WE MUST BELIEVE – Roy’s Speech at Third 6.9 Million Population White Paper Protest

Our country has lost its soul. Our people have lost their dignity. Our children no longer know how to be happy. Is this the country that we want? Is this the life that we want? Is this what we want for our children?

There was a time when Singapore was a place that we can be truly proud of. There was a time when Singapore was a place where people from all over the world would come and learn from us. There was a time when Singaporeans were happy and we knew that we were taken care of.

But times have changed, not because our people have changed, but because our government has lost its morals. They have lost their integrity.

Singapore Is Now One Of The Most Unequal Countries In the World

Singapore is now one of the most unequal countries in the world. We have one of the highest prices in the world. But Singaporeans are paid the lowest wages among the developed countries. So, we have the lowest purchasing power among all the rich countries. But we are the richest country, if not one of the richest countries in the world.

Yet, our government cannot give our people the standard of living that the other truly developed countries can.

Our old people have to work as cleaners in the hawker centres, in the toilets. And our old people cannot rest at home and retire happily, because they have been robbed of their savings. They have been betrayed by their government. Our older Singaporeans take up most of the blue collar jobs in Singapore. And they have been paid low wages for more than the past ten years.

In fact, the poor in Singapore have not seen their real wages grow since 2000.

Everything changed since 2000. The PAP lost its bearings.

The PAP created policies that are unequal. The rich continue to get richer while the poor continue to get poorer. All this time, the PAP refuses to give money back to the poor. Our poor and our old have helped the PAP grow, but the PAP has turned their backs on the poor, and on our elderly in Singapore.

The PAP spends the lowest government spending for Singaporeans among all the developed countries. The PAP spends one of the lowest on healthcare in the world. In fact, Singaporeans actually have to pay the highest out-of-pocket money for healthcare.

Now, prices have shot up, but our wages continue to be depressed. And we continue to feel squeezed. Now what we want is not a government that tells us to keep working, because one day, they will increase our wages.

We Want Minimum Wage And We Want To Be Treated Fairly

What we want is minimum wage. What we want is to earn higher wages! What we want is to earn enough so that even as prices keep increasing, even as housing prices have shot all the way up, and even as things become so much more expensive in Singapore, what we want is that we can continue to earn enough to live properly, to save, to retire, and to be treated fairly and equally.

To be treated like proper human beings, with our pride and our dignity.

What we want is a society that respects us for what we do, and not a society that looks down on us because of what we do. What we want is a society that says that even as cleaners, as construction workers and as service staff, we are people to be valued, people to be respected, looked up to, admired and protected. What we want are to be paid higher wages even as cleaners, construction workers and service staff.

No matter who we are in Singapore or what we do, we have a right to a live a life of dignity, to live a life that is safe and protected. We have a right to earn at least $2,000 every month, regardless of who we are.

Why must people have to sell their homes to see the doctor, because they do not have enough to pay for their hospital bills? Why must children have to have their self esteem lowered, because of a school system that tells them they are not good enough? Why must we constantly live in fear, because we do not know if we have enough to live another day?

This is not the society we want. This is not the society that we believe in. We do not want to live in fear. We do not want to live in suspicion. We do not want to live in anger.

But Why Are We Angry? Are We Really Angry At Foreigners?

But why are we angry? Do we know why we are angry or what we are angry about? We think we are angry with foreigners. We are angry with them for coming into Singapore to take our jobs, we blame them for us taking home low wages. We scold them for not behaving like us. But what do we want them to behave like? Do we want them to be like us? Angry, bitter? And unhappy about our lives?

So, the question I ask again, is, why are we angry?

We are not angry with the foreigners. We are angry with the government. We are angry with the PAP’s policies. We are angry that we are keeping quiet. We are angry that we are not speaking up about them, about what’s not right! We are angry that we have given our lives away, that we have not stood up, and spoken up against them; for them robbing what is ours away from us, and from stealing from us.

