What the pope can teach our PM and police

In Political governance on 20/03/2013 at 5:40 am

No not taking public transport*: the Pope used to do so when he was the Argie cardinal, but the importance of public communication:

The Jesuits, missionaries and educators, are trained to be expert communicators and it is significant that among the first people summoned to meet the new Pope at his hotel suite this morning was fellow Jesuit Father Lombardi – official Vatican spokesperson, head of Vatican Radio (run for many years by the Jesuits) and of the Vatican Press Office.

Under Pope Benedict, Father Lombardi was a mere functionary who had no direct access to the pontiff.

He could not pick up the phone and talk things through quickly with Benedict himself. He received orders from the Vatican Secretariat of State and briefed the press accordingly. All that has changed overnight.

Pope Francis has already decided he will meet the world’s media who have arrived in their thousands to cover the papal election at a special audience on Saturday morning.

This shows a vivid awareness that prayer may not be enough to deal with the situation facing the Catholic Church at this critical moment in its long history. Public relations will be a priority at a particularly sensitive moment of papal transition. Extract from BBC Online.

So when I read  the article “Govt will need to be more open, says PM”. (Sunday Times, Mar 17),which went on: “the Government will become more transparent to adapt to society today, even if politics becomes untidy and its outcomes less predictable”; I thought maybe a good step would be to bring in a Jesuit FT** as the govt’s public communications adviser? Local talent s/o Devan Nair, once a very senior keyboard-wielding Imperial Storm Trooper, the chief of govt communications, seems to have gone AWOL.

Witness the bad PR our SPF is having to face in its investigations of the death of Shane Todd. No-one to blame except the PR people in govt or the SPF: witness  a mealy-mouthly letter that is so ambiguous that it can be used as evidence of incompetency:

“In the course of its investigation, the Police had examined the deceased’s computers and a hard disk drive. This disk drive was subsequently handed over, with acknowledgement, to the next-of-kin. Should the next-of-kin be in possession of other evidence, they should provide it to the Police to assist in their investigations.”

This was written to the FT which reported the parents allegation that they had found a hard drive lying around (implying police incompetency or worse). There seems in this letter to be an insinuation that it is the same hard drive, and that the parents are lying. But didn’t dare not say so because it could be a different hard drive: the police just don’t know.

A well written letter would have said the police now want to establish if this is the same hard drive that was handed to the parents, and offer to provide the FT with details of the hard drive it (the police) handed over so that the FT could establish whether it was the same or different hard drive.

*But if PM had taken public tpt, he would have realised that Ms Saw and Raymond Lim were making misleading statements on the state of public transport: blaming commuters for having unreasonable expectations. Turned out commuters were right to complain of overcrowded public transport, especially of trains. Our money that the govt is throwing at the problem is proof that us commuters were right, and Saw and Raymond Lim were misrepresenting the situation.

**I don’t think there any any S’porean Jesuits. Any S’porean capable of becoming a Jesuit ends up as a scholar.

  1. In the FT report,photo of “The hard drive retrieved by the Todds from their son’s apartment in Singapore, containing a backup of his files from IME” and “Two weeks after Shane’s funeral, he looked at the small “speaker” taken from Shane’s home and realised it was an external hard drive.”It is quite clear as black and white.
    Mr Nair is still holding the appointment & still being paid.

  2. […] Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: What the pope can teach our PM and police – Reflections on Change: Shane Todd’s Death — US Senators’ […]

  3. Actually there are Jesuits in Singapore. A Lit teacher of mine. Used to be a MOE scholar…then became a Jesuit. So maybe you are right about the scholar part.

  4. Some PAP MPs will be dead against lhl seeking advice fom the Pope.
    Why? Accordingly to PAP MPs, one can only talks to people who are in the same salary-range & what more asking for advice.
    For sure, the Pope doesn’t draws the same salary as lhl, so it’s out of the question don’t you think.

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