Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Visionary Singapore May Not Necessarily Be Led By the PAP

Singapore has entered an era of no great leaders.  In fact, when Goh Chok Tong took over as Prime Minister in the 1990s, Singapore had already begun a new phrase of leadership renewal without strong leaders.

From independence until the 1990s, Singapore experienced strong leadership and teamwork. The first generation PAP leaders have helped to build up an ultimate creation that functions like a self-renewal organization that is called Singapore Inc.  We may not totally agree with how the Singapore Inc is being established.  However, we should thank and give credit to the PAP for creating such a strong and powerful organization. 

Singapore Inc is the ultimate creation

When the Singapore Inc was established, the founding members and leaders of the PAP were idealists and had certain philosophies in mind to a Singapore or a Malaysia.

It is not a purely economic reason.  The first generation leaders had their visions, missions and values in mind and based on these beliefs they built up Singapore Inc.  Just like a visionary company, a pure profit maximization vision will not go too far and last too long.

Half way in my writing, I suddenly realize I don’t quite understanding what Singapore vision or value is. We are quite remote from the Swiss standard of living as promised. And 5C certainly cannot be a vision for most of Singaporeans.

Perhaps, we should go back to history and the 1969 National Pledge can be considered as our vision:

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

Since 1966, we have achieved some common identities and in a certain way English is also the common language for the locals. 

But how far are we away from the 1969 vision?  The PAP has itself in the past 20, 30 years intentionally moving away from its own created vision. But Singaporeans under the education and training of the Singapore Inc have remained and continued with this spirit and vision. 

And who is right and who is wrong? The PAP, especially the conservative, looking for profit maximization and high economic growth is moving away from the National Pledge or the majority of the Singaporeans.

Singapore Inc is not the PAP
However, this Singapore Inc is not belonged to the PAP and it now belongs to all Singaporeans.  The PAP is the creator but no more the owner of Singapore Inc. It belongs to both the PAP and non-PAP supporters. Importantly, it is wrong to continue to assume everything in Singapore Inc is belonged to the PAP.

The PAP, especially their first generation leadership, must have the confidence on their created product: Singapore inc.  And they have to accept that their children of their children may be the leaders of the oppositions.

During GE2011, when PM Lee mentioned about the 4th generation leadership of the PAP, he seemed to forget the existence of Singapore Inc and its potential, under the Singapore National Pledge, to produce future leaders.  

There is a succession plan in our 1966 vision. The ultimate creation of Singapore Inc will create the new leaders of Singapore in its own way but not the PAP way. It will come naturally, but not necessarily from the PAP, for the PAP but for Singaporeans at large. 

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