President Obama is going to end his 8-year presidency soon. However, the black problems in the United States of America remain unsolved. Not only there is no improvement, the problems are getting worst as seen in the recent various racial conflicts.
It is too idealistic to think black president can solve black problems for those who believe in the change. Singapore’s PAP proposed EP constitutional changes are following this logic. As a matter of fact, the truth is change the color of the president does not guarantee problems solved.
Racial issue is one of the three key point debates in the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Obviously race is an important problem and an unsolved problem since the US independent in 1776. For 240 years, it remains an unsolved problem.
Now, we turn to Singapore. The People’s Action Party seems to suggest a minority Elected President can solve minority problems in Singapore.
The PAP government issued a White Paper and said:
[The experience of the United States is a reminder that racialdifferences are natural fault lines. In the entire history of the United States, there have only been nine African American senators, 135 of whom only about half were popularly elected.When President Barack Obama became elected as the firstAfrican American President in 2008, there were suggestionsthat the United States had become a “post-racial” nation.However, the voting patterns for President Obama’s election showed that race mattered to a significant degree – only 43% of White persons voted for him, while 95% of African Americans cast their vote in his favour. In the upcoming Presidential election in the United States, one candidate has been outspoken on specific racial minority groups.]
The White Paper seemed to stop halfway and quickly jumped to a Channel NewsAsia survey to make a conclusion that Singapore is not a “post-racial” society.
We know that the Obama experience did not work. The post-racial society of the USA is in question as the White Paper used the word “suggestions” to question the post-racial situation.
By using the Obama example, the PAP government is only half honest in the racial issue, whether in the US or in Singapore. Many of the unfair racial issues were initiated by white presidents, including President Lincoln. The PAP’s suggestions of only minority president can help minority race is a misleading statement.
Black president cannot solve black problems. Can a minority EP in Singapore solve the minority problems here? The PAP is just taking the advantage of US case to prove the PAP’s half right.
So, where is the half wrong? The White Paper never says. White presidents did help to solve some black problems - slavery, equal rights etc. However, more can be done.
And in fact, in Singapore, in addition to racial issue and EP changes, we have an ignorant problem. As many as 40% of the population do not understand the proposed EP changes. They also fail to understand the function of the Council of Presidential Advisers.
In addition to the half right and the half wrong, there are also a substantial number of Singaporeans don’t really care about the proposed changes. The half wrong (or the half right depending on how you see it) and the unknown will give the PAP an easy time to pass the changes in Parliament.
Passing the EP changes is a piece of cake for the PAP. But really how many Singaporeans do understand the rational and the implication of the changes. Perhaps, this is the PAP meaning of inclusive society.