'What she said did come across as insensitive. The language was stronger than what most people could take.
But she wrote in a private blog and I feel that her privacy has been violated. After all, they were the rantings of an 18-year-old among friends.
I think if you cut through the insensitivity of the language, her basic point is reasonable, that is, that a well-educated university graduate who works for a multinational company should not be bemoaning about the Government and get on with the challenges in life.
Nonetheless, I have counselled her to learn from it. Some people cannot take the brutal truth and that sort of language, so she ought to learn from it.
In our current desire to encourage more debate, especially through the Internet, our comments must be tempered with sensitivity.
I will not gag her, since she's 18 and should be able to stand by what she says.
The new media of the Internet is such that if you don't like what she has said, you have the right of rebuttal.
Hopefully, after the discussion, everyone will be the richer for it. As a parent, I may not have inculcated the appropriate level of sensitivity, but she has learnt a lesson, and it's good that she has learnt it at such an early stage in life.'
- ANG MO KIO GRC MP WEE SIEW KIM on his daughter's comments (Source: The Straits Times, 24 Oct 2006)
With regards to the term "private blog", blogspot, unlike livejournal, does not have a feature to restrict access to "friends only". It is widely understood that postings on blogspot can be read and seen by anyone on the internet. If one had no intention to share their thoughts and pictures to the world, they would not have published it online. Forum users would not have been able to find shu-min's postings and pictures if she had not made it available on the public domain aka internet.
Furthermore blogspot automatically pings blog aggregators when a blog is updated. Another point to note is that if Ms Wee's blog was only read by her "friends", that also means that the entry was "made public" by her "friends" as well. Why would Ms Wee's friends sabotage her? Also, if Shu-Min stands by what she says, why did she delete her blog?
But more importantly, it is clear that the issue that Mr Derek Wee raised is a valid one. In fact a forum user found that a call for action to help PMETs was raised in Parliament just early this year.
Sitting Date: 2006-03-08
Section Name: BUDGET
Title: HEAD S - MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
Mdm Halimah Yacob: Sir, I would like to ask for more support and help for the PMETs, ie, Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians.
In the last quarter, for instance, 37% of those who were retrenched were PMETs and, once retrenched, PMETs who are above 40 years old find it a lot more difficult to get jobs within the six-month period, ie, the benchmark we use to determine whether a person is considered as a long-term unemployed or not. Older PMETs need help in two key areas.
(1) Job placement. As our current efforts are largely focused on non-PMETs, may I ask the Minister whether MOM can do more to create a job data bank for PMETs and help to match them to jobs?
(2) PMETs need help in retraining, as their skills can also become obsolete after some time. Currently, the SDF does not apply to them. May I ask the Minister to put in place more initiatives to help reskill and retrain PMETs, to prepare them for jobs in sectors that need workers? If the SDF is not the proper fund, could MOM think of other ways to provide subsidised training for PMETs? This is an area that is important that we need to pay a lot more focus on, although hitherto a lot more attention has been paid on the non-PMETs. I think, as the economy churn takes its effect, it would also affect the PMETs and they also need some assistance.
Mdm Ho Geok Choo: Sir, like my colleague before me, today I want to bring up again the plight of a group of workers who are caught in a wedge. This group looks seemingly good. They hold high qualifications, hold jobs as managers, supervisors, and they are what we call the PMETs. They are mainly in their mid-careers, many in their 40s and 50s when their careers are at their most precarious. This is the age when what they needed most are their jobs. They are at that point in their life where they are in the midst of paying for housing, renovation and car loans, and their children are going to JCs, polytechnics or even the universities. This is also the phase in life when many body parts require more than just a touch-up job. They need repairs and cost money.
Then, one morning, when they go to work, they are crunched. Like the cork of the champagne bottle, with no more than a shake of the hands, their careers just go "pop"! A corporate merger and relocation of business, a downsizing or a change of top leadership, and they are out of jobs. Who is there to lend a voice to these PMETs? The plight of these PMETs affects not just themselves, but also their families, spouses, children and all other dependants.
I would like to urge the Minister to set up:
(1) a special database of these PMETs, so that the Government can monitor the status of this group of executives, managers, etc, who are in need of jobs, and help them get back into the job market;
(2) a network hub, where those aspiring for business contacts or portfolio manager jobs could be linked. At the same time, we should encourage the proliferation of more micro enterprises which could well provide the starting point for the PMETs;
(3) a platform similar to the ADVANTAGE! Scheme to help them.
Netizens are really left confused by MP Wee Siew Kim's words.
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