Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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Nation-building or party-building?

Andrew Ong / Writer

Last Saturday, I came out from a Grassroots Induction Programme feeling intoxicated after being overly-fed with PAP-ganda.

This was a session organised by the People’s Association (PA) and I was there to discover more about the overview of the association.

Interestingly, the PA’s vision is “to be a leading organisation in building an active community where all contribute readily to the nation.”

However after listening to the speeches and reading through the handed materials, I concluded that the vision of the PA should be more accurately communicated as “contributing readily to the PAP”, and not our nation.

In fact, after understanding that the PA’s existence was to achieve a political objective – “namely to strengthen the Government’s presence among the people” to counter the communists’ stronghold – it seems that this association is somewhat a white elephant.

With the communist threat out, why do we need PA?

The PA- Party’s Association

Isn’t the PA supposedly a people’s association? Apparently, all of their board of members are PAP politicians led by the chairman, PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Mind you if the PA is indeed for the people, I think it would have been appropriate for representatives from the opposition parties of Potong Pasir and Hougang to be part of the board in contributing to our community.

Well, it looks quite clear that the PA is just another one of those PAP-sponsored agencies to propagate its party’s agenda (please note party, not nation). Another top-down approach.

More down-up approach

Even the NTUC, a union set up for workers is no longer for workers. This is apparent when we see that the core leadership is headed by PAP ministers.

Presently, Mr Lim Swee Say, who holds a ministerial portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office, is the union’s Secretary-General.

Such institutions such as the PA and NTUC should be voicing the opinions of the people. But these days, the reverse of the government talking down to the people is more obvious. When this overly happens, we need to be wary as the people like you and I will be least heard more and more over time.

Here is an excerpt from a letter in ST Forum by Mr Chua Sheng Yang, that best describes the unhealthy socio-political state we are in:

“Instead of CASE taking up the cause on behalf of investors, it is former Income chief executive officer, Mr Tan Kin Lian.”

I really wonder how CASE, being affliated and part of the NTUC family, forgot to protect our consumers’ interest?

Enough PAP-ganda

When I wake up, I am in my HDB flat. I make sure I switch of my SP Power-ed lights before I leave my home to take either the SMRT or SBS Transit transport to work. If I am late, I would call for a Comfort Delgro cab on my SINGTEL mobile. My route to work will pass by POSB, SP, ITE, NUS, NUH, ST Kinetics, JTC, AH and A*Star. And work gives me money to contribute to CPF and GST.

Every where we turn, we see them. I believe fellow Singaporeans are getting sick and tired with each passing day by being “talked down” to in what we need to do and what not to do.

“Marry early”

“Make more babies”

“Put money in CPF and can take a bit out when 55”

“Put off retirement and work till 65”

“Pursue education”

Every where we turn, we hear the same party’s voice.

If it is not enough that we have to leave full decisions of our nation in the hands of the ruling party, it is equally disturbing that when we choose to speak up and voice our opinions we stand a high chance of getting slapped with defamation like Dr Chee Soon Juan or the late JBJ.

So the question begs to be answered: Is what we’re claiming to be building for our nation or for a party? I leave that answer for you to decide.


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