PAP’s Engagement Yields Results [Or: Who is afraid of being radical?]

After the 2011 General Election, the PAP realized that it is important for them to focus on hoodwinking more supporters over to their side. (This is not to be taken seriously. Actually, PAP politicians already recognized the importance way before that. The election performance is just a way to help them show that they truly want to win more people over.) The PAP’s strategy is intelligent—one even wonders if they have consulted professionals on the matter before proceeding with their efforts—and one cannot helped but be impressed by their measurable success. The strategy employed  is perhaps fairly simple—target a few citizens, including prominent ones and lesser-known ones, that are moderately against the PAP, give them a different impression, and let them spread the news that the PAP really is not what its detractors have made it out to be. In fact, these do not even need to say anything—a mere talk with the PAP that leaves them with nothing to criticize will be effective enough for others who can still be convinced to support the PAP. A blogger like mrbrown would thus be an ideal target because mrbrown is popular, he is critical, but he is never radical—the very traits that have helped to give voice to dissatisfaction with the PAP can be exploited to the PAP’s advantage. He does not even have to be co-opted by the PAP or say anything positive about it—merely leading the pledge on National Day with a minister is more than enough to give the shaky masses an added inclination to have a renewed faith in the PAP without any real change in the PAP at all other than the way it communicates. In fact, even when those who are supposed to be engaged can even criticize the PAP’s endeavors, the propaganda will automatically spring to life because it will seem to show that the PAP is willing to engage its critics. The factors that matter here are visibility and naivety, a trait for which Singaporeans are notorious. (I offer my deepest apologies to mrbrown and my fellow Singaporeans. Please do not be offended. Molly will be pleased to engage you if necessary.)

A change in the perception of those who are looking intently at the PAP is certainly easier to effect than a change in the character or policy paradigm of the PAP itself, and the PAP itself seems to have realized this. On the other hand, with such a strategy, the PAP has made true engagement—should they ever want to do it—more difficult than ever. For once, talking to the PAP signals heretofore non-existent ideological perils. The more successful the PAP is, the more it is distancing itself from those it truly needs to engage. Then again, it is a numbers game—the PAP does not need to care about whom it ought to engage; it simply needs to convert enough to halt and reverse its growing unpopularity. Until most Singaporeans realize this, which is unlikely, given the national character, the PAP will continue to be successful. Of course, the trick is not anything new. A similar strategy was probably adopted around the time the Prime Minister took up his current position, picking up together with his position a new fashion sense and a greater tendency to smile, both of which help to give a sense of renewal until people became sorely disappointed with the discrepancy between appearance and reality. (Left with no other plausible alternatives, Molly would actually very much prefer the stern ‘I may just slap you’ look of the past. But Molly represents the exception rather than the rule.) The same trick can be tried again with fresh sensitivities to its pitfalls that will enhance its chances of success, but it remains a trick, an optical illusion. There is no real wizardry.

The mission to change public perception is, quite naturally, far from completion. Every time anyone who is not obsessively pro-PAP wants to write something giving the PAP credit, a disclaimer lengthier than the actual piece of work is obligatory. (Molly is the exception here again because no one believes that she would ever give the PAP credit even when she does so.) Nevertheless, this also helps to further limit the number of ideological positions available for us all. It serves to redefine what constitutes the political moderate. Arguably, this is the only group that the PAP needs to target since targeting PAP fundamentalists (such as those represented by Fabrications about the PAP) is unnecessary whereas targeting devout non-believers is futile. If the political moderate tends to criticize the PAP most of the time, the PAP has a problem. One solution is to redefine moderation via engagement. It will no longer be possible, eventually, to be a moderate and be consistently critical of the PAP. Prima facie, this would seem to be an ineffective solution if we assume that political stands do not change even when positions are redefined—if one supports the PAP, one supports the PAP regardless of whether it is labeled mainstream, alternative, fundamentalist or stupid. Nevertheless, the situation is perhaps more complex. When the political moderate is redefined, there are likely to be a number of people who will be interpellated into the position of radicalism, which, oddly enough, seems to have a bad name in Singapore. (As I might have said before, moderation is often the worst form of extremism.) If it is the case that most people are averse to being radicals or labeled as such, they either accept the new label or they change. Of course, the way this happens will be natural, invisible, and often unintentional—just like evolution in nature except that the forces governing the change is anything but natural. More than ever before, the moderate must be supportively critical. If this is an oxymoron, it is one that Singapore has brought into its political reality. Whereas the PAP used to demand constructive criticism in the past, it now does so more subtly by providing its fundamentalist supporters and other naïve citizens with the lexical ammunition to launch tirades against those who do not conform to the same ideology. “One-eyed dragon” is such a term. The same job of mudslinging that the PAP and the state-controlled media used to perform so successfully is now outsourced to its multiple agents.

