Bumped into a friend who is a grassroots leader. Though he supports the ruling party, he also looks up to some Opposition members who from time to time stand up to the establishment on important issues. What’s important is when they debate on the merits of the issue at hand and not play politics, he told me. During our conversation, he mentioned this Ravi Philomen fellow. My friend said he had a lot of sympathy and good feelings towards him in the beginning, knowing his family situation and his work in the social service sector.
Unfortunately, he has fallen into the same vicious trap as others once he entered opposition politics. Adversarial politics is the now the name of the game for him. Politics for the sake of politics. My friend cited his recent comments on the Zika outbreak. Ravi said on Facebook: “Saturday announce one locally-transmitted Zika case. Sunday morning MSM conveniently splashed that fogging in area is being stepped-up. Sunday evening Health Ministry announce 40 more cases and perhaps more to come. This is how Singapore rolls! Woot!” Ravi also said in an article that government was not being transparent enough.
My friend had two issues with this. Firstly, what’s wrong with fogging being stepped up and media reporting on it? What else does he expect? Lots of men and women are toiling under the sun to fog and instead of encouraging them, he chooses to be snarky?
Secondly, instead of offering solutions, all he does was to be bitchy, negative and alarmist. In fact, it was obvious he was trying to play politics by quickly criticising government transparency without any proof or regard for the innocent, hardworking public servants at the key healthcare and environment agencies. I can only hope it was a mere lack of understanding of the Zika situation that prompted him to make such unnecessary and unhelpful comments. The least Mr Philemon could do is to offer help or prayers for those working tirelessly overnight to bring the situation under control. As we love to say in Singlish, if you have nothing better to contribute during such trying times, please siam. Meaning get the hell out of the way.
I agree the likes of Mr Philemon coming into the fray has been a disappointment. Ever since he joined the Independent as a contributor, the online news platform has been negative, vicious and unproductive to the national discourse. They appear to be more keen to whip up public sentiments against certain people or community than reporting good news and writing insightful commentaries. I am pretty sure that approach will not do any good to our society.