15 March 2006

Politics and Potshots

A few of Mr Wang's fan club members informed Mr Wang that ex-journalist Ms Tan Sai Siong had taken a potshot at him in a recent media article. After poking around the Internet, Mr Wang found it! It's in the TODAY newspaper:


Tip: click on image to see bigger version.


Aiyah. That wasn't much of a potshot at all. In case you didn't even spot it, the reference to Mr Wang is in the last paragraph of the article.

Actually, I found this to be one of Sai Siong's better articles. Certainly better than this old one by her, anyway - click here. (Well done, Sai Siong, you're improving). In the present article, Sai Siong even managed to make quite a few astute observations:
1. Election signals have been in the air for some time, so the opposition has no excuses to say that it didn't have time to prepare;

2. The official campaign season need not be that long, since Singapore is a small, compact place and election candidates don't have to travel a lot to meet the people(unlike the case in big countries);

3. The opposition's real challenge is actually in getting people to join them and run for election.

So where did Sai Siong go wrong this time? Well, she forgot to mention that Point 3 isn't a problem just for the opposition. The PAP also has major difficulties in getting people to join them and run for election. Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong have been talking about this particular problem for years.

In fact, the PAP's recruitment problem was one of its two main justifications for raising our ministers' salaries to world-class levels. Remember?


"I warn you, dear citizens. If you don't raise my salary,
I'll become corrupt, abuse my public position and start taking bribes!"

- political strategies that would surely fail elsewhere.
.


Sai Siong's article criticises people who have views to express but won't enter politics. Aha, she must be referring to me. Personally Mr Wang has many views and, yes, at this time is totally disinterested in the idea of entering politics. Whether on the PAP side or the opposition side (and even assuming that any party would have him). In fact Mr Wang isn't even really interested in following the upcoming elections.

Right now, I'm quite happy just to be writing actively about current affairs and social issues which interest me. I'm not doing anything more than that. In other words, I'm behaving just like Tan Sai Siong herself.

(Of course, my articles are generally more intelligent. If I do say so myself. Ahem!)

45 comments:

klimmer said...

I was under the impression that, in a democracy, citizens are expected to comment and critique policies, without being a politician themselves.

I guess we're not really a democracy.

pinto said...

*gasp* We're... not?

Anonymous said...

I hope Tan Sai Siong and her ilk is reading this because she obviously have no idea what she's talking about. Its just another mindless repeat of SM Goh's viewpoint towards political criticisms.

Why do I have to run for election or enter politics if I decided I don't like a particular policy and decides to criticise it on my blog. There are certain things I am not happy with regarding how the country is runned, but there are also many things in which I think the PAP has done a commendable job on. So does this mean that I have to join an opposition party even if I am only unhappy with certain policies.

If a certain policy affects me, than I feel it is within my rights as a citizen to make myself heard, provided the criticisms is fair and reasonable. Let it not be forgotten, they are supposed to be here to serve the interest of the people.

I mean if people were unhappy with public transport, does that mean they should start operating their own transport company? Or should they start campaigning for the PTC chairman's position?

What if I am unhappy with the army or the police. Does it mean I have no right to question or to criticise them unless I go and sign up with the army or the police? I mean does anyone see how stupid it sounds?

Anonymous said...

Just to add one more point, I didn't like how the NKF was runned during the Durai years. So maybe Tan Sai Siong can arrange for me to be the next CEO of the NKF. I wouldn't even need 1 full peanut, just half a peanut will do.

at82 said...

When was that article published? Can someone tell me?

mrdarren said...

Ms Tan also claims that with a longer campaign period, the opposition's ideas could 'unravel with over-airing'. Her point being, the longer campaign period may expose the opposition's flaws and help the ruling party achieve another landslide victory. She does not understand how a longer campaign period would make any positive difference to the Opposition's showing at the general election.

Ms Tan seems to have neglected the various restrictions on public rallies outside the 9 day campaign period. One can imagine how public debates would be a more efficient method of spreading the opposition's message to the target audience instead of going door to door.

mrdarren said...

Just to add on, implicit in her theory that a longer campaign period would expose the flaws of the opposition and backfire on the opposition is her belief that the ruling party is superior and a longer campaign period would not equally expose PAP's flaws.

Anonymous said...

at82,

the article was published on Mar 14 06, in Today newspaper.

Can someone tell me why did Ms Tan stop being a journalist? Did she quit so that she can become a Proposition candidate?

Blank Doll said...

Is the PAP not superior?

