Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Empathy for Tan Yong Soon....

I applaud the numerous netizens who have stepped forward to show support for Mr. Tan[Link]. A number have worked with him and described him as affable, professional and humble. I wrote yesterday that Peter Ho and Teo Chee Hean's expectations for top civil servants were unrealistic and unfair. Some people might have felt better if Mr. Tan had kept his trip secret but does that change anything for you?...However, netizens cannot be blamed for the emotional outburst - that too has a logic if we look back in time.....

In the 80s, a whole generation of people was elevated from poverty. They went from being kampung dwellers without clean water, sanitation and electricity to be HDB dwellers. When I was a boy I did my business in a longkang (drain) and let the water wash away the produce. The drain was far better than the stinking jambans (wooden toilets) that had no flushing system. Moving to a HDB flat (bought for $40K) was considered a luxury...and to be able to flush away the stuff by pulling a handle was a miracle. While the wages were lower at that time, medical care, transport and housing were all affordable. ...and people were able retire at age 55. We were told our civil servants were excellent and all of us believe it. they were the architect of the miracle. When you go to the toilet and pulled that handle it reminded you of how much things had improved. When a vigorous young Goh Chok Tong ran for PM, he made a bold promise that we will all be eating Swiss fondue in a few years. It was a promise that cannot be fulfiled but few blamed the likeable Goh as external factors can be seen to be responsible for the broken promise. Things started to change 10-15 yrs ago, when the interests of the govt and the people diverge. Elitism started to take root in govt and combined with their interests in GLCs they pursued policies that did not benefit a large segment of the population. The income gap grew as the PAP govt hike its own pay and that of its top civil servants to a level that people in other countries think is a joke when you tell them. All this while poverty started to just have to open your eyes to see it, from the aged cleaner to the old man digging dustbins for aluminium cans. ..and you see it when the economy was supposed to be booming in 2007. The PAP implemented policies that hurt the ordinary Singaporeans - high prices of HDB flats, opening the floodgates to foreign workers just for the extra % points of GDP growth causing structural unemployment, hiking the GST to cut corporate tax when profits as a % of GDP was at an all time high. ...all this while ordinary Singaporeans were hurting badly. The straw that broken camel's back was the pay hikes for the ministers ....they elevated themselves to god-like creatures without which the country will sink to justify those hikes.

There is a reason why people are very angry and it has little to do with Tan Yong Soon learning French cooking...that article was just a spark that lit a fire. There is still plenty of firewood left for many fires to come.


Anonymous said...


You can always count on the dogs at the Strait Times to do damage control to their master.
Just like what happens with Seng Han Tong gets toasted during a free lunch reception.

Anonymous said...

And you changed your Blog heading? Why are you a lesser being? I am sure you are more resilient than PAP dogs like Lee Hsien Loong, who lives in Ivory Towers and is fed with a silver spoon.

Mr Lee only does disappearing act at the right time and only capable of uttering: "What to do? It happens."

redbean said...


you did not give me a chance to change the name of my blog/forum. i was contemplating of changing it to 'my lesser mortal news' and lesser mortal forum. : )

Anonymous said...

LuckySingaporean says"

"It was a promise that cannot be fulfiled but few blamed the likeable Goh as external factors can be seen to be responsible for the broken promise."

He was likeable initially because he was one of us. One of the poor who rose through the ranks to become Singapore's success stories. Many felt he will empathize with the people of the heartland and were bought over by his promises of a better future. We all know he has failed those who believe in him. His rhetorics are simply mouthing what the Grand Old Man would say. His wife's involvement with NKF and her reference to peanuts has upset many. He has become totally out of touch with the people on the ground. He has become less relevant to us, and to many, he is just a gopher.

redbean said...

fully agree with your observations.

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Ah Pat said...


I like your new blog title!
Is it here to stay?
I'm guessing it is,
Till the next insult gets hurled in our way.

Nice rhyme, eh? Heh heh heh. :)

Lesser mortal no.1 said...

Dear Lucky,

Have you considered compiling a list of choice quotes by our esteemed, enlightened leaders? I'm sure all those brilliant quotes by Wee Siew Kim, Charles Chong and Mrs Goh Chok Tong would make for interesting reading.


A lesser mortal

Ex-civil servant said...

