By Ng E Jay
You would have thought the mainstream media would have been coy about this issue.
But today, Straits Times columnist Rachel Chang finally admitted in her article “New citizens and the next GE (24 June 2010)” that new citizens regularly express overwhelming support for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), with some even going to the point of unfettered adulation and admiration.
Ms Chang writes in her article that when she informally sought out the political views of new citizens, she found that she was “hard-pressed to find a new citizen who harbours anything but admiration for the ruling party“, and that their support for PAP ranged from “placidly approving to aggressively proselytising“.
Take careful note of the last word that Rachel Chang used — proselytising. New citizens do not merely support the PAP. They worship the PAP like Gods.
Rachel Chang’s article also contains quotes from some new citizens explaining why they support PAP. These quotes do not just express admiration for the PAP as a political party, but in fact seem to be geared at justifying many of PAP’s autocratic policies.
For example, university lecturer Ori Sasson, who originally hails from Israel, expressed support for PAP’s restriction on public demonstrations and other civil liberties.
Mr Sasson said that in Israel, he had never felt the need to participate in public demonstrations even though they were allowed.
Mr Sasson also said that while other countries give citizens freedom of expression, their tax rate is higher.
His implication of course is that he prefers Singapore’s lower tax rate and is prepared to give up his human rights and civil liberties in exchange for it.
Naturally, the PAP would want all Singaporeans to think like Mr Sasson, who is probably viewed as a “model citizen”.
A*Star research officer Niu Liming, who originated from Beijing, told the Straits Times that his experience with other political systems made him favour the PAP.
He said that the problems Singaporeans face, such as the lack of a social safety net or high property prices, pale in comparison to the problems citizens of other countries face.
Of course, Mr Niu as a government researcher is drawing a much higher salary compared to the daily rated and blue-collar workers, and so he may not be able to empathize with how rampant inflation and escalating prices have hurt poorer Singaporeans, and how low wage workers in Singapore are left unprotected because they do not have a minimum wage, and there are no independent labour unions to represent their interests.
But naturally, views such as those of Mr Niu are very welcome by the PAP who would want all citizens to share similar opinions.
Ms He Li Fang, 41, a teacher from China, also explained to the Straits Times that because Singapore is a small country, the strong impact of government in the lives of people meant that “new citizens will not waver in their loyalty to the ruling party“.
The overwhelming support of new citizens for the incumbent PAP does not come to a surprise to most netizens, who have probably known it all along.
All the Straits Times article does is to assure us that the government will not do anything major to drastically reduce the import of new citizens in the name of increasing productivity.
You can be rest assured that the status quo will continue, no matter how the government seems to be changing its tune every now and then.
Headline picture courtesy of The Straits Times