The Haze Came At An Opportune Time For The Government
The haze came at the right time, right after Vivian’s badly-mangled politicking with the Worker’s Party over the cleaning of the hawker centers, as well as with the Aim saga. If the haze drags out long enough, this would be just the thing needed that the PAP hopes could wash clean their slate and allow them to start anew, to launch towards the next general election.
The People Were Not Going to Take It Sitting Down
But what the PAP didn’t count on were the people’s reactions. It might have been easy to say that the haze was an act of nature and that the government was helpless towards it. If the government could play the victim, say that Indonesia didn’t want to play ball and that they simply had no choice, they might be able to get away with it. If this strategy had worked, they would be able to gain the sympathy of the people and hopefully, the trust of the people, and they could walk towards the next general election more confidently.
But the people were not going to have none of it! The people had a lot more to pick with the PAP – their stagnant incomes, income inequality, increasing prices and their lowering purchasing power. All in, the people’s anger was only further exacerbated by the haze.
The seeming slowness to react served to reinforced among the people that the PAP is incapable. And thus the PAP is now caught in their own making and they are now caught with their pants down.
Having to now need to develop an actual plan to tackle the haze, in view of the people’s anger, they didn’t seem to be able to perform. And so it was only after several press conferences before they could get their act together. Yet, in the most seemingly unimportant episode as the haze, the real capability of the PAP shown through.
The PAP didn’t see it coming. They didn’t know what hit them.
Roles Reversed Between The Government And The People
And because they couldn’t show their cards, they played into the people’s hands. The haze might now actually work in the people’s favour, and finally give them the upper hand that they had needed all along to break free from the control of the PAP after all these years.
In this time of the seeming lack of leadership of the PAP, the people took among themselves and rallied among themselves to help one another, and to advocate for one another’s rights.
From a government which was supposed to have foresight and the best people to serve the country and ones paid millions, the politicians seemed to be scurrying around trying to look like they are the better man.
Stop it already, Singaporeans said. While we were waiting for you to get back into the game, we decided to get in ourselves. And you know what, we didn’t realise that we could do quite a good job as well! We didn’t realise that, you know what, we might actually have a decent chance at running the country by ourselves and, without you around.
Singapore’s Destiny: A New Beginning
What would PAP do next? It would now be in their best interest to get rid of the haze as soon as possible. The haze had turned around and bite them in the bum instead and couldn’t give them the political clout and leverage that another government would have. Instead, it was empowering the people.
For Singaporeans, it is a win situation for us. After the haze, we would come together stronger. And yet, when the government cleans up its act, we would have cleaner air. Ironically, the haze episode has also drawn together people who used to be on two sides – those pro-PAP and those seemingly not pro-PAP. For the first time, the immensity of the haze and the shocking inaction of the PAP had disillusioned even the PAP supporters who deem such behaviour wanton and unbecoming.
Unfortunately, for a PAP which has learnt to spend time “fixing” others, they have forgotten that if they simply do their job and make the people’s lives right, all will be well. Unfortunately still, they believe that the only “right” that the people should do is to “read the right thing”.
Whether they will wake up to their senses is completely up to them. But the haze has cleared the people of their fears and their doubts. The people will now go ahead even more strongly and united. And if the PAP doesn’t come on board, it can get ready to be dislodged, hopefully, gracefully.