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Bill Clinton: There is no easy way of saying ‘I have sinned’

Singapore has returned to what is politically known as “phase 2” alerts, thanks to an outbreak of cases of Covid-19 in Karaoke joints and the fishery ports. I’ve effectively lost my restaurant side gigs, which had given me much needed pocket money to supplement my weekly income from corporate insolvency and it looks like things will be quiet for a while. A best friend’s mother and brother are down with the virus and life looks a little less promising than it did a few weeks ago.

In many ways, the return to these measures is a sign that our government, which the world perceives as being a model of super competence, is a little less than what its public image suggests. The government in particular has been facing plenty of brick bats thanks to the out break in karaoke lounges, which all of us have known were a polite euphemism for whore-joints.

I’ve argued on many occasions that Singapore has what one would call an enlightened approach to the vice-trade. Lee Kuan Yew famously stated in his book that a total ban on the trade would only force it underground, so it was better to keep in out in the open. Our red-light districts aren’t as famous as Thailand’s more obvious flesh markets but they’re not the crime infested dens that you see on Western dramas. The police do make their presence felt once in a while. It’s enough of a presence for the pimps and prostitutes to understand that they need to stay on the right side of law enforcement but not so much that business is actually affected.

Whilst this approach worked well in normal times, the point remains that these are not normal times. Bars, clubs and other night spots have all been shut down because, well, it’s been proven that the best way to spread this virus is at places where crowds gather. Singapore’s “vice-scene” has been no exception. Geylang, our most prominent spot for the vice trade has been transformed from a bustling spot of activity into a sleepy centre of not very much. Sure, in normal times its fine for the sexually deprived to have a place to relieve themselves but in normal times, you want to limit the places where people are likely to get something nasty.

So, many of us are questioning why the karaoke lounges were allowed to stay open and more importantly how was it such where they were able to do so under a legal loophole where they officially claimed that they would “pivot into food and beverage outlets.” What’s more annoying for the tax payers is the fact that those who claimed they were pivoting, helped themselves to a government grant of some $50,000. The pivot is best explained by the following cartoon in our mainstream news

What is perhaps far worse than the actual outbreak itself, has been the explanation provided by the government. Singapore’s most pugnacious fighter for truth and justice, our magically unconflicted writer and enforcer of laws, Mr. K Shanmugam proceeded to deliver the what can only be described as a tax-payer insulting, how dare you expect us to do the job you’re paying us to do speeches in parliament. Mr. Shanmugam’s speech can be found at: [LINK]

One has to ask if Mr. Shanmugam is determined to provide Singaporeans with another reason not to vote for the ruling party? Why is it such that a ruling party with every advantage determined not to provide the voters with their one simple request – a little bit of humility.

Mr. Shanmugam should perhaps look at what Bill Clinton did after his was acquitted in his 1998 impeachment trial. Mr. Clinton invited reporters to the rose garden and ensured that he looked suitably contrite for his role in subjecting the nation to an impeachment trial. He told the world, “There is no fancy way of saying, I have sinned.” Like him or loath him, Mr. Clinton’s contrition after that key moment in his presidency, played a role in ensuring that he saw his presidency as one of the most popular presidents around. People overlooked his indiscretions and obvious flaws and focused on his achievements.

This is something our politicians need to learn. The current situation has no precedent. Nobody can expect perfection. However, what we do expect is greater accountability and while we can expect mistakes and oversight, we do expect leadership to own its mistakes. The dialogue should be, you made a mistake, now tell us what are you going to do about it. It should not be “How are you expect me to do my job.”

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

11 Responses to “Bill Clinton: There is no easy way of saying ‘I have sinned’”

  • Arrogant:

    Butterflies are everywhere. Not just confined in KTV. No one accused you in cahoot nor naive. If nothing happened, just closed eyes.

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  • Shenkoji Buchikonya:

    Hard to show humility if you can’t properly define it, don’t you think?