Thank you Mr. Wang, although I don't always agree with what you write, there is always reason in why you don't agree with certain policies even if I again, don't agree with the reason. Having read your blog, I no longer read the Straits Times and now concentrate on the IHT and the Economist. Thank you for changing my life.

Having said that, I hope you will vote for PAP as will the others here who haven't read our official social studies which states that Singapore is a representational democracy, not a direct one like Switzerland. I guess this means our MP is supposed to represent us so it'd also be good for the people to know who their MP is instead of grumbling about their inability to air their views.

Sleepless in Singapore said...

I remember a time when Ms Tan used to write like Mr Wang. I guess its a case of "4 legs good, 2 legs better"

at82 said...

To anon Wednesday, March 15, 2006 6:26:35 PM:

Thanks!

onekell said...

In other words, I'm behaving just like Tan Sai Siong herself.

Ouch, that was a good one. :D

moomooman said...

For her to mention Mr Wang and assume that the general readers know who she is referring to, just show that....

1. Mr Wang is really famous. You have finally arrived to the level of Brown.

or

2. That is just bad journalism.

I think both applies.

Jiang Wei said...

I don't know why some people keep insisting that 'getting the colonial masters out of Singapore' was such a big achievement on the part of our local leaders.

Have they completely forgotten that, it was the Americans who, post-WW2, forced the British to de-colonise? And that this was done not just in Singapore, but throughout the entire British Empire?

Fact is, the colonialists were on their way out already, thanks to the Americans. Some of our former leaders just happened to have been in office when that happened. Doesn't mean that one thing had anything to do with the other.

In any event, some might say that, thanks to the foreign 'talent' policy, foreigners' power on the National Wages Council, etc etc, the colonial masters are back in control again, anyway.

Achievement? Si mi achievement!

Mr Wang Says So said...

Jiang Wei:
Well, you know that Rajaratnam just passed away not too long ago. So it's the flavour of the month to highlight the "Battle Against The Colonial Masters" as a special achievement.

MooMooMan:
Mr Wang is definitely not of Brown level! This blog is not even one year old, so Mr Wang is very much the new kid on the block. And he won't even do poses.

BlankDoll:
No denying that the PAP is superior. On the other hand, we wouldn't expect the opposition to perform the same role and function as the PAP, so applying the same criteria in assessing them may be a rather fruitless exercise.

If the intention of the opposition is to replace the PAP as the government, run our ministries etc, then yes you would logically assess PAP and Opposition on the same criteria. But the realistic intention of the opposition is to defend two seats in Parliament, maybe grab a maximum of up to five or six seats (on a most-utterly-bullish basis), and use those few seats to provide alternative voices on national policy in Parliament. Actually running the nation is not the question at all.

The better question then is - is Singapore better off with:

(a) a few alternative viewpoints & criticisms on national policy in Parliament, or

(b) just a 100% PAP presence ?

Finally, on the question of who Mr Wang will vote, well, this is probably an irrelevant question, because of this.

Blank Doll said...

To Jiang Wei:
Again, this is the sort of thing that the post-Independence generation may say from the vantage of historiography without being tainted by experience.
Notwithstanding the strength of American influence in decolonizing, the situation in Indochina then also shows us that it was not an absolute decolonizing influence and in certain cases, America clearly did not play such a great role. The fact that Singapore was then seen as a 'leftist colony' I quote Milton Osbourne, would then have been a disincentive for America to pressurize Britain into giving Singapore independence. Hence, it was really the Singaporean leaders in their endeavour to go ahead with the merger as well as the purging of the Communists that gave Singapore a fighting chance towards independence.

Incidentally, I'd like to hear what our Vietnamese brethren would have to say should such a suggestion that it was America who aided decolonization.

To Mr Wang:
Well, personally, I believe that if the opposition can and will criticize the PAP on such a level nearing vitriol and well, the Hatchet Man sort of proves the point, then it really should be assessed on the same level as the PAP. After all, why should different parties be assessed differently? Doesn't that beat the point of having an opposition which is supposed to give us an alternative government?
Nonetheless, must "a few alternative viewpoints & criticisms on national policy in Parliament" and "just a 100% PAP presence" be mutually exclusive?

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Well, personally, I believe that if the opposition can and will criticize the PAP on such a level nearing vitriol"

1. Why do you believe that? Do Low Thia Kiang and Chiam See Tong strike you as being vitrolic? They seem rather mild-mannered to me.