The redefinition may already be taking place. I have never been a follower of Visa’s blog though I recall seeing it before. He seems to be one in a growing line of netizens with whom the government is willing to practice their engagement attempts, and he has recently met the Prime Minister in person at the Istana. In his blog post about the meeting, he has the customary disclaimer—perhaps several of them—that he is not a PAP supporter, he is critical of them, he thinks it is necessary to have opposition, etc. This gentleman doth protest a little too much for comfort, methinks. Does anyone really care if a blogger is an old lapdog, a new convert or simply a freshly redefined moderate giving off the aroma of engagement from the PAP bakery? In their excessiveness, the disclaimers are effectively, if unintentionally, passive-aggressive accusations against harsh PAP critics:

Before anything else, I want to start by clearly stating that I am not a PAP “lapdog” or “bootlicker”. I am not pro-PAP. I am not pro-Opposition either. I don’t believe in picking sides. I’m against PAP super-dominance, but I would be against Opposition super-dominance too. (Of course, then they wouldn’t be called Opposition any more.) If you have to pin me down on something, consider me pro-Singapore, regardless of political affiliation.

While no one should ever fault Visa for having his own opinions, he makes it seem as though he would be attacked by merely making one positive comment about the PAP. It is people like Visa whom the PAP would love very much to redefine and use as agents to redefine moderation. To be sure, he is not pro-PAP, but he certainly does not mind having the PAP in power for a long time to come. If the PAP were a religion, it is not the believers but the naïve ones amongst the agnostics who are the truly potent lot in perpetuating PAP hegemony while being sincerely against it.

It is the naïve agnostics who actually have implicit faith in the establishment and crave for recognition from it. We see this from Visa’s reaction to being invited to the Istana:

Receiving the email from the Prime Minister’s Office- with “@pmo.gov.sg” in the address- set my heart in a flutter. It felt like validation from the world, telling me that I’m on the right track, and that it makes sense to do what I’m doing with this blog and everything else.

It is as if the right track that can be taken by a political commenter or PAP critic must be the PAP-sanctioned one. (Despite having blogged for so many years, no one has ever invited Molly to meet the Prime Minister. She is probably on the wrong track, thank God!) After expressing his exhilaration about being selected, however, Visa seems to contradict himself with words in bold later in his post:

I’m thoroughly, completely convinced that we were not “carefully handpicked” for “wayang” purposes.

What was there to be exhilarated about then? It is no validation at all if there was no selection criteria. After all, it could simply mean that one is randomly picked from a mass of hopeful applicants. With prominent bloggers like mrbrown and Andrew Loh being amongst the 19 people selected (a fact mentioned by Visa himself), the selection process if clearly not random. It has got to be strategic. Nevertheless, Visa is already helping spread the anti-one-eyed-dragon ideology by humbly implicating himself in what he is criticizing:

[. . .] it’s absolutely sickening and disgusting how how [sic] vile online comments can be. I mean, I’m probably guilty of it too, which makes it even worse- we are so quick to label and demonize others that we don’t even know. I’m absolutely certain that this isn’t the Singapore (or world, or internet) that I want to be a part of, and I’m sure that if you take the time to think about it, you’ll feel the same way.

