Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bukit Brown Cemetery and policy options

Tan Chuan Jin connects quite well, at least from my point of view. By departing from the usual facts, figures and logic to also ride on the emotional plane, some readers will feel that this politician is also able to feel and communicate that feeling.

Now the larger picture. Our society is fragmenting into groups as we progress at different speeds. The plethora of choices, the diversity of ideas and easy accessibility is accentuating the trend.

Had they decided to do this twenty or may be ten years ago, the reaction would have been more muted. Worse, from reading the response on facebook, many people cannot be persuaded. How shall we go forward keeping in mind Ben Franklin's warning about what is necessary for a successful democracy?

To be practical there will be painful trade offs. The price gets costlier all the time, but let's get beyond this. What is important is that over time we might not have enough at our core (anyone knows what it is?) that we can appeal to for uniting us. A better life (mostly in material terms) would not be sufficiently compelling. For a start we must think of how to grow individual and shared space, both physically and virtually, failing which  policy options will keep getting narrower. In this sense, growing our population so rapidly was a terribly unwise idea. The worst way to grow the economy is to add bodies that it is better to suffer slower growth.

1 comment:

  1. That's the beef I have with TCJ, in spite of his ability to communicate much better than his other MPs. Personality aside, let's look at the matter more holistically.

    After some to-ing & fro-ing, it now becomes clear that this is more than just a simple road diversion exercise. How our top rated engineers cannot solve this more creatively is one matter. What eventually came out was the plot was earmarked for residential redevelopment by 2020? After telling us that only 5% of the 100,000 graves are affected, why then do we still need to demolish the entire BBC?

    Why don't he/MOM just come out and tell us what are the projections of his his final emigration number by 2020. He clearly already has an answer. Where does this lot of residents going to come from? It's in a prime location, you think it's going to build and accommodate HDB dwellers, or low density private high end foreign residents will benefit?

    In a day and time when Singaporeans are struggling to find and connect our DNA, and hearing LTA repeatedly calling for reduction of cars and usage of public transport, and an MM Lee that says we forget when we come from, you have to wonder what all these preachings really mean to them when it comes crunch time to decide what is worthy to keep and go. People need real reflections, not digital reflections. 50-100 years down the road, our future generations will start re-erecting more statures to remember our pioneers and wonder we will be wondering why we bother to tear them down in the first place. More importantly, it is ok for this govt to trade off scare land for more people/growth, and even more ok to charge high prices because of scare land later. The very same excuse can be used as same reason to justify for prices/demand/supply/growth. I don't buy that anymore, TCJ. Yet another growth story with the people trading off, with a typical PAP trademarks.