During the NKF-SPH trial, Goh Chok Tong said he knew trouble was a-brewing when his wife, in ardent support of TT Durai, said $600,000 was peanuts. Somebody must have realised he himself landed in hot soup by telling his residents at the Marine Parade National Day dinner, "This (spin their own Singapore Dream) is far healthier than to live the Singapore Gripe and drone on like vuvuzelas".
The Straits Times editorial piece tried to soften the blow by claiming that Goh was being both "observational and exhortatory" in his "gentle goading". Goh had referred to current public concerns such as floods, high home prices, crowded trains and distance-based bus fares as The Singapore Gripes, complaints which Goh said, buzz on like the irritating South Africa noise makers. That's about as gentle as being run over by a Leopard tank.
While many would associate Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew with black mouthing Singaporeans as daft, ignorant, etc, it was actually Goh who cast the first stones. He had derided Singaporeans for going on like birds, "cheap cheap cheap", when sighting shopping bargains in Perth - this was when scores of retired civil servants had collected their CPF bonanza and emigrated to WA. Then there was the name calling of Stayers and Quitters. People who live in glass houses shouldn't really throw stones, as his own daughter packed her bags for a foreign land, married a foreign chap and gave him a foreign looking grandchild. This was before foreigners washed on our shores like oil spill from a punctured tanker.
But what is diificult to swallow is the editorial line that Goh - "or any leader" - can do only so much to bring about change, specifically, he "cannot dream for you". So the Swiss Standard of Living was really just for him and his immediates, and not for the general citizenry funding his salary and perks? Was Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech meant for him alone or the populace? It's easy to be cynical about "leaders" when they refuse, or don't know how, to lead the way. Here's the constructive advice: It's time to step aside for others who will, and can, do a better job.