PM Lee, PAP: Please Do the Right Thing Now

Singapore, How Can We Reconcile?

I am sad. What has happened to Singapore? What has happened to the Asian miracle? Years of success and this is where we are. People, angry at the government, at one another, at ourselves. We are really quite laughable.

I am sad. The turn of events has been upsetting. It doesn’t have to be this way, Singapore. But why are we so angry? By now, the government should realise that after years of educating people to become engineers, doctors and scientists, and neglecting the softer skills, this is what you get – a people so deep in the numbers and being so calculative that there’s very little to spare in terms of introspection and awareness. Years of drilling rationality into people have created a pragmatic society – yes, a society useful for the economy, but where is the heart? Just as well, our government leaders are a byproduct of this education and they’ve themselves lost that heart, empathy and understanding for people.

I hope by now, the government realizes how this sole drive towards creating workers for the economy has resulted in a people who think only about money and rationalise in terms of money. You can throw more money at people, but when they are angry, they will burn your factory down. Here, in the Singapore factory, you can’t retrench us all and employ new workers because like it or not, our lives our intertwined, because even though we are your workers, we happen to be citizens as well. Just that you forgot.

And what do we do now? What do we with people who are so angry and whom we cannot do away with? We bring in all these other people, but they don’t come in quick enough and they cannot replace these angry people. And somehow, these angry people are starting to realise what we are doing and that’s why they are angry – we are trying to replace the workers. And only now, are we starting to realise – shit, they are our citizens too.

Where can we go from here? PM Lee, I appeal to you to do something drastic now. It’s time for the government to be bold, to do the right thing. Now, we have become an example for other countries to look at where they know that they cannot have a singular focus towards developing the workers without developing their hearts. And that’s why you are now working with China to try to jointly develop solutions to social issues. But Singapore is not China. The problems that we now face are very different from them.

Actually, you know what needs to be done. But this is the time you need to have the courage to do something. PM Lee, please, I am appealing to you. Please do something now. Everyday, I see Singaporeans get angry. And now our ministers are joining in the fray. They are saying things to protect themselves too. Everyone is protecting themselves. I started this blog initially to provide alternative truths of the government. But as I dug out more things, I also begin to realise why the government do certain things. You have your reasons. But I also realise that you don’t do certain things which you need to. I wanted to stop writing but everyday, there’s something else. And I want to write so that I can help Singaporeans understand. I want to help to understand why the government do certain things so that I can help explain it to Singaporeans. But how far can I go with this?

There are many things that we don’t know. We don’t know why the government do so many things, why you are taking our money and keeping it. Then why some of you are getting richer. Why some people are getting richer while the rest of us get poorer. Yes, it is about money. But it’s about something else. People feel that they are not respected. Why are you doing something without asking me? Why are you taking away my money and then telling me that there’s not enough for me? Why can you not give me more money when you want me to help you produce more workers? Why are you not giving me enough time to rest but making me work like crazy? Why? Why must I sweat and toil for you and your economy? What’s in it for me? I see you getting better. Your GDP per capita has increased to being the first in the world. But my pockets aren’t any better. Why?

It’s about respect. PM Lee, all people want is respect. They are angry because they feel that they are not respected. You won’t know how it feels because you are doing so well. But for the rest of us, we are worried.

PM Lee, people just want respect. Can you please do something to fix this? Please, you need to. It pains me to see Singaporeans angry. It pains me, when we have everything in Singapore, but we feel we don’t.

PM Lee, PAP, please, you have to do the right thing. You have to do what is right. And you have to be bold. I know you believe in doing things in measured tones so we don’t suddenly shake things up. But this is not the time for that. Not when day in, day out, people are so angry. Not when it feels like we are a time bomb waiting to explode.

You know what the people need. You know what you can do to respect the people and make things right. PM Lee, PAP, please, find ways to give people their money back. Find ways to let them pay less for healthcare out of their own pockets. Let the poor earn more faster now. Let families have more time off and pay more for their childcare needs. Let it be cheaper for young people to want to study university. Please, I am appealing to your better senses. Please, please, do the right thing. 

