“What is more difficult is not language, but values. And this is not as tangible and we don’t focus on it as much. But I think there we have lost something in the values and the ethos of the Chinese-medium schools.”
“Language policies can always be refined and if we need to strengthen in one area we can always do it. But values and ethos are not so easily turned on with a switch. They evolve gradually over time and there we have lost something, that attitude to life and society that was very much part of Chinese-medium schools.”
“A certain reverence for standards of conduct, benevolence and contributing to society.”
~PAP Millionaire Minister Tharman
Tharman is right, values are indeed diminishing today as compared to the past. Those were the days where employees would work faithfully and their bosses would take care of them ensuring an iron rice bowl with attractive remunerations, those were also the days where leaders of the government led humbly by examples and gave their all without asking.
Fast forward a few decades today, values and ethos upheld by these leaders of societies has been equated to dollars and cents. Publicly, the ruling PAP today has admitted that without the attractive millions, no leaders would answer the call to serve the country. To make things worse, they have also admitted that they couldn’t retain leaders without the bounty. To drive the point aptly, a yes-man MP from the PAP ever linked the dignity of a politician to the salary he is drawing:
“If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals. Hence, a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”
~PAP MP Lim Wee Kiak
The bankruptcy of morals begins when values, ethos and dignity are defined in dollars. The PAP government pays itself good money for such values. While Singaporeans do not know how much self-praised non-corruption, self-praised competency and a typical Asian GDP cost, they do know they are paying through their noses with the world’s highest salaries for their leaders to possess these values. The notion that money buys values have been accepted by at least 60% of the citizens, and these are the people leading the moral rot in society.
Turning to the streets, there have been a rapid increase in the number of tissue paper touts and beggars on the street, what values and ethos are the PAP reflecting by ignoring these peoples’ pleas for help? When income inequality reached record high, what values and ethos are the PAP reflecting when they say it is a common problem and other developed cities have it worse? When the salaries of the bottom 20 percentile earners have stagnanted over the past decade, what values and ethos are the PAP reflecting when they said it is acceptable so long Meritocracy and Social Mobility exists in the system? What values and ethos could the people – young, old and the new citizens – learn from them?
Even the values and ethos of an apology were timed and issued aptly to redeem votes. Here we have a Minister drawing millions and taking the moral high ground preaching philanthropy, values and ethos over the national media. That really makes people wonder if he ever looked at his paycheck and felt remorse. It remains unanswered how shameless some people can get, but at least we have a gauge here demonstrating its extent where one hypocrite thinks he is in the position to preach equality in this very unequal country he as a leader had leaded into. Meritocracy couldn’t be more maligned when it came out from the mouths of the PAP leaders. No one student in Singapore is on equal footing when the education system requires tuition, good schools and even good physique for CCAs in order for one to be successful. When better resources are given to “worthy” students with better results, how could this be Meritocracy? When polytechnic students are discriminated in local universities as they were “prepared primarily for the workforce and not for universities” [Source] even when they are eligible and readily accepted by foreign universities and their diplomas are of a higher standard that of A levels?
In almost every developed country, the disabled and elderly do not worry about their survival in society because their governments takes good care of their healthcare and living expenses. The PAP have no such policies, and in fact, they detest such welfare because they believe people will deliberately get sick and even worse get themselves terminally-ill so they can abuse the welfare system. They believe a social safety net is a cash payout system, and every inadequacies of the social programs could be solved by Workfare and GST bonus package. Inflation is unchecked and food prices are going up? Here’s more cash for you. The government couldn’t even be responsible to take care of the elderly and simply passed the ball to the voluntary welfare organizations. Look no further for ethos and values than at yourself Tharman. The country is under your watch, and you are the incumbent. Don’t blame the people for diminishing of values for the society are what it is today because of you.