Archive for the ‘Baey Yam Keng says’ Category

A pretentious move for me to carry baby ? 上载抱婴儿照片 被网民批评造作.

Baey Yam Keng
English Translation

Some days ago, a netizen commented on a Facebook picture of me carrying a baby in my arms, taken during one of my weekly block visits.

  • He thought it was just a pretentious move and highlighted that cradling a baby or shaking hands with others does not genuinely reflect a loving or friendly personality.

Another netizen remarked against this:

  • When he drops in to visit, you accused him for being pretentious and when he doesn’t, you slam him for being indifferent.  When he smiles, you brush it off as a smirk, but when he doesn’t, you chastise him for being a snob.”

I am grateful for both comments.  After all, social media is a platform for interaction.

After six years as a MP, I have learnt that for whatever we do, we have to prepared that there will be both approving and disapproving voices.  The same applies to government policies which are devised to take care of the interests of the vast majority, but cannot prevent a minority from being affected negatively.

We should always give our best in what we reckon should be done.  However, we cannot allow success rule over our heads.  We should also listen and learn from feedback and criticisms so as to improve the way we do things and the lives of our fellow countrymen.

The mass media has been quite kind to me and I am grateful for the various opportunities it has provided me.

I am no thespian, but have bitten the bullet to act in front of camera, eg as the father of Zhu Ying Tai in Butterfly Lovers during the Ren Ci Hospital charity show, and as a Rohan monk, Persian Prince and a herbalist for the Speak Mandarin campaign.

Even though I am tone deaf, I went on the “Don’t Forget Your Lyrics” game show to help raise funds for Queenstown Multiservice Centre.

In response to a question by a resident during KopiTalk on my involvement at the recent Stars Award, I explained that I was there to present the “Best Current Affairs Reporting” and “Best News Reporting” Awards in my capacity as the deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Information, Communications & the Arts.

A game show such as “We are Singaporeans” would allow people to see the less meditative side of us.

While we take our role seriously to look after various matters in the constituency, take care of residents’ needs and debate on national issues in parliament, at times, we can also appreciate good humour and let our hair down.

Till today, people still remember my appearance in “Gatekeepers” gameshow some years ago, and that I managed answer all the questions correctly.  I always smiled and replied that it would be rather embarrassing if I fail to of take on questions from the primary school curriculum!

It is therefore important to strike a good balance between exposing our unfamiliarity in such “extracurricular activities”, and taking on such challenges gamely.

Some feel that showing up on these programmes is a waste of time.   They felt it would have been more productive for MPs to attend community events and look after the needs of residents.

Without a single doubt, the interest of my constituency and public service is my top priority as a MP.  Only when my schedule permits, will I consider accepting such media invites.

In my opinion, media exposure and public service are not mutually exclusive.  Not all residents take part in community activities and the public can also get to know me better through the media.

People will not be any less demanding in their expectations of me just because I can carry babies well, post many pictures on Facebook or appear on TV frequently.  As an MP, my first and foremost duty is to serve with sincerity and humility, ensure that all matters within the constituency are properly managed, and that the needs and concerns of residents are adequately addressed.  We will ultimately be subject to the appraisal by residents and their rating during elections.

Baey Yam Keng
Published in MyPaper 5 Jun 2012






Nonetheless, I cannot be hindered by this fear of criticisms and become paranoid of doing anything. 





五音不全的我,还上Don’t Forget Your Lyrics斗唱游戏节目,一心希望替女皇镇日间康复中心筹款。


类似We Are Singaporeans的节目,可让观众看到我们轻松的一面。










《我报》5-6-2012, 炎下之意(专栏),文/马炎庆


Vulnerable or Vulnerable Not / 残而不废 自食其力

Baey Yam Keng  Baey Yam Keng

English translation MyPaper 8 May 2012

Vulnerable or Vulnerable Not

During “Kopi Talk” last month, a kind lady highlighted a wheel-chair bound middle-age man who wheels himself daily to his makeshift news-stand every morning and home every night.  She observed that sometimes, he has to stop along the way to catch a breather.  Like most passers-by, this lady would always offer a helping hand whenever she catches sight of him.

