Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Don't Worry lah...Our Govt can handle Chee....

I know some of you are very concerned about the disorder outside Parliament House last Saturday. Don't worry our govt has enough resources to capture Mas Selamat and handle Chee at the same time. They probably have a special department to handle Chee. There is no secret about what Chee is up to - he is trying to change they system through activism. Activism means undertaking various activities to put pressure on our govt to change the laws - examples of such laws are speaking in public without permit, illegal assembly etc. Typically, pressure is applied by deliberately breaking the law and getting arrested. The whole idea is to highlight to Singaporeans that these laws exists and are somewhat 'unjust' and 'undemocratic'. See the problem with this approach is Singaporeans already know these laws exist and have accepted them. Singaporeans are obedient people, all you need to do to keep them constrained is to draw a yellow line and ask them to stand behind it - they will do so without asking why. It is alot safer to stand behind the yellow line then to cross over and see what happens.

Luckily, while there is some sympathy for Chee on the Internet and alot of talk, when it comes to action, he can only gather 30 people out of a population of 4M after 10 years of activism. That is why the police department that handles Chee hasn't expanded for many years and the officers there are lamenting their career prospects- you can see some of their grumpy faces on YouTube. Most Singaporeans are politically apathetic amd don't even care about mainstream politics and activism lies in the other edge of politics. Being law abiding, they are more amused with the activities of Chee than outraged with the "unjust" laws. If there is a yellow line, just stand behind it. It is most unnatural to find Singaporeans who are willing to cross the yellow line.

You find people crossing yellow lines in large numbers when they can't afford the sales at Harvey Norman, when they can't watch TV in their own homes to amuse themselves, when their financial woes become too difficult and it is better to take the risk than to die of hunger. You see this in Indonesia when the economy fell apart and in Thailand, S. Korea during the Asian Crisis. The other way to get alot of people to cross the yellow line is to poison them with unflitered and unmanaged information. I really don't see this happening as long as Straits Times is around to ensure that we get high quality accurate information.

The greater danger for Singapore is with an oppositon that disguise itself. The ones that use issues that appeal to masses but has a hidden agenda to change the system once they get into power. If you look at the YouTube videos of the the Malaysian elections, it was about inflation, education, etc but once they get into power they want to eliminate NEP and implement the Freedom of Information Act. This is the type of opposition Singaporeans should guard themselves against. The real threats are smiling, open and understanding opposition who look so friendly, they can be your buddy if not for the warning labels on their T-shirts. If they manage to lay low and not give the police reason to arrest them, they may be able to recruit and indoctrinate more people. Despite all its power, the PAP govt cannot arrest someone unless they break the law or provide sufficient reason to activate the ISA...otherwise it will lose credibility and undermine its own authority. In Singapore, most people don't like to join an organisation in whose activity gives the police an excuse to arrest and jail them.
There is some danger that our new generation is different from our old generation and rejects the social contract that their parents have implicitly signed. After talking to many young people, I want to assure you that is not the case. After one generation, it is still about getting the best paying jobs to buy that car and pay for that HDB flat. There is alot of chatter on the Internet but once you ask people to show up at an event, you will get less than 50 people.
So far handling Chee is easy. If he starts turning up with more than, say 50 people, there are many laws they can use to put him away for a long time. Chee can probably cause real trouble if he can gather 10,000 people like HINDRAF in Malaysia but after 10 years it is only 30 people so it will take several centuries to get there.
What keeps our govt awake at night is the great unknown when the next elections come. Despite all the good information disseminated by the Straits Times, the extra incentive to choose wisely to get that new fountain or playground, there is still risk because free will is involved. When the person stands in front of the ballot box, he asks himself if he is better off than he was 4 years ago....has he been able to get a bigger HDB flat? ...Did his pay increase sufficiently to overcome the ERP hikes? The real danger is when that person starts to believe that supporting the PAP is not the way to better his life and gives the alternative a chance. That is when something like what happened in Malaysia is possible....and the country is never the same again.


Anonymous said...

What keeps our govt awake at night is the great unknown when the next elections come. - Lucky

In M'sia the pro-Bumiputera policy benefiting the majority had worked for the govt in previous elections.

However in the last few years the M'sia govt had not been able to keep the cost of living under control resulting in many Malay voters also suffering the effect and hence also voting against it.

This shows that no matter how clever political strategies are - and in the case of Singapore these are represented by gerrymandering, vote-buying using estate upgrading, suppression of opposition and public dissent just to name some examples - such political strategies do not reflect efficient governance.

Efficient governance ultimately is reflected in the quality of life of citizens.

Even if PAP destroys all vestiges of political consciousness in Singapore, the fundamental importance of bread and butter issues cannot be changed. When the tap runs out for the masses due to PAP incompetence, even its loyal supporters will go against it - just like in M'sia.

Just a case in point. PAP may be able to play around with people's CPF savings but ultimately the question is whether old people can have a life. If they find life a struggle, they will know what to do, no matter however politically uninformed they are.

It is however feared that with so many foreigners in Singapore, PAP may dream up a way to allow some of them to vote, thus diluting the vote power of true citizens.

Remember in early 90's Lee Kuan Yew even declared that the "one-man-one-vote" system was wrong. He intended to change it but for some reason did not.

That incident just goes to show what PAP is potentially capable of doing.

Anonymous said...

Our government surely can handle Chee, suppress the opposition and look after the good people of Singapore in their unique manner. The problem is that not all their subjects are as grateful as they should be - and as you pointed out the younger ones may thin differently from their parents. But do you really think so?

From what I can see there won't be any change in my lifetime unless people develop a taste for a less predictable, more invigorating environment.

yamizi said...


I like the way you had laid out in writing this essay. Is it okay for me to email you and seek advise in how to do writing?

Thanks =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Yamizi

Lucky Tan is extremely talented and his irony and England is awesome

Anonymous said...

joke. happinese is now a contest in sg. you see, after rewarding themselves with superior salary, they have to justify their 'competent income' to the public by providing a 'scientific explanation' of the people's low happiness quotient in the world. tsk tsk tsk. try not to spin too much ok or you may just be the next victim of a 'happy' $330 handout a month citizen? lol.

on a serious note, do you think they will be able to trace the roots of unhappiness to the judiciary( justice) and monetary ( income disparity ) system - or policy makers? ke ke ke

ah, let the BLAMING CONTEST begin because... we don't want you to be too busy till you forget to count your 'blessings' or maybe because you are too busy to even think?? lol

Sarah said...

Great post. What I did was I went to From there, I followed the tips and guides that they offer on improving your brain power.Well, I tried and I definitely can see some improvement in my condition. So, you should consider trying it too.

LuckySingaporean said...


Anyone can write, all it takes is practice. you can write to me at

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky,

What you just said is true: anyone can write, all it takes is practice.

As good writers used to say : 'Write, write and write'. Actually this takes years if not decades of practice.

At the same time, not everyone who can write a bit is considered a good writer. You are a good writer because you are prolific in your writings which are also fairly longish.

Which brings me to another well-known saying: 'If one cannot write, one cannot think'.

What this actually means is that if one is able write in an extended manner, then it shows that one has done alot of thinking.

Nevertheless, an extended article tends to expose the contradictions and loopholes in one's thoughts.

And everyone falls prey to this when he attempts long essays especially highly involved ones concerning socio-political issues.

But this is where Lucky is so deft in avoiding through the use of parody. This is like political cartoons where one is less prone to argue with but rather laugh along with it.

For this reason, I give Lucky a high rating for EQ :-).