2. Even accepting your point that parliamentary debates can be heated, is this necessarily a bad thing? Is it worse than a situation where polite PAP MPs nod their heads meekly in Parliament and out of courtesy, decline to disagree with their party leaders even when they think that their leaders' policies are going the wrong way?

and well, the Hatchet Man sort of proves the point, then it really should be assessed on the same level as the PAP.

1. Who are you referring to, Chee Soon Juan? Personally I have a poor opinion of him, but then let's not forget that the elections are of individual candidates ultimately. Just as one Lee Kuan Yew does not mean that all PAP candidates are brilliant & dedicated, similarly one Chee does not mean that all Opposition members are idiots.

After all, why should different parties be assessed differently? Doesn't that beat the point of having an opposition which is supposed to give us an alternative government?

As I said, it is because in the Singapore context, the Opposition serves a different function. They serve as the checker and the balancer, not the checkee and the balancee.

Nonetheless, must "a few alternative viewpoints & criticisms on national policy in Parliament" and "just a 100% PAP presence" be mutually exclusive?

Nope. Ideally I would also hope to see, for example, a freer press and a more vibrant civil society, where individuals (such as Alex Au, Tan Chong Kee or Simon Tay, or even just bloggers) or groups (such as Law Society, AWARE, National Council of Social Services or the Roundtable, or even the RGS girls who came up with the White Elephant t-shirts) feel able to play a more active role without being fined or arrested or investigated by the police.

So you see, I think we have a lot of room for improvement on all fronts.

klimmer said...

game, set, match.

Anonymous said...

Remember how Goh Chok Tong fired his salvo at Catherine Lim for thinking aloud? We shouldn't loose sleep over this "journalist" who has "sai" for her middle name.

Anonymous said...

"game, set, match."

No lah. Mr Wang is not here to win debates. He's having a discussion with Blank Doll.

-- mr wang

fwstallion said...

Agreed that opposition members with the class and capability of Low Thia Kiang and Chiam See Tong is good.

However to dispute your point on Chee Soon Juan who to me is a free touch down point to the powers to be especially in his constant and scattershot approach. Hence, turning off many a "central" person of seeing beyond him especially in the CBD area.


Agreed with blank doll that after all, why should different parties be assessed differently?

Noted your argument that because in the Singapore context, the Opposition serves a different function. They serve as the checker and the balancer.


Frankly as littlespeck has pointed out, PAP is a broad party,hence the appeal to pragmatism and factual worldview points.

Do not oppose the idea of alternative viewpoints in the social polity, however, do be prepared to accept criticisms by liberal conservatives who do not subscribe to liberal progessive bloggers thought to be the be all or end all for Singapore society.

However, you have answered the query yourself, that there is a more vibrant civil society and agree that there should be improvement. The main issue is that is it factual based or ideology based POV.

As identified, each social polity in any country (having lived/visited numerous countries eg Australia) have their own faults and defaults, so alternative viewpoints should to me, be put to test in either the political arena.

Regards
Wang

lbandit said...

"I guess this means our MP is supposed to represent us so it'd also be good for the people to know who their MP is instead of grumbling about their inability to air their views."

Blank Doll, what happens if the MPs who are supposed to represent us are not representative of us? I do believe that people "grumbling about their inability to air their views" should not be dismissed too flippantly.

singaporean said...

If the internet generation is indeed a misled bunch, perhaps TSS can make the local blogosphere a little less nauseating by starting her own blog, to offer constructive comments, instead of hiding behind a sterile newspaper column. No hill to climb here, just a little of her time. Surely her opinions represent as many as 75% of the voting Singaporeans, so readership shouldnt be a problem, right?

And no blogger have been made bankrupt for criticising another blogger, so she will not end up in the poor house blogging either.

But if mainstream media is any indication, the "big name" journalist-wannabes are just too eager to lambaste anyone who offers an alternative opinion to how Singapore should be govern. "Napoleon is alway right.", one workhorse would say.

But no, we should all stand as opposition candidates, because we are all called to fulfill the PM's wishes. His wish is our command.

There are many ways one can rid of their colonial masters. Iraqi insurgents are offering one way. Is this what she is suggesting? Someone arrest her for sedition already. The government ought to do something about such irresponsible journalist-wannabes.

amatu said...

fwstallion,

Haiya..you wont know until you try it, right? so in theory it may work for some but in practice it work fine for others. So who are we to say until tried and tested in the singapore society?

The major problem in singapore society is the fear of failure. singaporeans have become a bunch of weaklings...

