by Chris Kuan
As the old football chant goes “here we go, here we go, here we go”, good old smack down of former editor who dared suggest the ministers speak plainly. “Plain speech is also about telling hard truths” thundered the Press Secretary Lim Yuin Chien.
Well first and foremost, what Hard Truths, whose Hard Truths and which Hard Truths. Your Hard Truths isn’t necessary the same as my Hard Truths. The Hard Truths of the 70s and 80s ain’t the Hard Truths of 2018 even if for the sake of ideology, the govie makes it sounds as if it is. But this is why I find it ridiculous for the govie to keep harping on Hard Truths as if Hard Truths comes in only one direction – top down.
The Press Secretary gave an example of CPF as adequate for most Singaporeans but as people live longer, needs in old age will go up and people will have to work longer, save more while working, or have less to spend in retirement. Indeed that is a Hard Truth.
But what about other Hard Truths that dare not speak their name? How about this for starters – draining CPF accounts for housing which accumulated the reserves. Yet grudging in returning the monies drained from CPF through social spending for the benefit of the people – like higher healthcare and disability subsidies, higher thresholds for WIS, Silver Support and Comcare or even a flat rate basic state pension, all to help mitigate exactly that Hard Truth the Press Secretary is pontificating about.
Is this pandering and populism as the Press Secretary said of the journalists and politicians presumably the opposition or is this fair, equitable and inclusive? Get this even it seems lost on the Press Secretary and his boss, we are also meant to be discussing inequality and social divisions. As one can see plainly, don’t expect the government to tell Hard Truths that are inconvenient to them.
What a way to start another useless national conversation.
This was first published on Chris Kuan’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission