Elitism and the elitist class have been bundled and sold to the non elite masses as the cure all for all the ills in the country and society, and that the elite hold all the answers to the well being of the people. That followed a couple of decades of elitism pays, and the elite paid themselves handsomely like they were the gods of the day, or at least some openly compared themselves to the immortals. And be very grateful to the elite.
The first shock wave came with the admission in the fallibility of the elite, that the elite made mistakes. This was, for many years unheard of and inconceiveable to even mention it in official statements. The elite know best and admission of mistakes is simply undermining the myth and against the well being of the elite. This was a very successful facade built around the elite that they became unquestionable, godlike. But when mistakes piled up to a small mountain, there can be no denial, and no where to run and hide.
The next shocker came from the Law Society, the learned people who know the law, the defenders of justice, when certain members of the council put themselves in the limelight of public scrutiny and scorn. Now the members of this elite society are asking questions, unhappy with the ridicule they have to face up with and are calling an EGM to iron things out. This group of elite being caught in an embarrassing position in the public’s eye is more pertinent given the fact that they are a primary source of our political leadership. And questions of impropriety are going to make the public very uncomfortable with them.
The other highly regarded group, the medical profession, also came under the spotlight with the country’s top surgeon being questioned by the Medical Board for questionable pricing. The case ended with a single medical professional being found to be in the wrong was understandable as long as the profession and its coterie of highly regarded individuals are still respected and trusted by the public. Fortunately only ONE is found to have done wrong.
It would be dreadful if the Council of the medical profession, the highest body, is in question. And that was exactly what happened in Sunday’s headline. The judges of the Court of Appeal chastised the Singapore Medical Council with a number of ‘scathing comments’ that would put a big dent to the elite halo. This came after the Council took another medical professional, an aesthetician, to task for applying untested beauty treatments and excessive billings.
Some of the comments from the judges include, ‘unjust that the council chose to pick on one doctor, when many others were doing similar treatments, …hauling up a doctor for treatments done a year before guidelines were issued, and it was wrong to punish a doctor retrospectively,…the council for not knowing exactly what it wanted to punish the doctor for, and for not providing the necessary evidence, making the whole process “legally embarrassing”.’ Legally embarrassing!
Such comments led MP Lam Pin Min, Chairman of the GPC for Health to say, ‘MOH and SMC really need to relook and audit the SMC’s processes, to ensure that it lives up to its professional and ethical accountability to the medical community and the public.’ He added that ‘as professional watchdog, it “needs to be impartial, just and aboveboard in its dealings with patients and doctors”. Just read in between the lines.
Such public dressing down of professionals that are the elite of this elitist society has never been done before and will continue to chip at the infallibility of the elite. The impeccability of the elite, in govt, in law and in medicine, three of the highest paid professions, is now shaken. The elitist myth has now been brought down to earth from it rarified ethereal realm of existence. And many are being queued to face punishment at the courts for personal indiscretion.
The case of the Medical Council could prove interesting and many could and were asked to seek a second opinion or for redress for cases dealt with by the Council whose ‘professional and ethical accountability’ are now being questioned by the highest court of law in the country. Susan Lim may have a case to retrieve her honour.