Thursday, June 2, 2011

Should we have someone like Ong Teng Cheong for President?

I find this incredible. How come I do not have much memory of the late Mr. Ong Teng Cheong other than his run-ins with the government; his fondness for orchids printed clothes; trying to provide as many ordinary citizens as possible the chance to enjoy golf and always the man with the friendly smile? I mean, I know a lot more about Yusof Ishak, Benjamin Henry Sheares, Devan Nair and Wee Kim Wee, especially Mr. Wee than  Ong Teng Cheong.

I get the sense that Ong Teng Cheong seems to be the favorite President for most people on the Internet. He tried to do his job well, tested the system, putting theory to practice so that we can refine it and make it work when the time comes to really serve us in crisis. On the other hand, he wasn't able to do it an amicable way like LTK, Sylvia Lim and CST were able to co-exist with the PAP in parliament over many years. Perhaps his job was just impossible given the attitude of the Cabinet. May be he was just too impatient.

I imagine if the next EP were to pick up where Ong Teng Cheong had left, would he not divide our society further? It would be foolish to do something that is right but end up being wrong for all of us because the time and place were wrong. May be we ought to reconsider the EP and go back to the Constitutional President? Too hypothetical, a waste of time. As the government of the day is so fond of offering their candidate, a totally absurd idea that until now, so many people don't seem to recognize, just simply make a mockery of the EP as a check on government profligacy and excess.

On the outside we look fine, but this government had lost so much political and moral capital. I am even afraid that it is becoming populist. Are they becoming the monster they feared an Opposition led government, in their convictions is likely? They should all invest in good mirrors and see what is reflected back to them.

This morning I listened to Louis Ng the ED of ACRES on radio. This guy truly has passion for his wildlife conservation work. I don't detect the same kind of passion our ministers have for their work even if it is clear that they work extremely hard. May be we haven't realized that we have many (not all) ministers and MPs that shouldn't be in those jobs at all. Sure we will always have bad apples, even one or two corrupt ones will surface now and then, but so many of them? I mean I sensed the aliveness in Louis, that is the X factor missing among so many PAP politicians. On the other hand, this aliveness is present among the Workers' Party members.

PAP transformation? Perhaps rebirth is what is necessary. But to be born again, the old must first die. Clearly, this is asking for too much. Fact of life is people desperately want to believe the government want and can transform itself because we hate scary and discontinuous change otherwise. Really wishful.

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