The Truth About: Rhetoric Versus Reality

PAP MPs in costumes not entertainment?

23 August 2006

The Rhetoric

"Politics is a serious process of understanding issues, of making important decisions on issues affecting our future. Politics as an art form — as entertainment — would deflect from that."
- Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, Straits Times, 31 Mar 06

The Reality

PAP's Jurong GRC team dressed up for a costume parade. Dr Ong Chit Chung as a chef, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam as a policeman, Ms Grace Foo as a SIA stewardess, Mr Lim Boon Heng as a contractor and Mdm Halimah Yacob as a doctor.
- The New Paper, 17 Apr 06

Wrong crystal ball

17 February 2006

The Rhetoric

"Ours should be a future of opportunity and promise. We should have a prospering economy, creating good jobs for all."
- PM Lee Hsien Loong, National Day Rally 2004

The Reality

"Nearly 300,000 Singaporean workers earn $1,200 or less in gross monthly income. Half of them, or one in 10 workers, earn even less - $900. They are the group most vulnerable to retrenchments and fallout from economic restructuring. Many already struggle to make ends meet and have little or nothing for their medical and retirement needs."
- Straits Times, July 1, 2005

Please make up your mind: Are we digits or not?

20 January 2006

The Rhetoric

"We must remember that workers are not simply factors of production or economic digits."
- ex-DPM Tony Tan, Straits Times, Aug 4 2003

The Reality

 "At the end of the day, we are so many digits in the machine. The point is – are these digits stronger than the competitors' digits?"
- MM Lee Kuan Yew on Singapore workers, History of Singapore, 2005

Your CPF is *ahem*

27 December 2005

The Rhetoric

"Our CPF system based on individual savings is sound. The CPF will provide a basic retirement pension for most Singaporeans."
- PM Lee Hsien Loong, May 1, 2005

The Reality

 "As of last year, only about 40 per cent of active CPF members who turned 55 meet the CPF minimum sum of $84,500. Of these, slightly more than half had set aside no more than $40,000 and had to pledge their properties to make up for the shortfall. The CPF Board estimates that 10 economically active persons are supporting one elderly person. By 2030, only 3.5 persons will be supporting one elderly person."
- Straits Times, Dec 18, 2004

Economy growing?

11 December 2005

The Rhetoric

"We are growing our economy, creating more jobs, and providing Singaporeans the skills and opportunities to look after themselves and their families."
- PM Lee Hsien Loong, May 1, 2005

The Reality

"...the spiraling numbers of applications for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund to help needy children. The number needing help tripled from 3,735 in 2001 to 10,419 in 2003. According to CDC figures, those needing financial aid swelled from 14,300 to 22,500 in 2002, and 31,570 in 2003."
- Straits Times, Jan 29, 2005

Land of opportunity for whom?

08 November 2005

The Rhetoric

"We want to make sure that all Singaporeans benefit from our success. As we forged ahead, nobody should be left behind...This will be a land of opportunity for all."
- PM Lee Hsien Loong, Straits Times, Feb 19, 2005

The Reality

"Monthly incomes for households in the bottom 20 per cent fell 3.2 per cent a year, from $933 in 1998 to $795 in 2003."
- Straits Times citing the household expenditure survey, Jun 18, 2005

"Seven in 10 polled were not aware of any financial assistance schemes, although more than half of them said they had faced financial hardship in the past year. Almost 16 per cent of the respondents, all living in one and two-room flats, had family members who often went hungry."
- Straits Times citing a poverty survey conducted by Social Development Feedback Group, Jan 29, 2005