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10/04/2009

A storm in paradise

Typhoon Ketsana is sweeping through the Philippines and threatening the lives of millions of Filipinos. 7.5 richter scale earthquake hit Padang and Bengkulu in Indonesia, burying villages and villagers and flattening towns and destroying lives and properties. No amount of international aids can minimise the pain and suffering of these affected people. In paradise, our media were flooded with news of a storm in the form of boomz and rats. Some had a good laugh but some were dead serious. On reflection, we are very blessed as a little country. We are spared from the ferocity and rages of nature. We are blessed with an able govt that is working so hard to make this a better paradise everyday. Are we lucky? We have our little irritations and irritants in our midst but more like the itches of mosquito bites. Nothing earth shattering or crisis like except for the little recklessness in the financial flirtation with making easy money and with no regards to responsibilities. From the big picture we are indeed very fortunate and a paradise. We have good govt and public administrators working their guts out for the people. But there are still some little people with small hearts that are making decisions that will affect adversely the lives of our people. The earlier we get rid of them the better. We cannot have small people with small hearts to make public policies and decisions for the people. In govt and public services, we need people with a different mindset, people with ideals and with a big heart to serve the people, to want the best for the people. A good example is the expectation in public housing and the way it is heading. There are little people who think that the losers in life should be happy if they have a roof over their heads, even a dog kennel will do. And it is ok to pay a life time, spending a big chunk of their income just to have a roof and 4 walls around them. Whatever, a flat is just that. You do not need to pay a lifetime for it. The govt needs to relook at the housing policy, how small it shall go and no further, and how much it shall cost and no more. And it is bad to have people waiting for 3 years just to get a roof over their head. The HDB was very successful in their early days to provide a roof to anyone who needs it. It only took a few months from application to moving in. This is a good and excellent policy for the people. But some jokers think that this was bad. People must made to wait. Waiting for 3 years is good, or normal. I want to use the four letter word here. A little oversupply of public housing is good. A 80 sq m 3 rm flat or a 90 sq m 4 rm flat must be the bottom that we should go in building homes for our average citizens. Going smaller is bad. The small 1 or 2 rm rental flats must be temporary shelters for those who have lost their ways or their luck ran out on them. Those must not be considered as the standard for a decent living for our people. We are using state land and public money and we must use them wisely and with a little generosity for the good of the people. To have good public policies favouring the people, we need good govt. And good govt must not be contaminated with little people with small hearts.

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