Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fixing the opposition: The Path to Cynicism

Were it that the PAP is as white as snow, such that it has earned the right to judge, then it could measure others against themselves and let the results speak for themselves. If you aren't that white then you only help others see how imperfect you are magnified many times. What for?

Politics here is heading down the path of cynicism. More and more voters will lose respect for politicians. The people cannot be rallied. Hard but right decisions can no longer be taken because trust is lost. You have to be living on another planet not to notice that trust is already eroding. Even the office of President is less well regarded today.

Voting is compulsory here. If it wasn't I bet voter turnout would decline mirroring elsewhere. We are becoming another also run, which we know must mean the death knell for us.

So what if at the end of the day the PAP won? It can only be a Pyrrhic victory. Voters will make your life very difficult for the next term. Even internally the civil service leadership would lose respect for you even as rank and file civil servants find it more testy to serve customers.

As we become more cynical, the only guys who would find that it make sense to serve must be the viler ones too. Big time corruption is next. In fact there is too much to steal that theft can be hidden for a long time.

A window exists for us to reverse the trend. It is still open but for how long?

I wish the PAP would fight more honorably. Their MPs would do their homework. Ministers should be honest with how they use facts and statistics. But they never take responsibility any more. If something don't work they scold us but this option is quickly disappearing. Now we will make them regret that if they try.

How they have fallen from their high perch like the emperor without clothes reasoned that they must be wearing invisible and much more beautiful ones!


  1. A wise colleague in our Foreign Ministry once told me about the different sizes of problems we face. Big problems are made up of multiple small problems shunted into the background unattended. When these small problems build up, they peaked and appear as "big" problems.

    The trick to solving big problems is never allow problems, especially "small" problems to build up and when "small" problems are tackled assiduously, big problems will not come up.

    Our PM do not appear to be quiet adept in "arrowing" problems to his colleagues in his cabinet when Ms Grace Fu appears to be looking after TRD's rat problem.

    In the recent past, the late Mr Fong Sip Chee was nicknamed "Rat Catcher" and despite the then Malaysian government's effort to display a Guinness Book of Record holder rat as "Singapore Rat" at KL's national museum, rat infestation in Sg did not hit headlines in newspapers that make readers stupid...

    For rats to be noticed and alarms raised by expatriates in Sg is simply because individual members of parliament be these in GRCs or whatnot had failed to do their sworn jobs properly.

    Until and unless these "God's Gift to Singaporeans" climb down from their mighty national perches and start acting as leaders of the size of their constituencies, these "small problems" will fester until Bukit Batok rats become a national problem.

    MPs in TRD are helped in daily tasks of area cleanliness; neighborhood malls; safety of township infrastructure, etc., by town councils; CCC; CCMC; residents' committees, etc. I notice some of these personalities when adverts appear congratulating them when they received "gongs" in our National Day awards list.

    If our members of parliament cannot keep their neighborhood in good order 24x7 year in and year out until the next GE, "big problems" will forever exist. Reason - they are asleep, dreaming of moving up the scale of things.

    Like you had mentioned in your remarks, please go back to basics, get the basics done right, such as fighting corruption and no big problems need be solved such as by a talented minister such as Ms Grace Fu now tasked our new Rat Catcher.

  2. Errata...

    Para three - quite adept and not "quiet adept", my thousand apologies.

    1. :-) Thanks for your views and they are appreciated. We all know it was just a typo.

  3. I am sure other religious founders have similar advice for those who will be doomed to fail - for me, as Christian, I heed what Jesus warns "let the one without sin, cast the first stone"
    Let God be the judge

  4. pengyou, you ask that the PAP fight ''more honourably''. think you made a mistake. to fight More honourably, one has to first fight honourably. the PAP is not/has not been fighting honourably at all.

    some excellent observations by david low. we are now feeling the impact - majorly - of many small problems being ignored, over a long period of time. one of them is the constant stress on $s being the most important aspect of life. another is the insistence that people do not question the authorities. a third is the refusal to take responsibility for failure and learn from it.

    however, the PAP has been right on one thing - if you vote the wrong people in, your country will collapse. we are seeing it happen now...

    in fact, it's been happening for a number of years already. the pace is quickening, as all those small things that make up the big bang build up.

    1. I really appreciate David Low comment. He had made this blog post more meaningful. You have also given me the opportunity to surface what I had concealed partly because it is difficult to explain in a hurry. I mean the importance of myths in any society or civilization.

      Just as e.g., the Americans mythologize their founders, we had lionized ours. Seems that every society needs it and draw strength and confidence from them. There is also an important theological aspect but I shall refrain from going into that. I had conveniently indulge in our collective myths in many of my posts to this blog. They are necessary for our survival. We cannot be more honest than we are able to live up to levels of honesty we are not capable of. Myths are also aspirational and they help us become better and coaxed us to keep trying. If we surrender our myths we will discover that we also surrender the reason for Singapore to be independent.

      It is incumbent on the PAP to help preserve their myths or they will eventually find they must "lose the mandate of heaven" to govern. Cynicism is but only a milestone and then the slippery slope to tragic denouement.