Monday, December 01, 2008

Singapore : No pain, no change.....

It is very sad but true - it took the loss of lifesavings for many Singaporeans to open their eyes and see the system they are in and how unjust it is to ordinary Singaporeans. A rich bank executive loses his job, gives up his car, takes the MRT and then he realised that the trains are packed like sardines - that is the moment he experiences pain and understand what an ordinary Singaporean goes through in life.

“How many of our leaders take the MRT and bus like me? If they do, they will know that the MRT is crowded even at 10pm” - Tan Kin Lian
"The younger set of leaders is, however, undergoing a baptism of fire and not exactly coming out with flying colours" - Seah Chiang Nee

Elitism gone wrong! Once recruited into the system, generous scholarships, good cushy jobs and predefined formulas for success. They don't earn the respect of ordinary Singaporeans who compete and struggle for a living. They have lost touch with the ground.
Recession.......and the approaching hardship

It is pushing more Singaporeans to speak out;
Will they be serious enough to affect the political landscape in next 10 years? By Seah Chiang Nee.Nov 29, 2009
WILL a long, severe recession that seems to be shaping up during Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s advancing years reshape Singapore’s future landscape?
How much hardship will it inflict on a people who are unused to it? If the answer is “a very painful lot” will it then throw up a new set of leaders who can reinvent Singapore’s brilliant past?
In a small way, changes are beginning to show economically – and also in politics.
For one thing, more Singaporeans are shedding their reticence to speak out, and even making a stand. Both the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition are attracting promising recruits.
Take a recent development: A former PAP stalwart and ex-CEO of a government-linked insurance company, Tan Kin Lian has been openly taking on the government and creating waves.
A member of the ruling elite who recently quit after 30 years over policy differences, Tan announced his conditional intention to contest in the next elected presidential or general election as an independentcandidate.
He is creating ripples at a time when Singapore is facing its worst economic crisis in decades.
Tan explained his reason, saying, “When I joined the PAP, it was the party of the people.
“It carried out many remarkable projects, such as building HDB flats, and created a transparent economy,” he said in an interview. “But as the years go by, I think the party has lost touch with the ground.”
Before committing himself, he would like to get 100,000 signatures of support to be collected by online sympathisers – a tough proposition in apathetic Singapore.
“I need to know that people want the change. If not, then there is no point.”
After 10 years serving in a senior constituency position, Tan became inactive and finally quit three months ago because he had disagreed over the years with its value system.
Calling himself an egalitarian, Tan hit out at its elitist rule. He said he found it unfair how a disproportionate number of the academically successful had come from higher-income families.
“How many of our leaders take the MRT and bus like me? If they do, they will know that the MRT is crowded even at 10pm,” he asked.
His emergence has boosted the hopes of Singaporeans who were hoping for an opposition figure to emerge to fill the vacuum left behind by the recent death of Mr. JB Jeyaratnam.
Tan has become the “Man of the Hour” to many youths, especially some 10,000 victims who were allegedly misguided by DBS, a government-controlled bank into buying Lehman structured products and losing S$500mil.
He is fighting on their behalf, speaking at public rallies almost every weekend and sending repeated petitions to the authorities for compensation to the victims.
In fact he has been hitting the news more often than most government leaders.
An adept public speaker, he is also ahead of cabinet ministers in one respect: he operates a busy weblog to connect with Singaporeans, where he answers questions about their investment problems.
The significance lies firstly in the timing. His appearance takes place just as the recession and unpopular policies are souring the ground for the ruling party.
Secondly, the government is preparing for a snap general election to get a fresh mandate to tackle the recession. Elections are not due until 2011.
An election in 2009 could result in Minister Mentor Lee deciding to stand for another five-year term, which will let him stay on, health permitting, to age 93 – instead of 95 or 96.
Even if Tan were to stand and win entry into the presidency or Parliament, it is unlikely to change the political equation.
Only severe hardship and perhaps the PAP’s own mistakes in handling it can. Tan’s challenge will, however, add a little to the PAP’s vulnerability.
Not everyone is cheering him on. A minority accused him of exploiting investors’ troubles to serve his self interests.
Few analysts expect the PAP to lose an election anytime soon. Its record as a stable, capable government remains in many people’s minds despite the crop of unpopular policies it has pushed through.
The younger set of leaders is, however, undergoing a baptism of fire and not exactly coming out with flying colours.
“These scholars are not of the same calibre as the first generation of leaders like Lee, Goh Keng Swee and S. Rajaratnam” is a general comment on the ground.
To an extent, it is not a fair comparison.
For 40 years, Singapore has changed into a modern, rich country whose citizens have lived stable lives with little exposure to real trouble, let alone a national disaster.
This is not an environment that can normally produce brilliant leaders.
Throughout much of history, men like Abraham Lincoln, Mao Zedong, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill – or Lee Kuan Yew – were thrown up by the chaos or wars in their countries.
On the contrary, nations that lived in stable abundance, like the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Australia, will find it almost impossible to throw up leaders of vision.
So reverting back to my earlier question: Will Singapore’s predicament generate enough chaos to throw up a new set of brilliant leaders like those in the 60’s?
The answer is: Probably not. At any rate no one wants to create leaders in this manner anyway.
With its better skills and work culture, Singapore will likely resume its previous growth path in 10 years’ time – whether under the PAP or outside it.
(This article was published in The Star on Nov 29, 2008)


Anonymous said...

