oooh lah lah.. i like it!

Minsterial Forum

Posted by: OLLie on: October 8, 2007

Went for the Minsterial Forum held in NTU last Thursday.

Know that this blog post is a little belated, but alot of thought has been put into this post. So gear up for the the political side of OLLie ya?

And most importantly, this is just a view. Non-political. So don’t sue me or anything k? *

First of all, there’s been reports in every single big and small newspapers in both the English and Chinese medium (I don’t know about Malay and Tamil ones) regarding the fact that foreigners dominated the Q & A session while only one Singaporean asked the MM a question. It was only till later when the MM extended the session to ask for questions from Singaporeans only that more Singaporeans stepped forward.

This led to the reports saying that the foreigners are more concerned about the future of Singapore than the Singaporeans themselves. (I forgot where I read this. It’s either in the Straits Times or Nanyang Chronicle.)

My personal opinion about the reasons for this phenomenon is:

1. The foreigners walk faster than the Singaporeans.

As there were a few microphones situated around the auditorium, and the forum was only half an hour, the emcee could only go one round with the mics. Means one mic can have only one person asking a question. So if the person get the mic after the first person got to it, he/she would not be able to ask any questions. And trust me, throughout the whole session, you would be able to see people lining up at the mics, but never getting a chance to have a go ’cause that mic has already been used by someone else before them.

The auditorium is huge — separated into front and back halves. And each half have got 3 segments: Left, Centre and Right segments. In an auditorium that seats thousands, one can imagine how long each row of seats can be. And it takes time and efforts just to get to the aisle where the mics are located.

I myself was seated right smack in the middle of a row of seats. I would have to squeeze past 10 over people just to get to the aisle. Is it no wonder that one might be lazy to even get out of the comfort of the seat?

And how can one blame us for not being able to squeeze through the rows of seats as quickly as the others who manage to get to the mic first?

That’s why one shouldn’t pass a judgement when they havent examine the reason for a phenomenon carefully. It makes us Singaporeans look bad, like we don’t even care a single bit about Singapore.

The fact is: We do care. Just that we don’t walk as fast.

Or at least, I care.


There’s no easy way to phrase the next reason nicely. So I’m just gonna be blunt.

2. We (meaning the Singaporeans) don’t know what we can say, and what we cannot say without getting blacklisted.

I originally wanted to ask the MM on the freedom of speech etc. (Let’s not go into too much detail here. I fear for my life. Or rather, my bank account — in case I get sued ya?*) But backed out at the last minute.

Then I wanted to ask “Singapore’s aiming to be a hub in everything: Medical hub, bioscience hub, air hub, transport hub etc. Would we end up as a jack of all trades and master of none?

And once again, I was afraid that the MM would be offended or something.

Let’s just say, we have this fear inside us that is stopping us from being as vocal as the foreigners. We live here, we study here, most of us are going to work here in the future. We don’t wanna break our ricebowls even before we go out to work ya?

Whereas for the foreign students, they have nothing to tie them down. Bonds? Just serve a few years and they would be free to go. They have nothing to be afraid of.

And throughout this whole post, one would be able to tell that I have no idea what can I blog about without getting into trouble. Evidence is at the *.

Another question that I would have wanted to ask was “Why are the prices of everything going up but the salaries are either staying stagnant or even going down? Does the increase in prices mean that the economy is booming? Then why are the wages decreasing?

Erm, I’m not a business student, so I know nuts about inflation or whatsnot.

All I know is that the chicken rice was originally $1.50. Then it went up to $2.00. Now? It’s $2.50. But my dad’s salary is actually going down. And one call this a booming economy?

Just a normal plate of chicken rice mind you. Not even the chicken thigh.

I am not proud of the fact that I missed the opportunity to speak to the MM — a man that I highly respect. I just wanna speak up for the fellow Singaporeans who were sitting in the same auditorium as me, that there are other reasons as to why we didnt ask more questions, and the floor was dominated by the foreign students.

I know that this blog is not that widely read like Xiaxue or Kennysia, but I’m just glad that I said my piece. Once again, I mean no harm. So don’t sue me k? =))

6 Responses to "Minsterial Forum"

Hmm, technically, you won’t be sued because you are a concerned citizen. You will only get sued if you make, slanderous remarks towards a person, in this case, MM Lee.

I know this as I used to represent my polytechnics in forums such as this.

But, good post anyway.

Dear OLLie, you have infringed Act 1270(a) by saying what you should not say. Please show up in the High Court by 7.45am tomorrow for your trial. Lunch* will be provided.

*Lunch is a $2.50 plate of chicken rice.

terrence: Ah. Now I know. That the problem, you know this ’cause you used to represent your school in forums like this. For the majority of us who have never participated in huge forums like this wouldnt have an idea. Leading to us being afraid of something that is non existent –> unwillingness to speak up.

Anyhow, thanks!! =))

Minister: Wah holy shit. 745am? Can later abit not? Tomorrow’s my free day sia. I wanna wake up later.

And.. Can I change the $2.50 plate of chicken rice to 2 cups of egg pudding bubble tea instead? =D

egg pudding bubble tea? What’s that? I no heard of it before…. picture!!!

An: hahhaa.. I have no picture of it la.

i’m eric. joining a couple boards and looking
forward to participating. hehe unless i get
too distracted!


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