Friends and Fans of TYS said that he is "affable, professional and humble". Well, maybe in their exclusive universe. I had worked with TYS when he was PPS to the then PM. I don't wish to belabour the point, but to describe him as an unreasonable and lazy boss who shamelessly claimed all credit for work done by others is to describe the tip of the iceberg of a character like TYS. To paraphrase Marcellus in Hamlet: Something is rotten in the character of Tan Yong Soon. The same rot hangs over the state of Singapore too.

Volunteers for TKL said...

Dear Lucky

We published your article here.

Onlooker said...

On a slightly serious note GST had also added to the operation cost of neighbourhood shops and hawker stall this couple with the influx of undercutting "For rent Talent" hawker who also sometimes use the tactic used by our GLC that eliminates potential competition and when there is no competition hike up the price.
The result:- more stall selling local favourite are beginning to disappear replaced by substandard stall that doesn't give a damn and hiking the price of a plate chicken rice to $3.
This means that a lot of senior citizens cannot afford to eat out yet even when they want to be self reliant and grow their own food.Their garden were destroyed and cited a health hazard,Tan yang soon? he does not care when the matter got on the news.
Where is the empathy then?
Empathy work both ways.

Daniel Ling said...

Hi, noticed that you have changed the title of your blog. Will this be permenant?

Ghost said...

Can't understand why Tan Yong Soon or anyone want to spend his leave to take a course French cooking but the lesser mortal comment was just silly.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan Yong Soon had written a book called "Living The Singapore Dream"

I guess being able to spend so much on french cooking class, he is indeed living the singapore dream

Dylan said...

When a DEPT head can be gone for 5 weeks block leave and his presence is not being felt,it start to confirm that all our civil service is all bloated up. The position he is heading shd not be there in the 1st place.

May be , these precious position is being created to let the BGs to continue enjoy their obscene high pay.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr Tan Yong Soon was fucking a french babe in France.

Good reasons to believe that Mr Wong Kan Seng and Teo Chee Hean, feeling so loaded with the millions, must have contemplated taking sex holidays in Europe where the babes can't tell asian faces apart.

Simple Understanding said...

I finally understand... thank you, Lucky, for pointing it out so simply. I find your article really enlightening. I apologies to Mr Tan Yong Soon if I had sounded harsh in my other comments. It really is not him. It is this whole feeling that our leaders are not having our interests at heart. The rising HDB costs... the rising transport fares... the feeling that my small little Singapore dream of having affordable and well-located 5-room HDB flats with cheap fares on MRT and buses, are out of reach. I am the cheap, green-eye monster filled with envy... one of the lesser mortals.

DanielXX said...

Please do not try to second-guess higher immortals you fool!

Anonymous said...

In his quest for the Fondue eating culture GCT kicked the low end industries out and thought he would replaced with the high tech ones.
Classic parachute scholar mentality.
The aunties, uncles who worked the industries didn't have the new skills - ended up dustbin scavengers and toilet minders.

PanzerGrenadier said...

Your article hit the spot.

TYS's French escapades in gastronomical excellence is not the problem. The problem is that can do whatever they want with their money and they forget that 95% of the population are unable to even comprehend the type of lifestyles they live.

We the citizens have been screwed by the relentless foreign immigration policy that is giving us a backlash now that the world economy is floundering. The exodus of these workers will further worsen the already negative economic fallout arising from the global financial crisis.

Ever rising costs of basic necessities such as transportation and food are fueled partly by GST hikes which are regressive and hits lower income more than higher income and doesn't create much impact to the "greater mortals".

The gahmen is not longer by the people, of the people and for the people.

It is made up of people interested in how other people can serve their narrow interests of $$$.

Majullah Singapura.

Anonymous said...

I read the part about HDB being $55K and I feel oh so sad. It has reached such a state that HDB must feel justified to raise the price of flats to
$200k $300k so as to dump more profits into HDB/GIC /Temasek leaving no monies for the citizen's retirement.
What has gone so wrong with the place here? How much must you earn before you can comfortably retire at 55 / 62?
Yes, we have graduated from the old poor to the new poor.
I bet when Goh Chok Tong was young, he would want his mom to retire. Now we have a Lee Hsien Loong who wants your mom to work as a chambermaid as a retirement job.
What the .....

Kin said...

Thanks for the insight.

I'll continue to collect cans till I could afford to migrate to Malaysia. No difference from 40 years back.

I love sg!

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olsonsfoodemporium said...

It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I consider.

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