing, that what we have been doing all this while and that why the people have lost power.

Anonymous said...

Well, We - ie Singaporean people in general has ourselves to blame.

I am indebted to what PAP has done for Singapore and Singaporeans. PAP has got "success into their heads". I am really sad that the state of affairs of what is happening in Singapore for the past few years.

When the time is there to vote cast our votes, the 66% still cast a vote for PAP due to :-
a) The PAP (though will not admit it)gives out some "sweetener" tidbits to some silly bugger out on a street
b) threatened the opposition with court cases
c) "Make a meal" out of some "mistake" committed by the opposition
d) uses the "economy of Singapore" to subtly threatened poorer Singaporean into voting for the PAP

I know Singaporeans are not risk adverse people.

I don't want to sound to millitant.
The time is there to take some action. So why write blogs after blogs to vent our angers and frustration ?

Take a risk - vote some more opposition into the parliment and make the PAP loose a few GRCs.
Make the PAP pay for their arrogance.
Remember PAP WILL still retains the mandate power to rule in an election due to their majority.
Singapore will NOT sink overnight.

It hard to convince Singaporeans to do this. Singaporeans only REALLY care for their :-
a) Flats, condos and property prices
b) COE prices
c) which kid next door is doing what and I must make sure my kid is (as quoted from a parent) more strongly emotionally, physically and intellectually challenged even though their kid is only in K1.

If I am given a chance to vote I will NOT vote PAP but unfortunately, the place that I am staying has no opposition for the past 2 elections.
Hopefully, I will be able to do it at the next election.

Anonymous said...

PAP was really challenged in the sixties by the Barisan Socialists which was an extreme lefist party and nearly toppled the ruling party. With the demise of BS, it is one way traffic for the PAP, that is upwards and remained unchallenged for a long period of time. To have a really democratic country, there must be two equally balanced political parties in the country like in the UK, seriously checking on each other for the welfare of the people. Judging from the present Singapore political scenario, when would another effective party challenging the PAP emerge? With most of us viewers, signing off as anonymous, the day of reckoning for the PAP is still far-far off (in the horizon). In the meantime, leaders of the ruling party can sleep soundly at night, including before election time.

peter said...

I dont have a worry. I believe many Singaporeans are already thinking for themselves and their own indivdual future.