I had initially written this as a Facebook post, but it got too long, so here it is:
Hello, over the past two years, I’ve learnt many things about Singapore. I started out a noob, in the sense that I had used to believe whatever the government said.
I had believed that if the PAP were not the government, Singapore might not do well. I had believed that we cannot increase wages because businesses will leave.
Over the past two years, as I research and learn more about the policies in the other countries, I’ve learnt that what the PAP says is not true – they only want to scare us.
Initially, I had hoped that if I written and advocated to the PAP to listen, they might have a change of heart and listen to Singaporeans. But that never came. I didn’t understand why initially. I thought to myself – maybe it’s difficult and it takes time for them? Is that it?
But the more that I researched and the more that I learnt, that was when I started to realise that tit’s because they don’t care, and they never cared. What they were concerned about were their power and money.
And that got me really angry. This is my life! This is our lives! You cannot just take over government and do what pleases you, just because you want to earn money from us! You are the government – you need to protect the people!
And anger turned into dismay as I wondered what we can do – are we trapped? Are Singaporeans stuck?
But the more I read and the more I knew, the more I felt empowered. I began to know what needs to be done in Singapore, for things to be set right. And the more we know, the more we believe we need to do something, things can change and will change. This is why the PAP is scared, this is why they want to control the media – if you know too much, how can they still protect the system? How can they still earn from Singaporeans?
It’s infuriating. You are the government – you are supposed to protect the people, not protect the system that allows you to get rich!
When I read of how in other developed countries, if you are poor, old, unemployed or sick, the government will take care of you because it is the right thing to do, it took some time to get used to this idea. And I thought – wait, you mean that’s what a government should do for you?
But the PAP keeps telling me that they cannot do it, that I have to rely on myself!
Gradually, I began to realise that the PAP has been lying to me. They don’t want to take care of Singaporeans because they wanted to keep more aside for themselves. And to do so, they have to tell Singaporeans it’s hard for them to do more, that they do not have enough to do more, that they are already trying their best.
Which is why I’m angry – if they are trying their best, why do they earn the highest salaries in the world? Why is the rich-poor gap the highest in the developed world, where the rich is the richest and the poor the poorest? Why are there so many poor people in Singapore – the highest among the developed countries and all hidden?
Now, I no longer believe in the lies that the PAP says. I can see through all the hypocrisy of what they say. I can tell they do not care a hoot. And if they have to do anything for Singaporeans, they do it begrudgingly.
Which is why I am angry and I am confused. Why don’t Singaporeans speak up – why don’t YOU take a stand? Why is it that the first question that Singaporeans ask is – but what can I do?
Why are Singaporeans not saying – and this is what I will do! I will change things!
Why have we allowed ourselves to fail even before we start?
Nowadays I’m only beginning to understand the real history of the world – history that many around the world learn from young, but which the PAP tried to hide from us. The less we know, the less we can threaten their power, their system and their wealth.
And I’m worried. Because most Singaporeans are still in our cocoons. We are interested in how our next pay check can allow us to buy the next Zara, the next H&M, the next Chanel. Let’s not talk about cars because that is now safely a dream for most people.
And when someone talk about politics, we brush it off and say, “I’m not political”, “I do not believe in politics”, “Why do you want to talk about politics?”, “Politics is boring.”
We don’t realise that everything in life is political.
The reason why it’s harder for you to buy Zara now is because your pay is not increasing. This is politics. The reason why when you go for a major operation at the hospital, you pay too much from your own money, this is politics – because the PAP doesn’t want to do what it needs to and pay more for you. When you lose your job, this is politics – because the PAP doesn’t want to enact any laws to protect your employment.
You don’t realise that by pretending to be apolitical or by pretending to be apathetic, you are allowing your lives to be made use of and to be laid to waste by the PAP. And yet, you continue to believe that the PAP will help you, one day, some day, somehow. It’s just a pipe dream.
I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry when you think like that. The PAP laughs when you think like that – they don’t have to do anything and they can already make you think like a sheep, and then they can keep earning from you.
You are the easiest citizens to rule anywhere in this world, except for maybe the North Koreans. You are the perfect sheep for them. New Zealand has 3 million sheep. We also have 3 million. And they can do nothing and pay themselves the highest salaries.
A few years ago, Australia publicised a best job in the world for you to be a caretaker by the beach. Actually, the best job in the world is to be a minister in Singapore. You just need to be a caretaker, wave your hand a bit, attend some events, say some things to make people happy, then go sit by the pool and wait for the money to come in.
Meanwhile, who does the work? YOU. But of course, you are willing. You work hard because you hope that one day, you can be like them, and you can wave your hand and just wait for the money to come in.
But you are not them. And they don’t want you to be like them. They aren’t interested to share what they have with you. Yes, they can let you live (in) the dream and make you believe that one day, you can be like them. But they already know how to prevent you from getting to where they are. Do you think they are stupid?
Yet, you behave like a docile, obedient Singaporeans. Here’s a bone, now fetch. And there you go.
My dear Singaporeans, in a place where you are truly respected, the government is your dog. You are the master and they will fetch your bone. In a place where you are truly protected, if you fall sick, you are poor, old or unemployed, the government makes sure you feel safe and are able to continue to live your life with dignity and respect.
No, your government doesn’t tell you that you are lazy. Your government doesn’t tell you – too bad, you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough. Your government doesn’t tell you that there aren’t enough hospital beds, so you should jolly well wait. The government doesn’t tell you that putting up tents was actually part of their long-term solution. The government doesn’t tell you that you should die if you cannot afford to be treated. Your government doesn’t tell you to deal with the train breakdowns and that there was no disruptions, just minor hiccups. The government doesn’t tell you it’s “ponding” when it’s freaking “flooding”.
Your government doesn’t lie to you.
Your government owns up to its mistakes, (truly) apologise and work to listen to you, to work with you and carry out what you want, for the wishes of the country and our people.
Your government doesn’t tell you that our system is progressive even though our tax system is not progressive, because it’s not about whether a system is progressive or regressive, it’s about whether a system is efficient. Say what? GSMJW?
Too long, Singaporeans. Far too long. We’ve waited too long.
This is our last chance now. Our last lap.
This is it.
You don’t fix it now, we don’t fix it forever – this is the end of the road. And you can forget about ever getting higher wages, or being protected in your job. Your job will be robbed from you and we will become a permanent slave class.
“Don’t listen to him. He’s lying. He doesn’t know how to be grateful. He only knows how to complain.”
“We have a better life than out neighbours. We earn higher wages. We have nicer houses.”
OK, fine by me. Go ahead, live in your denial. Keep on pretending.
Keep looking at the glass houses at Gardens by the Bay and pretend our lives are great. Keep not speaking up because you are scared, but pretend it’s a choice. Keep thinking that one day, things will change, even though you wouldn’t do a single thing about it.
Last chance. One last chance. Now or never.
You can be a sheep, a clown (that’s how they look at you), or a slave. Or you can decide once and for all to do something about your lives. And I don’t mean to earn enough money to buy the next Gucci. I mean, get out, read more, learn about what’s really going on and learn to fight.
And, get out and get a life, please.