During the good times, people are willing to overlook the various things the govts do, mistakes and violation of human rights are forgiven. In times of economic trouble, everything swings the other way. A man fearing for his family and his job begins to ask questions that he does not normally ask....he begins to ponder about things he usually does not think about. When times were good, a British worker does think too much about the Italian foreign talent but today he feels insecure about his job and the Italian guy appears to be taking it away. Outlandish CEO salaries and bonuses were tolerated in the past have become incendiary in recent months as people come to realise that these CEOs are not so capable to be paid 500 times that of an ordinary worker - something is wrong with the system.
While great positive change can come in times like this because people reexamine policies and govts are more prepared to change, the uncertain and unstable economic climate can lead to social instability. In Singapore there is a growing angry and even resentment as the economy deteriorates. I was in particular shocked by the lack for sympathy for Seng Han Thong, I had to sit and listened more than once as people speculated about what his has done wrong to spite his constituents as if he deserved what he got. A number of blogs fuelled the anger further with negative stories about the man when he laid in hospital. There is already plenty of anger going around, there is no need to stir up more.
“Whatever it is, one way or another, we will make sure that anyone who needs help, gets help,” - PM Lee [United, we stand out].
I applaud PM Lee's pledge yesterday to give out help to anyone who needs help. Whatever the PAP govt has done in the past, raise fees, raise their own salaries, Mas Selamat, the pro-business budget etc, the fulfilment of this powerful pledge will go a long way to win back the support of the people. The PAP has often told us that we do not have to think about issues such as justice, equality, human rights and democracy because at the end of the day the PAP will do what is right for the people. This crisis is their chance to demonstrate this and that the PAP system ultimately deliver what is good for the people.
I hope this crisis gets people thinking and that people become more enlightened. Recently, MP Inderjit Singh spoke in his personal capacity supporting a minimum wage and rejecting the relentless pursuit of GDP growth[Link]. The first time I heard about minimum wage by a Singapore politician was 2 elections ago - but they were more interested in suing him for defamation at that time so his call for a minimum wage was lost in the confusion. I hope this crisis will Singaporean open the eyes of Singaporeans to alternative ideas and that change will come to Singapore peacefully.