Why freedom is important for S’pore

December 22, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Dear SDP and fellow Singaporeans,

“Never in any country has so much being taken and achieved, with so little given to its citizens”

Singapore is a joke and such a pity because this is a wealthy country with great infrastructure and development. This freedom is past overdue since the eighties and it is a fact that the current social policies are too oppressive to the point of lifelessness and melancholy.

All of these are caused by a government that rules it with an iron fist. It is not that we are trying to ask too much, but this is a country that seriously needs more freedom of speech in order to foster creativity, dynamism, spontaneity, entrepreneurship and most importantly to provide a strong influence on government policies. And this is just part of what is taken away from us.

The PAP ministers should stop repeating the same old rhetoric that this is a free country, creating a laughingstock. And all that bull about ‘Singaporeans asking for too much’, ‘the government is too generous, too kind, creating a Nanny State’ etc is clearly a joke created to deceive more naive Singaporeans.

I cannot imagine voting for a government so stupid to think that citizen’s happiness will be improved by wasting hundreds of millions to upgrade parks and HDB estates, among many others while neglecting the primary cause of sadness, high cost of living, dwindling salaries, oppressive policies, lack of appropriate freedom of expressions etc.

This government is weird, thinking that by throwing metals, bricks, wood and cement into citizen’s faces they can actually chew it and become happier.

To the minds of PAP, it is even considered generous and a form of pampering. And some Singaporeans are even thinking that we are pampered. Pathetic.

Any ruling party will not be able to criticize themselves enough in order to change for the good of citizens. They will be so entrenched in their party policies that, unless a strong opposition comes in for a replacement. A leopard will never change its spots.

While PAP creates stability, many major bad policies built up through the years will not change. The trench will be dug deeper and deeper until one can never climb out of it.

Hence we should ask ourselves: How can you trust any government with a ruling party that insists on totally controlling the media? You can only imagine the consequences of self-censorship and controls to create a one-sided propaganda to the public.

A human being can only make judgment from what is in their brain cells, which is from what they hear and read, and all these comes from the media.

Yes, the PAP is very smart because it knows that any party that controls the media will win elections. It is simply ‘rigging’ in a subtle way.

The word ‘election’ should not even be used; it should rather be something like ‘going through the motion.’ Voting in Singapore is totally meaningless.

But this is not right and if it is allowed to continue further, it will bring more harm to the society.

Of course, all appropriate degrees of controls are necessary. We are certainly not advocating anarchy full of Indian chiefs and cowboys running around, but the right amount must be given to ensure citizen’s freedom of expression are not suppressed to the point of affecting their happiness and everyday living.

The Singapore Story is an experiment terribly gone wrong. It is a good lesson to be learned by any aspiring Asian governments and politicians who wish to develop a country’s economy at the expense of citizen’s social grace and happiness.

One can easily judge from the culture of Singapore, the looks and behaviour of ordinary citizens to see that all is not well. Just one stroll along the streets, city area, HDB estates and shopping malls, we can clearly see many sad, sour, scowling, soulless, highly stressed, and resenting but fearful looks everywhere. Expressions and words used in everyday conversations and topics of discussions are commonly crude and hostile, to the point of shame and ridiculousness. Even a simple staring incident here can lead to fights, pathetic.

Hence it can be said that the majority of Singaporeans are suffering from a type of borderline claustrophobic personality order, which is a very unhealthy social syndrome. This is clearly a result of decades of oppressive social policies. Something must be done to correct this.

Except the very high-class hotels and restaurants, service from most shop-owners and their staff are rubbish. Subtle touting, rude, dumb, unprofessional, idiotic and uncivilized attitudes are so prevalent. 

While I was visiting US, Japan and Taiwan which has a much more humane, dynamic and excellent service culture and people, I felt so ashamed of my country and almost wanted to literally cry in shame. Looking at the free and cheerful people there, I was telling myself that this is how humans should feel and behave. In fact, it is every human being’s right.

Certainly something has gone wrong somewhere. I remembered in 1996, my Taiwanese girlfriend and I visited Shaw Towers at Orchard Road and happened to see a Disney performance by a Caucasian group at the open-air cafeteria area. It was crowded with hundreds of people. The entertainers were professional and impressive and most spectators clearly enjoyed the show. There were short breaks for each segment. However, not a single clapping was heard.

When it finally ended, there was dead silence and people just walked away. It was so eerie.

In the end, my girlfriend and I were the only ones clapping. She asked me, ‘Is there anything wrong with the show, why aren’t people clapping?’ I felt so embarrassed and don’t know what to say.

Similarly, a Taiwanese friend of mine who came here for a shopping trip in October this year had to cut short her trip. When I asked her why, she commented that the service culture here sucked. She even quarreled with a shop owner who was very unprofessional and rude. When I probed further she said “Your country is impressive, very clean and disciplined, but “You3 Wu4 Zhi4 Dan4 Mei2 Ren2 Ching2 Wei” (with material but without the human grace and spirit).” Enough said.

While many fiscal and economic policies done by the current government are certainly admirable, there are many others that are literally destroying citizen’s lives such as the rigid CPF, unnecessary levies, fines and hidden taxes that are wreaking havoc to our society, creating a tense and hostile climate.

It is clear and an unambiguous that Singapore has not even reached the acceptable standard in freedom of expression. Bread baked without love is bitter bread, similarly from the fruits of the tree, one can tell whether it has been properly planted and fertilized. The Singapore fruit looks clean and healthy on the outside but when one takes a bite, it becomes rotten and bitter.

 FOR THE COUNTRY