By Chris Kuan
It went according to script. didn't it? (Read: What will PM say during the NDR 2016?)
Well...sort of. Except the fainting bit. He should be alright..... the Prime Minister Office (PMO) will most likely tell the public to move on. Perhaps, moving on is what the Prime Minister himself should do. Time to pass the baton anyway.
No surprise that the Prime Minister used the National Day Rally to prepare the ground for a minority candidate for the Elected Presidency. Just when we thought we might finally get an independent-minded Elected President to deliver some minimum level of check and balance, the goal posts will be moved to shoo-in a minority race yes-man into the job.
Of course, the Prime Minister said that this is to reflect the reality of our multi-cultural society but it is a convenient excuse to head off any risks to the People Action Party (PAP)'s total dominance. Now race has become another excuse and we already had one last week with the Law on Contempt of Court thingy.
The Prime Minister even has time for a joke: “With some luck our Total Fertility Rate (TFR) will be 1.6... Maybe extra luck, 1.68. Huat ah!” How to "huat ah", one should really wonder. So long as real estate prices and cost of living remained elevated, retirement and healthcare funding remained inadequate, Singaporeans will continue to work long hours and defer or not have any children in order to mitigate the social and financial risks that they faced with little help from the government. Of course, the Prime Minister did not mention that for the TFR to improve like it has even a number of countries around the world in recent years, working hours have to be reduced and government social expenditures have to be specifically targeted.
The Prime Minister probably meant the TFR can be improved by having more new citizens after all that has been a stated long-term policy. Then the joke is on Singaporean citizens. And with the well-documented inability or even unwillingness of new citizens to assimilate, don't you think our multi-cultural society has bigger problems to handle than to decide the race of the president? Another joke, one supposed.