A ND rally by group-thinkers for group-thinkers. Sad! (with apologies to Trump)

Sense And Nonsense - by Tan Bah Bah

6078

 

The past week started off for me on Sunday (August 20) on a rather unpromising note. I had to endure a couple of hours listening to a speech which sounded like one crafted by a group of group-thinkers for an ITE audience of equally beholden group-thinkers. Yes, yes, yes, smile, smile, smile, clap, clap, clap.

But as the week moved on, there were some encouraging signs that all is not lost – yet.

First, let’s get back to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s ND Rally speech.

If ever there was one that spoke louder about what it did not address than what it tried to convince Singaporeans were the most important issues of the day, it was last Sunday’s more pre-schools, no cash payments and less sugar diversionary chitchat.

I can imagine a Cabinet meeting during which ministers “debated” over what should be the topics for the rally.

“Chun Sing, what have you got? Nothing? Chuan-Jin, what’s happening? Chee Meng? Pre-schools shortage? That’s a possible. Anything from you, Swee Keat? How’s your health? You happy about everything? OK. Lawrence? Ye Kung? Kim Yong, what’s that, more people having diabetes, a national health crisis, yes, we should talk about it.

“Swee Say, you have a Shanghai ‘suaku’ story? Is it as good as the one you once told Parliament. About the girl and the T-shirt . When you were turning down calls for a minimum wage: “I saw a girl wearing a T-shirt that says ‘No’. As she passed by, I noticed what was written at the back of the same shirt: The answer is still ‘No’.” That was hilarious.

“Alright, that’s settled. We will talk about diabetes, cashless payments and pre-schools. Talking about pre-schools and cashless payments, Swee Keat, do we have enough cash to ramp up our teach-the-tots programmes? Will $1.7 billion suffice, everyone? All kee chiu? Yes, yes, yes. Great.”

That was an imaginary scenario. But who knows. Are we a nation of yes-men and group-thinkers?

If we are not, then, we should not have had to arrive at a stage where administrative problems and personal health choices have to occupy centre-stage at the expense of many other pressing national issues. Did any of the ministers truly stand up for the plight of the common man?

Singaporeans’ daily lives are being seriously affected by a malfunctioning MRT system. Minutes, hours delayed on a daily basis work out to a huge loss of working time at a stretch. Add to that the psychological cost of short tempers and the frustrated helplessness of captive commuters who have no recourse to or could not afford cars or cabs. Should there be a discount for MRT fares? Not a word on the problem. Total silence.

The sands are also shifting – at home and in the region and Asia. We want to hear our leaders’ take on how we are coping with the changes.

We want to find out how we can deal with the post-Lee Kuan Yew era. Are we heading for an inclusive and more tolerant political landscape or a hardening stance to regain control and force instead of forge a national agenda for Singaporeans of all political persuasions? Nothing heard.

Is China becoming a frenemy? A friend who could also be a threat to our existence as a sovereign multiracial nation.  Despite all the current frantic efforts to “celebrate” Asean’s 50th anniversary, the truth is that we have always been encouraging our people to believe that we have a special relationship with the Middle Kingdom and that Asean is, at best, a collection of troublesome neighbours. A whole national debate is needed here.

Even if we accept that, say, the cashless e-payment lag is an important problem, addressing it actually exposes the government’s incompetence. What has been going on all these years? If it turns out that Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang can craft out a unified e-payment system for Singapore in 18 months, it begs the question: Who are the characters who have been looking after our IT? They deserve to be sacked.

I hope and I think Min-Liang represents a new generation of Singaporeans who can help lift this country of group-thinkers – in politics as well as the civil service – out of possible stagnation.

I also hope that there are more leaders like DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He seemed to be the only one who is celebrating unusual and not obvious success at the current SEA Games. Like him, I am thrilled by the achievement of Singapore athlete Dipna Lim-Prasad who made history in breaking a long-standing national record in the women’s 400m race. She clocked 54.18secs to clinch silver, rewriting Chee Swee Lee’s mark of 55.08secs, which had stood for 43 years.

