People will no doubt be familiar with the saying "If you love something, set it free." This is a saying most often used in the context of romantic relationships but I would think it can apply to anything. If you love something, that love should transcend self aggrandizement and personal power. Many of those within our ranks of power in Singapore claim to be patriots who love our country. Yet they continually justify many apparently self serving actions which the public who make up the country they claim to love deplore. Is it for love of country or for love of self?
Veteran Singapore entrepreneur, businessman and technology investor Mr Koh Boon Hwee is one who has walked the talk. Koh was able to look at the bigger picture and the long term benefits of Sunningdale Tech when he stepped down from its helm. In removing himself from the day to day running of the company he has this to say: “I am attached to the company but being attached to a company means you want it to be the best it possibly can......And as time passes, you want younger people with more up-to-date ideas.”
Is this something that the PAP leadership ought to emulate? While we have newer leaders dubbed "4G leaders" such as Heng Swee Keat, Chan Chun Seng and Ng Eng Hen, none of them have been especially charismatic or dynamic. It is clear that the earlier generation (such as our very own Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) remain firmly in charge. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (whether you like him or not) was a leader who charted new territory. Despite the global changes, Singapore economic landscape is still very much based on the plans laid down by the leaders of Lee Kuan Yew's generation. Has the old guard's insistence on gripping on to power led to dated patterns and zero innovation?
While the leaders harp on innovation, they surely must realise that they have to walk the talk. To free the country to innovate, they have to give others (such as non PAP politicians a chance). If they truly claim to love Singapore, they should be more collaborative with opposition politicians such as the elected Workers Party MPs.
It is very hard to believe PAP politicians who claim to love the country but who take actions that do not seem to benefit our country's longer term goals including but not limited to:
- Extremely high salaries that are taken as an entitlement and not an incentive.
- Promoting politicians that toe the line with no new ideas.
- Old guard leaders refusing to relinquish authority.
- Self aggradization
- Putting down opposition politicians.