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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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What’s the story leh?

Non-story No. 1: 6 million and counting
I read and re-read ST’s page 1 story and agree entirely with economist Irvin Seah that the MTI occasional paper on population did not shed much new light. Which begs the question why it was splashed on Page 1. The more illuminating stuff is actually in the inside pages in the Q&A section with Lim Hng Kiang when he acknowledged that the G was trying to get a message across: That if you want more growth, you need more foreigners. If you don’t, then be prepared for slow growth because we’ve already stretched the productivity targets as it is. Can people accept this or not? I think the issue was laid out more sharply in Today. And ST should be glad if a reader reaches the bowels of its paper to get to the Q&A section in the Home pages.
That’s how the National Conversation should move methinks. We need to know what life will be like when growth is say just 1 per cent. What does it mean for me in every day terms? More elbow room on the MRT, less anti-foreigner sentiment and lower property prices? Yay! But lower wages too?
I can’t seem to reconcile the debate with the fact that we’re already embarking on infrastructure development. Is this to accommodate the current squeeze but for 6 million people that the PM said we would have no problem with? (By the way, I really wish we wouldn’t keep asking PM questions like what is the ideal population size. Doesn’t that depend on what us, the people, want?) Seems the target has been settled, and if Singaporeans don’t get on with producing babies, then foreigners it is or we work very hard to reach some economic growth target that we are all comfortable with.
Thing is, what would we be comfortable with?

Non-story No. 2: Law Society meeting
Some lawyers want some kind of accounting on the LawSoc’s conduct vis-à-vis M Ravi. Seems the EGM produced nothing enlightening. The reason that Wong Meng Meng gave was that he couldn’t say very much coz there were some cases before the court and his comments would be prejudicial. You know, I am getting real tired of people saying they can’t say anything because of “on-going investigations’’ or “subject of a court case’’ or “subject to internal review’’ or “now before what and what committee’’ or “company policy’’ etc. Okay, okay. I know some things have to be kept under wraps but some reasons are just fig leaves. I mean, who okayed Wong Siew Hong’s move to present the doctor’s letter on M. Ravi to the court? Now it seems it is the lawyer himself. Then who okayed the press statement saying that he did so under LawSoc instructions? Seems “they didn’t have full information’’ when they did so, says Wong Meng Meng. Who is “they’’? Okay, I’m nit-picking here but I must say I am still sore about how Wong Meng Meng started shooting people about making allegations when his own Law Soc/their statements aren’t clear. What I really want cleared up though is whether lawyers can anyhow bandy around doctor’s letters about patients. That, I suppose, we have to wait for….

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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