You can accuse us of political apathy. But, you can never accuse Singaporeans of stupidity.

I am amazed at the Peoples’ Association’s response to the Workers’ Party assertions about WP MPs being deprived of an opportunity to be invited guests at the 7 month festivites. It has turned out that Chen Show Mao had been invited as a guest at a couple of ‘Hungry Ghost’ festival dinners. But, the organisers had to withdraw the invitation because the Peoples’ Association informed that they would not grant future permission if the WP MP was invited.

This first surfaced via a facebook update by Mr Chen Show Mao and subsequently a press release by Ms Sylvia Lim indicating that HDB had granted leases at several places in the Alunied GRC to the Peoples’ Association and taken away management of those parts of the estate from the Town Council. This had been done after the General Elections this year. This is in iself shocking as it suggests partisan politics at play in our public institutions. There is an important value that any self-respecting democracy must uphold: the independance and neutrality of the civil service.

But, I am totally stunned at the audacity of the PA’s response.

“The PA and its GROs are non-partisan and do not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA.”

“This applies to all political parties and MPs, including the PAP”

There are so many things I can quibble about:

1. The Workers Party did not attempt to hold any activities on PA premises

2. The WP MPs did not attempt to hold any activities on the PA premises

3. Mr Chen was invited by civilian, non-partisan organisers to attend the function

4. Community Clubs are PA premises and PAP MPs have been invited as guests at functions held at CCs.

A simple google search reveals a wealth of information on PAP MPs attending activities or officiating as guests at events taking place on PA premises or facilities managed by the PA.

A sampling:

Eunos Heights Residents’ Committee organised a Chinese New Year Dinner on 20 February 2011 at Eunos Community Club Multipurpose Hall. MP for Aljunied GRC Mr Zainul Abidin was the guest of honour.

Passion Nite: on 31st December 2009 at Cheng San CC

Guest of Honour: Dr Balaji Sadasivan, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

There are too many examples and they are easily available. When the PA decided to assert that they ‘do not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA’, did they honestly believe that they can get away with that assertion?

I can imagine their response. Those events at PA premises where MPs were present involved MPs that were invited to attend and they were not activities organised by the PAP or the PAP MPs. Well, by the same token the hungry ghost event was not organised by the WP or its MPs. Mr Chen was invited to attend.

Please don’t insult our intelligence.

And, by the way who is on the Board of Management in the Peoples’ Association?

Lee Hsien Loong, Lim Swee Say, MG Chan Chun Sin, Grace Fu, Masagos Zulkifli, Janil Puthucheary, amongst others. (Interestingly, Mr Yam Ah Mee of GE2011 fame is also there)

Non-Partisan? My ***.