Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Uniquely Singapore....

Woman broke up with boyfriend. Stood on the railing in front of the Merlion and leaped into the Singapore River. Hero dived in to save her cutting himself in the process. Both hero and woman were taken to A&E. Cashier at the hospital counter insisted that the hero pay $90 for treatment. The hero, a certain Filip Lou from Australia, was shocked that he was asked to pay. Hey, come on this is Singapore nobody gets free medical treatment not even heros...

Blogger Singaporean Skeptic has some ideas why the hero wasn't Singaporean. Why were the Singaporeans only interested in taking photos(of the hero in his undies) instead of helping the woman? I was thinking maybe they were just Singaporeans who can't swim and had cameras with them at that time.

But the Singaporean Skeptic is really cynical about the whole episode....
Mr Lou should know that this is Singapore and that no good deed goes unpunished. We should forgive his selflessness as his common sense hasn't been affected/perverted by staying on this Island for a very long time. He wasn't taught this important lesson of just caring only for one's self.If only he experienced our National Service (or education system), he would have instinctively learnt to stand by the side and watch; like all those Singaporeans who took pictures of the incident to send to Stomp. If he did that, he wouldn't have lost his $90.Well this is Singapore and we are more forgiving towards foreigners (as opposed to locals who should know better). Most probably he will get his refund after enough people make enough noise.This post is dedicated to the Singaporean(or PR) behind the counter who was only doing her job and nothing more.
Straits Times Feb 17 2009

DUTCH Australian IT executive Filip Lou, 34, was in Singapore for a conference, but ended up saving a life.
He was with his friends and colleagues in front of the Esplanade on Sunday night when 'a European woman attempting suicide leapt off the railing in front of the Merlion' he said.
'I grabbed the life buoy and threw it in after her but she did not make any attempt to hold on. Not wanting to watch her drown, I passed my mobile and wallet to my friends, took off my clothes and jumped into the dark waters after her,' he told The Straits Times on Tuesday.
Mr Lou, who works for with ILOG, an IBM company in Sydney, said the woman was neither on drugs nor drunk.
'I think she said her name was Annika and that her boyfriend had just broken off their relationship. She said she had nothing else to live for. I tried to counsel her while floating in the cold dark waters until the rescue team arrived,' he said.
While trying to climb the steps onto the Esplanade, Mr Lou cut his feet and hands on the sharp stones. 'I was not aware that my feet were bleeding and leaving red footprints on the sidewalk. I was more concerned with people photographing me in my underwear,' he said, laughing.
Mr Lou and the woman he saved were both taken to the emergency room at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
'My wounds were cleaned, treated and bandaged; and I was given a tetanus injection. When I went to the front desk, I was told I had to pay $90,' he said. 'I understand that it was late and the woman behind the counter was doing her job. It was not up to her to waive the fees but I had just risked my life to save a stranger. Is this really standard policy? I was quite disappointed,' he added.
Despite having to pay the $90, Mr Lou said he would do it again if a life was at risk.
When approached, a spokesman for the hospital said it is unable to waive fees for medical treatment rendered. 'But if a patient has problems making payment, he can arrange for deferred payment,' she added, but declined to comment on the victim, citing patient confidentiality.


yamizi said...

stomp is indeed an unique culture

Anonymous said...


Kiasi - why jump into the dirty water spitted out by the iconically stupid merlion, WTF is that? You may die and with the cost of medical care so astronomically high, you don't want the Ah Longs to come after you when you're bankrupt!

Kiasu - Aiyah, cannot afford the risks lah. What if I am called to testify and I may be required to make statements et al. Better spend the time going shopping lah, plentiful bargains as many shops closing down.

Kiaboh - What? just a "Thank you" note from the SCDF for risking my life? Not worth lah. Maybe an award of 50 big ones from some philanthropist would make me change my mind.

Mr. Lou, good man, you think you're still in Austland?

I strongly suggest that with the award, the SCDF could also consider enclosing a cheque for $90 for the man. After all, he did all the dirty work before the SCDF guys arrive.


currypuff said...

