Some Disjointed Thoughts
This entry is written in response to "Disenfranchised
", an entry in the Singapore Serf
's blog. I must first state that it has been a long time since I have written critically or analytically, so I may be more than a little bit rusty. If I do not seem to be making any sense, do remember that while our freedom of speech may be a matter of contention, our freedom to (not) read certainly is not.
Before I even begin, I would like to first paraphrase what I have understood of the Singapore Serf's thoughts and opinions from reading "Disenfranchised", so that we all have some common ground from which to start. Also, in case I happen to read him wrongly, the Singapore Serf would perhaps find it easier to tell me where I have gone wrong. That is, if he happens to read this entry.
1) He believes that we, or rather, our parents, have signed an unwritten social contract with the government, which more or less states that in return for material benefits, we will give up our political rights.
2) He believes that this contract has not been honoured (on the part of the government) in recent years, because life seems to be getting worse for everyone except the 5% of the population who happen to be the elite.
3) The government interferes with private areas of its citizens' lives.
4) Anyone who speaks up against the government, or affiliated bodies, or affiliated individuals, gets sued out of existence, or at least, into silence.
5) He therefore declares the deal to be off for himself (he plans to leave), because the government has reneged on its end of the bargain while still expecting us to keep up our end.
6) Most people here either have no idea in hell what is going on, or are (justifiably) too terrified to speak up. In other words, the people do not have a voice.
7) In conclusion, there is no way to change any part of the situation here, so the only reasonable option for people dissatisfied with the status quo would be for them to leave.
These are the main points of "Disenfranchised" as I see them.
While most people who talk about our political climate tend to see two antagonistic entities, I usually see three. Besides the usual suspects, "the people" and "the government", I also see "the rest of the world". The government is in many cases the intermediary, or the buffer, so to speak, between the people and the rest of the world, and I think a major part of its job is to make the best decision possible for the people considering the situation in the rest of the world. I would also like to make the point that the economic prosperity of Singapore is, in my opinion, a very fragile one. While other nations have agricultural products or natural resources to help boost their economies, we have none. Our GDP is mostly derived from providing services or adding value to primary products. Hence, we are, in fact, in a very fragile state of equilibrium with the rest of the world. What we lack and other countries have, we can never get. What we have and other countries lack, they can, and probably will, get. Make no mistake about it, we are engaged in a continual struggle to stay one step ahead, to stay relevant, to survive.
Now we come to the lack of political power of the average Singaporean. Call me brainwashed if you like, but I do think that Singapore cannot really afford to have more than one serious political party. I think the nature of man is such that if there are two groups of people fighting for something they want badly enough and if they are evenly matched enough, they will eventually and inevitably resort to backstabbing, conniving, treachery, lying and various other underhanded means. No matter how honourable their leaders are and no matter how noble their initial goals are, this will happen, one small step at a time. If the battle lasts long enough, suspicions will flare about the integrity of the other group and sooner or later they will start thinking (about underhanded means) "we must do it since they're doing it too". I doubt that Singapore can afford to have two gangs of crooks desperately trying to sway popular opinion towards polar extremes over every little decision for their own agendas all the time. As I have said earlier, we are, in fact, engaged in a continuous struggle for survival, and to hesitate is to lose and become irrelevant. In order for our government to be able to effectively wage the war for survival, it needs, like the general of any army, the power to make autonomous decisions. So yes, perhaps we, as "serfs" have signed away our political rights, but I do think that it is necessary to do so for the survival of the nation as a whole.
Ok, I have other stuff I need to do, so I will have to make this quick.
I do think that to change the political climate in Singapore is to condemn the nation. I am of the firm opinion that what works in the USA will most definitely not work here. Whether the ends (economic prosperity) justifies the means (suppressing all dissenting voices) is something each individual has to decide for himself, but I do agree that the only choices are either to shut up and put up with it or to leave.
I am far from elite, and neither are most of the people I know (including those past 40), but looking at them, they seem to be doing rather well for themselves. While not wealthy, they certainly aren't destitute. I find it strange that the Singapore Serf should know so many people who are "desperately hungry". Are there really so many starving people in Singapore that I don't know about? I do think, though, that life will get harder as time goes by. This will be true not only in Singapore, but all over the world, because there are just too many people, and just so much resources on this planet.
Though I acknowledge the fact that the government mostly does the things it does because it has to do them, I do take issue with some of the . . . stuff going on here, so I also do not rule out the possibility of migration for myself if stuff gets too unbearable. Due to stuff, you know? Stuff just pisses you off sometimes.
I do think that most people here are contented
with the status quo, the reason being that those who aren't are mostly leaving or have already left. That being the case, I do concur that people who talk too much here tend to get their asses sued off. However, since those who have been sued so far have mostly been politicians, I guess I do not really care about them. Anyway, I reiterate that I think the government has done a good job, insofar as the job is to provide the largest number of people possible with the best material benefits possible. Again, whether this is enough for you as an individual is something you have to decide for yourself.
My opinions on some things:
About the scholar hoohah:
I do not know what exactly he said, but seriously, anyone who threatens to sue a student over what he said in his blog is seriously petty. I may agree that most of what the government does is necessary, but come on, the guy has no job, no power, no money, no influence. Where, exactly, was the threat?
About the gay issue:
I do not think the government should stop them having concerts. I think this attitude (of the government's) will change over the years, but whatever it is, it's not my fight as yet.
About the cats:
I like cats and all, but I'm largely ambivalent about animal rights. I personally feel that before people bother about animal rights, they should solve all the human rights problems first.
About the casinos:
I do not care about people who cannot control themselves and become gambling addicts, because they should be responsible for themselves, so I am not against casinos being built.
Ok, that was a bit of a mess, but as I said, I was in a hurry. I guess I need a disclaimer or something, so here goes.
Disclaimer: If this offends you and you would like to sue me, I didn't mean any of it! Seriously! Don't sue me! PleasedonthurtmeIwanttolive!
I realise it's not much of a disclaimer, but I thought I'd cut to the chase and say exactly what all legal disclaimers say when you pare away the flowery language.