Bravado, Blame and Insecurity: Fearfully Alienating Singaporeans

The multiple scare tactics employed by the PAP since the date of the General Election was announced perhaps testify to the deep anxieties of the PAP regarding the Election results. Perhaps my impressions are invalid, but it certainly appears to me that the PAP has virtually given up on telling us how Singaporeans can benefit if it continues to stay in power. In fact, the thrust of the PAP’s campaign thus far seems to be ironically opposition-centered in its very attempt to scare Singaporeans into not voting for the opposition. By accusing the Workers’ Party of wanting to block PAP policies and replace the PAP, the latter is revealing its own fears and projecting them onto Singaporeans. Even though such claims are meant to discredit the WP, they might end up helping the WP gain a reputation as a party that actually can prevent the implementation of PAP policies (many of which are not well-liked because they are pay-and-pay policies with no tangible benefit) and even one that can become the dominant party. (“Block PAP policies? Not a bad idea at all!”)

Apparently giving up on the old tactic of demonizing the Singapore Democratic Party as a party that is being used by foreign powers that have nothing better to do but to undermine Singapore, Balakrishnan has decided to coyly refer to a video and eventually tell us that he thinks the SDP has a gay agenda, ultimately garnering sympathy (and perhaps sympathy votes) for Vincent Wijeysingha. Balakrishnan’s initial claim that the SDP was hiding a video has largely been repudiated, and his allegation that the party is pursuing a gay agenda may not even make sense to the small group of religious conservatives who are afraid of MPs pursuing such an agenda (and this is likely the same group that would vote for the PAP to begin with). What could an MP with a gay agenda do, whatever a gay agenda is supposed to be? Champion for 377A to be repealed? But even PAP MPs are not unanimous about 377A and there are some PAP MPs who are for the repeal of 377A. (Perhaps the PAP has a gay agenda.) Is he going to do nothing else but that and risk losing the support of the electorate in the long run?

Kuan Yew is a key player in the game of winning hearts by scaring people. His speeches and comments get to the heart of the philosophy of the PAP fear vote. His points are typically all-encompassing: freak election results for the PAP is doomsday for Singapore. If I may have the liberty to paraphrase. However, even PAP icon Kuan Yew himself appears to have anxieties about how far the PAP can retain its power. No doubt, many have already seen through the rhetoric he was employing when he urged Singaporeans not to rock the foundations of Singapore. It is nothing new coming from Kuan Yew who has previously bestowed us with vivid catastrophic visions of daft Singaporean women who do not have their spurs stuck on their hide becoming maids in other countries thanks to bad governance (i.e. non-PAP governance). But in an almost tragic fashion, Kuan Yew is also indirectly telling us that the 2011 General Election can be one that leads to changes that the PAP dread; this coming election can be one that rocks the foundations—of the PAP hegemony that has taken years of ISD operations, defamation suits, GRC politics and so on to establish. His anxieties are perhaps seen also in his interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he was quick—too quick—to tell us that the PAP would remain the strongest party after the Elections. (Do he mean that he thinks there might, for once, be other strong parties?) He seems so eager to convey his point that he does not even bother to answer an interview question. (I’m assuming that the ST report has not misrepresented the interview through its editing.)

Wall Street Journal (WSJ): What do you think will be the key issues?

MM Lee: I think we will remain the strongest party. There may be a few seats for the opposition either as constituency or non-constituency members because we have introduced new rules so that up to nine of the best losers from the opposition will be in Parliament, so the opposition’s voice is heard.

At the moment, there are two Members of Parliament from the opposition and only one non-constituency member, but the law has been changed to increase the number of opposition members to at least nine in the next Parliament. [Molly: Key issues???]

WSJ: What do you think the main issues will be for voters in Singapore?
MM Lee: Cost of living, cost of housing for young couples. [. . .]

Or was he in his clearest state of mind when he was being interviewed? Did he know how much sense (or nonsense) he was making during the interview? At first, his answers seem to bear his trademark—he asserts that the PAP government has served the people well and blames the people for being impatient and idealistic. Upon closer examination, however, we might find his rhetoric getting more brittle than ever.

MM Lee: Cost of living, cost of housing for young couples. We are building many new HDB homes but they cost more because they are better designed and more elegant.

But Singaporeans do not like waiting. They blame the immigrants for pushing up prices of the homes. The immigrants who are not citizens cannot buy new flats directly from the government, but they can buy off the open market from owners who want to sell their HDB flats.

So there is some discomfort on this issue. We have got new permanent residents who have entered the market. But our birthrate or fertility rate is 1.16.

We need 2.1 to replace the existing population. 1.16 means we are halving our population. If we do not accept migrants, we will be an ageing and a declining population. It is a trade-off.

But our people feel discomforted seeing about one million foreign workers in our total population of 5.1 million. But most of these are people on two-year work permits, that can be extended but they have to go home eventually. They do the construction and the heavy work.

If we do not have them seen in the trains and on the buses, how are they going to get to their work? If they are not here, who will do this work? They are mostly from China, India and the region.