Hey Lucky. Did you notice that there is an article in yahoo sing about GIC's S$50 billion loss?
Since yesterday evening at least (when I logged on and saw it).
Correct me if I am wrong. I looked up both CNA & ST online.
Top Singapore news in ST: Peeping Tom fined.

Anonymous said...

Singapore style is to be diam diam, donch busybosy, kaypoh, mind your own business. If want to be hero, be hero under ISA. haha.

Anonymous said...

just to throw a few more questions into the mix:

1. did the receptionist know that Mr Lou just saved a life?

2. Did the doctor or nurse who attended to Mr Lou know he just saved a life?

If they knew, it could have turned out differently.

The saddest part of it all is the spokesperson's comments. here's an opportunity to correct any negative opinions created by the situation, when a journalist called them.

But what happened? that spokesperson took the typical PAP, Govt-style of defending their actions. Pragmatism at its ugliest.

Indeed, Uniquely Singapore.

Perhaps we need a dose of poor hospital management to show how bad our healthcare system can be. What to do? it has happened. Lets move on.

Anonymous said...

There is an article in STOMP with the title 'Lady who 'chopes' seats with tissue chases Caucasians away'.

That article has 155 comments and 18103 Views.

This is what Singaporeans have been reduced to.

The way we are controlled reminds me more of the book 'Brave New World' rather than '1984'.

LuckySingaporean said...


$50B? I thought it was reported by Bloomberg/Reuters based on leaks from the GIC. $50B is small compared with the amount based on 41% loss slipped out by Minister Lim. It is really strange that there are leaks because the Official Secrets Act would have prevented it. Also, the timing of the leaks coincided with the spread of the what Minister Lim said in parliament.

The different between 41% and $50B is about $150B. Now you see why we need transparency...

currypuff said...

But why the silence? I watched the news headlines scrolling across the screen on CNA during lunch. Nothing.
Nothing online. I did not check the ST.
If this is indeed a deliberate "leak", is it meant for investors and foreign correspondents, who likely have hints on the actual amount lost? MOF can't ignore these professionals totally, so better to just disclose a smaller figure to them.
As for the general Singapore public, better not tell them anything at all?

Anonymous said...

They deliberately 'leak' the information to test the ground.

One way to confirm if this is really the work of PAP. If there is news of arrest of the duo and to show their faces, and case just move on as usual, it is definitely deliberate leak to mislead the public of the loss.

Anonymous said...

whats new?
"You die your business
Kenasai your business"

Jim said...

Dear Mr Filip Lou,

According to our records, you did not provide evidence that you saved a drowning woman's life. As such, we did not waive your treatment fees. To appeal, please submit the following documents within 2 weeks of this letter:

- photocopy of your NRIC or passport
- police report of this incident
- written statements from 2 witnesses not related to yourself
- written statement from the victim.

Do note that we cannot process your appeal if the above documents are not received in full within the stated time frame.

Hospital Billing

====== 10 weeks later ======

Dear Mr Filip Lou,

We have considered your appeal carefully and we regret to inform you that we are unable to waive your $90 hospital fees.

We do not currently have a policy of waiving medical fees for personal reasons such as getting hurt while saving another person.

Please note that this is our final decision. It is in your best interest that we do not waive your hospital fees as you might develop a crutch mentality. In addition, your example may encourage free loaders to pretend to save lives in order to get free medical treatment.

Nonetheless in recognition of your efforts, we are pleased to enclose a $10 Food & Beverage voucher for your use in any of our hospital's food outlets.

Hospital Billing

Onlooker said...

Typical stompid reply:-
Annika why attempt suicide at Sinkie river.
If you are serving NS, you will sure kenna Charged.

the $50B leak is strategically placed in yahoo by AFP to counter the 41% Freudian Slip by minister Lim and to Calm edgy Foreign Investor nerves.

You read "Brave new world" too.So you see the relevance in our society to the one in that book.
Increasingly more and more of the scenarios in the book are becoming true here. Spooky right?

Parka said...

I wonder why people can link saving a life and paying for medical bills.

Why's there a link?

fish 'n' chips said...

A woman was perched on the railings and suddenly tumbled over into the sea below. Everyone nearby flocked there and gathered to watch the proceedings but no one attempted to save the drowning lady and there were no fewer than hundreds of them.

