Photo from Marina Bay Sands
Photo from Marina Bay Sands
Australian Education Minister Peter Chandler secretly billed taxpayers $1800 for a two-night stay in the “Grand Club Room” at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore as part of a $22,000 trip that did not appear on ministerial travel forms.
Mr Chandler, a former Deputy Chief Minister, released the cost of the trip for him and his chief-of-staff to the Sunday Territorian, but failed to disclose the trip’s entire price tag.
The Sunday Territorian has obtained documents that show the trip cost over $7000 for him, $7000 for his former chief-of-staff Anthony Jarvis and another $7000 for Department of Education chief executive Ken Davies.
There was also more than $1000 spent on hire cars. [link]

 


Well that appeared on the newspaper. Word for word. Awkward. I am not interested in discussing about the deed. To me, it didn’t surprise me a bit because it is the nature of human beings to be corrupted or take advantage of situations. That really applies to Singaporean humans as well, since we are by no means any superior species that makes us any different from the others. Thus, I will never be convinced that paying an incredulous amount of wages to a Minister will render him or her incorruptible. Not a chance. Lest someone accuses me for insinuating that our incorruptible super human Ministers may be corrupted after all, I have to clarify that I do not have information to prove that. So our Ministers remain as clean as their uniform.
If you see the problem here, a corrupted official will remain clean so long no evidence is brought up against him. Yet we are placing absolute trust in a group of humans when we couldn’t trust ourselves to be incorruptible in their positions. It is perhaps good to ponder over a hypothetical scenario where somebody wants to be a whistle blower. Does Singapore has a conducive environment to keep a whistle blower safe from doing something right? We have always talk about how Singapore is being run under a top down model. Thus all information, including a whistle blow, has to be properly filed and moved up the chain of command. So what if the whistle blower is whistle blowing against the top of the chain of command?
That is where the media plays a big role. Unfortunately, we do not have an independent media in Singapore. As such, mistakes have been always played down or swept under the carpet. Take the above report about the Australian Education Minister for example, will our mainstream media report it as it is, without fear or favour if such a thing happens in Singapore? Will the Singapore media even publish information in the documents received by a whistle blower at all, if it involves a key figure of the country? (I am not talking about the likes of TT Durai) Even if it does, will the Straits Times use words like “failed to do so” to describe the case factually or use words like “incomplete disclosure of information” or “honest mistake?” Will journalist take a stand and establish what is right or wrong? No, no, no and no.
I am not saying the alternative media at our disposal at the moment is good. They are expected to be bad because they are not allowed otherwise. The government claims alternative media is divisive and never fails to nip one it the bud before it blooms. It is the same way how the incumbent set to destroy an opposition party before it gets good enough to be a viable alternative so that citizens have no valid excuses not to choose the intended people to run the show unless they are out of their minds. Can this be good for the country? The argument was that since it worked for the past 50 years, why wouldn’t it work for the next 50? Well, if everyone including our government calls Singapore’s progress for the last 50 years a miracle, why do we seem to take for granted that things will work out the same way again? Do we really think miracles happen everyday? It is called a miracle for a reason, for fuck’s sake. Looking at the current batch of leaders, we definitely need more checks to run the next lap.
Alternative media has mixed performances over the last few years. There was a fair share of inaccuracies or even fabrications but considering the fact that headlines such as Bromptongate, AIMSgate and MP sex scandals were fanned through alternative media to the point it gives MSM no choice but to cover (though in their damage reduction manner wherever applicable), that emphasize the need to allow these alternatives to grow and be credible enough to serve Singaporeans well.
Nix Elle

Reproduced with permission from Nix Elle.
You may view his original post here.

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