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The daughter of Singapore's very first law minister, E W Barker, was offended by Goh Chok Tong's recent remark. A few weeks ago, our dear Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong warned that Singaporeans will get very mediocre people as Ministers if they are not paid enough. Enough being like, $1million? 

It is no surprise she found his statement insulting.

According to a FB comment posted by her husband, she was "deeply offended" as Goh Chok Tong was indirectly insulting our forefathers. She remembered her father taking a 70% pay cut to serve Singaporeans and said "he never regretted it because he believed in public service".

Edmund William Barker is a Eurasian and was Singapore's first law minister. He also served as Minister for National Development, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Environment, Minister for Science and Technology and Minister for Labour. 

"He headed the committee that wrote the Singapore Constitution, personally wrote the document which separated Singapore from Malaysia, headed 5 ministries at different times, was the longest serving minister of law in the world and did numerous other things. My wife is deeply offended by the idea that low pay attracts mediocre people. By saying that you are insulting all the founding fathers who took low pay but put our country on the path to the phenomenal success it has achieved. Their sacrifice, our gain. 

If they need an excuse for high pay, perhaps one that doesn't insult the people who came before them might be a better alternative. What happened to the concept of public service? If money is what you want then go out into the world and make some. Government should be about the people you serve".

In your face, ESM Goh. 

Long regarded as Singapore's "people President", Dr Tan Cheng Bock promised to make a difference if the chance comes his way. He said: "Singapore's interest MUST ALWAYS come first - ahead of self and even their own party's interest".

Dr Tan recently attended an event which explored the possibilities of an opposition coalition in Singapore. The event involved members from 7 opposition parties: Singapore Democratic Party, People's Power Party, Democratic Progressive Party, Reform Party, National Solidarity Party, SingFirst, and an unregistered People's Voice Party.

Although some may think of them as 3rd or 4th rate politicians, Dr Tan did not discriminate against them as he believed they have a common goal of serving Singaporeans' interest. He was also not bothered that his reputation would be "tarnished" by them. 

"I’m curious what yardstick the commentator has used to measure these men. I know men like Paul Tambyah is a 1st rate human being and doctor who cares for the country. I find it hard to label him otherwise. I believe that the men and women I met yesterday, were more than willing to make way for better men and women who would stand in their place. They have guts. They have put themselves out there. That is sufficient for the moment.

Right now, the 7 parties have asked for my help. They are not the only ones who have spoken to me. I think I must help but in what capacity, I have not decided.

I am now 78 years old. I may only have a short time to mentor a team to work for the good of the nation. This is a small window of opportunity, a moment for ubah (change in Malay). I want to put my last years to good use. I want to pass all that I have acquired and learned in the political arena to the next generation.

I would regret it if I had the chance to make a difference, but did nothing".

Do you believe in Dr Tan? Are you looking forward to a new and improved Singapore?




By now, the news would be all over social media, Tan Cheng Bock had been asked and led a meeting with 7 other opposition political parties in Singapore. The parties were Singapore Democratic Party, the People’s Power Party, the Democratic Progressive Party, the Reform Party, the National Solidarity Party, the Singaporeans First Party and a new, as yet, unregistered People’s Voice Party.

Dr Tan indicated that all of these parties know that they have fallen short in the last GE to win any seats, and that to move forward to bring change to Singapore, they have agreed to join forces and for Dr Tan to lead them. This, they feel, was the only way they can contribute politically to Singapore. Dr Tan advised all the parties that in order to resonate with the ground, they must always think of Singapore first and put their own political parties' interest aside. They must work together for the good of Singapore, and not for individual glory.

Do we see a wind of change in the Singapore political scene? For the opposition to put their differences aside, and to admit they had fallen short and are willing to change themselves for the benefit of Singapore was a big statement in itself. Is Dr Tan the Mahathir of Singapore? Can he do what Mahathir did in Malaysia recently? 

As Dr Tan said so himself, he is 78 years old, and don't have much time left to mentor a team for the good of Singapore. Let us get behind Dr Tan, and will him to shape the next generation of political leaders of Singapore. Ones who understand the ground, and not only talk high and mighty from their ivory tower.  

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