Our citizens want the best of all worlds. But in real life, we have to make trade-offs.

Kuan Yew’s ideas are certainly cohesive for there are links between his ideas structurally. But I wonder if he is speaking coherently. First he claims that new HDB flats are more expensive because they are better designed and more elegant. (Really, they are that much better designed and that much more elegant?) Then he suddenly tells us that Singaporeans do not like waiting. (Huh? Would we get afforadable flats if we would just wait?) The suggestion seems to be that Singaporeans do not like waiting for new HDB flats and thus are buying resale flats and competing with immigrants; and since there are so many people wanting to buy resale flats, naturally the price goes up. But even if Singaporeans were to wait for new flats, did Kuan Yew not just say that new flats are more expensive thanks to their wonderful architecture? And given that the price of new flats are “discounted” from the market price of resale flats, how would waiting help if the market price keeps going up?

Then Kuan Yew tries to justify the import of immigrants by explaining it as a means to make up for Singaporeans’ low birth rate. Which would have been fine if he had just stopped there. But he continued to tell us that the foreigners Singaporeans are seeing are just in Singapore on work permits and return home eventually. One is then tempted to ask how foreign workers who stay in Singapore for a short while compensate for Singapore’s low birth rate. And if they are meant as substitute Singaporeans, what does the fact (if it’s one) that they are mostly blue collar workers say about Singapore’s economy?

Kuan Yew seems to be trying to pull a fast one on us. Unfortunately for him, he seems also to lack the dexterity of his earlier years in this regard. That the PAP still seems to be depending on him to play a pivotal role in galvanizing supporters does not bode well for the PAP. And if the PAP continues to be the dominant party, it does not bode well for Singaporeans either.

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Man Arrested for Dunnowhat

Molly has always wanted to be a journalist. It’s a glamorous job that allows one to report news objectively and insidiously brainwash people. Today, Molly attempts to write a news report, adapting it from a Straits Times report. Admittedly, Molly isn’t as good as the pros. But here it is, complete with the comments of an editor who loves to hide behind the cloak of anonymity (unlike Molly who so shamelessly proudly provides her full name and impressive vital statistics to the whole world).

*****

Man Arrested for Dunnowhat [Editor: Molly! What sort of dumbass title is this?!] [Molly: One that captures the essence of the news!]

A 32-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly saying that he intends to burn his voting slip and ballot box on Polling Day.

He was arrested for Communicating an Electronic Record Containing Incitements to Violence, under Section 267C of the Penal Code, Chapter 224 as the statement was made online. It is not clear how a statement of personal intention is deemed to amount to an incitement to violence but, if convicted, he can be jailed up to five years or fined, or both.

Police said in a statement on Tuesday that on Monday, officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division arrested the Singaporean Chinese in his Ang Mo Kio home, acting on information they had received. It is not known who provided the information. [Editor: Not known? Ask the police! If they don’t divulge the source, then report it as such.]

Investigations [Editor: by who?] showed that he was also believed to have posted a comment which the police said ‘was suggestive of causing hurt to Members of Parliament’. It is not clear if the police sees a distinction between a comment that is ‘suggestive of causing hurt’ and one that incites others to cause hurt. It is not known if it was this comment or the statement of the intention to burn the voting slip and ballot box that led to the man’s arrest. [Editor: Then why did you start the report by saying that a man has been arrested for intending to burn his voting slip and ballot box? Buck up, Molly!] [Molly: Hey, it’s not my fault! The pros do it the same way.]

[Editor: OK, after reading the whole article, I take back what I said about your title.]

*****

Here’s the original report from the Straits Times, complete with Molly’s partisan comments. You can compare Molly’s standard with the ST’s.

Man arrested for saying he wants to burn his voting slip

[That would be a terrible waste of a voting slip. I would rather use it to make a wise vote.]

A 32-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested for saying on the Internet [Shit! Will all the bitchy stuff I have said about the PAP get me into trouble? The Internet is very dangerous.] that he intends to burn his voting slip and ballot box on Polling Day.

Police said in a statement on Tuesday that on Monday, officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division arrested the Singaporean Chinese in his Ang Mo Kio home, acting on information they had received. [I’m so glad they are acting on information they have received even though there’s no indication of who gave the information. At least they weren’t acting on some political party’s orders.]

Investigations showed that he was also believed to have posted a comment which the police said ‘was suggestive of causing hurt to Members of Parliament;. [Do I see a punctuation mistake or are my eyes playing tricks on me? Oh, anyway, this comment is reported as something secondary, but can you clarify if he was actually arrested because of this comment?]

The man was arrested for Communicating an Electronic Record Containing Incitements to Violence, under Section 267C of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. Anyone convicted can be jailed up to five years or fined, or both. [I see. I’m praying very hard that telling people not to vote for the PAP isn’t considered inciting violence.]