Blank Doll said...

to klimmer: Aw, I would hardly dare challenge Mr. Wang on his views and I am sure Mr. Wang wouldn't be shooting down a 17 year old. In fact, I appreciate Mr. Wang's writing and I admire his commentaries that are also backed with knowledge and insight. I am after all a thinking person even if I don't sound like one.

to Mr. Wang: Well firstly, concerning my point about vitriol. I was looking in the context of the Singaporean situation since you believe we ought to apply this double standard assessment to the opposition. After all, would be declaim the Bush regime as dynastic and so bad? Well, the opposition seems to think that the PAP administration is bad because it is 'dynastic', just read one of those sandwich boards they routinely use.
Next, "where polite PAP MPs nod their heads meekly in Parliament and out of courtesy, decline to disagree with their party leaders", I don't believe in this either which is why I question why differing views and 100% PAP ought to be mutually exclusive which surely they aren't. I don't agree with the implication that our PAP MPs do that because I for one strongly believe that we have a parliamentary culture of self-criticism that does us good.
Again, I ask this question. Why should the opposition be seen in a different context? Does the opposition think this way? I think not. Can we seriously take the opposition seriously when every RGS girl will tell you that the only thing they recall from Mr. Chee's speech was his lament about how the government refuses to grant him the freedom to plant trees? Should we apply this 'handicap' to the opposition?
I would also like to put another idea forth here and this is written from a youth's point of view. There is an increasingly large number of youths who wear anti-pap as a badge of intellectual superiority. Trust me, I have seen it and it worries me even more because most of the time, it extends to little more than that. It's just a show. These youths would know no better about how to improve or change what they dislike about the PAP beyond the general phrase like 'more freedom' and this is a sign of political irresponsibility which is arguably worse than political apathy. This is what worries me because I am sure none of us would be better off if the future generation chose the opposition over the PAP for a lark and not because of the opposition's merit.
Having said that, I thank Mr. Wang and do hope that you'll be attending the youth seminar you mentioned before in one of your posts as a speaker.

ted said...

I highly doubt that blank doll is 17 years old...probably some ISD or youngpap agent masquarading as one..hur hur hur.

And so we see those who aspire to wear THE White uniform crawling out of the woodwork.

Just a point, what is a parliamentary culture of self critism? Does it really exist? I see rubber stamps abound...

Jiang Wei said...

to blank doll:

Again, this is the sort of thing that those who seek to manipulate history for a partisan agenda may say.

The communist insurgency had already largely lost momentum by the time the British began exploring options for self-government in Singapore. Further, granting Singapore independence helped drive the final nail into the coffin of the leftist movement by depriving it of its anti-colonial, pro-independence rationale. So in fact, there was every incentive to grant Singapore independence.

Why do you rely on so irrelevant an example as Indochina? A cursory glance at a basic history text would tell you that they were in fact French colonies, not British ones. Duh.

Post-WW2, Gaullist France was too absorbed in anti-"Anglo-Saxon" ideology, and therefore did not allow America to arm-twist it into decolonisation. That's why the Vietnamese, unlike us, had to fight a truly uphill battle in their quest for independence. America had nothing to do with that.

The Legal Janitor said...

Well, TalkingCock.com didn't call her 'Pang Sai Siong' for nothing... lol

http://www.talkingcock.com/html/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=21

The Legal Janitor said...

blank doll:

I always think that people who cannot refrain from using pointlessly bombastic words to try and make their point usually have nothing of substance to say.

And you prove me right.

singaporean said...

There is little doubt Blankdoll is young. The immaturity shows. I should know. I used to think like that. I used to think that JBJ is a horrible stain in an otherwise pristinely white parliament, and the patriotic thing to do was to kick him out by any means necessary. Afterall, Singapore is a small country with limited resources, and the clean and talented government should be free to do as they please, instead of wasting time answering stupid nitpicks from a mad old man. Being a good student in an elite school then, I seriously wondered if all the government critics are from Woodbridge. Singapore is so perfect, everybody is so happy. Just look at all the happy people celebrating National Day. Why oppose?

The view is naive in many ways.

Allergies are exaggerated reactions of the immune system to substances. It is speculated that the cause of the rise in allergies today, is due to our oversanitized environment. And the cure for allergies, could be the introduction of some dirt back in our lives.

Similarly, dissent and opposition politics are essential, not just to the satisfy the irrational desire for "more freedom", but to the survival of PAP as well. Surely we dont want PAP to go into seizures and die if they come into contact with certain substances, like peanuts perhaps.

Blank Doll said...

Ted: No, Blank Doll actually intends to move out of the country after NS to France and never come back so he can pursue his own dreams which is not to enshrine the PAP unto perpetuity.

