The Online Citizen

Face the erosion of trust, not downplay it

Face the erosion of trust, not downplay it
June 15
00:26 2014

By Ghui

In a twist of bitter irony, PM Lee’s defamation suit has effectively made Roy Ngerng a household name. While Mr Lee may have taken these actions to protect his public standing and image, many believe that the defamation suit is a political tool used to silence government critics.

If this assertion is correct, it would seem that PM Lee’s legal actions have been counterproductive for instead of suppressing Mr Ngerng’s views, he has propelled him into greater fame. Mr Ngerng’s story has now been carried by a number of international publications and Singaporeans who had hitherto no knowledge of who Mr Ngerng was now know all about him and his blog.

The saga has prompted reactions from some of Singapore’s more high profile citizens such as Catherine Lim and Alfian Saat who have both written against the usage of the dreaded defamation suit. Ms Lim’s article, in particular seems to have drawn attention from the Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong, Mr Jacky Foo.

Mr Foo defends the People’s Action Party majority government of Singapore and credits the ruling party for taking Singapore “through a number of serious crises relatively unscathed”. In particular, he referenced the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the outbreak of SARs in 2003 and the global financial crisis of 2008. In addition, Mr Foo has noted that the PAP has won four further general elections by healthy margins.

No one is denying that the PAP led government has done some great things for the country in the past. That has never been in contention nor is that the point of Ms Lim’s article.

Ms Lim’s article was an observation of the PAP’s decline in popularity in recent years. She has not said that the PAP is no longer popular. There is a difference between popularity and declining popularity.

Let’s use Michael Jackson as an example. In the years that led to his death, his popularity took a massive hit as a result of the child molestation suits against him. While his popularity waned, he was still popular – he was the King of Pop!

I know this sounds facetious but it does illustrate my point. Something or someone can be popular but also be in decline. That, I believe was the point Ms Lim was trying to make. I am disappointed that Mr Foo has missed that point wholly and chosen to see Ms Lim as bemoaning “a collapse of trust and respect for the government”.

Sadly, this seems to be the attitude of most senior PAP members when criticised. Instead of point on point engagement, the defense always goes back to past glories and Mr Foo has echoed just that sentiment. While the past is important, we live in the present and for the future. We want to know where our country is headed and we want to have a stake in the future of our country. To do that, we would need to be able to relate to our government on equal terms without the label of “complainers” and “bemoaners” heaped on us, just because we may have a different point of view.

Ms Lim was beseeching the PAP to take heed of the trend in Singapore not because she is anti-PAP. She is so doing because she wants them to take heed of what Singaporeans want and narrow the chasm of disconnect that seems to be widening.

Instead of trying to quell her valid concerns with a rehash of past glories and dismissal, perhaps it is time for the PAP to genuinely wake up to the reality of their waning popularity. While still popular, their popularity will continue to slide if they continue to engage in old methods that do not work for the digital age.

In the political landscape, nothing lasts forever. You will not remain in power if the public do not like you. This is the same for all types of governments, from democracies to dictatorships to monarchies, and history is replete with examples.

That the PAP has done some very laudable things for Singapore is not questioned, what is under the microscope is how they choose to react to changing concerns, issues and voter demographics. This will be what determines the PAP’s sustainability. I hope that they do not prove the old adage – “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” true.

  • CSI

    Have you ever tried to change your friend’s character after
    knowing him for 50 years? Firstly you have to undo his bad
    habits he had absorbed for that length of time.

    Most of us have been through this experience… It’s even so
    tough to change a delinquent’s mindset.

    This is psychologically an almost impossible feat! Either you
    accept him for what he is or you alienate him.

    But if you tell your buddy he is guaranteed to lose most of his
    friends the next few years, how will he react? That was 2011.

    Instead of changing for the better to win back old friends, this
    buddy of yours, knowing his arrogant character, has all the
    time to scheme that he doesn’t lose more friends.

    Sometime in-between his scheming strategy, by chance, in
    2013, he was shocked to lose more friends. Immediately, he
    let his scheme, which started churning in 2011, be made
    known that he will be bringing in more friends than he will lose.

    Why did he let this news out IMMEDIATELY after he lost some
    friends? Your guess is as good as mine.

    The morale of the story?

    You can’t change the spots on the leopard. This is an age-old
    proverb. But you can most certainly change the leopard.

    • SG foodie

      OR. Have the leopard hire a PR agency to manage all its communications. In no time, the leopard will become a lion.

  • Arnold_Chong

    Minister surprised at ‘deep level of resentment’
    By Alicia Wong

    Wed, May 11, 2011

    Singapore’s first woman Cabinet minister Lim Hwee Hua says she was caught by surprise at the “deep level of resentment” felt towards the ruling People’s Action Party.

