Tell us what SDP can do for us

June 28, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Dear SDP,

Criticizing the opposition won’t win you much votes. In my opinion, one of the reasons why the PAP is so successful is because they are extremely organised and firm in their beliefs. After reading both parties’ GE 2001 message again, I can’t help but be swayed by the PAP. They are very firm with whatever they say and do. Even if they may not be as organised as it seems, they don’t show. The PAP does not dig up articles and criticize other parties on a daily basis. The way you do it, it seems childish and rash. Stop comparing and tell us what you can do for us instead. Build on that.

I don’t see how Singapore is able to be a democratic state in the near future. Young Singaporeans these days can’t be bothered about whatever that happens outside their own lives. Walk down a street, pick out any youth and ask them about current affairs, I can tell you, they know nothing. And most of those who know, know only because they are forced to read the newspapers in school. Few of them read because they really want to know and are concerned. I am sad to say this (being one myself) but I feel Singaporeans are quite an ignorant and selfish bunch. Maybe it is just the youth. If the people of this state are going to stay this way, democracy will just speed its destruction.

AMC

SDP: Dear AMC,

You say you are swayed by the PAP’s message in GE 2001. It is unfortunate that you are unable to see that it is the PAP that has caused much of the ignorance and selfish attitude of our people. Through the years of media control and political intimidation, Singaporeans have grown up apolitical and apathetic. This does not bode well for the future, even the PAP admits this. Yet you seem to be unable to understand the toll that PAP’s authoritarianism is exacting on our society.

You seem to be saying that you support the PAP because it is well-organised and firm in its belief. You may not realize this but most autocratic regimes are usually firm and well-organised. The question is: Is that firmness and organization taking the country in the right direction. No one can say that Marcos was not firm and well-organised. Firmness and organization were the hallmarks of the Soviet leadership. Suharto, one of the most despotic, ruthless, and corrupt leader ever, exercised exemplary firmness when he was in power. No, sir, firmness and organization cannot be the basis of how you evaluate a government.

Yet you embody much that is wrong with today’s selfish Singaporean when you demand: “Tell us what you can do for us.” Fighting for democracy in an authoritarian state cannot be conducted by people who sit and wait for something to be done for them. People all over the world, even those in democracies, are rolling up their sleeves and asking, in the mould of the late US President John F Kennedy, what can we do for the country instead of what can the country do for us?

You will see from this revamped website what the Singapore Democrats have proposed for Singapore. Dr Chee has written books on this matter. Of course, youths do not know about these because, presumably, you depend on the local media for most of your news about the PAP and SDP. It is not surprising therefore that you have been thus “swayed”. Many of the policies that the SDP proposed have been adopted by the Government. Again, do Singaporeans know about this? We would be surprised if they did because the press simply will not report it.

It is obvious that you do not understand what democracy is and what it promises for societies that practice it. We can only hope that it is out of ignorance and not obstinacy that has shaped your view. The former situation we can help, and we invite you to come and meet with us so that we can better explain and demonstrate to you what democracy is. But if it is the latter is, then shall we just have to agree to disagree.