In an interesting twist of events, Khaw Boon Wan has revealed in Parliament that the plan to run a commercial columbarium near the upcoming Fernvale Lea housing estate is not in line with their plan for a site designated for a temple. Like DUH?! This really makes Lam Pin Min look like a fool for organising a dialogue session, only for him to be shot down by opposing residents then, and by his own paymaster now *kwa kwa kwaaa*.
But in all seriousness, I would have thought that with all these self-proclaimed technocrats in government, Lammy (can I call you that Pin Min??) would have thought to raise the issue internally among the various government bodies, do a thorough check on the winning tenderer, deconflict any found issues, BEFORE holding a dialogue defending Eternal Pure Land right???? (Btw that a commercial entity would register a name like Eternal Pure Land so that it can look like a religious organisation and bid for a site reserved for religious purposes is just sooo sneaky and reeks of impure intentions)
Anyhoo...it seems like Eternal Impure Land (a more apt name imho) will still be managing that plot of land since Boon Wan says that he is still in discussion with them to restore the site into a temple. This then begs the question that the Fernvale residents have been asking, can a commercial entity without any religious affiliations bid and manage a land that is reserved for religious purposes? Wouldn't this set a precedence for other cash rich secular companies to bid and price out smaller, less-endowed religious organisations for religious space? I have a feeling this will open a whole new can of worms for URA/MSF if guidelines for this issue is not properly defined, don't say I didn't warn you...
At the end of the day, it's too bad that Fernvale Lea residents who don't like sleeping next to the dead will still not have much of a choice because even if a Chinese temple is erected there, the temple can still house an incidental columbarium (imho, sleeping with the living is sometimes more scary than sleeping next to the dead). But this incident does make it seem like if enough noise is made about something, the government will take it seriously (although it doesn't mean that they will accede to your request, they will just convene with another review committee). So next time if you don't like something in Singapore, you know what to do! =P