Sunday, February 05, 2012

Woodlands "not in my backyard" syndrome and how politicians should overcome this together

Author's note: Edited letter printed in Voices ( Today newspaper 11.2.12 here)
Dear Editor,
I refer to the negative reactions of some HDB residents when they found out that eldercare centres were slated to be built in the void decks of 2 blocks in Woodlands Street 83.( Click here)
Among reasons to support their petition to their MP included concern that the flats will drop in value and that it would be inauspicious when there are more deaths in the estate!
Ugly examples of “not in my backyard" syndrome
This troubling phenomenon is the often mentioned “not in my backyard” syndrome where Singaporeans will publicly welcome community amenities such as hospitals unless it is to be located in their community.
We saw this in Serangoon Gardens when the government wanted to build proper dormitories for foreign workers only to face vociferous protests from residents there.
These Singaporeans recognize that foreign workers are needed for our economy and that the older generation had made significant contributions in Singapore’s success, but nonetheless, prefer that these groups of people be kept out of sight, hidden somewhere else.
Politicians should discard partisanship to support the common good
Sound community initiatives such as the eldercare centres would risk being shelved due to the parochial reactions of some Woodlands resident unless politicians from both sides of the political divide openly support them.
These protesting residents often use the threat of their vote as a lever (like a child who tries to play one parent against the other) but if all major political parties openly state their support for such initiatives, such essential facilities for our elderly will not be discarded.  
Skeptics will say that politics in Singapore would never allow non-partisanship and may (with some justification) point to instances when sound policies such as the WP’s Sylvia Lim’s attempt at introducing “Happiness Index” was shot down by PAP MP’s in a very partisan manner. I also sadly recall Ex-MP Chiam See Tong’s suggestion for smaller classes for more effective schooling being dismembered and ignored for the very same reason ( partisanship).
I am an optimist and hope for a new political norm where policies and initiatives are supported or rejected by politicians on their merits alone. And nothing else.
Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


Anonymous said...

With many serenely located infrastructures at Changi Village and Lim Chu Kang unused, why do the Authority have to build those Eldercare Centres at the Heartland?

Those ex hospital, army barracks(at Changi) and what looks liked a dormitory or kindergarten(at Lim Chu Kang) lying wasted, why not use them?

As for Singaporeans not wanting to have funeral parlour, olf folk centre and hospital near them, it is quite understandable. It is not selfishness per se as inferred, most would want their living surroundings to be the best it could be.

Me like to say that like factory, building of certain services should be built at locations where there will be less objections.


Anonymous said...

wp yaw resign as key role in wp channel news asia report super super fast. fist time i see so fast.

i will still vote for wp no matter what.

govt can say just sorry for flood, mrt problems, mas selamat case, very expensive hdb flats.....and still be govt and take millions in pay.

i also know how to say sorry. just pay me 3k a month will do.

Anonymous said...

i really wish the 2 drs can win their case against mindef.

scdf are paying fees for the doctors design, so this should be consider a patent design, if not why scdf pay the doctors fees.

i think the drs have a very strong case to fight for.

and they should organise a hong lim park event to let public awareness that we must fight for what is right even it is means fighting against the govt.

Anonymous said...

never mind never mind, i feel there will be more and more ex pap members or ex pap mps or even ex ministers come out to be oppositon and stand aganst the pap in the very near future.

rip dr toh cc.

Anonymous said...

and just 1 question, if yaw quit as mp, then there will surely be a by election right under singapore law right???

but no matter what will vote for opposition in hougang smc