It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this earth. This is your victory." - President Obama's Victory Speech 2008
If you consider Obama's story inspiring, have you thought of your own story as Singaporeans?...
We, Singaporeans, are the children and grand children of men and women who travelled across the vast oceans to seek a better life and alter their own destinies. They came to an unfamiliar place on a lottery ticket to an unknown future. They came from bigger countries with longer histories that will not perish for a thousand years to a little island which you can hardly find on a map. Have you ever wondered what was on their minds when they stepped onto that old chinese junk or that rusty passenger ship.... what did they hope to find Singapore? Most did not come with loads of money to be bankers, lawyers or landlords, many came to be coolies, sweatshop laborers and construction workers...penniless and uneducated. With their bare hands they were determined to shape their own future so we ours can be better. It was an audacious dream...one they had to keep alive through the suffering of the 2nd World War. They did not flee this war torn nation, but stayed to reconstruct it and rebuild their own lives under British rule. They then fought their colonial masters so that they could be masters of their own destiny. They knew that unless they can decide for themselves, they would have no freedom and their dreams will be shackled by those who exploited them. We, Singaporeans, inherit the legacy of these men and women who are willing to fight for what is right, for freedom and justice. It is a legacy we must understand or we will once again lose what they fought so hard for.
Have the British left and disappeared or have they been replaced? 4 decades as a nation and we have come full circle. From the 70 year old cleaner who has no means to retire to the family whose breadwinner who put in 12 hour work days that cannot afford electricity because the state owned monopoly cannot afford to make less profits....do the ideals of justice and equality we pledge to uphold, mean nothing in this new society the PAP has constructed? Singaporeans don't believe that govt should solve all their problems for them but the govt should not be cause of their problems. To the 70 yr old who contributed to our society but cannot retire our govt says it cannot afford to help her - but it can afford to lose billions throwing money into troubled banks and regional telcos. We must ask ourselves of we are well served by a govt whose first order of business was to increase its own salary, up our taxes and take away affordability from everything from housing to transport. We have to wonder about the character of men who lead us when they are unable to stand on the side of the ordinary Singaporeans when grave injustice is committed. How many dreams of young Singaporean men and women dashed when our govt fill the places in tertiary institutions with foreigners and they cannot afford to further their education overseas. Make no mistake these young men and women do not want what they don't deserve, they just want a fair chance but what fair chance do they have when the govt sets up dozens of offices around the world to offer free scholarships to Singapore....they 'second bested' their own citizens, taking away their only chance work hard for a better life.
If we continue to march along this path that the PAP govt has laid out, the inequality can only widen, democracy will be weakened and justice will not be served. We can no longer afford to do nothing.... just like the men and women who have gone to Hong Lim Park the last 4 Saturdays to seek justice from mis-selling...we too will one day wake up to find ourselves victims of this system whose fine print we cannot read ... seduced by those we once trusted. There is no prospectus here to look at but you can tell intention from the decisions and actions of this govt..... the sacrifice they forced upon us for their own goals and interests. We have to pay more for healthcare because of our leaders' aspirations to be a medical hub for the region's rich. The PAP's desire is to maintain the status quo and they threaten to call in the army and sink this country unless we buy into their vision. They have set out to preserve this system for their own benefit and create a climate of fear of change. But we have now reached a point where we can no long afford not to change and you have to believe that there is a better way forward for this country. Just like our forefathers had to conquer the fear of uncertainty to come to Singapore.... and possessed the courage to fight the tyranny of colonism, it is now our time to offer a new direction for this nation.
It is now time remake this nation so that it may always reflect highest ideals we pledge to uphold - democracy, justice and equality. Singapore, yes we can!