Thursday, January 24, 2013

Notes about Dr. Koh


The following note is clipped off Facebook. It claims to be written by Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin.

This is a compilation of reflections and stories on Dr Koh - by the people on the ground, as well as people who worked with him previously.

Rather than just relying on edited clips that may not always reflect who he is, I would like to share the reflections and stories sent in by many of you. In moments of need, Poh Koon has been there for those who counted on him.

Melvin Kwek who is a fellow NSman shared this:
"… a couple of weeks ago, just before the announcement of his candidacy for Punggol East, I shared with Poh Koon that my sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and I wanted to know more about possible treatments and if we should seek a second opinion. He immediately called me and sounded more worried than I was, and offered to review my sister-in-law's medical history and have a chat with her to provide her with the necessary information for her to make an informed decision. All this while knowing that he would be completely swamped with campaigning the by-election. This selflessness and sincere willingness to help a friend, is very typical of Koh Poh Koon."

Dr Yue Wai Mun, a fellow NSman and doctor shared:
"Poh Koon took over our National Service unit. I also know him as a colleague when he was working in SGH. What struck me about him is his almost 'superhuman' capacity for hard work, especially when pursuing worthy causes. I can see this in many facets of his life, be it work, family, personal fitness and in his role as a National Serviceman. When faced with an issue, I have seen him go to the ground, understand the issues at hand and return to solve the problem through his resourcefulness, gumption and just pure persistence. I am sure that if he is elected the residents will benefit from these same qualities. He is a man who can and will get the job done."

My friends, it is all about values and walking the talk. It is about the care and concern with which we apply ourselves to our duties and responsibilities. And we do so because we believe in our people and our Singapore.

I spoke to Poh Koon when he was grappling with the decision to step forward. He has come in knowing what this responsibility will entail. Many of you know what it is like today. For example, to have your name made fun of by the likes of Png Eng Huat and worse, when Png even mocks Poh Koon's father for giving him his name. All for laughs and votes, I am sure -but not in good taste.

Poh Koon believes that this is his duty and responsibility, and he has stepped forward. Thank you Poh Koon!

You know, we are in a very strange situation these days. Let me quote a posting by Mr Kong Kam Yean on his FB wall:

"I find it amusing...
SDP says vote them to parliament and they will let WP run their town management.
WP says vote them to parliament and they will let PAP run the government and make them work harder.
RP says vote them to parliament and they will make the WP to work harder to make PAP government to work harder.

Come on, in other countries, the opposition will say vote me because I can do better than the current government."

Whatever it is, we are working and taking action for our people and our Singapore. As we have done so from our days leading to independence, till today and we will continue to do so into our future.

Claiming credit for work done by others is unfortunately also becoming common these days. Sometimes, it is called plagiarism.

For example, Mr Chen Show Mao made points about helping the elderly. We are in agreement here. It is a very important area. Examples like BMW's practices were highlighted to show how we could move in the right direction. Indeed! In fact, DPM Tharman shared about the BMW example in September last year and also referring to companies in Germany and Scandinavia whom we can learn from. I am glad that the example was useful enough to be shared with all of us again.

In fact, I have also previously shared examples closer to home, like St Luke's Eldercare. They showed how they adjusted their work processes, leveraging on schemes like Advantage!, to re-design jobs for older workers. Over 90 per cent of their staff are aged 40 and above.

I am not sure if it is deliberate, but WP might have also missed out an important initiative, which is the Special Employment Credit or SEC - this supports employers to raise employability of older Singaporeans. The more the employer pays the older workers, the more SEC they get.

There are also practical steps we have taken, like the Re-Employment Legislation and increasing CPF contributions for older Singaporeans.

We believe in translating ideas and concerns into real action and we will continue to do so. We cannot afford to be a wayang party, all talk, stirring anger, making broad statements, but not being prepared to work hard at the details, and to really help our people.

I have found the issues not easy to deal with because there are many concerns and dynamics. But all of us, including my colleagues in the Civil Service whom I have a great deal of regard for, are focused on working the issues and making things better for all of us.
In fact, the ones who have spoken up with useful and constructive comments are from all of you Singaporeans. Many of you have provided detailed ideas and suggestions about how to improve things. Some of your ideas have been incorporated, not only in the initiatives but also our regulations and laws.

Thank you for speaking up and working with us.

I am new to Government. But I can say that we will be steadfast in serving our people and our country. Things may not always be popular but we will address them and deal with them as best as we can.

And we ask for your support to work with us.

Let me end here with a letter from Madam Vivien Tan.
"My husband nearly lost his life during the SQ006 accident. He suffered horrific burn injuries. When he was warded in Ward. 43 SGH burn centre, he was in a comatose state, fighting for his life. I was basically lost and was in despair as I looked at my husband's condition. It was a time where i needed comfort and support badly.

Poh Koon was a young doctor at the Ward. It was in him that I found a source of strength and comfort. His personal attention to my husband as well as constant visits to his bedside gave me tremendous relief. In addition he spoke with me sincerely and showed empathy and concern to my young daughter and me. As a junior doctor he constantly related my concerns to the senior consultants and I can detect his great sense of dedication and sincerity. My husband eventually made a good recovery. As I look back on this painful part of my life, I am glad that we had Poh Koon with us who made the journey more bearable and comforting.
Poh Koon is not just a great medical professional but a great person, humble, sincere and passionate."

Poh Koon will serve the people of Punggol East with all his heart and will do his utmost for all Singaporeans. All of us here will continue to do our utmost for our people and our country. We will do it for all our todays, and for our many tomorrows in the years to come.

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