To be able to see what others who are essentially group-thinkers cannot – that’s what Singapore should be all about. We need more Tan Min-Liangs and fewer  yesmen and PBM types who are more eager to suck the system dry than think out of the box. We need these non-group-thinkers to make this country a vibrant and dynamic one.

Sense And Nonsense is a weekly series. Tan Bah Bah is a former senior leader writer with The Straits Times. He was also managing editor of a local magazine publishing company

Get the latest news, opinions and commentaries. Available on Android  

17 comments

  1. Kami Sedia Membantu

    Baru baru ini tular di online portal The Independent SG mengenai warga Singapura yang telah meninggal dunia akibat MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) atau kemalangan jalan raya di Johor Bahru.

    Takziah kami ucapkan kepada keluarga dan rakan mangsa yang terlibat atas kejadian ini. Namun begitu, pihak KKM ingin menjelaskan bahawasanya tiada penangguhan atau permintaan bayaran pendahuluan yang dibuat sebelum perawatan kecemasan dibuat keatas mangsa ini di Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru.

    Dalam artikel The Independant SG yang mengatakan, mangsa berumur 25 tahun itu mengalami kecederaan serius dan kritikal di sebabkan kemalangan tersebut dan berlaku respon ke atas kes kecemasan tersebut yang lambat dan berlengah, dan juga dikatakan ambulans mengambil masa 30 minit untuk merespon kes tersebut.

    Daripada rekod perkhidmatan pre hospital care dan ambulans services yang didapati daripada pihak HSA, panggilan kecemasan diterima pada pukul 2:57 pagi. Pasukan respon ambulans bergerak pada pukul 2:59 pagi, dan sampai di lokasi mangsa pada pukul 3:10 pagi. Pasukan respons ambulan bergerak semula dari lokasi ke hospital bersama mangsa pada pukul 3:15 pagi. Pasukan ambulasn HSA berjaya bergerak dalam masa 2 minit selepas menerima panggilan kecemasan, dan masa respon kes kecemasan tersebut adalah selama 14 minit sahaja. Jumlah masa respon adalah 16 minit (2 minit persediaan, 14 minit masa respons kes kecemasan). Kecekapan dalam perkhidmatan bagi kes kecemasan adalah sangat efektif,dan tidak dapat disangkal lagi,

    Berikutan keadaan mangsa yang kritikal, lelaki warga Singapura tersebut telah di triage ke Red Zone ( Zon Kritikal) Jabatan Kecemasan dan perawatan mengikut protokol Advanced Trauma Life Support di teruskan, setelah perawatan pra hospital oleh pasukan respon ambulans. Perawatan kecemasan oleh pasukan perubatan kecemasan serta merta dijalankan dan juga termasuk penyiasatan diagnostik yang diperlukan (primary survey X-ray, CT scan kepala, servikal dan thorax), perawatan kecemasan (termasuk intubasi) dan rujukan kepada pasukan perawatan primary telah dilakukan secara professional.

    Tiada sebarang deposit di minta kerana ini merupakan kes kecemasan yang mengancam nyawa dan perbuatan serta kenyataan ini selaras dengan polisi KKM bertarikh 4 Mac 2015, pekeliling perkhidmatan dari Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan mengenai pembayaran deposit bagi warganegara asing di hospital di Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia.

    Melihat kepada kecederaan kepada otak / kepala mangsa, pesakit telah di rujuk kepada bahagian Neurosurgeri, dan pelan untuk pembedahan segera untuk decompressive craniectomy dan pengeluaran darah beku bagi mengurangkan serta pemerhatian tekanan intracranial di bahagian otak mangsa telah dirancang, tanpa permintaan untuk sebarang pembayaran deposit.

