This looks like a POSED shot. Not that the boy was acting. He, unfortunately, was manipulated like a tool by the Straits Times reporter and photographer in attendance.
It seems surreal to me that Tony Tan, who had no empathy for having disabled or handicapped children in mainstream schools, and by extension, in our paper-conscious society, would be pictured attending to a ‘disabled’ child?
TT and the rest of the Education Ministers hold the view (and still do) that it would cost too much to allow disabled and handicapped children into our mainstream schools under the charge of the MOE. But significantly and regrettably, they have also made the decision not to provide alternatives for these left-out children’s obvious outstanding educational needs. Officially, they don’t exist on the MOE radar screen.
Yet, compulsory schooling is official govt policy for children of school going age. But there seems to be a ‘tacit’ caveat that children with disabilities and handicaps are to be the exceptions, to be excluded from this policy. Such children are instead left to the devices of their own hard-pressed parents to find voluntary charitable organizations on their own (and often at huge cost which many could ill-afford) willing to accept and to provide for their educational and training needs.
Supremely ironical indeed that while the govt obviously thinks that these children would cost it an arm and leg financially to educate, it apparently believes that their parents are in a position to afford it! Just incredibly lame!
There are loads of anecdotal evidences of the great hardships imposed on the parents, esp. the less well off, of these children. Just getting admitted into the relevant charitable institutions running the courses and training has been tough going, oftentimes very tough going indeed, for many. But the govt though fully aware of the difficulties and hardships faced by the parents and their children, preferred to turn a blind eye to their needs and to their plights. No qualms, no guilt, just blithe pretense that these children and their educational needs simply do not exist. They do not register on MOE’s compulsory education radar.
The incontrovertible truth is that disabled and handicapped children are being ignored and ostracized to this very day largely because they would not, in the eyes of the govt, make it to the cohort of ‘productive economic digits’ that the Singapore educational system is so much geared toward and primed to produce for the sake of the PAP govt’s greater economic ambitions and glorious materialism.
The PAP govt seems to measure people’s lives not by how they are enabled to live them to the fullest, based on their innate abilities and potentials. Instead it seems to be decided by how much money we, the people, could make for the govt. This is all very one-sided communitarianism – from people to govt and nothing in reciprocal from the govt. The be-all and end-all of the population to the PAP govt seems to be wholly decided on this basis.
On the other hand, the govt has carved out huge places and at great taxpayers’ costs to provide virtually all expenses paid and very attractive education packages on a silver platter – from primary through to university and even overseas institutions – for foreigners, with hardly any redeeming obligation for them to repay in kind or cost. In fact, some of these scholars proved to be leechers who absconded back to their homeland after taking the prize, and milking the Singapore govt cow for what they can get from it with impunity, never to return, leaving in their wake impotent civil servants fretting about their powerlessness to do anything about it.
The situation is doubly ironical when you consider that some of the Singaporean parents of disabled children ignored by the PAP govt, are taxpayers, who collectively provided the funds that the govt has so generously used to finance such schemes for the foreigners. It is like rubbing salt into their wounds. This is the sort of ‘Singaporeans first’ policy that we have heard being espoused by TT?
The ST picture speaks volumes about how low the govt’s propaganda machinery in cahoots with the Straits Times editorial board could go, to please the erstwhile ultimate boss at SPH and dy chairman cum executive director of the GIC, to help him ‘nail’ the EP post. Winning is EVERYTHING it seems, and at all costs.
The govt and the MSM would be sadly mistaken if they think that such a ruse would work. TT is a dyed to the core PAP man. That is well known and is as plain as day. Only an idiot would mistake his unchanged leopard spots for the stripes of a tiger. His prime mission is to work with the govt to keep the EP within its orbit in order to secure its many secrets from exposure to citizens of Singapore.
TT has the vested interest too of protecting his own reputation and competence since he played a significant role as dy chairman and executive director of the GIC when it suffered tremendous losses to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in the recent financial crises during his watch. He has a prime motive of self-interest to keep his part in the debacle tightly wrapped up and opaque to public scrutiny. In fact, in a rather ludicrously lame attempt at pushing blame, he tried to pass the buck of the non-disclosure to the govt! And we all know fully well that the principal ‘governors’ of the GIC need to look no further than into a mirror for the govt heads in question!
It would be very interesting to hear how the committee which decides on each potential EP candidate’s eligibility for nomination would try to justify TT’s eligibility as a presidential candidate given this very very pertinent background. His conflict of interest is only too obvious as explained above. But I would not be surprised if this very objection to his candidacy would be used perversely as a strong justification for his inclusion! Such ‘reversed’ logic is not new of course with this govt. Such logic would sit quite comfortably with the logic used by CJ Chan when he was the AG to let GCT and his group off the hook when they had plainly committed an offence under the parliamentary election rule by entering a voting centre on election day when they have no right or business to be there!
To the Straits Times:
When someone is injured, common decency and ethical considerations demand that his privacy should be protected from the prying eyes of the morbidly curious. This applies to everyone, including a young boy. But instead we find that the Straits Times reporter and photographer on the spot, as well as the news editor, clearly do not believe in honouring such ethical behaviour when it saw a golden opportunity to capitalize on and score point for the govt endorsed EP candidate, Tony Tan. It bears repeating that the potential EP candidate is the immediate past Chairman of the SPH group to which the ST is a significant component. It bears repeating too that the presence of the ST journalists cannot be by chance.
In the event, the behaviour of the ST editors and its journalists is on a par with that commonly encountered in tabloid news.