Thursday, May 5, 2011

Singapore: About PM Mr Lee HL's apologies...

Have not anticipated a trip back to Singapore for so long now. Planning on the last min dash to attend the last night of rallies from the moment my plane lands at 6pm...

Read about the new of PM Lee apologising. There are waves of outcries as well as support. I do sympathise with that chap really. Damn if he apologise, Damn if he does not. It's hard to do the right thing, and the universal truth holds true, there is no pleasing everybody. One of my friend was very agitated and said it's all a fraud, many others decrying that move as a political ruse to win back votes. I disagree on this. I accept his apologies.

My friend "warned" me that I am being fooled, that a politician who does not stand firm by his decision is the most dangerous. However I disagree even more on this. To me, a leader who NEVER or REFUSE to apologise is the MOST dangerous. That will be dictatorship. Moreover, no matter when he does it, he will always be blamed.

When he apologised now, he gets blamed for buying sympathy votes. If he apologise after election, he will be criticized for apologising only because he lost votes to alternate parties. If he doesnt apologised at all, he and his team will be blamed for having their head buried in the sand so deep that he cannot see his mistakes.So no matter when or how he does it, it's never going to cut it with people whose opinion of him are already set in stone. yet we must always remind ourselves, when passion drives us, let reason hold the reins.

People question why then does he apologise now. Well, I like to believe that he truly didnt get the full gist of the problems till we pointed out to him how angry we are. Its not solely his fault, it's his team's fault for not giving him a good feel of the ground. I do not expect a PM to walk the grounds everyday to ask the citizens what we think, that is what his staff should be doing and either they are incompetent or covering out, but in anycase, they are not relaying the real and accurate picture to him, thus Lee's claim that he does not have complete picture. The real problem is, HOW CAN HE GET A BETTER FEEL OF THE GROUND in future is the real question since whatever system they have not is not working well.

An apology in the open is nonetheless still an apology no matter how you want to read (into) it. To me, its an acknowledgement of his parties failures, flaws, and inadequacies. However, accepting his apologies does not equate to pledging my alliance with him. Plus, snubbing or criticizes someone's apologies also shows the lost of objectivity isnt it? Only time is the best judge, to show if the sincerity is there.

Casting the idea of votes aside, I see Mr Lee first as a relatively humble person, a person who shoulder more responsibilities and pressure on his back than any other PM in other developed nation. He is not his father, and I believe to many levels, he differs from his father. He has more pressure because he has a legendary father, and he has a legacy to uphold and protect. The legacy is Singapore. Regardless how one may feel about about Senior Lee, one cannot deny that he has crafted and with a great team collectively led Singapore to success. For Mr Lee HL, there is a an insurmountable pressure to keep Singapore intact and not bring the country to her knees or worse, in ruins. He still has a father to answer to. Privately, I cannot imagine how that can be easy, esp telling your dad to mind his own business! Ha! Imagine that! We are not talking about a company. We are talking about a nation, with millions and millions of people and jobs counting on him and his team.

Secondly, no one team can be without fractions, except that they agree to disagree internally. We are all humans and while the bigger focus is on PAP vs the alternate voices, people tend to neglect that even within a party, you can have differences in views or maybe for speculation sake, different groups. However perhaps for the sake of unity and picture perfect harmony, we the humble citizens will never know who says/thinks what. I mean just look at what Mr Goh CT did, singling out his own colleagues like Mr Wong, telling voters that Mr G. Yeo is more important and a "CORE" member of the team, not Mr Wong.  (read article)What on earth is he trying to hint at? For me, it was the most stupid statement to make because I would have retorted that if you have any brains to protect your valuable asset, you would then stake him with your most secure seating like with MM Lee. However you didnt, you leave him out to hang to take the risk, or too arrogant to think its a sure win? If you want to play the game, then abide by the rules. So please, stop saying things that is detrimental to your team;s unity and needlessly reduce your credibility which is fast eroding in this election after you insulted NSParty calling them "No Substance party" (read article). Is this your own version of "clean fight" after stating it in print to the nation? (read article). Did you not write your own script and forgotten what you had said?