And so, we get angry, and because we feel that we are powerless to speak up against the government, we turn our attention on the foreigners instead. If the government creates policies that allow more foreigners to come in and if we do cannot anything to the government, we will get angry at the products of their policies – the foreigners.

But think about it – if you were to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or to any other country, do you want people to get angry at you for coming in, when you get to go in because of their government’s policies? You won’t want them to get angry at you!

The foreigners who are here are in this together. The poor who come here are also bullied by our government.

Divide And Conquer – A Timeless Strategy To Rule

And all this while, the government rubs its hands in glee. Now, let the people fight the people. Let them fight over themselves. Let them scold each other. Let them laugh at one another. And as long as they do that, they will forget about us – the government.

And Singaporeans, we have fallen for it. And so Singaporeans get angry with Singaporeans, Singaporeans get angry at the foreigners, activists get angry at one another, but none of us can see that we have all fallen into their trap.

They put the bait, and we fell for it.

And all this while, they watch, they keep quiet, and they earn more money, while they don’t give us any back, because we have forgotten to ask for it.

Because as we fight among ourselves, we forget what we are fighting for.

We Have To Vote For The Government That We Want

But remember, Singaporeans, what we want are higher wages, and what we should really do is to turn our attention back to the government and ask for higher wages, to ask for minimum wage.

So, I ask you today, what should we stand for? Who should we turn our attention to? We need to know this very clearly inside ourselves and we cannot be distracted by them. We must always stay focused, and we must tell the PAP – Singapore is ours and we are going to take it back. We will create the Singapore that we want!

And we can.

The PAP has seen its number of votes drop since 2000. Since 2000, the PAP has turned its back against Singaporeans, and we have turned our backs against them. From 2001 to 2011, their votes dropped from 75% to 66% to 60%. 2011 was the lowest vote share that the PAP has ever gotten since 1965, and we will make it go even lower to less than 55% in 2015 or 2016.

Singaporeans, you know, you know what is right for you, and you know that you will do what is right to protect yourself. Since 2000, the income inequality have kept going up, the proportion of Singaporeans who are able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum has dropped, healthcare prices have increased, housing prices have increased and COE has increased. And all this while, our wages remained stagnant. Now, we can feel all of these, we know that our lives are not getting better, we feel our lives squeezed. And we live in fear, day by day.

And that’s why we vote against the PAP, and that’s why the PAP is losing, and will continue to lose.

The question is, how can we vote? How do you vote to make sure that you can get the government that you want?

But, the question is what is the kind of government that we want? Is it one where the opposition forms only one-third of the government, all just to block the PAP for 5 years? Or do we want a government where the opposition parties take up more than half the seats, and form a coalition government that will represent the interests of ALL Singaporeans?

The choice is up to you. But we have a choice as to whether Singapore will continue down this road of inequality that we are on now, and break down in 15 or 20 years. Or we can put a different government in place, and allow us to have a chance to chart a new way forward for Singapore. It might be uncomfortable for the first 5, 10 years, but once we have fairness, and once we have equality, our country, our society, will last several more generations, with a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so that we will achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

If we want fairness and equality, then we have to vote for the fair government that we want.

So now, at the next election, this is what we do. If we want a government that will take care of our interests – one, vote for all the Worker’s Party’s seats in. Two, vote for the top two teams of each of the other parties – NSP, SPP, SDP and DPP. Now if we can get all of them in, we will be able to take up at least half the seats, which will allow us to be the majority in government.

We Must Believe And We Must Have Courage

Singapore today is at a turning point. Never before has our society been so unequal. Never before has our people felt so unhappy. Never before has the people felt so vulnerable. Never before have we felt so bullied, and pushed to the corner.

It is time to push back, Singaporeans. It is time to let our voices be heard. It is time to rise up and stand united. We cannot let them divide us. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted. It is time to reach out to the person next to you, to support one another. We need to stay united. We need to stay strong together.

