This installment is on the PLACEBO:
1. A substance having no medication (sugar pills, for example), prescribed merely to satisfy a patient who supposes it to be a medicine.
2. Something (such as a remark or action) that is used to soothe someone but one that has no remedial value for what is causing the problem.
Unless I am grossly mistaken, we are on the very cusp of tremendous fundamental political and institutional changes. As such, frankly therefore, I don’t understand those who would consider TT or TCB suitable for the EP when they have been part and parcel of the ruling estab. responsible for the very problems we are now facing. They are compromised political personalities. Do we expect a saboteur to repair our damaged premises after they are through with it? We must ask ourselves, how realistic is that? It is indeed masochistic that there are some among us who would want to re-visit the pains that they have caused us.
It is a virtual guarantee that Tony Tan would be absolutely silent and would gloss over all his own management decisions as the deputy chairman and executive director of the GIC. The conflict of interest for him is only too real for any rational, right thinking person to ignore. Made especially keenly felt by the lack of accountability that we have witnessed.
Even giving him the best benefit of the doubt, can we expect him to be little more than a writer who is blind to the grammatical, punctuation and even syntactical errors, he has made in his own writing, which only an IMPARTIAL EDITOR (or in this case, an AUDITOR) can discover?
To those who support him, let’s be quite clear about the status quo of this financial carnage dealt Singaporeans – up to now, we have NOT been given a proper and clear account about the international wheeling and dealing that the GIC got involved in which led to this horrific loss of hundred of billions of our reserves that probably took the country DECADES to accumulate.
One is left to imagine that our HIGHLY INTELLIGENT political elites were apparently persuaded or seduced by some CHILDISH THOUGHTS of making MEGABUCKS into taking such imprudently, if not recklessly, high risks, akin to playing the Russian Roulette in the international casinos of HIGH FINANCE.
Was there any objectively and soberly carried out DUE DILIGENCE or was it a familiar case of GROUPTHINK, HERD MENTALITY, OF FOLLOWING THE CROWD OR EVEN AN HONEST MISTAKE? Did the people in the GIC (and Temasek) thought it was THEIR OWN MONEY THEY ARE PLAYING WITH? These are but some of the NAGGING questions begging to be answered.
Without proper answers, where is the assurance for us that there would not be a recurrence? Pompous pride and a mentality of Machiavellian politics seemed to be in the way of a public owning up and admission of the mistakes made.
What do you think? Did TT as chairman and deputy director of GIC play a significant role in it? This whole financial debacle would probably go down in local history as one of the best kept secrets of Singapore.
Even when he was a minister and a deputy PM, Tony Tan did not stand out as one who cared for the common people. He was very silent and very quiet almost all the time. Some gave him credit for the eventual withdrawal of the blatantly discriminatory graduate mother scheme, but in all probabilities he was obliged more by circumstances than by any principled belief.
It was a fear of a political backlash from an important and highly articulate population segment, not rational human considerations, that eventually forced the govt into retreat. If it was human considerations, that scheme shouldn’t even have seen the light of day with its obnoxious and repugnant fascist association.
It was undeniably a case of the pugnaciously arrogant Lee’s strong armed interference into the private lives of people with his eugenics* experimentation. Fortunately, Singapore and Singaporeans didn’t and don’t live in the conditions of Nazi Germany. In this context, one might very well wonder what was TT’s role as Education Minister where one’s deepest lingering memories of his stint was the continual tweaking and changes made by his ministry to the schools’ curriculum to the huge and often cruel distress of both parents and their children?
In this connection, I see his lack of compassion for the education of disabled and handicapped children at one end and the insatiable appetite of the MOE to experiment with the curriculum of mainstream schooling at the other, as two sides of the same coin.
Is it possible to miss the ‘neo-eugenics’ undercurrent driving both these tendencies? At one extreme, an unapologetic and dismissive abandoning of responsibilities for the disabled and handicapped, and at the other extreme an unrelenting hot-housing of students to over-achieve their potentials! Can it be any clearer what seems to be driving the authorities in charge of education in Singapore, yesterday and today?
He does not appear to have a heart or belief in ensuring that our disabled and handicapped children get as near a proper education as the rest. What greater proof is there of this than the fact that to this very day the education of these children are NOT the responsibility of the MOE, they are all ‘charity cases’ with the MOE taking minimal and marginal responsibility for their education. The teachers of such children are NOT trained or employed under the MOE nor are their institutions supported by the ministry so much so that funding, manpower and facilities are always limited and a constant source of worry, stress and restriction for those responsible. Students have to wait months in a queue for a place. Basically, TT’s consideration seems to be dictated overwhelming by cost, he thinks they are ‘costly’ to educate and of low ‘returns’ in economic benefit.
So, it is the money, not people’s lives, fulfilling their real potential and well being, sadly, that takes priority in his mind. Should one be surprised at all? I have rational doubts about such attributes or qualities being desirable for a potential people’s president.
If anything my own very clear memory of his overall impact had been that he was VERY, VERY quiet on most issues. So silent that it was deafening. His silence would have been noted by any politically conscious Singaporean who cared for how his or her country is being governed.
What came across, his smiling inscrutable face and all, was that he is more, much more of a technocrat (he executes the cold, hard ‘technical’ stuffs) than a people’s politician. With his mindset, TT does as he was told (by his boss) which is in direct contrast to the moral-orientation and a deeply felt sense of fairness and responsibility to the people that is discernible in the demeanor of and that had moved our late president Ong Teng Cheong, who was also a DPM.
One may also well ask why did TT not want to take on the PM’s job when offered by LKY? Well, on hindsight we now know that he was smart enough to know that he could only be a ‘SEAT WARMING’ PM until the younger Lee is strong enough to fly solo (with the father’s constant prevailing wind under his wings, of course).
So why is he now ‘volunteering’ for the EP’s job with instantaneous knee-jerk like endorsements from LHL, GCT (reaching from across the oceans), Nathan, etc? TT’s motive has to be highly suspect. Is he the knight in shining armour for us, that he made himself out to be in his statement, or IS IT FOR HIS OWN SAKE AND THAT OF HIS ASSOCIATES THAT HE IS ‘VOLUNTEERING’? His words were too glib and high sounding to be considered sincere. He is still talking like a politician, a PAP politician, making the usual empty, highfalutin statements that tells nothing!
IMO, he does not want his endeavours in the GIC to become public knowledge for reasons best known to himself. It is apparent that his top focus is to protect his own and the govt’s untold secrets and competencies, or lack thereof. As a big boss in the GIC he had refused to disclose the performance of the GIC to the people who have every right to know what had become of their reserves, despite their vociferous clamour for the truth. Therefore, what makes you think he would do any differently if he, touch wood, were to become the EP?
TO USE A FAMILIAR EXPRESSION: FAT HOPE.