The one thing, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his government can be counted on to do year after year is to remind Singaporeans that they are so fortunate to be better off than the generation of 50 years ago.
PM Lee did it again at the National Day rally last night and this time he went the whole hog.
As if reminding that Singaporeans are better off wasn’t enough, he became teary-eyed when he brought up his father and the struggle for independence, showing the same old clip of Lee Kuan Yew shouting Merdeka!
It was deja vu, the same old thing played out time and time again!
Then he went even further. He showed a clip of an 88-year-old Samsui woman talking about life being so much better now than in the past. Madam Woo Yun Sum’s mantra – “when there is rice, eat rice, when there is porridge, eat porridge” – was used to make the point that Singaporeans ought to be content with what they have.
Incidentally, a clip of a Samsui woman was also shown by PM Lee in 2007 to commemorate her perseverance and dignity – but this same woman went on to commit suicide in 2013 as a 95-year-old after she was in ailing health and one could reason that she did not want to be a burden to her family.
Yet PM Lee still persisted with the same old trick – you have to call it a trick when it is done repeatedly, along with that video clip of his father, which caused him to choke with emotion.
Which other government in the world has to resort to constantly bringing its people back to the past?
To get the citizens to feel indebted? To signal that change cannot be contemplated because the citizens have to be reliant on the same old government?
All because there is a paucity of new ideas and the leaders have to cling on to the past?
After winning the Malaysian elections, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that “the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence.”
His words are sounding more and more prescient and judicious.