Comments are just comments, actually. There is only so much a vile comment can do to its victim before the commenter’s own reputation is tarnished beyond repair. As a useful digression, what is truly vile to me is the way some PAP supporters can support the PAP cause at the expense of those who suffer the most in Singapore. There is certainly nothing vile about the comments made by Fabrications about the PAP when it posted the news article about a family of eight that manages to survive on a $1500 salary and even manages to go on a holiday once in a while. In fact, respect is expressed for this family. It could have been totally motivational if not for the fact that the purpose behind the post is to suggest that those with difficulty are whining unjustifiably when it is totally possible to survive and be happy and make lots of babies even with just $1500. According to the budget reported, the family spends less than $2 per head per day on food. A vile comment pales in comparison to a vile heart, especially one that is dressed with beautiful comments. By helping to harp on superficial attributes, Visa is unwittingly drawing attention away from that which truly needs to be examined. He does seem to realize this and superficial attributes are enough to convince him about the core:

PM does know what’s happening on the ground. He’s very observant and perceptive for one, and he listens carefully to people, and he has a fantastic team that surely updates him. He has a natural curiosity about him that I think is in the best interests of the country- and I’d say the same for BG Tan.

Visa must have been a little out of his mind (sorry for this vile comment, Visa) if he had, prior to the meeting truly thought that the Prime Minister did not know what was happening on the ground. Of course he knows what is happening even if he is disconnected from it. Politicians, particularly those in police states, always know what is happening. Whether they care or empathize is a different matter.

Like students who score top scores in examinations by regurgitating answers they have memorized without even understanding the content or having any passion for it, politicians can always provide the textbook answers and conduct themselves in the textbook way. In the new age of PAP engagement, PAP politicians are even better than ever at providing the textbook answers. Netizens have provided them with all the textbook answers by ranting at them for years. Whether there is any commitment to address the concerns of citizens is another matter. The pressing matter for the PAP, it seems, is to reverse the loss of support. Unfortunately, the PAP is not made up of people who are adept at changing themselves. If the content of their textbooks is modified, they change their answers and their tact accordingly. But they are unable to change their studying style, to use the same analogy. These are the very people who have propagated the KPI mode of thinking where the existence of the signs is proof of the reality. (Molly has pointed out examples in her series, The Annotated National Day Rally Parts I, II, III, IV, V)

What the PAP is doing is motivated by narcissism. iIt will orchestrate a “national conversation” to demonstrate that it is listening. PAP MPs and ministers may meet bloggers (as Shanmugam has done with Gintai and Teo Chee Hean has done with Reuben Wang), and they may communicate with bloggers through facebook. The crux of the problem here is not that the PAP’s engagement is what we might call wayang. If it is just wayang, the implication is that the politicians are putting up a show simply because they have to. They may in fact be doing so because they want to. But even they may fail to realize that what they want and what they are doing is not engagement but a demonstration of their willingness and ability to engage. There is otherwise no need for all these demonstrations given that, as Visa says, they essentially already know what is going on in the “ground” and could simply act upon their knowledge.

If we ignore the distinction between the intention to demonstrate to engagement and the act of engagement itself, the PAP may even seem willing to embark on engagement sans frontières, allowing everyone to say whatever they want, even anonymously. It reserves the right, of course, to choose what to respond to. It uses the same engagement attempts to propagate the ideology against anonymity and privilege those who trust it enough to divulge enough details to get themselves fixed. In the PAP’s attempts to engage the Other, the Other is always already circumscribed—by the format, by the delineations of topics, by the platform. We may be allowed to ask questions, as though we needed to ask questions and get answers from those who know better. We may be allowed to comment at other times, but the topic is likely set beforehand—even when off-topic comments are not censored or deleted, they are already displaced and disqualified. The very focus on online engagement reflects a certain phobia—the fear of the unruly Internet that could cost the PAP more votes in the long run. (If you are a homeless, illiterate old man, wait till there are enough of you to threaten the PAP’s vote count.) It is also this fear that defines engagement while also destroying it. It is a transaction, not an unconditional free embrace. People are offered the space to air their views insofar as they contribute to the PAP’s image building, even with the harshest of all comments?

