Friday, January 25, 2013

We the voters of Singapore and the blame

On the desperate need to steer our country back to the right direction, the responsibility seems to have fallen solely on the shoulders of the alternative parties. Whether they could unite among themselves as one to take on the incumbents, whether they have the ability in attracting candidates with sound credentials and good character, whether they have sufficient outreach to the electorate and many, many other factors….. apparently would all add up to forge that single key to wrestle away the power from the incorrigible incumbents.

So much expectations pinned on the alternative parties. And even more so after GE 2011. And expectations turned into criticisms and fell heavily onto the alternative parties for either being overly-confrontational or for not being sufficiently confrontational. Some of us came down so hard on the alternative parties in the event of PE by-election.

Perhaps we have sensed the urgency of the state of affairs in our country. There are already obvious hints that another 2 million foreigners will be waiting at our door step even before the Population Paper is released. Inflation is still as stubborn as two years ago. And therefore the pressing need to reverse all the twenty-year-old bad policies asap.

However, as much as we can confidently blame our country’s sufferings on the incumbents, or lament at the disarrayed alternative parties, little has been mentioned about the role of voters/citizens who ultimately decide the fate of our country and our lives. Precisely of the far-reaching impact of our collective decision, we cannot just simply rely on the politicians alone, alternative parties or incumbents alike, to steer our country.  

冰冻三尺,非一日之寒。It takes more than a day to freeze three feet of ice. Singapore did not arrive at this sorry state of affairs just overnight. Detrimental policies adversely impacting the social, economical and political health of our country are accumulated throughout the decades.

Our ministers have been paying themselves fat checks even before 21st century. Legal threats were already frequently in use in the 90s on opposition members and it continues to this day. CPF minimum sum was introduced in 1987 and it did not just grow into a terrifying black hole in a single day. 2 million foreigners did not fall from the sky onto our island just last week too.

Yet, we allow the incumbents to grow to this day and to this state, through decades of our endorsement, be it in the form of direct electoral votes or indirectly through our silence, indifference or ignorance of their self-serving policies and abuse of power.

Some individuals, as early as the 90s, from the alternative parties had tried to raise issues concerning the welfare of our country and people and consequently were forced to pay a hefty price for their acts. And what did we do then? Some of us were part of the group who were unaware of or were indifferent to these gestures/individuals, or simply chose to look away in the name of saving our own skins.

The incumbents are responsible for the mess that it created. However, the party who should shoulder the most blame for the mess today, imho, is none other than the voters/citizens ourselves. Some of us choose to live in the history and in continual self-denial that the same party who led our country from the third world to the first world infrastructure has deviated into a self-serving party which places itself above national interests; some of us cannot even bother to understand and to think deeper on how policies affect their daily lives; even in this day and age of internet era, some of us choose the lazy way out by drinking in all mainstream media reports at face value and are averse to thinking beyond the msm or making an effort to find out more views through alternative channels; some of us self-deprecate as-a-matter-of-factly before the high and mighty incumbents; and of course, there are some of us who prioritize self-interests above national interests and will relish at the expense of others.

The various alternative parties need to grow to strengthen our political scene but can we expect them to thaw three feet of ice in a minute when we shy away in those decades? And if the majority do not think there are any crippling issues with our country even at this current state, there is very little the alternative parties could do.
Before we get into the blame-game again for the current mess, perhaps we should also learn to be a responsible and well-informed voter/citizen. For in order to  move our country forward, the politicians could not and should not  be on their own. That should be a collective effort coming from both the politicians (regardless of political party) and our people.