Blaming the people
The Singapore government has recently developed a undesirable trait; that of blaming Singaporeans either directly or indirectly for failures and lapses. This can be seen most recently in mainstream media coverage of the Geylang Serai food poisoning.
While there was virtually no coverage or questions asked of the NEA or even the management committee who oversees the temporary market, the state media was quick to jump on the bandwagon pushing the story of the hygiene habits of the hawkers and their customers. There’s even a recent news report by Channel News Asia titled More education programmes to improve food hygiene standards.
Also see this video by Wayang Party (the audio is out-of-sync with the video):
However it was revealed recently by Wayang Party that the market’s management committee is run by Kampung Ubi CCC (a government grassroots organisation):
In a letter sent to the media, Mr Andrew Tan wrote:
“When markets and hawker centres are being upgraded, grassroot organisations and their advisers can choose to have a temporary market which is not provided for under the Government’s Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme.
If so, they also carry the responsibility of keeping the temporary market clean to meet NEA standards. However, NEA will intervene if it assesses the need to do so in the interest of public health.
In the case of Geylang Serai Market, the Kampong Ubi CCC decided to build and manage the temporary market. Despite the best of efforts put in by the Temporary Market Management Committee in implementing its cleaning regime and in tackling the rat infestation problem, the problem had persisted.”
Original letter to the Straits Times by NEA’s CEO may be read here.
The Kampung Ubi CCC relies on MP Dr Ong Seh Hong for advice. Yes that’s the same PAP MP Dr Ong who was in the news recently for taking out a $60,000 loan from Ren Ci approved by its CEO and disgraced monk Rev. Ming Yi who is currently on trial. MP Dr Ong also represents the district the Geylang Serai market is situated in. This isn’t the first time the state media has sought to re-direct responsibility from the shoulders of the authorities to the common man. They did it in a creative manner when news of Mas Selamat escape broke. Indeed, one does not have to look far to witness the disdain the elites and the state media have for the common man. It’s atrocious to see the government patting itself on the back and rewarding themselves obscene millions in ministerial salaries during economic booms and evading responsibility during downturns and other lapses. Yet if history is any guide, this incident is easily forgotten and will be consigned to the trash heaps. This is just for the record.