MP David Ong’s affair a personal indiscretion

From ‘Few public signs of trouble before alleged affair prompted David Ong to resign as MP’, 13 March 2016, article by Chua Chin Hon in Today

An extramarital affair with a fellow People’s Action Party (PAP) member was behind Mr David Ong’s move to resign as the Bukit Batok MP, multiple media reports said.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao broke the news first on Saturday night (March 12). In an online report citing unnamed sources, the newspaper identified the woman involved in the alleged affair with Mr Ong as Ms Wendy Lim, 41, a senior executive in the logistics industry. She is said to be a member of the Bukit Batok PAP Women’s Wing.

According to Zaobao, she is an active PAP member who took part in many grassroots activities in Bukit Batok. She also assisted Mr Ong during the 2015 General Election. Channel NewsAsia reported that the affair had been going on for about six months. TODAY understands that the scandal came to light after Ms Lim’s husband lodged a complaint.

Mr Ong has given no detailed explanation, in public, for his resignation. But in a statement to the media earlier on Saturday, he admitted to “personal indiscretion on my part which I deeply regret”.

It was only a matter of hours after Ong’s shock announcement when the media hounds sniffed out the identity of his paramour. But other than the impact of this scandal on both parties’ families, the media also happily reminded us of other politicians’ past ‘indiscretions’ when they’ve probably already moved on with their lives. Ong didn’t just let down his party, those who voted for him barely a year ago, his wife and kids, but also reminded the world about those shamed for similar reasons in the past. People may forget Michael Palmer or Yaw Shin Leong, but not the Internet.

When Palmer dropped the bombshell in 2012, he called his affair a ‘grave mistake‘. He also humbly requested for the public to ‘respect his family’s privacy during this very difficult time’, which merely prompted rumours, jokes and pictures to explode all over the Internet and make things more ‘difficult’.  Ong chose the term ‘personal indiscretion’, a catch-all euphemism that can range from getting caught picking your nose in public to punching someone in the nose. Yaw simply disappeared from the face of the earth and till today his lover’s identity remains under wraps. The Ongs, the Palmers and the Yaws of the world will be fondly remembered and haunted for their mistakes despite not breaking any laws, while those who spend actual jail-time, the Phey Yew Koks or the Choo Wee Khiangs remain as curious footnotes of history.

It doesn’t matter how you sugarcoat an affair, how many tears you shed at the press conference, or how competent you are at your job. It’s the end of your political career if a moral failing is exposed, and the reason why it’s such a big deal in public service is that PAP constantly invokes its Virgin Mary image, selling itself as a clean, transparent, honest government, a reputation embodied in the symbolic white uniform. For a government that demands that the Opposition ‘comes clean’ with everything from sudden resignations to town council accounts, dishonesty among its ranks in any form, even on a personal level, cannot be tolerated. It’s a stain that needs to be removed.

The cost? The loss of an otherwise decent MP and the resource-usurping scramble for a by-election to fill the gap, a contest that PAP doesn’t have a good report card of, losing twice in the last 4 years. If Chee Soon Juan comes into Parliament via the ‘backdoor’ of Bukit Batok thanks to Ong’s shenanigans behind his wife’s back, the PAP may have second thoughts as to whether his resigning was in fact the ‘right’ thing to do after all. I suspect BB residents wouldn’t vote in an Opposition candidate just to ‘punish’ the ruling party because cheating on your wife is the worst sin imaginable, but probably adopt a ‘no harm done’ attitude if the 70% majority has just 1 more Opposition voice added to it.

We enjoy scandals because it’s rare to see a PAP man looking like a pale shadow of his former self. We bask in the Schadenfreude of a public humiliation because we see a powerful individual falling prey to very human impulses; to lie, to cheat, to scratch that itch in his sweaty loins. We know for certain that his shamed face is real, not one streaked with crocodile tears. In fact, a ‘Sorry honey I cheated on you’ face is a politician at his most honest. It is a face for posterity. A face that serves as a sobering lesson for the high and mighty, that if you play with fire, you’ll not only get burnt, but incinerated.

So time to work on your shame face, David. Learn from Palmer below.

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3 Responses

  1. hmmm, no apology to his wife.

    hmmm, the affair came to light becos the mistress’ husband blew the whistle. (what on earth does it mean that the man “complained”? to whom? dunno how to sort out private family matters, fella?)

    doesn’t say much about the men in this country.

  2. […] Ong – crazyrandomchatter: Another PAP MP bites the dust – Everything also complain: MP David Ong’s affair a personal indiscretion – Five Stars and Moon: Why we should not forget the good work done – mothership.sg: Who […]

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