“The People’s Association made a mistake and used an old invitation list instead of an updated one.”
That’s the official explanation given for uninviting Dr Tan Cheng Bock to a Chinese New Year garden party in Istana – an annual event to honor those who serve in the community. This sort of “mistake” never happened before. It’s unheard off. Minister Lim SS had to apologise personally over the phone to Dr Tan with a follow-up email. How many were uninvited? They did not want to divulge more details over this blunder.
Is it excusable? Could it be brushed aside lightly? Now Minister Lim is saying that he’s quite surprised that Dr Tan brought it up in public as an issue. He thought he already settled it privately with Dr Tan. Why did Dr Tan bring it up publicly? Did Dr Tan trying to make things difficult for them or out to embarrass them?
It seems that Minister Lim does not seem to understand the difference between private and public functions. If it is a private function, no one would want to bother about the silly “mistake.” The fact that it is a public state function involving a public personality like Dr Tan CB who nearly became the 7th President of the Republic of Singapore attracted much discussion. Dr Tan CB nearly became the Head of State when he lost only 7,270 votes or 0.34% in the last PE.
As humans, we are bound to make mistakes. Then again, we should see what sort of mistakes. There are all kinds of mistakes we make in life. Some mistakes could be rectified whilst others can never be salvaged. If your mistake costs another life, you will have to live with the guilt for the rest of your life. But if a simple mistake could be reversed straightaway, why not just do it?
In Dr Tan CB’s case, the right thing to do is to just let the original invitation stay. A mistake was made, so be it. 将错就错 [jiāng cuò jiù cuò] Let it be. After all, the function is paid for by tax payers. An exception should be made for Dr Tan CB since he’s a well known public figure. This is also to pre-empt any embarrassing fall-out. It looks bad on them is it not?
Maybe, Minister Lim SS did not expect Dr Tan to go public on the basis that he thought he had settled the matter privately with him. But then it is a public function that Dr Tan’s grassroots supporters got the right to know why he wouldn’t be attending. Dr Tan could have informed his supporters that he was invited to the event when he received the invitation some time ago. Has Dr Tan breached any trust or confidence placed on him by going public? That is also debatable. It depends on how you look at it. The Istana is so huge with nice sprawling manicured landscape yet there is no room for our retired veteran MP with 26 years of service to the nation. Link