    I learned a lot about the difference between humility and narcissism from this. ‘Someone’ asked me a question with two different ways of interpreting it. One was narcissistic and the other humble. The ‘person’ even used the word humility. Sounds good, but based upon the real behavior, I would have to say, that the person had no humility at all. A true insight is worth a thousand words.

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  • Shame:

    Shame n his karaok ok its shame!

    I like the anyway they going to do that part!

    Police sing at Kara ok holier than thou?

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  • BTS = Big Tight Slap:

    It’s a real BTS!

    No, not the K-Pop group.

    Letting KTV-cum-’F&B’ whoriers claim $50k per ‘outlet’ does not auger well with the economy and the state coffer, especially so during this Covid19 pandemic when the most deserving small-time hawkers and the jobless/underemployed are clamouring for support.

    This truly smells like a faded rose by days gone by, tantamount to that of the rafflesia.

    So, wrongdoers-at-large, where does your self-righteousness stand?

    Jack be nimble, Jack be humble.
    It’s all about transperancy and accountability, be it right or wrong.

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  • MarBowling:

    What would the YOU EXPECT our forked-tongue World Class Minister to say? The Holee FACT that he didn’t PUBLICLY CHIDED his KarKia aka Subordinates for the BLADY OVERSIGHT under his WATCH is already see peh Tau Choi aka Laughing SILENTLY! Anyway, like Lee Kayu used to say: it’s an HONEST MISTAKE, LET AR*E MOVE ON!

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  • #08-193 Stoopids:

    Singapore culture : admit mistake = no face.

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  • AristoCATs - Coffee ?:

    > KTV – “Coffee” and “Cream
    -
    That is a good one.
    -
    AristoCATs outplayed by the sophisticated street-smart Beng !
    -
    More than 39% should know the Power of the Ballot Box !

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  • Billy ma:

    PAP had all along sold the tale that if a story being spoken often enough, most people will believe it.

    So PAP has been putting out narratives to place blames on anybody & everybody but themselves each time an outbreak took place due to PAP inept handling.

    There’s no singapore-variant virus for goodness sake, every wave of infection comes & starts from people coming into our country.

    Even the latest is not home – produced. It comes from somewhere outside our land.

    But no, this is not what PAP wants the message to have anything to do with them.
    Blame the Vietnamese. Blame the ktv. Blame the fishmongers. Even blaming housewives going to the markets.

    Everybody but not PAP fault.

    PAP told Singaporeans not to panic but just look at the way PAP handle the latest restrictions & you have panics written all over.

    Using 1m measuring stick to catch people for sitting too close?
    Wrapping the entire market. Yes the entire market is wrapped up with just one entrance & exit. And to think that it’s to prevent close contact crowding?

    To says that this group of supposingly PAP best people is totally laughable & an insult to Singaporeans.

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  • MRT 1m token/gadget:

    A new token should come into existence such that when any 2 persons are less than 1m apart their tokens will immediately buzz nonstop until the requisited 1m is fulfilled.

    Must implement this repelsys as soon as possible, especially in trains and buses.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Billy ma:
    To says that this group of supposingly PAP best people is totally laughable & an insult to Singaporeans.

    Of course PAP is still the best.
    Ask yourselves,

    1. do you have to run and fight to get vaccinated like moron ROc Taiwan?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOY3nbLhjks

    Ans: No.

    2. did you fall to get vaccinated ? (watch the video Ok)

    Ans: No.

    Based on the answer of No, it prove that PAP has the best quality people.

    Please print out and distribute my post to every Singaporeans.

    GE2024.PAP.Guarantee.Win.and.Huat.Again
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    MarBowling:
    What would the YOU EXPECT our forked-tongue World Class Minister to say?

    If our ministers are forked-tongue, how about your Ang Mo Tua Kee who never admitted that they robbed/killed all the native red indians using religion.

    “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had robbed us the land.”
    ― Desmond Tutu

    Canada: remains of 215 children found at Indigenous residential school site
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/28/canada-remains-indigenous-children-mass-graves

    GE2024.PAP.Guarantee.Win.and.Huat.Again
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$

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