Writer Of The Week

Dr Michael Loh says he writes to the Forum page to offer a contrarian view of current issues, and sees himself as someone who may enliven a debate.
Dr Michael Loh says he writes to the Forum page to offer a contrarian view of current issues, and sees himself as someone who may enliven a debate.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MICHAEL LOH TOON SENG

Who: Michael Loh Toon Seng, 59, a consultant advising corporate boards on change management.

My family: I am married to Tan Gek Inn, 58, a dental surgeon. We have three children - Jemima, 30; Joshua, 23; and Jonathan, 21 - and two grandchildren - Blake, four; and Rei, three.

My home: A maisonette in Bukit Batok.

My passions: My hobby is ikebana. My wife and I are among the volunteers who arrange flowers for our church services - rather, I contribute ideas and she does the actual arrangements.

I started writing to the Forum page...: Back in my secondary school days.

What I write about: Issues pertaining to societal changes, in particular, on some of our elderly folk who have become destitute and have to resort to selling tissue paper or collecting trash to eke out a living.

I am also concerned about discrimination against older people in the workforce. I am aggrieved by the fact that many capable men and women who have reached the apex of their subject matter expertise are being laid off because newer members of the workforce are deemed to be cheaper to hire.

We need to treasure our older workers more.

Why I write: To create awareness and to offer a contrarian view of current issues. When the majority seems to think alike, I am reminded of "herd mentality" and "groupthink" and it makes me wonder if an opposing view might offer fresh insight, and perhaps even solutions.

Although the contrarian style of argument and disagreement have historically been associated with radicalism and dissent, I do not consider myself a radical or a dissenter; instead, I see myself as someone who may enliven a debate.

I read the Forum page because: It offers a credible platform for serious views to be voiced and heard.

My wish for Singapore: My wish is that this little island we call home will continue to be a safe haven and prosper beyond our wildest imagination.

I hope that in our prosperity, we won't leave anyone behind and that we will not be blinded by materialism and lose our moral compass.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Writer Of The Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe