Tuesday, 23 July 2013

SGFear - Part 1: The PAP, and Singaporeans' amazing paranoia

I have observed among some people I know, that fear is a strong incentive for them to vote for the PAP.

During the last GE, I actively rooted for the opposition. Any opposition. My rationale is that the PAP has shown itself to be arrogant, complacent, and at times, plain incompetent. Credit has been taken for how Singapore has been "developed" and "transformed" from a fishing village by a particular founding father of Singapore. It is shocking how little responsibility has been shown when things go wrong, and despite that, the leaders of the land continue to demand the highest salaries in the world.

People tend to believe what they want to believe, even when facts and cogent arguments are laid out in front of them. Arguably, I am no different. But this does not preclude an exchanging of viewpoints. The people I have talked to know what I stand for, and vice versa.

Here are some interesting things that I have heard when party politics are discussed:

1. "PAP is superior. Their machinery enables them to run the country efficiently. This country has no hope under the hands of the opposition. Just look at the (lack of) quality of the opposition!"

As told to me by a Government scholar. This person's views and long-term plans smack of irony, but that's all I will reveal in order to protect the anonymity of the people I have spoken to.

2. "I don't like what I see in Singapore now, but I will migrate if WP takes over the government. That will be the end of Singapore."

Responses 1 & 2 demonstrate a fear of "poor quality" opposition.

3. "I am applying for a (civil service) job, and I don't want to jeopardise my application."

This, despite the job in question being a low-level one, and despite both PAP and Opposition clarifying that everyone's vote is secret. If that isn't convincing enough, then I don't know what is!
4. "I am in the military, and we must vote for PAP."

This is probably more attributable to ignorance than fear. But again, if you believe that your vote is secret, isn't this point moot?

Singapore is no Nazi Germany. But to those in the force: do you still have your own conscience and moral compass? Or does blind faith in your leaders suffice?

5. "I can't tell you who I voted for."

Sometimes, I don't know if these people are trolling me, afraid of revealing their vote regardless of who they voted for, or afraid of revealing that they voted for the opposition. I got some of these responses before we started our blog - NRSC - by the way. So it can't be a case of being afraid of becoming an example on this blog.

6. "I'm all for more opposition in Parliament for (insert myriad of reasons). But look at Hougang and Potong Pasir. I don't want my constituency to become like that!"

These voters want more opposition, but not in their backyard. For them, it's the fear of the unknown, rather like in point 1. One cannot discount the possibility that the recent hoo ha whipped up by the MSM over Aljunied could contribute further to this sentiment. Incidentally, I heard this in the past two GEs, and I guess it smacks of selfishness to a certain extent as well.

Other interesting examples of fear:

7. Well-meaning concern from friends in response to my posting on Facebook of a picture of me with Dr Chee Soon Juan. Apparently since I was with the SAF, such a picture is grossly inappropriate.

I had gone to kaypoh (be a busybody) at his Tak Boleh Tahan campaign a few years back. I must confess that back then, even though I was already aware of the biasness of the MSM, I thought that Dr Chee was insane, and thus I took a picture with him as an icon - a crazy politician, if you will.

I understand that the SAF is SUPPOSED to be apolitical. Never mind being on standby in the event of a "freak election result". I didn't see how posing for a photo with a politician amounts to endorsing his party's political beliefs. If that were so, then logically this issue should be equally salient when posing for photos with PAP MPs, no? 

The SDP still has an uphill task ahead of it in terms of its image. As a think-tank, I admire it. As a political party, IMHO it's still going nowhere. And no, I am not in this picture...

8. Well-meaning friends have told me to take this post down.

9. "ISD is tracking this conversation. I talk to you offline..."

I have no doubt that they could. But even if they are, what are they going to do about it? Unless of course we were plotting something really naughty... I'd imagine that if online chatter and SMS were being screened, it would be for certain trigger keywords like "bomb" and etc. I also assess that ISD or some related department monitors trending blog posts such as this, and deploys their Incompetent Internet Brigade to post bullshit comments in response. But what else are they going to do about it?

Well, they did let Mas Selamat escape, only for our friendly neighbours to 'help' us recapture him...

I'm not going to refute these nine examples of absurd claims and fears here, because any discerning person can see through them. What is worrying to me though, is that perhaps those we might assume to be more discerning don't seem to be. Most of these responses came from people who came from "good schools", and they are mostly people whom I generally regard as having above average intelligence.

Has anyone else encountered such comments from the people you know? What do you think the PAP's real "mandate" is, given some of the interesting reasons/excuses people have for voting for the PAP include job security. Do raw numbers (e.g. 60%) translate to an electorate trusting that the PAP is doing the right things?

In part 2, I plan to cover the mechanisms in which the PAP has instilled fear. In part 3, what We, the citizens of Singapore, can do to combat such irrational fears. Stay tuned! 

- S


  1. Speaking of the Incompetent Internet Brigade, I received one probable attack on this post already.

    To the attempted commenter:

    Try harder.

    Your blog is innocuous enough, unlike that of a certain SGThinker we have exposed on NRSC.

    But when you slimed The Online Citizen and made apologies for the Mainstream Media, your intentions were as clear as day. A day without haze, that is.

    Almost there. Had you swopped TOC for TRS, I might just have allowed your comment through to be slammed publicly.

    For all I know, I may have done you a service by not even publishing the said comment. Then again, it's much quicker for me to delete the comment and type this, than to explain myself to fools

    Stay tuned for Part II

    - S