Beware of dissonant voices

by Teo Soh Lung
I was quite surprised to read what the Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said at the opening of the exhibition at the Old Ford Factory (The New Paper,16 Feb 17). He considers “dissonant voices” a threat.
Just look at this:

“… how the way of life here is being challenged by a host of threats – from increasingly dissonant voices to terrorism.”

I don’t think the way of life of the people can be threatened by dissonant voices. The minister must be referring to the “way of life” of the PAP or its government.
Further down the report, he was quoted:

“These threats are very present and may already be here.
“They may be a cyber attack or a terror threat, or perhaps the spreading of misinformation or disinformation. How can we ensure that we are resilient enough and committed enough to respond to these threats, and to recover quickly when crises strike?”

The WE here must refer to the government because I don’t think the people today are resilient. We have for decades told to be dependent on the government. And the government has always prided itself as knowing everything and doing everything for the people. It spends a huge part of our budget on defence. It knows a citizen’s public and private life. It interferes with everything a citizen does, including harmless postings on facebook. It has installed cameras everywhere, from the expressways and roads to public flats and parks.
We are depending on the government to do the job of defending us. Don’t depend on us, the people. The government has emasculated us because it has never accepted dissonant voice and quite frankly, there isn’t any left.
The government having interfered with every aspect of our life must not abandon us when a crisis arises. It should not behave like the British during the Japanese occupation. The British was a colonial power and it can shamelessly abandon us. The People’s Action Party (PAP) government, on the other hand, is elected by the people and should not abandon us. Forget about us being a resilient united people. We are softies.
That said, a serious concern bothers me. When even dissonant voices are considered a threat, I wonder if the PAP government will be able to discern a real threat and take us through a crisis.

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