Straits Times Forum letters, Part II

April 17, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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Straits Times Forum letters, Part I:
(1) Why PAP’s politics works for me
(2) Politics of confrontation redundant now

(3) Rebellious nature may not lead to productivity

I ADMIRE Dr Chee Soon Juan as a man who stands up for what he believes in, but I am disturbed by his suggestion (‘PAP just as confrontational, replies Chee’, Thursday) that freedom of speech and assembly are somehow related to productivity.

The protests in Thailand amply demonstrate how unbridled exercise of freedom of speech and assembly can result in escalating social discord and political violence, with deleterious results for productivity.

And how would Dr Chee explain a nation like Japan, which is twice as productive as Singapore and (like Singapore) is devoid of ‘the rebellious’ and people ‘challenging the authorities’?

Peter Heng


(4)  Chee’s passion for democracy admirable

I READ Thursday’s letter by Dr Chee Soon Juan (‘PAP just as confrontational, replies Chee’), lamenting negative criticism of him and defending his ventures.

While critics are naturally subjective, I do not think Dr Chee needs to be overly defensive. I strongly believe his passion for excellence is in the areas of upholding democracy and protecting the rights of Singaporeans.

There is no perfect system of politics or governance, and any decision has flaws and opportunity costs. We will never know what is best for us, but we can always reflect on what we have done and make adjustments to ensure a better future. This appears to be working for us, or various systems in Singapore would not have become global benchmarks.

I admire Dr Chee’s perseverance and determination in his incessant fight against policies he deems unfair, to the extent that he has sacrificed much of his personal interests. He has exhibited a good understanding of our history and current affairs, but I believe he needs a clearer perspective of what Singaporeans really want and need.

Different social groups face different problems and there may never be a one-size-fits-all solution. We need good people in place to develop multi-pronged policies to ensure everyone gets a share of our national development. The exodus of talent seeking opportunities abroad is a natural by-product of globalisation, not necessarily a flaw in governance.

At least for now, I do not see an urgent need for a massive overhaul. We give the mandate to leaders based on what they have done for us and are capable of doing in future. We do not protest for the sake of opposing and many of us appreciate the political, economic and social stability we are currently enjoy.

I hope if Dr Chee is passionate about helping Singaporeans as his primary agenda, he should work with social groups and organisations to ensure his constructive input is heard.

Aloysius Lau

Straits Times Forum letters, Part III:
(5) I want constructive, not confrontational, politics
(6) Chee must reinvent himself