To make his daily travel more convenient, this kind lady suggested that we help him get a motorised wheelchair.  I am touched by her thoughtfulness and supported the suggestion.  We could apply for a grant from CDC or other welfare organizations. However, as a motorised wheelchair is not cheap, the usual grants may only be sufficient to cover the cost of a regular wheelchair.  However, we can always mobilise the grassroots and the community to raise funds to purchase a motorised wheelchair.

As I was walking towards the carpark after “Kopi Talk”, I chanced upon the wheelchair-bound uncle at the news-stand. I related the suggestion to him and sought his opinion on the proposal. He was most grateful for the kind gesture but mentioned that he already has a motorised wheelchair.  He was using it in the past, but his health deteriorated as he was not exercising his arms.  Eventually he chose to give it up.

The wheelchair-bound uncle is a polio patient from young.  He was abandoned as a child, and has learnt to be independent.  His wife is also wheelchair-bound.  She too does not use a motorised one because she is not confident enough to control it.  Due to their circumstances, they decided not to start a family as they are not confident of providing a good life for their children.

At the moment, they live in an HDB rental flat, and have no problems with their daily needs.  However, when the couple eventually succumbs to old age and illness, with no children to look after their needs, community and governmental aid will have to come in to take care of them.

When I was serving at Queenstown, we gave out ration packs to more than 200 low-income residents every month. Amongst them was a mute couple, with the husband suffering from renal dysfunction. I often spot them cheerfully pedalling their bicycles around the neighbourhood to collect paper cardboard for a living.

Even though the couple leads an impoverished life in a rental flat, subsists on the monthly ration packs and probably also receives Public Assistance, I have not received any appeal from them for additional assistance during my 5 years as their MP.

When Samaritans see some unfortunate or elderly people selling newspapers or tissue paper packets, collects cardboard, clears dishes and cleans the streets in Singapore, some may be surprised at the sight and question why the government seems to turn a blind eye to these fellow Singaporeans.

The wheelchair-bound uncle, as well as the mute couple, for instance, receive assistance from the government or community in one way or another, but have not failed to continue with their abilities to earn their keep. They have made the decision and chosen their way of life.  They do this to kill time, to keep themselves physically active, or perhaps to preserve their dignity.

The good intention of providing a motorised wheelchair was to effectively reduce the physical demand on the user.  However, when we understand the situation better, we may discover that the wheelchair-bound actually prefers to take charge their own destiny.

Taking care of residents is my responsibility as an MP.  I have to assure residents that they are welcomed to approach me with their concerns and to know how to contact me. More importantly, they should have confidence in me that I am able to help them with their problems. I also require the assistance of my grassroots leaders and the community to help me reach out to residents and encourage them to accept help if they are in genuine need. There will always be opportunities later on to return the favour back to the community.

I will also continue to interact actively with residents so that they are comfortable with me and willing to share their concerns with me.  It is only through effective communication and interaction that problems could be understood and resolved.

I respect the decision of the wheelchair-bound uncle.  I have asked the town council to study the route he takes between his flat and the news-stand for any obstruction in his way.  We can do a part to enhance the barrier-free accessibility so that he can continue with his path of life in a smoother manner.

《我报》8-5-2012  炎下之意(专栏)文/马炎庆  

残而不废 自食其力
















The Boy Who Cried Wolf / 狼来了!熊来了?绑匪来了!?

A grizzly bear was featured rummaging through a rubbish bin for food in Singapore in a video on Youtube the year before last. Fearing an impending public attack, members of the Police Force, Wildlife Reserves and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society went on an island-wide hunt for the bear. It was later discovered that the bear was, in fact, a man in disguise as a marketing gimmick for a shaving product.

Singapore is not inhabited by any grizzlies and neither was a bear on the loose from the zoo. Nevertheless, we could not deny the remote possibility that the bear could have swum from across the straits or been smuggled into the country.  Therefore the grandiose search team was deployed and resources by relevant authorities were wasted.

Rumours of child abduction spread like wildfire across the nation last month, with two cases reportedly having taken place in Tampines.  One spurious story tells of a primary three boy led away by a man, and another recounted the forced dragging of a young girl from a childcare centre into a minivan. Several concerned residents contacted me to ascertain the rumours.

It is almost impossible that a little girl would have been allowed to go to a childcare centre without adult company. There would have been other people near the centre and it is unlikely that they would turn a blind eye to the victim in the event of abduction. However, I still got in touch with Tampines Neighborhood Police, which then reassured that there were no reports of child abduction.

