National Conversation doesn’t wanna talk

With all the talk and publicity about the National Conversation the last few months, I thought it was rather curious that no news reports (and no reporters, apparently) had asked a pertinent question of the committee – how much has been set aside as budget for the one-year endeavour.

So, seeing how the National Conversation is all about being honest, upfront and transparent about what we want Singapore to be in 2030, in that same spirit, I wrote to the secretariat to enquire about the sum of funding set aside for it.

My original email to the National Conversation committee/secretariat was sent on 18 December 2012.

On 26 December, “Tim” from the Secretariat replied to say that he will get back to me “shortly with a response”.

Having heard nothing from him the next one week, I emailed him again on 2 January 2013.

More than a month passed and I still hadn’t heard from him. So on 15 February, I sent him another email.

And again, there has been total silence.

I’d thought that if I go through the “proper channels” that I would be given answers to my query (as indeed “Tim” promised).

But seriously, taxpayers have a right to know how much is being set aside for the National Conversation, a one-year endeavour. Sadly, though, more than 2 months after my original email and with 2 reminders, all that I have received is total silence.

This doesn’t really inspire confidence in the entire project. Not when it looks like you either have something to hide, or you do not keep to your promise of replying, or even simple basic courtesy, let alone providing answers to queries.

Does anyone know how much its budget is?



8 thoughts on “National Conversation doesn’t wanna talk

  1. oh they want to talk…. but they want you to ONLY listen. Not ask questions other than planted ones of course.

  2. Everything’s a state secret these days…
    And what’s revealed may not be true or correct.
    This, unfortunately, is Singapore, 2013.

  3. Shhhhh ….. Silence is golden. Already it is a Con, let’s NOT waste some more public funds because every official reply costs $25.43. Note that:

    – One junior staff member would have spent some time to hunt for the “nearest” reply from the correct version 2.6 of template 378 that would fit your inquiry,

    – One middle level supervisor would have vetted it to tailor version 2.6 and cross-check with another ministry just to play safe, and

    – One senior level deputy director would have to verify and check for political correctness, whether it violates Official Secrets Act and if Minister could potentially be upset or embarrassed by such reply which could be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

  4. Very little budget needed, going by what I observed in one of these Our Singapore Conversation.

    Held at CC, no rental of space needed. Organised by PA and grassroots volunteers. Unless you consider the PA staff wages for that 3 hour session, little or no budget required for human resource.

    Invited participants given some light refreshment, an amount that can easily covered by existing budget for community events.

    Budget is not the issue, it’s what we achieved out of it. From what I saw, very little. The conversation was not focused. Overheard the organiser asked his colleague at the end of the session ‘What’s next? How to write the report? ”
    “Just compile everything and submit” was the reply.

    Lack of focus and objective. Participants were also unprepared of what to talk about. Very little achieved out of it.

    Above based on just one session I attended. Don’t know how other sessions are organised.

  5. Aiyah, answering your question will pecah their lobong on how they source their funds for unbudgeted stuff. So better for them to ignore you lah.

  6. I feel they waiing to see if the public is aware cause we all know is news reporter are all just a Yes PPL cause working for the National Press(Strait TIME”S) and will not ask question which would put them into trouble

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