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With a New Year comes new hope, thehope that things will change for the better. But hope without effort cannotchange anything.$CUT$
Yet, change is what Singaporedesperately needs – change from the way the government responds toour aspirations. Unfortunately, it seems that the more we call for change the moreintransigent those in government get.
Instead of becoming more responsive, our leaders have chosen to continue to take punitive action in misguided attempts to bring back the political silence of years past.
We have reason to be angry with the recent raft of threats andactions against our activists and bloggers. But even though we have every right tobe bitter about such intimidation, let usnot retaliate in vengeful anger.
Instead, let us re-dedicate ourselvesto work in a spirit of forgiveness and constructive action. Let usdemonstrate to our rulers that we cannot be intimidated and thatevery act of administrative aggression will be met with an even moredetermined will to overcome injustice – not with spite but with reason and peacefulresolve.
Let us help our nation’s leaders see that change is to be embraced, not feared, because change -democratic change – cannot be avoided. It is an idea whose time has come.In fact, it is the only way that Singapore can remain relevant in this fast-changing world.
We are at a crossroads and the choiceswe make now will determine how we live in the future. If we allow anger to be the captain of our actions, if we – because of our own oppression – lash out by victimising foreign workers in our midst, or if we retreat intofearful and silent cynicism, then our future will be lost.
Ihave never been more hopeful about our future, a future where political power is usedto better the lives of all, starting with the weakest among us.
But such change will need the courage and dedication of all of us who care to come forward and make it happen. It will need foresight to recognise that there arealternatives and that we are not forever wedded to an out-moded form of governance. We have the ability to take this country ina different direction, to a better place.
We must take care of our own people and invest in them. We must make their happiness and well-being, not profit, our priority. To achieve this, my colleagues and I have drawn up alternative policy plans which we offer our people.
I know that many of you believe in thesame things we do. We invite you to share this vision with us and, more important, work with ustowards that Singapore which we all want to see.
And so here’s to a New Year, my fellowSingaporeans, may it be filled with courage and compassion.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party