Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Singapore Sex Scandals: Simi Dai Ji? (What's the Big Deal)

Much has been made of the public sex scandals of late, and there are many different views from different quarters. Some commentators are asking, what's the big deal? Adultery and infidelity happens all the time so why are we engaging in these character assassinations and making such a big hoo-hah over these events. Others are saying we are all human and so we shouldn't judge these individuals who have engaged in infidelity because then we will be guilty of hypocrisy.

Well, let me suggest to you guys what the big deal is.

Yes, adultery and infidelity does indeed happen all the time and can happen to anybody in any job at any time and any place, and yes, nobody is truly justified in judging another person's morality because we are all human and fallible and capable of succumbing to temptation.

But that's precisely the point.

The PAP Government likes to trumpet the fact that Singapore is such a squeaky clean place to do business in and that PAP ministers and MPs are 'elites' who have been carefully selected for intelligence, capability, and moral integrity and incorruptibility.

The PAP system of awarding scholarships to students at an early age and roping them into the public service and promoting them to positions of high authority lies on the basis not just of intelligence, capability, but also moral integrity and incorruptibility.

The PAP system of paying astronomically high salaries to its ministers and senior civil servants is predicated on the basis that these individuals are intelligent, capable and people of moral integrity and incorruptibility.

If you need any evidence of this, here is an extract from the public service division website: "The Civil Service works under a Code of Conduct based on the principles of incorruptibility, integrity and propriety. Civil servants are expected to conduct themselves with impartiality and honesty at all times."

Well, guess what, adultery and infidelity is fundamentally a problem of moral integrity. A married person who has made a lifelong commitment to his or her spouse, and who subsequently engages in an extramarital sexual relations, fundamentally has an integrity problem because he/she is violating a commitment to his/her spouse for the selfish purpose of personal gain and/or pleasure. What makes adultery so devastating to the other party is the deep sense of betrayal and the pain of being lied to.

What's that got to do with the public service? Well, if a person is morally corruptible in his own personal relations, then there is no basis to believe that he is any less corruptible in his work and public relations. If these public servants have been exposed to be just as fallible in their personal relations as anybody else, then there is no basis in the claim that these public servants deserve to be disproportionately rewarded (or lauded in any way) for any so-called "moral integrity" or "incorruptibility."

Singaporeans need to develop a healthy dose of skepticism and suspicion towards public figures because they are just as corruptible and fallible as anybody on the street. In my opinion it is unfortunate that according to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, Singaporeans are the most trusting of their government leaders to tell the truth, and they are also the third most trusting country in the world. Such gullibility is but an excuse for political apathy and sets the stage for the abuse of political power for personal gain.

It is only right that these sex scandals be brought into the spotlight in order that we might knock our arrogant leaders down a peg or two and put them in the proper place that they deserve. At the same time, it is a timely reminder to each Singaporean to heighten his or her political awareness and participation because the running of the country cannot be abdicated into the hands of a few so-called "elite" individuals that are just as corruptible as anybody else. The sooner we banish the illusion of the squeaky men in white, the better, for then shall we be able to claim the destiny of the nation into the hands of Singaporeans at large, and not just the hands of a few.

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