    Selepas kehadiran keluarga mangsa, pihak hospital meminta kepada pihak keluarga mangsa untuk membayar deposit, mengikut protokol ke atas pesakit warganegara asing yang telah di tetapkan. Namun begitu adalah di nyatakan di sini, perkhidmatan rawatan kecemasan dan penyiasatan segera ke atas pesakit telah dibuat lebih awal, dan tidak di lengahkan atau di tangguh daripada permulaan pesakit dibawa oleh ambulans ke hospital, sehingga rujukan kepada primary team.

    Walaubagaimanapun, pihak keluarga pesakit meminta untuk discaj keluar atas risiko sendiri (AOR discharge) dan kemasukan ke hospital di Singapura telah dilakukan setelah pihak keluarga bersetuju dan faham mengenai risiko-risiko lanjutan akibat melengahkan pembedahan yang telah dirancang.

    Pihak KKM meminta agar semuap pihak yang terlibat bertanggungjawab dalam setiap komen dan justifikasi yang dibuat, agar tidak menyebarkan maklumat yang tida tepat, tidak berasas dan juga maklumat yang boleh menyimpang dan menyebabkan kekacauan harmoni dan pergaduhan.

    Pihak KKM sentiasa menghargai setiap kehidupan dan mencuba sedaya upaya untuk merawat mana-mana pesakit tidak kira latar belakang dan juga kewarganegaraan pesakit tersebut seiring dengan etika dan slogan budaya korporat KKM, Penyayang, Profesionalisme dan Kerja Berpasukan.

    =====Z=====

    Press Statement DG of Health 1st September 2017 –
    No Delay or Demand for Payment Before Treatment by Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Bahru

    Posted by DG OF HEALTH on SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

    The Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia take note of the reporting by online news portal The Independent SG (theindependent.sg) on the 31st August 2017 regarding a Singaporean man who died following injury sustained from a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) in Johor Bahru. Condolence to the family and friends of the deceased for the demise of this young gentlemen. However, the MOH would like to stress that there were no delay or demand for payment before treatment of this gentleman by Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) Johor Bahru.

    In their article, theindependent.sg claimed that the deceased, a 25-year old Singaporean sustained critical injuries following that MVA, and alleged that there was a slow respond time by the ambulance from HSA up to 30 minutes. From the ambulance service records, it was noted that the emergency call was made at 2:57 AM on the 25th August 2017. The ambulance left HSA at 2:59 AM, arrived at the scene at 3:10 AM and departed from the scene with the patient at 3:15 AM. Kudos to the ambulance call services for a very timely response, with despatch time of two (2) minutes and response time of 13 minutes.

    In view of his critical condition, the Singaporean man was admitted to the Red Zone upon arrival at the Emergency Department. Immediately, the emergency treatment as per the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) protocol was continued, which was already initiated by the ambulance team earlier. The Emergency Department team also initiated the necessary imaging (primary survey X-rays, CT-scan of brain, cervical and thorax), treatment (including intubation) and referral to the relevant team in a very timely and professional manner, without asking for any deposit since this is an emergency case. This is in line with the MOH policy as per the MOH Secretary General circular dated 4th March 2015 regarding deposit payment for foreigners in MOH hospitals.

    In view of the injury to his brain, the patient was referred to Neurosurgery team, and urgent decompressive craniectomy plus removal of clot and intracranial pressure monitoring was planned without demand for any deposit payment. Subsequent to this, the family members arrived, and only then they were requested to make deposit payment as per protocol for foreigner patient; but it is important to note that the emergency imaging and treatments required were not withheld or delayed.

    However the family members opted for discharge at on risk (AOR discharge) and arranged for admission to a hospital in Singapore after understanding the risk involved of further delaying the surgery.
    The MOH urge all relevant parties to be responsible in reporting and further commenting, as releasing inaccurate information and baseless statement can lead to misunderstanding and disrupt the harmony.

