Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I have been so free these two days (lull period after exams and before internship) that I’ve been fetching the princess to work - hang out somewhere to surf the net and read my book on Goh Keng Swee - and pick her up when its knock off time.

It is only when you are darn free that your interests and hobbies come scuttling back to you. My cherished interest, other than sleeping and watching hunks play ball, happens to be political commentary-ing.

I read this article written by Chua Lee Hoong, a political editor from ST (not to be confused with Chua Mui Hoong, whom I feel is a more neutral journalist). It was on the Mas case and how her blood boils due to irrational calls from Netizens for WKS to step down (article available at

Even though she was so biased in her writing and so without perspective in her analogy of the issue, it set me thinking, as I pondered: why am I so for the resignation of the minister? Am I calling for his head to row just because I can’t wait to see our mighty govt fails? I thought long and hard about it and decided to stand by my view that WKS has to be responsible.

1) Since they ask for private sector pay, they have to take that kind of responsibility as well. We cannot make public service seems like a vocation with tons of benefits but no accountability and responsibility when mistakes take place. They will receive the same pay and same bonuses at the end of the day, because in Singapore, everything is pegged to economic growth. I’ve been saying that GDP is not a good factor to gauge happiness in a society; we have to ponder hard about substantial rationality. Simply, this is a systematic failure which did not happen by chance, and he, if with dignity and pride, should step down after the corrective measures have been put in place.

2) It was mentioned that they will trace northwards the chain of command and punish supervisory and management levels associated with the escape. My question is, whose call is it to dictate at which level that tracing stops? My view is that if you want to trace the chain then go all the way to the head of the ministry. If you are not prepared to go all the way then dun even start. I’m pretty sick of double standards.

3) Speaking of double standards, PM Lee sent out a warning to all civil servants that there is no iron rice bowl in the bureaucracy; that they will have to pay when they commit mistakes. What about the ministries and the elite administrative officers? Shouldn’t they be warned that theirs are no iron iron bowls too? Maybe my uni peers are right when they say that I shouldn’t be looking to join the service, so un-ambitious they say.

4) Can you trust the home affairs ministry after this episode, esp with WKS at the helm? In a political economy, trust is indeed a very significant element. We need a new man to take over and regain the trust of citizens and foreigners alike.

5) Speaking from the PAP perspective, can you imagine WKS running for the next election? If he does, then what will be the outcome? Scapegoats have to be made in desperate times to restore public confidence in the ruling party as a collective. Politics is never about forgiving and forgetting and moving on.

So, to our dearest political editor of our 154th ranked media in terms of openness, I am not irrational in calling for his resignation. I have solid rational and coherent arguments to justify my cry for something to be done. Before his escape, no Singaporeans would believe if we say prison break can occur at Changi Prison. But now, anything is possible since Mas, such a destructive character, managed to escape from what we thought was an impeccable security system. This is a grave error, a serious enough for us to call for punishment worthy of the mistake.

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