Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC, Louis Ng appealed for extended parental leave for new parents in Parliament this past week. In his speech, Ng emotionally recounted his experience caring for his premature twins who were born in February 2017 and choked up as he spoke:
Minister Josephine Teo who oversees population affairs said that the government will “seriously consider” Ng’s suggestion but that it will “need to balance between providing support for employees with caregiving needs, and employers’ concerns,” especially since parental leave was recently enhanced with fathers receiving an additional week of paternity leave from this year.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong weighed in on Ng’s speech in a Facebook post on Thursday. Calling Ng’s speech “heartfelt and moving,” the head of government said that “The public service is piloting extended parental leave. We will explore further ways to help parents of preterm babies or multiple births.”
MP Louis Ng Kok Kwang made a heartfelt and moving speech in Parliament on Monday. Louis recounted his family’s…
Netizens responding to Ng’s speech weren’t as moved as the Prime Minister, though.
Many netizens roasted the MP online, questioning whether his appeal is representative of whether an MP will only speak up if he/she is personally affected by something.
The criticism of Ng could stem from cynicism arising from recent instances from this year alone where emotional parliamentarians were recorded choking back tears while making their speeches.
Last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself made headlines when he teared up while recounting his father’s words to him during the parliamentary debate on the Oxley saga:
Earlier in March, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say broke down thrice while recounting the story of a single mother suffering from a brain tumour:
Regardless of the reasoning behind being skeptical of Ng’s emotional speech, the reality is that going through what Ng and his wife went through will be heart-wrenching for anyone and recalling such a difficult experience is bound to make any parent tear up.
“An MP has a personal experience. It made him realise the shortcoming of the system. So he highlights this.
But he gets abused – for?
For raising the issue because he had personal experience of the issue.
Why kind of logic is this? So an MP who has personal experience of an issue should not raise it? Or he should have raised it in the past – even if he had not experienced it?
I don’t understand this kind of argument.
I’d rather see it this way: he came to know better because he went through a personal experience. So he chose to speak up now, and in doing so, it could benefit many people who are in his situation.
I thought that is obviously a good thing.
Instead, we are nitpicking about when he should have spoken up. And worse, we are blinded by this inexplicable anger to see that there were actually two premature babies involved who were hanging by a thread between life and death.
No wonder it is said Singapore needs a long time to mature.”
Some netizens echoed Loh’s comments online as well: