Picture from ST, 27 Feb 2016
I DON’T MEAN TO SOUND LIKE A SPOILSPORT OR NITPICKING, but when I saw the above picture I was struck by its sharp contrast with the Straits Times reports on the deaths of Student Benjamin Lim and SCDF NS Recruit Edwin Ong. The stark difference in treatment and prominence given to the above event and the other two is like between day and night.
It would appear that our ministers are only willing to appear in publicity pictures when the going is good. They want only to associate themselves with ‘happy’ events.
Isn’t this a bit like being ‘FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS’ – sharing your limelight, but not there to commiserate with you in your time of loss and sorrow, when you needed help or some words of assurance and a kind word or two most – as in the case of 14-year old student Benjamin Lim and SCDF NS Rec Edwin Ong’s parents?
Bringing it up in parliament is certainly important. But we suspect that it only comes about only because of the many adversed and critical comments, including Benjamin’s parent’s open letter, in the social media about the vexing series of events surrounding Benjamin’s suicide under circumstances that have negatively impacted both the police and the MOE – the indiscriminate manner and lack of care in which they had apparently carried out their duties. As we all know, Benjamin Lim killed himself hours after he was interrogated by the police for an alleged molest of an 11-year old girl. He had jumped from his family flat within minutes after his school phoned his parents on the same day to bar him from participating in a school camp due to start the very next day. The decision by the school to bar him appeared to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. In this case, I think it had all but smashed and shattered the 14-year old’s self-esteem and confidence into a thousand pieces, among other reasons.
Back to the above topic, the ST Athlete of the Year award.
It would appear that the organizers seemed to have forgotten to include one significant person (IMHO) who is missing in all 7 pictures published with the reports, I am referring to the teacher, in this case the winner’s coach, Mick Massey, who must be, apart from family members, the next most important person who should be included in the photo-taking sessions. Would it be wrong to consider her coach as a significant person primarily instrumental to her success? While minister Fu appeared in THREE of the 7 ST pictures published, there was none with her coach in it. Was her coach, Mick Massey (who was mentioned in Rohit Brijinath’s Commentary on the same day), not invited or did he opt out of the photo-taking sessions? For whatever reasons, the ST could have at least included a small portrait picture of Massey in Rohit’s article ‘Champion’s spirit in a faltering body’. That should be the right and decent thing to do – to also accord someone significantly involved, with some form of tangible recognition.