Two days later, police verified that the primary three boy skipped classes and was found near his house at 11 that same morning. The person who started the rumour of the little girl’s kidnap was later also found to have circulated unsubstantiated information regarding the set up of a road block in Tampines. Police has confirmed that this person did not have reliable sources and was merely informed through hearsay.

There is a wealth of information and oddities on the internet.  It is important to filter out the non-credible materials.  Unlike verbal exchanges that are gone with the wind, information disseminated through new media is akin to words in black and white, often with far-reaching effects and influence. It is therefore crucial to exercise a reasonable level of responsibility and sensibility when sharing information. Information from one individual could be dismissed as personal bias, but when more and more people spread the same information, it could be perceived as the truth.

It serves the relevant authorities no purpose in hiding the truth. In the case of child abduction, the police force would most definitely heighten public alert and beef up investigation. Hence, we should not subscribe to make believe and illogical hearsays.

We teach our children not to emulate the boy who cried wolf, and we should also not act the grizzly to attract unwarranted attention. We must always be on our guard to battle against external threats. Even though the abduction reports were bogus, nobody can promise that there are no wolves in sheep’s clothing. While we must maintain our confidence, we must not take our security for granted and strive to keep up our vigilance and discerning ability.

by   Baey Yam Keng 

《我报》10-4-2012 炎下之意(专栏)文/马炎庆 













网络讯息丰富 并非事事可信









Link : The Boy Who Cried Wolf  / 狼来了!熊来了?绑匪来了!?


行人道。斑马线。交通灯/ Pavement, Zebra Crossing, Traffic Lights















斑马线和交通灯固然是现代社会的基本交通设施, 但我们不可变成没有斑马线和交通灯就不懂得如何安全地过马路,更不要认为斑马线和交通灯就一定是万无一失的安全之道。





Pavement, Zebra Crossing, Traffic Lights

During the “KopiTalk” session held at Tampines North two weeks ago, a resident expressed unhappiness over the reckless behaviour of some cyclists on the pavement.

The relevant authorities are carrying out plans to widen the pavement so as to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists.

Unless we strive to be more gracious and magnanimous, this will continue to pose as a problem regardless of the width of the walkway. The bicycle is akin to an iron horse capable of a traveling speed many times higher than that of a pedestrian. Therefore, cyclists have the added responsibility of keeping their acceleration and environment in check.  When ringing the bell, they should exercise judgment and discretion, especially when alerting the elderly who require a relatively longer reaction time. Impatience will only create unnecessary burden and distress.

On the other hand, disputes are seemingly unavoidable if pedestrians insist on hogging the entire walkway and refuse to give way to an oncoming cyclist.

Learning the knack of road crossing in Cambodia

It is not an uncommon sight to spot pedestrians staring hard into their mobile phones or actively engaged in their text messages when crossing the road.

As the Chinese saying goes “The roads are no less dangerous than a tiger’s jarring mouth”, it is therefore crucial to make a quick visual scan of both your left and right to ensure that the traffic has come to a halt before crossing the road. In spite of the conscientious efforts to abide by the traffic regulations, it does not render one invulnerable to the traffic hazards. In the unfortunate event of a road accident, even if the driver eventually received the fair punishment meted out, the injured pedestrian remains the one bearing the physical anguish, wallowing in his sorry plight. Is this even worthy of a justification?

During my trip to Cambodia more than ten years ago, I found it almost an impossible mission to cross the roads in the sea of motorists and pedestrians when there was no proper traffic infrastructure. It took me some time to finally realize that the pedestrians had to move along with the streaming vehicles in order to get to the other side of the road.  While people do not drive fast, motorists would also not stop to give way to pedestrians.   Hence, the trick to crossing the roads with ease in Cambodia – pedestrians blending in with the traffic.

Rational planning interweaved with sensible complementarities makes the art of harmonious living

Singapore is a law-abiding nation with what we know to be the “to do’s” and “not to do’s” explicitly spelt out. Law enforcers are also efficient to issue summons, warnings, composition fines or even mete out the penalty of imprisonment, all of which will indubitably serve their respective purposes. However, can we just outsource our security to our polished and efficient Home Team and therefore subscribe to a lower level of vigilance and surveillance against external jeopardy? On the contrary, will we tailor every aspect of our lives in accordance with the law and ride on the privileges legally prescribed, and refuse to make compromises?

