Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our irrelevant President one year later

If Tan Cheng Bock didn't have this gathering, I wouldn't even bother to spare a thought for the irrelevant President. Why? I hope he will run again.

When we were a young nation, President Yusof Ishak worked himself to his early death crisscrossing the island everyday cementing race relations. His role was beyond politics and he did his duty sacrificially.

Today we have fault lines and cracks between locals and foreigners, the rich and the poor. These issues are also political as they are the consequence of government policies. Where is President Tony Tan? He is just working to SR Nathan script. Why not emulate Yusof Ishak? Where was Tony Tan when Laurentia Tan won her medals. We need the President to represent us there. We want a President that represents us not the government. The government job is to be a realist except when we have the extraordinary fortune to have a visionary political leader. The President's role is idealistic and aspirational. President Tony Tan clearly isn't one.

Had the President been Dr. Tan Cheng Bock, I believe we would be far better off. At the very least he knows and understands how many of us feel and will act accordingly in a peace making and nation building manner.

The trouble with the Presidency today is except for his ceremonial functions, the President's role is practically subsumed by the government.

Yusof Ishak passed away in 1970. At that time LKY hasn't even gotten the newspapers under his firm control yet. Perhaps Encik Yusof had a freer hand then? If so, why can't the President today be as free?

I wouldn't mind if Tony Tan resign sometime as President and we have another opportunity to choose a replacement who can do the job better. Except Tan Jee Say, I can think of a few names already.


  1. I believe the 'one-third' president we have is to serve the govt's purpose to continue to hide the details of the colossal loss of our national reserve. Any of the other three candidates would sooner or later confront the govt with the inevitable questions for proper answers. Not TT since he would have presided (pun intended) over the very loss in question as the top man at the GIC then. So, it serves his and the govt's purpose for him to be 'elected' president but not the interest of Singaporeans. That has little if not no priority at all.

  2. TT as President of Singapore is a joke by itself. When he was booed while the other 2 President-elect was not is already proof that he is a puppet installed by PAP. Kind of shameful, actually.