Jiang Wei: Does it matter which colonial power we're talking about as long as it is A colonial power we're talking about? What is more, you mention that Communist influence was on its wane, in the midst of Krushchev and at the cusp of Brehznev's era? The Korean War and then the Cuban Missile Crisis sort of proves that the Cold War wasn't lying in its grave at that point in history. While I can agree with you that the British did not have the incentive to keep Singapore after giving up both Burma and Malaya, it would also be myopic if we did not recognize our forefathers for laying the groundwork for an independent Singapore.

singaporean: Forgive me for showing my naivete but at least that proves that I'm not some youngPAP lurking around. I for one did not know we had enough youngPAP members to lurk around the internet infiltrating electronic bastions of free thought.
Yet why is it naivete? I understand the analogy about the government and allergies but for a country as small as Singapore, and here I wander gladly into another pitfall blinded as I am by youth, how much 'dirt' can we afford?

Oh, and one thing, I noticed nobody enlightened me about the point about wearing anti-pap as a sign of intellectual superiority.

Finally, once more I ask, is our paternal government so patently dislikable that every little action deserves so much cynicism and rolling of eyes? In the words of the Singaporean, why do we 'nitpick' the very government that has led us so far along the economic trajectory?

Mr Wang Says So said...

What? You're intending to move to France after NS. Bah. According to our beloved Goh Chok Tong, you must therefore be a quitter and therefore not worthy of my further notice.

~~~~~

No lah. Unlike SM Goh, Mr Wang is not so judgmental and believes that there must be good reasons why you want to leave Singapore. Good luck.

~~~~~

Personally, for me, the history of Singapore really begins in 1965. It's one of my personality traits as an INTJ. INTJs are future-oriented and always thinking of improvement; and INTJs don't really care too much about what happens long, long ago.

Sure, it's still mildly interesting to me nowadays to know something about communists and colonialists - but more or less just in the same way that it's interesting to know something about the dinosaurs or the ancient Greeks.

