Indignant – Spirit of the Pioneer Generation

On the way to work on Tues, 18 Aug, we were in a cab with the radio tuned to a Chinese radio station and a caller was on the line.

It was before 8 am.

The caller identified herself as a Pioneer Generation cardholder, and was recounting to the DJ (and all the listeners) her experience.

She said she usually went to the government dental clinic for her dental services but she had been persuaded by a private dental clinic that offered free dental services for Pioneer Generation cardholders.

She decided to try just for a check-up.

The dentist checked her teeth and suggested that she get them cleaned.

She asked how much would it costs.

Free, he assured her, because she is a Pioneer Generation cardholder.

So she agreed.

As the dentist cleaned her teeth, he told her that there were some cavities and he could fill them for her.

Again she asked how much it would cost.

Again he assured her that it was free as she was a Pioneer Generation cardholder.

So she agreed, and he proceeded to fill two cavities.

She was not sure how this works. Is the dentist doing this for free?

No, he assures her. He will claim from the “Pioneer Generation Card office” who will reimburse him for the services he provides to the Pioneer Generation.

So she leaves and a few days later she gets a statement from the Dental Clinic.

[Aha! I thought! Now she finds out it was all a scam and she has to pay something anyway!]

The DJ was apparently waiting for the twist in the tale and so asked the caller, “so it wasn’t free after all?”

No, she tells him, it’s free. But the statement was for 9 cavities filled, which the clinic was claiming from the government.

So she called up the Pioneer Generation Card office and asked about this dental visit, and the bill. She found out that the dentist charged $78.50 per filling and claimed for 9 fillings!

She was outraged! Nine fillings? He only filled two and cleaned her teeth.

At that point, we had arrived in office. We paid the cab driver and left, so I do not know the rest of the story.

But I was amazed and also proud of this pioneer generation woman. She got her free dental services (as advertised), but she was outraged or at the very least indignant that the government was being cheated. And that she was being made use of. Her sense of moral rightness was violated, and outraged, and she took the trouble to call the government office, find out about her case, and tried to set things right, even though she would not get anything out of it! (She got free dental work. What else would she get?)

She did not have to pay a cent for the services. She was not cheated. It was the government that was being cheated. BUT she was being used to cheat the government and she WILL NOT STAND FOR IT!

Most people might just say, it’s the government. They can afford it. If you have to cheat someone, you should cheat the government.

But not this woman with a sense of morality, with a sense of righteousness, with a sense of… the Singapore Pioneer Generation Spirit?

I do not know you, lady, but I applaud you.

I can imagine that in another country (say Malaysia or Indonesia) where corruption is rampant and even accepted as a way of life, this cheating of the government would not only be tolerated, it would even be encouraged and colluded.

But not in Singapore. This woman makes me proud to be Singaporean. She is an everyday heroine, standing up for Singaporeanness. She reflects the spirit of the pioneers – honesty, integrity, and the pursuit of justice?

You don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero.


[June 21, 2016 update from the Straits Times:

2 dental clinics suspended from Chas scheme for making false claims, flouting guidelines: MOH

SINGAPORE – Two dental clinics will be suspended from participating in the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) for making false claims and flouting guidelines, in the first such case here.

The suspension will take effect from July 8, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release on Wednesday (June 22).

Phoenix Dental Surgery clinics in Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade had continuously made claims that did not comply with MOH’s rules and guidelines, according to audits conducted by the ministry.

These included a number of claims for procedures that were not performed.

Both clinics were informed of the audit findings last month.

MOH has referred the matter to police for investigation into possible criminal offences.

Chas is a nationwide programme that allows Singaporeans from lower- to middle-income households, as well as all Pioneer Generation (PG) Singaporeans, to receive subsidies for medical and dental care at participating general practitioners and dental clinics.

There are more than 600 Chas dental clinics where patients can seek treatment.

“MOH takes a serious view of such errant practices,” said the MOH statement. “MOH will review the situation, taking into consideration the status of the police investigations, before considering if the clinics can resume their participation in Chas.”

The clinics will have to prove to the ministry that they have taken steps to rectify its past non-compliancesand ensure future compliance.

Dentists at the clinics, meanwhile, can continue to practise in accordance with their registration with the Singapore Dental Council. However, treatments that they perform at the clinics during the suspension will not be eligible for the Chas subsidy.

Both clinics have also been asked to inform their Chas and PG patients they can no longer benefit from the subsidies.

The public can access the full list of Chas dental clinics through the “Clinic Locator” on the Chas website, or via the Chas hotline on 1800-275-2427.

Chas or PG cardholders who wish to check the Chas subsidies that clinics have claimed for them can do so by logging in to the “My Chas” module on the Chas website or call the Chas hotline.

They can also contact MOH if they come across any suspicious or unusual claims.

Thank you lady.]

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