Which, of course, is open secret to any Singaporean.
However, I’ve never thought that the government would allow the open secret to be a non-secret anymore. That’s what happened when they decided to publish a letter from a citizen in the English daily:
I MOVED into Potong Pasir estate two years ago. Contrary to Mr Tan Kam Weng’s perception (‘Things have changed in Potong Pasir – for the worse’; yesterday) of the decreasing standards of maintenance since its MP Chiam See Tong suffered a mild stroke, I find little evidence of any significant decline in the area that I am living in.
In my block, the lifts and surrounding areas are cleaned daily and the corridors are washed and fumigated every month with diligence. Recently, I sought help from the town council to remove a chained and abandoned bicycle, and it was promptly addressed. Compared with the other estates I have visited and resided in, Potong Pasir is relatively well-maintained though it lacks generous funding from the Government. The issues Mr Tan raised, like the one on playgrounds, are noticed in other housing estates too.
Potong Pasir estate may look old as much of its infrastructure needs to be overhauled. But this should not be associated with the estate’s management by Mr Chiam and his town council. This is because of the refusal of the ruling party to include the estate in upgrading projects as many of its constituents have been voting for the opposition.
Given the limitations, Mr Chiam and his team are doing a remarkable job.
By publishing the letter through PAP’s mouthpiece The Straits Times, the government effectively implied two things:
1. The open secret is no longer a secret, but is now a threat. They are openly admitting – by allowing the letter to be published – that opposition wards won’t get upgraded. In other words, vote PAP, or no upgrading for you.
Too bad for us tax-paying citizens, who pay the same rate whether you are in Potong Pasir or anywhere else in Singapore.
2. They have exhausted all other “more elegant” means and resorted to such cowardice. This is just one step away from some millionaire minister openly voicing out the threat.
Which also means that they are now desperate. That’s why they have to resort to blatant threats, afraid that the already-squeezed-high-and-dry Singaporeans somehow missed the government’s ever-so-nuanced (sarcasm intended) elaboration.
But you can’t blame them. The government got to be loud and clear this time, as this is their last cry before getting the boot.