The People’s Authoritarian Party (PAP) recently held a closed door, secret meeting to discuss the issue of lightbulbs in Singapore. Below is the transcript of the meeting which was leaked out.
Lee Hsien Loong: Gentlemen and ladies… I am very happy to announce that 66.6% of the people want to buy our new Progress Lightbulbs, according to our nationwide survey in May. It is a very strong signal to us.
Denise Phua: But sir, something is wrong. I know that something has gone wrong when more than 85 per cent (of the traffic on the internet) writes negatively about the lightbulbs. This is something that the PAP would do well to take into account … and to manage this channel of communication.
LHL: But Denise, already some people are afraid to speak up for fear of saying the wrong thing, or being taken to task. But for debate to be fruitful, it has to be rigorous and not held back out of concern for egos and sensitivities
Lee Boon Yang: You mean like that Mr Brown fella?
LHL: Er.. sometimes as parents we have to let go a little, Boon Yang. Take some risks as parents so that the child can also learn. Let them take knocks and scrapes as they grow up. Yes.
LBY: If Mr Brown had posted his comments on his blog, we would have treated it as part of the internet chatter and we would have just let it be. But he didn’t post it. He wrote it and published it in a mainstream newspaper. That’s the difference.
Bhavani: Correct! Instead of a diatribe Mr Brown should offer constructive lightbulbs alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his lightbulbs openly.
Wong Kan Seng: Exactly. I mean, what is the consequence of saying something that is challenged? Is the consequence being locked up in jail, disappearing in the middle of the night without any lightbulbs and you don’t come back? Get real. Come on, we live in the real world in Singapore. Our lightbulbs are world class!
LHL: Kan Seng, why you always so smart huh? People, we must maintain unity and trust between the leadership and the people, between those who support the Government’s lightbulbs and those who prefer something different – like candles or firewood. Many of those who voted for the opposition in fact want a PAP lightbulb, but I respect their choice.
Lee Kuan Yew: Loong, worry not. If there is a freak result and everyone wants the opposition lightbulbs, within two or three years, the army will come in and stop it. Heh heh…
LHL: But daddy, bringing in the army…is that good?
LKY: Look here, Loony. If I have to shoot 200,000 sinkies to save Singapore from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.
Goh Chok Tong: But Loong, you sure those who supported the opposition want our PAP lightbulbs? Was it the rejection of our lightbulbs or was it they wanted Low Thia Khiang’s lightbulbs … and they still would like to have part of the PAP lightbulbs? I don’t know. I am confused!
LHL: Tong, it doesn’t matter. Now that the elections are over, we should come together again as one lightbulb. Our lightbulb has been one of Singapore‘s key strengths and you must continue to make it so! We must stay ahead and move together. Or is it move together and stay ahead?? Haha.. even I can’t remember. Hahaha..
GCT: But Loong…
LKY: Lau Goh! Stop it! No need to ask anymore! If I am still fit and capable of making another speech like this, I’ll be there, I will stand with you next time.
LKY: Learn from me! See how I tarok that Gomes fella with my lightning speeches?
George Yeo: He thinks singaporeans are such simplistic, gullible people. You go to a supermarket, you take a big lightbulb and put it in your shopping bag. Having walked out, you get caught with your hand in the bag and you say it was an honest mistake. I don’t think it’s that simple.
Everyone: Ya lor, ya lor.
GCT: But Gomes he…….the police let him go… he…
LKY: It is in the AG’s authority to exercise his discretion, but his decision not to prosecute does not, in any way, make James Gomez less of a liar or less dishonest. I reiterate what I have called him, a liar and dishonest, and that Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang did not act honourably by shielding his lightbulb. If Gomez claims he is not a liar nor dishonest, he can go to court to clear his name.
GCT: But I want to say this! Old people, the disabled, the wheelchair-bound. I saw many of them in Hougang… I feel we should help them. This is not politics. Whether Eric Low wins or Low Thia Khiang wins, we are going to help the old people in Hougang. They deserve our better lightbulbs. They struggled with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, they struggled with me. Today, they’re in their 70s. Without them, we won’t have today’s Singapore for the young, Internet-savvy Singaporeans. So we never forget them. We will help them regardless of the outcome.
Khaw Boon Wan: SM, I fully agree with you. Many other sins you can plead to your God and say, sorry, I repent … But lack of filial piety, dumping your elderly is inexcusable. Straight down to the 18th level of hell!
