Looking at the ACRES website (acres.org.sg), Louis Ng, CEO, has undoubtedly achieved some interesting and commendable work for animals. Founding and directing an organization with a budget exceeding $700k/year (2013) is no mean feat.
ACRES’ mission ‘to create a caring and socially responsible society where animals are treated as sentient beings’ has resulted in 2764 animals ‘rescued’ since Aug 2009. (sentient = conscious, experiencing sensation or feeling)
Even more admirable, Louis pays himself only $2860/month. Likewise, ACRES’ audited and detailed accounts are accessible to all stakeholders without any encumbrances whatsoever. Each employee’s 2013 salary is clearly stated and, at $37,180/- gross per month, he appears to run a lean ship.
So, kudos to his work and leadership @ ACRES.
Reasons behind the PAP membership
Now, why decide to become a PAP member, instead of continuing his animal ‘sentient-fare’ cause exclusively and independently after giving much of his youth to?
Overtly, his reason is he has ‘seen that things can change when we work from within (and) there is a track record… working with the PAP and its ministers for over five years.’ (Channelnewsasia)
So, what does he hope to achieve as a ‘PAPer’?
Ostentatiously, ‘while animal welfare is his pet project, he is keen to make an impact in more ways, such as breaking youth from less fortunate families out of the poverty cycle… to empower them.’ (Channelnewsasia)
And PAP? What’s in it for them to appear so happy to land Louis’ membership that the full MSM proporganda arsenal (Today, CNA, ST) went to town with singing his decision to enter politics, joining PAP instead of WP?
Just as ostentatiously, shoot-from-the-hip, boy-scout, newbie minister Tan Chuan-Jin explains, ‘We have many members and volunteers who come from different backgrounds, and that diversity is valuable as we see how best to help our community.’ He has asked Mr Ng to join the PAP ‘to help with the outreach on the various fronts’, after seeing… projects such as those in Chong Pang and Project ADORE, a programme to rehome mongrels with families living in Housing and Development Board flats.’
Possibly, the boy-scout in him is ‘keen to introduce some of these initiatives here in Marine Parade GRC, where we have quite a number of people who love their pets… Louis cares a great deal for the community… His achievement with ACRES has been very impressive. He has also brought that passion to bear in the work on the ground.’
The impressive roll-out can only suggest that the PAP want, nay, need the biggest mileage from the exercise.
Achieve change, really?
PAP ministers always emphasize ad nauseum the need to discuss ‘trade-offs’. So, in that same spirit, let’s look at the possible quid pro quo for both parties in the transaction.
What does Louis hope to get trading in his independence at ACRES?
Given his enviable ACRES track record, why the need to join PAP to try to ‘make an impact in more ways, such as breaking youth from less fortunate families out of the poverty cycle’?
Perhaps, the clue lies in his own words. ‘I’m keen on also working on projects focusing on bringing back the kampong spirit and helping to break the poverty cycle in the less fortunate families.’
Whereas Louis describes his ACRES work as being ‘passionate’ and ‘dedicated’, he can only marshal a weak ‘keen’ when it comes to ‘rekindling kampong spirit and empowering youths. I guess, in that sense, Louis fits to a T PAP’s defining qualifications for their MPs – overwhelming passion and dedication to fulltime commercial employment/business with part-time ‘keen’ interest MPing. With $16k/month excluding bonuses, who isn’t ‘keen’? But passionate and dedicated? Nah!
So, why still join? Here, one hopes Minister Tan does not shoot off his ‘vile, total disgrace’ pronouncement on yours truly for a cynical probability. 4-room HDB flats priced at nearly 10x Louis’ annual salary is a daunting challenge especially with a wife and 8-month old little princess in tow. Hence, when $16k as a ‘keen’ MP beckons as quid pro quo, I’d take it, wouldn’t you?
Anyway, ‘what’s wrong with collecting more money?’ Besides, Louis will only be following PM Lee’s admonishment to be ‘good-hearted, (and) not shy away from being hard-headed.’
And what of PAP’s aim for all its labour and laudings with this new catch?
No elaboration required. Just another attempt to mislead daft citizens with mere tokenism vs the real deal. The real deal of acting on what citizens have already been clamouring for that PAP members are not conveying – ReturnOurCPF! Lower HDB pricing! More hospital beds! More welfare instead of kueh lapis! Lower costs of living! Lower ministerial salaries! Pause the insane foreigner influx! Etc.
3 salient ones.
1. Only a card-carrying member, but unconfirmed MP-Candidate Louis appears to already play the game…’Regardless of which town council … calls (ACRES), we will still respond … If (opposition members) want to volunteer at our rescue centre, we’ll be open to it. We’re not going to say no just because I’m with the PAP’… The partisan game.
Is it not worrying that a not-yet-elected MP, member Louis already thinks in partisan terms? ACRES survives mainly on public and private donations, hence why even offer that sound bite as CEO?
He unwittingly concedes that the PAP system (PA, CCC, Grassroots Org etc) are all partisan organizations serving the PAP while using non-party resources and money. It also indicates that even before he hopes to effect ‘change from within’, his thought processes are already ‘changed’ to reflect his PAP membership.
But why should it be a surprise? Raymond Lim & Vivian Balakrishnan quit Roundtable (a non-partisan civic group) to be PAP members. What have they to show for – if not their PAP true colours instead of independence of party thought?
2. Here’s a suggestion, Louis, rekindle the same passion to start your own HECTARES to Help Empower Castoff Teens And Recalcitrants Entrench Success. I’ll be your first volunteer.
3. Finally, should you become MP through the GRC door, may I humbly suggest that you set aside your highfulatin, unquantifiable ‘kampong spirit & youth empower’ goals to instead work on getting the tangible, quantifiable goal of making your party (if they in fact win the next GE) come clean with detailed accounts of the CPF, GIC, Temasek. Likewise, MOM’s employment figures. Perhaps, your passion/dedication-inspired ACRES CEO salary may also be something that ministers who claim equally a passion and dedication to serve the nation can learn from – to change.
When you have succeeded even modestly with those changes that really matter to citizens, then give me a call. Change we Must. Be part of how to end PAP’s dominance, not perpetuate it. Good luck!