If this goes viral, it would be a PR nightmare for the government. If it doesn't this definitely isn't the last and somehow, somewhere and sometime just when you least expect it, it will pounce on you. What if that sometime is very close to the general elections?
This is the angry and impassioned imploring of a 76-year old retired teacher to her MP Hri Kumar to help her get back her CPF money. Unlike Dr. Toh Chin Chye, she thought her CPF money was safe with the government. Well it isn't unsafe, we just don't have the keys to them. The government can also at will change the rules and conditions.
Dr. Toh knew the government could change the rules at will and still remain in power. So when he retired he emptied his CPF account. But not this retired teacher and countless nameless others.
CPF issues is serious enough in my view for the PAP to be voted out of power. If we take this over the long term, it becomes not a question of if but when. Why be so stupid and stubborn over this? It is far smarter to let people have their money at 55 and still stay in power. Surely they have enough brains to know that their position on the CPF is indefensible? People are just going to only get more and more emotional about this issue and cannot be persuaded.
Wealth and power have is a strange and powerful analgesic that is very effective for helping leaders become out of touch with the people. More important, I believe there is no leader in the PAP who have the faintest idea of the mystical reality: The Dark Night of the Soul first shared with the world by St. John of the Cross. Eckhart Tolle has a more accessible explanation for my kids to look up. I know of no other way to be rich and powerful and yet not lose touch with the ground. It didn't matter if you were poor when young, wealth and power will make you forget what it was like to be in want even if you don't think so. In fact those born rich but truly cared about others are far better than those who were poor once and therefore assumed they understand when they don't. If this assertion isn't true, we would already have a natural compassionate meritocracy.
The rich and powerful keep forgetting the lesson served them way back by an obscure math professor in 1994. Dr. Thomas Ricely had discovered a bug in the Intel Pentium chip. He informed Intel about it but they basically ignored him. Then he told others about it on the Internet. It was still the early days but enough to amplify his message up to Wall Street. Intel stock price began to dive and the company was forced to respond. Since then, we have had many iterations of Dr. Ricely and Intel episodes in various guises. The PAP can pretend this 76-year old didn't happen or they can wait to be ambushed by another sometime down the road. Common sense would tell you that it is better to take the initiative than to be waylaid. This is the new world, where the places to hide keep disappearing. Suck it up leaders.
MP Hri Kumar response
My take: Government everywhere must try to avoid responsibilities which they are structurally unable to handle. E.g., LKY Graduate Mothers Scheme. And even if the people grant you the power be prepared they could take it back and often in a very messy and clumsy way. If your communication skills are bad and your strategy is a mess, like the PAP you are in grave danger of eventually losing power.
Hri Kumar rational response is unhelpful when the vacuum to be filled is at the emotional and trust level. People aren't satisfied. They wonder where on earth did we go wrong.
Update: June 15 1:45pm
Watching politics here becoming like elsewhere....you do this and this etc., I vote for you. The PAP MPs and ministers continue to struggle to earn the respect of the people....don't look very successful to me. Presently it is more like customers (voters) and supplier (government) kind of communication. We gotta to get out of this or we will be in big trouble.
Update: June 19 10:05 am
Found a good post by MP Hri Kumar on this episode. Good! They are doing their part for Renee Yap. Also checked to see if I have made unfair allegations about him and his grassroots. I haven't and the government especially its policy makers are out of touch with the ground.
Update: June 21 12:50pm
Sounds like much ado about nothing eh? Rene Yap can withdraw her entire amount in CPF? To me this is really odd. Had my father lived, he would be the same age as Ms Yap and I remember clearly from him he had to leave 30k with CPF which he received a couple of hundred dollars a month.