Policy, Presentation and Packaging the key

August 8, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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

Dear SDP,

I refer to your reply to my email on the greater coherence of the SDP’s ideas. I have never and will never trust completely the reports of the ST. Likewise with regards to the 2001 GE I referred to your SDP website and read and analysed it in my mind in great detail. Politics is about Policy, Presentation, and Packaging and in that regards the 2001 proposals even on your own website were a dismal failure. Simplistic, naive and lacking a context.

With regards to your current efforts, I would only argue that several policies still lack sound policy footing though they have been better articulated and for that again kudos to the SDP.

Firstly the minimum wage policy is misguided and unworkable due to the large numbers of “maids” “general workers” doing the dirty dangerous and domestic jobs which Singaporeans do not want.  I am of course uncertain or unclear as to the specifics of your “min wage ” proposals but I believe that it would be near impossible under “international law” “human rights” etc to have a minimum wage law which discriminates against the above two categories.  I am also certain that the countries from which these workers are drawn would want or allow their workers to be discriminated against.

MARCUS

SDP: Dear Marcus,

We are aware that you have followed our policy arguments through the years. We had some discussion with you when you used the pseudonym “Lockeliberal” a few years ago when the Singapore Democrats participated in the Sintercom and Sammyboy Internet forums for several days.

You are correct in saying that politics is about policy, presentation, and packaging. You must realize, however, that such an approach works only in a democracy where the media is free and opposition has access to the public. Let us give you an example why it is difficult to implement this advice at present. In 1996, the SDP had presented and packaged our policies in a 20-minute documentary that we wanted to distribute to Singaporeans. The Government banned the video and thereafter amended the Films Act to forbid the production of films with a “political end”.

“Policy, presentation and packaging” may have a nice ring to it but it is more suited for parties in democracies like the US, Japan, or South Korea. It is naïve to think that with all the power the PAP wields, the opposition would be able to achieve democracy by presenting and packaging its policies in an effective way. In the 40-odd years the PAP has been in power, it is not that the opposition parties have not tried to be effective in communicating with the people about our policies. Rather, it is the ruling party that has ensured that we couldn’t.

Nevertheless, we continue to do what we can do to reach out to Singaporeans through the Internet. At the same time we advocate nonviolent action to break the PAP’s stranglehold on the political system.

As to your views on the minimum wage, we are unsure why you think that just because we have maids and general workers in Singapore, the policy is unworkable. If you care to elaborate, we will be happy to consider your views.