The latest in the war of words between AIMS and Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) over a fiancial system had AHTC Chairman Sylvia Lim issuing a press release yesterday.

Wrote AHTC Sylvia Lim,

"As for developing an alternative replacement IT system for town management for AHTC, AIM reportedly said that AHTC had indicated sometime in June 2011 that it was developing its own system to serve residents.  At the time, the Workers’ Party (WP) MPs who became the incoming management of AHTC were acutely aware of the possible termination of the computing and financial systems at short notice by AIM, hanging over AHTC like the proverbial Sword of Damocles."

So what is this Sword of Damocles? 

As always, Wikipedia has all the answers.

From Wikipedia,

"Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, Dionysius was truly extremely fortunate. Dionysius then offered to switch places with Damocles, so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal. Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail. Damocles finally begged the tyrant that he be allowed to depart, because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate.

Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives."

In modern days, "it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation,especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance".

There are arguments from some that AHTC was going to build their own financial system and was eventually going to reject AIMS software.

From my point of view, AHTC had no choice but to build their own financial system because AIMS had a contractual clause highlighting that it could terminate their service with one month notice.

As such, that is where lies the "Sword of Damocles". If AHTC were to continue using AIMS, AHTC would be at the mercy of the directors of AIMS, which had directors made up of ex-members of an opposing political party.

All AIMS needed to do was invoke the clause of "material indifference" and terminate their service in one month.

There is no way a financial system could be completed, evaluated and tested, within a month. Without a proper financial system, AHTC would then be questioned by the Housing Development Board on why there isn't a proper financial system in place since AIMS terminated their service.

AHTC, thus, had to build their own financial system to advert such a "tragedy".

This is why Sylvia Lim highlighted that the possible termination of AIMS in short notice was like the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over them.


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