So I'll leave the others to debate with you on the history bits.

~~~~~~~~

This "anti-PAP badge of intellectual superiority" thing that you keep talking about. I'm a bit surprised to hear about this, because not too long ago there was a series of articles in the TODAY newspaper which basically concluded that the average young Singaporean is quite politically apathetic. In other words, they don't really care about the PAP and they don't really care about any opposition parties either.

You assert, though, that there IS a problem, and these are your words:

"There is an increasingly large number of youths who wear anti-pap as a badge of intellectual superiority. Trust me, I have seen it and it worries me even more because most of the time, it extends to little more than that. It's just a show. These youths would know no better about how to improve or change what they dislike about the PAP beyond the general phrase like 'more freedom' and this is a sign of political irresponsibility which is arguably worse than political apathy. This is what worries me because I am sure none of us would be better off if the future generation chose the opposition over the PAP for a lark and not because of the opposition's merit."

I'm just going to give you a few quick thoughts off the top of my head.

Firstly, you seem worried that the future generation would choose the opposition over the PAP. I would like to point out:

(a) given the state of politics in Singapore, this is pretty unlikely anytime in the foreseeable future. After all, most Singaporeans never get to vote anyway.

(b) in the much more distant future, well, if they do get to vote and they do choose to vote for the opposition rather than the PAP - well, who is to say that that's a wrong decision? After all, how do you know what the PAP will be like in the much more distant future? And how do you know what the opposition will be like in the much more distant future?

(c) elections are supposed to be based on voting anyway. If the majority of people ever vote for the opposition and the PAP is kicked out, well, I think YOU would be the "intellectually superior/arrogant" one of you were then to assert that the masses are stupid and shouldn't have voted that way.

Next, you suggest that it's wrong to vote for a particular party not primarily because of its merit but because you just want the other party to be kicked out. I'm not convinced at all if this is a "wrong" way of voting. If I were an American citizen during the last elections, I think I would certainly vote for Kerry, if nothing else for the sake of not voting for Bush, whom I perceive as dishonest and a threat to world peace and a major mangler of the US's relations with the rest of the world.

Finally, I'm not sure whether you are more worried about:

(1) youths being anti-PAP; or

(2) youths being anti-PAP and wearing a badge of intellectual superiority.

As I see it, you could be anti-anything or pro-anything and at the same time either display intellectual superiority or not. All permutations are possible. English soccer hooligan fans are very pro their own soccer team, but usually don't display anything vaguely intellectual.

So what exactly is it that troubles you about Singapore's youth who are "anti-PAP" and wear this as a "badge of intellectual superiority". Could it be that ...

... you're aghast to discover that smart young people ... *gasp* ... can actually be anti-PAP?

angry doc said...

Hey, what if the article was Ms Tan's way of hinting at her candidacy for the coming election?

Pkchukiss said...

I am surprised that youths cannot be anti-PAP.

Is there anything inherently wrong in that?

Oh, I forgot. Things can only flow ONE WAY, Singaporeans can only be anti-opposition; any anti-PAP youths are blatantly misguided folks who don't know what they want, and not people who exercise their choice of alignment. *rolls eyes*.

Anthony said...

After all, would be declaim the Bush regime as dynastic and so bad? Well, the opposition seems to think that the PAP administration is bad because it is 'dynastic', just read one of those sandwich boards they routinely use.

I think Blank Doll must have missed quite a few of the negative charges that were levelled against Dubya. The first is the dynastic charge. The second (suprise suprise) is the fact that he wasn't actually voted into power in 2000 - 2004, but installed in power by a 5-4 Republican majority on the Supreme Court.

And yes, there was a hoo-hah. There is still a hoo-hah. This is the US we're talking about. No one would suggest running for presidency just because I disagree with certain issues. I would cynically propose that running for a political position in the United States is best done if you -have- no cause of your own.

ted said...

Anyway, like our dear Minister Mentor once said, people who are not going to have any stake in this country, their views and opinions carries no weight.

So even if our young Padawan aka Blank Doll feels that young Singaporeans are misguided to think of things like political choice, his/her words carries no weight since he's running off to France.Such people, tsk tsk, devious.

Jiang Wei said...

aiyoh, blank doll:

It doesn't help your case if you keep insisting on grabbing historical examples from irrelevant contexts.

Let me spell things out for you:

We're discussing Singapore's independence from its former colonial masters, who in this case happen to be the British.

Therefore, what is relevant is British colonial rule in Singapore and anything that impacted it, not French rule in Indochina.

Communism is relevant to the discussion only insofar as it influenced events in Singapore. The regional Communist insurgency is therefore the focal point of this area of discussion - in fact, it was you who had first relied on that example. The other, new events that you've now dragged up post-date the commencement of the British self-government programme for Singapore.

Like Mr. Wang, Jiang Wei also believes in being forward-looking. However, Jiang Wei does care about history because:

a) he believes that human behaviour hasn't really fundamentally changed over the centuries, and therefore the lessons of history are still valuable to us; and

b) he knows that governments around the world routinely abuse and distort history to stir up jingoism, artificially stimulate popular support for their rule and generally promote their own partisan agenda. Therefore, a decent working knowledge of history is useful for catching them out at their lies.

Blank Doll said...

Blank Doll is officially running off to France (note: AFTER his NS) in a misguided attempt to join the fashion world and so chase his own dreams. It's either that or join, you guess it, youngPAP.