How could the PAP engage in spite of its history of authoritarianism? How could the PAP engage with the ISA still current? How could the PAP engage if it essentially rejects democracy? How could the PAP engage if “engagement” has been de-notionized and is purely rhetorical?

Engagement it is called, engagement it is not, engagement is nought.

If there is what Catherine Lim called the “great affective divide” between the citizens and the PAP government, has been aggravated by the PAP’s own engagement efforts, it is now masked with pretty paper bridges under which crocodiles could lurk. If there is hope for Singapore politics, it is when engagement between the government and the citizens is unnecessary. By then, bridges would have been burnt—for a good reason.

[No, please don’t invite Molly to the Istana for tea—well, not unless you want her to be the next president. Admittedly, the pay is very attractive even after a cut. Don't invite her to kopi either.]

100 Responses

  1. Member the cliche ‘the door is always open’?So who will be acting on it, ape asks.

  2. Very deep analysis :)

    • Really? Just a whole lot of wasted braincells to prove her own cynicism, I think.

      Just ditch the cynicism and really put forward constructive suggestions about policies, Molly. Then I may consider reading your blog again.

      Cheers. :)

      • It’s impossible for me to ditch something I don’t have, and even if I could, it would be impractical to do so just to retain a reader I don’t mind not having.

  3. [...] Diary of a Singaporean Mind: Reasons for anonymity on the Internet ….. – Molitics: PAP’s Engagement Yields Results [Or: Who is afraid of being radical?] – Jentrified Citizen: Framing Issues and Not Telling the Whole Truth – a popular tactic [...]

  4. i’d love to know if you’ve read any of visa’s previous blog posts!

    • I’m fairly sure I have. Not many, that’s for sure. I know he is not a supporter of the PAP in the style of the Fabrications people, and he has mentioned criticizing the PAP.

      I hope my lack of memory regarding his previous posts hasn’t affected my understanding of the one to which I have referred. In any case, I don’t think anyone should hold his opinions against him. I just think it’s a position that may be more problematic than he realizes…

  5. Yah, I was wondering why PM Lee, Teo Chee Hean and Shanmugam did not invite the likes of Alex Au, Lucky Tan and Molly Meek to their tea parties. Now I know. Its because you all belong to the hard-core and therefore will be immuned to their charm offensive, unlike those like Mr Brown, Visa and Andrew. Yup, there can be no mistake that their invitation lists were carefully drawn up.

    By the way, there is a typo: “is not outsourced” should be “is now outsourced”.

  6. Wonderful exposé, Molly. Indeed, no molly-coddling is needed. No Coffee, No Tea, Not Me.

    Where ignorance is bliss, naivete is harmony – at least to some.

    • “naivete is harmony” – that’s just about sum up the PAP government’s strategy, namely, throw a wolf skin over the oppositions and keep Singaporeans politically daft – how else to keep them following like sheep?

  7. The only thing that really matters to me at the end of the day is that Singaporeans stop being assholes to one another. Your criticism is fundamentally civil (and valid), so that’s fine with me.

    What is your personal vision for Singapore’s national development? How do you see us moving forward as a community from where we are today?

    Cheers and love, and I’d pick you over Yahoo Comments any day. <3

    • Thanks, Visa. It was actually with reluctance that I mentioned you directly. On the one hand, I don’t think you should be harassed for expressing how you feel (and I certainly won’t want to be guilty of sending people to your blog to harass you), especially when it’s clear that you are not about to launch a vile propaganda campaign for the PAP. On the other hand, your post was a good example which helped to solidify what I have been wanting to say for some time.

      I’m afraid I’m not hopeful enough to have a vision for Singapore’s national development. I have reservations about the idea of moving forward as a community, not just because it is one that is offered to us by the PAP’s communalist rhetoric, but also because it will necessarily involve a certain violence. There are bound to be people excluded from the community that is moving forward, and people who are carried forward with the community but have other ideas in mind. These groups will be conveniently rendered invisible each time the community moves forward, if it does.

