Friday, June 6, 2014

The Destruction Of Politics

The last episode of Talking Point ("Can Politics Be Constructive") kicked off by regurgitating the official definition of constructive politics, namely:
  • Effective policies that improve lives,
  • Putting forward good leaders,
  • Robust, open debate,
  • High standards of integrity, and
  • Rallying people around a common cause.

The panelists, comprising a cultural critic (what's that?), an academic and a president of a student's union, spoke eloquently and presented credible viewpoints. It was also obvious they were overtly cautious about pushing the envelope, and veering too close to O.B. markers. Invisible, malleable goal posts demarcating the imagined boundaries of politically correct articulation. They are so definitely not looking forward to a lawyer's letter in the mail.

But the common man, pushed to the threshold of pain, has no such qualms. It was refreshing, therefore, when a caller spoke from his, and our hearts. The parsing of language may be no match to the erudite guests at the table, but you can't fault him for purity of thought. He kicks in at around 39:31:
"First of all, I think very important is....  leadership is about being able to listen (to) both good and bad without getting angry, and without having the urge for retaliation. Like, you know, possibly like suing and things like that.
So I guess it's better that you say, okay, you say your points, we can always discuss. I'll get my perm sec, I'll get my ministers, then we sit down and call you in, or call a few guys in and have a chat. Then we can put up a report, yes, we have discussed this and this is what we have come up to a conclusion or whatever.
Basically it is a more amicable way of doing things for the progress, and for moving forward constructively. That is constructive politics.
Destructive is, basically you clobber people, you threaten people, and you do things that anger people, and worse still, you get politicians coming up with words like xenophobic and things like that. You know, it is uncalled for, it irritates."

It's weird, when you listen to this a couple of times, it sounds so familiar. It evokes a sense of déjà vu especially for the pioneer generation. Once upon a time, Lee Kuan Yew used to speak like this, off the cuff, on a simple stage, without a prepared script. That was how he used to rally the people around a common cause.


  1. Even by their official definition of constructive politics, this regime has failed miserably.

    Putting forward good leaders - Really? Like the PM?

    Robust, open debate - Really? Like the NatCon?

    Rallying people around a common cause - Really? Like the Population White Paper?

    1. "Effective policies that improve lives" - HDB flats, medical treatment are affordable to the majority ? CPF scheme is a success for retirement ? Making Singapore the most expensive city is for the common good ? Influx of foreign workers/residents by the millions is good for our infrastructure ?

      "High standards of integrity" - the standards are so high in the PAP government that implementing transparency and accountability will become a waste of resources and time ?

      "Robust, open debate" - it is so robust, open amongst PAP ministers and MPs behind closed doors that there's nothing left to discus in parliament ?

  2. How can it be constructive politics when the PM himself admits to spending his time fixing the opposition ? And now spending his 'most expensive' time thinking how to sue and get the most aggravated damages from a fellow citizen ?

    Come to think of it, he seems to be paid in such obscene wages and yet get involved in the most petty things that only someone lacking in wisdom would attempt to. Even Dr. M of our neighbouring country says he would not sue even if anyone curse him, it is simply part of politics.

    Looks like he did not envisage that many people will be cursing him like mad.

    1. No wonder the country is in such a mess?

    2. When the skin is thin, compassion is shallow. So when they say beauty is only skin deep, perhaps they mean ugliness cuts right through the bone.

  3. Lee Kuan used to rally the people by speaking off the cuff. Then what happened? People seem to swear and curse at him, some had chilled their champagnes for yeats. Others say they will urinate and spit at his tomb. How come?

    Have the People feel they have been betrayed by the Man they once strongly believed in? Or have they found the true colour of the Man a little too late?

  4. I never watch these propaganda shows on Channel 5. It is always scripted, with planted moles posing as participants or the public like the recent natcon. Then they also screen through the phone call to ensure you say the "right" thing before putting you on live. These shows are basically wayang and main objective is to deliver the PAP viewpoint.

    1. But I like that caller' opinion . He spoke for almost All of us. Wonder how he wayang to get through the screening ! Sorry, if I also harbor that nagging suspicion that our MSM are capable of nothing better !

  5. The grand plan of the old autocrat has been to gain political control by any means. And when that is achieved to stultify any attempts to dislodge him. He had always been a closet capitalist of the Margaret Thatcher variety; a Thatcher before Margaret, if you like. Cane them, incarcerate them in solitary confinement (the worst punishment to dole out, he admitted recently), and stick the spurs in their thick hides. Victorian values beneath that Confucian robe he hangs around his emaciated body these days. Planting Fifth Army entities to destroy whoever displaces them at the ballot box. Didn't he refuse to answer Catherine Lim's question whether he would call in the army should he lose the GE? The system of handpicking leaders devised by him is an epic failure. All talk of constructive politics is meant to ensure their place in politics. The public is now not so naiive as not to notice the gap between their talk and their practice. Time for change.

