Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Saul Marshall: What Singapore’s mass media will not tell you

Hi Friends,

Way back in October 2006, I posted an entry entitled “Lessons from Beyond the Grave- What 2 Singaporeans teach us”.

This was in two instalments.

Part One was the tragic tale of a certain Mr.Tan Jee Suan who was so poor and financially distressed that he felt that the only way out of his monetary troubles was to end his life in front of an MRT train. His parting gift to his children was $10. This was all that he had and it was for them to buy chicken rice.

In the one and half years since then, do we still have our Mr. Tan’s in our midst?

Part two was about Singapore’s first Chief Minister Mr.Marshall. I was very moved by what he said about "Noblesse oblige" in public service during an interview he gave to Dharmendra Yadav entitled “Meeting David Marshall In 1994”.

Noblesse olige literally means nobility is an obligation. It is defined as:
1. Benevolent, honorable behavior considered to be the responsibility of persons of high birth or rank.
2. the obligation of those of high rank to be honorable and generous (often used ironically)

Thanks again to Mr. Yadav. Without his publishing this conversation into the public domain, we would never have known what Marshall felt about Singapore’s move away from idealism etc.

Marshall is an idealist and humanist that I greatly admire. What was said in 1994 is just as relevant to us today.

As expected the Straits Times just glossed over the feature on Marshall on this his 100th birthday. I did not expect them to mention any of the points brought out in that 1994 interview and I did not get it!


Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan


joko said...

they are digging up stories to tel in these uncertain times. Why him? And why now? Using him to remind the early days? Most people may not know well to relate.

The very reason of not highlighting the interview tells us clearly that they only want to fill up the white spaces.

Anonymous said...

It could be for purpose of distraction or it maybe to turn the tide of materialism a little.

Materialism has becomes a weapon against our pragmatic leadership. Not that anyone is wielding it to knock their heads. But materialism itself is making the people uninterested with the leaders and issues concerning the country. This cannot be good, no good in fact.

Instead of worshipping the Leadership, the populace is worshipping money. How could the leaders be remembered for their deeds when they departed? They got power, wealth but fame is not guaranteed. So linking late luminary to reflect themselves in, may add credentials.

But, why was Marshalls' ideas of being(purpose in living) not highlighted? If it was, then the Present Leadership will appear vain, materialistic and selfish.

Above, just my guess, please do not take it too seriously; regards!

Marx said...

Anyone watch BlogTV last night? I though what Ravi Vello (spelt correctly?) was interesting in his comments.

Dr Lam said...

David Marshall, who is he? An ang-moh? or some FT?

Anyway, who cares? He is not the Singapore story. And we have a lot of things to be excited about this year: F1 racing lah, Youth Olympics lah, Integrated Retorts lah, Mas Selemat lah. With so many things on our hands, who got time for some old colonists?

Onlooker said...

Yay hurray for our PAPer leaders. Pay rise = satisfaction of materialism hence the pay hike ;)
super budget surplus forgotten when Selmat disappear.
IF this is leadership by example ..... NVM
All the riches and good food(flown in from Japan) but when death beckons none shall be enjoyed in the grave
:) good poem eh :P
The uncle die in desperation while the millionaires enjoy pay hikes (which could have helped him).Such cruel irony.......