Sunday, 18 January 2015

Education Achievement, Infrastructure Regret And The Failure

The interview, celebrating 10-year of prime minister power, looks more like an invitation to a freak election. And the Huffington Post article by Minister Chan Chun Sing proves not only the quality of PAP leadership but also the likelihood of a freak election result.

Whether achievement in education (ITE, poly, every school a good school) or regret in slow infrastructure development (HDB, public transport),  all these are policy related. For a developed and mature society, as the PAP claims credit to make Singapore from third to first world, it has to involve soul searching and philosophical thinking.  Policy making is a total approach and interrelated.  

What kind of lifestyle do Singaporeans want?  The PAP model of education and infrastructure or alternative policies?  PM Lee has made his case too simple.  Whether achievement or regret, they are not standing alone. It is an accumulation of SG50. The past policies of the PAP government result to today’s achievement and regret.      

Why is PM lee so shy to mention our ‘one of the highest GNP per capita in the world’ as his achievement? Why does he not mention rich-poor gap and poverty as his regret? Is The Interview a prelude to general election? And so, he obviously and intentionally omit some important points that he wants voters to forget.

PM Lee uses the state machinery to create wealth for both local and foreigners. However, he fails to distribute it properly. Singapore has one of the highest GINI index in the world. Singaporeans are also less protected in healthcare, retirement and even education (university places).

Facing a better educated and English speaking voters, PM Lee has to admit that Singapore politics will change and it all depends on the voters. He wants to show his side of democracy, transparency and openness by giving a ‘frank interview’. He knows, at best, he can score 50% here when interviewed by the English mainstream media. He mentions about more single member constituencies and less or smaller group constituencies as he tries to meet the demand of voters.  He even shifts to middle ground to focus on the quality of candidates irregard of whether they are PAP or opposition candidates. For example, as one may suggest selecting a candidate between PAP’s Minister Chan or SDP’s Dr Chee.  

He has to show concern and worry to this group of voters: young, English speaking, middle income and better educated. He knows he does not score high in social media despite his experiencing in Facebook or Instagram.  This group appears to be the reason for a freak election when he speaks to the approved English media.

However, he is even more worry about traditional voters - the long-time supporters of the PAP.  They are confused when they read the news in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Why are people there not happy?  After so many years of hard work and contributions, life and income have not improved. Why?
The real cause of a freak election is the runaway of traditional support. SG50 celebration has just begun and the result of gaining back support may be too optimistic or far from target. In The Interview with Chinese MSM, these are the highlights:

$ PM Lee thanks the Chinese educated for their contribution.

$ PM Lee discusses the change of mandate/
government. He warns voters it is free to vote the oppositions but will lead to change of the ‘sky/heaven’.  It is dangerous to do so.

$ PM Lee stresses the importance of relationship between the government and Chinese associations, grassroots, and communities. The PAP is actively engaged and Minister Chan is the first name he mentions for this traditional engagement.

If the PAP can hold the traditional ground, the statement ‘Singaporeans want the PAP to govern Singapore’ may be valid. This, perhaps, gives Minister Chan the argument of ‘Dr Chee is a failure who lost 3 elections’.  The PAP is confidence that they can hold the Chinese and traditional grounds. And Minister Chan, without directly elected by the voters, is so confidence that his involvement with the Chinese community will bear fruit of loyalty votes.

Perhaps, Minister Chan is right. Perhaps, PM Lee’s Chinese interview can maintain or regain the loyalty. If so, freak election is not likely. If so, Dr Chee may lose the election four times.

In traditional Chinese thinking, failure is not to be  ashamed of. Many heroes are failures. From Xiang Yu (项羽), Gaun Yu(关羽), Yue Fei(岳飞) to Hong Xiu Quan (洪秀全), all of them have occupied a place in history. Their names are mentioned more often than the unknown emperors. Oh!Not to forget Deng Xiao Ping’s ‘three down and three up’.

If SDP can have a breakthrough in the traditional ground, then the freak election is possible.  In the past 20 years, SDP has been badly named by the government and the MSM. And Minister Chan is so happy that this bad name effect is still valid today. This makes him so confidence to name Dr Chee a failure.

Who is the failure in the next general election? PM Lee, Minister Chan, Dr Chee, the PAP or the oppositions. What do you think?   



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