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Saturday, 14 June 2014


Dear Dr Catherine Lim,

I have something to say about what you told PM in your open letter that we Singaporeans are not trusting the government anymore and the government stops caring. I have a completely different take from you and my story don't come from some dramatic events or over social media.  It comes straight from our daily life.

Trust in the government is written all over Singapore.  No further than the corner of our very own home, trust is there.  We just trust that the the lights will come on and the taps will run, no questions asked.  Anybody doubted the government on this?  Life is just too spontaneous for all things mundane.

Look into our fridges and cabinets of groceries, did we fear there will be no rice, cooking oil, vegetables or even infant formula milk powder?  Singaporeans have no doubt whatsoever that these daily necessities will always be readily available in our supermarkets.  Singaporeans just trusted, but many didn't know why. Had the government not cared, and there was no policy thinkers who saw the need to break beyond traditional sources of food and essentials, we would have risk supplies or been strangled by exporting countries for whatever reasons.

Look no further out of the window, parents & domestic helpers sending kids to school.  Do they ever doubt that the teachers will just walk out one day and go on strike for not getting paid?  Thousands of people in the civil service just turn up for work everyday just trusting that their pay check will automatically be deposited into their account, and that goes for their CPF as well.

Talking about CPF, even as a few thousand protesters gathered at Hong Lim Park under the banner of "Return Our CPF", was there a long queue outside CPF building the following working day demanding their money to be returned because they believed the government had gone bankrupt?  Singaporeans just trusted that their CPF is safe notwithstanding the sowing of doubts and fear.

Singaporeans still head for work each day using the MRT despite possible breakdowns and congestion or even a terrorist attack.  Criticism abound, do we see Singaporeans avoiding the MRT due to mistrust?  Not at all.  We just trust it will be there to bring us to where we want.

Do Singaporeans not know that the queue is long for hospital admission, but trust in that after a long wait comes comfort and absolute professional care.  Compared to the highly visible long wait for admission, the sporadic departures of people discharging after successful surgery and treatment is almost invisible to the public eye, but these form the basis that Singaporeans still trust our doctors and nurses and the entire healthcare system.

Something more common and familiar, our usual pastime of eating at hawker centres.  It is so normal to just order our food and wait for it to come.  Do we question if the food is sufficiently hygienic or fit for consumption?  Lest we forget the Indian rojak stall that resulted in death, still Singaporeans trusted the government to ensure that chai tow kuay stalls and the likes are kept in check so that we don't get food poisoning.

Such deep trust will not be there without decades of continuous improvement and ground breaking ideas from people within the system.  No question asked, we know our sky radar are manned by responsible people that in event of an unidentified aircraft intrusion, it will not come near without being escorted or shot down.

Much talks about Singapore's vulnerability being a social construct, and these talks had belittled the dedication of our men and women watching over our boundaries and skies.  We sleep in peace without a thought that some enemy forces is going to barge in through our door or bombings happening in the neighbourhood.  Our peace comes from our preparedness and not the absence of vulnerability.

I can go on with these nitty gritty things that you will not find in high society cocktail functions nor emotionally charged forums.  However with this, I hope the common man's heartbeat can be heard by people claiming proprietary to our existence.

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