    At a press conference to announce her decision to quit politics on Wednesday, she said, “It is a surprise for us that the resentment is so deep and the unhappiness is so deep.”

    >b>She said it was only during the General Election campaign, that “we began to fully appreciate the extent of the unhappiness and resentment towards the Government.”

    • Arnold_Chong

      It’s not only just an erosion of trust.

      The is a deep level of resentment and anger towards the regime.

      And as many have pointed out, it is manifesting itself in the rising number of anti-social behavior.

      Bullying and intimidation is not going to silence the people under these circumstances.

  • Tan Peng Leng

    It does not matter any more. The Pappies need to be taught a lesson. If GE 2011 is considered as the watershed election, I personally vouched to make the coming GE the “Mother of All GE” in the political history of Singapore. Who am I? A nobody. What have I done? Tell anyone to vote for the Oppies in the coming GE! While the Pappies can tell me a hundred things good that they had done to SG, I personally can also tell a hundred things that they had done to damage my Motherland. Want to give it a try? I am game for it!

    • PikuChoo

      The PAP does not need to be taught a lesson. They need to be removed. If someone will only do the right thing for you under pressure, will you ever trust them to do things in your interest on their on volition without supervision or the constant threat of repercussions?

      I don’t want to HAVE to constantly look over their shoulders and second guess what they are doing. Doing things in OUR interests has to be the DEFAULT second nature mode of operation of ANY government.

    • SamsonPAP

      You talking like your 1 vote = 1,000,000 voters.

      Don’t personally vouch lah. You can’t vouch for anything other than your own ass.

      • Tan Peng Leng

        “You talking like your 1 vote = 1,000,000 voters.” – Did I? Don’t put words into my mouth? You CBMF!

        “Don’t personally vouch lah. You can’t vouch for anything other than your own ass.” Anything wrong with personally vouched? I having been telling people whom I came across to vote against the Pappies. Every vote counts! If you are not happy, you can go and fxxk spider and I can’t be bothered! On the other hand, you can go and tell people whom you come across to vote for the Pappies. I won’t be bothered by that!

        CBMF spotted! You can also go and kiss your own ass – an act that I believe that you are capable of doing it! You can bend like a rubber band!

        • SamsonPAP

          Hi bro, how are you doing?

          I am totally exhausted. It is supposed to be an off day but I had to meet a client and it turned out to be extremely productive. After close to 6 hours of to and fro discussions, we have a deal in principle. I can only ratify the contract over the next 48 hours once OTC is operational, but I am confident the deal is done. It’s a tidy 5 figure sum and contributes toward my $150k annual package. We work very hard, but the rewards are good as well. High risk job high gain, low risk low predictable gains. That is the mantra. Not many can do what I do and thrive. I am still working towards the target I have eventually and every step is a step gained.

          I can be proud of myself today.

          So, what have you done today for yourself and your own life? :)

          Hating the PAP won’t get you to where you want to be. It depends on yourself and your own motivation, to find your own specialty and niche in life.

          I hope you can put aside your focus on PAP hating, and actually focus on yourself more, because you deserve that attention as it is your own life.

          Best wishes, bro. Sincerely, without sarcasm and caustic sentiments.

          • Tan Peng Leng

            Hi SamsonPAP.

            I am glad that currently I am experiencing stuff that I never experienced before. I believed that it was meant for me to go through the current path. And I really enjoyed it as all these experiences “make my eyes open big-big”.

            As usual, you are putting words into others mouth. ” Hating the PAP won’t get you to where you want to be.” – This is what you think. I don’t hate the Pappies at all!

            “It depends on yourself and your own motivation, to find your own specialty and niche in life.” – No necessity to go around telling others about that! You thought you are the only ONE who knows that?

            “I hope you can put aside your focus on PAP hating, and actually focus on yourself more, because you deserve that attention as it is your own life.” – No issue about hating the Pappies. I deemed it as my duty to do what I do. If you have problems with that, you can go and fxxk yourself, for all I care!

            “Best wishes, bro. Sincerely, without sarcasm and caustic sentiments” – All the best to what you do, while I surely will do my best to bring down the votes!

          • SamsonPAP



      • Robin

        Well said Samson. I m with you. We may be the minority here but we are still the majority. Keep your post coming.

        • SamsonPAP


          Emotion: 100
          Logic: 0

          • Robin

            That’s right! You summed all up in 5 words!

          • Tan Peng Leng


            Po-Lan-Pa: 100
            Logic: -100 (to be read as minus 100 – worse than ZERO)!

            Keep it coming!

          • SamsonPAP

            I think we know what -100 is.

            Did you come from a world where math was deliberate excluded as part of curriculum?

          • Tan Peng Leng

            “I think we know what -100 is” – You think? That is your problem. I just want to make sure that everybody who happened to read that knows what I am writing! You have problems with THIS? You did not serve NS before? Don’t assume, Ascertain!