Please PM Lee, PAP. Please find ways to help people find happiness. Please find ways to create more shows, more carnivals, which are all about good old fun and enjoyment. Please just let it be simply about being fun, relaxing and being yourself. Please, you need to give people this. People need to be themselves. They need to be free and to enjoy. 

Please, PM Lee, PAP, you need to do the right thing. You need to do what is right. You need to respect the people, as human beings, who actually do really want to enjoy their lives. Who want to love, to be free, to be themselves. And then, when they are all these, they will work, they will make their lives worthwhile, they will do their best in what they do because they believe. Because we want to come together to make Singapore the best that it can be.

Please, PM Lee, PAP, please do the right thing. I had some hope when I saw the government did some right things in the past few months. You were trying. In the face of all that anger, you had hope. You were smiling. You believed. And then you try to make things work. But people continued to be angry. And I’m sorry. They still do not feel respected. They still feel hurt. So they continue hurting you. And now you feel their hurt, and now you feel hurt as well. And now you want to tell them to stop it, because you can get hurt too.

PM Lee, PAP, I am sorry. I am sorry that you are hurt. But I am sorry that we are hurt too. I’m sorry because what has Singapore become? I am sorry because who have we become? What have you become? I am so sorry … But you must continue to hope. You have to continue to believe. PM Lee, PAP, please help us, please help yourself. You need to continue to hope. You need to do the right thing. And you need to be bold. You know what needs to be done. Please do it. Please do it now. To the right thing. Save the people. Save my country. Save our country. You really need to do this. Because we can be so much more, if only we come together and make it happen. Please.

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4 comments

  1. lefleche

    PM Lee can’t afford to do the right thing. He wouldn’t and couldn’t. The right thing would mean first of all, firing his wife from Temasek. The second would be to return the ministers pay to levels that match the first world countries. The ‘right thing’ will cause him to lose his wealth. You can’t tell a greedy man to put the needs of others first. It is not in his DNA.

  2. My Right to Love

    Dear all,

    Thank you for all your comments. Do keep them coming.

    Please let me explain why I write this article. Like many of you, I am not happy with the government. Like many of you, I think more can be done. Like many of you, I want to do something on my part to try to change things. I think that is the crux – how can we change things?

    But, like some of you, I appreciate the government for bringing us to where we are. The simple truth is if the government had not done what they had done in the early years of Singapore, our standard of living won’t be much off that of our neighbours. And we won’t have much to complain about, because we will be worrying more about making ends meet. But, like many of you, I agree that the current government needs to take a serious look at themselves, and to be less fearful, and be bold to do the right thing. They have to move on with us.

    I have started this blog because I had initially saw how the government has contorted some truths to purport an agenda that supports their growth plans. This unnecessarily distorts the reality of Singapore, and thus sidelines the urgent need for the government to do more for Singapore. I thus started writing articles because I want to be able to present contrasting facts, to help us be more objective in our understanding.

    As I write, I realise that there are also many Singaporeans who have started to write. And they provide very good arguments as well. As the months went by, I realise how many of us started going online to voice our anger and resentment towards the government. We are obviously very upset and feel slighted. And soon, the government joined in the fray. This got me very upset. Because, if we are both antagonising one another, when will an end come to this? 冤冤相报何时了

    Of course, there are some who find the current circumstance favourable. If people are complaining, then the conversations will move us forward. Perhaps it’s true. But, at the same time, if this is indeed so, I am upset that the debate so far has veered towards us venting our frustrations and the government fearing backlash, and thus their self-protection. And what will come out of it?

    I do not have a stake in either sides. I do not want to help Singaporeans complain and be angry. Neither do I want to help the government to look good – I am not the PR company that they should have changed long ago. But I do have a stake in Singapore. I do have a stake in this little island which is so beautiful, which we have forgotten to know how to appreciate, because we are so caught up in our anger, our stresses and our fears. We forget to see how beautiful our country is. We forget to realise that this is a wonderful place – AND if we are not happy with how some of it is, then we will do something – we will say how this place can be better.

