Monday, 13 June 2011

Nightingale and Other Stories

Old folks getting smacked in the mouth and left sitting half-naked under the ceiling fan with nothing on but a shower cap. No Florence Nightingales at Nightingale Nursing Home at all. Lots of people are shocked, disgusted. They and the the family of those in the nursing homes have a right to be pissed. Who's to blame?

Well the list is long. The nursing home! The nurses, who by the way, gasp, are foreigners! PRC or Pinoys! The government for not doing enough spot checks by sending retired old civil servants disguised as one of those old folks with nowhere to go as their own kids kicked them out of the house. Did I say old folks who were kicked out by their own kids? In that case, add this to the list, the people who send their parents to old folks homes! Hey, but why would kids become so unfilial, so un-Asian society-like? These old folks must have abused their kids and were bad parents and it is karma! Everyone is to blame! Nobody is to be blamed! Wait, let's go into Western-style airy-fairy blaming - it is society's fault!

Irene Nursing Home and Serene Nursing Home also said that it gave the sack 3 staff, lo and behold, all foreigners! The undercurrents of xenophobia and foreigners are abusing our old folks, besides the stories of maids abusing kids! What do you expect when we outsource old folks care to these transient labour who are doing jobs that Singaporeans don't want to. Nursing is a unglam vocation and not a career that Singaporeans want to go into. To be a cool rich doctor, yes. To be a nurse wiping patients' arses, no. Nurses have to deal with cranky old folks that their own kids don't want to deal with. If they know that the patients' own children might not treat these old folks with dignity, why should they. Not everybody is a Florence Nightingale or a Mother Theresa.

Well to be fair, some people don't have the time or space in their homes to house their parents. O'rlly. They can't afford to send their parents to a retirement village in JB or in Perth, so they have to make do. So Nightingale and its ilk fit in nicely. Seriously ,some of these homes are probably professional and give great elderly care and maybe even most of the staff including foreigners are gentle and caring. That's just too bad as we want to focus on the cases of abuse and blame, and screw personal responsibility.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Presidential Selection err Election

Why do people think that the president is elected rather than selected?

In 1991, the elected presidency was created, giving the president more veto powers over government budgets and key appointments in the civil service. In theory this is a fantastic check and balance to the ruling party of the day or in PAP' case, the decades. Everything sounds nice and naughty at the same time.

Nice because WOW the PAP allowed the president to move out of his ceremonial role into a custodial role, albeit slightly. Naughty because HEY, there is the Presidential Elections Committee and a strict criteria on who can be the head of state in Singapore, a parliamentarian system where the PM is the boss while the president smiles and is the last to arrive and first to go at National Day parades.What is this committee that decides who can run for the head of state office?

This is what the Elections Department says. "The Chairman of the Public Service Commission chairs the Committee, which comprises 2 other members - one is the Chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the other is a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights nominated by the Chairman of the Council."

So that means Eddie Teo would be the main man deciding who can get into the ring. He would be aided by Chan Lai Fung (ACRA chair) and someone from the Presidential Council for Minority Rights. The question of course is whether these top civil servants should be the ones to determine who can run for president. Or should the public decide themselves rather than the civil service provide a filter, a screen for the PAP? Or should the committee be more diverse in its composition e.g. one civil servant, one from the judiciary, one from business sector. That's a nicer spin isn't it?