Friday, 11 September 2015

What being pro-Singapore means to me

Because I'm pro-Singapore, I see the need for an opposition - not any opposition, but a respectful and competent one, willing to stand up to hardship and persecution. Singapore, as any other country, needs an opposition. I always believe that one of the greatest challenges to a one-party government is groupthink. Critical evaluation of policies and decisions are compromised for the sake of harmony and conformity within the party. Yes, our decision-makers are highly educated top-notch elites. Nevertheless, they are still human - prone to errors and always having room for improvement. The rhetoric of the opposition, regardless of the quality of their proposed policies, incentivises the incumbent to check for errors and strengthen their existing policies. The presence of an opposition - the devil's advocate - is therefore healthy.

Because I'm pro-Singapore, I pray that the incumbent remains in power tomorrow. I cannot speak for the future but as for now, it doesn't seem like the country is ready for a new ruling party. As evident from rally attendance, social media statistics and ground sentiments, the tides have changed. The incumbent party is exponentially losing popularity while the opposition is gaining ground. I, myself, have witnessed and spoken to a handful of angry voters. No matter which constituency they are in, regardless of whether a robust opposition exists, they are bent on casting a protest vote against the incumbent. While I cannot sympathise with their disagreement on certain existing policies, I empathise with their desire for change. Nevertheless, I reserve my concerns lest the wrath of the public culminates in a poorly calculated outcome that warrants regret and anguish; an outcome that the populace is not ready to fully embrace. While there has been an increase in high-calibre opposition candidates, there still exists a great lack in potential leaders to govern this (as the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew would always reiterate) small and vulnerable island-state. The majority of the human resource that we need in order to survive, in order to thrive, currently lies in the incumbent. With our neighbouring countries watching us like a hawk, we cannot afford to (at any time) slacken the effectiveness of our policies. We need the aptitude of the incumbent, regardless of how unpopular they are, for tomorrow's Singapore. 

Because I'm pro-Singapore, I am optimistic about this General Election. While many are concerned about the quality of candidates making their debut in this election, I am appreciative of this diversity. Complaints about the younger generation (of both candidates and voters) are not uncommon - how we are irrational, impulsive, and unappreciative. While there may be some truth in these sweeping statements, the other side of the coin is that we, "irrational, impulsive and unappreciative" youngsters, are similarly passionate, fervent and radical. We might not always say what's (politically) right, but it doesn't mean that we are anti-establishment; it doesn't mean that we do not love our country. At a glance, the emergence of unconventional candidates (who ill-represent the bulk of us) may seem detrimental our society. However, when I take a step back, I learn to appreciate the bigger picture of a maturing society, gradually embracing diversity. Singapore is not, what the West accuses, sterile. Singaporeans, and Singaporean youths, are not apathetic. It is, I believe, a good sign.

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