How much to serve the people?

Someone asked how much was needed to serve the people. The answer, $15k a month should be enough. What, that’s impossible! How to live a dignified lifestyle with that kind of pittance? This is what Chen Show Mao and Sylvia Lim needs to be a MP full time. They have both quitted their full time jobs. For Chen Show Mao, who was used to earning many times more, he would have a lot of adjusting to do. He may even have to take public transport or buy a HDB flat, downgrade his lifestyle to suit his smaller pay check. Another important question pops up? Would he be tempted to be corrupt if he is not being paid in the millions?

Chen Show Mao’s presence in the home political scene has disturbed the status quo of high paying sacrifices in politics. Do I make sense in this statement? Nevermind, it is not meant to make sense anyway. But you will get what I mean.

When Chen Show Mao returned to stand for the GE, some questioned his motives and sincerity as if he was a wolf in sheepskin. The doubts cast on him were full of skepticism and ill intent. They raised questions about his family, his children, why he spent so many years out of the country, even his accent.

Today, we heard that he had resigned from a high profile and very high paying job, to be an ordinary MP, to serve the people in the tropical heat of a void deck. No more designer suits, no more air conditioned comfort, no more fine dinings with the sikit atas and nice people, but plenty of kopitiam talks and shoulder rubbing with the losers.

Again, the skeptics and those with private agenda would be wagging their tongues about this new kid in the block. What is he up to? Is he up to any no good? Or is he of unsound mind? Such chivalry and sacrifice for a cause, a higher calling, is just too idealistic and can only be found in children’s fairy tales story books. Is he serious in what he is doing and would he quit after one term?

By the way, Chen Show Mao has never used the word ‘sacrifice’ in the all the things he is doing. He just came in from the cold and doing what many would demand a fortune to do. He is a man with a mission, a man of the moment, dispelling all the myths that we have all made to believe in. Would Times Magazine want to put his face on their front page?

Please pour more cold water on my head. This kind of things cannot be true. It is just not practical, not real. Or is he a freak, an alien? What is his belief? What kind of odd upbringings did he receive to do such things that normal people will scorn upon? Shall he be praised or shall he be shunned, to upset the impeccable window dressings in the expensive Orchard Road department stores?

Oh, time will tell, so they said.


Anonymous said...

Chen Show Mao certainly sets a very high standard for a Member of Parliament.

He is from the same cohort in National Junior College as Vivian Balakrishnan.

Anonymous said...

When people are paid millions, they are not serving.

They are in it for the money.

Singaporeans have been duped for far too long by fallacious assumptions and self serving logic rammed down their throats.

They are wising up at last.

Anonymous said...

The move by Chen, following that of Sylvia is going to cause some discomfort to some of the PAP MPs for sure.

Will Singaporeans demand full time MPs by the next election in 2016? There have been occasional rants in cyberspace about PAP MPs not attending Parliament due to other commitments. The argument that the sessions do not concern them is lame, because voters certainly want an MP that is well informed about what is happening, whether it concerns him/her or not.

Trebuchet said...

I was about to say that Chen Show Mao is from ACS. Then I realised that many others are also from ACS, but not all are like Chen.

Peter Wang said...

I truly respect CSM not so much because he is a very successful lawyer, but because of his rare upright character for which we have a crying need in Singapore. He has obviously chosen to turn away from all the millions that he will continue to earn as a world-renowned lawyer, but has instead chosen the humble path to return home to take care of his aged parents as well as to serve the poor people.
Singapore can build up such a righteous character like him only because he has been abroad all this while and was safely insulated from the selfish mentality that we are now immersed in. He is quite unlike the local politicians who demand and pay themselves stratospheric salaries and bonuses and pensions. After 50 years of PAP rule we should have arrived as we have one of the highest income in the world, but instead we are cursed with the abject money-faced mentality of kiasu and kiasi so rampant in Singapore. We vote the government who can benefit our own individual self and our HDB flat upgrading, without any consideration for our poorer countrymen. Even in the workplace we are encouraged to try to score one-up against our colleagues instead of cooperating with them. For instance, even in the highest institutions of learning, the salaries of a professor are no longer on a known fixed scale, but they each earn a salary known only to themselves. Since the total pool of salary money is pre-determined, it follows that each man should try to suppress the performance of his colleague in order to leave more money for himself.
The value of our asset and possession is easily among the highest in the world, yet we are all only poor-rich people with not even enough money to take care of our health, and we can only afford to die but not to remain sick. I am thankful that we now have CSM who will hopefully lead our people towards greater happiness, as our happiness index is currently way down in the doldrum. If I have to choose exclusively between being rich and being happy I will undoubted choose the latter. We also have CSM's parents to thank because without their presence here he may not be sufficiently motivated to come back to Singapore.

lionzenith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Peter Wang, thanks for your comments.

WP should recruit more of the likes of CSM and use his selflessness as the slogan for the next GE. They will then stand on high moral grounds to dispel the myth of greed in lesser beans.

There are still goodness in human beans that will not be easily corrupted. The values of righteousness, goodness, serving the people, idealism, are still dear to many good people.

The greedy can go on their greedy path. Not everyone is greedy.

Anonymous said...

Paying people in the dark has its merits. You can pay them any amount and no one knows. Transparency is good. But sometimes it is better to be opague when one is prick by the conscience of guilt.

The high ministerial salary is so embarrassing that they would not dare to reveal how much they got last year. Think they also know that it is wrong.