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Simon Lim: Ang baos could be pooled and distributed equally to workers

by Simon Lim

I refer to page A7 of today’s Straits Times, “Stern CPIB warnings for crematorium staff who got red packets“. This comment is purely my opinion.

Our zero-tolerance towards corruption is well known and has earned us a good reputation and respect internationally. It is a valuable asset and our CPIB is doing a good job and they deserve encouragement and praises, no less, however, I do hope that they can be more flexible when doing their jobs and couple it with a human touch. I want to clearly stress that flexibility is not compromising its stand on corruption. Let me explain.

To many families, the demise of a family member is an emotional and painful experience. I remember when a family member passed away, the strains, the pains and the emotional drains etc that it extorted on my family members and relatives were high. I believe that it is the same with many other families.

It is only natural human that at the end of a funeral, bereaved families wish to express their appreciation and gratitude to low-income crematorium workers for having done a satisfactory job and giving of angpows is one convenient way.

I want to clearly point out that for any crematorium staff to ask or hint or prompt for angpows is strictly unacceptable but to forbid those low-income crematorium workers from accepting angpows given voluntarily is also undesirable. They are, after all, working hard in an inauspicious job and providing a useful service. They have families to look after too.

I suggest that any angpows given voluntarily by members of the bereaved families be pooled and at the end of every month, crematorium workers share them equally. That way, the goodwill and gratitude of bereaved families are not denied, no laws are broken and low-income crematorium workers are more motivated to provide a higher level of service and empathy to bereaved families. It is a win-win-win suggestion.

I hope that our relevant authorities are not just made up of book-smart alecs but devoid of human feelings and a deeper understanding of life and things. Think.

This was first published on Simon Lim’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.