by Joseph Nathan
As we start afresh in 2020, it is natural for everyone to want to stay optimistic about what 2020 can bring or offer.
Many parents spend much time praying for the well-being of their children and grandchildren.
Ask any contemplative or meditative Religious Leaders and they will tell you that prayers and wishful thinking alone will not make or bring about any positive change unless there is a serious resolve to correct our own faults and short-comings.
For Singaporeans, these past years had been dreadful, to say the least.
Many of us truly missed the leadership of our first-generation political leaders, who walked their talks and who were ever ready to acknowledge their shortcomings or failure. While they may not be perfect, they have at least the courage to admit many of their mistakes and more importantly, they have the resolve to do what is right.
That is Real Leadership.
With 2020 being likely to be an election year for Singapore, the 4G politicians and their propaganda-machineries are already busy trying to exploit the positive sentiment of the New Year by making more promises.
Nowhere can anyone finds them admitting their past mistakes or thanking Singaporeans for the feedbacks and criticisms. This is not only elitist but shows their arrogance and their dislikes of being pointed out by the “Little People of Singapore”.
If the majority of the 4G politicians cannot admit their mistake and yet continue to display such arrogance, it shows their lack of sincerity. This is precisely the problem of the 4G People’s Action Party (PAP) politicians these days – they are arrogant and insincere. Can anything good come out of such arrogance and insincerity?
If these 4G politicians have indeed been hard at work in resolving the hardships and concerns of Singaporeans, then Singapore would have been a “Fair & Just Society” by now. If our “Growth & Prosperity” have been benefiting everyone, why is Singapore still so depressed and divided? As a nation, we have fallen so badly simply because the majority of these 4G politicians had been incompetent but yet refused to step down from their lucrative jobs.
As wisely advocated by Confucius and even Lee Kuan Yew in his early days, that “when anyone overstays or cling to a position and deprive others of doing better, then they are no different from a thief”.
I am wondering if such a dreadful eventuality is already upon us.
As such, when it comes to the future of Singapore as a nation, I no longer depend on prayer alone as the onus is already upon us. If we do not want to see or acknowledge that Singapore has already fallen into the hands of questionable politicians who have no sense of leadership, patriotism or care for the well-being of the people, then we have ourselves to blame as even God and the Heavens cannot help us if we do not help ourselves by voting wisely and finding the courage to do what is right.
Singapore indeed has been blessed for the longest of time and the collective effort of our first generation of leaders and the people had turned this blessing into a reality. Their hard work and dedication, and their courage to do what is right, supplemented the collective prayer and penance of our foreparents, we found success. In such instances, prayers are very effective.
Unfortunately, greed, complacency and selfish tendencies are now threatening our success as A Nation and as One United People. Singapore is becoming a divided nation, torn between the rich and the poor, between the privileged and the unprivileged, between the patriotic and the sycophants of the elites and their cronies, between those who seek to do what is right and those who seek to do only what benefits them most.
Without intervention, Singapore risks becoming the new Sick Men of Asia as our society become even more dysfunctional and social tension escalates further. More agenda like “Singapore Together” will not help as the root causes are all still intact. We need to remove some of the rot from within if we aspire for a better outcome.
In his New Year Day message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tried to paint a rosy future and advocated more help for the people. Question is, why is he only doing it now when these issues have been plaguing Singapore for so many years? Is he doing it now because this is going to be an election year or because he finally gets to hear about these Hard Truths only recently?
If he is sincere or if he wants to be taken seriously, he ought to first have the courage to openly sack some of his worthless 4G politicians from their ministerial roles for their massive failures and demonstrate his resolve, just like his father. Otherwise, more questions and coffeeshop whispers will surface to question his real intention or even mock him for his lack of courage to do what is right.
The delay by the 4G PAP to call for election has already garnered much speculation, from the fact that Singapore has become overly divided as a nation to the growing allegation that this election is about the inauguration of the 3rd generation of the Lees into politics.
If PM Lee is indeed planning to bring his son into politics, then it will be better for him and his son to be upfront about it so that Singaporeans can know that the delay in calling for an election is not due to the poor ground sentiment but the fact that it takes time to prepare for his entry into politics. Such allegation and rumour are unhealthy and should be rebutted firmly by PM Lee as Singapore has a more important agenda to resolve.
Singaporeans from all walks of life cannot hide from the Hard Truth that Singapore is being plagued with a serious crisis from within itself. The official narrative on the risks of Foreign Interference, while maybe probable, is not as imminent or as damaging as the “Rot From Within”. We need to accept the Hard Truth that we have been, for the longest of time, been electing useless politicians into parliament for all the wrong reasons. This has to stop if we want real change and real leadership to bring Singapore forward.
As such, this upcoming election is going to be a critical crossroad for every Singaporeans. Whether one is patriotic, materialistic or religious, concerned or aloof, we all have a critical role to play before Singapore sinks beyond hope. While prayers are essential, doing nothing constructive simply nullify the essence of our prayers. Why indulge in hopeless prayer when we can make our prayer effective?
In 2020, let us wise up and wake up as a nation and reunited as One People for the sake of our children and the future of Singapore. As Singaporeans, new or old, we all need to stay united and find the courage to do what is right to supplement our collective prayer by voting out all useless and undeserving politicians from our parliament as Singapore truly deserves better.