Everyone knows about ‘money not enough’ in Singapore. How about intellectual criticism? So do the intellectual critics not enough in Singapore. Considering the controversial withdrawal statement of Ngiam Tong Tow about his comments on the PAP government, it just shows the level of ‘not enough’ in Singapore.
Let consider the following questions:
Are the critics of former senior civil servants same as the critics in social media? If there are the same, why are they treated differently? Why do people and mainstream media only believe in critics of the ex-senior civil servants and down play (or discredit) the critics of social media?
Let draw a matric to see the evolution of critics and ask why critics from both ex-senior civil servants and social media come into convergence.
Critics Good Bad Good Both are good One good one bad Bad One bad one good Both are bad
In the past, the PAP would clearly declare any criticisms from the oppositions; independent individuals and the social media were bad. However, moderate criticisms from ex-senior civil servants were good. Mainstream media would give positive remarks on these criticisms as feedbacks to the government.
So, the public will receive a message of ‘one good one bad’ image of different criticisms - good for positive and constructive suggestions from ex-civil servants and bad for oppositions and social media.
As more and more ex-senior civil servants (due to civil consciousness?) give different opinions and criticisms on the government, the government is in the dilemma: how to continue playing the ‘one good one bad’ game.
The option is either ‘both are good’ or ‘both are bad’? The answer is quite obvious. If both are good, then the government is wrong or bad. So, the only action is to classify both are bad or withdrawing the bad statements/criticisms made by ex-senior civil servants.
Only by doing so, with the help of mainstream media, the PAP can stop the evolution and maintain the position of ‘one good one bad’. But with more and more people are educated and aware of the political, social and economic developments in Singapore, it will be very hard to retain the old position.
So the future strategy of the PAP will likely to define them as ‘both are bad’. Or in a certain way, the PAP will down play the importance of ex-civil servants and the mainstream media will report less of such criticisms from them. In fact, Ngaim’s interview is published in a medical journal.
The outcome will go back to the old Singapore – any criticisms about the PAP are bad. Depending on who you support, you will see ‘one good social media one bad mainstream media or alternatively ‘one bad social media and one good mainstream media’.
It is back to status quo and one distrusts the other. And there is no progress for Singapore.
One will have to ask why do criticisms of ex-senior civil servants so close or similar to social media. Why do opinions from ex-senior civil servants always have a better credit rating than those in social media or the oppositions? Even there are of the same quality, why are opinions and criticisms of the oppositions and social media considered as second class?
How well will the evolution of public opinions and social media change the political criticisms in future Singapore?
It is an interesting development that the PAP will find ‘time not enough’ to react.