Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian
The news so far on Tan Kin Lian is on his departure from NTUC Income. Kin Lian has his version for leaving and NTUC has come out with their version that told a different story. So far the exchange has been quite civil and no one of senior positions has been going around take buses or taxis or checking on personal claims to cast doubts on him.
What is important at this point in time, like all other president hopefuls, is that the PEC has found them to be men of integrity, good reputation and character and is fit to be the president of the country. The disagreement on the how and why that he resigned is not an issue of misconduct or mismanagement. At top management level, many a time the reasons for a separation can be quite dubious, controversial or a matter of chemistry. Many were there because of political appointment as many other candidates are equally qualified for top management positions but only a few were chosen. Often it is always the person who left was seen as the loser but never a victim. And the people who called the shot carried on as if they had done no wrong, like god. Of course the truth could be otherwise.
Kin Lian's strength is drawn primarily from his fight for the victims of the minibond saga. He volunteered to champion the cause of the losers. And he made a difference. Without his leadership at a time when a leader was badly needed, the victims would not have gotten a better deal. He challenged the authority when no one dared. This is a very pertinent point in a society that is engulfed with fear of authority. And it took a man of great courage and sacrifice to stand out at a time like that crisis.
As an elected President, most of the functions are ceremonial. The EP will be called upon to act exactly in a time of great crisis. It is only in those time that a president is tested and he needs to draw on all his courage, wisdom, integrity and duty to the people, the average citizens, to stand up to a govt that could be turning into a rogue. Any presidential hopeful must give the people an indication that when pushed to a corner, he would stand up and fight back.
The EP's job is toughest in the toughest time. Having tea and cosying up to the PM to make a good impression and hopefully gain some respect from the PM and then his listen hear is of the least concern of the people. It is when he is called upon to act strongly, that is the moment that he is being paid for, to defend the interest of the people, to prevent the reserves from being squandered by a rogue govt. Trying to be nice to influence a rogue govt is a foolish suggestion.
In this election, particular to Kin Lian, would some irreprehensible bums be everywhere smelling for shit? All the candidates have remarked that they would want to run their campaign with dignity. Would someone hit below the belt or pull a file from the dustbin to dust around? Employment records are confidential documents. Personal encounters and discussions in board meetings are confidential and privileged information. Would they be aired to score points just because they are juicy or could be used to smear a character? No one would forgive a padre for divulging a confession of a sinner.
The people are watching again to see which party would take the first shot to diminish this contest for the highest office of the country into another slug fest in the longkangs, where all respectability, dignity and honour were thrown to the wind. Would there be people holding high positions, willing to lower themselves and their own honour, to do shameful things to mess around with the candidates?