  6. Once upon a time, Lee Kuan Yew used to speak like this, off the cuff, on a simple stage, without a prepared script. That was how he used to rally the people
    Even my illiterate 83 yr old mother made this observation just recently. She also lamented that government policies are making her children's lives difficult and indirectly affecting hers. Even the pioneer generation can sense the 1st gen leaders turning in their graves.

  7. After 50 years in power, people get lazy.
    Some even become senile and delusional.

    "The hate of men will pass, and dictators die,
    and the power they took from the people will return to the people.
    And so long as men die, liberty will never perish."

    Charlie Chaplin - The Great Dictator

    1. "Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate!

      Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

      Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

      In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

      Let us all unite."

    2. Obviously Chaplin never heard of the Great Benevolent Dictator.

  8. I never listen to or watch Singapore Radio or TV Channels. The analysis are regurgitating the official line. After listening to them you get ear fatigue. However there are very few good commentators in Singapore - they are foreigners in our Think Tank. They only comment and provide analysis on our close neighboring countries - smart people. For ST - just read the Sports page.
    BBC, CNN and The New York Times to name a few have great stuff. Enjoy reading them. Even NIKKEI ASIAN Review have good analysis. These media have little coverage on Singapore. However their analysis, interviews, argument make for excellent reading and listening.

  9. "Once upon a time, Lee Kuan Yew used to speak like this, off the cuff, on a simple stage, without a prepared script. That was how he used to rally the people around a common cause."

    The cameleon who fooled them all, like the wizard of OZ. The better they talk, the more hollow they turn out to be - obummer (killer drones), tony blair (Iraq), bill clinton (lots of dead sperm and lies)- all great talkers with blood on their hands. How will history judge harry? By his legacy of stooges and buffoons runnng the red dot down.

  10. When your mind has strayed from the people, you lose your original direction:

  11. Conflating PAP with "Singapore" and "Singaporeans" in the case of the law suit against Roy:
    I saw the following exchange between a PAPig and another blogger in Roy's website.

    So how does PM Lee’s law suit against Roy benefit me or Singaporeans?

    How does Roy’s baseless insinuation benefit any of us?
    He could have used the time and effort spend to write factual analysis of CPF and perhaps some valid solutions as well.

    ” He could have used the time and effort spend to write factual analysis of CPF ”

    So are you saying the PAP government will provide the facts necessary for Singaporeans and Roy to do a “factual analysis of CPF” ?

    “How does Roy’s baseless insinuation benefit any of us?”

    - Roy’s questions and postings have opened up the minds of Singaporeans to ask for more transparency from the PAP government.
    So Roy’s “baseless insinuation” has definitely benefited Singaporeans.
    PAP may not have benefited.
    But Singaporeans have benefited from Roy’s blogging.

    1. If data and information are not made available to Roy or the public how do you expect Roy to make factual analysis. Moreover if data are available to the public there is no need for Roy to make a factual analysis.

      Is like telling your child to buy food during recess but the child is not given money. Look if this is PAPig: mindset then Singapore is in big trouble.

    2. The crux of Roy's presentation is that if questions can be levied at Kong Hee's movement of funds, we should be able to query the flow of CPF monies. The CHC group is innocent until proven guilty, so why are the people in charge of the CPF so guilty conscious?

    3. NatCon got use or not?
      Meet-The-People's-Session got use or not?

      The only thing that will get anything done is to vote out PAP.

    4. "I make no apologies that the PAP is Treachery and Treachery is PAP" - coalition government leader, 2016

      "I make no apologies that the PAP leadership belongs in Changi Hotel and Changi Hotel is exclusively for the PAP leadership" - bounty hunters club president, 2016.

  12. I don't want Singapore to be a Global City. I want it to be My City. This country don't belong to the whole world, it belongs to us. Ah Loong, please straighten out your head.

    I don't want the politics of repression, of fear, of money, of self-interests. You were elected to look after your people, not yourself, and that's what your policies should be geared towards. I want a true Democracy - that is what the Pledge is all about. I want a government of the people, by the people, for the people; not a government of the PAP, by the PAP, for the PAP. Change we need.

    “I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.” - Lee Kuan Yew, Petir, 1982

    1. Does this mean government reserves is also PAP's reserves?

    2. The rooster of 1982 soon to be a feather duster.

    3. GDP growth at any cost is a prime example of the politics of money. Money is important, but many of the policies are implemented to simply amass wealth, with a lot of social costs because of it's miserly attitute towards it's people. This regime has lost sight of why it was elected by the people.

      It is worthwile to remember this saying: Money is a means to an end, not the end in itself.