No more kampung to come home to

I refer to the 11 Jan 2013 Straits Times article “Homecoming for a bus driver’s son” on new PAP candidate Dr Koh Poh Koon.

Describing Dr Koh’s campaigning in Punggol as home coming is less than appropriate because the kampung that Dr Koh grew up in is no longer around for Dr Koh to come home to. Instead, the Punggol of today comprises one of the youngest and most educated populations who most likely grew up elsewhere and would not consider Dr Koh as someone coming home.

There is nothing exceptional about coming from humble backgrounds, many of us do and two of the three opposition candidates probably came from humble backgrounds too. Dr Koh’s humble childhood experience is probably nowhere as horrible as seeing one’s father sued bankrupt for reasons that are unclear to me. Having a humble background doesn’t mean one will empathise with the poor once one has become rich.

While it may seem that Dr Koh was so poor that he had to borrow money to renovate his flat in 1998, the fact is that 1998 was probably the year he graduated from medical school. Being able to pay for his flat down payment upon graduation is something most Singaporeans cannot afford to do, even today.

Dr Koh attributes his rise to Singapore’s sound policies put in place by a capable and committed government. But our basic policies were all inherited from our British colonial government; even Dr Goh Keng Swee acknowledges that. Many important policies were also crafted by our former economic advisor Dr Albert Winsemius. More importantly, our policies were crafted at a time when most people like Dr Koh’s parents had little education. There is no reason why our educated population today can’t think of better policies than Dr Koh or his government.

Dr Koh says helping residents is an extension of helping patients. But helping residents may mean taking precious time away from patients so patients may have to wait longer and suffer longer. It may also mean that in order not to spend too much time away from patients, his time with residents would be kept to the bare minimum. So in the end, the so-called sacred duty of representing residents is just a part-time job. If he were to eventually give up medicine to become a minister, it would be a gross waste of our nation’s precious resources used to support his medical education and specialist training.

Dr Koh says politics is his way of making sure that his kids grow up in a Singapore that is very much like the one he grew up in. The Singapore that Dr Koh grew up in didn’t have the deluge of immigration that we have today. Is Dr Koh saying he will challenge the government and make sure its policies are reversed? That would be most unexpected and to some extents illustrate the emptiness of what Dr Koh is saying.


One Response to “No more kampung to come home to”

  1. ;Annonymous Says:

    Behind all the posturing one needs to ask Dr. Koh why he had not contested in the 2011 GE given that he is of Ministerial material. One can surmise that either he was not prepared to sacrifice his lucrative career in private practice or they had not promised him political office. The statement by the PM that Dr. Koh has the potential to hold political office is a sign, in the context of Singapore politics, that he will be given one should he be elected. Do the voters in the BE want such a person to represent them in Parliament or MS Lee? Ms Lee wil be their full-time MP if elected and grind it out until 2016 with no guaranteed financial security like Dr.Koh.

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