There are disturbances going on at Yishun – but it is not from Halimah’s security detail.
Much of the nuisance came not from the security personnel…rather, from kaypoh Singaporeans all over, treating the neighbourhood like it is some new tourist attraction.
It was reported in Today that a 49-year-old resident, who lives on the same floor as Mdm Halimah and declined to be named, said about 50 people turned up on Saturday evening, for example. Some of them even went up the block and peeked into her flat.
The only difference was several specially-marked car park lots reserved for police vehicles, with an awning erected over them. Whenever she leaves or returns, she would be followed by an entourage of personnel and vehicles.
Residents however are not disturbed by the changes and many have expressed that nothing vastly different has changed, neither were they inconvenienced significantly. “It’s just some extra security and a few more cars in the car park – no difference from when residents buy more cars.” said one resident whom declined to be named. “For us, it’s no big deal…in fact it is better because now our estate is so safe!”
Here’s one other testimonial:
In case you can’t read it, it says:
“It isn’t as crazily secured as you may think. No security guards on the ground floor waiting to check my ID before I enter the lift, no officers patrolling around the block. Just more crowds at the void deck waiting to see her appear every now and then. And when I get lucky, I get to enter the same lift as her and hold a special little conversation at the start of the day – which is such a special feeling!
Unfortunately, my drop off point for taxis is now reserved for police vehicles…”
I don’t think Mdm. President is using this as some sort of PR campaign either. Our leaders are a highly practical bunch. Maybe too practical to a fault. No President had actually lived in the Istana since Yusof Ishak, which is unsurprising. Even the Queen of England doesn’t live in Buckingham Palace. It is actually highly impractical to live at a place which is in the middle of a tourist shopping strip, isolated from the people, resources and data she needs to reach.
Also very strange, is how some people think that the President spends her time at home.
She has visits to make, people to meet, functions to attend, charities to organise, decisions to make and a lot of learning to do. Very little of which allows her to chill at home. Which brings me to my next point:
One also cannot compare the security expenses to Trump towers.
Trump towers is located in the middle of New York where there is real and heightened risk of an armed attack. The head of the President of the United States is (probably) a prized object to attackers. It is a job with a high fatality rate. Eight, out of just 43 U.S. presidents have died in office.
But even if Trump and his family wasn’t home, there would still be heightened risk to the building because of the Tower’s significance. Yishun Ave 4 and a lady in a tudong would hardly be considered a trophy target to any would-be attacker…probably quite the opposite.
Singaporean netizens are a curious bunch.
When there are news reports of foreign sovereigns whom live amongst the people, shop amongst the people and mingle with the people, they swoon and ask why our president is not like that. We accuse Members of Parliament of being rich snobs that live in landed properties (not all do) and here we are, someone that lives in the HDB like 80% of us and the netizens now want to march her off to the Istana.
I’ll leave you with a last bit of oddity to think about:
Some netizens and even political parties that strongly believe that the office of President should be nominated. And now that something of similar effect has happened, they are all crying foul about not having participated in a contested election.
It is not possible to please everyone and do the right thing at the same time, sometimes one has to do just what has to be done.