by Augustine Low
A new bogeyman is in town. This time, the object of fear comes in the form of an external threat.
Retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan has been sounding warning of the threat of foreign influence on the Singaporean identity.
“Our identity, based in the idea of multiculturalism and meritocracy, is under pressure. There are centrifugal forces trying to pull us apart,” he declared.
Sounds serious and sophisticated enough, but Bilahari does not offer tangible proof.
Since his retirement, it is the kind of rhetoric he indulges in. Being an unofficial mouthpiece of the government is a role he obviously takes on with relish.
Retirement does have its perks. Bilahari is like a kid in a candy store and more sweet nothings and grave warnings are certainly coming our way. It looks like he’s been itching for this moment and he can’t wait to let it all out with gay abandon.
We are fully aware by now of other bogeyman that from time to time are unleashed on Singaporeans.
There is the Internet bogeyman. Online falsehoods are supposed to be here, there and everywhere and gullible Singaporeans (we are told) fall victim to fake news day in and day out.
Then there’s the rainy day bogeyman. We are also told that we never know when the next big crisis will strike and so the country’s reserves cannot be tapped on and everyone has to be prepared for the worst.
The underlying message behind the rainy day bogeyman? The PAP government offers safe harbour and the safest pair of hands to shield and protect Singaporeans come rain, come shine.
Every four years, a most potent bogeyman comes out of the closet – the freak election results bogeyman.
The foreboding is that Singaporeans will wake up to a nightmarish scenario, discovering that the PAP government is no longer in power. It’s enough to strike fear into the hearts of unsuspecting, unthinking Singaporeans.
The best defence against the bogeyman?
Just gotta be on one’s toes, use some grey matter and keep a distance!
As the Bogeyman song goes:
Here comes the Bogeyman!
Don’t let him come too close to you
He’ll catch you if he can