How the Hell do we know?

March 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Being Me, But Seriously | 7 Comments

[Disclaimer: I know Dr Janil Puthucheary personally]

I find it very interesting that people make such a big deal about Dr Janil Puthucheary’s father and his history. Some folks will find any reason to not vote PAP, even going as far as to cast aspersions about Janil’s filial piety. As an outsider, I have no real idea what the younger and elder Puthucheary’s relationship is like. I only know Janil and have never met the elder Mr Puthucheary.

I feel rather incensed that outsiders feel as if they know the relationship between father and son better than the parties themselves. So I had to go online to check out what the older Mr Puthucheary feels about his time in Singapore (before moving to Malaysia). As far as I can tell, I do no think that he begrudges what happened to him. I’m not saying that he didn’t suffer, I’m saying that he put it behind him. I think the older Mr Puthucheary did not transmit any sense of anger or hate to his children, which is a good thing. I would never dream of burdening my sons/daughters with my personal struggles. Unlike most folks, the elder Mr Puthucheary is a generous and big hearted man, he doesn’t hold long grudges and is willing to accept and support the choices his son makes. I can only hope that I will be as generous and supportive a father as he has been to Janil.

As for Janil, I believe he has very strong empathy for the residents that he works with. I knew him before he popped up as a possible candidate for the PAP, and I believe that he is truly sincere and passionate about serving the residents. He has a great sense of humour, friendly and is a very helpful person. He spent time talking to the residents in a gentle manner and tried to figure out how he could better help them. He really didn’t mind dishing out free medical advice to the other volunteers who asked.

I do not see a problem for fathers and sons to disagree about politics and to join different parties. And I agree with the older Mr Puthucheary that service to the community is far more important than the ideology. I leave the ideological bickering to the party hacks on all sides. All I know is that, I would vote for Janil because of his character and personality. Unfortunately, I doubt he will be standing in my constituency.

So I ask all the sensible Singaporeans out there to judge my friend by his personality and not the history of his father, especially when his father does not harbour any ill will to those who made him suffer.

I will say one thing about his first press conference though… He really needs to relax more and practice more. Hah!


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  1. “I would vote for Janil because of his character and personality”
    Ha! You are probably looking forward to a favour from him, as all you have written so far centers on “I know Dr Janil Puthucheary personally”.
    This is a man who openly rejects philosophy and claims pragmatism for his justification. Does Singapore deserve such a douche-bag? The clear answer is no, and we will reject him and his mercenary agenda with all that is left of what is good in the Singapore fighting spirit. Just be ready to collect his body bag.

  2. I do not judge him by his personal relations as I do not know him. I judge him by his affiliation to the PAP. I do not know if he is one of the rare FEW in the PAP like Dr lily Neo who can be independent minded and truly serve the people. I am not hopeful at all given by what we observe of the top rungs of the party. As the Chinese idiom goes, if the upper beam is not straight, the lower pillar will be crooked.

  3. Since you know him personally, if he wants to serve the residents, why not the people of Malaysia, his home country. People, especially Indians in Malaysia will benefit greatly given Dr Janil’s passsion and compassion. He will be close to his father as well.

  4. Matt – Yes. I do know him personally, and I know him to be someone willing to serve the community he lives in. As for philosophy and pragmatism, I think the priorities are up to an individual to decide. I respect you strong stand on the matter, but I have my own opinion on the matter.

    Sgcynic – Yes. I believe it is up to you to decide. I’m just speaking up for someone I know and who I believe will do a good job. I do hope he will convince you some day of his ability to serve.

    Curious – I think it is because his wife is Singaporean and wanted their children raised here. Again this is just my guess. Perhaps he felt that he had to come “home” to where his father once served. I cannot really say, because I did not probe him on this matter.

  5. If his father can be so forgiving and big hearted about his past, why can’t the son just reciprocate in kind?
    After all, there are other ways to serve the community and the PAP
    is not exactly known for socialistic caring policies but self-serving
    You can’t say its the past without carrying some baggage.
    Surely serving in some NGOs would be more meaningful and rewarding
    No,Not the PAP

  6. Dr Janil should know that he is entering politics and this is just part and parcel of public life. As they say, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. You know Janil personally, good for you…but he is becoming an MP not to serve you (unless you are looking forward to being “served”) but to serve the greater community. The community does not know him hence he has to earn his strips. First thing first – humility – you have not served a single day of NS, what say you about defending the country? Please be more toned down and be less gungho…then all that revelation of his personal life (btw, he speaks only English and Malay, if I am not wrong, how come not his native language, Tamil or other Indian dialect?). Finally, all those pragmatism talks…seriously, is he serious about this? Pragmatism? Hard to swallow…if every singaporean is to follow this would be leader to be pragmatic and sell out the soul to whoever give him/her the advantage. Paper cannot wrap a fire, as they say.

  7. Jack – I respect what you are saying, but everyone makes a decision to serve their community in the way they feel they can best contribute. In the end, someone has to run for office. In ancient Rome, it was a citizens duty. I do pro bono work to contribute to the community, but I am sure some people think I’m not doing enough.

    Andrew – Your point is well taken. I think it will be hard for him to convince some folks about defending the country when he has not served NS. Akin to ancient Rome, service in the legions was a prerequisite to political achievement.

    I’m just trying to tell folks a bit more about Janil as a person. I will feedback to him regarding his public persona, and maybe he can work hard on it and improve the “vibes” he is giving people.

    I am not sure why Janil does not speak an Indian language (I suspect Ceylonese or Tamil). I suspect it may be due to Malaysia’s education policy. My Malaysian cousin only speaks English and Malay, no Chinese.

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