How the PAP Can Get it Right

Whilst Kuan Yew is telling Aljunied residents that they will repent (or that he will make the repent?) if they allow the opposition to win Aljunied, his son is busy sounding repentant. Indeed, it appears to be a conscious attempt to swing votes from voters who might want to vote for the opposition in order to send a message to the PAP that they can no longer accept the effects of the PAP’s policies that have been bulldozed through a field of Singaporeans.

 “If we didn’t get it right, I’m sorry. But we will try better the next time.” (PAP CandidateLee Hsien Loong)

PM Lee, what do you mean by “if” you did not get it right? Please admit it unequivocally if you have gotten it wrong. Try? Try better? You mean you won’t get it right? Next time? No, thank you.

Voters need to ask themselves if the Lee Hsien Loong who was our Prime Minister, and may continue to be our Prime Minister after May 7, even has a good sense of what the PAP has gotten wrong.

Citing the Mas Selamat saga and the floods in Orchard as examples, he tells us that “No government is perfect… we will make mistakes.” (If I’m not wrong, he is using the future tense in the last clause. Is that an election promise?) And we are made to feel bad. I’m sorry. I’ve been expecting the government to be perfect! My bad. Lee certainly knows that there are several issues that have caused much discontent—congestion in public transport, for instance. But if there is anything he and his party has yet to realize that he has gotten wrong, it is the PAP’s insistence that there is a need for the PAP to maintain an overwhelming presence in the Parliament. Singaporeans are not only unhappy with the PAP’s mistakes; they are increasingly also unhappy with the fact that there are hardly any opposition MPs in the Parliament to present alternative viewpoints and to speak up when the PAP may be making mistakes.

Sure, not government is perfect. And no political party is perfect either. Is that not why it is important to have a truly democratic political space? It is reported in Yahoo! News that Lee made the point that

if the government knew there would be a sudden surge in demand for HDB flats in mid-2009 and that foreigners would have created such congestion on the roads, it would have ramped up plans for more flats and MRT lines.

Apart from the PAP’s appalling inability to anticipate the obvious logistical and infrastructural demands the PAP’s own policies of bringing in foreigners would exert, could Singapore be a very different place today if there had been 30 opposition MPs since 1997, all of whom could have pointed out the problems with the PAP’s policies—assuming that the PAP is actually willing to hear the opposition out instead of treating them as troublemakers that need to be, in Lee’s own words, fixed. No matter what Lee or any PAP candidate says now, it remains that one of the fundamental mistakes the PAP has made—and will most probably continue to make without acknowledging that it is a mistake—it its denial of alternative voices in the Parliament, it’s the way that it has turned the Singaporean political environment into a sterile space infused with a blend fear and obsequiousness.

If you want to get it right, you have to do more than to solve the bread-and-butter problems you have created.

If you want to get it right—or simply try better—get the Straits Times to provide fair coverage of opposition rallies instead of making itself look like a stack of PAP political advertisements.

If you want to get it right, abolish the Public Order Act and the laws on party political films.

If you want to get it right, vow that you will never again to sue opposition politicians for defamation.

If you want to get it right, allow voters to get rid of you through the General Election without telling them that upgrading will go to PAP constituencies first.

If you want to get it right, show that you truly know what you have gotten wrong.

“If we didn’t get it right, I’m sorry. But we will try better the next time.” Lee may be asking voters for another chance, but voters will do well to remember that they ought to be giving themselves a first chance. With the opposition.

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11 Responses

  1. The son is now saying sorry and that the mentor father’s comments has nothing to do with him. “MM is MM”. How convenient to say sorry and push it away ?

    Now which is which : the PM appointed the MM or the MM appointed the PM ? At least please don’t lie to us as to which is more correct.

  2. […] Lunchtime Rally – Chemical Generation Singapore: A Time for “Sorry” Showmanship – Molitics: How the PAP Can Get it Right – The Satay Club: Sorry seems to be the hardest word – Majulah!: PAP’s GE2011 PR Catastrophe […]

  3. Alan,
    Pinky did not say pap is sorry. Notice the IF that Molly point out. Pinky says that out of formality, and doing the same line in service sector: “if our service is not up to your expectations, we apologized.” Now does that sound like apology to you or just a formality clause?

