Democracy in a Straitjacket

This blogger hits the nail on the head with his analysis that GE 2015 might have been PAP’s high watermark (implying it is going to get harder to win votes after that). This would partly explain why the ruling party has set in motion a series of shocking dictatorial moves in recent months including the questionable ELD complaints and police raids and seizure at the homes of Roy and Teo Soh Lung over their harmless postings on Cooling Off Day; the warning to foreign companies not to sponsor any events including Pink Dot at Speakers Corner; and the latest whammy announcement on the ban on use of the Internet by civil servants (excluding the top guns of course) from next May.

Why is the government doing this? Let’s drop the pretense and face the facts. The ruling party is doing this because they need to tighten their controls over the people now that their Superman Lee Kuan Yew is dead. Without LKY around, the PAP is significantly weaker as their leaders have not earned sufficient respect from the people to win die-hard loyalty. Post-LKY era, the current crop of PAP leaders probably figured they need to show Singaporeans they are still the boss and on top of their game. Hence, the series of chilling actions taken by them over the past few months. It would not be farfetched to say that many of these actions are pre-planned to strike fear into the people’s hearts, just as how LKY used his knuckledusters in the past. The PAP-government is sending the same old message out – “Don’t mess with us or else…”. In many countries, much of what they are doing would be deemed illegal but here in a small island where they hold complete power over all the relevant agencies and where their word is law, the citizens are almost powerless against such tyranny.

What we are seeing IMO is but the tip of the iceberg. My gut feel is we can expect more repressive actions to be taken by the ruling party in the coming months. Having absolute power is a heady feeling and there are no boundaries as to how it will be wielded when the ones in power have no one to be accountable to. Absolute power corrupts absolutely indeed.


“The other day, someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people’s democracy. It’s the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.” – President Ronald Reagan, 1986

Ever the wry wordsmith, Reagan coined this phrase to reference the looming shadow cast on the peoples of Eastern Europe by the Iron Curtain. A very different time and place, perhaps.

Yet, the analogy hit uncomfortably close to home. The familiar buckles of political control have once again tightened on civil society. Early in May, underage dissident Amos Yee was arrested and hauled to court to face potential charges for sedition. Later that month, convicted murderer Kho Jabing was executed at 4.30 pm on a Friday, the first time in Singapore’s history any prisoner on death row was not hung at the break of dawn. It was rumored that the authorities were furious at his lawyers’ stalling tactics and…

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