Thursday, 27 September 2012

Letter to Forum 3: Sg Conversation: Let's Make Pizza...

The original letter:

Dear Editor,

Rachel Chang's article "SG Conversation: Can't wait to get going" highlighted the difficult nature of this Conversation. There are plural groups and an equal number of differing views. It is Singles vs Married, Traditionalists vs Liberals. So, who shall prevail? If we agree to disagree, then what? Bearing in mind that this conversation is about "The Singapore We Want," but what do we really want and how shall we go about it? Friday's session sounded like a feedback session with its select group. Each had his/her own tale to tell. Answers from the office bearers were clip. I too want a conversation with the government. To tell it of my years of growing up, working and thinking about retirement. I also want to share my aspirations. I am old but not yet dying. Singapore now is very different from 40 yrs ago. We have good processes aided by seamless technology. We have institutions that are world-class. We can conduct a consensus with people in their 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s,....every decade and see the picture they paint, of the Singapore they want, had wanted and perhaps not gotten. That is just as important. But the basic question is: How is the Government going to carry out its wish-fulfillment so to speak? Asking it to do this-and-that afterwards is a tall order. Another way is to serve up what the customer orders. You want your pizza to have no anchovies? Sure. More pepperoni? No problem. Translated, that can mean many things. Study later? Sure. Just fix me a date. Want to start a family young? Let's see how we can start and get this going...

It's about both sides working hand-in-hand to achieve something that's less top-down or even bottom-up. It's all about getting something done. Period. In that sense, it does mean a change in how the civil service is handling matters. It's no longer Government-to-People, but Government-to-Person. Can this be done? Is Singapore a global city or a global village. As a citizen, Singapore to me is a village and so it should relate to me as a person. And when that happens I might just be reasonable about what I want and how I (we) might get it.

TC Lai

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