We must all see things the way PAP does, says PM Lee

In my previous post, I had pointed out the Orwellian signs in the way our country is being governed. And I had asked if the PAP government is stepping up its attempts to mould and align young Singaporeans’ thinking with the government’s doctrines through the  new measures introduced by the Ministry of Education.

Lo and behold, PM Lee Hsien Loong said some things yesterday that confirmed my suspicions and dampened my hopes that he and the other PAP leaders would be able to change to be more open minded.

In his  address to PAP party activists on Saturday, PM basically told them there is no room for any other political party in Singapore except for the PAP.

“If Singapore had a blue constituency and a red constituency, I think Singapore will be in trouble,” he said. This is not the worrying part as one would expect him to use scare tactics to get people to agree with him that we should only have the PAP party in government. It is the other things he said that raised deep concerns.

In PM’s words as reported by TODAY :

1.  “We have tried to make sure that all our constituencies are about the same colour … because we want all the constituencies to share the same interests. Then we can think together and when you represent Singapore, you represent the whole of Singapore.”

2. He noted that the party has to “not just reflect the consensus of the nation, but also form and help to shape the consensus of the nation”.

3. It is the PAP’s responsibility to help to lead the discussion together with Singaporeans to persuade them to “see things more like the way we do and to be able to see things in a constructive way which makes sense for themselves and for Singapore”, he added.

In just a few sentences, PM has dashed the hopes of many that he and the rest of the PAP government are capable of changing their mindsets to build an inclusive society that reflects the diverse views and hopes of Singaporeans (hello, 40% is almost half of all Singaporeans ok?).

A chill ran through me each time I reread his words to ensure I did not misunderstand him. But what PM said to his party activists was crystal clear and it sounded ominously Orwellian and somewhat communistic.

In a nutshell, he is saying that the PAP will continue to tell the people what is best for them and what they should do. And that the PAP leaders and activists will go all out to get the people to think like their party (because he claims it’s for the greater good of all – a very Orwellian tactic).

I am downright disappointed with his views, as many others are judging by the online response to what PM said. I had nursed some hope that our government would do some real self-reflection and have a paradigm shift.

But what PM said yesterday reminded me that while it is easy to change behaviour (such as show a softer, friendlier side and hold National Conversations), it is extremely hard to change mindsets and attitudes.

So much as been said both online and offline and via the National Conversation platforms. Has all the feedback from concerned Singaporeans fallen on deaf ears and deadened hearts in the government?

Is the National Conversation just a wayang after all – as a means of ameliorating growing resentment and to use it to “persuade” people to “see things more like the way we [PAP] do?”

I frankly do not know what to think anymore when our PM says such things. We are living in a democratic society and not in a communist country where the people must all be comrades and place country and party above self. We are also not a homogenous people. Human beings by nature are different and diverse with varied backgrounds, experiences and hopes. This diversity is apparent even in modern-day communist China from cosmopolitan Shanghai to commercialised Shenzhen.

For PM to say he wants us all to be of one colour and to think more like the PAP is truly a letdown and unbecoming of a leader of a major cosmopolitan, democratic country.  It shows a lack of real vision, inflexibility and a lack of heart and understanding of the very people that he wants to lead. How does he expect Singaporeans to become more creative and competitive if he continues to rein them in and shape them to think alike?

PM: if you are reading this, please don’t take it personally. I am just very sad and disappointed. But I still hold a tiny hope that you may have a change of heart one day…when you are freed of the shadow that looms large over you now.

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12 Responses to We must all see things the way PAP does, says PM Lee

  1. fedora says:

    Hsien Loong’s msg is not particularly clear, based on the bits he has been quoted on. It would seem that all must think alike, but is it on everything? Or just on the country’s general direction? Can one protest against policies, like importing hordes of foreigners, and to the point were it causes large rents in the country’s social fabric? Not to mention the PAP doing nothing to prep the infrastructure for them?

    I’m sure a few riots and an epidemic will drive home, even to the penned-in minds of the PAP, the dangerousness of this far more than homes whose cost will beggar their owners and a wobbly transport system.

    He also comes across as contradictory. On the one hand he wants his activists to form and shape a consensus, which indicates someone might actually be heeding what the citizens want, and on other, he wants his people to get us to fall in with whatever his party decides, no matter how ridiculous, which means he doesn’t care abt what we want or need.