      Some of the commenters at yahoo… sigh. There is bound to be a range of comments including unreasonable ones. Well, free speech.

  8. Methinks a charm offensive is better than a violent offensive. If the opposition forces the PAP to give free food to more citizens, it has achieved something.

  9. Molly, you are the very definition of “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”

    • Perhaps. That’s life, and it applies for both governments and citizens, really.

      • Yes, PAP has move the right direction to do damage and control, we shall see PAP get better result in next election. Keep up the good work, PAP

        • The best effort PAP could be in next election is to maintain 60.1%.
          In my opinion, chances of getting below 60.1% is pretty high.
          And even getting below 58,1% is still possible.
          Even after all these charm offensive or whatever cosmetic changes.
          Still believe in Collective Wisdom of the voters.

          market2garden mlm 2012.09.04

    • Err… how so? Damed if you do? Was it even get done? ‘sgthinker’?

  10. Very good analysis,I went there and after a while,I just felt that I wasted my time,I hope he understands that part when you say that PAP loves this group of non-PAP but very righteous people,but that is the secret trip that PAP stays for 50 years.

    • What? Molly just taught the PAP how to remain in power?

      • Hahaha,even beri smart Molly must learn also,sometimes.

      • You know Molly, I almost fell off my chair when certain blogger says that we should put our flag up during national daybecause we love Singapore not PAP.

        Stupid or not, LKY and PAP will love these group of make-believe people even though we are aware that PAP has already run Singapore as if they own it , and PAP is Singapore, so anything that is good for Singapore is actually good for PAP, nevermind what we think. Profound ? What do you think ?

        • I will put up the flag to celebrate the birth of Singapore (after more than half a century of gestation) if the PAP loses the GE in 2016.

          • I will put Singapore flag up irregardless of whether pap still in power or opposition take over…. You are practically not rational, just your own opinion like TALK IS CHEAP!

            • No one is stopping you from putting your flag.

            • Surely those RC and glassroot people will happily agree with you ! They are more willing to put up the flag for you if you forget to … LOL …
              Save you the trouble and rationality as well

  11. Naviety is easy to cash in on. The blogger Visa, while probaly well-meaning, doesn’t seem to realise that most things are done by politicians with a clear tactical purpose and is well pre-planned in detail which include “wayang” for show to gain support and votes. Visa’s naviety and impressionable delight at meeting the PM shows as he literally gushes through his entire blog over the PM and MPs he met. Hope others remain rational with eyes wide open.And pls hor this is not meant to be nor is it a “vile” comment. Just an
    honest home truth :)

    • Same sentiment I feel about Gintai when he blogged about his visit to Minister sham. Am I surprised that intellect like Darkness stop commenting on his site ? Or maybe it just me and my imagination ?

      • Then again, he need not have blogged about it. The minister could have talked about it himself, and the effect would be similar.

      • I think we can be fair. Politicians in power with the resource and money will do what they always do which is try to manipulate and win voters over with charm offensive events like the PM tea party. The key here is many Singaporeans are not used to this sort of charm offensive having never been wooed by PAP in this manner. This is a novelty and it will work on those who are less exposed and and more naive. just hope the people realise that while one can be super nice in small settings be it a PM or CEO, they can be lousy leaders at work. Am not too bothered by the PR exercises so long as the govt does make substantial changes that are good for the citizens. Will be watching their KPI deliverables to the citizens of this country.

  12. I’d just read V’s article and was telling my wife about PAP’s “new” strategy and she just happened to be reading your article :-) .. as the Chinese would say, needle meets blood ..

  13. Naivety is bliss.
    The Fabrications team is totally milking it now.
    Free publicity for them, falling right into his pawn chess set.

  14. Actually there’s a way to be ‘smart’ about this lest you want to be “used” willingly to benefit their own self-interest.

    Take the approach like what SPH ST has done recently with the celebrity couple. Whatever is written on your blog, you own the rights. Give NO permission to anyone to reblog or redistribute it without your consent. In other words, other than those reported in the press, you still have full control of your blog.

