Don’t look away and pretend that all is well

November 8, 2004
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Singapore Democrats

To paraphrase: All it takes for injustice and dictatorships to triumph is for citizens to do nothing. It is sad that in today’s Singapore, people are determined not to get involved in politics and to leave everything up to the PAP because it is just too painful and risky to speak out.

As a result the PAP can do and say anything without so much as a squeak from the citizens. Were not talking about about policies such as banning bungee jumping or not allowing us to chew gum these are minor matters.

Were talking about the amendment of the Constitution to allow reserves (yes, the savings that belong to the people) to be transferred to GLCs without transparent oversight and democratic accountability and the local media trying to cover up the entire episode.

Were talking about ministers helping themselves to million-dollar salaries while society sees record bankruptcies, divorces, mental breakdowns, and suicides due to financial pressures. And when trade unions try to fight for better wages and working conditions the government runs their leaders out of the country.

Were talking about a recent report highlighting a TCS actor as adding glamour to a PAP MP handing out bursaries to residents, including a mother of three struggling on a salary of $600 a month. In decent and democratic societies, the system would have been skewered for not only allowing politicians to become millionaires but also depriving a working mother of three of minimum wage and then brag about giving away handouts!

The PAP may have gotten its priorities all wrong. It may be that the party is sick to the core. But it doesn’t mean that the people have look away and pretend that everything is all right. Other peoples love their countries and they not only speak up when they see their governments doing the wrong things, but they also take the trouble to express their views and make sure their governments hear it often at their own risk.

Do Singaporeans love their country? If we say we do, do we demonstrate this by allowing the PAP to do anything and say anything without any question and dissent?

Look around us. Which other countries have citizens that are so quiet and fearful? The answer is not very flattering: North Korea, Vietnam, and Burma. On the other hand the Japanese, South Koreans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, Thais, Indonesians, and even our closest neighbours, the Malaysians, all proudly hold on to their rights to be able to freely and openly criticize their governments when they see their politicians do wrong. Does it mean that they don’t love their countries?

Fortunately, there are still a few courageous Singaporeans around. The Singapore Democrats have recently received several letters (see Letters section in this website), expressing their support and wanting to join the SDP. They have seen the injustice and bullying perpetrated by the PAP and their sense off right and wrong do not allow them to remain silent any longer.

They can see that an opposition party is one that needs the active involvement and support of the people without which there is no opposition. They have decided to stand up.

Sadly, many Singaporeans continue to see themselves as observers of a battle between the PAP and the Opposition: You want my vote? Show me what you can do first. They dont see that they are the opposition in a one-party state. Without their participation (their votes in a system such as the one we have cannot do anything to change policies), the opposition can never develop.

Singaporeans, if you truly love this country don’t let the PAP continue with its injustice and dictatorial ways. Have courage and contact the Singapore Democrats. We must care about our country as much as other peoples do for theirs.

We are citizens, not serfs.