LHL: That’s so sweet… *sob sob*
KBW: I have a better idea for old people who want cheap lightbulbs. My personal view is, our lightbulbs are expensive. But we have nearby lightbulbs in Johor, Batam and Bintan. The elderly want their lightbulbs cheap. So lightbulbs villages in neighbouring countries is possible, barring the cross-border hassle. It is best to find cheap bulbs on short leases. We can dump our old folks there cheaply!
Teo Chee Hean: Then what about your 18 level of hell?
KBW: To hell with it!
Vivian Balakrishnan: But lightbulbs villages are not exciting, unlike bar top dancing. They’re boring..
KBW: I think I’d rather be boring. If you want real excitement, go to Africa. In Rwanda, people are killing each other over lightbulbs. Tribal wars. Little girls being raped. Absolutely not boring at all.
LHL: Boon Wan, true! But we must not allow ourselves to be divided between haves-lightbulbs and haves-not-lightbulbs, or winners and losers … if we let a lightbulb of envy drive a wedge between us, our society will be destroyed, and all will suffer in darkness. That must never happen. So I am going to do something about it. I am going to introduce WORKFARE!
Everyone: Huh??? Simi???
LHL: Huh simi huh? Workfare is a way to encourage low-income Singaporeans who are working and to reward them. So, for every lightbulb you earn through your own efforts, the Government will give you some more lightbulbs.
GCT: Elections tend to divide the people, in any country, because we fight over lightbulbs. It was heated during the campaign but let us not let the campaigning over the lightbulbs divide us. Now that it is over, it is important to recognise that we are all Singaporeans. Let’s unite. Let’s face the more serious challenges ahead of us…
LHL: Lau Goh, what’re you talking about. The elections are over. You lost. Now, move on!
GCT: But Hougang and Potong Pasir…
LKY: When I call a man openly, you’re a liar, you’re dishonest, and you do not dare to sue me, there’s something basically wrong.
LHL: Okayyyyy…. Lets move on…
GY: We talked about the Gomez affair and we talked about a perception that we were trying very hard as a party to win back the lightbulbs in Hougang and Potong Pasir, and many Singaporeans, I would say, would not want an outcome where the PAP won all 84 lightbulbs. They don’t think it is healthy. In fact I share that view too; it wouldn’t be healthy, to be very honest. The residents of Hougang and Potong Pasir will be living in darkness!
LHL: George! How can you say that? Right now we have Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Steve Chia. We can deal with them. Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right lightbulb for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix the lightbulbs, to buy my supporters’ lightbulbs, how can I solve this week’s lightbulb problem and forget about next year’s lightbulbs challenges?
Sitoh Yih Pin: Mr Mah has agreed that if we are successful in the next election, he will help us secure an amount that can be used for getting better lightbulbs.
Mah Bow Tan: Huh? Did I?
STYP: Yes, you did. This is a massive amount considering that we only have 8,000 families, 15,888 lightbulbs. It’s going to benefit all the residents in the Potong Pasir constituency, including those in Toa Payoh Lorong 8 and Sennett Estate. The whole area will be dazzlingly bright!
LKY: What next elections? You already lost us 2 elections! So shut the **** up!
Eric Low (with head in hands): Free breakfast… $2 abalone porridge… free tours to Malaysia…. *sob sob*
GCT: Eric, don’t worry. Low Thia Khiang can still ask for the money to upgrade Hougang’s lightbulbs.
MBT: HUH?? Who say? The ligthbulb package that was offered for Hougang was part of the PAP candidate’s programme for residents in the estate. The residents there decided that they are not ready to say ‘yes’ to the package. We will respect their decision.
LHL: People! Can we move on???
Ng Eng Hen: Let me say one last thing about the Workers’ Party. They always give us problems but do they have solutions? Can they bring the price of lightbulbs down? Can they stop lightbulb factories from pulling out of Singapore and find you jobs? Can they bring down the price of rice, a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee? Can they bring down the GST?
Lim Swee Say: Hen, we also cannot bring down the GST what. In fact, we’re increasing the GST.
