Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister of something, during his engagement with WP’s Sylvia Tan was mentioned to have said the following in his closing speech:
You know, let me make this further point. Politics is a contest of power. But you know, the key principle is when you have power is, don’t take advantage of people under your charge and always be honest and upfront with your people.
All of us will make mistakes and when a mistake is made, just come clean and say so. But don’t cover up. That’s why I have not let this go
Because it is not about cleanliness of the ceiling. It is about clean politics.
Bravo!! He is one of the few PAP MPs who are willing to stand up to PAP and point out all the faults of PAP and ask them to clean up their acts and run clean politics (or was it the politics of effective cleaning.. I wonder).
Anyway, on the same day someone posted an article about the state of journalism in Singapore (http://mumbrella.asia/2013/07/self-censorship-in-singapore-2/). In the article, this is quoted,
I remember doing a story on the fluoridation of water in Singapore. Water fluoridation was a sensitive topic, as its benefits were debatable. I sent an email to the water authority with some questions. They shot back saying I was not to report on the issue – because water is a strategic resource, and I was supposed to be writing about how fluoride was good for us, if at all.
Look at what happened to Val Chua [a former journalist for Mediacorp-run TODAY newspaper, who was sacked for reporting on comments made Lee Kuan Yew about Britain’s National Health Service when his wife had a stroke in London in 2003]. She reported the story. It was very innocent. The story was not inaccurate. The thing is, the journalists had been told retrospectively to leave out certain aspects and quotes, but Val reported these. And as a result of that story she was seconded to a quiet corner of the news room, and did no reporting for a number of years.
I wonder if Vivian was referring this in his speech where we see abuses of power by authorities under PAP, the lack of transparency of process and not being upfront about the debateable benefits of fluoridation of water? Even worst the poor journalist remained anonymous throughout, perhaps afraid for his life, his job or that of his family if he was publically quoted? I wonder if that is taking advantage of people under PAP’s charge.
Anyway, this is just one article, I am quite sure everyone can find even more examples from Operation Cold Storages to do know why Pink Dot got rejected for hosting in another location (i.e. nobody knows the reason, no reason given… upfront? transparent?) I am so glad that Vivian stepped out of the closet to declare his distaste of abuses of power, lack of transparency and not apologising for all the mistakes made by the ruling party and asked them to search their conscience and run a clean government. Kudos!!