    I emphathise how they must feel they have been “used” commercially by the party.

  15. Molly, you lost me on this piece, but never mind… just marry me can already!

  16. Very insightful and thorough analysis, always a joy to read your writing after all these years. :)

  17. Enjoyed reading this piece (and Visa’s piece, too). I’ve been writing online for some time as well; not as prolific as the both of you, but chugging along nonetheless. What I’ve been contemplating recently is why individuals bother to pen commentaries, and whether it is – correspondingly – necessary to go beyond this “rhetorical dimension”.

    I don’t know. For me, the writing and engagement online doesn’t feel quite sufficient, especially if I’m thinking about changing or doing something. I have had the opportunity to meet with some policymakers from the administration one-or-one, or in small groups (though not as elaborate), but are these discourses-exchanges necessarily negative?

    Jin Yao

    • It’s a complex situation. On the one hand, I can certainly see why some bloggers would not mind having a dialogue with the policymakers. This is merely something practical and, as you say, if we want change, they are the ones who can help bring about the change. On the other hand, to have a conversation to them is to offer recognition for and to reinforce their position as the ones who are in charge, the ones who can bring about change. It helps that show that they can change–even if they don’t. Essentially, they are only talking to us because they want to maintain the one-party hegemony very badly. As I have mentioned, even before talking to them, they probably already know what we are concerned about. They can try to make us see their point of view and why things are as they are. They can also even make a few changes here and there to show that these dialogues are effective. However, it is more likely than not that these dialogues are redundant–they already know what it is they have to do prior to the meeting, making the meeting a publicity exercise with which we are implicated. It also allows us to feel good that we may be helping to bring about change. This helps to maintain the one-party hegemony, ultimately, by giving the impression that the PAP is all that is needed. What is worse is that many Singaporeans have been conditioned to not even mind a continued PAP dominance, failing to see that it is the dominance that is screwing up their lives. This makes the power of the “engagement” exercises even stronger.

  18. Really like your article!

    Btw, it is helping to cook up a storm at Pritam Singh’s facebook. WP must have felt immensely insecure that PAP is going on a charm offensive, while WP is sitting on their pretty asses. Some more can quarrel with bloggers who had been overwhelmingly supporting WP!!!

    At this rate hor, I wouldn’t be surprised if PAP regains Aljunied in 2016. LOLOLOLLLL!

    • :( That’s a terrifying thought.

      • It’s even more terrifying that the Aljunied residents had voted in a Petulant Singh who sprouted nonsense and baseless accusations. He appeared to be the “rogue” MP from hell!!! Got paid so much and didn’t speak up for us LBGT on 377A. Might as well have voted for George Yeo!

  19. Definitely not so fast for real result, if any to see.

  20. [...] bloggers like Molly Meek, Lucky Tan, Asingaporeanson and yours truly Jentrified  have written on this issue of anonymity [...]

  21. The good thing that has happened after this meeting is that WP seems to be getting more active online… They know they will lose more ground if they continue to be meek and silent online when there are so many happenings on the ground.

  22. After the party, I have stopped visiting Mr Brown’s blog. He is now a balls carrier

    • Ya lor, he should rename his “mr brown” to read “mr brown-nose”. But what else can he do? During lim kopi cum eat roti, mr brown-nose probably got the cold air con blasted at him to remind him of the blue gate….

  23. [...] PAP’s minds were already closed, so their consultation committee would not be open-minded. Mollymeek felt that the PAP’s engagement is a sneaky and narcissistic way of “making people [...]

  24. [...] Do read Molly Meek’s response. It’s well-written and an important perspective that needs to be heard. Above all else, be [...]

  25. [...] PoloBoiBoi wrote: visaisahero … what chiu think of molly meek’s article? [...]

  26. Molly has started a war.

  27. PAP supporters claim that Its just some very outspoken people that are spreading rumours and gossip and tarnishing the good work PAP have put in,well,they may be right but I know for sure that the number is growing fast.

