K Shanmugam Sc <- link
Can the government get involved if a Singaporean gets illegal sexual services overseas, but is not satisfied and wants a refund ? The answer seems obvious. But it was not obvious to one person at least.
Some days ago, I wrote on the work done by MFA officers providing consular services. Singaporeans are making more overseas trips, almost 7 million last year compared to 3.6 million a decade ago. From time to time, they run into trouble and seek help from our consular staff. We handled over 3,000 consular cases last year.
Many cases are genuine. But sometimes we do get odd requests. We have to draw the line between what is personal responsibility and what’s not. SPS Sam Tan highlighted some of these cases in Parliament. Here are some of them.
1. A Singaporean sought MFA’s assistance for a refund after he had gotten illegal sexual services in a foreign country. He wasn’t satisfied with what he had gotten. We had to tell him that MFA could not help!
2. We want Singaporeans to marry and have children. But there are limits. A Singaporean had sought MFA’s assistance to persuade his foreign girlfriend, to expedite her divorce proceedings with her husband, so that he could marry her. Not something MFA can do.
3. Did the chicken come first or egg. Answer? The locals.
MFA received a complaint from a Singaporean, who claimed that he was subjected to racial discrimination overseas, because he received a smaller piece of KFC chicken compared to what the locals had. He wanted MFA to investigate this instance and seek justice in that foreign country for the unfair treatment he claimed to have received. We told him we could not do that.
4. Success coach Rob Liana once said everyone has baggage, maybe we should help each other carry it. But sometimes we just have to pay for it. A Singaporean insisted that it was MFA’s responsibility to retrieve a kitchen appliance he left behind, in a foreign country, because he had no money to pay for the excess baggage.
5. Likewise, a Singaporean living in Indonesia, requested that MFA ship to him a desktop computer that he had ordered online from the US. We don’t do this.
Our staff officers go beyond the call of duty, and help people. That is our duty. But I decided to list the above as examples of some requests which our officers cannot help on.
- Vomit blood after reading
- this is bad, it shows that we are king of complaints for small matters
- Oh dear, I can feel for the MFA staff. I used to work in a telco call centre years back….the kind of requests/feedback/complaints received were not only hilarious but out of this world!!
- This is hilarious and worrying at the same time. There are actually Singaporeans like that???
- Sir, can you pls compile these into a joke book? Like a cross ministry ‘joke of the day’ compilation.
- Anyway since we r on this topic I would like to express my gratitude to consular staff overseas. While some may have diplomatic protection, this means nothing to the local thugs and MFA staff are truly civil servants who sometimes subject themselves to harsh environmental conditions just to serve us.
This post brought up good reminders on what they r dealing with, and I had heard worse, which I think Minister is too polite to mention on FB..
- it is individual responsibility to take care of their personal issues in foreign countries and unless there are natural disasters or similar issues we can seek help from MFA. It is genuine and our government always genuine and very responsible in helping in those situations.
- Some Singaporeans are snobbish and retard mentally. They make outrageous requests to unlucky authorities thinking that their peanuts annual tax paid the entire civil service whose employees are slaves to them.
- I would like to take this opportunity to give credit and appreciation to the embassy staff of MFA all over the world. In dec 2012 I was traveling in Brazil when I misplaced my passport. It was a stressful time esp when I discovered it near midnight and scheduled to fly home the next day. Clutching a last straw, I called the Singapore embassy well past midnight almost expecting to hear a voice recording that the office was closed. But lo and behold, after a couple of ring tones a friendly and reassuring Singaporean voice answered! The embassy staff was very helpful walking thru the steps that I have to take and promised to courier the papers to me. Fortunately early the next morning my passport was recovered and returned to me. Yes civil servants work for the people of Singapore but we should not take them for granted. That embassy staff was on stand by duty past mid night. It is not easy, in fact impossible to please everyone all of the time. But the next time when you experience a positive Singaporean moment share the nugget and hopefully the collective nuggets would grow into a gold bar and then an ingot and maybe maybe into a gold mine!
- A big host of reasons, always a cause and effect thingy.
But I exhort individuals to be responsible, one day when govt no longer has reserves to hackle and country no longer as strong, these people will face a big culture shock.
You can then curse whole day long, but it won’t change things.
Look after your own families people, but try to be responsible towards country as well.
- I see a fair bit of nutcase in the healthcare industry. Apparently, it is becoming a norm rather than the exception. I am not drawing any link. However, these are definitely signs and symptoms of a me-myself-and-I entitlement syndrome.