I am interested in determining whether the above stigma (Hokkien parlance - "Bochap" attitude) still prevails in our nation's psyche after half a century of nation building. Two news items in the media - the CPF Scheme and the escalating health-care costs - direct me to the conclusion that nothing much has really changed.
1) Our CPF Scheme - It takes a blogger's critique of the Scheme to make it come to "life and light". The Government has to step into the conversation as the issues are controversial and causing a lot of angst among the people. It subsequently announced the formation of a Committee to look into the matter. But, it is common knowledge that 50% of the cohorts retiring cannot fulfill the minimum sum (supposedly allowing retirees to draw a monthly payment of $1200 per month in CPF Life at the draw down age). It is discovered that this 50% of retirees can only manage to enjoy an average payout of about $500 per month only corresponding to their actual savings.
2) Our escalating health-care costs - It takes a private hospital specialist to highlight this problem before anyone wakes up. This doctor has the conscience to raise this matter as he witnesses the obscene escalating costs keep going up by leaps and bounds on the basis of who can set the latest bench-mark price to be surpassed.
Of course questions come quick and fast. Where are the gate-keepers, professional bodies and interested parties in all of these:-
1) Our MPs (Government & Opposition), NCMPs and NMPs in our Parliaments have not taken cudgels in such bread-and-butter issues more often. It is a reflection of them for the PM to say "they do not themselves know much about the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme".
2) Our professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, professional bodies, etc. - Keeping quiet when there is rampant abuse of charges, fees, etc. is a sin.
3) Our academia and think-tanks - Their professional inputs and studies will greatly help to educate and benefit the citizenry. Addressing complex and controversial issues will manage the citizens' expectations and anxiety better. It is no use discussing the issues when the horse has broken out of the stable.
4) Our mainstream media - It will be doing a disservice to the nation by "wanting to be politically correct" in its reports. It will have failed in its duty if it has failed to educate and nurture a more matured citizens for the country.
My prayer and hope is that this stigma will not accompany us as we venture into the next 50 years of our nation building. This work is cut out for every one of us!