  28. One tea session with PM and the detractors become utterly upset. What do want PM to do? Sit back, relax and lose votes? I give him thumbs up for effort to try. They are listening, but the detractors continue to put on a red ribbon over their eyes refusing to acknowledge the government’s sincerity in changing their style. Whatever they do, these detractors simply criticise their well-intentioned efforts as a sly and cunning move to convert the moderates (supposedly politically vulnerable and un-radical). So now I have been labelled as someone who will flow with where the wind blows. That I have no mind of my own, but I will make up my mind after tea. How strategic of Molly et al to alienate the moderates from the Opposition even further…..

    • If anyone has labeled you, it’s not Molly.

      Neither have I said that the PAP can’t organize tea sessions. As much as politicians have the right to political, critics have the right to be critical.

      How has Molly alienated so-called moderates from the opposition? Molly isn’t even a member of the opposition and blogging in her own capacity is enough to alienate people from the opposition?

      What you are saying here exemplifies exactly what I have said in the article about the redefinition of moderation. So thank you.

      • Molly,I find the following point made in sammyboy best

        “How long more before such suspicious and oppressive instincts of PAP can be replaced by intelligent engagement? The promise of a consultative and inclusive leadership is empty, as long as vertiges of inordinate distrust and fears (fear of the people’s voice, fear of an erosion in absolute power, fear of the truth) remain.
        Such behaviour is both deplorable and pitiable at the same time…smh”

      • Molly, I have no time (and no wish) to perform a critical discourse analysis here (but perhaps I would one day if I decide to codify and analyze online grousings in post 2011 Singapore) but your post has implicitly labelled (condescendingly so) many online netizens into naive political beings. And your choice of those efforts in criticizing them as ‘paper bridges’…where ‘crocodile lurks’ – hello, I really don’t know what you mean. As if we are about to be eaten by the crocodiles and Molly saves the day.

        • Once again, I have not labeled anyone. I did say that there are naive people, but there are naive people everywhere. They do exist.

          No one asked you to perform a critical discourse analysis.

          If you don’t know what I meant and have no time, then you could have ignored the comment. You can tell me that you don’t know what I meant. You can even say that I wasn’t not being clear to you, but you can’t suggest that I portrayed myself as a superhero who would save the day (and I didn’t) when you, by your own admission, do not know what I mean. Since you are a reasonable person, you should know why.

  29. You are right about one thing, the political space for cynics and malcontents is narrowing, the corollary of which is that the political space for moderates is widening. Thumbs up for that, I say. The critique that you are “definition of damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” is spot on, which you yourself concede is a possibility, but brush is aside as a fact of life. In other words, you feel that disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing is reasonable. Whilst it makes good copy, I think it is unproductive as a method of political discourse.

    Reasonable people can be engaged reasonably, those with an axe to grind…….become irrelevant when there are fewer and fewer things to grind against…..which is the reason for this post of yours. You are deathly afraid of irrelevance.

    • What do you mean when you say that I feel that disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing is reasonable?

      I have never said that the political space for moderates is widening. Rather, the very definition of moderation is being perverted. You have either misunderstood my point or are simply here to disagree for the sake of disagreeing, which seems to be what you are against.

      I’m not brushing aside anything. I’m saying that the “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation applies for citizens too, even if some may say that it applies to governments. How is this brushing aside anything. This is an unreasonable accusation coming from someone who talks so much about reasonable people.

      If indeed I am afraid of irrelevance, I can easily change tact to stay relevant. The problem is I’m neither irrelevant nor afraid of being irrelevant. If this post is irrelevant, why not just let it fade into obscurity.

      Despite your apparent stand of moderation, you do not even seem to be here to reason.

    • The fact that you come here with highfalutin nonsense show that Molly is very much relevant otherwise why you bother to come here to make such nonsense of irrelevance ? Remind me of those mini-white-stars who make themselves relevant by been irrelevant through million salary.

  30. In life, it is all about choices that you make.
    If you are forever going to sit on the fence and deliberate, you die on the fence because time waits for no one.
    Moderates have no backbone because they dare not make a choice.
    Inaction itself is unforgivable.

