That letter in the StraitsTimes forum which they selected over a thousand others carries a profound message for all Singaporeans. If your life is good (trouble free) why bother to do anything for your fellow citizens? Bus fare increase? As long as you can afford why bother with the people who can't. Why bother about the poor who can't make ends meet when you can afford to eat the best buffett in town. Some people believe societies are cohesive because people are willing to stand up for each other - it is the white guy marching for the rights of the blacks, the middle class that demand better deal for the poor that strengthen society. However, we in Singapore don't have this type of society - Singaporeans standing up for other Singaporeans openly is frowned upon......actually Singaporeans standing up for any cause that is related to justice, equality or democracy is viewed negatively. We can't protest the killing of monks in Myanmar, the killing of monks (again?) in Tibet, the war in Iraq etc. If you feel strongly about something the acceptable way of expressing yourself is to write a letter to the Straits Times Forum, however, there is a limited space and they cannot guarantee they will publish it because there are always great letters like the one written by Mr. Fernandez.
"Advice to Chee: Don't waste taxpayers money". I would like to assure Mr. Fernandez that tax payer's money is never wasted when the SPF turn up to arrest someone like Dr. Chee. It is a good reminder to all Singaporeans of our govt's position on public assemby and citizen's rights. Arresting people who turned up one Saturday to express the frustration of every Singaporean (especially the poor) on inflation says alot about the govt. Good citizens don't challenge a great world class govt to be better - their role as citizens is to agree, contribute and, in the words of Mr. Fernandez, "be grateful and appreciative" of what this great govt has done.
Why do citizens of every other developed country have the right to protest and we don't? Because they don't have a govt as great as ours! Just look at how much they pay their ministers, that is all they deserve relative to a great govt like ours. It is already hard enough to select and persuade such good men to stand for election and serve the public, the least we can do is to put down trouble makers out to make their job even harder. Can you imagine our mild mannered Minister of Transport, having to answer to angry Singaporeans who fail to comprehend his explanation that the fare hikes serve to maintain the quality of service of our transport system and the ERP hikes is intended to relieve congestion? With the interests of Singaporeans well served by men and women of the highest integrity, there is no need to protest what we see as wrong - because it is likely that we are wrong. The Iraq war was not wrong - Singapore sent its navy there to support the Americans, the junta in Myanmar is not wrong we are willing to have business ties with them and want them as part of the solution, arresting Chee is not wrong .....it serves as a reminder to the rest of us on how we should conduct ourselves as good citizens of Singapore.
"....they should form a coalition and learn to work in tandem with the ruling party..make life here ...more peaceful for all."
- Mr. Fernandez.
Mr. Fernandez not only established how good citizens should behave, he has the best advice for the opposition. The opposition should stop opposing and learn to work in tandem with the govt. That is a great idea - on that Saturday, Chee should have been carrying a placard says, "Price hikes are not the fault of the govt. Please accept them and stop blaming the PAP". It would definitely make Singaporeans happier to know that everything has already been done by the govt to help them - they should be satisfied. Now you see why Mr. Fernandez lives a trouble free life - he doesn't have to trouble himself with what the govt does as he sees that it is always good. Chee and the rest of the opposition should learn from Mr. Fernandez, spend more time shopping at Harvey Norman and not trouble themselves with the part of society that cannot turn on their lights at night because they can't afford the electricity.