By Law Kim Hwee
The Secretary-General of People's Action Party (PAP) did not mince his words in condemning the candidate of Bukit Batok SMC By-election and Secretary-General of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Chee Soon Juan by saying that he is ‘‘completely hypocritical’ SDP Sec-Gen’s action of getting his ‘guys to say all the bad things, you come along and you look magisterial, and benign and say, no you must not hit somebody’.
Just so we all have a common definition, hypocrisy is ‘the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case’. Based on the definition, we have to agree with the PAP Secretary-General.
However, what Dr Chee Soon Juan has been doing with and at SDP – the activities organised, the focus on producing alternative policy papers, his round-the-island walk etc etc – taken in toto including organisational capabilities, the SDP Sec-Gen appears to believe that the American approach to electioneering, in and out of season, will finally win him a seat in the Singapore parliament. For good measure (or, if you prefer, for goodness sake), Chee even cultivates an American accent when speaking English.
I’m not so sure that’s the way to go. But I wish him well.
Now, the PAP Sec-Gen further claims, ever so humbly, ‘I don’t say we never make mistakes, but when we do make mistakes, we put them right’. This is in the context of town council management. But we can reasonably take it to mean that to be the case with his party and party members.
What do the records show?
One instance we recall is ‘PAP chairman and Minister for National Development Mr Khaw Boon Wan said the Workers’ Party (WP) should come clean with the people on expelled WP member Yaw Shin Leong’s alleged extramarital affair.’
However, when no less than their Speaker of Parliament was also caught with his pants down, did the PAP come clean with the people? Where the Straits Times went to town with WP Yaw Shin Leong’s adultery, Palmer was left pretty much alone to move on. But that was only after, most probably ‘the power there be’ somehow got Straits Times prominently reporting Palmer’s co-adulterer being a two-timing woman.
And, of course, the compliant mainstream media has to give PAP a positive spin with headlines such as ‘PAP acts fast and efficiently on Michael Palmer affair: analysts‘. Perhaps, this is what is meant by the claim, ‘when we do make mistakes, we put them right’, somehow the PAP must turn up roses with each mistake made. That’s easy, isn’t it when you have a press that continues to race down the ranking by Reporters Without Borders each year?
But, let’s us stay current. Just this week, we have PM Lee himself, preaching to Civil Servants and to Singaporeans;
- the civil service must remain ‘neutral and non-political’ and
- his (PAP) ministers must ‘protect civil servants from political interference and not involve them in political activities’.
Well, action always speaks louder than words.
We can only believe the PM’s preaching if and when he explicitly allows for and instructs civil servants;
- to attend MPs meet-the-people sessions in opposition wards as is done at PAP wards and
- to accede to all reasonable requests by Opposition MPs and interested academicians, citizens for relevant information not disallowed under the Official Secrets Act from the ministries.
We are very clear about what a hypocrite is. But what do we call:
- Those who not only claim ‘to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case’ but go many steps further to speak loudly to themselves that they are such fine men-in-white and so unlike ‘extortioners, unjust, adulterers’, or even an ex-NUS neuro-psychologist who once foolishly used a few dollars of taxpayer’s money to post his wife’s thesis submission? Or self-congratulate themselves to have achieved a ‘sweet spot’ in Singaporeans’ lives.
- Leaders who, as members of a seemingly successful political sect, distinguish themselves by strict observance of the rule by law instead of the rule of law to demand and impose one set of accountability and transparency on members of other political sects and another for their own?
And, let me share this observation that takes the cake…No, not the ‘I’m a son-of-Punggol’ claim. The PAP system has now produced a potential PM-candidate who claimed that in stepping forward to contest in GE2015 it was ‘really to serve the Singapore which I grew up in. For giving me all the opportunities through our meritocratic system. It’s not something that I’ve seen in many parts of the world. I’m indebted to Singapore’. It is his way of ‘remembering (his) roots, and giving back to society’.
How does one ‘give back’ to society? By giving up an estimated S$400,000 salary and taking 3 times more (S$1.2 million) from taxpayers money as a pre-qualified minister?
The word for such persons who are not merely hypocritical but also self-righteous is ‘Pharisees’. Please google for your pick of definition.
The People’s Action Party has morphed into the ‘Pharisees Action Party’ judging by not just their words but more so by their actions. To be fair, there is no law to say that Pharisees are incapable of producing some credible outward outcomes.
I am glad for the material outward outcomes from the Pharisees. But, please, spare me the preaching.
Mr Law also blogs at 2econdsight.wordpress.com