The Rhetoric

The decisions made are important, so better speak up now because this is a time when people are more willing to listen than they have ever been before.
Minister of State, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan , Straits Times, May 8, 2002

The Reality

Last week, 5023 votes, or 80 per cent of the total votes cast, felt strongly that the Government was not willing to listen and consider differing views.
Straits Times, June 19 2002, on a Remaking Singapore online poll

I hope the Government does not take Singaporeans for fools. I am beginning to see a standard formula in how the Government listens to the people: Decide, inform, pretend to listen, pretend to take their words into consideration and then stick to the original decision.
Lee Kah Hui, Straits Times forum, May 22 2002