It is no secret that wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Ho Ching is a frequent user of social media. Posting at least several times a day, Madam Ho updates us on almost everything ranging from restaurant promotions to wildlife conservation.
However, what catches the most attention are her views on social-political issues. She is after all, the CEO of the powerful Temasek Holdings while her husband holds the most influential position in Singapore.
Ho’s latest diatribes relate to widespread criticism online of unfair hiring practices in Singapore. This has been a hot button issue recently with reports that large MNCs and banks have hiring policies that effectively discriminate against Singaporeans in conjunction with the twin effects of COVID-19 and the slowing global economy.
In a seemingly impassioned post, Ho exhorted people to “make their complaints of unfair hiring through proper channels such as MOM, and back their complaints with facts instead of relying to hearsay or speculations”.
While Ho’s opinion in isolation is fair enough, one does wonder if she is aware of how difficult it is for lay persons to raise issues such as these to government agencies? Given her political and corporate position, Madam Ho is very high in the packing order. The average Singaporean does not have the forum that she has and will not be able to get the ear of government agencies such as MOM the way she can.
So while it may seem straightforward on paper to raise issues with the MOM, reality is far more nuanced. Has Ho considered that many of those who take to social media to complain about unfairness are only resorting to social media as the only way their voices can be heard?
Before berating people for taking to social media to complain about societal ills, has Ho thought about how difficult it might be for mere mortals to raise issues? Instead of blaming the victims, perhaps she may need to consider whether her position of power makes such things easier for her to navigate?
She talks about people relying on “hearsay” and “speculation”. Yet, has she addressed the fact that almost 50% of Temasek’s top management are foreigners? This is on the website of Temasek Holdings. It is neither hearsay nor speculation.
Perhaps as CEO of Temasek, she ought to explain why that is the case? There is absolutely nothing wrong with foreigners and this is not an anti foreigner article. However, given the recent and growing concerns about there being too many foreign PMETs in Singapore at the expense of locals, Temasek should perhaps take the lead in explaining how the foreigners it does hire have unique skill sets?
By lambasting people for complaining in the “wrong way”, could Ho be seen as deflecting from the issue instead of dealing with it?