LKY (jumping to his feet furiously): My son already said move on! Look, you play this game, there are going to be broken lightbulbs – let’s stop it. I can assure you that in Singapore, when we decide they, the Workers’ Party, are breaking the rules of the game, unspoken rules as to how we survive, how we have prospered with our world class lightbulbs and they break it, then either their head is broken or our bones are broken. I reiterate what I have called him, a liar and dishonest, and that Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang did not act honourably by shielding him. In other words, he’s saying he’s got brains. Well, what do you use those brains for?….These are an educated man’s dirty tricks. It’s a higher level of trickery. So we say Gomez is a liar and dishonest. He can say its libel. He can sue Wong Kan Seng. He can sue me. Low (Thia Khiang), so far, I’m sorry to say, does not measure up to the standards of Chiam. He is still trying to cover up for James Gomez. Sylvia Lim better come clean. Either she knew and (should) say so, and say yes, I asked for the lightbulbs and it’s not true that Gomez paid for it at the supermarket counter, as Gomez claimed. Gomez is a liar. Low decided to back Gomez. I thought Mr Low was politically smarter than Mr Chiam See Tong. Mr Low appears to have lower standards of integrity compared to Chiam. Now, James Gomes must sue me! Low Thia Khiang must sue me! Sylvia Lim must sue me! Everyone must sue me! How come no one wants to sue me!!!!!
Jayakumar (clearing his throat): *Ahem* Maybe we should take a break and have lunch first…
GCT: Good idea. I want 5 plates of char kway teow.
Everyone turns and stare at GCT
GCT: Why? Cannot is it? It’s only $11. I am very depressed, Okayyy???
Jayakumar: Ok. Abalone porridge for you, Sitoh? Hahaha…
LHL (jumping to his feet): I want mee siam – mai hum!
Everyone breaks out in violent laughter: WAhahAhAhahaha!
LHL: Why you all laugh?
Teo Chee Hean: Loong, mee siam where got hum?
Chua Mui Hoong (crawling out from under the conference table): Err.. actually…I think the Prime Minister meant laksa mai hum…
Everyone: Ya, right! Hahahaha…
LKY: *shakes head and covers his face*
Wong Kan Seng (wiping tears from his eyes): Ok ok, it’s been a long time since Loong ate non-elite food. Lets really move on now. Mah, what is the cost of constructing one lightbulb?
MBT: That is beside the point. I assure all lightbulb buyers that the final price they pay for their bulbs is heavily subsidised by the Government.
WKS: Are you sure?
KBW: Kan Seng, I agree with Mah. Peasants will always complain about cost. If for the next 100 years, nobody complains about the cost of lightbulbs anymore, it means failure for Singapore, it means disaster. It means we have walked backwards.
Tharman: So we should be happy they are complaining?
MBT: Of course!
Tharman: Hmm.. I agree. One does not develop a conviction and commitment to a society without first questioning the cost of our lightbulbs. Haha..
GCT: They can question but not in parliament. To us, alternative voice doesn’t mean alternative voice in Parliament…. Therefore alternative voices can be heard and will be heard outside of Parliament. We must do it outside of Parliament, inside of Parliament is only one, two voices at the most.
Bhavani: But not like Mr Brown’s kinds of complaints! They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.
LHL: Bha.. he already kena sacked liao. But we must make sure the peasants don’t question too much. That is why I am increasing the GST and introducing WORKFARE! It will give us precious extra resources to buy new lightbulbs. Our aim is to help the lower income groups and the elderly, not to increase their burdens. When we implement the GST increase, it’s not just the GST increase, it’s the package which will fully offset the impact of the GST increase and begin to strengthen the lightbulb safety nets and tilt the balance in favour of the low income groups – we will not just raise the GST but we will have a comprehensive lightbulb package.
Ong Ah Heng: PM, can speak the simper ingish?
LHL: Oh…sorry. Err… we must take more money from the peasants.
VB: But PM, we must make sure that whatever we do, we do it respectfully and in a way which accords the respect the lightbulbs deserve. At the end of the day the lightbulbs reflect us as a people.
LHL: Of course! That’s why I called it the Lightbulb Progress Package! We progress by increasing GST so we have money to help the poor! Like Boon Wan said, if no one complains about cost of living, it means we have failed! So, we must not fail!
Lim Boon Heng: PM, maybe we can restore a bit of the CPF? Just to make the peasants happy?
LHL: But, Boon Heng, people support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside parliament what!
NEH: As Manpower Minister, I would advise caution. Restoring CPF is tricky. However, restoring the pay cuts of civil servants and ministers is reasonable as Singapore‘s economy has now regained momentum. The lightbulb opportunities are mindboggling! Heh..heh…
MBT: Yes, I can’t wait to get my hands on some gambling chips in the 2 casinos!
GY: We are not opening casinos but integrated lightbulb resorts. ILRs are quite different…
MBT: Whatever lar!
KBW: Mah, a bit of advice. We cannot hope that for the rest of our lives, everything goes on smoothly. That only happens with afterlife – provided you do good things in this life and end up the right way. If you do wrong things, tell lies, defame people, create trouble, incite hatred, gamble … then I think you have wasted your life and I worry about your afterlife.
