I have reason to believe that PAP politicians are given a handbook with a title like The PAPalian Hermeneutics of Criticism. This seems to me to be the only reason they quite consistently interpret what the public says in a style for which they should be awarded a patent. My guess would be that the book has a maxim: When people ask for an inch, it means that they are trying to extort a yard from you. This should not come across as too much of a surprise since the linguistic ineptitude of most citizens below the ruling class is appalling, most not having been even a mile near an Ivy League.
Following the maxim, when the public complains (like all the uncouth members of the lower classes do) that hikes in transport fares are unreasonable, it means that they are asking for free public transport. If those dirty beggars look at you pleadingly for what they euphemistically call financial aid or basic welfare, they must be demanding to live a life of luxury off government coffers. If they so cunningly appeal for so-called democracy, they are actually threatening to topple the best government to ever have existed in the history of civilization.
We therefore have to commend Kuan Yew’s son (the Prime Minister, that is) for flawlessly applying the teachings of the handbook. His mentor ought to be proud of him. On the floods that have taken place recently, he comments, “I don’t think it’s possible in Singapore to expect the place to be completely free of floods.” His intelligence is unrivalled. He has completely exposed deviousness of those who have hypocritically expressed concern about the freak floods. They are simply expecting a flood-free universe (because, I believe, they subscribe to a theory that each time a freak flood takes place, they age fifty years).
No one should blame Kuan Yew’s son for his subtle insinuations for public expectations have to be managed before they go out of hand. The way in which he interprets complex phenomena such as the noise made about floods is tried and tested and reliable. We know, for instance, that when PAP politicians ask for our votes, they are expecting an opposition-free parliament. Being the conscientious learner and dutiful minion-without-opinions that I am, I know how to respond the next time a PAP politician comes knocking on my door for votes.
And the reader must pardon me for my adulation of Kuan Yew’s son. There exists a group of people in Singapore (whom some jealously and so erroneously accuse of being The Elite) who are so privileged when it comes to wisdom that every little morsel of sagacity that they let loose would benefit us greatly—if we had the right degree of humility to learn from them. Take for example SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hua who has gained overnight fame through just one sentence: “People can board the train – it’s a matter of whether they choose to.” Look at how ingeniously she, like Kuan Yew’s son, dissects the rhetoric of unreasonable critics.
Ms Saw uses statistics to persuade us and this is what we should do instead of maligning everyone just because we are dissatisfied with certain things in life. She tells us that even at its most crowded, an SMRT train carries only about 1400 people. On the other hand, she patiently explains, it is considered crush load only when the train carries more than 2000 people.
Yes, it is believed that at their most crowded, SMRT trains can fit about 600 more people before it is considered truly crowded. If it helps, allow me to emphasize that 600 people is quite a lot of people and therefore SMRT trains have never ever been crowded. Imagine a fully occupied upper deck of an SBS double-decker. 600 people is about 12 times that many people. Currently, even when it is experiencing the highest passenger volume, an SMRT train can actually fit in 12 more upper-decks of people. How could this possibly be considered crowded?
Despite the bravado I have shown above, I must confess that I have absolutely no idea how to fit these 12 upper-decks of hooligans into the most crowded SMRT train I have traveled in (not without making another joke about saws anyway), but that must be because I still have a lot to learn from those who earn more in one year than what I may take a dozen freak-flood years to earn. (One freak-flood year is 0.5 century, if you need me to jog your memory.) No doubt, out of sheer jealousy, I may retort that our transport companies can provide better service—it’s only whether they choose to. After all, I can easily assert this with much more certainty than claiming (for instance) that the government is capable of better leadership and it’s only whether it chooses to. But surely this would be to miss the point. If we have learnt our lessons well, we really should not expect transport companies to offer us free chauffeurs and limousines. Neither can we demand the government to bow down to the whims of badass citizens.