Appreciating it for what it is

Law and Foreign Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, posted 2 notes on his Facebook page about Mr Cheng Teck Hock, the taxi driver who was killed in what is now called “the ferrari incident”. Shanmugam had paid a visit to the family at Mr Cheng’s wake.

I re-posted the minister’s note on my own Facebook page.

Soon after, some (comments online) said the minister’s action is a “wayang” and asked why it is being touted as an act of compassion. Government policies were soon added to the mix and Shanmugam’s action roundly criticised for not dealing with the actual causes of the death – which, some say, is the Govt’s immigration policy. The ferrari driver, who had smashed his car into Mr Cheng’s taxi, was a Chinese national.

While I understand the feelings – strong feelings – against the Govt’s immigration policy, and I have written quite a few articles on various platforms against it as well, I do not feel that criticising Shanmugam’s action in this case is a rational thing to do. 

The minister is doing what we have always said the Government ministers should be doing – be more compassionate and to show it. (Read this post on this forum.)

Yet when they do, we say they are playing politics, perhaps trying to win sympathy votes (especially now that the Hougang by-election is in full swing).

For me, I’d just like to take Shanmugam’s action at face value, and appreciate the fact that a minister has not only paid the grieving family a visit – which is perhaps some comfort to the family – but he has also pledged to helping Mr Cheng’s family, especially his children.

Yes, the accusations of politicking will continue. It is the same accusations levelled at Low Thia Khiang, when it was made known that he attends wakes in his constituency regularly. Only those who know Mr Low would know that Mr Low does it because he feels it is the right thing to do. You’re MP not only when your constituents are alive but also when they have passed on and their family needs comfort and help.

But mostly, and you can call me naive, but I think sometimes taking things at face value allows us to appreciate ourselves and fellow human beings as human beings.

And in all that criticism against Shanmugam, there seems to something lost – the little mention of Mr Cheng and his family. It is rather unfortunate that, perhaps inadvertently, in criticising a seemingly decent act of compassion, we have turned Mr Cheng’s untimely death into a spectacle used to vent our anger on the Government.

There is a time for criticising the Government. This time, however, is not it.

I do not, and never have, believed that all PAP members are bad. And I am not the only one, including its critics, to think so.

I would prefer to appreciate Shanmugam’s action for what it is, on face value, just as I appreciate Low Thia Khiang’s action.

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6 thoughts on “Appreciating it for what it is

  1. I have a very very bad impression on him. His current act would only improve my opinion on him a little. However, it is still far far too early to judge on his change in his attitude towards people given his past bad record that I could remember.

  2. Has Shanmugam been doing this regularly in the past, then it is not wayang but if he is doing it for a high profile incident with Hougang BE in mind – who really knows?

  3. Would he has done it if not for the culprit being an FT? This case is certainly exceptional don’t you think when you have even the PM and the deputy PM going out of their way to make a point in relation to this? Let’s call a spade a spade. They acted only because of the continual bad publicity involving FT esp. mainland Chinese.

    Can you recall any similar actions in previous cases? I don’t.
    Their actions are more dictated by govt’s anxiety over yet one more incident involving Chinese nationals. I don’t need to list the cases involving CNs in the recent past as they are well known.

    I would believe there is really a change if we consistently see the govt leaders coming forward to help the relatives of victims.

    The Hougang BE is definitely a factor. Pointless to deny this. No one would believe otherwise. It is not unknown for politicians to do things for their own agenda. This is not an exception. The fact is, the govt action this time round is so out of the character we know them for.

    I am also quite sure you would be censoring this note. We all know your propensity, let us just call it that. But please remember, acts of self denial no matter how many times wouldn’t change the facts. They would in fact reinforces the negative opinion already held by people.

  4. The timing of the visit, and the choice of the visit is fishy. So many people die on the roads, is he giong to visit and support every one of them? Why is the Ferrari accident deserving a special visit? Because it was “again another PRC” incident? Can the government please take a hard look at SOCIAL INTEGRATION problem, which they have singlehandedly created? No one asked us if we “allow” so many PRCs or immigrants into our midst. Were we ever consulted?
    No.

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