It would appear that the government has U turned on its initial decision to bar home-based food businesses from operating when the Circuit Breaker (CB) measures are in place.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli had initially branded those who started and supported a petition to get home based businesses reopened in the period where CB measures are in place as “selfish” and “irresponsible”.
He had also alluded to those who supported the petition as being “incited” to do so as if Singaporeans who speak up do not have the independent faculties to control their own thoughts or actions.
His train of thought on the issue of “incitement” is concerning. Maybe people supported the petition because they disagreed with the government’s decision and not because they have been manipulated to disagree which seems to be what Masagos is suggesting.
Is disagreement so unbelievable to Masagos that it must be because they have been “incited” to disagree as opposed to them simply by their own volition disagreeing? Perhaps, Masagos thinks rather poorly of the agency of Singaporeans. The fact that Singaporeans have stood up and Masagos has backed down shows that the peoples’ voice matters.
Another example displaying that the voice of the people counts is when the food served to migrant workers in isolation in their dormitories was improved upon after an online outcry against the insufficient portions of sub standard food that was being served to the migrant workers.
That is why our awareness and ownership of the issues that go on around us in relation to our country is of paramount importance. As a people, we can effect the change we wish to see around us. Critics may suggest that disagreement is disloyal or trouble making but that is a binary position that is illogical.
We all want what’s best for our country and the government can and does make mistakes even if it is working hard with good intentions. We can and should speak out on matters that we are affected by and this does not make us defiant or rebellious. We simply care about what goes on in our backyard.
Home based businesses selling food would still be shuttered if someone had not taken the initiative to start a petition. Livelihoods would have been lost if people did not decide to take a stand on something that affects them. Migrant workers might still be receiving paltry portions of food lacking in nutritional value if a petition that received overwhelming support was not circulated.
Your voice does count and don’t let anyone (establishment or otherwise) take that away.