Reading The Tea Leaves

dead end
 
The MSM made a lot of hooey about two weeks ago over a discourse that Mr. Ho Kwon Ping had given at an IPS conference. Mr. Ho, the chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings,  waxed eloquence about 3 scenarios on how the PAP could finally lose power in Singapore:
 
1. "An accidental or freak election result."
 
2. "A split within the PAP resulting in a loss to an opposition party which otherwise might not be stronger than a united PAP.
 
3. "An outright loss to an opposition party."
 
The first scenario is nothing really new because we've heard Lee Kwan Yew talk about it in the past. 
 
We have kind of seen the second scenario play out as well with the WP emerging triumphant in Aljunied and Punggol East.  
 
The third is unlikely in the short term given the state of our opposition political scene; Too many sideshows, too much disunity and the sheer lack of credible alternatives only serve to remind the moderates in Singapore that like it or not we're stuck with the PAP. For now. 
 
That's nothing new to any of us to be honest.
 
There is something that Mr. Ho said about how shifting demographical trends will affect the ability for any government to govern stuck out more for me on a personal level. 
They are:
 
“...it will be increasingly difficult to hold the political centre together in the midst of polarising extremes – liberals versus conservatives; local versus foreign; pro-life versus pro-abortion; gay versus straight, and so forth. While fault lines along race and religion have been contained and have still not cracked, the so-called culture wars are intensifying.’’
 
Yes, we're already seeing fault lines widen within our society. Online discourse has essentially become the metaphorical canary in the coalmine. Online chatter has become a cesspool. Take a look at the rhetoric bandied about online and you will notice that Singapore is becoming increasingly polarized. Everything in life is black and white. There is no grey, no middle ground. If you don't oppose everything this government is doing then you are PAP has become a common refrain in Singapore.
 
Our activists are fond of saying that Singaporeans will be fixed or arrested for speaking out and as a result, we have no freedom of speech. A close personal friend of mine, who has been tortured while he was living under the Pinochet regime, often counters this kind of talk by saying: "This is not a policed state. You are free to go wherever you want and say whatever  you want. No one has been "disappeared" for being anti government." 
 
Talk like that from individuals who've been through real adversity has a tendency to put things into perspective. It also makes you wonder what is driving this society's widening polarity.
 
It's probably anger.
 
Because everyone online seems to be really angry at something.
 
People seem to be angry at gay people for asking for acceptance from a society that has denigrated them as criminals just for being who they are.
 
People seem to be angry at what they think is an overly paternalistic government that is trying to act with the best intentions for it's people.
 
People seem to be angry at themselves for feeling like failures and not being capable enough to succeed in life.
 
People seem to be angry at feeling helpless to do anything to resist or go along with the winds of change in a dynamic world.
 
It's funny how one little emotion continues to create wedge issues that will determine elections and make governing for anyone a nightmarish proposition.
 

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