When the U.S military planned the helicopter raid on Abottabad, the generals were mindful that it could end up like a bad replay of the disastrous 'Black Hawk Down' incident in Somalia of 1993. Intended or not, Nicole Seah's words in a rally echoed the valuable lesson to be learnt from the Mogadishu triumph over adversity: No one gets left behind. The soldiers cut away a whole section of a helicopter to retrieve the pilot's crushed body, to save it from desecration by the enemy.
The real life picture in Singapore's battle for the underdogs is not that pretty.
"To me, too many citizens have fallen through cracks of the social welfare net or are struggling daily even when they have jobs. What seems to be of greater concern now is the national bottom line, party interests and a respective MP's own report card, " wrote one PAP backer who voted for the opposition in his letter to the Forum page.
Overheard at a rally, was a young man's angst expressed to his friend across the barricade. The helper said he may wear the T-shirt with the party's colours, but he was conflicted internally about the plans to help the poor. This was one who swallowed the incumbent's line that GST was collected from the rich to help the poor. "You are an asset owner," he told his friend, "you understand they will have to raise taxes to fund the poor." His thesis was that the low income lot will fritter away the money directed for their financial assistance, so why waste time and effort on a Robin Hood gesture? This guy was a male version of a Wee Shu Min.
The Theory X and Theory Y explanations of human motivation created and developed by Douglas McGregor assumes the worst and best in men. Theory X assumes the average person dislikes work, has no ambition, shirks responsibility, resists change - and, yeah, needs spurs to be dug into their hides. Theory Y is the softer, kinder approach. It believes that most people will be committed if rewards are in place to address their higher needs such as self-fulfillment. They will be self directed to their work objectives when the opportunity exists to align personal goals with organisational goals. Such people are certainly not daft, and will not appreciate being labelled thus. Unfortunately for us the bunch voted into power has different ideas about the electorate. This is what Lee Kuan Yew said in 1994, "There are not enough old people in Singapore yet. But... there will be .. when they are over 70 years old and they have run out of their CPF savings, they are going to vote for a government that promises them more."