We have to be brave. We have to have courage. We must have the conviction and strength to stand up, and say that we believe in a fair society – a society that every single one of us will be taken care of by the government, and by each and every one of us.

It is time to be brave. It is time to come out. It is time to do what is right for ourselves, choose what is right for us, and show them that we mean business.

It is time, Singaporeans

We must believe that we can create the life that we want. We must believe that we can create the Singapore we want. We must come together, and speak up, to be as one. And we must believe that we can put in the government that we want, and the government that will treat us right.

We must believe that that our society can be equal. We must believe that we can live in a country where our people will look out one another. We must believe that we can have a life that will be respected, no matter who we are or what we do. We must believe that Singapore is a truly equal country, when we will always make sure that everyone is protected, where everyone is taken care of. We must believe that we can create a Singapore that is truly ours, and a Singapore that we will be proud of.

We cannot let the PAP steal Singapore from us. For far too long, they have destroyed our country, our people, our pride and our dignity. Now, it’s time to take it back.

It’s time.

We must believe that we have the power to make things right. The power is within you. The power lies in your hands – all of you, in all of us!

Because we are the people. We are the power. And we must always remember that, and stand up, and take back what is ours!

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17 comments

  1. Johannes

    Hi, this is the first time i read thehearttruths’ article in full. I think it is a very insightful read. I am also sensing the problems that SIngapore is facing. What caught me thinking is what will I do if I have the authority to make changes? It seems like you have some ideas in mind. Perhaps you could share, if you dun mind? ^^

  2. Soh Lung Teo

    Great speech Roy! Singapore needs young people like you! I was there yesterday, sitting on the grass and enjoying the speeches and the sight of Singaporeans once again becoming interested in the future of our country. The PAP have robbed us of our soul for too long. I fully agree with you that power must be returned to the people and we know that the PAP will never voluntarily give up power without the people’s resolve and action. Yeah, People Power!

  3. Jen Li

    I am so proud of you and your speech. Most Singaporeans are living in their own dreamland and accepting whatever policies that are shafted into their throat. They complained and then complied. It’s a illness that need to be examined and eradicated. Wake Up !

  4. Disappointed

    Singaporeans have to have a higher wage to combat current inflation as well as future inflation. Humans are not that hardy as humans have to retire at a certain age. A portion of the money 20 yrs old youngster earns today is money spent 35 yrs later when they retire. Hence, wages growth to keep up with inflation is the bare minimum of the work of the government.

    With housing price continue to rise at an alarming rate in the last few years and food and our need facilities such as childcare, health care and transport continue to be horribly insufficient and that leads to a high pricing across everything. For instance, I believe most young Singaporean, like my wife and myself have purschase a house that price at 400K with 30 yrs loan. By then at the age of 60 plus, all our CPF savings would have gone to our purchase of a home. Are there any more funds in the OA account for retirement? There is none. I have to continue to work past retirement age till I drop dead. Now, we have lots of BTO projects. I do not see what this will lead to. I do not hope that in the long run, I am paying so much more than the others.

    In Singapore, I have an impression that wide range of unskill cheap foreign talents that come to Singapore from the developing country, be it maid, clerical worker, professional, comes to SIngapore to accept earn high income given exchange rate from their respective countries hence, depress here if not stagnant Singaporean wage. With Singapore open up to so many foreign talents taking up managerial position, it is also hard to believe these foreign talents will not prefer to groom their country’s people in our country. What’s for Singaporean now? Descriminate in their very own country?

    To make thing worse, in my experience I can see that most bosses want workers working for long hours without overtime pay eventhough the contract stated as 8 hours work only. I do not understand why such our govt keep pushing the blame to its people when the society the government created, itself is not pro-family oriented. When everything is price as such a high level and wages seems to grow at such a slow rate, how can we Singaporeans save up for retirement? Govt says that we have GDP growth. Is GDP growth a growth in the expense of Singaporean?

