The scene at GE2016, when the PAP suffers a significant blow in the polls, perhaps losing their super-dominance.
“So, DPM Teo… what do you think?”
“Well, what do you…”
“IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!”
Jokes aside, the tone of DPM Teo’s voice in addressing those students revolts me. He’s practically mocking them. I’m starting to understand where the “Fuck you, sir” came from. It’s not about what he said- it’s about how he said it.
You can ask people for their perspectives in a way that communicates sincere concern, interest and a desire to serve. To me though- and I may be biased- DPM Teo sounds almost condescending- complacent and self-important.
(The 17 year old kid might be a 17 year old kid, yes- but kids are far more capable than you think when it comes to interpreting adult behaviour. By that I mean to say that kids know when you aren’t really interested in something- their opinions and perspectives, for instance. Sure, the boy could have been more respectful.But it doesn’t change the fact that he was upset, and that many others related to that. No smoke without fire.)
I will do everything in my power to convince as many people as possible to vote in a manner that shifts the balance away from PAP super-dominance. (I’d still like to see a PAP majority government, but I’d like at least 20-40% of Parliament to be made up of non-PAP members.)
This is not because I think the Opposition will be better at handling things than the PAP- this is because diversity is the only ‘guaranteed’ survival strategy. (Refer to Chan Chun Sing.) Don’t be a sucker, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Nothing lasts forever, why will the PAP?
If there is no change in the results in the 2016 elections- and we have less than around 15 opposition members in parliament, then I will take that as a signal that what I want for myself and for my community is inconsistent with what most other Singaporeans want.
I’m not sure what that means, or what I might have to do as a consequence of that. I’m not sure I want to think about that now.
DPM Teo talks about how lousy the free media is in other countries, and how lousy the social media is in Singapore, but neglects to discuss the elephant in the room- Singaporean mainstream media.
“What we want to have in Singapore is a responsible media- reasonable discussion amongst Singaporeans.” That’s what DPM said at the end of the video.
Well, is this what we have? I personally don’t think so!
Who gets to decide or define what “responsible” is? Hiding things from the public, sugarcoating this, obfuscating that- is that responsible?
I’m not saying that it’s necessarily irresponsible, by the way. I can see how it might be responsible.
For example, should a newspaper report suicides, if studies have shown that reporting suicides inspires copycat suicides? I personally think they shouldn’t, because then they’d indirectly be encouraging the suicides.Â But you might disagree, you might have a different opinion. I’d like to hear your opinion, and I think we’d both be better off from a healthy exchange of ideas. And perhaps we may find a healthy compromise.
What is “reasonable”? Do the people in power get to decide? Do Singaporeans have a say in what responsible or reasonable means?
I don’t mean to say that we should model ourselves after any other country in the world. Singapore is a unique country, we have unique circumstances, we have to do things our own way. Absolutely. The question is, who is “we”, and what is “our own way”?
I put it to you that “our own way” will mean progressively opening up the can of worms. Progressively addressing the hard questions. The pragmatic thing to do is to educate and empower (in the real sense, not the industrial-education-complex sense) Singaporeans to chart their own course, to define their own future.
Our economy has thrived so far because of the efficacy of our automatons. Now we need autonomy instead. And cherry-picked autonomy, like cherry-picked justice or liberty, is no autonomy at all.
(That said, absolute autonomy is a myth, an ideal and an impossibility. Cherry-picking is an agreeable way to start. In this paradigm, I argue that Singaporeans should be encouraged to engage their teachers and superiors in genuine criticism and discussion. No, not the “for show” kind. I mean things like- oh god, I can’t even list them out. I have to end here. (My girlfriend has many gorgeous anecdotes that ought to go here.)