    For me, I am an anti-PAP supporter.
    Although I do concede that they have done some good for the nation, they have outlived their usefulness now.
    All the bad that they are doing as of late is reversing all the good that they achieved in the past.
    I would say I am 70-80% against PAP and 20% pro-PAP.
    In all, I would still very much like them to leave or do a radical change in their current behaviour towards the demands of Singaporeans, which to be honest, are VERY reasonable demands.

    For once, PAP should listen to us then us always having the shorter end of the stick and be subjugated with PAP’s draconian policies.

    • We can’t really accuse the “moderates” of inaction, I think. Some definitely are taking action. There is something admirable about their stand, though I have problems that come along with the stand and what they are doing.

      • Molly,
        it look like the ruling party has sent out dogs to sniff out the cat …

        • Crystalskyes,
          agree with what you say.

          Running dogs are been unleashed onto blogosphere to create confusion at same time of those bloggers’ meeting with pinky.

          Don’t worry… I don’t bark ,

        • Why? The cat recognizes their efforts and says that their efforts have paid off. And the cat even explains how it can stay in power. This is something that its lapdogs don’t do.

  31. My two cents worth of thoughts

    1 cent advice to WP MP on Shutdown PC: Please do not ask netizen to shutdown PC and break the internet connection, especially when there is no real connection between government and Singaporeans. The more courageous netizen can do parallel task on some real hands-on stuff and see the reality of life.

    1 cent feedback to Yahoo! Singapore on SILENCE THE HATE: The Silence style is just 1 level down the Hate style. Try the kinder style of asking people to Think Over and Jump Over style? Sensible people will take the kind advice, and trouble makers will forever be sore losers.

  32. The whole event was suspicious to begin with. Why were there only PAP MPs present during that tea session? I am not impressed by their efforts to engage the people, thus far. If they were truly genuine, they would have invited bloggers like you and non PAP MPs would have been present too. This to me looks like PAP PR machine going to into overdrive. You can put a lot of frosting on the cake but if the cake can’t hold by itself, there is no point. Not all of us are fools to begin with.

  33. Marry me Molly, please.

  34. Molly, I’ve followed your blog for yours, right back when it was hosted on livejournal.

    I just want to say – You’ve spoilt me. I can’t read another regular Singaporean blog without benchmarking it to the quality of your discussions and the sublime manner in which you articulate them. I’ll get annoyed by how they’re really merely commentating on what’s happening, and not actually providing any form of useful insight.

    Molly, I love you, your writing, and your Singaporean spirit, but I’m a little paranoid that the writer behind that cute cat icon is a male Nevertheless if you reveal your true identity I will give you a big hug and a fat kiss, regardless of gender :)

    Your blog and a handful of others are what I rely on these days to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the local politics scene. Thank you for all that you’ve contributed over the years, and I’ll gladly send complimentary cat food if you would provide an address :)

  35. If the PAP wants true engagement, they should engage Alex Tan. He is very consistent with his message against the PAP. I ever talked to him in person and I myself find it hard to disagree with him.

  36. [...] are wary of the exercise, seeing it as nothing more than a public relations endeavour. Molly Meek believes that the whole national conversation is simply a ploy to change the ruling party's [...]

  37. 不入虎山,
    焉得虎子。
    Those that went to meet the Convenors maybe there to fish for substance to blog.
    Others may want to see and meet fellow bloggers who are not able to otherwise.
    Yet, there might be some who wanted to work out from inside.

    patriot

  38. […] the original blogpost here. And do let us know if we’ve got the points right. Because this is an important piece of […]

  39. The brutal truth is those so-called “moderate” bloggers like Andrew Loh, Mr Brown and Visa, who attended LSL’s Istana Tea session were there for their 15 minutes of fame. I think the only one who woke up from their euphoria is Andrew who f***ed the president in his blog but gave a craven apology shortly after. Molly Meek, please don’t ever be like these clowns … their credibility is history.

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