Mr. Wang, are you seriously suggesting that it is absolutely fine to kick a party out of power just for the sake of kicking it out of power without even assessing its merits? Is that not political irresponsibility? Yet the fact that we now use the word democracy instead of polity must say quite a bit even if we aren't a proper democracy.

To reply to the anti-PAP thing, Blank Doll only has to invite you to walk around the premier junior college where you will find amongst the bible study sessions, people who are anti-PAP just for a lark, so proving that smart people (or is it politically incorrect to assume that those-who-wear-white are innately smart?) can indeed be anti-pap.

Wait, I must ask a question here. Is everyone here necessarily anti-PAP? Or just cynics, because I noted the repeated use of the word 'cynic'?

To Jian Wen: The Indochinese example was used to illustrate the fact that we really shouldn't overemphasize the role of external influences in the decolonization process just as we shouldn't overemphasize the role of our founding fathers.
Insofar as the other reasons I raised, I am merely trying to validate our forefather's achievements that are very real. The decolonization process is intrinsically linked to the nation building process and how are we to extricate our forefathers from this period in time?

Oh and by the way, was there an automatic assumption that I meant only Mr. Lee Kuan Yew when I spoke about our founding fathers? The first person I had in mind was David Marshall actually even though as is obvious by now, I have only admiration for the former.

A final scenario I pose to you concerning once more a scene as seen by a 17 year old. During history lecture, our tutor mentioned the scene when Mr. Lee cried before the screen in the events leading to the declaration of the dissolution of Merger, the lecture hall burst into laughter and the front row were talking about how 'dramatic' lky was.

I probably will get hammered for incongruity again but I just want my seniors as all of you appear to be to judge for yourself if this is the end-result of our youths, of their political apathy and their detachment from the efforts of our founding fathers, that you are comfortable with.

Oh, and why padawan?

Ted said...

Our young padawan, David Marshall you say...hmm what a strange choice, sine he is one of the key founders of Workers Party...are you sure you are admiring the correct person?

So are you to say that it should be the default that young people like you should be not anti-PAP/Government? Or rather that it should be the default that no one criticise the Party in power?

People indulging in bible study in Premier Junior College do not constitute all smart people, and really, such a small sample size, unless the implication is that a sizable number of students in the premier college are in Bible study and they are mostly snorting at PAP? Gee..how's that for a CCA?

Well I don't know or care about how incongruous you are, but just to let you know, LKY after crying went to hide in a villa/bungalow for 2 or more days while leaving Dr Goh & Toh to hold the fort.

And oh, I am not too worried about how youths are like you described, since it apparently didn't appear too different from the youths of my days, that's just about a decade ago. Cheers!

Jiang Wei said...

bland droll:

you stopped making sense a long time ago.

"The Indochinese example was used to illustrate the fact that we really shouldn't overemphasize the role of external influences in the decolonization process just as we shouldn't overemphasize the role of our founding fathers."

This is just plain dumb. How can you "illustrate the fact" by citing an example that is wholly irrelevant to the discussion? That doesn't "illustrate" anything at all, except that you're really off your rocker. It's like citing Adolf Hitler to "illustrate the fact" that ALL world leaders are short, psychotic and bent on genocide. Madness!

You're doing the typical proverbial burying your head in the sand routine by pigheadedly refusing to admit that in the case of Singapore, external influences DID play an overwhelming role in the decolonisation process - that is not "overemphasis", that is fact. Deal with it.




"Insofar as the other reasons I raised, I am merely trying to validate our forefather's achievements that are very real."

This is just funny. You are trying to do this, but you're obviously failing very badly, for the reasons I've already stated.


"our forefather's achievements that are very real"

So, all we really have from you at the end of the day is nothing more than hollow, bland assertion, as you've so far failed miserably to back it up with facts.


Dude, here's a hint: next time, think before you say something.

7-8 said...

I’ve always believed that a person’s political affiliation is a rather poor explanation of his personality. This Tan Sai Siong belongs to that generation of people who sat by and meekly surrendered our civil liberties, who ran towards their golden straitjackets. Now I’m not going to criticise that, people have their reasons and their concerns.

But when we start to actually talk about issues, which is after all what we are supposed to do as citizens, it sorda makes her look bad and then she has to criticise us. There’s this real, palpable fear. I sniffed the newsprint while reading this article on the MRT and there was fear written all over it. The fear that yesterday drove her into the arms of the prevailing orthodoxy, and the fear that history is going to judge her unkindly.

And maybe she hopes that by wishing out loud that the opposition have nothing to offer by way of a political alternative, Singaporeans by their monkey see monkey do mentality will follow suit. Well there’s a place where Tan Sai Siong and her ilk are going and it’s what the Marxists call “the ashheap of history”. Too fucking bad for her.

7-8 said...

I'll put another comment here about bland doll. He actually believes the PAP are going to be voted out of power in the next election. That alone is grounds for institutionalisation.

Maybe it's not good for "intellectuals" to be knee jerk critical of the government for its sake, but criticism is as good a starting point away from political apathy as any.

Yeah our forefathers get some credit, but they're in their rocking chairs now and our forefathers is not the PAP today so dun mix them up. A few more people giving them some lip in the house is a healthy thing because it keeps them on their toes. We're actually helping them to do their job right and they ought to be grateful for that.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I can forgive Blank Doll for having such great respect for the early PAP leaders. There *were* some pretty respectable characters in their midst. However, they are mostly dead or retired now.