    I am very disappointed as I read the discussions on this post. The mudslinging continues. We are no different from the government, we think is corrupt. We are no different because if we think of ourselves as better than them, we are not. We are as despicable in our crude remarks and snide attacks at others – and this goes for those who are both pro-PAP and anti-PAP. See, I thank those who have made comments on this posting which have been comforting. I do get hurt when I see people make comments which are directed at me – for the record, I am not a gay Malaysian. I am a gay Singaporean.

    But, see, we are none the better if we act like the government we think they are. And now, because of our ongoing deluge of inflammatory comments, we have invited the government to do the same as well. How long more to we want to go on like this – both pro-PAP and anti-PAP supporters? How long more do we want to be like angry relatives in a family that tear each other’s houses apart? We make fun of siblings from a rich family fighting over their dead father’s will. Other countries are similarly laughing at us now.

    I do not take sides in this. What I want is very simple. I want to live a life that I can be happy about, that I can pursue what I believe in and live a life that is free, and that I can be passionate about. This is all I want. This is all I care about. And that is why I write these articles. I am not an economist, not a scientist, and definitely not a prophet. I cannot imagine what Singapore will be like in 2083. But I can dream up many, many stories. I can even dream of a land where there will no more government, and we will be able to rule ourselves to eternity.

    What I want is this – how can we come together, learn to understand one another, and find a way to move forward together. The government might not be fantastic. So, we help them. We either give them solutions, or if they don’t take them, we break them. Otherwise, any smart government will do the right thing and balance the people’s real needs and broader issues, to implement things that will achieve the greater good for its people and the country.

    I am sorry, everyone. I am sorry if I have hurt you, because what I say might not be something which you agree with. I am very sorry if I am writing things which you might find offensive. But look beyond what I say. Please look at what I hope for – it is the same as what you want. We want to live our lives, respected and free, to be able to be ourselves and do what we want. This is what we want.

    I make this plea again to my government – please do the right thing, only because you know what is right, and please respect us and work with us to make things work.

    And my fellow Singaporeans, we need to really now have the maturity to be able to think broadly and deeply on issues, and not think superficially about how they can affect our lives. We cannot let anger be own main and primary response to any issue that the government brings out. PAP is the government, whether we like it or not. We can choose to stay angry for the next 4 years before the next elections, or we can choose to come out with solutions and lock them in with the government. You have 4 years to push them to do things, or you have 4 years to be stuck in the rut. And, when you have done all you can to help them improve, and they won’t, then you must remember that if you are capable, you stand up, you go run for the elections, and you make sure you fix our country’s issues when you become the government. And if you continue to vote for PAP in the next election even if you are unhappy, then you have to reflect on yourself and why you did it.

    Why was it, when you were at the ballot box, you voted for PAP, and then went on being angry with them again? No, don’t tell me it’s because the opposition isn’t good enough. If you can’t get your ass out to stand for elections, or if you cannot develop solutions to help make Singapore a better place, no – you cannot complain, and get everyone angry with you together, so that you feel good that everyone is angry with you – yay, everyone feels like me. I feel vindicated.

    Then what? So, what if we are happy that everyone is angry like us? Then, what’s next? What’s next, Singaporeans?

    What can we do to move Singapore into the next era? What can we do to help the country that we live, that we belong to and we work and toil ourselves for? Are we going to wait for the government to give us another handout? Are we hoping to complain until the cows come home, and wait for the government to do something, and be as unreactive as are now? What do we want to do? What do you want to do?

    You have a choice. I do not take a stand. What do I know? I am only a boy who wants to live a life that I am be who I am with, and that I am happy with. And because of that, I will write. And I will say what I need to say – be it towards the government, or towards you. I will do what I believe in, and what I know is right, because that’s all I know. I want to find a way to live the life that I want.

    What will you do?

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