(TL;DR – Little sympathy for Ong aside, let’s protect the children, and give credit when good work’s done.)
Minister Chan Chun Sing, the party whip for the Peoples’s Action Party (PAP), has spoken about David Ong’s resignation.
Asked when the party first found out about Mr Ong’s situation, Mr Chan would only say “a very short time” ago. Mr Chan, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, called for restraint, saying that the children involved in the case ought to be protected.
He added: “We hope that the children involved are not harmed. I hope the media can take care of this aspect of your reporting.”
That’s the thing.
The whole of Sunday, our team was feeling conflicted, torn between wanting to be the fastest fingers, to be the one to splash Ms Lim’s photos for eyeballs and yet, still wanting to protect the innocent kids as much as we can.
They each have three children, so we’re talking about SIX(!) lives potentially changed or hurt by anything and everything that we, supposedly the responsible adults who will take care of them, will do from now. Surely some of their schoolmates and friends will know. The reporters have been visiting Ong’s home, as well as Lim’s home and even her in-law’s home. Would they speak to the children too?
How do we expect these fragile minds to face up to the curious looks or even snarky questions?
How do we keep the kids from googling their parents’ names?
How do we minimize the impact this episode has on them?
How personal or how open should this matter be, anyway, given that it’s a personal indiscretion of a public figure?
We ended up choosing the ‘gentler’ route of publishing only info and photos that the mainstream media had published.
This piece, though, we hope to remind the public of the work Ong had carried out over the years and also as an MP.
David Ong’s Grassroots Work Began in the Late 1990s
Although David Ong was first elected an MP for Jurong GRC (Bukit Batok) in GE2011 and then for Bukit Batok SMC in GE2015, his grassroots work went back to the late 1990s. We’re talking about over a decade of time and effort dedicated to making other people’s lives better.
He was active as a grassroot leader in Kreta Ayer. He was then chairman of the Citizens Consultative Committee in Jalan Besar GRC’s Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng ward.
Did you know he was part of the team who organised the annual River Hongbao Festival? He continued to involve himself in this when he became MP.
We understand that he was also involved in the Lantern Festival programme.
DPM Tharman Commended Ong for his Hard Work
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman, who used to work with Ong under the Jurong GRC, shared that Ong worked extremely hard for Bukit Batok.
“He’s a really hard-working MP. He spends four to five times a week in Bukit Batok – weekends, weekdays, nights.”
In the Bukit Batok ward, Ong introduced programmes to help needy families with groceries, provide job and healthcare support, and give a fresh start to individuals with repeated problems.
In Parliament, Ong had spoken up for the elderly in his speeches, ranging from issues on retirement age and Central Provident Fund (CPF) policy.
Residents Say He’s a Good MP
We’ve already covered comments from a few Bukit Batok residents here,
The Straits Times also carried out interviews with the residents. Clerical worker Lim Soon Hiang, 59, said,
“I am not very concerned about his personal life. He is a very good MP and has helped my family a few times. I will still support him if he stays.”
Ong also helped another resident, Arul Raja, a manager at a heavy equipment manufacturing comapny, with his daughter’ school transport arrangement.
“She was sent to a school in Jurong and was carsick on the school bus every day. Mr Ong helped us (write a letter to appeal to a nearby school) and she was transferred to the school close to home after one month…
I have three other friends he has helped…”
Chinese evening daily, Wanbao, headlined this news today, and carried three full pages of reports and updates on the story. Here’s one part of it.
For the Chinese readers, the articles carried interviews with Bukit Batok residents and also grassroots volunteers who had worked with Ong before.
Most of the Bukit Batok residents that the media spoke to have very positive impression of Ong. Almost everyone talked about how friendly and helpful he was, and how often he could be seen visiting residents and the estates. Many said he was a very good and conscientious MP who did his best for the residents, and they were sad to see him go.
Gentle Reminder to be Gentle on the Kids
Meanwhile, if you need more background info,