    Now, where does our home people who sacrifice their 2.5 yrs of income plus youth and 10 cycles of training plus IPPT because it’s our country, stand? More sacrifices to come?

    • Johannes

      Just a disclaimer, i am not a Pro PAP or whatsoever. I am just a curious student whom heard a lot of complains and praises about Singaporean government.

      I agree that Singaporeans have to have a higher wage as compared to now, at the least it matches the inflation rate. But what Singapore government do to achieve that effect? Won’t increasing wage by the government increases the expenditure of the country’s savings? Eventually, to cover that expense, the government will need to increase their tax right?

      With regards to the housing price, i have just gotten the queue number for BTO flat. Correct me if i am wrong, i have seen a wide range prices for the flats offered. Of course there are flats that are offered in the higher price spectrum. but at the same time, there are flats that are offered with cheaper price too. The highest price offered was around 300++k for 5-room flat at around Bukit Merah area (July BTO i think). There are much cheaper flats available for smaller room flat of course. I wanted to paste the list here. But i can’t remember where have i seen the list of prices. pai seh.

      With regards to the foreign workers and working overtime, I thought hiring/firing those workers are the decision of the business owners instead of the government? What can the government do to stop this? Is it even possible to do that? From what i have just learned in my MacroEconomics lesson, the government concerns in this situation is to ensure that the country has a sustainable future, and from the history of some countries, having a closed economy does not sustainable. Even though i agree that the growth of our very own Human Capital is very important, what do you suggest the government to do?

      Oh ya, I thought those goods prices are set by the business owner too. What can the government do here?

      • Samuel

        The government can do a lot. A government’s main function is to regulate the country. People form the country and appoint amongst themselves people to take care of their needs, forming the government. Why need government? To ensure law and order, fairness and justice in our society.

        Higher wages may lead to higher prices. How to curb inflation? Therein lies the importance of government. To ensure fairness through competition. The problem with our society has to do with inequality, not wages per se. Inequality because workers are underpaid and bosses are overpaid. How to correct the situation? Free market. But government has the responsibility to look after Singaporeans. It can and must control the inflow of cheap foreign labour to correct this inequality because no bosses are going to pay higher wages as long as there is cheap supply of labour surpressing the wages of ordinary Singaporeans.

        As for BTO flat prices, these are grossly overpriced. The government paid contractors less than $100k to build each unit. It has no right to make Singaporeans slog their entire lives to pay for something prices 3 times above. Singaporeans have to make a stand or future generations will be looking at million dollar flats or sleep in cages like in Hong Kong. Singaporeans defend the nation and has the right to not pay exorbitant prices for leasing 99 years a small space in the air. Government has to correct this.

      • Johannes - curious student

        Hi Samuel, thank you for your reply and patience in helping me to understand the situation better. I was anticipating for this reply since this morning.. Anyway, for some reason there is no reply button under your message, so i replied this message to myself.

        I understand the importance of Government in the society. Perhaps I should have make myself clearer. About the idea on “having higher wage”, it was mentioned by”Roy” and “Disappointed”, thus in my post, i asked what actions should the government take to lead to such effect. Cuz if the government just announce/dictate a minimum wage blatantly, i think it might lead to further inflation.

        I agree that our society has an inequality issue. I am not exactly sure what leads to this. However, assuming that the reason is as what “Samuel” has mentioned – Inequality because workers are underpaid and bosses are overpaid, I am bewildered by a few points:

        1. What can the government do to solve this problem? As far as i know, workers salary and bosses’ salary are not regulated by the government, but the business owner themselves.

        2. You mentioned that free market is the solution to the situation. i have checked the definition of “free market” in case i misunderstood the meaning. Free market means An economic system in which prices are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses. This means, for free market to happen, there should not be any interference from anywhere, including the government. So, should the government interfere or not?

