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I am Singaporean IV – Balderdash! August 31, 2008

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. II.

I read recently that some Young PAP dude felt that the Opposition was unnecessary.  Which riled me up enough to actually post a reply and come out of hiatus.  You see, what Mr. Lazarus is trying to say is this…

The Opposition has long used its ‘fear of the PAP’ excuse to explain why they lost the elections.  Recent happenings have disproved all the untruths of the lying Opposition, like the Baby Bonus, where the people actually stood up to the Government and PM Lee backdated his bonus to 17th August.  Also the table-tennis saga.  The Opposition has had nothing to do with this so far and there is no need for them to, for Singapore is becoming an Athenian democracy (ha, ha!) as more and more citizens engage the Government.  The people are the best check of the Government.  So isn’t the Opposition redundant?

First, let’s see if the people ARE the best check of the Government.  In an ideal, athenian democracy, the people ARE the government.  The people are billed as the best check of the Government, but there is a fatal flaw to this argument.  In Singapore, where there is no viable alternative to the Government, how can the people act as an effective check?  The Government only has one fear, and that is to infuriate the people enough to actually overthrow them.  And the Government has checked this very successfully with hardcore pragmatism and meritocracy, a word which is so overused in Singapore and is probably an euphemism for ‘it’s a dog-eat-dog world.’  Keep the people well-off enough that they don’t get mad enough to actually do something.

Mr. Lazarus’ drawing on two isolated, much-publicised cases effectively reduces his argument to propaganda.  What about the other less-publicised cases like, say, deporting Myanmar nationals?  With control of the media, the Government has effectively publicised what it wants to publicise to give the impression that change is at hand, and this is the trap which Mr. Lazarus falls into, or this is what he feels he should do as a young MIW.

Now dealing with the Opposition having had nothing to do so far with these issues so far.  The question needs a slight modification: can the Opposition do anything effectively?  The SDP was charged for circulating newspapers containing ‘untruths.’  So truth and false are defined by those who are in power?  The Opposition is kept so weak such that they only have a symbolic representation.  However, weak doesn’t mean redundant.

Lastly, the Athenian democracy.  I think you misunderstand what an Athenian democracy is, Mr. Lazarus.  In Athens, it was the duty of every citizen to be a politician.  Stonemasons, merchants, soldiers, potters, philosophers, poets – all of them were politicians too.  Singapore becoming an Athenian democracy is something which will happen after Hell freezes over, then some.  Who are the politicians in Singapore?  Secondly, look at what the Athenian democracy entails.  In Athens, politics was a very important topic, a topic which was debated every day, and becoming a politician was seen as one’s moral destiny.  In Singapore, there is more apathy than engagement.  If you want to see Singapore as an Athenian democracy in the making, then we should make it possible for 4 million people to vote on every issue, and i mean every single issue.



1. xinyuan - September 24, 2008

all the best for your latin exam! (today? :O since you tagged about 12h ago haha)

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