"She [Mrs. Goh] said it did not make sense to her to attack an organisation which helped the sick. All the NKF had wanted from The Straits Times was a retraction, she said, but the case had been extended to question NKF's transparency and 'expensive things'. 'Why make a fuss out of it?' she asked. She said she would continue as patron, and added: 'I have complete trust in the NKF and Mr Durai.' Asked if Mr Durai's annual salary and bonuses were 'excessive', she replied: 'For a person who runs a million-dollar charitable organisation, $600,000 is peanuts as it has a few hundred millions in reserves.'I think even if that was what she really felt, this is turning very quickly into profoundly disastrous PR, and not just for Durai. I wonder what the real story behind all this is... Anyway, I can't believe I'm linking to such a vulgarious blog, but Rockson's analysis is simply brilliant (adult material). (I really like the airline seats part.) Update (!!!): The entire Board, the CEO and the Patron has stepped down. I wrote in the forums yesterday that I'd have prefered the CEO to hang around a little longer.
I don't agree that Durai should resign at this point in time. He ought to remain as CEO for as long as it's beneficial for the national consciousness to debate the issues that has surfaced: transparency, high pay, peanuts, ivory tower viewpoints, entitlements etc. This does not just pertain to this particular charity organisation, but should also touch on the rest of the national governing machinery. (I'm sure expensive things are not only found in NKF office.) If Durai is gone, we'd quickly forget about the rest of the related issues... I think the only way to salvage 'image' is to have the organisation say something like "we regret this...Durai was wrong...we need to reexamine our policies", but so far, nothing of that sort has come out. This suggests to me that the folks with the organisation still sincerely believe that there's nothing wrong with what there're doing so far. The ends justifies the means. There are strong arguments to justify this point, depending on what worldview one subscribes to. The NKF managament will continue to think this way unless there are clear indications of 'spoilt votes' in the upcoming shows. If Durai goes, people would say "ok lah, he's gone, but the patients still need our help, this is the time to continue supporting the NKF, so I'm going to call the number, maybe can win a car also."... I don't think Singaporeans would stop giving if NKF can't salvage its image; there are alternative places to contribute. I just think this is an excellent opportunity to open up the debate. The idea of winning the car as a final end to me is as, or more, insidious to the national fabric and cohesiveness than theatrics concerning gold taps, all things considered...Luckily, I don't think Singaporeans are letting the matter rest so soon. I dare say some sort of psychological barrier has been broken both in the population as well as the folks in the Straits Times. Thursday's forum page dealth entirely with the saga, most expressing 'strong views'. The first forum letter with the title "Flabbergasted, appalled, disgusted by revelations" ended with the challenge "Am I going to be sued now, NKF, for speaking my mind?" For the first time ever, forum letters seem to have become adversarial, passionate, honest! Would staffers take this opportunity to break free from political correctness and ride on their new found freedom from the past few days? In Friday's Forum, Mrs "Peanuts, No Fuss" Goh was not spared as well. I think Mrs Goh was sincere in what she believed in, because that's the worldview she subscribes to. Also, the CEO and Board have not stated they did anything wrong (because so far, everything is legal). Anyway, I'd hope that in this drive for transparency in charities, other things should also be made more transparent. As someone used to say, 'where's the money?' I think it's all part of the importance of disclosure when public monies are involved. Where's the money, how much do you have, how are you going to spend it? Anyway, what saga is without a movie tie-in? Watch it now!! (via mrbrown, please don't sue, similarity to similar persons is entirely coincidental .) Update (!V): More reactions from the local blogsphere; Mr Wang (court room proceedings tutorial, auditing charities and more from the Act, bits and pieces), HuiChieh (links this saga back to the Xiaxue Doctrine, Technorati victory of NKF over the evil Karl Rove, links and a reproduction of the news article that started it all.), CEO Tan of NTUC Income talks about transparency and reveals how much he earns. And almost 7000 blog entries on this story.