        3. You have mentioned that the Government “must control the inflow of cheap foreign labour”. What actions do you suggest the Government to take that can help to lead to this outcome? From what i know, the Government has set up a ew rules for employers to employ foreign workers.
        a. Minimum pay for the foreign worker to obtain the Work Pass. It gets higher to discourage employer hiring them.
        b. Work Levy, It is to discourage employer to hire them. The last time i know, there is a $300 levy to hire them.
        c. Local and Foreign employees quota. It is to “force” local companies hire more of local people than foreigners.
        The problem is, somehow the employer “fake” their pay to be able to obtain work pass for their foreign workers. The employer also able to “fake” the ratio of local and foreign workers in their company. I know this through my own experience when i was working part time. Sad to say, i still do not know how my ex-boss able to do that. If not, perhaps i could share.
        With this said, It seems like mostly the problem come from the bosses, the business owner. So what action plan do you have for the govenrment to improve this situation?

        I agree that HDB flats are ridiculously overpriced. I was really shocked when i saw that people comparing the value of HDB flats is equivalent to buy an island in some other country. But, will reducing the flat price really solve the problem? If you currently have a 5-room flat which you purchased with the value of $400k, and one day the government decided to offer BTO flats for only $100k (the stated cost price by “Samuel”). In such situation, I am quite sure it will affect the existing 5-room flat prices. Will you be willing to accept such arrangement as the existing owner of 5-room flat? Or do you have any detailed plan that the government can take to solve this situation?

        Thank you in advance. ^^

      • Samuel

        The idea for having a minimum wage came about because wages of low-wage workers in Singapore has fallen over the last decade to a ridiculously low level that it becomes almost impossible for these workers to retire except to keep on working. I think minimum wage is something that treats the symptom but does not solve the problem. The problem with Singapore is that the government allows too much foreigners to come in to compete with us locals on an unequal footing. Our families are here, our cost of living includes supporting our parents and raising our next generation. Foreign workers come in because of the good exchange rate. They can demand a much lower pay and still support their entire families in their home country. This is not fair and just. Especially for those who also need to fulfill National Service obligations, making us Singaporeans less attractive to hire compared to foreigners.

        What I mean by free market is that the government should not try to dictate what kind of pay employees should get. Instead, they, as the regulator, should control the inflow of foreigners at the immigration gates and let the supply and demand determine the salary rate. Foreigners without skills should NEVER be allowed to work here. There are tons of unskilled foreign construction workers? Why import them here? Because they are dirt cheap. You can get three unskilled workers for the price of one skilled worker. Companies think it is value for money and import them. But this put a BIG strain on our country in terms of housing and transport.

        By restricting cheap labour, in the short term, prices will go up. This is inevitable. But in the long term, as prices go up, more of the money will flow to the workers as they are in a position to demand better pay when supply of labour is in the short. Bosses will have to absorb part of the rise in labour cost to compete with other businesses. Then, and only then, will inequality be narrowed. This is the right solution and only solution.

        The PAP’s employment rules, jobs website, etc, only looks good on paper, but does not work in reality. You yourself have witnessed how employers game the system by misclassifying their employees or coercing some desparate for jobs into a verbal contracts, underpaying their CPF etc. Even with the levies and minimum salary criteria, these are still way below what the market would have paid if we remove all these foreign workers. Indirectly, the PAP government is making it dirt cheap to hire foreigners at our expense. Why at our expense? Because, we could have get better pay without them!

        I don’t have an action plan because I am not the government. What I can do as a responsible citizen, is to vote against the current PAP government at each and every election until it is voted out. The PAP is ideologically too far to the right (extreme captitalism and authoritarian) and it still thinks it is left of center. The reason why it is so is because their MPs are mostly businessmen and directors, out of touch with ordinary folks. They will only push for policies that benefit them, such as the recent revocation of GST on gold investment.

