This is filed under Letters To TOC
It is mindboggling, at least to me, that someone can be dismissed without being treated with very basic decency and courtesy.
Yes, I am referring to the MOE’s dismissal of poet/playwright Alfian Sa’at from his relief teacher job at a secondary school.
Since the MOE has chosen to keep mum about the reasons, even as the Straits Times and TODAY (and many many bloggers) have called for clarification, it now stands that the civil service will be perceived as being high-handed and discourteous.
It makes one wonder what has happened to all those years of the courtesy campaigns.
Perhaps we should have one specially for the civil and government service people.
I will not delve into the secret world of behind-the-scene manoeuvres which some have suggested took place which led to Alfian’s dismissal. Instead, I would like to ask a very basic question:
“Does the government consider it important to treat its citizens with basic common decency and courtesy and respect?”
Sure, as Koh Jie Kai have said, the MOE may not be obliged legally to offer any reasons for what they did. But if we’re all going to have to be legally bound before we act decently, then may the heavens help us!
What is immensely ironic to me is that the people who displayed such uncaring attitudes are people in the EDUCATION ministry!
So, kudos to the EDUCATION officials for teaching our kids how to act when one has power over others.
It is beholden of the government that if they publicly conduct courtesy campaigns for its citizens, and exhorts the same citizens to be “compassionate”, that they too act in the same manner.
Otherwise, they’d be guilty of hypocrisy of the highest order.
And may I humbly offer that dismissing a teacher, even though he may be just a “relief” teacher, in such a callous and non-transparent manner, is bad manners and bad attitudes unbecoming of officials of a ministry which is set out to educate our kids.
So, while we may argue about whether the sacking is justified, or whether the MOE is correct in its reasons (whatever they may be), there is no doubt that the MOE should, can and must do better.
For if they don’t, they’d be no better than “uncaring elites”.
Yes, please lets spend some money on a courtesy campaign for the officials in MOE. And while we’re at it, lets see if the MOE can “try a little kindness” too.
Or should we all wait for the next “Kindness Week”?
“In his 1996 New Year Message then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong highlighted the need for Singapore to become a gracious society by the 21st century. He emphasised that Singapore should not only continue to develop its economy, but should complement it with growth in personal development and in social behaviour.…In line with the Mr Goh’s call to build a gracious society, the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) aims to encourage Singaporeans to make a positive commitment to gracious living through simple acts of kindness in their daily activities. (Link)