Source: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Facebook page.

What kind of image is the Singapore government hoping to cultivate?

Hosting a well known dictator (including paying for his accommodation and expenses while he and his entourage were in Singapore), displaying a flagrant disregard for human life by pressing ahead with controversial hangings, a high profile law suit involving the top brass of Singapore’s leading opposition party on arguably pointless grounds and cracking down harshly on individuals with no political power, one has to wonder what kind of image the Singapore government is hoping to cultivate.

With it aggressively going after the “international city” image by pressing hard on the “smart city” front, chasing the media hub status and its efforts to get hawker culture into a UNESCO list, one has to question if the Singapore government is going through an identity crisis. What reputation does Singapore want? It is either a modern progressive metropolis which values its inhabitants and democracy or it is a draconian country where its inhabitants have to live in fear and self censorship? It cannot cherry pick and expect no one to notice the inconsistencies.

How do all these seemingly contrary actions measure up with each other? What is the government hoping to achieve.

You want your citizens to be confident and creative but yet you do not allow them to exercise their intellect by speaking up.

You want the world to treat you like a democratic country but yet you seemingly find endless ways to ensure that an opposition party is never allowed to get too strong. In days of yore, it was the dreaded defamation suit. Now it is nitpicking at rules to ensure that opposition politicians pay for a wrongdoing that has not really affected the public and spending vast sums of state money to do this. Is this democracy or is it blatant bullying under the guise of allegedly rule breaking?

You say you want Singapore to be a happy place and for Singaporeans to be more compassionate. But yet you show zero compassion to alleged drug traffickers even though the level of their guilt is controversial.

You pledge to believe in social mobility but yet you choose to spend millions publicly wooing North Korea,  a country where the murderous leader lives in the lap of luxury while the bulk of its citizens remain dirt poor.

I understand that the government wants to hold on to power but is it so blinded by that pursuit that it cannot see the bi polar message it is sending out? How can Singaporeans trust a government that sends out so many mixed messages? Are mixed messages good for stability?