        As for your question on HDB pricing. I think people have to look at it this way. HDB is meant for accomodation. It should NEVER be regarded as an investment. HDB started out as an agency to provide affordable homes. It lost its moral compass along the way. Somebody has to pay a price ultimately for the mistake of a greedy government. It is either this generation or you kick the can to the next or the next after the next. How far do you want to kick the can? Till flat prices hit $1million or you bite the bullet now? The resale market is an open market. Those who bought it on the open market is like buying shares on the stock market. Caveat emptor. Government can change, nothing is guaranteed. I can only say: “Sorry, you bought at the wrong time.” Anyway HDB is meant for staying. Only those who mistake it as an investment would be penalized and rightfully so. Because HDB is meant to achieve a social objective, not a get-rich-quick scheme.

        The benefit of lower HDB flat prices is immense. It means a person can retire earlier, or have a bigger family and less worries about hefty mortgage repayment. It can DEFINITELY lead to higher birthrates. Further, for those who plan to upgrade, it is cheaper to do so when prices are on a downtrend than on an uptrend. This means more people can upgrade to a better living environment.

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  7. John Wong

    I also see that Roy has the right stuff to be a politician.
    I hope he join a political party if not already invited to join.
    Many more needed just to give PAP a run for the money.

    Sadly, after decades of observing singaporean mentality in politics, I conclude that it is their mentality that is allowing PAP to trample over us. Singaproeans are just too timidised and intimidated and brainwashed.

    The 3rd protest shows that with a small gesture by PAP, that is the Job Bank, singaporeans who mostly are keyboard warriors decided to abort the protest. This shows their weak mentality which is why they are dominated easily.

    This is a culture. It will take a decade more to see change.

    By then, most of us would be old already.

    My point is, clearly, the mentality issue has never been addressed even as issues are being raised by bloggers and Hong Lim speakers. As long as it remains so, Change will be very slow.

    The mentality explains the Bochap attitude, Indifference, Political Apathy despite countless PAP policy failures.
    Singaporeans are truely very pathetic.

  8. Worried Singaporean

    Your expectations cannot match up to reality. Accept it, the dynamics of the world are changing. The honeymoon period for Singapore is over. Look at our economy, we are heading into technical recession soon. You like many other Singaporeans expect to have 1001 benefits (cheap flats, high wages, you name it you have it) Where’s all these money going to come from? Government coffers? And then where is this money going to come from? The government doesn’t print money. Well of course, if it spends more. Inflation simply goes up. You also have to accept the fact that every Singapore aspires for progression, especially wages. You should know by now Singapore has no resources. The only resources are its people and money which we know comes from investments and services. Imposing more legislations like you mentioned will only make Singapore less competitive.With the attitude that you and many others have, I am worried for the future of Singapore. Let me put it across to you simply, you expect the Government to provide for everything you want without giving up anything you have.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Worried Singaporean,

      As you’ve mentioned, our only other resource is the people – there has been a gradual movement of Singaporeans who no longer believe in the PAP’s policies, because they’ve realized and analyzed for themselves why they are no longer being valued as resources.

      If the people are our resource, very clearly, we have to invest in the people. As it is, Singaporeans earn the lowest wages and have the least adequate retirement funds among the high-income countries. Singaporeans also have to pay the highest out-of-pocket for health. If indeed we need to protect the people as a key resource, the investment is severely lacking.

      Before anyone play the card and claim that the government should not be spending more that much on the people, perhaps these other statistics would put things into better perspective – Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires as compared to the world, and the highest income earners are paid the one of the highest incomes and they pay one of the lowest taxes in the world.

      The question at this point isn’t whether the people agree whether Singapore should grow or not.

      The obvious reason why Singaporeans are turning away from the PAP is because they know that what they are contributing to the PAP to help the PAP to grow, they are not getting the returns back and they are not able to share in the growth.

      This is why the people are giving up on Singapore.

      Roy

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