Marine Parade GRC MP Tan Chuan-Jin said that the answers to 90 per cent of the queries residents send to him can be found through a simple Google search, in a recent Facebook post. He made this remark after he received a message from an irate resident who was upset that the ruling party politician did not sign off properly in an email to him.
In a social media post published last Sunday (26 July), Mr Tan said that he received feedback on some municipal issues, to which he replied, “Thanks for the feedback. Will work with TC and the grassroots to see what else we could do. Tks”
The resident whom Mr Tan was corresponding with found his response inadequate. Upset, he replied, “To whomever replied my email: Your response lacks basic respect and rather shocking. No proper salutation and proper sign off. If this is the sort of management we’re having, I must say it is very disappointing. Regards, xxx”
Mr Tan, who also serves as Speaker of Parliament said he apologised for his initial message and wrote: “Dear XXX, My apologies. I was going through many emails here and my other accounts and making sure that they were followed up on. I mean no disrespect. Your sincerely, chuanjin “
Mr Tan said on Facebook that he is recounting this exchange to manage residents’ expectations and explain that he does not mean any disrespect when he responds to messages informally. Asserting that the resident who wrote to him is not unreasonable, Mr Tan sought more latitude from those who reach out to him since he manages most of his pages and accounts himself.
Pointing out that he receives a high volume of messages on his official channels as well as on his social media accounts, Mr Tan said, “It is just that many of you write to me and I try and respond to all of you if I can. There are times when it gets swamped and missed as well.”
The Speaker then revealed that the main issue is that a lot of queries that are sent to him can be answered through Google. Quipping that he is “not Mr Google,” Mr Tan wrote:
“To be honest, the main issues is that for 90% of your queries to me, the answers can be found by google search. (Help lah…I’m not Mr Google ?, please try and search first can? ??????) In fact that is what I often do to get you the answers! We can locate a number of answers of the various Ministries and agencies websites ?.
“As a result, queries etc are voluminous and I am unable to respond to everyone and the really urgent and complex issues may get missed too. I try where I can. ?? So if we can reduce these types of queries and emails, it becomes much more manageable.”
Mr Tan sought the understanding of residents and wrote: “Often times, I also follow up to deal with the issues. but may not be able to or forget to reply etc. Do write to email@example.com if your issues are urgent. It will come to me but my TC colleagues will also help me ensure that the agencies concerned are linked up with.”
He cheekily signed off his social media post with the name “Google Tan”. Read his post in full here:
Dear fellow Singaporeans, residents, friends/ fans/ stalkers/ trolls (delete where applicable),I just received an…
Send in your scoop to firstname.lastname@example.org