Two different groups have their own version of a fire chute. Who do you believe?
According to a Eunos Zone 1 RC network post on 'Simply Eunos' page, two of their grassroots leaders handled a bin chute fire that occured at Blk 602 Bedok Reservoir Road.
Their account was disputed by a resident who goes by the name of 'Rosalind Lee' on Facebook. Rosalind claimed that she was the one who informed the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) when she spotted the fire.
AHTC subsequently dispatched two cleaners who single-handedly pulled out the burning bin and doused the fire. According to Rosalind, SCDF and SPF later sent vehicles to investigate the cause of the fire.
She claimed that no one else appeared to be handling the fire. For her, the post by the RC was a disingenious way of trying to score political points for PAP.
It was only later that 'Simply Eunos' clarified that the two grassroots leaders were only there after the call through the SCDF.
However, they did not acknowledge the work done by the cleaners who were the ones to put out the fire.
This prompted WP Chief, Pritam Singh, to write a Facebook post on the role of the PA and its links to the PAP, and his own experiences dealing with PA's grassroots members.
This is what he had to say:
Over the past eight years, I have gotten to know, albeit briefly, a few People’s Association grassroots volunteers in my constituency of Eunos in Aljunied GRC. I am grateful for the part they play in the community. Some are incredibly fair-minded, independent and work with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, and are cautious about associating themselves with the PAP or WP.
In other cases, some RC or CCC chairpersons and/or their committee members, are PAP cadre members. Some are just there to do a hit job on the opposition, stirring the ground with half-truths.
I also know a fair number grassroots leaders who would be at polling centres during elections - within the RC zone they serve - working as PAP polling agents on polling day. Inevitably, residents notice them and connect the help/assistance they may/would have received from these PA volunteers in the past. One can imagine the political influence a PA grassroots leader and an unelected PA Grassroots Adviser can wield during elections.
He also called for a reform of the PA, alluding to the WP's manifesto in 2015.
In our 2015 manifesto, the Workers’ Party proposed doing away with the current structure of grassroots organisations, advancing the creation of a unifying People’s Association under the leadership of a non-political institution – i.e. the President, not the Prime Minister as is currently the case. Amongst other things, we believe this would take the political element out of grassroots work and focus the MPs’ and volunteers’ hearts and minds to singularly serve the community, regardless which party forms government.
We continue to work on our manifesto for the next elections. The screenshots of this post between a Eunos grassroots organisation and a resident today reminded me that the ethos of community service in Singapore through the PA remains in need of a revamp - The outcome of such a review should substantively align the grassroots with the values enshrined in our flag and represented by the stars therein, particularly values like justice, equality, democracy.
It will be an uphill task. Because the status quo as it stands wholly benefits the PAP. It will take an enlightened leadership that puts the country and our parliamentary democracy first, to create a more caring, gracious and cohesive community.
The WP will try its best. Because there are some things in life that are worth fighting for.
(P.S. - The cleaners who put out the fire are well.)
The PAP government has gone out of its way to combat fake news.
What will it do for such half-truths, or misrepresentation by its RC members?