There is no room for Dr Tan CB in the Istana?

<Picture: A cartoon of the recent 'uninviting' made by Demon-cratic Singapore>

“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




About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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15 Responses to There is no room for Dr Tan CB in the Istana?

  1. Eunice Lim says:

    I don’t have the details to why Dr. Tan had to be uninvited….but I guess it has something to do with protocol but so far they have not officially said that. There are various occasions that President host different groups of people to thank them for contributions to Singapore… and Dr. Tan has stopped serving the grassroots for years…..while he still has friends who are grassroots leaders, he himself has not been serving.

    There are new grassroots leaders, so I guess it will also raise eyebrows if he continues to be invited… the mistake was made at staff level…. and they didn’t ask a staff to apologise to right the mistake… Min Lim had to make the personal call as a form of courtesy…. And Dr. Tan could have expressed his unhappiness to Min Lim earlier….Min Lim called Dr. Tan in January, he would have or could have informed his friends earlier that he can’t attend…. Instead Dr. Tan chose to post the comment 2 days before the event….some of us feel it is intentional.

    • Think says:

      You are missing the point. To many of us bystanders the key thing is the invite and uninvite. Does not matter if Dr Tan is happy or disappointed at the uninvite. This event just shows up the PAP’s pettiness and attitude towards people who do not follow their thinking.

      Some people say why he must express disappointment now?

      Can I ask if he had posted in FB that he was relieved to get the uninvite because he could not attend due to other commitment and he appreciated the minister for personally calling him, does that make a difference?

      No it will not make a difference, many will still think the PAP as petty.

      Probably you will just prefer Dr Tan not to even mention this at all, not so much taking issue at his disappointment. Don’t be afraid to let the people know if something has happened. We can think and we can see who is on the right side.

  2. Nina Beh says:

    Ah finally my suspicions confirmed. I’ve always suspected PAP for being cheap and petty. This case clearly shows them with their pants around their wrinkled ankles!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What’s the big deal? If last time I am your colleague at the train company. Then I tell the bosses you are bad driver then you leave. You have CNY party, Mr Muthu ask me to follow and come to your house but 1 day before I come, Mr Muthu tell you. For sure I would expect Mr Muthu will call me and say ‘sorry party change venue and country, please not need to come’. hahaha. Grouw up, man

    • T Octavia says:

      Some people are wise, some are otherwise. Anyone who retorts “What’s the big deal?” belongs to that category – these clowns deserve the government they get.

  4. patriot says:

    Ex MP Tan Cheng Bok could have organized his own party to thank his supporters during the Festive Season. Made it big with large number of participants.
    There was no need for this uninvited issue to develop into a storm in a teacup. After he contested the Last Presidential Election, it was plain to all that he (TCB) is not sharing their (PAP Parliamentarians) ideology or even political direction. Why would he missed the Gathering with them?


    • Sgcynic says:

      From how the vote split between the PAP ranks during the Presidential elections, it is clear that half of them supported Dr Tan. Can’t he join in? Running in an election against the other Tan is a professional matter. They don’t have to make it personal right?

  5. Not Surprised says:

    Is Dr Tan Cheng Bock of any use or value to PAP now?
    What do you think? And after thinking, are you surprised that Dr Tan was disinvited?

  6. Sgcynic says:

    “I don’t have the details to why Dr. Tan had to be uninvited….but I guess it has something to do with protocol but so far they have not officially said that. There are various occasions that President host different groups of people to thank them for contributions to Singapore… and Dr. Tan has stopped serving the grassroots for years…..”

    Possible, but how to reconcile with the fact that some of his compatriots who fall in the same category are still invited?

    Former MPs who are being invited are people such as Mr Andy Gan, who served one term as MP till 2006, Mr Othman Haron Ensofe who served from 1988 to 2006, and Dr S Vasoo, who retired in 2001 but continues as a second adviser to Teck Ghee grassroots. However former MPs like Mr Loh Meng See, who retired in 2006, was not invited.”

    Therefore the most asked question today for Singaporeans may be, “Who else was “wrongly” invited? How many “wrongly invited” did the Minister personally call to apologise?”

    It took two weeks before Lim Swee Say called Dr Tan to inform him of the mistake. Two weeks. How many invitations would have been mailed out over the period. How credible is it that the minister called up each and every one “mistakenly” invited and followed up with a personal email?

    One should worry how such a “lapse” can happen in the Istana which hosts many foreign and local guests during the course of each year. It would definitely go against protocol and amount to a diplomatic snub if we were to disinvite “wrongly invited” foreign delegates.

  7. To err is human. But like what gintai said, can they not graciously honour the invitation? I also wonder how did CBF Lim “uninvite” Dr Tan.
    Case 1 – “Sorry Bro, it was a mistake. It’s only for Advisers in 2011. Can’t let you come to the party. Buy you beer next time! ”
    Case 2 – “Sorry Bro, it was a mistake. It’s only for Advisers in 2011. You can still come if you want but might be awkward, just to let you know first. Buy you beer next time.”

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