            “Did you come from a world where math was deliberate excluded as part of curriculum?” – No lah! It is just that not everybody is as BRIGHT as you mah, so in order to ascertain what I “wrote” is “understooded” by everybody, I included those in the bracket. Again you have problems with that? Don’t focus on the problems, you may find yourself……………!

          • SamsonPAP


          • Tan Peng Leng

            Cheers? Please get yourself drunk. And If you are drunk, please don’t drive! I am not good at drinking and hence should excuse myself from that!

          • SamsonPAP


          • Tan Peng Leng

            “ok” – Ok? Ok with all my replies!? Oh, thank you so much! So I shall assume you will go and fxxk yourself (in one of my replies)! Remember to “blog” about it, surely it will be an internet sensation!

            BYE-BYE! And it is “Not the BYE in CCB”!

          • SamsonPAP


          • Tan Peng Leng

            Since when you became from SamsonPAP to SAMSON (anyway something wrong with the FONT as compared to the original SAMSON). You Po-Lan-Pa until your own Lan-Po-Ji are gone? Whoa. like that also can!?

          • SAMS0N

            char kway teow 加 hum

    • SamsonPAP

      Oh, and, while this may sound like a snide remark, it really isn’t. I just noticed a sentence in your post.

      “The Pappies need to be taught a lesson.”

      You know, bro, don’t bother about teaching PAP a lesson. Focus on teaching yourself a lesson, or a few lessons.

      You will notice that your life can change, regardless whether it is PAP or CTE or SLE or BKE in charge. Your life will change faster than “5 more years” or “next GE we will see”.

      • Tan Peng Leng

        “You know, bro, don’t bother about teaching PAP a lesson. Focus on teaching yourself a lesson, or a few lessons.” – Well, don’t focus on trying to tell me what to do. It will shorten you life a few more years. Even you are willing to do that, I am too “humble” to receive that!

        As for me “saying” that – “The Pappies need to be taught a lesson.” – as least that was what I said; unlike you, who has the habit of putting words into other’s mouth, and are keen in doing so!

        “You will notice that your life can change, regardless whether it is PAP or CTE or SLE or BKE in charge. Your life will change faster than “5 more years” or “next GE we will see”.” – Fortune teller spotted! Whoa, what “grade” are you in “fortune telling”? You are not happy that others are not like you? You should be congratulating yourself, as if everybody is like you, who are you? A nobody!

    • Robin

      TALK IS CHEAP. SO THAT MEANS YOU GOING TO FIGHT IN THE ELECTION? OTHERWISE, how are you to tell plp to vote for the OPPIES let alone making the next GE “MOTHER OF ALL GEs”. If you hv no plans to stand in the next election, all you wrote above is NOTHING BUT CHEAP TALK. LIKE the WP has a lot of empty vessels and cheap talk.

      • nelsonmandala

        the WP has a lot of empty vessels and cheap talk.

        so much MPTY torks that made poor georgeboi unmployed from his $100,000/month salary…
        and now georgeboi in jakarta earnin what?
        cheap right…

        • Robin

          Poor reply. Try again. Put more thots and substance into what you write. Dun be another MT vessel.

          • nelsonmandala

            what poor reply? YOU juz dunno ow to REBUT..thats all

          • Robin

            Thernnnnn. This is an even poorer reply than your earlier one. Try again.

      • Tan Peng Leng

        I am comfortable with you labelling me as TALKING CHEAP! See how you Pappies will suffer in the next GE!

        • Robin

          Good that means you agree. By the way, I m not labelling. What I say is the truth. TALK IS CHEAP. ACTION IS INTEND and COMMITMENT. YOU will not make the next GE Mother of all GEs unless you stand for the next election. See you at the next GE.

          • Tan Peng Leng

            “Good that means you agree” – Agree? Agree to what? Anyway, since we are all “talking” here, and so we, which includes you as well, are cheap TOO! Anyway, what was written here stays here, and after the next GE, we can always pay this site a visit! As for the labelling, it is just a trivial matter. So we shall all wait for the next GE!

          • Robin

            Of course. I will vote for you if you stand for election. I dun mind voting for OPPIES. I just want them to talk sense and follow up with action. So you hv my vote ok?

          • Tan Peng Leng

            You should vote according to whom you think has the interest of the Singaporeans as a whole. On the other hand, I shall do what I can to accumulate more votes for the Oppies. To each with his/her own intent. We shall see what happens come the next GE!

          • Robin

            Ok. Good. I like your gusto and commitment. Press on! I wish you success.

          • Tan Peng Leng

            Thank you for the wishing part. On the other hand, your minority friend (as claimed by you in one of your post) SamsonPAP’s comments have been deleted. I wonder whether it is the work of the TOC or he chickened out himself. Nevertheless, regardless of our political differences, it is a manners to wish other. Good luck in your future endeavour.