Hence, I am presuming here that PM Lee also has to content with a situation similar in any big organisation..So for all the problems that has been highlighted by the public and which he has apologised twice for, to be fair, it isnt his fault alone, although being the captain of the ship, he should have shown more foresight. Ironically, if he and his team with so much experience and guidance from SM and MM can still make mistakes, how does PAP then keep hitting out at the "inexperience" aspect of alternate parties and that Singapore is bound to fail with them installed? As Benjamin Franklin had once said "Certainty? In this world, there is no certainty except death and taxes."

Currently, I have two sides (PAP vs others)  that will be prone to make mistakes.  Additionally, I have to also say while there are people I like in PAP, there are also people I have lost respect in PAP. Same goes for the alternate parties. So to me, the vote swing both ways on this point. Except that for alternate parties, I can safely say most candidates are taking a bigger risk and not in for the money. People like Mr Chiam, a dedicated old  who serves for the past 27yrs for the people. He has no other apparent motives apart from ensuring Singapore progress in a humane direction and not just dollars and cents. (read: The makeshift cubicle for Mr Chiam)

What we have also learnt from the US market crisis is that we cannot make assumptions based on past data. The industry professions who does risk assessment based on past performance and stats still gets it wrong.

In Facebook, the friends who are prop alternate parties are vocal and the stream of updates comes fast and furious. In contrast, I too know EXACTLY who are the PAP supporters because they are silent, and disengaging themselves from the apparent alternate parties.

Way before election was even announced, I remember catching up with a bunch of college friends over coffee and we had a laptop logging on the FB (facebook). One of them works in GIC, and is a grassroot leader of whatever sorts. He is a good chap. Really. Not because he is my friend, but I know he is not nasty, he has humility and he has a genuine heart. Doesnt matter if he takes a 5 figure paycheck home, go travelling several times a year with his kids, or recently upgraded to a new car. He is still who he is, the same guy I know back in school. We were scrolling through facebook, and he commented about a fellow junior who had been posting articles that questions certain policies in Singapore. His comment was that "This guy is crazy. Why does he post such articles on a public platform? Asking for trouble man. Who knows who read your profile and your sentiments about the govt."

I was kinda taken back because here is a educated chap, but with a conservative thinking. I am pretty sure he doesnt approve of my outspoken (public) take on certain issues and thus I can understand his distancing and "silence". I do not blame him or take offence. Every man is entitled to support the party they prefer. However, what I do mind is is the existence of the implicit non-spoken fear that lingers in the air that has an effect on the minds and actions of our people. Is what Mr Goh said is true, that he lets us decide our own future, then why till this very day, does the govt not come out and just say it -say "It does not matter who you vote, I promise you that no citizen will be persecuted by your choice." But they have not said it. Well, maybe because I am not in sg so I have not heard it nor seen it posted on the electoral website.

Many says, there should be a difference between parties and elected govt, but how much can we untangle the two honestly? So is that why by not saying anything, becomes a cause to possibly gain an upper hand stemming from public irrational fear. I am saying irrational because I believe that any good non corrupted govt like ours has no need to play such silly games..or am I being naive here when it comes to political games?

Come 8th May, there is the statistics winners and losers. However, ultimately what I want is to see the people as winners. Not because which party won or lose, but rather if the current dominant people wins, and that these loud voices of dissent and resentment has gotten through their thick (skulls) ivory walls, then perhaps all is not lost. If the threat of opposition even if not elected, managed to set the ball in motion with the govt acting more favorably for the poorer sector, then again, all is not lost. At the end of the day, what the people really and truly want, is to be heard, and to have the people in charge doing something about the situation deemed wrong or neglected.

I leave you with one of my fav quote of the day.

A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. And healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
Mohandas Gandhi

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