Pain, what pain to all big developers? Property valuation in Singapore developers still rally for their class c project as $2000 psf prices, maybe its true $$ can be growth on SG land, especially at a golden age era in singapore history.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans want more freedom but aren't willing to pay for it. They're not willing to help the opposition parties other than whinging and whining in forums and chatrooms all day! Some even condemn certain opposition party's actions against PAP as 'silly antics'!

No opposition party in Singapore will ever magically rise out of the ashes to be as capable and strong as the alternative parties in democratic countries. Without the constant support of Singaporeans, be it financially, intellectually (whinging in forums don't count) or physically, there will never be a Singapore equivalent of Democrats or Labour that can take over PAP. Its not enough to just attend their pre-election rallies!

So what exactly do Singaporeans? Surely they can't have their cake and eat it too?

LuckySingaporean said...

Singaporeans' sitting around and perpetually whining habit is the PAP's greatest asset.

However, when I recently visited Hong Lim, I found young people losing this apathy - no wonder PAP suddenly want to change and portray itself as progressive.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog recently..
But I will visit HL Park with my kid when I'm back this Xmas.
Bravo.. Lucky!

AlphavilleSG said...

Students are the most potent spark for change, exactly 40 years ago, the world was in a state of flux, war against communism, fighting for civil liberties, country trying to remove authoritarian regime...

Decades later, military dictatorship in South Korea was brought down by student protest.

Bright, young, idealistic, filled with energy, no worries for a job, what can be the worst enemy of an authoritarian state?

See how exempted the student bodies in Singapore are from participation in politics.

Website like The Online Citizen, staffed by student writers is the worst and one should avoid it at all cost.

Imagine a second smart alec like Tan Wah Piow trying to upturn the establishment.

Protest of 1968

AlphavilleSG said...

Almost forgot...

These are the website and forums you should never visit.

This one is run by kaypoh student volunteers
The Online Citizen

This one hates everyone, including opposition party like Workers Party
Wayang Party

This forum is filled with everything related to hating the govt.
3in1 Kopitiam

Anonymous said...

I think it is not easy to build a credible alternative in tiny Singapore, unlike bigger countries.

We need many Tan Kin Lians who can work together to offer a credible alternative. But then Singapore, being a tiny city state with no natural resources, there is a limit how things can be improved and sustained through alternative means.

Anonymous said...

what is wrong with the MRT being crowded even at 10pm?

Crowded = cannot travel in comfort?

Be thankful that the trains come frequently....

yamizi said...

"A former PAP stalwart and ex-CEO of a government-linked insurance company, Tan Kin Lian has been openly taking on the government and creating waves.

That's why I don't really trust TKL...but we don't have much choice do we?

Anonymous said...

>>That's why I don't really trust TKL...but we don't have much choice do we?

IF they're the same...i rather go for the cheaper "brand"...bread is bread according to our LEEder

LuckySingaporean said...


If you vote for a PAP man, you get a PAP man.

If you vote for TKL, the worst you can end up is a PAP man.

yamizi said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky

If you vote for TKL, the worst you can end up is a PAP man... who is not beholden to the LEEders.

Onlooker said...

A change is not a bad thing:-

"If you vote for a PAP man, you get a PAP man.

If you vote for TKL, the worst you can end up is a PAP man."

True :)
Anything is better then a photogenic prata.(PS I still like President Ong esp his action speak louder than his word)

The point is for (all of) the people's view and concern must really be discussed in the Parliament (not who in charge what and how profitable that is).And in order for that to happen We need 2+ party MPs not like the recent highlight of 2008 Olympics (table tennis) China Team A Vs China Team B and yes a bought silver hurrah yawn.Those money would have better use in providing care for the REAL Contributors of Singapore Success.Our Citizens(esp those who left and stayed here for good(ie our migrant grandparents)).

Anonymous said...

that prata man is photogenic?
He likes to pose for pictures with those so-called grassroot leaders, aka PAP dogs.

Why doesn't he take pictures with the many old people working as janitors, cleaners, sweepers, servers at Mcdonalds?
Why are they so many old people working in Singapore? while Prata is a puppet and taking home millions of dollars. Even foreigners ask that.

Anonymous said...

Dun worry!
MM Lee has spoken.
He said no quick recovery.

And if u had sold when Mr advisor to citibank was gushing about a golden era ...

ArtBoon said...

More pain coming, I think, just looking at global development.

Anonymous said...

I can believe Tan Kin Lian that elites can turn their backs on their masters.

My husband was a scholar who joined the administrative service. His first job at 23, straight after his NS was Dy Director at a Ministry. He ran a department of 5 staff, some with over 20 years experience.

He was very surprised and uncomfortable at first.

Over the years, as he rise through the ranks, he got more and more disillusioned. Perhaps, politics was not his cup of tea. He thought he could really serve the people from within the sytem. It turned out to be a myth for him.

He also thought of contributing to the alternative parties. He thought hard and finally decided against it. He knew Singaporeans would question his agenda.

I was against standing up to his former employers. Maybe I was a coward. Maybe I had no faith in Singaporeans because I see how they treat Chee Soon Juan.

We left Singapore in the end. No credible opposition? Singaporeans must ask themselves first.

ArtBoon said...

Yes, I notice you are also questioning Tan KinLian's agenda...

Previous guy wrote:-
He knew Singaporeans would question his agenda.