Cows, cats, Pikachu and a shoutout to ibu: Who says serious policy discourse can’t take a lighter touch?

20/12/2023

HERE ARE some of the little, lighter moments that brought us closer together in 2023 — from Parliament and from our adventures around Singapore:  

1. Louis Ng catches on about cats in flats 

“This policy of not allowing cats doesn’t make sense — we don’t even enforce it!” said MP Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) on March 2 about the cat-and-mouse game which our feline friends and their HDB humans play with the law (spoiler: the cats were winning). 

@asiaone

COS 2023 just in – MP Louis Ng Kok Kwang on cat ownership in HDB flats. What are your thoughts? 👀 #fypシ #fyp #tiktoksg #sgtiktok #foryou #foryoupage #COS2023 #committeeofsupply #memberofparliament

♬ Cat Meditation – Musik Bayi ID
Source: AsiaOne

MP Ng’s consistently advocated to legalise cat ownership for flat-dwellers, and this has helped spark change in the Government’s policies (spoiler: the cats are winning more).     

2. Tan Kiat How tackles animal issues head-on 

Good thing that Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How was on those cat cases then.  

“I can assure Mr Louis Ng that we are not pussy-footing around this issue,” he responded (Mar 2) on the same issue, mentioning that his Ministry had indeed got 30,000 members of the public to give their feedback on keeping cats in flats.     

SMS Tan tackled other animal-related matters during that debate as well, like how Town Councils can deal with cocks crowing around Singapore’s neighbourhoods. 

All that focus took heaps of effort. Kudos to SMS Tan for keeping it real and playing it straight. 

3. Ong Ye Kung thanks Tan Wu Meng for questions “on behalf of your Clementi residents” 

“I thank the Member for asking all these questions on behalf of your Clementi residents. It is, right? He did not say that? Okay. But I thank the Member for the persistence, and I know Dr Tan Wu Meng has been knocking on this door for a long time,” said Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung during 2023’s second-last Parliament sitting (Nov 7).  

Cue 2023’s final sitting (Nov 22) when MP Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) texted “on behalf of his Clementi residents” about discussing community cats with SMS Tan. 

And when MP Louis Ng stated during that same final sitting that he was asking that question on MP Tan’s behalf and “on behalf of his Clementi residents also.” 

“He reminded me to say that,” added MP Ng.  

The point is: You’ll find no stronger champion for Clementi’s residents than MP Tan. He’s been there since 2015 and unfailingly speaks up on their behalf. 

4. Sitoh Yih Pin encourages the Opposition to get milk elsewhere 

“Sir, I think the Opposition Members of Parliament have been milking the GST cow for a very long time and we have explained time and again over the last several years why the GST increase is necessary and why there are offset packages. So, maybe I just want to say if you really must milk something, go and milk another cow,” thundered MP Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir SMC) to the Opposition during that same penultimate session.  

This fiery rebuke to the Opposition came directly after they played once again to the grandstands. They essentially claimed that Singaporeans have no help against inflation and that the Government should open the floodgates on the reserves. Never mind what would ultimately happen once these reserves flow out — really, just how much GST does the Opposition want Singaporeans to pay eventually? Thirteen per cent?   

It was as though over a year of Parliament debates and explanations over fiscal policy and the presenting of proof that the PAP Government has schemes like the U-Save rebates and the $10 billion Assurance Package simply did not happen for the Opposition. Liddat, lah

5. Alvin Tan hears out Tanjong Pagar GRC upgrading proposals from his young residents

Outside of Parliament, this just made us go “awww”. Good job on that proposal and for speaking up for an excellent cause, kids! Enjoy that sports centre!

6. Sun Xueling and a Pokémon go running

Still outside Parliament (and around Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC): Minister of State for Home Affairs and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling exercising with a Pikachu one bright September day. 

No Pikachus were harmed in the making of this video. (In other words, our lightning-loving friend didn’t smack ears-first into that railing.)    

MOS Sun champions kids growing up to be the very best (like no one ever was) so look out for more of her sticking up for them and building a Singapore Made For Families.   

7. Elmie Nekmat says hi

On stage at our Party Convention (Nov 5) and with all eyes on him, Branch Chair Elmie Nekmat (Sengkang GRC) gave a quick shout-out to his mom.   

“Hello ibu!” he said with a bright grin, as our Party’s laughter rippled through the Expo hall.  

Then BC Elmie, without missing a beat, went back to sharing how digital technology can unite diverse groups of Singaporeans for the better. He knows about that; he’s one of Singapore’s top experts on digital media and is the sort of academic who puts his plans into action.  

That shout-out moment’s lost to time, so we at Petir.sg are keeping it remembered here. Plus, to round off this article, here’s an excerpt from another part of BC Elmie’s speech; it’s optimism for a more inclusive future.