Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Sight For Sore Eyes

You gotta see it to believe it. Located at Jurong Street 21, and winner of the BCA Green Mark Award 2013 (Platinum), is a brand new building with the name emblazoned in big bold letters:
Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.

It is the site of two new centres set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to support low-wage workers and professionals, managers and executives (PME). NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say himself was the one who announced the "one-stop centres" during a dialogue session with union leaders at the institute on Tuesday, 3 September 2013. Will miracles never cease.

Devan Nair is the ex-president who resigned under contentious circumstances in 1985. Prime Minister of the day Lee Kuan Yew aired the dirty linen in Parliament about alcohol fueled fondling of nubile lasses in Borneo longhouses during a state visit, attributable to alcoholism which Nair vehemently denied. For a while, his blackened name was acronym for No Alcohol I Resign.

In 1999, the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail was sued by Lee over an article about the acrimonious parting of friends. Lee's press secretary Yeong Yoon Yiong challenged the New York Times for reporting the suit was dropped because of a countersuit filed by Nair:
"In fact, the suit also took issue with defamatory allegations that Nair made against Lee, and Lee agreed to discontinue it only when two of Nair's sons issued a statement, reported in the Globe and Mail on July 1, 2004, maintaining that Nair was no longer mentally competent to give evidence in court."

The sons' statement acknowledged that "the article quoted Nair as saying that Lee had Singapore government doctors slip hallucinatory drugs to Nair to make him appear befuddled." And the statement concluded that "having reviewed the records, and on the basis of the family's knowledge of the circumstances leading to Mr. Nair's resignation as president of Singapore in March, 1985, we can declare that there is no basis for this allegation." It was a biggy when Lee turned on his comrade-in-arms who spent serious time in prison to fight the colonial Brits. That his own flesh and blood would turn against him must be worse torment than a dank British cell..

One of his sons is none other than Janadas Devan, Chief of Government Communications at the Ministry of Communication and Information (CGC). More famously, he gained notoriety as the ghost writer of Teo Ho Pin's long winded exposition about the Action Information Management (A.I.M.) dealings. Janada's pensmanship may come in useful again if Lim Swee Say needs a fairy tale accounting of the naming of the building at Jurong Street 21.


  1. Was wondering what kind of name is " for employment and employability" when I chance upon it . Now that it was pointed out to be the NTUC's, it figures . Who do have one very articulate, but most times incomprehensible Union Chief, no ?

    1. I doubt Devan Nair if he were alive today will consider it an honour and quite likely Devan would rather it become LeeKuanYew institute for lifetime employment...
      whereby members must be senior citizens who are either toilet /foodcourt cleaners, entrepreneurs in recycling cans, cardboxes or involved in marketting tissue paper packages, 4D lottery tickets, etc

  2. What? Devan Nair building? Must ask his son Kanadas why. So whose turn next? Tony Tan GRC? Or rename Singapore to Leegapore?

  3. Ideally, Lim Swee Say should invite LKY to officiate in opening of the DevanNair institute with Janadas Devan performing the role of a walking stick.

  4. Singapore is a nice name
    though Singalore is more
    befitting now with vices
    being the Lifeline for
    survival of the Tiny Dot.
    That said, Singalore needs
    a fitting name to go with it
    for posterity.

    What do You think?

    1. Sing-a-pore,
      Is the original score.
      Though Sin-galore,
      Is a better metaphor.

      The disgruntled are sore;
      To them, it is Sink-apore.

    2. Sink-the-Poor.
      That's an accurate name.

  5. I am sad to know that people these days do not seem to appreciate what the first gen leaders had done for Singapore in the early days. Without the good work done by these few good men, Singapore would not be what she is today.

    Please go read up what Devan Nair has done for Singapore.

    1. Just like when Devan Nair was alive and being the President of Singapore, he was no match in terms of power, to the Lee KuanYew, PM of Singapore.
      Today we have Lee Hsien Loong, Lim Swee Say and Tan Chuan Jin to keep the floodgates for FTs wide open and a Devan Nair Centre for Employment and Employability to conteract?


  6. It's important to know history from reliable records. When urban legends and rumours are taken as facts; then we lose a part of our heritage.

    Devan Nair is instrumental in securing our independence from colonialism and bringing Singapore to achieve our Global standing today.

    He fought for rights of Singapore workers and senior unionists will tell you he was a true blue unionist.

  7. Employability, what is the meaning of that ? Do we even have a central national agency to register the unemployed ? If not, is it another wayang ?

    I'm sure that building must be full of shops or commercial spaces to be let out to spin more money for those in charge ? Is it not like some kind of iron rice bowl for the cronies to be employed perpetually, no ?

    Even a train driver like Gintai they can't even provide the minimum job security, who are they trying to kid again ?

    1. 1. Do you want union to protect errant workers? Workers who endanger lives?
      1a. Gintai was not a Union member.

      2. Pls visit the building before you say it is full of shops and commercial spaces.

    2. @ 1a. Gintai was not a Union member.

      1. Are you sure NTUC can protect its union members from unfair employers?
      Sure or not?

      2. How come you have access to confidential NTUC membership records?

    3. Anon @ 10/30/2013 12:42 PM
      The casino endangers thousands of lives by encouraging gambling. Why is the union out to recruit the casino workers, workers who endanger lives?

    4. I don't have access to membership records. You go read Gintai blog.

  8. Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.
    Why not give it a Lim Boon Heng inspired name?

    Crocodile Tears Institute for Employment and Employability.

  9. Another white elephant for NTUC commercial corp that has groomed Lim Boon Heng into a "Businessman" to sit in Temasek Holding.

    This new amenity probably has larger room for LSS to sing another funeral song called "Upturning the Downturn." Todate, we still didn't see what Singaporean workers have benefited from the presence of NTUC after decades of slogging for this cuntry.