Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where Lee Hsien Loong’s Heart is.

As I witnessed today, a senior citizen working humbly as a cleaner of a huge shopping mall stuffed with the most expensive brands in the heart of our shopping district, PM Lee Hsien Loong’s message of “feel for our fellow human beings” rang in my ears.

Hope. Heart. Home. These were the themes for our National Day Rally this year. Brought to you by LHL.

He highlighted the importance of “heart” when he touched on the subject of recent growing xenophobia among Singaporeans, urging local citizens to “feel for our fellow human beings” which the “human beings” specifically refers to the foreign nationals on our shores. His choice on the “heart” as part of the NDR rally struck a chord in me and moved my heart especially.

For my heart moved towards the fact that the current achievement of our nation is a collective effort from our first generation leaders and our senior citizens. Our nation prospers while the youths and health of our 1Gen leaders and senior citizens fade away. Our leaders are entitled pensions for their twilight years, our senior citizens deprived. My heart quivered but LHL’s?

His heart feels apparently more for foreign nationals, for they are part of “our fellow human beings” while my heart goes to our senior citizens who are abandoned by their very own country in which they made to prosper. And this is the same country that has grown into the richest nation in the world in terms of GDP.  

When our country legislate “filial piety”, and filial piety disguised as a means to dump the cost of caring for the elderly onto the next generation, it fails to repay its gratitude to our senior citizens to which it owes its success to. Gratitude could come in the forms of greater subsidy for medical care or curbing inflation (please lah! Enough of the excuse that inflation or anything else is inevitable!) or provisions of affordable nursing home. Affordability that is pegged to our median income.

This is NOT welfare but a noble demonstration of appreciation of an inclusive society with a “heart”. Nevertheless, the past and existing policies contradict the kind of heart which LHL hold, I am afraid only reserved for his foreign nationals.

If only LHL could extend his “feel for our fellow human beings” towards our senior citizens, one of the sources of contributors towards the GDP figures which his big fat bonus is highly-dependent upon.

At the slightest call for more social net provisions for our citizens, LHL would slap us instantly in the face with higher taxes. Despite enjoying more years of budget surpluses than budget deficit, or when he could afford higher proportion of expenditure for defence than our education and healthcare, or when he overlooks the astronomical amount of losses incurred by GIC and TH that could be channelled purposefully into our healthcare. Whenever dollars and cents are involved for his citizens, LHL’s heart would shy away. Our misfortune to note that our citizens do not fall into the decimation of LHL’s “fellow human beings”.  

LHL’s heart bled at the damage of Singapore’s international reputation as a result of our xenophobia. When Singaporeans were being labelled as dogs by our taxpayer-funded foreign scholar Sun Xu, LHL’s reticence pained my heart too. Singapore’s reputation, closely associated to LHL’s reputation as a leader, is of utmost concern to him; when it comes to Singaporeans’ reputation, he joins in the bashing of our people earnestly. A clear demonstration from LHL that foreign nationals and overseas foreigners are “fellow human beings”. And complete submission from our citizens to all the foreign nationals is expected.

On the plights of our citizens due to the never-ending influx of foreigners who LHL invites, he chose oblivion. His heart goes for the rich and poor foreigners which either group would bring in the dollars and cents, directly in terms of investment or indirectly in the form of cheap modern slavery for beefing up profit margins for businesses and government coffers. Thus the unlimited supply of cheap foreign labour for MNCs, SMEs and all kinds of businesses and easy PR status given to dubious quality of talents and even to the likes of hawkers. When it comes to welfare for local citizens who are being squeezed out in terms of jobs and infrastructure, LHL’s heart is always elsewhere.

Singaporeans are expected to feel for foreign nationals as “fellow human beings” while we ourselves are merely digits. LHL apathetically slammed the call of imposing minimum wage for our low-income workers who have been to subject to falling real income throughout the decade in ensuring better profit margins for international and local business owners at the expense of low-income workers. Ironically too, ministerial salary moves in the reverse direction of the wages of our low-income workers and jumps by a huge proportion of a 14 % rise in 2000 and a 60 % pay rise for ministers in 2007.

All of the above is only a handful of the realities which our non-elite citizens are treated by the same leader who flaunted about a compassionate heart on our NDR right before the eyes of his own people. Inevitably, his words moves my the heart of an abysmal disgust.

Whichever shapes LHL attempts to disguise his heart, his policies betray him too easily. It is far too apparent that his heart or compassion or whatever name he chooses to call it, could only be located in the laps of dollars and cents.