distorting the truth, mr brown
The is a heading in a reply from K Bhavani, Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, to Mr Brown's article on rising cost of living. Bhavani's point is that Mr Brown must use his real name to make comments or criticisms and not hide behind a pen name. Funny to insist on Mr Brown using his name when most people know who he is. It is like if an author writes a book under a pen name, then the book is not written by him. A second point is that Mr Brown was criticising, like the whining Singaporeans, and not offering constructive criticism and alternatives. Who's job is to come out with solutions? Who is being paid market rate to solve society's problem? The people are the customers that civil servants are paid handsomely to look after. Using the word 'serve' may be asking too much these days and some might find it offensive. Isn't it the right of the people, or customers, to complain when they are not satisfied? Isn't it the duty of the civil servants to look at the criticisms and try to come up with a better solution? Why ask the customers to come up with solutions? Are the customers paid to come up with solutions? If yes, I think many customers will willingly come up with solutions. Then we don't need civil servants anymore. The people will provide their own solutions. Why should the people pay the civil servants if they cannot come up with solutions and pass the buck to the people? The food is not properly cooked. The wine tastes bad. The service is lousy. The TV does not work. These are the common complaints of unhappy customers. Now the management is going to say, please come out with an alternative solutions. Criticisms and complaints are not constructive. Bhavani's third point, 'Mr Brown's views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the govt for all that he is unhappy with. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worst...' Now this is an unfair criticism and even an accusation that Mr Brown is attacking the govt on the pretext of criticism. Under the same interpretation, this post will also deserve the same branding as Mr Brown's comments. I think it is all in the way people see and accept criticisms. What Mr Brown wrote can be seen as a feedback, that something is not going down well. Why must it be seen as polemics, as an attack on the govt? Is it not the right of the people, as citizens, to air their grouses? How else is the govt going to get some genuine feedback if airing of grouses is seen as attacking the govt? Now there is another definition of a partisan player in politics. One cannot be a neutral critique. In the past, one is deemed as partisan if one joins a political party. Now, when you criticise the govt, or air your grievances or grouses, you are partisan. Is this what an open society should be?