    If someone really repent and apologize, there is no IF in statement. Do not be deceived by PAP.

    • Lala,

      You are absolutely correct to point it out to me, thank you.

      LKY also happens to say something to the effect

      “If it is my mistake, then only will I stand corrected. But you can ask a lot of people out there whether they agree with me.”

      How cunning these people.

  4. They should have run their campaign along this line earlier. Now it seems like too little too late. Their strategy, like their administration, has become too flawed to ignore.

    • Such a campaign might go down well with some voters who merely want to give the PAP a wake-up call and it may still have its impact even now. But if he is not even able to spell out exactly where the PAP has gone wrong, then voters will also see that when the PAP is given a chance to “try to do it better,” they may repeat the same mistakes. At this point, after trying to twist statistics by saying how foreigners have created jobs for Singaporeans, the apology sounds like a hypocritical move calculated to win votes. If voters realize this, they will feel even more alienated from the PAP. If they don’t see it this way (with the media making it seem as though he is truly apologizing), he might just get away with it, given the little time left before election day.

    • You should understand that PAP only “apologises” every five years and even then using “IF” “BUT”, insulting the intelligence of citizens.

      How can anyone says they apologise and yet they stay the same and getting worst after each election ? Their pay increase with every mistake, their conscience become corrupted with every mistake, their nonsense and bullshit become prevalent with every mistake, their amendment the law to benefit themseleves with every mistake …etc…

  5. I think the Chinese papers said it better…

    PM Lee said that he felt sorry…

    That’s a very big difference between feeling and truly AM sorry…

    Furthermore, we are paying top dollar for our ministers and they couldn’t get the “open floodgate” immigrant impact right?

    Are they still living in their little sphere and hence they don’t realise there’s something called the “butterfly effect”…

  6. All Singaporean voters, please take note:

    To fully clean up distressed feelings an apology needs to include the following ingredients.

    1. Specificity: “I’m sorry about my ______.” That is, specify exactly what you did that you see now was mistaken.

    2. Non-intentionality: “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

    3. Clarification: What was your mistake, mismanagement, misperception, misunderstanding, miscommunication, mishap, misjudgement, etc? “I can see now that I mis_______ that _______.”

    4. Restitution: Figure out what you need to do to fix the harm created by your mistaken action.

    5. Learning: What will you do differently next time to prevent a similar mishap from occurring again? “In the future I will _____________when___________ .”

    These five ingredients may be accomplished with just a few sentences.

    When they, father and son, made others to apologise, they made sure the above five ingredients are stated and publicised unequivocally. Take note that this only concerns one or two persons.

    Now, the apology is to the WHOLE NATION. We should NOT expect anything short because they are paid exorbitantly and obscenely out of this World’s highest salaries.

    Moreover, he has a horde of legal advisers, including his father and the Baii Singh in his AMK GRC Constituency.

    The Biggest Mistake I believe the PAP has Made and still MAKING is the use of Cunningness against and upon the what they called “DAFT” public.

    The way the PAP-controlled ST and TV go about reporting news is proof of their use of Cunningness.

    The way the PAP govt goes about inventing the GRC system and redrawing of constituency boundaries is also proof of their use of Cunningness.

    The way the PAP leaders made use of the Internal Security Act, the Defamation Law, and keep introducing New Laws to protect themselves and to entrench their power, is also proof of their use of Cunningness.

    The List can go on and on ….

    So, fellow Singaporean voters, this LHL’s half-baked apology is another use of Cunningness to pull wool over your eyes in order to get your votes.

  7. Maybe he is not sure if he has gotten things right, that’s why he used “if”, not :when”, not “where” 🙂

    • That would be even more damning for him for if he is not sure, we had better send a few representatives in the form of opposition MPs to tell him.

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