Category: Current Affairs
Published on Monday, 12 January 2015 00:00
It's becoming more and more apparent that the PAP is basically Singapore's whipping boy: The party is basically viewed as a symbol of everything wrong with the country and blamed for all it's problems, at least in the eyes of the anti establishment and disenfranchised.
This kind of mentality however masks the more deeply rooted problem within this county.
Remember first and foremost, that the PAP is a political party. And as such it is obliged to play to its voter base and implement whatever policies they demand. Politics is simply another form of business. As long as the party (or corporation) continues to meet the demands of the market (or voters) the longer the party will survive.
If the PAP seems to be made up of power hungry money grubbing elites, it's probably because that's the image that most Singaporeans have been cultivated to respect and use as the definition of success. We are a society that has come to equate competence with material wealth and paper qualifications rather then using character and moral fortitude as kpi of success.
Don't believe me? Look at how Singaporeans reflexively equate poverty with immorality:
How many of you grew up with your parents telling you that if you don't work hard and study hard you will end up as a road sweeper? The first thing we seem to talk about at family get togethers or class reunions are about what scholarships our kids got or how much they are earning. For some odd reason few Singaporean parents like to trumpet that their kids are doing community work to make their world a better place.
If the PAP appears elitist, it's only because it is in essence, a reflection of the zeitgeist of Singapore. We don't seem to realize that whenever we rail about the PAP, we're actually complaining about what we hate about what we see in the proverbial mirror.
People need to realize that condemning or voting the PAP out is not going to fix our problems. Ask any opposition politician in private settings if they honestly think that things will instantly be better if the PAP is voted out and they'll probably give you the same answer: No. That is exactly why our opposition loves to repeat the anti PAP mantra "vote them out" instead of offering solutions to the public. They're just peddling a bunch of easy answers with no solutions.
Our politicians, PAP or otherwise, are complicit in the state we are in. They pander to their political bases to perpetuate the myth that only they can fix all our problems. And we seem to lap it up. We constantly allow ourselves to be distracted by our "thought leaders" who continually raise petty issues in the name of some self righteous agenda instead of focusing on the solving the problems our country faces.
Why do we allow ourselves to be led around the nose by political pandering?
Because we want to be told what to do so we can divest ourselves of the responsibility of making our own decisions. If the PAP appears to determine everything in our lives, it's because many of us want them to. Just look at how people seem to reflexively say that our problems are the fault of the government and that the government should be the one to fix our problems whenever something goes wrong.
So what can we do to bring about the change we truly want?
- Educate yourself by reading about the various political ideologies and their limitations and benefits. Doing this will educate yourself on alternatives to our conservative ideology and give you ideas on how you can adopt and implement political solutions. Many of us envy the Norwegian or Australian system but few of us realize that their system cannot be implemented in Singapore.
- Play video games such as Civilization and Tropico. They do a good job of helping you understand how political and cultural ideologies are implemented and what kind of compromises are made to do so in the process.
- Travel and keep yourself abreast of world matters. Many of our economic realities in Singapore are a direct result of global economic shifts: Oil prices, mass immigration and climate change put upwards pressures on the prices we end up paying for the products we consume. Being a world traveler makes you more savvy of the economic realities that other nations face and give you some real perspective on matters at home.
- Finally think for yourself and civilly question sweeping statements that defend the status quo. Most status quo defenders find it hard to defend what they're trying to sell you when they have to get into the nitty gritty details. Present and explain alternative solutions that you think could work in our situation instead of just blindly saying it's not my problem to come up with the answers, it's yours. This is how you end up having a stake in the development and direction of your country.