Monday, December 24, 2012

The Michael Palmer – Laura Ong affair: Forgiveness will help build a better Singapore society

As I was reading the many reports in the media and comments on the internet about Michael Palmer and Laura Ong, I couldn't help but wonder why many in our society have become so unforgiving. 

The photograph of Palmer in Sunday’s New Paper (Sunday 16 December 2012) on the front page tore at my heartstrings.  For here was a man who has done so much for his residents, sacrificing family time so that he can bring hope to the needy and when one mistake is made, his whole career and personal life is damaged. It is really a sad state of affairs because you can do 101 good things, but the moment you make one wrong turn, all the 101 good deeds that you've done, is clean forgotten.

As human beings, we can never be perfect for to err is human. Only God is perfect.

It is evident to me that many of the high profile sex scandals involving top civil servants are those who are holding highly stressful jobs that demand long working hours.  And when such a scenario takes place, those who are lonely, stressed out and feel unloved can develop relationships with one another over a period of time.  

But we must never forget that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

An affair is directly proportional to one's spirituality.  When our spiritual foundation regardless of the faith we practice - Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism etc is weak, we become vulnerable into doing bad things.  Remember although God is watching all the time, so is the devil. The only difference is the devil works overtime - to tempt us into committing sin and doing ungodly things.

So let’s condemn the sin not the person committing the wrong act.  As the saying goes, “Don’t look down on a man unless you are willing to pick him up.”

As with any relationship, be it in an office setting or personal encounters, every happy successful partnership begins and ends with the same ingredient – the willingness to negotiate.  The willingness to forgive. 

This is why talks on marriages should be promoted at all levels - schools, government agencies, the CCs, etc.

Despite the numerous crimes and arthrocities committed against the South Africans, former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was able to forgive.  But before forgiveness could come about, Mandela wanted to know the truth so that he could work towards forgiveness and reconciliation.  That was the measure of the man!  And we can all learn from Mandela to build a better Singapore where forgiveness becomes second nature.

My Christmas wish for Michael Palmer and Laura Ong and their families is that you can come out of this episode stronger and more resilient as you struggle to rebuild your lives with the unflagging support from your family members whom I hope will stand by you through thick and thin.

Merry Christmas to one and all. God Bless!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letter to The New Paper (TNP)- Govt should manage public transport

Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today in TNP, page 27, Wed 12th Dec 2012.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has hinted that public transport fares may have to go up so that drivers can be given higher salaries. 

This is causing anxiety among those who are already worried sick over the cost of living.

SMRT makes millions of dollars in profits and its top executives are paid high salaries and bonuses.

The Government has often advised citizens to save for a rainy day.  Perhaps, if SMRT had done the same during the years of high profits, it may be able to pay its drivers more without raising fares.

Why should the public have to pay more instead?

Concerns about the rising transport costs may be one reason why some are reluctant to take up jobs far away from their homes.

Public transport needs to manage by the Government, like public health services.