LHL: Khaw, what the hell are you talking about?? Can we move on? We now have a new problem. Where do we find the people to ascertain if the lightbulbs we are going to purchase are of good standard?
GCT: Loong, without some assurance of a good chance of winning at least their first lightbulb, many able and successful young Singaporeans may not risk their careers to join us.
LHL: Tong, I agree totally! But we want people who think independently, who have their own minds, who are people of substance. And I think we have 24 people of substance.
LKY: You found 24 people of substance?
LHL: Yes. I have interviewed them and not only do they look good in white, they can also hip hop!
LKY: Hip hop is for the young people.
VB: MM Lee, for young people it is especially significant. For them to get a sense that they are participating in something at a national level. The young punk MPs will also understand the significance behind hip hop dancing and why there’s a need for us in some occasion in the year to do it, like in this year’s Chingay Parade.
TCH: But can they inspect lightbulbs? What qualifications do they have in this area?
LHL: Don’t worry about that. They are all highly qualified with degrees!
Philip Yeo: What degrees? Basic degrees only qualifies them to wash lightbulbs. Only PhDs can inspect lightbulbs.
VB: Philip, but…
PY: Lets not be soft-hearted. Wee Shu Min is right. One should not bemoan what is true. Right, Siew Kim?
Wee Siew Kim: Err… err… I think….. if you cut through the ..erm…..insensitivity of the language, her basic point is reasonable, that is, that a well-educated university graduate who works for a lightbulb company should not be bemoaning about the Government and get on with the challenges in life.
Chee Soon Juan (with a loughailer in Hong Lim Park which is just across the road): The PAP is like the NKF! TT Durai is the mini version of Lee Kuan Yew!! We want to protest! We’ll march from here to Parliament House!
LKY: What the…..
WKS: Don’t worry, MM. I’ll fix him.
LHL: Hng Kiang, how’s the NKF case coming along?
LHK: PM, everything is fine and above board. THE National Kidney Foundation spends more than 80 per cent of its funds on its beneficiaries.
KBW: I take my hat off to Durai. What a talent!
Ho Ching: Everyone, I want to put on record my deepest gratitude to Mr Durai..
Mrs GCT: Exactly! We are paying him too little. For an organization with hundreds of millions of dollars, $600,000 for him is peanuts!
LHL: What about the gold lightbulb in his office bathroom? Any truth to that?
KBW: Durai is a good man, a man of charity..
Davinder Singh: Boon Wan, the gold lightbulb is true. After almost a year of digging, we have discovered that it is true. We are bringing him to court.
KBW: HUH?? Like that how? We supported him publicly! MM Lee, how?
LKY: What how? This system exists on the basis of integrity. Starting from the top right through, there are checks and balances – not from the media, but as part of the lightbulb system.
Mrs Goh: You mean…?
LKY: It can withstand any investigation. Nobody doubts that, nobody within the system doubts that. The people who man the system are all absolutely above board.
LHL: Daddy, but we’re talking of the NKF and not Temasek Holdings..
LKY: Oh. Hahaha.. then you all take care lor. Haha… but let me give you one word of advice. This is what I will say to the media if they should ask:
LKY: Say this: “Yes, the press, the media, Moody’s etc are curious to know. We disclose what we think they need to know. This is our money, we are trustees, we know what we have to do and we’re going to do this. We took this country from third-world lightbulbs to first world lightbulbs, and we’re not out to bring it back to third world. So I say, please put your mind at ease – Singaporeans do not worry, you need not worry for them.” This is what I will say. Heh heh…
Everyone (standing to ovation) : *Clap clap clap*
LHL: But daddy, we are not able to be everywhere as a government to know everything in Singapore.
LKY: Son, you know that. I know that. The peasants don’t have to know that!
Everyone (standing to ovation again): *clap clap clap*
LHL: Ok then. Lets close this meeting. Anyone has anything further to add?
GCT: Yes, I do. I just want to say that this year will be a better year! I can feel it in my bones!
LHL: Good to know that your bones are still working. Hahaha… but I will end with this message for all of you to take to the people: Our people should feel free to express diverse views, pursue unconventional ideas or simply be different. We should have the confidence to engage in robust debate so as to understand our problems, conceive fresh solutions and open up new spaces. But please… no gay parties, no podcasting, no party political films, no white elephant t-shirts, no public protests, no distributing of political leaflets, no questioning of Temasek, no blogger in newspaper columns, no criticisms of govt in the mainstream media, ok? Ours must be an open and inclusive Singapore! Thank you and good night!
The above is, of course, entirely satirical and should only be treated as such.