[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, September 04, 2008

[Dialogue Under The Rain At Serangoon Gardens]
Some 200 residents must have turned up at Chartwell Park last night for the dialogue session with Lim Hwee Hua and me. When it was arranged a couple of months ago, Hwee Hua thought that the residents of Serangoon Gardens might be interested in my views of regional developments.

However, the hot topic was not Malaysia or Thailand but the prospect of a nearby vacated school being transformed into a temporary dormitory for 1000 foreign workers. Neither Hwee Hua nor I knew about this until an alarm was raised by the Neighbourhood Committee. A police officer had casually asked for views. Word spread like wild fire and over 1400 residents signed a petition within a few days requesting MND to abort the idea.

It was lucky that the dialogue session was already scheduled. Many residents spoke up, some with great passion. As expected, the principal concern was security. The already difficult traffic flow would also be aggravated. It was good that everyone acknowledged the contributions of foreign workers to our economy.

Scathing criticisms of MND, a few quite personal, were also made which I objected to. But, on the whole, it was a very good exchange. Hwee Hua and I assured residents that we shared their concerns and would argue their case with MND.

It was pouring. Many who came huddled under umbrellas. There must have been one or two inches of water under our feet. But everyone was civil, considerate and attentive. The strong sense of community was palpable.

There is a wonderful spirit in Serangoon Gardens which gives the neighbourhood its unique character. Many who live there have lived there many years. Those who leave still treasure fond memories and go back to the eating places. It was nice to bump into old friends, an ex MP, the secretary of my boss in the Air Force, my brother's old SJI classmate, and others. One schoolgirl asked how she could engage me in further discussions. I said she could always do so through Facebook.

I stayed back for fifteen minutes to chat and eat some food. At the far end, I could see journalists asking Hwee Hua more questions. She, as always, was calm and polite.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To brave the rain to address, hard ‘chilled' people, is no mean feat, especially when there is 'a lot' of animosity to vent upon visiting MPs, outpour displeasure of having 'aliens' living nearby door steps. Strange are locals; when would they become little human to appreciate those who toil for them; mend roofs, repair sanitary appliances, groom their gardens etc and yet want to be different from poor chaps. Keep them away so not to tarnish 'wholesome' image Gardeners. Wah!. Please lah! be understanding,tolerant & sympathetic

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 1:23:00 am


Post a Comment

<< Home