Police said they took threats of violence to the conduct of the electoral process and threats of violence against people seriously. [This last sentence seems so characteristic of local news. Whenever something like sedition or incitement to violence happens, the news will report the police as taking it seriously. But come to think of it, is there anything that contravenes the law which the police does not take seriously? Isn’t such a line redundant unless you want to send the Phua Chu Kangian message, “Don’t play play,” in a more sombre tone. But I understand the need to report it if the police did indeed say it. Though the question would then be for the police: is there any illegal act that you don’t take seriously or take less seriously? Otherwise, why do you even need to say that you take it seriously?]

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Beware of the Straight Agenda

A letter from an old reader, Mr. Lee See Nao:

Dear Molly,

As a die-hard supporter of the PAP, I have been closely following the issues they have raised before the elections. Now I am very scared of voting for the wrong candidates. I realize the disastrous consequences that could take place if I vote unwisely for a politician who gets into the Parliament with a gay agenda. The consequences are severe. Instead of thinking of how GST can be improved to help the poor or how traffic jams can be alleviated with ERP, a gay MP will just push for 377A to be abolished. This would result in a society in which men just start sodomizing each other. Then our birth rate would decline even further and that would be the end of human morals and human civilization.

In fact, what I’m really worried about is MPs with sexual orientations, whether they are straight or gay. Ideally, all MPs should be certified to be sexless (or rather sexual orientationless) because straight MPs may have a straight agenda—they may decide to champion for polygamy rights. Already, even though gay sex is rightly criminalized, we see that certain deviant, immoral sexual behaviors are legal in Singapore. Prostitution is legal and could it be because there are straight MPs in the Parliament. Of course, I do not suppose the incorruptible PAP MPs are responsible for it, so it must be Chiam See Tong and Low Thia Khiang who have fought for prostitution to be legal.

In Singapore, we should not vote for people who have an agenda. MPs must not have any agenda so that they can better serve the system. It is unfortunate that we have so many opposition politicians with so many different agendas, from devaluing our HDB flats (I assume no opposition politician owns a HDB flat) to degrading our moral values and ending human civilization altogether.

Lee See Nao (Mr.)

Molly: Eh, MPs with no agenda? Then what do they do? How about the agenda of perpetuating PAP hegemony so that they can always have fat pay checks?

And won’t sexless MPs have Sexless Agendas?

Idiotic Letters to the ST Forum a Worry

Opposition’s scholar candidates a worry

AS AN older citizen, I am uncomfortable about the presence of former government scholarship holders in the opposition. [Is it even relevant here whether you are young or old?]

To me, it seems as if they are abandoning their parents who paid for their excellent education. [WTH?]

Yes, one could argue that these candidates were in fact supported by taxpayers and will now serve all Singaporeans, and not only the People’s Action Party.

But, are they really sincere about helping Singapore achieve a better society by joining the opposition? [Are PAP candidates, whether they are scholars or not, sincere about helping Singaporeans? Are you assuming that if someone joins the PAP, s/he is sincere? What benefits could anyone possibly have by joining the opposition if they were insincere?]

Can they effectively check the Government or will they create more fighting or quarrelling like the parliamentary sessions in Taiwan? [That would not just depend on them, but also on those they are keeping in check.]

Aren’t there enough ways of giving feedback to the Government? [What has giving feedback to the government got to do with having opposition MPs?]

I can contact my Members of Parliament any time; I don’t even have to make an appointment and can e-mail them when I need help. [You do know that even with the some other party in power, you can still give feedback and contact your MPs, don’t you?]

It takes time to know these scholar opposition candidates and I wonder if I should risk the four to five years it will take to know such a candidate’s ability, and compromise national progress. [You can use the same silly reasoning on the PAP’s new candidates too. What makes you think that there is no risk in voting in the same, experienced PAP candidates?]

A better answer for me is not to vote them in for this General Election and see if they continue contributing. [Why would this be a better answer? How do you want them to “contribute” if you do not vote them into the Parliament? And how about die-hard opposition members who have been “contributing” all these years? ]

I would even apply my answer to the Workers’ Party’s star candidate, Mr Chen Show Mao. [??]

I would like to see if he really relocates his family to Singapore, as he has told the press he would, if he fails to win the election. [Well, why should he? You want to deprive him of a chance to contribute and then expect him to come to Singapore and try to “contribute” anyway. How about applying the same test of sincerity on the PAP? Or are opposition politicians expected to be altruistic and self-sacrificing simply because they are opposition politicians?]

A candidate like Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim is too academic [WTF?!] for an average voter like me. She makes good speeches but rarely champions a voter’s bread-and-butter needs. [What? Tell me, how many PAP MPs champion your bread-and-butter needs? Tell me, are bread-and-butter needs the only needs Singaporeans have?]

A good MP to me must not only act as a check on the Government, but also serve the ground and offer effective solutions to the Government. [Eh, ok . . . In your eyes, which potential opposition MP won’t do so?]

I would prefer a few good opposition MPs than many who are merely interested in the glamour of being in the opposition in Parliament. [Since when has it been glamorous being an opposition MP in the Parliament? Well, perhaps you find it glamorous to be ganged up against with fallacious reasoning?]

Ho Lei Gi (Madam)
[Molly Meek (Ms)]

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