The zebra crossings and traffic lights are modern infrastructure that lend assistance to moderate traffic flow. Nevertheless, we must never take their usually functional and robust capability for granted and gets trapped in the assumption that these tools are unassailable and fail-safe.  Neither should we lose our innate ability to negotiate traffic in the absence of these provisions.

Building interpersonal relationships and living together in a common space not only ask for sagacious planning but also jive with the virtue of emotional and mental forbearance. Sometimes it serves us better to be less fastidious and to exercise greater consideration towards the needs of others.

Patience and tolerance in the fit of rage begets serenity and harmony.

   Baey Yam Keng

Excuse me, are you Somebody?某某人的什么人 – by Baey Yam Keng

Translated version :

My child scored the second highest in her class for a recent Maths common test, but her achievement was undermined by a classmate to be due to her father being an MP.

I was told by a fellow MP that he made his appearance as the parent of his daughter for the very first time during her polytechnic graduation ceremony.  It was only then that her classmates knew about their relationship.

A Minister chose not to see his son off during his enlistment, but showed up only at his passing-out parade, so as to avoid any unnecessary attention during the course of his basic military training.

Just because one is related to someone, one would be seen in a different light or tasked to meet higher expectations.

It is not uncommon to find ourselves asking a doctor friend if his children would follow in his footsteps, or expect an artist friend’s children to be artistically talented too.  We can easily find a few such examples: Wee Cho Yaw and Wee Ee Chong in the banking sector, theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun and daughter Kuo Jian Hong, Patrick and Nicholas Tse in the entertainment sphere, David Tao Sr. and David Tao in the Mandopop industry.  In politics, there are the Kennedys and the Bush father and sons in the USA, the Nehru-Ghandi family in India, the Bhuttos in Pakistan, the Aquinos in the Philippines, General Aung San and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar and of course, Lee Kuan Yew and and Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore.

Whether it is nature or nurture, following the footsteps could have been a natural course of events or even a well deserved accession.  Sometimes, it is not a personal choice.  For example, the constitution would have to be changed if Prince Charles were not to inherit the throne from Queen Elizabeth II or if Maha Vajiralongkorn were not coronated following Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign. Being born into royalty brings with it wealth and luxury, but sometimes life is far from being a bed of roses when there are family disputes, infightings, and even usurpation.

I told my child, “You do not have tuition, therefore you deserve every mark you have earned yourself.  Others may not realize it, but I am aware and more importantly, you know what you have put in.  You should be proud of yourself and not be bothered by what others say.  On the other hand, you cannot be conceited but continue to be diligent.  Due to my public role, there is more public interest and scrutiny.  Your classmate may not necessarily understand what I do, but I am sure his comments meant no malice. It is crucial that you do not take things for granted or feel privileged in any way just because your father is an MP.  On the contrary, there are higher expectations of you precisely because you are the child of an MP.  As long as you do your best according to your conscience, there is no need for any self-imposed pressure.  Be courageous enough to own up to any wrongdoing, for every mistake we make will prove to be a learning experience.  In this common test, you had told your teacher she had given you an extra half mark.  I am proud of your honesty.  We should not take credit if we have not put in the effort.  As long as you commit yourself to your tasks, what you learn in the process and gain from the results are yours to keep, forever.” 

MyPaper, 13 March 2012







我们很自然会问当医生的朋友,他们的孩子会不会也行医,或是艺术家朋友,他们的孩子是否有这方面的天分。这些”like father like son”的例子不少:银行界的黄祖耀和黄一宗、戏剧界的郭宝昆和郭践红、演艺界的谢贤和谢霆峰、歌唱界的陶大伟和陶喆。国际政界的就有美国的肯尼迪家族和布什父子、印度的尼赫鲁、英迪拉和拉吉夫甘地、巴基斯坦的佐勒菲卡尔和贝娜姬布托、菲律宾的贝尼格诺阿奎诺、科拉桑和诺诺阿奎诺、缅甸的翁山将军和翁山淑枝,和新加坡的李光耀和李显龙。


  • 我跟孩子说:


Source :   Baey Yam Keng

%d bloggers like this: