Vikram Nair: Show me the money, Chen Show Mao

Dear Mr Vikram Nair,

I refer to the 1 Mar 2012 Straits Times report “Vikram Nair: Show me the money, Chen Show Mao”.

You claimed that Mr Chen’s suggestion to regard social spending as an investment in human capital implied that the PAP government hadn’t done enough for vulnerable groups or that it cared less about them and is therefore hurting. You shouldn’t add your own subjective interpretation to what Mr Chen said but should take Mr Chen’s words of wisdom as they are. Mr Chen’s suggestion is not unreasonable considering our leader’s stance towards welfare all these years:

  • Vivian Balakrishnan: How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?
  • Lee Kuan Yew: If I’m in charge of policy I would not go into welfare policies. I think it’s deleterious to the performance of our own economy [1].
  • Goh Chok Tong: Steer clear of the welfare mentality, the disadvantaged do not expect and cannot demand that they be looked after by the state as a matter of right.
  • Furthermore, if the PAP had done enough, why is it doing more this year? There is no need to pick on Mr Chen, the almost $3 billion GST Voucher Fund created by the government this year is itself the most tell-tale sign that more is being done which hadn’t been done previously.

    You said it is hurtful because many of your colleagues have been working year in, year out to help the vulnerable groups whereas Mr Chen only came back quite recently to help out. You don’t have to speak for your colleagues, they can speak for themselves. You are in no position to claim hurt since you yourself started serving as an MP no less recently than Mr Chen. It would be incredulous to say you have been working year in, year out to help the vulnerable groups. Furthermore, you are paid $15,000 a month and have plenty of support from grassroots advisors and helpers. So who is helping who, year in, year out?

    You also took issue with Mr Chen for not showing how to pay for the extra spending he desired. Consider the following requests or recommendations by your fellow PAP MPs during Budget 2012 debate:

  • Zainudin Nordin asked for the reduction of living cost beyond rebates and vouchers for older, less skilled workers who are unlikely to learn new skills [2].
  • Lee Bee Wah recommended transport concession fares be extended to polytechnic students and better salaries and benefits be given to bus drivers [3].
  • Lim Biow Chuan asked for a cost of living adjustment for pensioners whose nest eggs have been eaten into by inflation. He also asked for GST vouchers to be extended to Singaporeans with no income but living on properties with annual value not more than $30,000 [4].
  • Ang Hin Kee suggested extending the Special Employment Credit to back-to-work women and ex-offenders while PAP MP Denise Phua suggested making the scheme permanent [5].
  • Ang Hin Kee asked for those on social assistance to be rewarded with an extra year of subsidies for successfully upgrading their skills and improving their income [6].
  • Why didn’t you similarly ask any of your fellow PAP MPs listed above how they intended to pay for the extra spending they desired? Why didn’t you lambast your fellow PAP MPs for never talking about where the money is going to come from but you only lambasted Mr Chen? Why were you so singularly uptight about taking Mr Chen to task when you so easily let off your fellow PAP MPs on the same issue of how to pay for extra spending? There is no consistency in your approach to issues which suggests you are not genuinely concerned about those issues. Were you merely bashing Mr Chen for bashing’s sake? If you at least had a strong case to begin with then that’s still not so bad but you didn’t even have a strong case to begin with.

    The Straits Times also reported that you likened what Mr Chen said to a Nigerian scam. Why complain about being hurt when you make no qualms about using hurtful words as ‘Nigerian scam’ to describe others? How would you feel if people called you ‘Nigerian scum’?

    You also claimed that it is ironic for a man who spent more than half his life abroad and came back shortly before the elections to say there are too many foreign workers here. You sounded like you just came back from abroad and are clueless about what is being reported here. It has been reported that Mr Chen has been coming back to visit Singapore all these years so he never lost touch with us.

    [1]: Straits Times, 6 Sept 2011, Helping some in society ‘comes at cost to others’
    [2]: Today, 28 Feb 2012, MPs urge government to pay more focus on older and low-income workers
    [3]: Today, 1 Mar 2012, MP Lee Bee Wah: What stipulations are attached to Govt’s S$1.1b public transport ‘subsidy’?
    [4]: Today, 2 Mar 2012, Helping senior citizens retire more comfortably
    [5]: Today, 28 Feb 2012, Budget debate kicks off with MPs focused on plight of low-income group and SMEs
    [6]: Today, 28 Feb 2012, MP suggests possible incentives for those on social assistance


    7 Responses to “Vikram Nair: Show me the money, Chen Show Mao”

    1. Sgcynic Says:

      I wish the points here canbe spoken right in Vikram’s face, in front of his constituents.

    2. What A Shame Says:

      He tried too hard to score points off CSM but landed up with egg on his face. Being what we expect him to be, he now engages in the twisting, turning and threats.

    3. Lucy Tan (@auntielucia2) Says:

      Perhaps Mr Nair having drunk the “dark” waters of woodlands has become fearless and clueless when he debates in Parliament? 🙄

    4. Cheng Says:

      Well rebutted!

    5. anon Says:

      if only the points here were published in our state controlled media…..another section of singaporeans will get to see if Vikram Nair indeed speaks with a forked tongue and behaves like a snake-charmer ….
      and not least, PM Lee can take note what he is really getting from a so called “stringent selection process”……

    6. nicky Says:

      Whoever you are, I am so glad you are on “our” side, PAP’s loss.

    7. Saycheese Says:

      I think Vikram would like to tell us he was misunderstood by the ST, bloggers and the citizens of Singapore. What he actually meant was not what he actually said in Parliament…?

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