[The photo is for illustration purposes only]
The People’s Association (PA), the organizer of the Chingay parade, held a full dress rehearsal for Chingay 2015 last Saturday (7 Feb).
PA posted many of the pictures on its Chingay Facebook page after the rehearsal.
However, not long after the pictures were posted, a netizen filed a complaint on its Facebook page. Apparently, due to poor coordination of food and transport by PA, the performers who are all volunteers, were made to suffer.
The netizen in fact, had to wait at a Community Centre (CC) way after midnight to pick up his elderly mum from the rehearsal. On the way home, she told him what had transpired.
First, it was the food which had turned bad.
He said, “I was gravely concerned when she mentioned that the dinner prepared for her and her fellow performers had already turned bad by the time it was given to her around 5pm. Her fellow performers subsequently also discovered dinner packets with food that had around turned sour. This is unacceptable.”
Food was later served again, presumably to replace the bad one served earlier. Unfortunately, the group’s performing segment clashed with the second dinner time and the whole performing contingent of his elderly mum had to skip dinner.
“My mum is already 68 years old. There are other performers in the same contingent, some older than her were similarly forced to finish their routine late into the night without dinner!” the netizen fumed.
“She as a Pioneer Generation of the country was very enthusiastic about this Chingay parade and has participated in multiple parades previously. As her son. I am very disappointed over the organization and arrangement of the rehearsal.”
Next came the transport problem.
He explained, “After their segment was over, they had to wait till after 11pm before their transport arrived to ferry them back to their CC. I was already waiting at the CC around midnight with no sign of the bus.”
“At or around midnight, a bus arrived at the CC with schoolchildren presumably also performers (with their costumes) looking weary and tired with concerned parents waiting around to fetch their kids,” he said.
“My mum’s bus arrived about 15mins after this and, the group of senior performers disembarked and my mom was complaining about the lack of coordination of food and transport for them.”
In his mum’s case, the netizen said she was fortunate to have him fetching her. But other families with no cars had to take public transport home.
“Bearing in mind that it was already midnight and to get home quick. Some had to bear the brunt of midnight taxi fares to go home with their performing costumes in tow!” he exclaimed.
“I am extremely concerned about the organization and welfare for her and her friends. To me, this is unacceptable and very unreasonable for them as volunteers to be treated this way.”
The netizen said that if such situation persists, he told her not to attend anymore rehearsals for her own well-being and safety.
Another netizen also posted a message on the Chingay Facebook page, echoing, “I too have a 8-year old son performing in this year’s Chingay and I have a lot of grievances about their (PA’s) overall organisation as well.”
Facing the complaints on its Facebook page, PA replied on the same thread:
“We sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused and we thank you for your feedback and we have noted all the areas that you have pointed out.
The Team is investigating the food situation and we are looking to improve the overall transport system. We are working closely with our appointed food and transport providers to resolve the issues at-hand.
We really appreciate the effort and time put in by all our participants, their family and friends in making the Parade possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
The netizen who made the first complaint then added, “It’s also very unnerving for me and other family members… to wait at the CCs for hours wondering what is going on.”
In Singapore, RCs, CCCs (citizens’ consultative committees), and CCs (community clubs) are all grassroots organizations that come under the purview of PA, a statutory board funded by taxpayers’ money, which is tasked to take care of all the grassroots activities in Singapore.
The relationship between PA and PAP is a close one. The chairman of PA is none other than the PM himself, who is also the Secretary-General of PAP.
Former PM and Secretary-General of PAP, Lee Kuan Yew, once said that the PRCs have been sending teams of officials from China to study Singapore for years. He told of a lesson the Chinese learnt, “They discover that the People’s Action Party has only a small office in Bedok. But everywhere they go, they see the PAP – in the RCs, CCCs and CCs.”