And I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea of "glory by association". Just because the PAP had some awesome characters in the past doesn't convince me that the average PAP MP today is similarly awesome.

Not to say that they aren't awesome. It's just that I, and most other Singaporeans, are certainly not seeing much display of awesomeness - we have no evidence of it. Let's put it this way - in each election, the majority of PAP MPs are not even elected, and the average Singaporean probably can't even name all the members in his own GRC constituency; let alone have any real knowledge or awareness of their capabilities.

If you bother to sieve through the historical details of elections in Singapore, I think some interesting aspects could be discovered. I suspect, for example, that if you go by the number of elections actually contested and actually won by any MP in the past 25 years, you'd discover that Low Thia Kiang and Chiam See Tong are probably among the top five MPs that the people of Singapore support most strongly over the years.

I mean - every time they get into Parliament, they actually won their seats. In every election, they actually have to contest, and they actually have to win.

Meanwhile, folks like Toa Payoh MP Davinder Singh have been an MP since 1988 and have not even contested once.

Btw, I use Davinder Singh as an example because what I stated above is factually true and was recently mentioned in the press. Personally, I have met Davinder on several occasions and I find him very impressive as a lawyer - he has a brilliant, sharp & precise mind. Here I am really commenting on the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the election process in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

My dollar's worth:

Woah. Is there a need to assume that this is the "end-result of our youths". PremierJC or not (can we just call a spade a spade?), it's still a school, where students are steeped in the process of learning. A school is where kids learn. Life is a long learning journey. I'm not sure that we're "end-results of [their] political apathy and [their] detachment from the efforts of our founding fathers" at 17/18. Not yet maybe, looking at today's recurrent reports of apathetic young voters. Still, we're all learning, yeah?

I don't see how being anti-PAP now means that we deny our forefather's contributions. And I don't see why you have to keep harping on how we must recognise these contributions in the past and therefore continue supporting PAP based on the somewhat long-ago past. Times change, needs change, situations change. And so I carry on...

Backtracking a little, to: "why do we 'nitpick' the very government that has led us so far along the economic trajectory?"
Maybe that's because it's time for us to look away from the mere bread-and-butter, survivial issues to something like real freedom of speech and more openness in society. It's probably not the general populace's stance, but it's a view that's spreading. In here, for instance, among youths it seems.

I don't have the eloquence, sensitivity and awareness to deliver a whole concise argument on why I'll say that I slant towards being "anti-PAP". All I can give is my ranting, my general sense of society- there's no vibrancy, not vitality, only the chug-chug-chugging of well-oiled machinary. The occasional "big things" that happen, a big trip abroad, chingay in the heartlands, are but pretences of vitality. This is how I feel abt living in Singapore, and it's getting increasingly stifling. (I recall Mr Wang's posting up of... The 5 C's Reexamined.)
Is there no (real)life beyond economic survival? The rigidity, economy-centric style of the government manifests itself in society. It's almost as if we are not a "governed-nation", but a "government-nation".

This machinary grows. In schools, even if some forward-looking teacher decides to experiment with teaching, at our age, we students fall back to the "heck. just give it to me and let me get my A". Unfortunately for those cool teachers,it's too late for us; we're so steeped in the results-oriented environment that we perpetuate it ourselves.

Therefore I’m tired of life like that. (Tired? I’m only 18!) I don’t appreciate “the economy” being the justification for everything. Look at Hong Kong. Their economy (before and after 1997) is well and running, despite their numerous demonstrations, sit-ins, loud calls for true-democracy. Even all that distractions the paparazzi present. All this “chaotic” behaviour that our government is so uptight about-it hasn’t toppled Hong Kong (‘s economy). Instead, it has given the HK ppl more voice, more vibrancy, more space (metaphysically. Oh well. The truth is abt 80% of their land is still protected rural lands. So in terms of physical space- they have it too) We’re not asking for legitimacy to make home-bombs and throw them all about in protest. Chaos doesn’t have to be destructive, and dissonance is not necessarily chaos.

And just a thought, even the Chinese in China demonstrate. Tough-going, but they get heard.

What’s with “bible study sessions” anyway? I’m not into religion. But it’s others’ freedom to engage in religion, no matter how deluded we think they are. That’s the true freedom of choice- for others to be religious, for us to voice our suspicion about religions, for them to counter us, and them, us

For our right to be sound didactic, for others to be didactic on us, and for us to counter them, and them, us.

And what’s the value of being smart anyway? It’s just a ego-boosting label that flaps weakly beneath the clear view of effusive snobbery.

I think Adolf Hitler looks funny. His actions are stilted, histrionic and his moustache rocks…Am I trivializing the millions of lives lost to this immense evil? I see no need in getting so impassioned by visually impassioned portrayals of events.

I could go on forever I guess. But that's abt it for now. Thanks.

Mr Wang Says So said...

To the latest Anonymous:

The funny thing is, you may think that you're acting a bit strange, but you're not. PM Lee himself, at the time he became PM, advocated the need for Singapore to become a more open society - he said that this was one of the key things he wanted to establish for Singapore, as PM.

Mr Wang supports PM Lee! Henceforth I shall devote my blog to helping PM Lee bring his grand vision to pass.