          • Robin

            Yes, I respect that. Honestly, I really dun mind voting for oppies as long as they have substance, talk sense, and hv integrity. Yes, we can agree regardless of our political difference. Good luck and I quash you success. Sincerely, Robins.

          • Robin

            Sorry for tge typo. I mean I wish you success.

  • PikuChoo

    They (the PAP govt) has lost a GRC. They then subsequently lost two by-elections back-to-back. Has the “trust” the people have in the govt changed? Apparently not, according to the PAP.

    The govt’s economic growth strategy of adding more and more people (mostly foreigners) has not worked either. If it worked, you would not have to keep doing it. Yet that is EXACTLY what they propose doing again with the PWP white paper.

    What does this tell you about this government? That they are in denial, are incapable of change and have run out of ideas.

  • Ace

    You will not be able to achieve peace of mind by suing someone because for every person you put down, one hundred will rise in his place to take you on. One day, whether in this life or the next, you will meet someone more powerful than you, and the same mercy that you have shown will be trust onto you.

    “You know my friends, there comes a time
    when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression.
    There comes a time my friends, when people get tired of being plunged
    across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of
    nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. There comes a time.”

    Martin Luther King Jr

    A great article by Dr Wong W N

  • nelsonmandala

    the outbreak of SARs in 2003

    wah! dared to owlain the outbreak of SARs as credit……
    his papa/mama went to the middleast for a few months tours machiam machiam liked michael jackson on a monkey world tour..and where was cancerlee himself? somewhere in europe attendin a multi banks/leader conferences also for more than a month

  • GUSSIE91

    it is another good summary article by TOC……….well done, bravo.

    Is GE is held before the end of 2014 or within 12 months, PAP support is expecting to drop further lower and lower to the level we have not seen for decades into a new unchartered territory.

  • Nutcase

    Have you ever wonder whether our PM and his ministers ever felt they are the “servants” of the people of Singapore. I am not sure they would even like to be called “servants” in the first place. You see how they see themselves in relation to the citizen of Singapore dictate how they will govern Singapore. I am sure everybody knows how a Master would behave when comes to the way he treats his servants or visa verse. So the question is – Is the government and its officials “servants” to the people of Singapore or is the people of Singapore the “servants” to this government and its officials ?

  • mouseking

    Do you know what stand out in the article? It is this: No one is denying that the PAP led government has done some great things for the country in the PAST!

    The past is only good for those indulging in reminiscence!

    • Nutcase

      Thank god the PAP and Singapore got sensible and hard working citizens who rally behind together (with the founding fathers) to build what Singapore is today. For anyone to say all these was and is the achievement of the PAP solely is selling himself short. We the citizens of Singapore should also give credit to ourselves for a job well done.

    • SAMSON

      The more they brag the PAST, the more it upsets people because it has nothing to do with this overpaid, underworked lot – LHL, Teo CH, Mah BT, Khaw BW, Wan CS, Lim SS, Grace Fu, Bala, Shamn, even Tharman. Even brands don’t mean a thing now if the product is made in China.

  • TheConviction

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do NOTHING – Edmund Burke

    • Arnold_Chong

      An Open Letter To Singaporeans

  • Samson

    “In particular, he referenced the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the outbreak of SARs in 2003 and the global financial crisis of 2008.”

    Hri Kumar is saying either all other countries did not survive or they also have super Govt like PAP. What I am trying to say is, PAP or no PAP, countries go through that and are still around. The number of suicides and bankrupcies in Sg in those periods have not been properly collected in comparison to other periods (in other words the trend) so no idea what Kumar base on to be so impressed by his Govt.

    He also said, “In addition, Mr Foo has noted that the PAP has won four further general elections by healthy margins.”
    Really WON? To win means all things being fair but the media alone is not fair. The PM does not allow other views to be heard in the mainstream.

    • GUSSIE91

      yup…………China property bubble is bursting and has dropped more than 35% from the peak.
      No down payment required to buy China property last week and more than $7trillions shadow banks money supports the property bubble.

      Hoping Singapore property bubble will have the soft landing lower 25% from the peak within 12 months.

    • SAMS0N

      One shit load of bull once again.

      It still is determined by individual votes which are made up by individual people, right?

      You really, really have a creative mind in your fantasy lala land in conjuring up petty arguments to try to show how papaya is losing support.

      It’s quite worrying, almost mental. It’s like you can actually believe in something once you’ve willed yourself long enough to believe in it.

  • SamsonPAP

    Sidetrack a little bit – Catherine Lim claims in her open letter that the gahmen has lost the trust of Singaporeans.

    How did she come to this conclusion? I am genuinely puzzled.