Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Stupid

I have not commented on Tan Yong Soon's S$45,000 family trip so far because to me it’s a non-issue. For those readers who have no idea what I’m talking about; Tan Yong Soon, a top civil servant in Singapore, wrote an article in the Straits Times newspaper saying that he spent S$45,000 for a family trip to Paris to learn cooking at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Tan is accused of extravagance by Singaporeans given that Singapore is in the midst of a severe recession.

Frankly, I’m more bemused than angered by all this. If someone wants to waste $45,000 and 5 weeks of his own precious leave to go to France, that’s his choice. I don’t understand why anyone will want to spend his leave on a cooking course, but as they say, ‘to each his own’. I don’t even mind him crowing about his trip. This is Singapore! We have people screaming out how good, rich and important they are all over the island.

For all the talk about empathy, humility, ethos etc; Tan Yong Soon's S$45,000 family trip is a private affair and is no business of mine. That is until Member of Parliament Charles Chong’s ‘lesser mortals’ comment. Unlike his follow MP, Teo Chee Hean and Peter Ho, who tried to put out the fire of discontent by expressing great disappointment over Mr. Tan's article; MP Charles Chong’s comments go like this, "Maybe it made lesser mortals envious and they thought maybe he was a bit boastful. Would people have taken offence if his wife (a senior investment counsellor at a bank) had paid for everything?”

Talk about total and utter stupidity! This off-the-cuff comment by Charles Chong will just add fuel to the fire and Charles Chong’s denigration of Mr Tan’s critics as “lesser mortals” just means that he considered Mr Tan (and himself) as “greater mortals”. Mr Chong must now come forward and apologised for his remark. After the storm of Mr Tan’s cooking trip (which was actually picked up by international press), this has the potential to be an even bigger storm. And unlike Mr Tan who can at least claim that he is a civil servant and not an elected officer, Mr Charles Chong do not even have that luxury.

Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean must be shaking his head right now. After his speech in parliament where he said that it’s important to show solidarity and empathy for Singaporeans facing uncertainties and hardship, this happened! It’s just plain stupid.


Xtrocious said...

Again, we come back to this basic issue...

Our esteemed leaders may have the IQ but they certainly lack the EQ...

I feel that the "heartware" is really lacking :(

Anonymous said...

"Teo Chee Hean must be shaking his head right now" is the very clue why Charles Chong poured oil into the fire. But then I could be wrong, Chong can't be that clever. He could be plain stupid, and inviting another IMH graduate to en-lighten him at the next meet the lesser mortals session. Anyway it goes to show too much money can screw up your though processes.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think our elites' everyday vocab is very telling of their mindset?

1 fix and buy opposition .. any idiot of PM calibre will steer clear of such words

2 referring to one's salary as peanuts .. again, even I, a lesser mortal, does not refer salary as peanuts.

3 lesser mortals ... honestly, how often do we even use these two words in our daily conversation?

It shows very cleary what they are underneath those white shirts and white pants.

Like my mother says, only black need white to cover themselves.

Anonymous said...

Now we really know for sure. It has been confirmed again and again so many times. We have people who have shit in their brains pretending to act like our leaders. Period!

Anonymous said...

It's kinda unfortunate that such an episode and sequel should happen during this time when the average joe or jane is facing the deepening worldwide recession.

And yes, we can't really expect the elite to understand (much less sympathize) the common salaried worker's daily struggles at making ends meet with their modest payouts.

Power, prominence and prestige can really blind a person to the plight of their fellow countryman, sometimes to the extent of becoming callous.

It is no wonder that even their own children take after them in their arrogance, like the daughter of one WSK who's infamous quote in her former blog become a well-known byword in blogspheres and forums here: "Get out of my elite, uncaring face!"

Hopefully, there are still some people up there with enough true compassion and sensitivity to make a difference, or else the future may not be good for our nation when the next generation takes over the helm.

Anonymous said...

This great financial shaking will surely bring down those who rule by the rules of Babylon.