    The MOH has always value life and does it utmost best to treat any patient, regardless of their background or nationality.

    This is in line with MOH ethos and corporate culture of “Caring, Professionalism and Teamwork”.

    “We’re Ready to Help”

    DATUK DR. NOOR HISHAM ABDULLAH
    DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH MALAYSIA
    1st September 2017

    https://kpkesihatan.com/2017/09/01/press-statement-dg-of-health-1st-september-2017-no-delay-or-demand-for-payment-before-treatment-by-sultanah-aminah-hospital-johor-bahru/

  2. Facebook Profile photo
    Tiffany Teo Tiang Yu ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    During the early years of independent singapore, humour by the ministers was aimed at sharpening the people’s sense of crisis. Now, humour among them is a cheap shot to draw the sort of guffaw that standup comedians seek. Who needs “heng ah” ministers? We need ministers who could ensure real good changes in singapore, not ministers who pipe on their luck.

  3. Facebook Profile photo
    Gary Seet ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “do you think lky would have come up with such a national day speech?” What wld LKY do if he was alive today? Probably sack his son first, and then cabinet ministers who have screwed up big time! Yea that’s what he wld do!

  4. Ronald Lim says:

    We are slowly but surely going down to 3rd world status. The MIW are only interested in protecting and maintaining their salaries without any idea what to do to improve and enhance our economy.

  5. Facebook Profile photo
    Jennifer Titus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good group. I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2016. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally I began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do lots of research. Then I found Lisa’s diabetes story http://mydiabetesday.com/i-finally-reversed-my-diabetes/ I read that article from end to end because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100 and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just three week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds and 6+ inches around my waist in a month. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods

  6. Edwin Kwan says:

    I think it was meant to target at a level that can touch the hearts of the people, especially with PE2017 looming. It also centers around issues that the government can manage in the short term. But I agree there are other long term issues. Some cannot be discussed : why tell your frenemy openly that you are cautious about him ? what can most of us do about it ? after all , there are sensitivities in a multiracial society. Then, there are items like cost of living (caused mostly by property and car prices) and jobs. On this, I hope that we will never use real estate to allow Singaporeans get rich. It escalates our financial expectations (which divert to employee type jobs) and dampen any start up mentality. Rather, I hope that we can train up or grant to Singaporeans to deal with jobs and businesses. After WW2, the US bet big on GI bill and it paid dividend. And it is in connection with this, that I agree there is groupthink, kiasu and kiasi within the government and civil service. So, I would not molotov what the PM said.

  7. When the ministers didn’t like brown rice for pre-cab lunch yet were too afraid to speak up to the PM, that speaks volume. How many more national issues are swept under the carpet by this group of incompetent group thinkers?

  8. Edwin Kwan says:

    I think it was meant to target at a level that can touch the hearts of the people, especially with PE2017 lining. It also centers around issues that the government can manage in the short term. But I agree there are other long term issues. Some cannot be discussed : why tell your frenemy openly that you are cautious about him ? what can most of us do about it ? after all , there are sensitivities in a multiracial society. Then, there are items like cost of living (caused mostly by property and car prices) and jobs. I hope that we will never use real estate to allow Singaporeans get rich. Rather, I hope that we can train up or grant Singaporeans to deal with jobs and businesses. After WW2, the US bet on GI bill and it paid dividend. And it is in connection with this, that I agree there is groupthink, kiasu and kiasi within the government and civil service. So, I would not molotov what the PM said.

  9. When you lose a home, lose a country, lose a life that is missed is something money cant replace. Being a ghost of this world is a punishment that is so hard to bear. It’s neither living nor dying. Thinking is a waste of time. Be an ant tirelessly working to build a home just to be washed by the rain and flood. Build a home for people who are giving a meaning to their lives. The foundation has to be set straight and right. It’s complicated but not as complicated as life that bridges and separates with time.

Comments are closed.