The "Its not my fault" mentality and the need for accountability

Just caught this in my newsfeed from TodayOnline

Here’s Dr Vivan Balakrishnan, Member of Parliament and Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports on

THE 'NOT MY FAULT' MENTALITY There's another dangerous mindset that could take root - that of fault-finding and abdicating personal responsibility. In one instance, his ministry received queries from a local newspaper regarding a family in distress. "What really alarmed me was the tone of the journalist's questions: Whose fault is it? Is it the family's fault for not looking after the children? Was it the FSC's fault for not reaching out to them? Is it the Government's fault?" Dr Balakrishnan said. "This, to me, is the reason why I'm very worried about our future - because what has happened to personal responsibility?" "We decide who to marry, how many children to have, what job to work at ... even how much money we want. We are responsible for our children. If we neglect our children, it is a crime morally and legally. If we forget those fundamentals and instead, say 'who owns the problem?' or 'whose fault is it?', I think we'll be in big, big trouble." But what if some Singaporeans just cannot find work, even if they are able and willing to? The volatility of the new economy has led some experts to conclude that more workers could be unemployed for longer periods due to economic dislocation. Dr Balakrishnan countered: "You look at the Singapore economy. How many people do we have who are unemployed? It's in the tens of thousands. How many foreigners do we have working in Singapore? In excess of a million. With that kind of numbers, can we honestly say that we are short of jobs or is there, in fact, a mismatch of expectations, qualifications and abilities with the jobs that are available?" While globalisation and technology have eroded the market value of certain jobs, the Government has responded with Workfare, which is in effect a wage subsidy, Dr Balakrishnan pointed out. "We must not fall into this easy trap of saying, 'oh, this is a new economy, there is nothing that I can do.' What you're really saying is that there is nothing that I'm willing to do at the level of pay that is being offered by the market," he said.

This is one instance where I agree with the Minister.

Everyone should take responsibility for their actions and also for the actions of their followers.

Perhaps Dr. Balakrishnan should start by asking his party colleagues like Mr Wong Kan Seng (Home Affairs Minister) to accept responsibility for the escape of alleged terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari from detention by resigning instead of putting the blame on low rank-and-file officers who were just following protocol and then letting it go by saying that it was an honest mistake and we should move on. And the Prime Minister Lee to accept that his cabinet minister has made a mistake and as such, to take responsibility for it, instead of saying “What to do it has happened”.

Perhaps he could also ask Dr Raymond Lim (Minister for Transport) to take responsibility for the circumstances that led to a security breach on our public transportation network which could had led to the loss of lives of thousands should the trespasser had broken in with a malicious intent, instead of remaining silent for weeks.

Leaders should lead by example and I’m sure that now that Dr. Balakrishnan has made the first step by asking Singaporeans to take responsibility for their actions, he would do all he can to ensure that his party is held to the same standards as his preachings.

Lets start today by ensuring that from now on, nobody can say ‘Lets move on’ without accepting full responsibility and its consequences.