Said George Yeo, many people had lost “faith in the government” (25 Mar 2012, Yahoo! News).
But he was part of that ruling political party at the helm of that government before 7 May 2011. As a MP and as well as a minister.
Then, George Yeo again, urged politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties to work together with people's interest at heart and “link the hearts together, broaden our minds.”(25 Mar 2012, Yahoo! News)
Well, now he, a former minister, as an onlooker of the political arena, his observations and beliefs seem to be steering conveniently in the opposite direction to where he was heading when he was still in the political game.
With people’s interest, he said. It sends chills down my spine. Of the type of interest that he meant.
He was the one who floated the idea of building casinos on our island. And being a Christian himself. That itself is contradictory to his call for casinos.
When a multi-million-dollar-political leader resorts to envisioning casinos as the ultimate “job generator” for the future of his people and nation, then it is no wonder that such “vision” (if you could call it that), such future (if there is any left) and such political party would result in the loss of faith in the people. No doubt of the job creation ability of casinos, nevertheless, when viewed from a social and economic vantage, it is neither a sustainable nor healthy growth for our people and nation.
This casino-quick-fix solution for jobs creation issues exposes the calibre of George Yeo, one of the “rare pool” of talents whom we were forced to pay premium to keep in our Cabinet, and also the exact meaning of people’s interest in this former minister’s mind.
People’s interest was seriously compromised over the last and a half decade and the extent of it extends to our future generations: our immigration policy, HDB’s escalating price, over-stretched healthcare infrastructure and rising costs, and untamed inflation. What were his thoughts and his take on these issues during Parliament seatings if he had people’s interest at heart?
He definitely saw the big money that floods in with the arrival of casinos. As well as the increasing profits for companies generated at the expense of cheaper foreign labour import and the stagnancy or depression of wages for our local labour as a result. Not forgetting the yields from HDB’s forever affordable but escalating price…….the hot money into properties and the profits reaped benefits not for the average Singaporeans but for those sitting on the tip of the hierarchy.
Given his power and the position, had he then, push for better policies with people’s interest at heart, or speak out against poor policies to salvage the gradual erosion of people’s faith in the ruling party? As an MP, he had the chance to leave his ivory tower once a week to touch the pulse on the grounds to witness the effects of some of the policies. He could speak out on behalf of Singaporeans’ concerns during Parliament. No one said that it would be easy. At least, he could try. For being paid the amount he was paid.
It is easier to turn around and point at his former comrades of their mistakes now since he is no longer a part of them. So much easier. At least his life pension is secured now and no one can take it away from him for upsetting his former team.
George Yeo’s call for unison between the incumbent and the opposition parties takes a sudden reversal to the usual heavy-handedness used on the opposition members in the past, riddled with defamation lawsuits and ridicule.
It makes one ponder why the sudden need to “link” the hearts between the ruling party and the opposition parties, only after his recent defeat in the election.
Did he speak out for elected members of the opposition who were consistently ridiculed during Parliament debates and the defamation lawsuits that took place in the last two decades?? In 2004, all MPs of the opposition parties voiced out against casinos (WP’s Low Thia Khiang, SPP’s Chiam See Tong, NSP’s Steve Chia). Did he “link the hearts and broaden minds” back then?
Did he attempt to listen to the voices on the grounds then?
“REMEMBER your place in society before you engage in political debate. Debate cannot degenerate into a free-for-all where no distinction is made between the senior and junior party, or what the Hokkiens describe as "boh tua, boh suay" (没大没小). You must make distinctions - what is high, what is low, what is above, what is below - and then within this, we can have a debate, we can have a discussion.” (19 February 1994, The Straits Times)
He forgot his place in society in the 1990s. Clean forgotten that he should play the role of people’s servant, not the other way round of demanding absolute “obedience” to unchecked authority. In 2011 May election, he was jostled out of his political comfort zone only to wake up miraculously to view people as humans instead of a mechanism.
He made a clear distinction in the 90s between the high and the low, dividing the nation purposefully into different classes. Within these classes, only a certain privileged group is granted the absolute power and the authority to speak and act. Such values continue way into the 21st century where his “advice” for his people on casinos betrayed his elitism views again:
We don't want the man going there (referring to the casinos) after work or the housewife going there when she's free in the afternoon. So there must be controls on who can gain access to the casino. And if you are not of a certain economic class, you should not even think of going there. You should confine yourself to 4D, Toto or horse racing. (CNA March 17 2004)
Again, what is low remains low, and shouldn’t associate with the high. Don’t ever forget your place in society.
Mindset and values of a person change very little over time. Especially having to breathe and live by the same mindset and values for decades for the sake of protecting one’s own interests and never mind that these mindsets and values could never subject to open challenges and questioning. George Yeo’s abrupt revelation of people’s “loss of faith” and the sudden awakening to the collaboration with the alternative political parties reek only of pretence, pretence and pretence only.
There is only one word apt for George Yeo. “Hypocrisy” it is.