due to a misleading phrase about Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East’s inability to collect S&CC money from households in the Opposition Workers Party controlled ward in a timely manner.
Tell me what would you think when you read this in the Ministry of National Development’s FY2013 Town Council Management Report: “Under S&CC arrears management, the sharp decline in the TC’s S&CC arrears situation is of grave public concern”.
Sharp decline in the TC’s S&CC arrears situation. I did a double take. Isn’t that good? Well no apparently as the following four words “of grave public concern” show.
Then alamak! I get it. The news release writer had meant “sharp deterioration in the TC’s S&SCC situation”. Why didn’t anyone correct him or her?
It reminds me of a misunderstanding I just had with one my mother’s helpers.
Yesterday was raining heavily and as I had many purchases that mustn’t get wet, I called ahead hoping one of the helpers would come down to the car porch and take up the shopping as I live in a crumbling 50 year old condo which has no sheltered parking.
The phone rang endlessly but no one picked it up. Tried again and again and then gave up.
Stormed up to the flat annoyed yet fearful. What if something like Nightmare on Elm Street had happened to all three?
I needn’t have worried. All three were fast asleep.
One helper on hearing me shut the front door came out from mum’s room blinking away her afternoon nap.
After I checked the landline and found that it hadn’t been switched off I asked: “Why didn’t you answer the phone when I called?”
She muttered something that made me close to ballistic.
“If you heard the phone ringing why didn’t you answer?” I demanded between clenched teeth.
She repeated what she said earlier.
“Why didn’t you answer phone? Phone!!”
She looked confused. And damn it! She repeated once more what she first said.
I told myself to keep calm. I thought of Gandhi. Mahatma. When you are in the right etc etc..
It was only at dinner that I realised what the most recent addition to the household (2nd helper was hired only in July; Picky Siti has been with us for 7 years) had said.
“I here! I here!”, meaning she was in mum’s aircon room. Not “I hear! I hear!”
Which brings me back to the MND’s press release. It’s OK for a newly arrived Myanmar FDW to cause confusion with her mangling of English. Not for an official release writer.
This brings now to the MND’s Town Council specifics about those arrears.
Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. These rates were significantly above the national norm of about 3%.
In December 2012, the TC committed to improve the TC’s arrears situation. However, its S&CC arrears rate had further increased to 29.4% as at end Apr 2013.
What effect does MND hope to have on discerning Singaporean voters with these revelations?
Would this seeming inability to collect what is due to the AHPETC make them shake their heads and vow never should this brand of incompetency be allowed to run our country?
Or would the revelations make some among the discerning voters think one or all of the following:
1) There must be a concentration of poor people in AHPETC
2) There must be a concentration of canny skivvers in AHPETC who are able to keep delaying paying what they owe
3) Those who want to be successful should move far away from AHPETC for poverty and dishonest skivving could be as infectious as SARS
4) Those running AHPETC must have hearts of gold to hold back from driving those unable to pay to the wall. Thus demonstrating a caring spirit that others only mouth.
I wonder which of these my dear regular readers will pick? 🙄
If the last then I fear for the future of the PAP.