Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two Tans clueless about being beyond politics

I am still watching for and starting to weary about this: who will be able to offer himself as a unifying figure for the nation? Doesn't look like Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Kin Lian are capable of that. To unify is to be able to bring on board opposites. Instead both are being anti-PAP using being independent as the excuse. How unifying can they be when in trying to prove their independence they create greater division?

Forget about the people for a moment. There are millions of us. Let's begin by looking at their proxies despite their imperfect representation of the people - the PAP and the alternative parties. A unifying president will be a person with the gravitas and moral authority to be respected by the entire political spectrum. Instead what I am witnessing are two Tans pouting their credentials of opposing the PAP to be reliable independents when the greater need is to unite the people with their independence ranking lower. To me both of them are just playing to the vocal corridor to win votes. Are they forgetting that beyond the noisy ones, the larger quieter majority also vote? As a leader of leaders, you have to choose and lead the conversation and not let the vocal people take you everywhere. You fall into this trap before you are President, you will also when you occupy the Istana.

As we enter August, I will be watching how Tony Tan is able to be that unifying personality. I will be asking myself if he can be trusted to act at least as independently as Ong Teng Cheong had put the nation's interest above the ruling party's.

Meanwhile Tan Cheng Bock is filling my facebook wall with bad reruns of old movies, making me feel like a slow learner needing to sit through the lessons repeatedly. It is starting to turn me off and wifey has also complained the same. It appears that the two Tans are not able to rise above politics. I credit them for trying but obviously they do not have a sufficiently deep and clear idea of what above politics mean. Both are good men, but I wonder if they are good enough to be President. Now I shall pay more attention to Tony Tan, whom I have previously ignored. I had seen him as hand in glove with the PAP for too long to be able to tear himself away from their mindset. Perhaps I have also thought about this wrongly. May be it is not about jettisoning PAP thinking but enlarging it to incorporate the alternative parties thinking too, especially the WP.

If the President does not have a mind broad enough and a deep spirit to go with it, how can he even craft aspirational speeches to unify us, not to mention people building initiatives and plans? He cannot dwell on the hows and whys of today as that is the government's job. His job is about connecting today's decisions with future consequences, with what we want to become; not materially but as a people with families, peaceful coexistence between different races and religions; about values and evolving the Singaporean identity. It is about continuing where our first President Yusof Ishak had left off. The one who went out every day to urge people of different races to get along. The job is not finished. It has been made more difficult by the mistakes of the PAP government which had imported foreigners in a hurry. This is not the place to detail their many mistakes, which had seriously marred their otherwise excellent track record.


  1. Tony Tan will be exactly like Nathan. If that is your idea of a unifying president, good luck!

  2. Tony Tan is PAP and will just be another rubber stamp.

    Tan CB wants to be independent but he is clueless, and will ultimately be a near-rubber stamp.

    Only Tan KL and Tan JS have shown themselves to have the necessary critical thinking to be independent.

  3. The Elected President Election is about politics. How can any would-be elected presidential candidate be beyond politics?

    In fact, almost everything in life is about politics. Politics is everywhere and everything. Even your writing in this blog is about politics.

    Tell us, what is your idea of beyond politics, will you?

  4. I am not a PAP supporter and I voted for WP this past election. But really, how on earth can we as Singaporeans even consider TanKL or TanJS as presidential quality? This goes beyond party issues. I want to be assured that the President of my country , when on the international stage, has the substance and stature. This Tony Tan has whether or not he made mistakes in the past.
    If I were voting for an MP then I may consider Tan JS or Tan CB. ( sorry i dont have a good opinion of TanKL)

  5. You may wish to refer to this blog.

    It is clear by now that people are forced to take sides at the end of the day.

    For me it's TKL and nobody else.

  6. <>
    The mistakes of the PAP are very deep rooted and go many years back. The complains that you are so weary of are merely symptoms.

    The policies of the PAP government is the source of the divisiveness you see in Singapore now. That is why it is in the interest of the ruling PAP that the EP keeps his mouth shut while they try to spin their way out.

  7. The majority of the people are fed up with the PAP and its policies. Mind you, not just the 40% who voted the opposition. Many more voted for the PAP despite their frustration because the opposition candidates in their wards are not up to scratch. Many more voted for the likes of Goh Chok Tong, despite the fact that they don't like the other 4 or5 MPs in that GRC. Certainly, they did not vote for Salah PeiLing.

    So, by distancing themselves from the PAP (not quite the same as being anti-PAP), those 2 Tans can in fact be unifying the majority of the people.