Monday, April 2, 2012

A Matter Of Expectations

The Bukit Brown saga proved a new paradigm for "consultative governance" is in place. The man at the centre of the cemetery engagement effort, Tan Chuan-Jin, says he has no regrets about reaching out to interest groups on various policies. He attributed the disappointment of the soured interested parties to a "mismatch in expectations". "Everyone came in with their own expectations," he wrote, implying that everyone should have realised that the government's expectation comes first. Always have, always will be.

Following the Woodlands group who objected to the building of an elder-care centre at the void deck of their HDB blocks, residents at Toh Yi estate voiced their grouses on 8 February against similar intentions for a plot of land at the junction of Toh Yi Road and Toh Yi Drive.

On 5 March, HDB officials distributed a circular to all the 1,600 residents in the area confirming it will stick to its original plan to build a block of 130 studio apartments, despite howls of protest and a signed petition. It rejected alternative sites suggested by 230 residents in the estate,including one just 20m away near Block 17 instead. MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Sim Ann described HDB's decision as "a reasonable outcome that addresses the overall interests of residents in our estate".

On 1 April, the signboard is already is in place. Notice the dateline for application is 3 April - gives you the feeling that the plan was in place all along. The writing is literally on the wall. Sim Ann's "reasonable outcome" is not too dissimilar from BG Tan's. When Irving C. Johnson, who started the save Bukit Brown petition, called on the government to conserve what little is left of local history, the reply was a simplistic “Bukit Brown is needed in the future for housing." Quite likely the alternate sites for the Toh Yi project are also "needed for housing", as in more money to be made from private development instead of public housing requirements.
Click to see the big rush to get it done
 Whether the protesting parties are dead wrong or plain selfish is subject for separate debate, but it is clear that the wayang continues to play on like the insufferable afternoon soap operas. Why pretend to listen to alternative views when your mind is decided on a blinkered course of action?


  1. Consultation is a one way street for them.

    If they like your ideas they take it and call it their own. If not too bad.

  2. "It's all for the greater good."

    When people say this, always ask ... exactly whose greater good are we talking about?
    Ask for specific names of the people who will benefit.

    I can guarantee you a deafening silence will follow when you ask the question.

    The real answer to the question of "whose greater good? "
    Just follow the money trail.
    The money trail will tell you whose greater good we are talking about.
    The greater good are the ones whose bank accounts will benefit.

  3. It's my way or the highway. We have been used to this for the longest time, do not expected any changes in policy maybe till nearer the next GE. In the meantime, try to remember Bt Brown, the National Library, etc.

    1. At this stage, is becoming more 'is my way AND the high way'!!!

      I don't believe there are no choices/options for the people at all, as always.

  4. Fascism is a political ideology that places the interests of individual citizens behind the interests of the state.

    This form of nationalism was employed by Nazi Germany and Italy under Benito Mussolini and was a main cause for World War II.

    Because fascism has played a large role in world history and remains in practice today, it is important kids learn lessons about what fascism is.

    Read more: How to Teach Kids About Fascism |

  5. What is Fascism?

    “Fascism is the pursuit of a transcendent and cleansing nation-statism through paramilitarism.”

    Definition of terms:

    Belief that the state can transcend social conflict and blend all social classes into a harmonious whole. Belief in the power of political ideology to transcend human nature and produce a better world.

    Cleansing (ethnic):
    Favoring one or more ethnic or racial groups over others, either by granting special privileges or imposing disabilities; deportation of ethnic minorities, or worse.

    Cleansing (political):
    Silencing the political opposition so that the transcendent aims of fascism can be realized. Restricting the freedom of speech, outlawing opposition parties, imprisoning political opponents (or worse) and indoctrinating youth in fascist principles.

    Promoting a high degree of state intervention in personal, social, or economic matters. Belief that the state can accomplish anything.

    Belief in the inherent unity of a population with distinct linguistic, physical, or cultural characteristics and its identification with a nation-state. Belief that the nation possesses special attributes that make it superior to other nations in some or all ways.

    "Grass roots", populist squadrism aimed at coercing opponents and obtaining popular approbation by acting as a supplementary police force.

    Michael Mann is an historical sociologist and Professor of Sociology at UCLA.
    In his book Fascists (Cambridge University Press, 2004) he provides the following definition:

  6. The only way to stop them for saying 'for the majority good' to stop them for having the 'majority votes'

    This is a party that is incapable to concede, to listen, consult and get buy-in. More GRCs need to be fired before the wayang will stop.

  7. Reminds me of this story....Henry Ford was said to have sold the Ford Model T with the famous Hobson's choice of "any color... so long as it is black". In other words, take it or leave it.

    There is your consultation! But ultimately we do have a choice, and that is at the ballot box. 2016 cannot come soon enough. "Remember Hougang".

  8. Remember Bishan was once famous for so many ghost stories because it used to have many burial grounds. Now it is more famed for its many condos than public flats.

    If acquiring cheap burial land to sell in future as private lots for condos can make tonnes of monies, what do you think our money faced planners have in mind for Bukit Brown ?

    1. They can go sell off SICC for a start! Why should nature lovers sacrifice for an even smaller group of rich golfers? And seriously, with a prime land like BBC, you think they are building HDBs there?!!

    2. I agree. SICC provides no benefits to Singaporeans except for the priviledged few. It should be converted a park for the enjoyment of all people.

  9. 'Wayang' is a fine art, perfected by the two years to adulthood.

  10. Peasants.
    It is obvious to I, Queen Anna, of the Visitors (aliens?) that you are unhappy.

    It's time for me to piss (I mean bliss) on you.

    We are of peace. Always.

  11. Tatler

    What a joke, this is a BTO for Singaporeans in the proposed site.

    So the residents should be higher with a new construction of BTO?

    Now arguably, maybe the best method is to SERS the original buildings and build entire new buildings, and as usual for NIMBY, there will be grouses.

  12. With the government leaders always feeling superior to us, their so-called kind of consultations or discussions will be more like mere listening or pretend to listen or just coming up with some new ways to sell their ideas.

    There is no 2-way traffic, only top-down approach from them. Don't waste time talking to them. When comes to voting, show no mercy, even if anyone says sorry!