At last an Australian tourist jumped into the water and saved the damsel in distress. Everyone applauded and cheered him on.

The rescue team arrived a few minutes later followed by the media. The man was interviewed on camera and was commended for his bravery. The police praised him and said, "Your courage is exemplary! What can we do for you in return?"

The hero replied, "Just tell me who was the bastard that pushed me from behind."

Jokes aside!

Also read this.

Sad to say but this is the honest truth what this world is becoming to.

This begs a few questions that I am really curious to know the answers to.
1. Was his wounds attended to immediately when the rescue team arrived on the scene?
2. How was he and the lady taken to SGH?
3. At all times, was there anyone from the authorities accompanying him right after his heroic act, to SGH, wounds attended to and bandaged, administered with an injection, ushered to the payment counter and paid his dues for being a hero?
4. Was he offered a ride back to his place of lodging or whichever destination he wanted to be alighted?

Something is very wrong with this society. The authorities have to reflect upon this issue and ask themselves what they have done or most importantly what they have not done to earn the TRUST of the people.

Singapore has lost another customer. This guy must be dismayed and utterly disappointed with this State. The country must rally together as one to right the many wrongs.

Anonymous said...

To fish n chips,

Yup, there's so many unanswered questions about the event.

Leaving me to think that the article could have been better written if more were asked.

However, lets not blame society. Whats most important is how embarrassing SGH is as an organisation.

They were asked by a journalist on why they requested for a payment. Right there and then, an opportunity to "repair" what the receptionist has done.

But what happened? They did the PAP-style of handling queries/complaints i.e. defend their behaviour.

Above all else, i'm embarrassed for SGH.

I shall even waste anybody's time about what i think about STOMP.

bbqchickenwings said...

apparently some guy has reimbursed him the money. And straits times added a rather cheesy line in the article.

'Singapore has a heart after all.'

our society has degenerated until we are supposed to be proud that the hero got reimbursed by a kind soul.

bbqchickenwings said...

The link came out funny, so I am posting it again.

Anonymous said...

What kind of society has we degenerated into ...

Anonymous said...


Yes, I see Alphas, Betas, Deltas and Epsilons everywhere in Singapore.

But it is more than that, our sense of right and wrong has been drowned by trivial nonsense(noise) all around us.

That is why I have a low opinion of STOMP. It distracts Singaporeans from important issues.

Anonymous said...

In Uniquely Singapore, it's all about dollars and dimes. No money, no talk! Got wealth, got power!

Theresa Lee said...

I'm a personal friend of Filip and after hearing about his adventure in Singapore I read all the stories about him on the internet.

There seem to be a lot of questions and I don't think he minds me giving everybody a bit of background on him.
People were a bit surprised to see that he looks so Chinese, even though he’s described as a Dutchman. He was actually born in China in WenZhou from Chinese parents.
They came to the Netherlands when he was 4 and he has spent most of his life in a town place called Zwolle.
He then moved to Sydney, Australia when he was 28.

He doesn't believe the hospital is to blame. They did treat his wounds very well and were very professional. However they could have exercised a bit more tact in delivering the news. His suggestion for future cases would be to set up a small government fund from which medical and other costs could be paid from.

He's happy to hear that the lady in case is in the care of her family and friends and hopes that she'll recover quickly from this ordeal. The ambassador from her country said thanks already.

He’s overwhelmed with all the encouragements from the Singaporeans and he thinks that Singapore is a great place to live, except for the humidity! :-)

He’s not sure when he'll be back in Singapore, but he's definitely looking forward to his next visit.
BTW: I just heard that IBM offered to pay for his wife’s ticket to Singapore, wow!

Anonymous said...

Besides the vibrant nightlife of singapore. The Arts and Entertainment Singapore has to offer is quite a lot too. Since I moved her 5 years ago, I must say I am pretty happy with the development in this area. Singaporeans aren't that stiff afterall.

Anonymous said...

His suggestion for future cases would be to set up a small government fund from which medical and other costs could be paid from.

We understand your good suggestions but that will usually means increase from $90 currently.

Since such life saving is once is a blue moon event, it is better that don't have such "small government fund".

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