    Whatever it is, the fact that he believes this country should be totally dependent on only his party is irresponsible. No on in his right mind puts all his eggs in one basket, unless he’s a gambler, a profession that, ironically, is frowned on by Hsien Loong’s party.

    And more fool you if you think the National Conversation reflects that the PAP is actually interested in what we want. From the way it is being conducted, frrom all that’s been said about it by the PAP’s members, it’s to convince citizens the PAP’s policies are the right ones. If they cared what we thought, there would be no need to hold any conversation, because people have been saying their piece for some years now.

    That it has taken so long, and so many millions of repetitions of how people feel about the overload of foreigners and their effects, before the recent grudging admission that infrastructure has been badly handled, underlines your point that mindsets and arttitudes are extremely hard to change. And none more so than the mindsets and attitudes of the PAP.

    This says a lot about the PAP’s inflexibility, its inability to chart new directions, its claim that scholars have the best brains, and that the party has the best people.

    As for that tiny hope of yours that the PAP may one day change, sorry to tell you that, no, there is no Santa Claus.

    • John says:

      Send all foreigners to do national service if they want to be citizen, (reservist BMT or Civil Defence)

      During war foreigners pack up and go left the Singaporeans fight alone.

      Good testing if they serious to be citizen not just because of economic reason where their home country got no jobs for them.

  2. Winking Doll says:

    Comparing Singapore PM Lee’s speech (to his party activists) to USA President Obama’s election winning speech is like heaven and earth.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/11/07/barack-obama-victory-speech-201-full-text-and-video/
    Quote Obama: “But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. … By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. … We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

    Sigh, ok maybe Obama is not as efficient and effective, but he certainly got the principles right — at least in his public relations speech. Lee does not even bother to try. Talk about “cheaper, faster, better” foreign talents, can we have Obama instead?

  3. @winkingdoll thanks for your comments and yes there is no comparison between Obama and LHL. The latter does not inspire and seems to have highly limited vision if any. He is parroting what his father says and he is basically am extension of his father albeit in softer packaging.

    @fedora. do reread my revised ending of the post. I have made it clearer why I am still holding on to this teeny hope that he may have a change of heart someday when he is freed of his shackles. also, with PaP as the dominant party now and without a real viable alternative goverment (none of the other parties are ready to form an alternative govt yet in the short term) in sight yet, what choice do we have but to hope? Hope and prayer are what we have for now.

  4. If PM Lee is reading this, I like to know if he will allow PAs grassroots leaders, Police, NEA and HDB officers to conduct house visits with the incumbent MP? Whichever camp the MP is in?

  5. @ape@kinjioeaf…eh conduct house visits for?

    • For feedback about overall estate matters.

      • house visits with police and other agency officiers? Isn’t it too much? If there are things Simgaporeans are unhappy with, they should learn to speak up to the right authorities and not rely on house visits by officials. Time for the people to grow up and take responsibility for their lfe.

      • Erm…. I need to clarify a bit (on mobile and difficult to explain fully). It’s not always that MPs are joined by an entourage of govt agencies staff. It depends on situation. Say supposing an estate is a dengue hotspot, NEA may be invited to help share some info. Or when HDB upgrading is in progress, HDB officers invited.

        However, I wonder if say MP of Aljunied invites the RC Chairman or HDB, NEA etc to do walkabout with him, can they do so? It’s not about will the invitees go but can they go? If PAP is so about being for the residents and people of Singapore, then I feel that grassroots leaders or govt agencies should be allowed to do walkabout with MP, who is afterall, voted by the majority of the constituents.

      • Your point about Singaporeans growing up and taking responsibilities for their life is in full agreement with my thoughts. However, I’ve also come across many people, especially elderlies with no education, only knows singular ‘cheng hu’. They even thought RC is the authority. I’ve to take some time explaining to one. I don’t fault such elderly residents. I can understand their frustrations when they get referred from one agency to another and another… even as grassroots volunteer, we get such treatment at times. My point is, it’s not that they don’t take responsibility for their own life… they do, that’s why they wanted to voice their concerns. If we can get the right person or agency to explain things to them, why not?

      • @ape@kimjoileaf…i see your pt. as to your question …we all know the WP is pretty much on its own and cant count on the govt agencies to give them support or join in the walkabouts. and we all know why they will not get the support.

  6. rodsjournal says:

    Reblogged this on Roderick's Journal and commented:
    In lieu of me blogging, here’s another post from Jentrified Citizen…

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